Montesquieu
 

XXIV.16 How the laws of religion correct the problems of the political constitution

On the other hand, reli­gion can uphold the poli­ti­cal state when the laws prove power­less.

Thus, when the state is often sha­ken by civil wars, reli­gion will do a great deal if it esta­bli­shes some part of that state that will always remain at peace. The Eleans, among the Greeks, as priests of Apollo, enjoyed per­pe­tual peace. In Japan, the city of Meaco, which is a holy city, is always left in peace1 ; the reli­gion main­tains this rule, and this empire which seems to be alone on earth, which has and wishes to have no need of out­si­ders, always has within a com­merce which war does not ruin.

In sta­tes where wars are not waged by com­mon deli­be­ra­tion, and where the laws have left them­sel­ves no means of ending or pre­ven­ting them, reli­gion esta­bli­shes times of peace or of tru­ces so that the peo­ple may do the things without which the state could not sub­sist, such as sowing and simi­lar labors.

For four months every year, all hos­ti­lity cea­sed bet­ween Arab tri­bes2 ; the sligh­test dis­tur­bance would have been an impiety. When each lord in France made war or peace, reli­gion pro­vi­ded tru­ces, which were to occur in cer­tain sea­sons.

Recueil des voyages qui ont servi à l’établissement de la Compagnie des Indes, vol. IV, part I, p. 127.

See Prideaux, Life of Mohammed, p. 64.