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which with legacies constituted the fund of the poor, a determined portion of this fund, contrary to all former usage, was set apart for their use.
Of this fund one fourth was generally given to the poor, one fourth to the repairs of churches, one fourth to officiating ministers, and one fourth to the bishops*, with whom they lived. Hence the maintenance of the ministry, as consisting of these two orders, and the repairs of churches, took now the greatest part of it ; so that the face of things began to be materially altered. For whereas formerly this fund went chiefly to the poor, out of which ministers of the Gospel were provided, it now went chiefly to the Church, out of which there came a provision for the poor. Another change must be noticed with respect to the principle, on which the gifts towards this fund were offered. For whereas tenths were formerly solicited on the Christian duty.of charity to the poor, they were now solicited on the principle that by the law of Moses they ought to be given for
* In process of time, as the bishops became otherwise provided for, the fund was divided into three parts for the other three purposes just mentioned,
holy holy uses, in which the benefit of the fatherless, the stranger, and the widow was in= cluded. From this time I shall use the word Tithes for tenths, and the word Clergy instead of ministers of the Gospel.
In the eighth century matters were as I have now represented them. The people had been brought into à notion that they were to give no less than a tenth of their income to holy uses. Bishops generally at this time, and indeed long previously to this, lived in monasteries. Their clergy lived also with them in these monasteries, and went from thence to preach in the country within the diocese. It must be also noticed, that there were at this time other monasteries under abbots or priors, consisting mostly of lay-persons, and distinct from those mentioned, and supported by offerings and legacies in the same manner.
The latter, however, not having numerous ecclesiastics to support, laid out more of their funds than the former were enabled to do, towards the entertainment of
and towards the maintenance of the poor. Now it must be observed, that when these two different kinds of monasteries existed, the people were at 1
liberty liberty to pay their tithes to either of themi as they pleased; and that, having this
permission, they generally favoured the latter. To these they not only paid their tithes, but gave their donations by legacy. This preference of the lay-abbeys to the ecclesiastical arose from a knowledge that the poor,
for whose benefit tithes had been originally preached up, would be more materially served. Other circumstances, too, occurred, which induced the people to continue thé same preference. For the bishops in many places began to abuse their trust, as the deacons had done before, by attaching the bequeathed lands to their sees, so that the inferior clergy and the poor became in a manner dependent upon them for their daily bread. In other places the clergy had seized all to their own use. The people, therefore, so thoroughly favoured the lay-abbėys in preference to those of the Church, that the former became daily richer, while the latter did little more than maintain their ground.
This preference, however, which made such a difference in the funds of the ecclesiastical and of the lay-monasteries, was viewed with a jealous eye by the clergy of those times, and ineasures were at length taken to remove it. In a council under Pope Alexander the Third, in the year 1180, it was determined that the liberty of the people should be restrained with respect to their tithes. They were accordingly forbidden to make appropriations to religious houses without the consent of the bishop, in whose diocese they lived. But even this prohibition did not succeed. The people still favoured the lay-abbeys, paying their tithes there, till Pope Innocent the Third, in the year 1200, ordained, and he enforced it by ecclesiastical censures, that every one should pay his tithes to those, who administered to him spiritual things in his own parish. In a general council, also, held at Lyons in the year 1274, it was decreed, that it was no longer lawful for men to pay their tithes where they pleased, as before, but that they should pay them to Mother-Church, And the principle, on which they had now been long demanded, was confirmed by the Council of Trent under Pope Pius the Fourth, in the year 1,560, which was, that they were due by divine right. In the course of forty years after the payment of rithes had been enforced by ecclesiastical censures and excommunications, prescription was set up
Thus the very principle, in which tithes had originated, was changed. Thus free-will offerings became dues to be exacted by compulsion. And thus the fund of the poor was converted almost wholly into a fund for the maintenance of the Church.
Having now traced the origin of tithes, as far as a part of the continent of Europe is concerned, I shall trace it as far as they have reference to our own country. And here I may observe in few words, that the same system and the same changes are conspi
Free-will offerings and donations of land constituted a fund for the poor, out of which the clergy were maintained. In process
of time tenths or tithes followed. Of these certain proportions were allowed to the clergy, the repairs of the churches, and the poor. This was the state of things in the time of Offa king of Mercia, towards the close of the eighth century, when that prince, having caused Ethelbert king of the East Angles to be treacherously murdered, fled to the Pope for pardon ; to please