Brethren And Clerks Of The Common Life (Fratres et Glerici Vitae Communis), a re-' ligious order established in the Netherlands near the close of the 14th century, by Gerhard de Groot. It was divided into two classes, the lettered and the illiterate. The first class was mainly composed of the clergy, who gave themselves to study and copying books, while the second class engaged in manual labor. They adopted the rule of St. Augustine, and gave up their property to the common use. Their vows were not considered binding for life. They were sanctioned by the council of Constance, and Luther and Melanchthon speak favorably of them. The flourishing period of the order was from 1400 to 1500, most of their houses being built between 142.5 and 1451; they had in all from 30 to 50 establishments. By the middle of the 17th century the order became extinct, some of the brethren becoming Protestants, while some were absorbed by the Jesuits and other Roman Catholic orders. This order is frequently confounded with the Beguins and Lollards.