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well in the public councils of the nation as in their private intercourse with the very lowest orders of society1. By none, not even by the most scrupulous of the Teutonic nobility, could they be looked upon as a foreign body, enjoying the sole right of ruling in matters ecclesiastical, but to be jealously excluded from matters political.
Nor, on the other hand, was there any danger of their occupying that position which appears to have been so fatal to the whole Visigothic state, of chiefs and political protectors of a powerful and oppressed population, —a position to whose temptations must in all probability be referred the exorbitant political interference of the Spanish priesthood.
Again, the salutary political power of the English churchmen was called into play more than elsewhere in consequence of the variety of conflicting states and interests which nourished the spirit of faction throughout the island, and the fury of intestine strife was not a little relieved by the mediation of men whose holy office obtained equal reverence from every one of the contending
1 The care for the poor and for captives shewn in ordinances of purely ecclesiastical origin, in the case of penances imposed on offenders &c., may be seen in Theodore's Liber Posnitentialis, c. xxiii. §§ 3, 4 (ap. Thorpe, p. 290); c. xli. § 5, p. 300; Fragm. (from the Poenitmtiale Romnnum, vii. 30), p. 310; Excerpt. Ecgberti 56 (' Can. Aurelian.'), p. 330; 83. (' Can. Arausican.') p. 333 ; Ecgbert's Paenitentiale. Additam. § 7. p. 390 (" Qui congesserit immodicas divitias, tertiam partem pro stultitia sua pauperibus tribuat"); and the Canons enacted under King Edgar. 'Of Penitents,' §§ 14, 15. pp. 412, 413.
parties. Thus, we read in the Church History of Bede* that, on a second ground of quarrel arising between Egfrid king of Northumbria and Ethelred king of Mercia, whose spirit of rivalry had not been quenched by a previous sanguinary engagement, Theodore Archbishop of Canterbury, "relying on the Divine assistance, by his wholesome admonitions extinguished the dangerous fire that was breaking out, so that, the kings and the people on both sides being appeased, no man was put to death." Thus, during the early days of Christianity among the Anglo-Saxons, before a servile adherence to Rome had perverted the purity of their motives, the clergy, though in a situation of less apparent splendour than was enjoyed by those of other countries+, possessed an influence for good which gave them no real reason to envy others who with more seeming privileges wielded a less true power1.
» Book iv. c. 21.
+ See Kemble, not. ad loc. cit. [ii. 373].
1 The kind of duty, which bishops and priests were believed to owe to society, may be understood from the Anglo-Saxon Institutes of Polity, Civil and Ecclesiastical [Jcc. vi—x, xix. ap. Thorpe, Anc. Laws, pp. 427—429, 432—434]. "And they [bishops] shall learn and rightly teach and diligently inquire regarding the people's deeds; and they shall preach and earnestly give example, for the spiritual need of a Christian nation: and they shall not willingly consent to any unrighteousness, but earnestly support all righteousness; they shall have the fear of God in mind, and not be too slothful for fear of the world: but let them ever earnestly preach God's righteousness, and forbid unrighteousness, observe it who will; because weak will the shepherd be found for the flock, who will not defend, at least with his cry, the flock which he has to
In describing the political benefits of the clergy during our present period, we are compelled throughout
tend, unless he otherwise may, if any public robber there begin to rob." "To a bishop belongs every direction, both in divine and worldly things. He shall, in the first place, inform men in orders, so that each of them may know what properly it behoves him to do, and also what they have to enjoin to secular men. He shall ever be Qbusied] about reconciliation and peace as he best may. He shall zealously appease strifes and effect peace, with those temporal judges who love right. He shall in accusations direct the 'lad' p. e. exculpation], so that no man may wrong another, either in oath or in ordeal. He shall not consent to any injustice, or wrong measure, or false weight: but it is fitting that every legal right (both 'burh-riht' and 'land-riht') go by his counsel and with his witness; and let every burg measure and every balance for weighing be by his direction and furthering very exact; lest any man should wrong another, and thereby altogether too greatly sin. He shall always shield Christian men against every of those things which are sinful; and therefore he shall apply himself the more vigorously to everything, that he may the more readily know how the flock fares which he has to tend from God's hand. * * It behoves all Christian men to love righteousness and shun unrighteousness; and especially men in orders should ever exalt righteousness and suppress unrighteousness; therefore should bishops, with temporal judges, direct judgments, so that they never permit, if it be in their power, that any injustice spring up there. And on priests also it is incumbent, in their shrift-districts, that they diligently support every right, and never permit, if they can ameliorate it, that any Christian man too greatly injure another; nor the powerful the weak, nor the higher the lower, nor the shireman those under him, nor the ' hlaford' [i. e. master] his men, not even his thralls. By the confessor's direction and by his own measure, it is justly fitting that the thralls work for their 'hlafords' over all the district in which he shrives. And it is right that there be not any measuring rod longer than another, but all regulated by the confessor's measure; and let every measure in his shriftto the melancholy reflection that, in this respect more perhaps than in any other, it was an age of approaching
district and every weight be by his direction very rightly regulated; and, if there be any dispute, let the bishop arbitrate. It is every 'hlaford's' own advantage to protect his thralls as he best may, because they and those that are free are equally dear to God, and He bought us all with equal value. We are all God's own thralls, and so He will judge us as we here judge those over whom we have judgment on earth: it therefore behoves us to protect those who are to obey us; then may we look for the greater protection at God's own judgment." "A bishop's daily work. That is rightly, his prayers first and then his bookwork, reading or writing, teaching or learning, and his church hours at the right time, always according to the things thereto befitting; and washing the feet of the poor; and his alms-dealing; and the direction of works, where it may be needful. Good handicrafts are also befitting him, that crafts may be cultivated in his family, at least that no one too idle may dwell there. And it also well befits him, that at the 'gemot' he oft and frequently promulgate divine lore among the people with whom he then is." "It is incumbent on bishops that venerable ' witan' [i. e. councillors] always travel with them and dwell with them, at least of the priesthood: that they may consult with them before God and before the world, and who may be their counsellors at every time, betide whatever betide them. It is incumbent on bishops that there be always good instruction in their families, &c. It is incumbent on bishops not to be too prone to jesting, nor to care too much for hounds and hawks, nor worldly pomp, nor vain pride. It is incumbent on bishops not to be too eager for money at ordination, nor at consecration, nor at penance, nor in any wise to get wealth unjustly. It is incumbent on bishops never to lay a curse upon any man, unless they are compelled by necessity. • * It is incumbent on bishops patiently to endure what they themselves cannot amend, until it shall have been announced to the king; and let him then get amends for the offence against God, where the bishop cannot; if he will rightly execute God s will, and righteously exalt his own kingship." "Nor may he [the
downfall, and that, although Europe has to refer many blessings to the enlightenment of her clergy, they were but as the foundation of a noble edifice, whose progress was checked by advancing corruptions. We shall find that, during our last chronological section, the political benefits we have to enumerate will be few and insignificant compared with those which have presented themselves to our notice in this section.
priest] flinch either before the lowly or the powerful, because he doeth naught, if he fear or be ashamed to speak righteousness. Ill will he fare if through his lack of energy the flock perish, which he has to keep, and himself along with it. * * Such [as the priests denounced by the prophet] are those who will not, or cannot, or dare not, warn the people against sins, and correct sins, but desire nevertheless their monies for tithes and for all church dues, and neither lead them well by examples, nor instruct them well with preachings, nor well heal them with penances, nor intercede for them with prayer, but seize from men's gettings whatever they can grasp, just as greedy ravens do from the corpse, wherever they can light upon it. It is all the worse when they have it all, for they do not dispose of it as they ought, but decorate their wives with what they should the altars, and turn everything to their own worldly pomp or to vain pride, that they should do for the honor of God, in ecclesiastical things, or for the advantage of poor men, or in the buying of war captives, or in some things that might be for lasting benefit both to themselves and also to those who give them their substance for the favour of God."