the eve of the reformation

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: IOI CHAPTER V. CLERGY AND LAITY. It is very'generally asserted that on the eve of the Reformation tHe laity in England had no particular love or respect forcHiifchmen. That there were grave difficulties and disagreements between the twa estates is supposed to be certain. On the face of it, however, the reason and origin of what is frequently called " the grudge " of laymen against the ecclesiastics is obviously much misunderstood. Its extent is exaggerated, its origin put at an earlier date than should be assigned to it, and the whole meaning of the points at issue interpreted quite unnecessarily as evidence of a popular and deep-seated disbelief in the prevailing ecclesiastical system. To understand the temper of people and priest in those times, it is obviously necessary to examine into this question in some detail. We are not without abundant material in the literature of the period for forming a judgment as to the relations which then existed between the clerical and lay elements in the State. Fortunately, not only have we assertions on the one side and on the other as to the questions at issue, but the whole matter was debated at the time in a series of tracts by two eminent laymen. The discussion was carried on between an anonymous writer, now recognised as the lawyer, Christopher Saint- German, and Sir Thomas More himself. Christopher Saint-German, who is chiefly known as the writer of a Dyalogue in English between a Student of Lawand a Doctor of Divinity, belonged to the Inner Temple, and was, it has already been said, a lawyer of considerable repute. About the year 1532, a tract from his pen called A treatise concerning the division between the spiritualtie and temporaltie appeared anonymously. To this Sir Thomas More, who had just resigned the office of Chancel... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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