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as individuals, forsake all for Him. The laity may have private property, though they should remember it is only the usufruct of the Lord's freehold, and the duties belonging to it outweigh the rights. There is a dignity in labour, and the clergy may work for a livelihood like the apostles; but neither they nor the laity must allow wealth to become a main end of life. If possible, the slaves of the laity should be freed so soon as they (the slaves) become Christians. The slaves of the clergy are to remain slaves, for the clergy “having nothing of their own can give no liberty to another." Hard bargaining and monopolizing are wrong :-" turpe lucrum sequitur qui minus emit ut plus vendat." Still more wicked is usury, which is defined as “getting more than one has given”; “qui plus quam dederit accipit, usuras expetit”; whether it be in money or in kind; and the usurer is simply a robber; “rapinam facit qui usuram accipit.” “It is lawful only between enemies ; "ubi jus belli, ibi etiam jus usura." It is clear that the notion of wealth and even of the distribution of wealth remains substantially as it was to Plato and Aristotle. But there was a real progress, of importance both to economics and to politics, in the view of the relation of men to each other. There was recognised a spiritual bond that was not that of nationality or of the ancient Greek and Roman State, and yet was even more binding than these were. “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.” The individuals are essential to the union, but the united body is something far greater than the component members. Cosmopolitanism is made a popular notion ; the utmost extension of the Christian Society (it was conceived) can only strengthen and never endanger it ; the interests of the individual members are represented as inseparably connected with the interest of the whole body; and the demand was made that the opportunity should be given to every human being to enter on the spiritual inheritance open to him with all his fellow-men. The features in this ideal which come nearest to the features of the Platonic and Stoic and Aristotelian are superior to their Greek counterparts, partly in the wideness of their application and partly in their warmth of feeling and fulness of detail.
1 Corpus Juris Canon., I. Distinctio, LIV. Palea, c. XXII. Cf. II. Causa, XII., Quæst., II. c. 39. The slaves might always become free by becoming priests.
The literal realization of the Christian Society seemed rather to be hindered than hastened when, by the conversion of Constantine, Christianity came out of prison to rule, and had to deal with a temporal power as wide as her own and professedly under her own banner. As a separation was made between clergy and laity, so the temporal power was separated from the spiritual;— Rome had two Suns, the Pope and the Emperor. By the separation of clergy from laity, the democratic and communistic element in Christianity ceased to have a universal application; the ideal life was no longer for all men, but for the few. And in the separation of the temporal from the spiritual power there was practically a confession that Christianity could not create a new political and social order. It might only control and guide the existing order, as the clergy the laity. Still the idea of one universal Christian government was dear to the Church, as an approach to her ideal; and deep was the disappointment when the temporal power was divided between East and West, when Islam disputed the whole ground, and when later the Carlomanian empire broke up into several kingdoms. Dante (De Monarchia) gave, if not the last, the most perfect expression to the aspiration. By his time the process of decentralizing had been accomplished; and, under the feudal system, the people of his own and of the other countries of continental Europe were exposed to constant wars at the will of petty rulers. As feudalism gave way to strong monarchies under national rulers, the growth of cities and the extension of production for sale as opposed to production for use made the retention of the principles of the ancient political economy impossible. As late as 1311 the Council of Vienne threatened usurers with excommunication, and new arguments were invented to buttress up the old prejudices. But it was impossible for the Church to succeed in resisting the universal practice of men. With the new
1 Dante, Purgatorio, XVI. 106 seq.
monarchies we have the beginnings not only of new political but of new economical principles; and in the political philosophy of the later writers we find the Greek idea of a law of nature gaining precedence over ideas of a purely ecclesiastical system. What an acquaintance with Aristotle had begun, even in the middle ages, was carried further at the Renaissance by an acquaintance with the whole range of classical authors. Even the Church writers had declared supreme power, whether imperial or ecclesiastical, to be limited by “lex divina et lex naturalis.” 2 When speculation was once devoted to the latter it was carried beyond the ideas of ancient and mediæval political philosophy.3
See Gierke, Staats- und Corporationslehre, p. 512 ; cf. 561. 2 Ib., 567. Compare “Papacy, Democracy, and Socialism.” Anat. Leroy Beaulieu (Engl. transl.), 1892 ; p. 141 seq.
3 For the economics of the Middle Ages, see Endemann, Nationalökonomische Grundsätze d. Canonistischen Lehre (1863), also Palgrave's Dict. of Polit. Econ., art. “Canon Law.”