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Yet the teachers alone arrogated the title of the spiritual and labeled the listeners with the scornful title of the laity or profane. Apparently the latter, from the king down to the lowest beggar, are so inept that in their conduct, as well as in their understanding and their will, they are capable of nothing reasonable or pleasing to God, when they want to use their understanding by themselves or read the Holy Scriptures for themselves.

If the goal of the laity is to be blessed or to lead a happy life in this world, they would have to believe and to do what the clergy or clerisy prescribed and prompted them to believe and do. For this reason they were excluded from that in which the supernatural light is found: the Holy Scriptures and their use. As for the natural light, they were told that the truths discovered through this would be harmful even in this life, unless they were previously examined and approved by the clergy who alone possess supernatural light.

Now it can be understood why we said above that the suppression of the natural light was one of the central pillars of papalism. Once the laity were convinced that they should do and believe everything that the clergy had ordered, and imagined that their temporal Edition: current; Page: [ 23 ] and eternal happiness depended on this conviction, then it is easy to see that they fell into blind obedience, and thus willingly entered into the greatest slavery. As soon as the clerisy had achieved this, it needed no great deliberation or study to bring the laity under their yoke.

The clerics increasingly fell ever more deeply into ignorance, to such an extent that they could hardly read and write Latin, let alone engage in useful arts and sciences. If one or other of the laity wanted to use the light of his mind or of the Holy Scriptures to oppose this ignorance and lust for power, he could not do so for fear of his property and his honor or even of being executed as the worst of villains.

This became even more pressing after the clergy began to destroy emperors, kings, and princes by excommunication, deposing them from office, and other similar political acts, all because the rulers wanted to use their reason and did not want to be made fools anymore. Most of the laity did not even think about using their sound reason during their military or court service, or in the course of their daily work and agricultural labor.

This is partially due to the fact that by nature people live in unreason and foolishness, and it is rare that someone finds the path toward wisdom on his own, if the example and deeds of others do not guide him. This was absent at that time because of the corrupted condition of the clergy. Sound reason was also lacking because the clergy was bent on supporting the desires of the most powerful, the richest, and the most cunning, turning a blind eye toward them no matter what they did.

The main thing was that they worshipped the clergy, that they bequeathed them charitable goods, monasteries, hospitals, poorhouses, orphanages, and generous endowments; and that they helped to denounce, drive away, persecute, and even burn the other party that opposed the clergy. The clergy went so far as to deprive the laity of the common certainty of their external senses. If someone induced me so far as to not believe what my senses see, hear, and so on, and if that someone talked me into believing the opposite, then he could make me jump into water or fire at his pleasure.

Or he would make me do the most dangerous and adverse things by fooling me into believing that they were the most reasonable, graceful, and useful. John, 29 who proved the honesty of his teaching to his listeners by nothing more powerfully convincing than simply preaching what his eyes had seen, his hands had touched, and his ears had heard, stands in stark contrast to that which the clergy will have us believe; namely, that the only certain thing is that of which my eyes see nothing, my hands cannot touch, but rather in which they feel everywhere the opposite.

Miserable condition of the higher and lower schools. Origin of the four faculties One would not be astonished about all of this if one took a look at the appearance and condition of schools in Christendom during those times. Here is a brief sketch of the state of affairs. After the western empire had been destroyed by several German and Scythian peoples and the oriental empire by the Saracens, public schools were devastated.

From the sixth century onward in the western empire they suffered ruin in Italy, France, England, Spain, and Africa; and from the seventh century also in the oriental empire, in Asia, Greece, Egypt, and so on.

The Reformation of the Future: Dating English Protestantism in the Late Stuart Era

It is true that in the fifth century St. Benedict had established in Italy many new cloisters and monasteries as well as the rules of life belonging to them, and that he had arranged for schools in them.

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So, after the decline of public schools, only monks were regarded as learned people, until King Alfred reestablished public schools at Oxford in England and Charlemagne at Paris in France, after which more and more public schools began to appear. At that time the greatest ignorance reigned in the monasteries, and anyone who knew something about philosophy, natural philosophy, and mathematics was regarded as a sorcerer.

These so-called liberal arts were already being taught in the schools of St. Augustine, who had a particular liking for Plato. At that time [during the period of monastic education] nothing was known about metaphysics or ethics. When Aristotle, who had been ignored for a long time, was taken up again by the Saracens and translated into Arabic and then brought to Spain by them, several French professors also acquired a taste for him. In particular St.

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Bernard helped to make Abelard into a heretic. In fact, to the degree that it was separated from the liberal arts, Real-philosophie —or physics, metaphysics, and ethics—was taught publicly in accordance with the Aristotelian teachings. One may also find many useful, pertinent things in Johannes Filesaco, in that he wrote a treatise on the origin of the statutes of the theological faculty in Paris. The useless ethics of Aristotelian philosophy and of the schoolmen in the faculty of philosophy The monks who were supposed to teach the youth at the universities were ignoramuses.

They were incapable of using their own basic reason. These people, who were supposed to set the minds of others into motion, had to be given certain books as crutches so that their own intellects could be trained. But a secret state-interest was also involved; for if it had been left to the teachers to use their own solid reason on the issues of concern to them, then they would have soon discovered the secret of clericalist and papalist power and its idolatrous standing, and they would have imparted this realization to the laity. Clerical prudence thus required that the teachers be bound to certain books, for if these books were themselves mired in the prejudice of human authority, this prejudice could be more virulently spread to the audience, as the foundation of papalism.

The philosophers had so far only taught the seven liberal arts according to Augustine or Cassiodor. But since Aristotle had not written anything about mathematics, mathematical studies became increasingly neglected. Let us now see how things stood with moral philosophy and natural law at the universities, and let us begin with the philosophers at that time.

However, they are filled with unnecessary subtleties and a useless wordiness in the Aristotelian way. Aristotle, like all pagan philosophers, believed in the principle that correcting the understanding was sufficient for improving the will. In fact he does teach about virtues; yet regarding what they actually consist in, and how true virtues can be distinguished from pseudovirtues, he says little or nothing.

Moreover, he says little or nothing about the means of becoming virtuous. It is a fact that he did not write any books on the prudence required to give counsel or on the laws of nature. Theology thus soon usurped ethics, leaving the philosophers with nothing to work with.

It is certain that ethics was so poorly taught by the first philosophers at the universities established by the pope that it could not attract anybody. The profession of the politician [ Politiker ] did not develop until much later. Pufendorf has remarked in his treatise on papal monarchy that it was one of the secrets of the papalist state to refrain from teaching politics at the universities, or else to do so only Edition: current; Page: [ 29 ] according to the interests of the clergy.

We will talk more about this elsewhere, since politics and natural law and also moral philosophy—which are remarkably different from each other—are frequently confused.

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The miserable condition of natural law among the jurists The Corpus juris received by the lawyers contains a lot of fine things about the natural law, but it was of little use to law professors at law schools. The Corpus juris thus did not contain satisfactory advice on how to distinguish between natural law and specifically Roman law.

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The lawyers themselves disagreed about this, and the Corpus juris was thus patched together from conflicting opinions, regardless of differences in levels of learning among the jurists. Even if not all of the jurists who compiled the Pandects were deeply learned, still, most of them were, and they were quite familiar with natural law.

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Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the Corpus juris itself contains teachings which confuse the general law of nations with the Roman law. This occurs, for example, in the chapters on paternal authority, on the authority of masters over their servants, on the ways of acquiring property according to law of nations, on imprisonment, and on the right [of exiles or refugees] to return. I have already shown in a separate treatise that the good lawyers—who had advised Edition: current; Page: [ 30 ] Diocletian 49 to reverse contracts of sale if someone was injured by more than half—understood neither moral philosophy nor the law or nature, and still less the nature of buying and selling.

But let the Corpus juris be as it may, the professors of the newly established faculty of law were supposed to explain it, and they were such people who had a lot of perseverance and diligence and had even memorized the Corpus juris by heart. But this did not help the cause.

Tony Evans: Christians and Politics (Under God, Indivisible)

They lacked the basic means for interpreting the Corpus juris, namely philosophy, 50 and through it ethics and politics, as well as knowledge of Roman history. The smartest and the most notable among them wrote plenty of commentaries on the Corpus juris, and these glosses soon attained the same standing as the laws themselves. We can find signs everywhere, though, that ethics and natural law were not the forte of these good people, not through any fault of theirs but because of the circumstances of their period.

Even though many followed who wanted to combine Roman history and other congenial studies with jurisprudence, nevertheless, they became for the most part addicted to grammatical disputations or got stuck within the limits of Roman law and only very rarely engaged with natural law and the law of nations.

Both classes 51 maintained the general view that disputes between crowned heads like kings and princes could and should be solved according to the Corpus juris. The Corpus juris canonici considers natural law as little as the imperial Corpus juris [ civilis ] considers divine laws. But the Corpus juris canonici contains more and it is arranged in a such way that a credulous person would swear that everything was only of a divine and suprarational character.

However, anyone who scrutinizes the secrets of the papalist clergy will quickly see that canon law aims only at subverting all principles of sound reason concerning the true difference between good and evil, as well as the fundamental principles of government and secular authority.


Under the guise of zeal for the glory of God and with much chatter, clerical power attempts to arrogate these principles to itself. It is much to be wished that Protestant lawyers would show in even more detail the politically erroneous state-secrets of papalist law. Similar condition of the university theologians who at the same time continued the old sect of the orthodox The faculty of theology seems to have originated in the following way: The school in Paris was unhappy with Peter Abelard and Peter Lombard, because they began to teach Aristotle instead of Augustine.

But it happened soon afterward that Peter Lombard, who had been the teacher of the prince, became bishop of Paris. As such, he used his authority to give great weight to Aristotelian teachings, obtaining permission from the kings of France to establish a separate faculty of theology at the university.

This work Edition: current; Page: [ 32 ] consisted of four books.

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  6. In the first he dealt with the unity of God and with the Holy Trinity. It is likely that in these books Lombard tried to unite the teachings of Augustine with those of Aristotle.