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the able English scholars produced by that means on the eve of the Reformation.
Taking a broad survey of the whole movement for the revival of letters in England, it would appear then certain that whether we regard its origin, or the forces which contributed to support it, or the men chiefly concerned in it, it must be confessed that to the Church and churchmen the country was indebted for the successes achieved. What put a stop to the humanist movement here, as it certainly did in Germany, was the rise of the religious difficulties, which, under the name of the " New Learning," was opposed by those most conspicuous for their championship of true learning, scholarship, and education.
CHAPTER III. THE TWO JURISDICTIONS.
The Reformation found men still occupied with questions as to the limits of ecclesiastical and lay jurisdiction, which had troubled their minds at various periods during the previous centuries. It is impossible to read very deeply into the literature of the period without seeing that, while on the one hand, all the fundamental principles of the spiritual jurisdiction of the Church were fully and freely recognised by all; on the other, a number of questions, mainly in the broad borderland of debatable ground between the two, were constantly being discussed, and not infrequently gave cause for disagreements and misunderstandings. As in the history of earlier times, so in the sixteenth century ecclesiastics clung, perhaps not unnaturally, to what they regarded as their strict rights, and looked on resistance to encroachment as a sacred duty. Laymen on the other part, even when their absolute loyalty to the Church was undoubted, were found in the ranks of those who claimed for the State power to decide in matters not strictly pertaining to the spiritual prerogatives, but which chiefly by custom had come to be regarded as belonging to ecclesiastical domain. It is the more important that attention should be directed in a special manner to these questions, inasmuch as it will be found, speaking broadly, that the ultimate success or ill-success of the strictly doctrinal changes raised in the sixteenth century was determined by the issue of the discussions raised on the question of mixed jurisdiction. This may not seem very philosophical, but in the event it is proved to be roughly correct. The reason is not very far to seek. In great measure at least, questions of money and property, even of national interest and prosperity, were intimately concerned in the matter in dispute. They touched the people's pocket; and whether rightly or wrongly, those who found the money wished to have a say in its disposal. One thing cannot fail to strike an inquirer into the literature of this period: the very small number of people who were enthusiasts in the doctrinal matters with which the more ardent reformers occupied themselves.
We are not here concerned with another and more delicate question as to the papal prerogatives exercised in England. For clearness' sake in estimating the forces which made for change on the eve of the Reformation, this subject must be examined in connection with the whole attitude of England to Rome and the Pope in the sixteenth century. It must, consequently, be understood that in trying here to illustrate the attitude of men's minds at this period to these important and practical questions, a further point as to the claims of the Roman Pontiffs in regard to some or all of them has yet to be considered. Even in examining the questions at issue between the authorities—lay and ecclesiastical—in the country, the present purpose is to record rather than to criticise, to set forth the attitude of mind as it appears in the literature of the period, rather than to weigh the reasons and judge between the contending parties.
The lawyer, Christopher Saint-German, is a contemporary writer to whom we naturally turn for information upon the points at issue. He, of course, takes the layman's side as to the right of the State to interfere in all, or in most, questions which arise as to the dues of clerics, and other temporalities, such as tithes, &c, which are attached to the spiritual functions of the clergy. Moreover, beyond claiming the right for the State so to interfere in the reguJation of all temporalities and kindred matters, SaintGerman also held that in some things in which custom had given sanction to the then practice, it would be for the good of the State that it should do so. In his Dyalogue between a Student of Law and a Doctor of Divinity,1 his views are put clearly; whilst the Doctor states, though somewhat lamely perhaps, the position of the clergy.
To take the example of "mortuaries," upon which the Parliament had already legislated to the dismay of some of the ecclesiastical party, who, as it appears, on the plea that the law was unjust and beyond the competence of the State authority, tried in various ways to evade the provisions of the Act, which was intended to relieve the laity of exactions that, as they very generally believed, had grown into an abuse. Christopher Saint-German holds that Parliament was quite within its rights. The State could, and on occasion should, legislate as to dues payable to the clergy, and settle whether ecclesiastics, who claim articles in kind, or sums of money by prescriptive right, ought in fact to be allowed them. There is, he admits, a difficulty; he does not think that it would be competent for the State to prohibit specific gifts to God's service, or to say that only "so many tapers shall be used at a funeral," or that only so many priests may be bidden to the burial, or that only so much may be given in alms. In matters of this kind he does not think the State has jurisdiction to interfere. "But it has," he says, "the plain right to make a law, that there shall not be given above so many black gowns, or that there shall be no herald of arms" present, unless it is the funeral of one " of such a degree," or that "no black cloths should be hung in the streets from the house where the person died, to
1 Saint-German was born 146o. He was employed by Thomas Cromwell on some business of the State, and died in 154o. The Dyalogue was printed apparently first in Latin, but subsequently in English. It consisted of three parts (1) published by Robert Wyer, (2) by Peter Treveris, 1531, and (3) by Thomas Berthalet, also in 1531.
the church, as is used in many cities and good towns, or the prohibition of such other things as are but worldly pomps, and are rather consolations to the friends that are alive, than any relief to the departed soul." In these and such like things, he says, "I think the Parliament has authority to pass laws, so as to protect the executors of wills, and relieve them from the necessity of spending so much of the inheritance of the deceased man's heirs."1
In like manner the lawyer holds that in all strictly temporal matters, whatever privilege and exemption the State may allow and has allowed the clergy, it still possesses the radical power to legislate where and when it sees fit. It does not in fact by lapse of time lose the ordinary authority it possesses over all subjects of the realm in these matters. Thus, for example, he holds that the State can and should prohibit all lands in mortmain passing to the Church; and that should it appear to be a matter of public policy, Parliament might prohibit and indeed break the appropriations of benefices already made to monasteries, cathedrals, and colleges, and order that they should return to their original purposes. "The advowson," he says, "is a temporal inheritance, and as such is under the Parliament to order as it sees cause." This principle, he points out, had been practically admitted when the Parliament, in the fourth year of Henry IV., cancelled all appropriations of vicarages which had been made from the beginning of Richard II.'s reign. It is indeed "good," he adds, " that the authority of the Parliament in this should be known, and that it should cause them to observe such statutes as are already made, and to distribute some part of the fruits (of the benefices) among poor parishioners according to the statute of the twentieth year of King Richard II."
In the same way, and for similar reasons, Saint-German claims that the State has full power to determine questions of "Sanctuary," and to legislate as to " benefit of clergy."
1 Dyabgue, t1t sup., 3rd part, f. 2.