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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

THE STATE'S RELATIONS TO RELIGION.          503
years for the repairs and building of churches, and for other
religious objects.
On the other hand, while we freely admit that there are
evils attending the voluntary system, such as rivalries of de-
nominations, and intrusion into provinces already occupied,
the activity of the system as shown in the United States is
truly surprising. There were estimated to be in the United
States about fifty-one thousand Protestant churches in 1871,
to a Protestant population of thirty-three millions and a half,
or one to six hundred and fifty persons. Multitudes of small
places newly settled and poor are without Christian ordinances.
The contest in such circumstances is a long and hard one
between the ignorance and helplessness of towns rising in
the wilderness and the energies of denominations to meet
their wants.    The conditions are such as have never been
*
laid upon believers in the Christian religion before. Yet
there is no doubt that the problem will be solved in the
voluntary way, and no other efforts could have reached the
exigency.
All things look in modern times towards the substitution
of the voluntary principle in religion for the efforts of gov-
ernments to accomplish the same ends. In the most truly
Christian countries, such as England, millions of pounds are
raised in this way in order to spread* religion through heathen
and other foreign1 lands. The same zeal would be equal to
the greater work of sustaining religion at home. I do not
doubt that it would be done. But I should not wish to see
any national church disestablished, unless it were a thing of
degrees, requiring a lapse of time for its completion. (Comp,
§ 129.) On the other hand, the voluntary system needs con-
trol, lest too much property should be concentrated in a single
•spot, lest the rights of inheritance should be invaded, lest
the building of expensive church edifices should make de-
mands for contributions which ought to be used for more
spiritual purposes. A part of this control can fairly be exer-
cised in the way of taxing church property, of limiting the
amount that ecclesiastical corporations can hold, and of mak-