The spirit of laws by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu


participation in the sacraments, auricular confession, extreme unction



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participation in the sacraments, auricular confession, extreme unction,
the marriage of only one wife -- all these overturn the manners and
customs of the country, and with the same blow strike at their religion
and laws.

The Christian religion, by the establishment of charity, by a public


worship, by a participation of the same sacraments, seems to demand that
all should be united; while the rites of China seem to ordain that all
should be separated.

And as we have seen that this separation[21] depends, in general, on the


spirit of despotism, this will show us the reason why monarchies, and
indeed all moderate governments, are more consistent with the Christian
religion.[22]

19. How this Union of Religion, Laws, Manners, and Customs among the


Chinese was effected. The principal object of government which the
Chinese legislators had in view was the peace and tranquillity of the
empire; and subordination appeared to them as the most proper means to
maintain it. Filled with this idea, they believed it their duty to
inspire a respect for parents, and therefore exerted all their power to
effect it. They established an infinite number of rites and ceremonies
to do them honour when living, and after their death. It was impossible
for them to pay such honours to deceased parents without being led to
reverence the living. The ceremonies at the death of a father were more
nearly related to religion; those for a living parent had a greater
relation to the laws, manners, and customs: however, these were only
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