1. True Christians are called 'a kind of first-fruits of God's creatures (Jas 1:18), as being specially consecrated to him.'
2. The communications of God's grace on earth, as. an earnest of future glory, are also so called (Ro 8:23), and for the same. reason, the resurrection of Christ, as the pledge of the resurrection of the just' (1Co 4:20).
3. In an ecclesiastical sense, this term is applied to the first year's produce of benefices, which the pope demanded of foreigners to whom he gave benefices of the Church of England. Henry VIII rescued this payment from the pope, but annexed it to the crown. Queen Anne, however, gave them back to the Church for the augmentation of small livings" (Eden). SEE ANNATES. The valor beneficiorum, commonly called the value in the King's Books, was made at the same time as the statute 26 Henry VIII, c.
3, by which these payments were transferred to the crown. A former valuation had been made, 20 Edward I, which still exists in the exchequer. By this statute and one subsequent, 1 Elizabeth IV, every spiritual person admitted to a benefice must pay his first-fruits within three months after induction, in proper proportion: if he does not live half a year, or be ousted before the expiration of the first year, only one quarter is required; if he lives' the year, or be ousted before eighteen months, one half; if a year and a half, three quarters; if two years, the whole. Archbishops and bishops have four years allowed them, and shall pay one quarter every year, if they live so long on the see. Other dignitaries pay as rectors and vicars. By several statutes of Anne, all livings under £50 per annum are discharged of the payment of first-fruits and tenths. The following notice of the valuation in the King's Books, and the former payments to the pope as primitiae, is taken from Godwin's work, De Prcesulibus Angl. The florin was 4s. 6d., the ducat 8s. English: