Montesquieu

Mr. Chardin says there is no navi­ga­ble river in Persia, unless it be the Kur, which is at the extre­mi­ties of the empire.1 The ancient law of the Gaurs that for­bade navi­ga­ting on rivers had the­re­fore no draw­back in their coun­try ; but it would have rui­ned trade in ano­ther.

Continual lotions are very much used in warm cli­ma­tes. For that rea­son, Mohammedan law and Indian reli­gion pres­cribe them. It is a very meri­to­rious act in the Indies to pray to God in run­ning water,2 but how can these things be per­for­med in other cli­ma­tes ?

When reli­gion based on cli­mate has cla­shed too greatly with the cli­mate of ano­ther coun­try, it has been una­ble to esta­blish itself there, and when it has been intro­du­ced, it has been dri­ven out. It seems, humanly spea­king, that it is cli­mate that has pres­cri­bed boun­da­ries for the Christian and Mohammedan reli­gions.

It fol­lows from this that it is almost always appro­priate for a reli­gion to have local doc­tri­nes and a gene­ra­li­zed ritual. In the laws that relate to the prac­ti­ces of obser­vance, few details are nee­ded : for exam­ple, mor­ti­fi­ca­tions and not a cer­tain mor­ti­fi­ca­tion. Christianity is full of good sense : abs­ti­nence is a divine ins­ti­tu­tion, but a par­ti­cu­lar abs­ti­nence is a mat­ter of public policy, and can be chan­ged.

Voyage de Perse, vol II.

Bernier’s Travels, vol. II.