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VI.

of England, especially in the northern counties. CHAP. At the close of that period, terror and persuasion were employed, with a view to induce a renunciation of the tenets which he had learned from the lips and from the writings of our reformer, but they were employed in vain. His examination before archbishop Arundel, will be noticed in a subsequent chapter; but his sentiments with respect to preaching, and the general obligations of the priestly office, were doubtless common to the class of men with whom he considered it a peculiar honor to be associated. These may accordingly be inserted with propriety in this place.

Accused by the primate of preaching without a license, and of laying claim to a peculiar wisdom and sanctity, the prisoner replies. “ By the “ authority of God's law, and also of saints and “ doctors, I am taught to believe that it is every

priest's office and duty to preach busily, freely, “and truly the word of God. For no doubt,

every priest should propose first in his soul, to “ make known to the people the word of God,

according to his knowledge and power, ever

proving his words to be true by his virtuous “ works. For this intent, also, we suppose that

bishops and other prelates of holy church “ should chiefly take and use their prelacy, and “ for the same cause bishops should give to priests “ their orders. For bishops should admit no “ man to the priesthood, except that he hath

good will, and full purpose, and were well

disposed, and well learned to preach. Where“ fore, Sir, by the bidding of Christ, and by the

example of his most holy living, and also by

CHAP.
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“ the living of his holy apostles and prophets, we “ are bound under full great pain, to exercise our“ selves after our knowledge and power (as every

priest is likewise charged of God) that we may “ fulfil duly the office of priesthood. We, presume, not here of ourselves, for to be esteemed faithful

disciples and special followers of Christ, neither " in our own reputation, nor in any other man's.

But, Sir, as I said to you before, we judge thus “ from the authority chiefly of God's word, where s it is the chief duty of every priest to employ “ himself faithfully in making known the law of God unto the people, and so to communicate " the commandments of God in charity, when, "s and to whom, that ever we may.” Such are the obligations which are said to devolve imperiously on every priest, and desiring to be faithful disciples of Christ, he writes, “ this gracious Lord, for his holy name, that he “ would make us able to please him with devout

prayers, and charitable priestly works, that we may obtain of him to follow him thankfully.”

we pray

"8

* Fox. i. 687-708. Wordsworth’s Ecclesiastical Biography, i.

CHAPTER VII.

NOTICE OF WYCLIFFE'S WRITINGS SUBSEQUENT TO HIS EXCLUSION FROM ox

FORDHIS TRIALOGUS

ON OBEDIENCE TO PRELATES-ON THE DE

CEITS OF SATAN AND OF HIS PRIESTS-ON THE DUTY OF LORDS-OF SER

VANTS AND LORDS-OF

GOOD

PREACHING

PRIESTS ON THE

FOUR

DECEITS OF ANTICHRIST-ON THE PRAYERS OF GOOD MEN-OF CLERKS

POSSESSIONERS -RISE OF THE CRUSADE AGAINST THE AVIGNON POPE, AND
ITS FAILURE-WYCLIFFE RENEWS HIS CONTEST WITH THE MENDICANTS

HIS TREATISE ON THE SENTENCE OF THE CURSE EXPOUNDEDON PRE

LATES

AND OTHER

SUBJECTS-HIS SENTIMENTS ON WAR-EXTRACTS

FROM HIS SERMONS HIS SICKNESS AND DEATH.

VII.

The reader must be left to judge of the CHAP. sorrow and foreboding which arose in the mind of Thorp and his brethren, as the arm of intolerance was raised to reduce them to silence or consign them to a prison. They would regard their own fate, as involved in the case of Hereford, and his associates; and as determined, by the result of the prosecution instituted against Wycliffe. That result we have witnessed, and our attention is now called to the conduct of the reformer during the years of his life, which appear to have been wholly passed upon his rectory. But while evidently sedulous in the performance of his duties with respect to the parish of Lutterworth, his discourses, and his numerous compositions produced at this period, demonstrate, that his zeal as a reformer of the english hierarcy, and as an adversary of the papal power, had gathered intensity from the means which had been employed to extinguish it.

During the interval between his appearance

Notice of

subsequent to his exclusion from Oxford. His Tria.

CHAP before the papal delegates at Lambeth in 1378,

and before the Oxford convocation in 1382, his industry appears to have been almost exclusively directed to effect his translation of the scriptures. That great work achieved, he commenced his attack on the doctrine of transubstantiation; and expelled for this cause from the university, he addressed himself to the composition of a series of books, all intended to demonstrate the necessity of reform, both in the faith, and in the manners of the church.

Among his works completed subsequent to Wycliffe's writings his exclusion from Oxford, the first place must

be allotted to his Trialogus. A modern historian, whose patient research has merited the confidence

of the public, describes this treatise as a production logus. of the period between 1372 and 1377. This is

presumed to follow from the circumstance, that the writer refers to the first of those years as recent. The work, however, is replete with the author's objections to the received doctrine on the eucharist, embracing all the points of the controversy which arose with respect to that sacrament. Whatever the reformer's opinions were on that subject in 1377, it is evident from the events of that year, and of the following, that they had not then attracted the notice of the clergy. That no novelty of sentiment had then been avowed with respect to that rite, must be inferred from the fact, that the articles of complaint supplied by the pontiff, contain not the remotest hint of error in relation to it; and also from the circumstance, that when the views of transubstantiation expressed in the Trialogus,

VII.

were publicly announced in 1382, the sensation CHAP. created by them was so powerful, as to render them almost the exclusive object of attention with the orthodox. But apart from these particulars, the date of this work is placed beyond doubt, by the fact, that the very passage in which the year 1372 is adverted to as recent, contains an allusion to the council and the earthquake which took place just ten years later.. It may, however, be concluded, that the reformer had delivered the larger portion of the Trialogus from his divinity chair at different periods, previous to 1382; but when those parts were arranged for publication in the form of a treatise, various additions appear to have been made to them; and such as render the entire work, a more complete exhibition of the mind of the author, than any other separate production. It is the same composition which is frequently referred to, under the name of dialogues ; and toward the close of the work, it is remarked, that the form of a dialogue had been adopted, because usually more spirited, and more interesting to the general reader, than that of dissertations. Truth, Falsehood, and Wisdom, are accordingly personified; and in discussing almost every point of controversy connected with religion in that age, the first proposes the question ; the second, urges objections; and the last, performs the office of umpire. Through the whole, the attention is frequently called from the simpler views of morality and religion, to con

' It is surprising that this should have escaped Mr. Turner's notice. See Hist. v. 177. Trialogus. Lib. iv. c. 36. The printed copies of this work which I have chiefly consulted, are that in the British Museum, and one equally beautiful in the possession of the Rev. Thomas Russell, of Walworth. See chapter on the reformer's writings. Art. Trial. VOL. II.

P

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