The next Oxford Handbook of Christianity and LawPaul Miller and myself are contributing chapters on Christianity and Equity. The chapter has been substantially revised. The new version has less coverage of Aristotle, but it adds a section on equity in the Hebrew Bible, has a bit more on canon law and the Magisterial Reformation, and has new sections on the early modern Chancery and post-seventeenth-century developments. The new edition can be accessed here.
We were unable to add this incredible quote from John Wesley on the degenerate equity pleadings of the 18th century.
An original bill in chancery consisted of a letter or petition addressed to the chancellor. The bill in chancery grew in complexity without good reasons, to the point that many students of equity at law school had to study it. It was divided into nine sections, told the same story three more times, and charged with “confederacy.” Perhaps innocent and perhaps even friendly defendants. Today, we don’t draw equity bills like this. The bill was of an older type, as John Wesley described in 1745. He called the solicitor he had been employed in the case recently commenced against him in chancery. Here I saw the foul beast, a Chancery Bill. It was a scroll of 42 pages, in large folio, to tell the story. I found it to be a tale that needed to not have been forty lines long, but was filled with so many stupid, senseless, improbable lies. Many of these lie were quite foreign to my question. This is equity in a Christian nation.
Charles P. Megan “In Chancery”, 13 ABA J. 106, 107 (1927).