Chapters 5-6

Catholicism is Best for a Monarchy, and the Protestant is Best for a Republic

March 10, 2020

A religion that is successfully adopted in a state is one that matches the plan of its government. This is because those who will follow it only know the current form for government.

Two centuries ago, Christianity became divided into Catholic and Protestant.

  • The North embraced the Protestant because of their spirit of liberty and independence
  • The south adhered still to the Catholic because the people were not independent

In the countries themselves where the Protestant religion became established, the revolutions were made pursuant to the several plans of political government.

Luther had great princes on his side. He would never have been able to make them embrace a religion that that had no exterior pre-eminence.

Calvin lived under republican governments or with obscure citizens in monarchies. He might very well avoid establishing dignities and preferments.

Each of these two religions was believed to be the most perfect. The Calvinist judging his most conformable to what Christ had said, and the Lutheran to what the Apostles had practised.

Chapter 6= Another Paradox of Mr. Bayle

MR. BAYLE abused all religions including Christianity. He boldly asserts that true Christians cannot form a government of any duration. Why not?

Citizens of this profession being infinitely enlightened with respect to the various duties of life, and having the warmest zeal to fulfil them, must be perfectly sensible of the rights of natural defence. The more they believe themselves indebted to religion, the more they would think due to their country. The principles of Christianity, deeply engraved on the heart, would be infinitely more powerful than the false honour of monarchies, than the humane virtues of republics, or the servile fear of despotic states.

He is unable to distinguish between the orders for the establishment of Christianity and Christianity itself. He does not know the spirit of his own religion. When the legislator gives counsels instead of laws, this is because he knows that if these counsels were ordained as laws, they would be contrary to the spirit of the laws themselves.