Despite his reputation, Machiavelli was, first and foremost, a theorist of government with a focus on the idea 'what government is most just, most stable, and lest onerous?'. While his book The Prince gets the most attention, his book The Discourses is his best work by far.
Here is an excerpt.
"Princes or republics that wish to maintain themselves without corruption must, above all else, maintain free of corruption the ceremonies of their religion and must hold them constantly in veneration; for there is no greater indication of the ruin of a country than to see its religious worship not respected." (Machiavelli, The Discourses, Book I, Chapter XII)