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been complicated and destructive of political and of social
Yet again, most religions have found it necessary to hold
property for the various expenses of worship and the sup-
port of priests. Among the Jews this had been the practice,
and it was natural that Christianity, which is built on Judaism,
should follow it. Acting on a purely voluntary system at
first, while as yet not acknowledged by the state, Christianity,
when it became a lawful religion, adopted the existing usage
of accepting property bequeathed or otherwise given for the
support of its religion and its officers, as well as for various
charitable purposes ; which property was held by the bishop
of the diocese, for the most part, as the representative of the
church. Thus everywhere large properties came into eccle-
siastical hands. Moreover, the bishops, or the heads of mon-
asteries, who controlled the great property of the monasteries
independently of the bishop, became holders of land by a
feudal tenure, and thus were invested with jurisdiction, and
assumed (in person or by a vicar), all the obligations of
feudal service. Add to this that lands were devoted all over
Europe to the support of parish priests, on condition, more
or less, that the owner who had thus given his land for pious
purposes should have the right of nominating the incumbent,
subject to ecclesiastical law. And in addition to all this,
when, amid the confusions of the decaying empire, Christian
law and the bishops remained as the chief bulwark of society
in the towns, the latter gradually gained jurisdiction in all the
parts of law where jus, morals and religion have common
territory, such as marriage, divorce, legitimacy, and even
wills. From this source a large and most important branch
of law came into their hands, which the states did not re-
cover until the modern period. The clergy also acquired to
some extent the right of being judged by a different law
from that of the other members of the political body, or at
least by judges of their own. There arose a voluminous cor-
pus of canon law, partly founded on the Bible, partly on the
civil law, Closely joined to this system and the very soul of it,