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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

THE  STATE'S RELATIONS TO  RELIGION.             507
and church, which shows itself in many absurd notions. The
amount of capital put into church buildings, thus far, is said
to be not more than 4 or 5 per cent, of the whole capital in
the country, and is not likely to increase relatively to the
whole amount. A tax would be apt to deter a poor com-
munity from erecting even a decent building for worship, per-
haps would lead to delays in building which the society in the
place would feel to its extreme disadvantage, and by raising
pew-rents would deter numbers from partaking in the benefits
of religion. The amount of taxes being increased by those
levied on the houses of worship would tend to lower the
salaries of ministers, which in the country towns are now
quite low enough. For such reasons a tax on church edifices
in general ought to be rejected, as every way injurious; but
if one were levied on edifices costing beyond a certain amount,
it would seem to be no hardship—at least, if the rule were to
be adopted in regard to buildings to be erected. Burial-
grounds attached to churches, manses, church schools, and
church hospitals, ought to come within a general law affecting
property used for like purposes.
The purposes for which religious property may be used are
to a certain degree within the control of the law. The most
important class of cases that would here, be affected are
establishments for persons under vows leading a common
religious life. The objects for which they are congregated,
whether they be sacred learning, or simply a private religion
in common, or education, or help of the afflicted, may be
highly laudable; but, for all that, it is right that institutions
which have had such histories as the monastic ones, which
good Catholics have condemned and Catholic princes have
suppressed, should not have full power to propagate thern.-
selves over a country. The considerations, however, which
would require a limit to be imposed upon them, are by no
means narrow and sectarian ; they are supported by the expe-
rience on the whole which history offers us when it condemns
such institutions on account of the idle lives of the inmates,
and the conception of character which such a Had of piety