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ordained this buckler and defence against such as do blaspheme and slander other men's doings, that whensoever witness by word of mouth cannot be present, the pen by writing n.ay supply the

“ Hereupon it followeth, that the special good will and care which we bare unto John Wickliff, sometime child of this our university, and professor of divinity, moving and stirring our minds, as his manners and conditions required no less, with one mind, voice, and testimony, we do witness, all his conditions and doings throughout his whole life to have been most sincere and commendable; whose honest manners and conditions, profoundness of learning, and most redolent renown and fame, we desire the mcre earnestly to be notified and known unto all faithful, for that we understand the maturity and ripeness of his conversation, his diligent labours and travels to tend to the praise of God, the help and safeguard of others, and the profit of the church.

Wherefore, we signify unto you by these presents, that his conversation, even from his youth upward, unto the time of his death, was so praiseworthy and honest, that never at any time was there any note or spot of suspicion noised of him But in his answering, reading, preaching, and determining, he behaved himself laudably, and as a stout and valiant champion of the faith; vanquishing, by the force of the scriptures, all such, who by their wilful beggary blasphemed and slandered Christ's religion. Neither was this doctor convict of any heresy, either burned of our prelates after his burial. God forbid that our prelates should have condemned a man of such honesty, for a heretic; who, amongst all the rest of the university, hath written in logic, philosophy, divinity, morality, and the speculative art, without equal. The knowledge of all which and singular things we do desire to testify and deliver forth ; to the intent that the fame and renown of the said doctor may be the more evident, and had in reputation, amongst them unto whose hands these present letters testimonial shall come. “ In witness whereof, we have caused these our letters testi

monial to be sealed with our common seal. Dated at Ox

ford, in our congregation-house, October 1st, 1406."* * The Romanists, according to their usual practice, have endeavoured to represent this testimony as a forgery. Lewis has fully examined the subject, and has shown there is no reason to doubt that it was the recorded opinion of a considerable part, at least, of the members of the university. The public brand of heresy was not affixed to Wickliff's character till his bones were burned in 1 428.



WICKLIFF's translation of the holy scriptures has been noticed in the preceding pages. The reader is here presented with three specimens, strictly conformable to the original words and spelling, which will sufficiently manifest the impossibility of presenting a literal transcript of the reformer's writings so as to be useful, or even intelligible to general English readers of the present day.

The twenty-third Psalm (called the twenty-second, according to the numeration of the Septuagint and Vulgate versions) and the fourth chapter of Malachi are copied from the beautiful MS. of Wickliff's Bible in the British Museum, already mentioned. 1 John i. is transcribed from the Rev. H. Baber's reprint of Lewis's edition of Wickliff's New Testament.


'ße title of þe xxii. salm, þe salm eỹ þe song of dauid. The lord gouerneß me. y no ping schal fail to me: in be place of pasture ýe he haþ set me. He nurschide me on þe watir of refreischụng: he conuertide my soule. He ledde me for} on þe paßis of riztfulnesse : for his name.

For whit pouz ý schal go in þe mýddis of schadewe of deeb : ý schal not drede juels. for pou art wi} me. þi zerde and þi staf: po han coūfortid me. þou hast maad redi aboord in my sizt: azens hem þat troblen me. þou hast maad fat mỳn heed wiþ oýle: and my cuppe þat fille} me is fúl cleer. And þi merci schal sue me: in alle be daies of my lyf. And þt ġ dwelle in be hows of be lord: in to þe leng þe of daies.


The last chapter of the old testament. For lo a dai schal come: brēnýnge as a chýmenei, y alle proude men. and alle doġnge unpitee: schulen be stobul, and be dai comŷnge schal enflaume hem seib be lord of oostis : which schal not leeue to hē rote y buriowaụng, y to zou dredynge my name. þe sūne of riztwisnesse schal rise : and heel be in pēnys of hým, y ze schulen go out: y schulen skippe as a calf of þe droue, and ze schulē to trede unpitouse men : whāne bei schulen be aische undur þe soole of zoure feet. in þe dai i which ý do seibe lord of oostis, bibenke ze on pe lawe of mý seruāūt moises: which ý comāūdide to hým in oreb. to al isrl comaūdemētis y domes, lo y schal sende to zou elie pe pfete : bifore pt be greet dai y orible of ye lord come, y he schal conu’te pe herte of fad's to sones : 9 þe herte of sones to fad's of hem. lest pauēture y come y smýte pe erpe wip curs

1 JON.-CAP. I.

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That thing that was fro the bigynnyng, which we herden, which we sigen with oure igen, which we biheelden and oure hondis touchiden of the word of liif. and the liif is schewid, and we saigen, and we witnessen and tellen to you euerlesting liif that was anentis the fadir and apperide to us. therefore we tellen to you that thing that we sigen and herden, that also ye have felowschip with us and oure felowschip be with the fadir and with his sone iesu crist. and we writen this thing to you, that ye haue icie, and that youre ioie be ful. and this is the tellyng that we herden of him and tellen to you, that god is ligt and ther ben no derknessis in hym. if we seien that we hau felowschip with him, and we wandren in derknessis, we lien and doen not treuthe. but if we walken in ligt as also he is in ligt we hau felowschip togidre, and the blood of iesu crist his sone clenseth us fro al synne, if we seien that we hau no synne we disseyuen ussilff, and treuthe is not in us. if we knowlechen oure synnes, he is feithful and iust that he forgyve to us oure synnes, and clense us fro al wickidnesse. and if we seien that we hau not synned, we maken him a lier, and his word is not in us.

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OF THE LORD's SUPPER. See p. 32. We believe, as Christ and his apostles have taught us, that the sacrament of the altar, white and round, and like to our bread or host unsacred, is very God's body in form of bread, and if it be broken in three parts as the church uses, or else in a thousand, every one of these parts is the same God's body. And right so as the person of Christ is very God and very inan, very Godhead, and very manhead, right so as holy church many hundred winters has trowed,* the same sacrament is very God's body, and

very bread; as it is form of God's body and form of bread, as Christ and his apostles teach. And therefore St. Paul never nameth it, but when he calls it bread, and he, by our belief, took his knowledge of God in this: and the argument of heretics against this sentence, it is easy for a christian man to assolve. And right as it is heresy to believe that Christ is a spirit, and no body; so it is heresy to trow that this sacrament is God's body, and no bread; for it is both together. But the most heresy that God suffered to come to his church, is to trow that this sacrament is an accident without a substance, and may on no wise be God's body; for Christ said, by witness of John, that “this bread is my body.”. And if they say, that by this skill holy church hath been in heresy many hundred winters, sooth Ø it is, specially since the fiend was loosed, that was by witness of angel to John evangelist, after a thousand winters that Christ

Believed. f Refute. Interpretation. Š Truth.

was stenenyde* to heaven. But it is to be supposed that many saints that died in the mean time, before their death were pured of this error.

How great diversity is between us that trow that this sacrament is very bread in its kind, and between heretics that tell us it is an accident without a subject. For before that the fiend, the father of leasing,+ was loosed, this gabbing was never contrived. And how great diversity is between us that trow that this sacrament is very bread in its kind, and sacramentally God's body, and between heretics that trow and tell us that this sacrament may on no wise be God's body. For I dare surely say, that if this were sooth, Christ and his saints died heretics, and the more part of holy church now believeth heresy, and before devout men suppose that this council of friars in London, was with the herydene.$ For they put a heresy upon Christ and saints in heaven, wherefore the earth trembled. Fayll land man's voice answered for God, also it did in time of his passion, when he was condemned to bodily death. Christ and his mother, that in ground hath destroyed all heresies, keep his church in right helief of this sacrament, and move the king and his realm to ask sharply of his clerks this office, that all his possessioners, on pain of losing all their temporalities, tell the king and his realın, with sufficient grounding, what is this sacrament. And all the orders of friars, on pain of their allegiance, tell the king and his realm, with good grounding, what is the sacrament. For I am certain of the third part of the clergy that defend these doubts** that is here said, that they will defend it on pain of their lives.

this paper

Lewis observes on this confession, “ One would wonder that

should ever be reckoned a retractation of Dr. Wiclif's, by any that had seen and read it, since he so openly maintains in it his opinion of the sacrament, declares his resolution to defend it with his blood, and censures the contrary as heresy. It seems that it was not so understood by Dr. Wiclif's judges ; for very soon after, by the king's authority, he was expelled the university.” Walsingham admits that it was rather a reassertion than a retractation of Wickliff's doctrines relative to the sacrament.

* Ascended. From various passages in Wickliff*s writings, it appears that he and others supposed that Satan had been bound during the first thousand years of the christian era, but that he was loosed afterwards. This presents a painful idea of the extent to which the profligacy and persecutions of the Romish church had then proceeded. f Lies. Idle prating.

§ Earthquake, seep 29. # In truth. | Ecclesiastics allowed to hold lands. ** Disputes.

head on.


(See p. 32.) I have joyfully to tell all true men the belief that I hold, and always to the pope. For I suppose that if my faith be rightful and given of God, the pope will gladly conserve it, and if my faith be error, the pope will wisely amend it. I suppose over this, that the gospel of Christ be part of the body of God's law. For I believe that Jesu Christ, that gave in his own person this gospel, is very God and very Man, and by this it passes all other laws. I suppose over this, that the pope be most obliged to the keeping of the gospel among all men that live here. For the pope is the highest vicar that Christ has here in earth. For greatness of Christ's vicars is not measured by worldly greatness, but by this, that this vicar follows more Christ by virtuous living ; for thus teaches the gospel. That this is the sentence of Christ and of his gospel I take as belief, that Christ for time that he walked here was most poor man of all, both in spirit and in possessions, for Christ says that he had nought for to rest his

And over this, I take as belief that no man should follow the pope, nor no saint that is now in heaven, but inasmuch as he followed Christ, for James and John erred, and Peter and Paul sinned. Of this I take as wholesome counsel, that the pope leave his worldly lordship to worldly lords, as Christ gave him, and move speedily all his clerks to do so, for thus did Christ, and taught thus his disciples, till the fiend had blinded this world. And if I err in this sentence, I will meekly be amended, if by the death, if it be skilful for that I hope were good to me. And if I might travel in my own person, I would with God's will go to the pope. But Christ has needed me to the contrary, and taught me more obedience to God than to man. of our pope, that he will not be antichrist and reverse Christ in this working to the contrary of Christ's will. For if he summons against reason, by him or any of his, and pursue this unskilful summoning, he is an open antichrist. And merciful intent excused not Peter, that Christ called him Satan; so blind intent and wicked counsel excuses not the pope here, if he ask of true priests that they travel more than they may, it is not excused by reason of God that he is not antichrist. For our belief teaches us, that our blessed God suffers us not to be tempted more than we may, how should a man ask such service ?" And therefore pray we to God for our pope Urban VI., that his holy intent be not quenched by his enemies. And Christ that may not lie, says, that the enemies of a man are especially his own family, and this is truth of men and fiends.

And I suppose

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