Chap 1G2: How to Solve Religion

How to Solve Religious Conflict

202 There state can use two very easy and effective remedies to peacefully correct the  disagreeably rigorous morals of little sects.


203 The first is the study of science and philosophy.

  • The state could make it universal among those of middling rank and fortune.
    • It could institute a probationary period for anyone who wished to:
      • exercise any liberal profession, or
      • be a candidate for any honourable office of trust or profit.
    • It should not give salaries to teachers that would make them negligent and idle.
    • If the state imposed the necessity of learning on the people of liberal professions, it would have no problem providing people with the proper teachers.
      • The people would soon find better teachers than what the state could provide.
  • Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
    • If the superior ranks of people were free from superstition, the inferior ranks could not be much exposed to it.


204 The second remedy is the frequency and gaiety of public diversions.

  • The state could easily dissipate the gloom which nurse popular superstition by encouraging proper public amusement through:
    • painting, poetry, music, dancing, and
    • dramatic representations and exhibitions.
  • Public diversions were always hated by all the fanatical promoters of those popular frenzies.
  • The good humour inspired by those diversions were inconsistent with that mental temper fittest for superstitions or which those promoters could best work on.
    • Dramatic representations frequently exposed those promoters to public ridicule.


205 In a country where the law did not favour any single religion, religions do not need to be dependent on the executive power.

  • The sovereign would not appoint nor dismiss them from their offices.
    • His only concern would be to maintain the peace among religions as with among the citizens.
  • It is opposite in countries which have a state religion.
    • The sovereign can only be secure if he can influence the teachers of that religion.


Organized Religion

206 The clergy of every established church constitute a great incorporation.

  • They can act in concert and pursue their interest with one plan and one spirit, as if they were directed by one man.
  • Their interest as an incorporated body is never the same with that of the sovereign.
    • It is sometimes directly opposite to it.
  • Their great interest is to maintain their authority with the people.
    • This authority depends on the importance of the doctrine they inculcate for avoiding eternal misery.
  • The independent clergy will immediately proscribe the sovereign as a profane person if the sovereign:
    • derides or doubts their doctrine or
    • protect those who doubted or derided their doctrine.
  • They will employ all the terrors of religion to oblige the people to ally themselves to a more orthodox and obedient prince.
    • The princes who have dared to rebel against the church would be charged with rebellion and heresy.
    • But the authority of religion is superior to every other authority.”
      • “The fears which it suggests conquer all other fears.”
  • When the religious teachers propagate subversive doctrines to the people, the sovereign can only maintain his authority through a standing army.
    • Even a standing army cannot give him any lasting security.
      • The soldiers are usually drawn from the people.
        • They can be soon corrupted by those very doctrines.
  • The sovereign who is unable to influence the state religion’s clergy has a precarious rule.
    • This is proven by:
      • the revolutions continually caused by the Greek clergy at Constantinople, and
      • the convulsions continually created by the Roman clergy in Europe.


207 Articles of faith and all other spiritual matters are not within the department of a temporal sovereign.

  • He is seldom qualified for instructing spiritual matters.
  • His authority on such matters can seldom be enough to counterbalance the established church’s united authority.
    • The public peace and his own security frequently depends on the church’s doctrines.
  • He should be able to influence their decisions because he can seldom directly oppose them.
    • He can influence it only by exciting fears and expectations in the church:
      • the fear of deprivation or other punishments, and
      • the expectation of further preferment.


208 In all Christian churches, the clergy’s benefices are freeholds.

  • They enjoy them during life or good behaviour.
  • They could never maintain their authority with the people if they could be easily  removed by the sovereign or his ministers.
    • The people would see them as mercenary dependents of the court.
    • They would have no confidence in their instructions.
  • A sovereign who irregularly and violently attempts to deprive any seditious clergymen of their freeholds, would only render them and their doctrine ten times more popular.
    • They would be therefore 10 times more troublesome and dangerous than before.
  • In almost all cases, fear is a wretched instrument of government.
    • It should never be employed against anyone who desires independence.
    • Terrifying them only irritates their bad humour.
    • It will strengthen their opposition which more gentle usage might soften or eliminate.
  • The French government violently forced their parliaments or courts of justice to enact any unpopular law.
    • They usually did this by imprisoning all the refractory members.
    • They very seldom succeeded.
  • The princes of the house of Stewart sometimes did the same to influence the English parliament.
    • The princes generally found the parliament equally stubborn.
    • The English parliament is now managed in another way.
  • The Duke of Choiseul made a very small experiment about 12 years ago on the Paris parliament.
    • He demonstrated that all French parliaments could be managed more easily.
    • That experiment was not pursued.
  • Management and persuasion are always the safest instruments of governments.
    • Force and violence are the most dangerous.
    • But man’s natural insolence makes him always disdain the good instrument except when he cannot use the bad one.
  • The French government could use force.
    • It therefore disdained to use management and persuasion.
  • I believe that there is no order of men upon whom it is so dangerous, or rather so perfectly ruinous, to employ force and violence, as upon the respected clergy of any established church.
    • Every clergy member rights, privileges, and personal liberty are more respected than those of anyone of equal rank and fortune even in the most despotic governments.
    • This is true in all degrees of despotism, from the gentle government of Paris to the violent government of Constantinople.
  • The clergy cannot be forced.
    • However, they may be managed as easily as any other.
    • The sovereign’s security and the public peace depends very much on how the sovereign manages them.
      • It is in the preferment which he has to bestow on them.


209 In the Christian church’s ancient constitution, the bishop of each diocese was elected by the joint votes of:

  • the clergy, and
  • the people of the episcopal city.

The people did not long retain their right of election.

  • When they had it, they almost always acted under the clergy’s influence.
    • The clergy soon grew weary of managing them.
    • They found it easier to elect their own bishops themselves in the same way as the abbot was elected by the monks of the monastery.
  • All the inferior ecclesiastical benefices comprehended within the diocese were collated by the bishop.
    • He bestowed them on such ecclesiastics as he thought proper.
  • In this way, all church preferments were in the church’s disposal.
    • The sovereign might have some indirect influence in those elections.
      • But he had no direct means of managing the clergy.
    • The ambition of every clergyman naturally led him to court his own order more than the sovereign.


210 Through most of Europe, the Pope gradually drew to himself:

  1. First, the Consistorial benefices
    • These were a collation of the territories of bishops and abbies
  2. Afterwards, most of the inferior benefices within each diocese.
  • Only what was barely necessary was left to the bishop to give him a decent authority over his own clergy.
    • This arrangement worsened the condition of the sovereign than before.
  • European clergy formed into a spiritual army which could be now be directed by one head on one plan.
    • The clergy of each country was a detachment of that army.
    • Its operations could easily be supported by other detachments around it.
  • Each detachment was independent of the sovereign who maintained it.
  • Each depended on the foreign sovereign in the Pope.
    • He could at any time turn it against each sovereign, supported by the other detachments.


211 Those arms were most formidable.

  • Before the establishment of arts and manufactures in ancient Europe, the clergy’s wealth gave them the same influence over the common people as those of the great barons had over their respective vassals, tenants, and retainers.
  • The mistaken piety of princes and private persons bestowed on the church the great landed estates.
    • With those estates came the same jurisdictions as those of the great barons, and for the same reason.
    • In those great landed estates, the clergy or their bailiffs, could easily keep the peace without the king’s support.
      • No one could keep the peace without the clergy’s support.
  • The clergy’s jurisdictions in their particular baronies were equally independent.
    • They were equally exclusive of the authority of the king’s courts, as those of the great temporal lords.
  • The clergy’s tenants were like the tenants of the great barons.
    • They were:
      • almost all tenants at will and
      • entirely dependent.
    • They could be called out to fight in any quarrel which the clergy engaged them in.
  • In addition to the rents of those estates, the clergy had a very large portion of the rents of all the other estates in every European kingdom in the tithes.
    • Most of the revenues from both rents were paid in kind, in corn, wine, cattle poultry, etc.
    • The amount greatly exceeded what the clergy could themselves consume.
    • There were no arts nor manufactures which they could exchange for their surplus.
      • The clergy could only derive advantage from this immense surplus by employing it in the most profuse hospitality and extensive charity.
        • The ancient clergy’s hospitality and charity was very great.
          • They maintained:
            • the poor of every kingdom, and
            • many knights and gentlemen who travelled from monastery to monastery for subsistence under the pretence of devotion
  • The retainers of some prelates were as many as those of the greatest lay-lords.
    • There were perhaps more retainers of all the clergy combined than those of all the lay-lords.
    • There was always much more union among the clergy than among the lay-lords.
  • The clergy were under a regular discipline and subordination to the Pope.
    • The lay lords were not.
      • They were always jealous of one another and the king.
  • The union of the clergy’s tenants and retainers would have made them more formidable than those of the great lay lords even if they were fewer.
  • The clergy’s hospitality and charity gave them the command of a great temporal force.
    • It very much increased the weight of their spiritual weapons.
    • Those virtues procured the clergy the highest respect and veneration of the poor who were fed by them.
    • The possessions, privileges, doctrines of the clergy appeared sacred to the common people that their violation became the most wicked act.
  • The sovereign frequently found it difficult to resist the confederacy of a few great nobles.
    • He found it more difficult to resist the clergy’s united force in his own dominions when they were supported by the clergy of neighbouring dominions.
    • We may wonder how he was able to resist the clergy in such circumstances.


212 The clergy’s privileges in those ancient times appear most absurd to us today.

  • For example, the benefit of the clergy is their total exemption from the secular jurisdiction in England.
    • It was the natural consequences of the state of things then.
  • How dangerous must it have been for the sovereign to punish a clergyman who was considered sacred?
    • The sovereign could only leave him to be tried by the ecclesiastical courts.
    • Those courts would restrain their members from committing enormous crimes to protect their own order’s honour.


213 Around the 10th-13th centuries in Europe, the Roman church was the most formidable combination ever formed against the government.

  • It is also against mankind’s liberty, reason, and happiness.
    • These can only flourish where civil government can protect them.
  • The grossest superstitions were supported by the private interests of so many people in the Roman church.
    • This kept them safe from the assault of human reason.
    • Human reason might have been able to unveil some of the delusions of superstition.
      • But it could never have dissolved the ties of private interest.
  • If the Roman church had been attacked only by the feeble efforts of human reason, it would have endured forever.
    • But that immense and well-built fabric which could never be shaken by all human wisdom and virtue was naturally weakened and then destroyed in some parts.
      • It is now likely to crumble entirely perhaps within a few more centuries.


214 The gradual improvements of arts, manufactures, and commerce which destroyed the power of the great barons destroyed the whole temporal power of the clergy in Europe.

  • In the produce of arts, manufactures, and commerce, the clergy, like the great barons, found something for which they could exchange their rude produce.
    • They discovered ways of spending their whole revenues on their own persons without sharing with other people.
    • Their charity became gradually less extensive.
    • Their hospitality became less profuse.
    • Their retainers dwindled away.
  • The clergy, like the great barons, wished to get more rent from their landed estates to have more to spend for their own private vanity and folly.
    • But this could only be done by granting leases to their tenants, who became independent.
  • In this way, the ties of interest which bound the inferior ranks of people to the clergy were gradually broken and dissolved.
    • They were even broken and dissolved sooner than those which bound the inferior ranks of people to the great barons.
  • Most church benefices were much smaller than the estates of the great barons.
    • The possessor of each benefice was able to spend its revenue on himself much sooner.
  • During the 14th and 15th centuries, the power of the great barons was in full vigour in most of Europe.
    • But the clergy’s temporal power over the people was very much decayed.
    • By that time, the church’s power was very nearly reduced in Europe to what arose from her spiritual authority.
      • Even that spiritual authority was much weakened when it stopped being supported by the clergy’s charity and hospitality.
  • The poor no longer looked on the clergy as:
    • the comforters of their distress and
    • the relievers of their indigence.
      • They were provoked and disgusted by the richer clergy’s vanity, luxury, and expence.


215 The European sovereigns tried to recover the influence they once had in the disposal of the church’s great benefices.

  • They restored the ancient right of:
    • the deans and the chapters of each diocese in electing the bishop.
    • the monks of each abbacy in electing the abbot.
  • The re-establishment of this ancient order was the object of several statutes enacted during the 14th century.
    • Particularly, it was the object of:
      • the statute of provisors in England and
      • the Pragmatic sanction established in France in the 15th century.
  • To render the election valid, the sovereign should:
    • consent to it beforehand, and
    • approve of the person elected.
  • The election was still free.
    • But he had all the indirect means of influencing the clergy.
  • Before the reformation, the pope’s power in the collation of the great church benefices was most effectively and universally restrained in France and England.
    • In the 16th century, the Concordat gave French kings the absolute right of presenting to all the consistorial benefices of the Gallican church.


216 Since the establishment of the Pragmatic sanction and of the Concordat, the French clergy were shown less respect to the decrees of the papal court than the clergy of any other Catholic country.

  • In all the disputes between their sovereign and the pope, they have almost constantly sided with the sovereign.
  • This independence of the French clergy on the Roman court was principally founded on the Pragmatic sanction and the Concordat.
  • In the earlier monarchies, the French clergy was as much devoted to the pope as any foreign clergy.
    • Robert was the second prince of the Capetian race.
      • When he was most unjustly excommunicated by the Roman court, his servants threw the victuals to the dogs.
      • They refused to taste anything he touched.
      • The clergy presumably taught them to do so.



The excommunication of Robert II of France



217 The claim of collating to the great benefices of the church was a claim frequently shaken and sometimes overturned by the Roman court.

  • In this way, some of the greatest Christian sovereigns were restrained, modified, or given up in Europe even before the reformation.
  • The clergy had now less influence over the people, so the state had more influence over the clergy.
  • The clergy had less power and inclination to disturb the state.


218 The Roman church’s authority was declining when the disputes which gave birth to the reformation began in Germany and soon spread throughout Europe.

  • The new doctrines were very popular everywhere.
  • They were propagated with all that enthusiastic zeal which commonly animates the spirit of party when it attacks established authority.
  • The teachers of those doctrines were perhaps not more learned than the divines who defended the established church.
    • They generally were better acquainted with:
      • ecclesiastical history, and
      • the origin and progress of the opinions on which the authority of the church was established.
    • They thereby had some advantage in every dispute.
    • Their austerity gave them authority with the common people.
    • The people contrasted the strict regularity of their conduct with their own clergy’s disorderly lives.
    • They had more popularity and arts in gaining proselytes than their adversaries.
      • The church had long neglected those arts as useless.
  • The reason of the new doctrines recommended them to some people.
    • Their novelty recommended them to many people.
    • The hatred for the established clergy recommended them to even more people.
    • The zealous, passionate, and fanatical, though rustic, eloquence recommended them to the most people.

219 The success of the new doctrines was almost so great everywhere that the princes who were on bad terms with the Roman court were able to overturn the church in their own dominions.

  • The church lost the respect and veneration of the inferior ranks of people.
    • It could not resist.
    • The Roman court was disobliged with the smaller princes in northern Germany.
      • It probably considered them too insignificant to be worth managing.
      • The princes universally established the reformation in their own dominions.
  • The tyranny of Christiern II and of Troll, the Archbishop of Upsala, enabled Gustavus Vasa to expel them both from Sweden.
    • The pope favoured them.
    • Gustavus Vasa easily established the reformation in Sweden.
    • Christiern II was afterwards deposed from the Danish throne where his conduct made him as odious as in Sweden.
      • The pope still favoured him.
    • Frederic of Holstein took the throne and followed the example of Gustavus Vasa.
  • The magistrates of Berne and Zurich had no quarrel with the pope.
    • They established the reformation in their respective cantons very easily.
    • Some of the clergy in those cantons rendered the whole order odious and contemptible.


220 In this critical situation, the papal court was at pains to cultivate the friendship of the powerful French and Spanish sovereigns.

  • Back then, the Spanish king was the Emperor of Germany.
  • With their assistance, they were able to suppress the reformation’s progress in their dominions with great difficulty and bloodshed.
  • It was well enough inclined to be complaisant to the king of England.
    • But it offended a greater sovereign, Charles V, king of Spain and emperor of Germany.
  • Henry VIII did not embrace most of the reformation’s doctrines.
    • Yet the prevalence of the reformation enabled him to:
      • suppress all the monasteries, and
      • abolish the authority of the Roman church in his dominions.
  • The patrons of the reformation were somewhat satisfied that he went so far but not any further.
    • They possessed the government in the reign of his son and successor.
    • Without any difficulty, they completed the work which Henry VIII begun.


221 In some countries where the government was weak, unpopular, and not firmly established, as in Scotland, the reformation was strong enough to overturn the church and the state which supported the church.

222 There was no general tribunal among the followers of the reformation in Europe like that of the court of Rome or an ecumenical council which could settle disputes.

  • Disputes between the followers of the reformation in different countries could never be decided.
    • Many disputes arose among them.
  • The most interesting were about the government of the church and the right of conferring ecclesiastical benefices.
    • These gave birth to the Lutheran and Calvinistic sects, the two principal parties of the reformation.

223 The Lutherians and the Church of England:

  • preserved the episcopal government,
  • established subordination among the clergy,
  • gave the sovereign the disposal of all the bishoprics and other consistorial benefices within his dominions,
  • made the sovereign the real head of the church, and
  • favoured and admitted the right of presentation in the sovereign and all lay patrons, without depriving the bishop his right of collating the smaller benefices within his diocese.

From the beginning, this system of church government was favourable to peace, order, and submission to the civil sovereign.

  • The Church of England always valued herself on the unexceptionable loyalty of her principles.
  • Under such a government, the clergy naturally endeavour to recommend themselves to the sovereign, the court, and the nobility.
    • They court those patrons:
      • sometimes by vile flattery,
      • frequently by cultivating those arts which gain them the esteem of people of rank and fortune by:
        • their useful and ornamental knowledge,
        • the decent liberality of their manners,
        • the social good humour of their conversation, and
        • their contempt of the hypocritical austerities which fanatics pretend to practise, so that:
          • the clergy will be venerated, and
          • the common people will abhor the men of rank and fortune who do not practise austerities.
    • Such a clergy are very apt to neglect their influence and authority over people of lower ranks.
    • They are listened to, esteemed, and respected by their superiors.
      • But before their inferiors, they are frequently incapable of effectively defending their own moderate doctrines against the attacks of the most ignorant enthusiast.

224 The Calvinists [followers of Huldrych Zwingli], on the contrary:

  • allowed the people of each parish to elect their own pastor, and
    • When this was done vigorously, it:
      • caused disorder and confusion, and
      • corrupted the morals of the clergy and the people.
  • established perfect equality among the clergy.
    • This produced perfectly agreeable effects.


225 As long as the people could elect their own pastors, they were under the influence of the most fanatical clergy.

  • The clergy became fanatics to preserve their influence in those popular elections.
    • They:
      • encouraged fanaticism among the people, and
      • preferred the most fanatical candidate.
  • A small matter as the appointment of a parish priest frequently created a violent contest in all neighbouring parishes which  joined the quarrel.
    • When the parish was in a great city, it divided all the people into two parties.
      • When that city was a city-state or a capital of a small republic like Switzerland or Holland, disputes of this kind threatened to create:
        • a new schism in the church, and
        • a new faction in the state
      • In those small republics, the magistrate had to present to all vacant benefices in order to preserve the public peace.
  • Scotland is the most extensive country where this presbyterian church government was established.
    • The rights of patronage in Scotland were abolished by the act which established presbytery in the beginning of William III’s reign.
    • This act allowed certain classes to buy the right of electing their own pastor for a very small price.
    • This act established a constitution which was allowed for 22 years.
    • It was abolished by the 10th of queen Anne, ch. 12 because of the disorders it created.
    • However, in an extensive country as Scotland, a tumult in a remote parish was unlikely to disturb the government.
    • The 10th of queen Anne restored the rights of patronage.
    • In Scotland, the benefice is given to the person presented by the patron.
      • The ‘cure of souls’ is the ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the parish.
      • Sometimes, the church requires a certain concurrence of the people before she confers the cure of souls on the presentee.
      • She sometimes delays the settlement until this concurrence can be procured, to preserve the peace of the parish.
  • The old fanatical spirit in the clergy or in the Scottish people are perhaps kept up principally by the tampering of the neighbouring clergy to procure or to prevent this concurrence.


226 The equality which the presbyterian form of church government establishes among the clergy, consists in:

  1. The equality of authority or ecclesiastical jurisdiction
  2. The equality of benefice.

In all presbyterian churches, the equality of authority is perfect, but the equality of benefice is not.

  • The difference between benefices are seldom so big to tempt the possessor to flatter his patron in order to get a better benefice.
  • In all the presbyterian churches where the rights of patronage are thoroughly established, the established clergy try to gain the favour of their superiors by nobler and better arts:
    • their learning,
    • their life’s regularity, and
    • the faithful and diligent discharge of their duty.
  • Their patrons even complain of their independence.
    • They think the clergy is ungrateful for past favours.
      • But at worst, they are perhaps just indifferent.
        • This naturally arises from the consciousness that no further favours of the kind are ever to be expected.
    • The presbyterian clergy of Holland, Geneva, Switzerland, and Scotland are perhaps the most learned, decent, independent, and respectable set of men in Europe.

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