HISTORY of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH*
REFORMERS BEFORE THE REFORMATION.
§ 38. Sources and Literature.
For § 39. Church and Society in England, etc.—Thomas Walsingham: Hist. Anglicana, ed. by Riley, Rolls Ser., London, 1869.—Walter de Heimburgh: Chronicon, ed. by Hamilton, 2 vols., 1848 sq.—Adam Merimuth: Chronicon, and Robt. de Avesbury: De gestis mirabilibus Edwardi III., ed. by Thompson with Introd., Rolls Ser., 1889.—Chron. Angliae (1326–1388), ed. by Thompson, Rolls Ser., 1874.—Henry Knighton: Chronicon, ed. by Lumby, Rolls Ser., 2 vols., 1895.—Ranulph Higden, d. bef. 1400: Polychronicon, with trans. by Trevisa, Rolls Ser., 9 vols., 1865–1886.—Thos. Rymer, d. 1713: Foedera, Conventiones et Litera, London, 1704–1715.—Wilkins: Concilia.—W. C. Bliss: Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers relating to G. Britain and Ireland, vols. II.-IV., London, 1897–1902. Vol. II. extends from 1305–1342; vol. III., 1342–1362; vol. IV., 1362–1404. A work of great value.—Gee and Hardy: Documents, etc.—Haddan and Stubbs: Councils and Eccles. Doc’ts.—Stubbs: Constit. Hist. of Engl., III. 294–387.—The Histt. of Engl., by Lingard, bks. III., IV., and Green, bk. IV.—Capes: The Engl. Ch. in the 14th and 15th Centt., London, 1900.—Haller: Papsttum und Kirchenreform, pp. 375–465.—Jessopp: The Coming of the Friars.—Creighton: Hist. of Epidemics in England.—Gasquet: The Great Pestilence, 1893.—Rashdall and others: Histt. of Oxford and Cambridge.—The Dict. of Nat. Biog.—Also Thos. Fuller’s Hist. of Gr. Brit., for its general judgments and quaint statements.—Loserth: Studien zur Kirchenpolitik Englands im 14 Jahrh. in Sitzungsberichte d. kaiserl. Akademie d. Wissenschaften in Wien, Vienna, 1897.—G. Kriehn: Studies in the Sources of the Social Revol. of 1381, Am. Hist. Rev., Jan.-Oct., 1902.—C. Oman: The Great Revolt in 1381, Oxford, 1906.—Traill: Social Engl., vol. II., London, 1894.—Rogers: Six Centt. of Work and Wages.—Cunningham: Growth of Engl. Industry.
For §§ 40–42. John Wyclif.—I. The publication of Wyclif’s works belongs almost wholly to the last twenty-five years, and began with the creation of the Wyclif Society, 1882, which was due to a summons from German scholars. In 1858, Shirley, Fasc., p. xlvi, could write, "Of Wyc’s Engl. writings nothing but two short tracts have seen the light," and in 1883, Loserth spoke of his tractates "mouldering in the dust." The MSS. are found for the most part in the libraries of Oxford, Prag and Vienna. The Trialogus was publ. Basel, 1525, and Wycliffe’s Wycket, in Engl., Nürnberg, 1546. Reprinted at Oxford, 1828.—Latin Works, ed. by the Wyclif Soc., organized, 1882, in answer to Buddensieg’s appeal in the Academy, Sept. 17, 1881, 31 vols., London, 1884–1907.—De officia pastorli, ed. by Lechler, Leipzig, 1863.—Trialogus, ed. by Lechler, Oxford, 1869.—De veritate sac. Scripturae, ed. by Rudolf Buddensieg, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1904.—De potestate papae, ed. by Loserth, London, 1907.—Engl. Works: Three Treatises, by J. Wyclffe, ed. by J. H. Todd, Dublin, 1851.—*Select Engl. Works, ed. by Thos. Arnold, 3 vols., Oxford, 1869–1871.—*Engl. Works Hitherto Unprinted, ed. by F. D. Matthew, London, 1880, with valuable Introd.—*Wyclif’s trans. of the Bible, ed. by Forshall and Madden, 4 vols., Oxford, 1850.—His New Test. with Introd. and Glossary, by W. W. Skeat, Cambridge, 1879.—The trans. of Job, Pss., Prov., Eccles. and Canticles, Cambridge, 1881.—For list of Wyclif’s works, see Canon W. W. Shirley: Cat. of the Works of J. W., Oxford, 1865. He lists 96 Latin and 65 Engl. writings.—Also Lechler in his Life of Wiclif, II. 559–573, Engl. trans., pp. 483–498.—Also Rashdall’s list in Dict. of Nat. Biog.—II. Biographical.—Thomas Netter of Walden, a Carmelite, d. 1430: Fasciculi zizaniorum Magistri Joh. Wyclif cum tritico (Bundles of tares of J. Wyc. with the wheat), a collection of indispensable documents and narrations, ed. by Shirley, with valuable Introd., Rolls Ser., London, 1858.—Also Doctrinale fidei christianae Adv. Wicleffitas et Hussitas in his Opera, Paris, 1532, best ed., 3 vols., Venice, 1757. Walden could discern no defects in the friars, and represented the opposite extreme from Wyclif. He sat in the Council of Pisa, was provincial of his order in England, and confessor to Henry V.—The contemporary works given above, Chron. Angliae, Walsingham, Knighton, etc.—England in the Time of Wycliffe in trans. and reprints, Dept. of Hist. Univ. of Pa., 1895.—John Foxe: Book of Martyrs, London, 1632, etc.— John Lewis: Hist. of the Life and Sufferings of J. W., Oxford, 1720, etc., and 1820.—R. Vaughan: Life and Opinions of J. de Wycliffe, 2 vols., London, 1828, 2d ed., 1831.—V. Lechler: J. von Wiclif und die Vorgesch. der Reformation, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1873.—*Engl. trans., J. W. and his Engl. Precursors, with valuable Notes by Peter Lorimer, 2 vols., London, 1878, new edd., 1 vol., 1881, 1884.—*R. Buddensieg: J. Wiclif und seine Zeit, Gotha, 1883. Also J. W. as Patriot and Reformer, London, 1884.—E. S. Holt: J. de W., the First Reformer, and what he did for England, London, 1884.—V. Vattier: J. W., sa vie, ses oeuvres et sa doctrine, Paris, 1886.—*J. Loserth: Hus und Wiclif, Prag and Leipzig, 1883, Engl. trans., London, 1884. Also W.’s Lehre v. wahrem u. falschem Papsttum, in Hist. Zeitschrift, 1907, p. 237 sqq.—L. Sergeant: John Wyclif, New York, 1893.—H. B. Workman: The Age of Wyclif, London, 1901.—Geo. S. Innes: J. W., Cin’ti.—J. C. Carrick: Wyc. and the Lollards, London, 1908.—C. Bigg, in Wayside Sketches in Eccles. Hist., London, 1906.—For other Biogg., see Shirley: Fasciculus, p. 531 sqq.—III. J. L. Poole: W. and Movements for Reform, London, 1889, and W.’s Doctr. of Lordship in Illustr. of Med. Thought, 1884.—Wiegand: De Eccles. notione quid Wiclif docuerit, Leipzig, 1891.—*G. M. Trevelyan: Engl. In The Age Of W., London, 2d ed., 1899.—Powell and Trevelyan: The Peasants’ Rising and the Lollards, London, 1899.—H. Fürstenau: J. von W.’s Lehren v. d. Stellung d. weltl. Gewalt, Berlin, 1900.—Haddan and Stubbs: Councils and Eccles. Docts.—Gee and Hardy.—Stubbs: Constit. Hist., III. 314–374.—The Histt. of Capes, Green and Lingard, vol. IV.—The Histt. of the Engl. Bible, by Eadie, Westcott, Moulton, Stoughton, Mombert, etc.—Matthew: Authorship of the Wycliffite Bible, Engl. Hist. Rev., January, 1895.—Gasquet: The Eve of the Reformation, new ed., London, 1905; The Old Engl. Bible and Other Essays, London, 1908.—R. S. Storrs: J. Wyc. and the First Engl. Bible in Sermons and Addresses, Boston, 1902. An eloquent address delivered in New York on the 500th anniversary of the appearance of Wyclif’s New Test.—Rashdall in Dict. of Natl. Biog., LXIII. 202–223.—G. S. Innis: Wycliffe Cinti.
For § 43. Lollards.—The works noted above of Knighton, Walsingham, Rymer’s Foedera, the Chron. Angliae, Walden’s Fasc. ziz., Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Also Adam Usk: Chronicle.—Thos. Wright: Polit. Poems and Songs, Rolls Ser., 2 vols., London, 1859.—Fredericq: Corp. inquis. Neerl., vols. I.-III.—Reginald Pecock: The Repressor of overmuch Blaming of the Clergy, ed. by Babington, Rolls Ser., 2 vols., London, 1860.—The Histt. of Engl. and the Church of Engl.—A. M. Brown: Leaders of the Lollards, London, 1848.—W. H. Summers: Our Lollard Ancestors, London, 1904.—*James Gairdner: Lollardy and the Reform. in Engl., 2 vols., London, 1908.—E. P. Cheyney: The Recantations of the Early Lollards, Am. Hist. Rev., April, 1899.—H. S. Cronin: The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards, Engl. Hist. Rev., April, 1907.—Art. Lollarden, by Buddensieg in Herzog, XI. 615–626.—The works of Trevelyan and Forshall and Madden, cited above, and Oldcastle, vol. XLII. 86–93, and other artt. in Dict. of Nat. Biog.
For §§ 44–46. John Huss. — Hist. et monumenta J. Hus atque Hieronymi Pragensis, confessorum Christi, 2 vols., Nürnberg, 1558, Frankfurt, 1715. I have used the Frankfurt ed.—W. Flajshans: Mag. J. Hus Expositio Decalogi, Prag, 1903; De corpore Christi: De sanguine Christi, Prag, 1904; Sermones de sanctis, Prag, 1908; Super quatuor sententiarum, etc.—*Francis Palacky: Documenta Mag. J. Hus, vitam, doctrinam, causam in Constantiensi actam consilio illustrantia, 1403–1418, pp. 768, Prag, 1869. Largely from unpublished sources. Contains the account of Peter of Mladenowitz, who was with Huss at Constance.—K. J. Erben (archivarius of Prag): Mistra Jana Husi sebrané spisy Czeske. A collection of Huss’ Bohemian writings, 3 vols., Prag, 1865–1868.—Trans. of Huss’ Letters, first by Luther, Wittenberg, 1536 (four of them, together with an account by Luther of Huss’ trial and death), republ. by C. von Kügelgen, Leipzig, 1902.—Mackenzie: Huss’ Letters, Edinburgh, 1846.—*H. B. Workman and B. M. Pope: Letters of J. Hus with Notes.—For works on the Council of Constance, see Mansi, vol. XXVIII., Van der Hardt, Finke, Richental etc., see § 12.—C. von Höfler: Geschichtsschreiber der hussitischen Bewegung, 3 vols., Vienna, 1856–1866. Contains Mladenowitz and other contemporary documents.—*Palacky, a descendant of the Bohemian Brethren, d. 1876: Geschichte von Böhmen, Prag, 1836 sqq., 3d ed., 5 vols., 1864 sqq. Vol. III. of the first ed. was mutilated at Vienna by the censor of the press (the office not being abolished till 1848), on account of the true light in which Huss was placed. Nevertheless, it made such an impression that Baron Helfert was commissioned to write a reply, which appeared, Prag, 1867, pp. 287. In 1870, Palacky publ. a second ed. of vol. III., containing all the excerpted parts.—Palacky: Die Vorlaeufer des Hussitenthums in Böhmen, Prag, 1869.—L. Köhler: J. Hus u. s. Zeit, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1846.—E. H. Gillett, Prof. in New York Univ., d. New York, 1876: Life and Times of J. Huss, 2 vols., Boston, 1863, 3d ed., 1871.—W. Berger: J. Hus u. König Sigismund, Augsburg, 1871.—Bonnechose: J. Hus u. das Concil zu Kostnitz, Germ. trans., 3d ed., Leipzig, 1870.—F. v. Bezold: Zur Gesch. d. Husitenthums, Munich, 1874.—E. Denis: Huss et la guerre des Hussites, Paris, l878.—A. H. Wratislaw: J. Hus, London, 1882.—*J. Loserth: Wiclif and Hus, also Beiträge zur Gesch. der Hussit. Bewegung, 5 small vols., 1877–1895, reprinted from magazines. Also Introd. to his ed. of Wiclif’s De ecclesia. Also art. J. Huss in Herzog, Encyc., VIII. 473–489.—Lechler: J. Hus, Leipzig, 1890.—*J. H. Wylie: The Counc. of Constance to the Death of J. Hus, London, 1900.—*H. B. Workman: The Dawn of the Reformation, The Age of Hus, London, 1902.—Lea: Hist. of the Inquis., II. 431–566.—Hefele, vol. VII.—*J. B. Schwab: J. Gerson, pp. 527–609.—Tschackert: Von Ailli, pp. 218–235.—W. Faber and J. Kurth: Wie sah Hus aus? Berlin, 1907.—Also J. Huss by Lützow, N. Y., 1909, and Kuhr, Cinti.
For § 47. The Hussites.—Mansi, XXVII, XXIX.—Haller: Concil. Basiliense.—Bezold: König Sigismund und d. Reichskriege gegen d. Husiten, 3 vols., Munich, 1872–1877.—*Jaroslav Goll: Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. der Böhmischen Brüder, 2 vols., Prag, 1878–1882.—*L. Keller: Die Reformation und die aelteren Reformparteien, Leipzig, 1885.—W. Preger: Ueber das Verhältniss der Taboriten zu den Waldesiern des 14ten Jahrh., 1887.—Haupt: Waldenserthum und Inquisition im südöstlichen, Deutschland, Freiburg i. Br., 1890.—H. Herre: Die Husitenverhandlungen, 1429, in Quellen u. Forschungen d. Hist. Inst. von Rom, 1899.—*E. Müller: Böhm. Brüder, Herzog, III. 445–467.—E. De Schweinitz: The Hist. of the Church known as the Unitas Fratrum, Bethlehem, 1885.—Also Hergenröther-Kirsch: Kirchengesch., II. 886–903.
§ 39. The Church in England in the Fourteenth Century.
The 14th century witnessed greater social changes in England than any other century except the 19th. These changes were in large part a result of the hundred years’ war with France, which began in 1337, and the terrible ravages of the Black Death. The century was marked by the legal adoption of the English tongue as the language of the country and the increased respect for parliament, in whose counsels the rich burgher class demanded a voice, and its definite division into two houses, 1341. The social unrest of the land found expression in popular harangues, poems, and tracts, affirming the rights of the villein and serf class, and in the uprising known as the Peasants’ Revolt.
The distinctly religious life of England, in this period, was marked by obstinate resistance to the papal claims of jurisdiction, culminating in the Acts of Provisors, and by the appearance of John Wyclif, one of the most original and vigorous personalities the English Church has produced.
An industrial revolution was precipitated on the island by the Great Pestilence of 1348. The necessities of life rose enormously in value. Large tracts of land passed back from the smaller tenants into the hands of the landowners of the gentry class. The sheep and the cattle, as a contemporary wrote, "strayed through the fields and grain, and there was no one who could drive them." The serfs and villeins found in the disorder of society an opportunity to escape from the yoke of servitude, and discovered in roving or in independent engagements the joys of a new-found freedom. These unsettled conditions called forth the famous statutes of Edward III.’s reign, 1327–1377, regulating wages and the prices of commodities.
The popular discontent arising from these regulations, and from the increased taxation necessitated by the wars with France, took the form of organized rebellion. The age of feudalism was coming to an end. The old ideas of labor and the tiller of the soil were beginning to give way before more just modes of thought. Among the agitators were John Ball, whom Froissart, with characteristic aristocratic indifference, called "the mad priest of Kent," the poet Longland and the insurgent leader, Watt Tyler. In his harangues, Ball fired popular feeling by appeals to the original rights of man. By what right, he exclaimed, "they, who are called lords, greater folk than we? On what grounds do they hold us in vassalage? Do not we all come from the same father and mother, Adam and Eve?" The spirit of individual freedom breathed itself out in the effective rhyme, which ran like wildfire, —
When Adam delved and Eve span
Who was then the gentleman?
The rhymes, which Will Longland sent forth in his Complaint of Piers Ploughman, ventilated the sufferings and demands of the day laborer and called for fair treatment such as brother has a right to expect from brother. Gentleman and villein faced the same eternal destinies. "Though he be thine underling," the poet wrote, "mayhap in heaven, he will be worthier set and with more bliss than thou." The rising sense of national importance and individual dignity was fed by the victory of Crécy, 1346, where the little iron balls, used for the first time, frightened the horses; by the battle of Poictiers ten years later; by the treaty of Brétigny, 1360, whereby Edward was confirmed in the possession of large portions of France, and by the exploits of the Black Prince. The spectacle of the French king, John, a captive on the streets of London, made a deep impression. These events and the legalization of the English tongue, 1362,535 contributed to develop a national and patriotic sentiment before unknown in England.
The uprising, which broke out in 1381, was a vigorous assertion of the popular demand for a redress of the social inequalities between classes in England. The insurgent bands, which marched to London, were pacified by the fair promises of Richard II., but the Kentish band led by Watt Tyler, before dispersing, took the Tower and put the primate, Sudbury, to death. He had refused to favor the repeal of the hated decapitation tax. The abbeys of St. Albans and Edmondsbury were plundered and the monks ill treated, but these acts of violence were a small affair compared with the perpetual import of the uprising for the social and industrial well-being of the English people. The demands of the insurgents, as they bore on the clergy, insisted that Church lands and goods, after sufficient allowance had been made for the reasonable wants of the clergy, should be distributed among the parishioners, and that there should be a single bishop for England. This involved a rupture with Rome.536
It was inevitable that the Church should feel the effects of these changes. Its wealth, which is computed to have covered one-third of the landed property of the realm, and the idleness and mendicancy of the friars, awakened widespread murmur and discontent. The ravages made among the clergy by the Black Death rendered necessary extraordinary measures to recruit its ranks. The bishop of Norwich was authorized to replace the dead by ordaining 60 young men before the canonical age. With the rise of the staples of living, the stipends of the vast body of the priestly class was rendered still more inadequate. Archbishop Islip of Canterbury and other prelates, while recognizing in their pastorals the prevalent unrest, instead of showing proper sympathy, condemned the covetousness of the clergy. On the other hand, Longland wrote of the shifts to which they were put to eke out a living by accepting secular and often menial employment in the royal palace and the halls of the gentry class.
Parson and parish priest pleyned to the bishop,
That their parishes were pore sith the pestilence tym,
To have a license and a leve at London to dwelle
And syngen there for symonye, for silver is swete.
There was a movement from within the English people to limit the power of the bishops and to call forth spirituality and efficiency in the clergy. The bishops, powerful as they remained, were divested of some of their prestige by the parliamentary decision of 1370, restricting high offices of state to laymen. The first lay chancellor was appointed in 1340. The bishop, however, was a great personage, and woe to the parish that did not make fitting preparations for his entertainment and have the bells rung on his arrival. Archbishop Arundel, Foxe quaintly says, "took great snuff and did suspend all such as did not receive him with the noise of bells." Each diocese had its own prison, into which the bishop thrust refractory clerics for penance or severer punishment.
The mass of the clergy had little learning. The stalls and canonries, with attractive incomes, where they did not go to foreigners, were regarded as the proper prizes of the younger sons of noblemen. On the other hand, the prelates lived in abundance. The famous bishop of Winchester, William of Wykeham, counted fifty manors of his own. In the larger ones, official residences were maintained, including hall and chapel. This prelate travelled from one to the other, taking reckonings of his stewards, receiving applications for the tonsure and ordination and attending to other official business. Many of the lower clergy were taken from the villein class, whose sons required special exemption to attend school. The day they received orders they were manumitted.
The benefit of clergy, so called, continued to be a source of injustice to the people at large. By the middle of the 13th century, the Church’s claim to tithes was extended not only to the products of the field, but the poultry of the yard and the cattle of the stall, to the catch of fish and the game of the forests. Wills almost invariably gave to the priest "the best animal" or the "best quick good." The Church received and gave not back, and, in spite of the statute of Mortmain, bequests continued to be made to her. It came, however, to be regarded as a settled principle that the property of Church and clergy was amenable to civil taxation, and bishops, willingly or by compulsion, loaned money to the king. The demands of the French campaigns made such taxation imperative.
Indulgences were freely announced to procure aid for the building of churches, as in the case of York Cathedral, 1396, the erection of bridges, the filling up of muddy roads and for other public improvements. The clergy, though denied the right of participating in bowling and even in the pastime of checkers, took part in village festivities such as the Church-ale, a sort of mediaeval donation party, in which there was general merrymaking, ale was brewed, and the people drank freely to the health of the priest and for the benefit of the Church. As for the morals of the clergy, care must always be had not to base sweeping statements upon delinquencies which are apt to be emphasized out of proportion to their extent. It is certain, however, that celibacy was by no means universally enforced, and frequent notices occur of dispensations given to clergymen of illegitimate birth. Bishop Quevil of Exeter complained that priests with families invested their savings for the benefit of their marital partners and their children. In the next period, in 1452, De la Bere, bishop of St. David’s, by his own statement, drew 400 marks yearly from priests for the privilege of having concubines, a noble, equal in value to a mark, from each one.537 Glower, in his Vox clamantis, gave a dark picture of clerical habits, and charges the clergy with coarse vices such as now are scarcely dreamed of. The Church historian, Capes, concludes that "immorality and negligence were widely spread among the clergy."538 The decline of discipline among the friars, and their rude manners, a prominent feature of the times, came in for the strictures of Fitzralph of Armagh, severe condemnation at the hands of Wyclif and playful sarcasm from the pen of Chaucer. The zeal for learning which had characterized them on their first arrival in England, early in the 13th century, had given way to self-satisfied idleness. Fitzralph, who was fellow of Balliol, and probably chancellor of the University of Oxford, before being raised to the episcopate, incurred the hostility of the friars by a series of sermons against the Franciscan theory of evangelical poverty. He claimed it was not scriptural nor derived from the customs of the primitive Church. For his temerity he was compelled to answer at Avignon, where he seems to have died about the year 1360.539 Of the four orders of mendicants, the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites and Augustinians, Longland sang that they
Preached the people for profit and themselve
Glosed the Gospel as them good lyked,
For covetis of copis construed it as they would.
Of the ecclesiastics of the century, if we except Wyclif, probably the most noted are Thomas Bradwardine and William of Wykeham, the one the representative of scholarly study, the other of ecclesiastical power. Bradwardine, theologian, phiIosopher, mathematician and astronomer, was a student at Merton College, Oxford, 1325. At Avignon, whither he went to receive consecration to the see of Canterbury, 1349, he had a strange experience. During the banquet given by Clement VI. the doors were thrown open and a clown entered, seated on a jackass, and humbly petitioned the pontiff to be made archbishop of Canterbury. This insult, gotten up by Clement’s nephew Hugo, cardinal of Tudela, and other members of the sacred college, was in allusion to the remark made by the pope that, if the king of England would ask him to appoint a jackass to a bishopric, he would not dare to refuse. The sport throws an unpleasant light upon the ideals of the curia, but at the same time bears witness to the attempt which was being made in England to control the appointment of ecclesiastics. Bradwardine enjoyed such an enviable reputation that Wyclif and other English contemporaries gave him the title, the Profound Doctor—doctor profundus.540 In his chief work on grace and freewill, delivered as a series of lectures at Merton, he declared that the Church was running after Pelagius.541 In the philosophical schools he had rarely heard anything about grace, but all day long the assertions that we are masters of our own wills. He was a determinist. All things, he affirmed, which occur, occur by the necessity of the first cause. In his Nun’s Tale, speaking of God’s predestination, Chaucer says:—
But he cannot boult it to the bren
As can the holie doctour, S. Austin,
Or Boece (Boethius), or the Bishop Bradwardine.
Wykeham, 1324–1404, the pattern of a worldly and aristocratic prelate, was an unblushing pluralist, and his see of Winchester is said to have brought him in £60,000 of our money annually. In 1361 alone, he received prebends in St. Paul’s, Hereford, Salisbury, St. David’s, Beverley, Bromyard, Wherwell Abergwili, and Llanddewi Brewi, and in the following year Lincoln, York, Wells and Hastings. He occupied for a time the chief office of chancellor, but fell into disrepute. His memory is preserved in Winchester School and in New College, Oxford, which he founded. The princely endowment of New College, the first stones of which were laid in 1387, embraced 100 scholarships. These gifts place Wykeham in the first rank of English patrons of learning at the side of Cardinal Wolsey. He also has a place in the manuals of the courtesies of life by his famous words, "Manners makyth man."542
The struggles of previous centuries against the encroachment of Rome upon the temporalities of the English Church was maintained in this period. The complaint made by Matthew Paris543 that the English Church was kept between two millstones, the king and the pope, remained true, with this difference, however, the king’s influence came to preponderate. Acts of parliament emphasized his right to dictate or veto ecclesiastical appointments and recognized his sovereign prerogative to tax Church property. The evident support which the pope gave to France in her wars with England and the scandals of the Avignon residence were favorable to the crown’s assertion of authority in these respects. Wyclif frequently complained that the pope and cardinals were "in league with the enemies of the English kingdom"544 and the papal registers of the Avignon period, which record the appeals sent to the English king to conclude peace with France, almost always mention terms that would have made France the gainer. At the outbreak of the war, 1339, Edward III. proudly complained that it broke his heart to see that the French troops were paid in part with papal funds.545
The three most important religious acts of England between John’s surrender of his crown to Innocent III. and the Act of Supremacy, 1534, were the parliamentary statutes of Mortmain, 1279, of Provisors, 1351, and for the burning of heretics, 1401. The statute of Mortmain or Dead-hand forbade the alienation of lands so as to remove them from the obligation of service or taxation to the secular power. The statute of Provisors, renewed and enlarged in the acts of Praemunire, 1353, 1390 and 1393, concerned the subject of the papal rights over appointments and the temporalities of the English Church. This old bone of contention was taken up early in the 14th century in the statute of Carlyle, 1307,546 which forbade aliens, appointed to visit religious houses in England, taking moneys with them out of the land and also the payment of tallages and impositions laid upon religious establishments from abroad. In 1343, parliament called upon the pope to recall all "reservations, provisions and collations" which, as it affirmed, checked Church improvements and the flow of alms. It further protested against the appointment of aliens to English livings, "some of them our enemies who know not our language." Clement VI., replying to the briefs of the king and parliament, declared that, when he made provisions and reservations, it was for the good of the Church, and exhorted Edward to act as a Catholic prince should and to permit nothing to be done in his realm inimical to the Roman Church and ecclesiastical liberty. Such liberty the pope said he would "defend as having to give account at the last judgment." Liberty in this case meant the free and unhampered exercise of the lordly claims made by his predecessors from Hildebrand down.547 Thomas Fuller was close to the truth, when, defining papal provisions and reservations, he wrote, "When any bishopric, abbot’s place, dignity or good living (aquila non capit muscas — the eagle does not take note of flies) was like to be void, the pope, by a profitable prolepsis to himself, predisposed such places to such successors as he pleased. By this device he defeated, when he so pleased, the legal election of all convents and rightful presentation of all patrons."
The memorable statute of Provisors forbade all papal provisions and reservations and all taxation of Church property contrary to the customs of England. The act of 1353 sought more effectually to clip the pope’s power by forbidding the carrying of any suit against an English patron before a foreign tribunal.548
To these laws the pope paid only so much heed as expediency required. This claim, made by one of his predecessors in the bull Cupientes, to the right to fill all the benefices of Christendom, he had no idea of abandoning, and, whenever it was possible, he provided for his hungry family of cardinals and other ecclesiastics out of the proverbially fat appointments of England. Indeed, the cases of such appointments given by Merimuth, and especially in the papal books as printed by Bliss, are so recurrent that one might easily get the impression that the pontiff’s only concern for the English Church was to see that its livings were put into the hands of foreigners. I have counted the numbers in several places as given by Bliss. On one page, 4 out of 9 entries were papal appointments. A section of 2½ pages announces "provisions of a canonry, with expectation of a prebend" in the following churches: 7 in Lincoln, 5 in Salisbury, 2 in Chichester, and 1 each in Wells, York, Exeter, St. Patrick’s, Dublin, Moray, Southwell, Howden, Ross, Aberdeen, Wilton.549 From 1342–1385 the deanery of York was held successively by three Roman cardinals. In 1374, the incomes of the treasurer, dean and two archdeaneries of Salisbury went the same way. At the close of Edward III.’s reign, foreign cardinals held the deaneries of York, Salisbury and Lichfield, the archdeanery of Canterbury, reputed to be the richest of English preferments, and innumerable prebends. Bishops and abbots-elect had to travel to Avignon and often spend months and much money in securing confirmation to their appointments, and, in cases, the prelate-elect was set aside on the ground that provision had already been made for his office. As for sees reserved by the pope, Stubbs gives the following list, extending over a brief term of years: Worcester, Hereford, Durham and Rochester, 1317; Lincoln and Winchester, 1320; Lichfield, 1322; Winchester, 1328; Carlisle and Norwich, 1825; Worcester, Exeter and Hereford, 1827; Bath, 1829; Durham, Canterbury, Winchester and Worcester, 1334. Provisions were made in full recognition of the plural system. Thus, Walter of London, the king’s confessor, was appointed by the pope to the deanery of Wells, though, as stated in the papal brief, he already held a considerable list of "canonries and prebends," Lincoln, Salisbury, St. Paul, St. Martin Le Grand, London, Bridgenorth, Hastings and Hareswell in the diocese of Salisbury.550 By the practice of promoting bishops from one see to another, the pope accomplished for his favorites what he could not have done in any other way. Thus, by the promotion of Sudbury in 1874 to Canterbury, the pope was able to translate Courtenay from Hereford to London, and Gilbert from Bangor to Hereford, and thus by a single stroke he was enriched by the first-fruits of four sees.
In spite of legislation, the papal collectors continued to ply their trade in England, but less publicly and confidently than in the two preceding centuries. In 1879, Urban VI. sent Cosmatus Gentilis as his nuncio and collector-in-chief, with instructions that he and his subcollectors make speedy returns to Rome, especially of Peter’s pence.551 In 1375, Gregory XI. had called upon the archbishops of Canterbury and York to collect a tax of 60,000 florins for the defence of the lands of the Apostolic see, the English benefices, however, held by cardinals being exempted. The chronicler Merimuth, in a noteworthy paragraph summing up the curial practice of foraging upon the English sees and churches, emphasizes the persistence and shrewdness with which the Apostolic chair from the time of Clement V. had extorted gold and riches as though the English might be treated as barbarians. John XXII. he represents as having reserved all the good livings of England. Under Benedict XII., things were not so bad. Benedict’s successor, Clement VI., was of all the offenders the most unscrupulous, reserving for himself or distributing to members of the curia the fattest places in England. England’s very enemies, as Merimuth continues, were thus put into possession of English revenues, and the proverb became current at Avignon that the English were like docile asses bearing all the burdens heaped upon them.552 This prodigal Frenchman threatened Edward III. with excommunication and the land with interdict, if resistance to his appointments did not cease and if their revenues continued to be withheld. The pope died in 1353, before the date set for the execution of his wrathful threat. While France was being made English by English arms, the Italian and French ecclesiastics were making conquest of England’s resources.
The great name of Wyclif, which appears distinctly in 1366, represents the patriotic element in all its strength. In his discussions of lordship, presented in two extensive treatises, he set forth the theory of the headship of the sovereign over the temporal affairs of the Church in his own dominions, even to the seizure of its temporalities. In him, the Church witnessed an ecclesiastic of equal metal with Thomas à Becket, a man, however, who did not stoop, in his love for his order, to humiliate the state under the hand of the Church. He represented the popular will, the common sense of mankind in regard to the province of the Church, the New Testament theory of the spiritual sphere. Had he not been practically alone, he would have anticipated by more than two centuries the limitation of the pope’s power in England.
§ 40. John Wyclif.
"A good man was there of religioun
That was a pore Persone of a town;
But rich he was of holy thought and werk;
He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
That Christes gospel trewly wolde preche.
* * * * * * *
This noble ensample to his shepe he gaf,
That first he wrought and after that he taught.
* * * * * * *
A better priest I trow that nowhere non is,
He waited after no pompe ne reverence;
Ne maked him no spiced conscience,
But Christes lore and his apostles twelve
He taught, but first he folwed it himselve."553
The title, Reformers before the Reformation, has been aptly given to a group of men of the 14th and 15th centuries who anticipated many of the teachings of Luther and the Protestant Reformers. They stand, each by himself, in solitary prominence, Wyclif in England, John Huss in Bohemia, Savonarola in Florence, and Wessel, Goch and Wesel in Northern Germany. To these men the sculptor has given a place on the pedestal of his famous group at Worms representing the Reformation of the 16th century. They differ, if we except the moral reformer, Savonarola, from the group of the German mystics, who sought a purification of life in quiet ways, in having expressed open dissent from the Church’s ritual and doctrinal teachings. They also differ from the group of ecclesiastical reformers, D’Ailly, Gerson, Nicolas of Clamanges, who concerned themselves with the fabric of the canon law and did not go beyond the correction of abuses in the administration and morals of the Church. Wyclif and his successors were doctrinal reformers. In some views they had been anticipated by Marsiglius of Padua and the other assailants of the papacy of the early half of the 14th century.
John Wyclif, called the Morning Star of the Reformation, and, at the time of his death, in England and in Bohemia the Evangelical doctor,554 was born about 1324 near the village of Wyclif, Yorkshire, in the diocese of Durham.555 His own writings give scarcely a clew to the events of his career, and little can be gathered from his immediate contemporaries. He was of Saxon blood. His studies were pursued at Oxford, which had six colleges. He was a student at Balliol and master of that hall in 1361. He was also connected with Merton and Queen’s, and was probably master of Canterbury Hall, founded by Archbishop Islip.556 He was appointed in succession to the livings of Fillingham, 1363, Ludgershall, 1368, and by the king’s appointment, to Lutterworth, 1374. The living of Lutterworth was valued at £26 a year.
Wyclif occupies a distinguished place as an Oxford schoolman, a patriot, a champion of theological and practical reforms and the translator of the Scriptures into English. The papal schism, occurring in the midst of his public career, had an important bearing on his views of papal authority.
So far as is known, he confined himself, until 1366, to his duties in Oxford and his parish work. In that year he appears as one of the king’s chaplains and as opposed to the papal supremacy in the ecclesiastial affairs of the realm. The parliament of the same year refused Urban V.’s demand for the payment of the tribute, promised by King John, which was back 33 years. John, it declared, had no right to obligate the kingdom to a foreign ruler without the nation’s consent. Wyclif, if not a member of this body, was certainly an adviser to it.557
In the summer of 1374, Wyclif went to Bruges as a member of the commission appointed by the king to negotiate peace with France and to treat with the pope’s agents on the filling of ecclesiastical appointments in England. His name was second in the list of commissioners following the name of the bishop of Bangor. At Bruges we find him for the first time in close association with John of Gaunt, Edward’s favorite son, an association which continued for several years, and for a time inured to his protection from ecclesiastical violence.558
On his return to England, he began to speak as a religious reformer. He preached in Oxford and London against the pope’s secular sovereignty, running about, as the old chronicler has it, from place to place, and barking against the Church.559 It was soon after this that, in one of his tracts, he styled the bishop of Rome "the anti-Christ, the proud, worldly priest of Rome, and the most cursed of clippers and cut-purses." He maintained that-he "has no more power in binding and loosing than any priest, and that the temporal lords may seize the possessions of the clergy if pressed by necessity." The duke of Lancaster, the clergy’s open foe, headed a movement to confiscate ecclesiastical property. Piers Ploughman had an extensive public opinion behind him when he exclaimed, "Take her lands, ye Lords, and let her live by dimes (tithes)." The Good Parliament of 1376, to whose deliberation Wyclif contributed by voice and pen, gave emphatic expression to the public complaints against the hierarchy.
The Oxford professor’s attitude had become too flagrant to be suffered to go unrebuked. In 1377, he was summoned before the tribunal of William Courtenay, bishop of London, at St. Paul’s, where the proceedings opened with a violent altercation between the bishop and the duke. The question was as to whether Wyclif should take a seat or continue standing in the court. Percy, lord marshal of England, ordered him to sit down, a proposal the bishop pronounced an unheard-of indignity to the court. At this, Lancaster, who was present, swore he would bring down Courtenay’s pride and the pride of all the prelates in England. "Do your best, Sir," was the spirited retort of the bishop, who was a son of the duke of Devonshire. A popular tumult ensued, Wyclif being protected by Lancaster.
Pope Gregory XI. himself now took notice of the offender in a document condemning 19 sentences from his writings as erroneous and dangerous to Church and state. In fact, he issued a batch of at least five bulls, addressed to the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishop of London, the University of Oxford and the king, Edward III. The communication to Archbishop Sudbury opened with an unctuous panegyric of England’s past most glorious piety and the renown of its Church leaders, champions of the orthodox faith and instructors not only of their own but of other peoples in the path of the Lord’s commandments. But it had come to his ears that the Lutterworth rector had broken forth into such detestable madness as not to shrink from publicly proclaiming false propositions which threatened the stability of the entire Church. His Holiness, therefore, called upon the archbishop to have John sent to prison and kept in bonds till final sentence should be passed by the papal court.560 It seems that the vice-chancellor of Oxford at least made a show of complying with the pope’s command and remanded the heretical doctor to Black Hall, but the imprisonment was only nominal.
Fortunately, the pope might send forth his fulminations to bind and imprison but it was not wholly in his power to hold the truth in bonds and to check the progress of thought. In his letter to the chancellor of Oxford, Gregory alleged that Wyclif was vomiting out of the filthy dungeon of his heart most wicked and damnable heresies, whereby he hoped to pollute the faithful and bring them to the precipice of perdition, overthrow the Church and subvert the secular estate. The disturber was put into the same category with those princes among errorists, Marsiglius of Padua and John of Jandun.561
The archbishop’s court at Lambeth, before which the offender was now cited, was met by a message from the widow of the Black Prince to stay the proceedings, and the sitting was effectually broken up by London citizens who burst into the hall. At Oxford, the masters of theology pronounced the nineteen condemned propositions true, though they sounded badly to the ear. A few weeks later, March, 1878, Gregory died, and the papal schism broke out. No further notice was taken of Gregory’s ferocious bulls. Among other things, the nineteen propositions affirmed that Christ’s followers have no right to exact temporal goods by ecclesiastical censures, that the excommunications of pope and priest are of no avail if not according to the law of Christ, that for adequate reasons the king may strip the Church of temporalities and that even a pope may be lawfully impeached by laymen.
With the year 1378 Wyclif’s distinctive career as a doctrinal reformer opens. He had defended English rights against foreign encroachment. He now assailed, at a number of points, the theological structure the Schoolmen and mediaeval popes had laboriously reared, and the abuses that had crept into the Church. The spectacle of Christendom divided by two papal courts, each fulminating anathemas against the other, was enough to shake confidence in the divine origin of the papacy. In sermons, tracts and larger writings, Wyclif brought Scripture and common sense to bear. His pen was as keen as a Damascus blade. Irony and invective, of which he was the master, he did not hesitate to use. The directness and pertinency of his appeals brought them easily within the comprehension of the popular mind. He wrote not only in Latin but in English. His conviction was as deep and his passion as fiery as Luther’s, but on the one hand, Wyclif’s style betrays less of the vivid illustrative power of the great German and little of his sympathetic warmth, while on the other, less of his unfortunate coarseness. As Luther is the most vigorous tract writer that Germany has produced, so Wyclif is the foremost religious pamphleteer that has arisen in England; and the impression made by his clear and stinging thrusts may be contrasted in contents and audience with the scholarly and finished tracts of the Oxford movement led by Pusey, Keble and Newman, the one reaching the conscience, the other appealing to the aesthetic tastes; the one adapted to break down priestly pretension, the other to foster it.
But the Reformer of the 14th century was more than a scholar and publicist. Like John Wesley, he had a practical bent of mind, and like him he attempted to provide England with a new proclamation of the pure Gospel. To counteract the influence of the friars, whom he had begun to attack after his return from Bruges, he conceived the idea of developing and sending forth a body of itinerant evangelists. These "pore priests," as they were called, were taken from the list of Oxford graduates, and seem also to have included laymen. Of their number and the rules governing them, we are in the dark. The movement was begun about 1380, and on the one side it associates Wyclif with Gerrit de Groote, and on the other with Wesley and with his more recent fellow-countryman, General Booth, of the Salvation Army.
Although this evangelistic idea took not the form of a permanent organization, the appearance of the pore preachers made a sensation. According to the old chronicler, the disciples who gathered around him in Oxford were many and, clad in long russet gowns of one pattern, they went on foot, ventilating their master’s errors among the people and publicly setting them forth in sermons.562 They had the distinction of being arraigned by no less a personage than Bishop Courtenay "as itinerant, unauthorized preachers who teach erroneous, yea, heretical assertions publicly, not only in churches but also in public squares and other profane places, and who do this under the guise of great holiness, but without having obtained any episcopal or papal authorization."
It was in 1381, the year before Courtenay said his memorable words, that Walden reports that Wyclif "began to determine matters upon the sacrament of the altar."563 To attempt an innovation at this crucial point required courage of the highest order. In 12 theses he declared the Church’s doctrine unscriptural and misleading. For the first time since the promulgation of the dogma of transubstantiation by the Fourth Lateran was it seriously called in question by a theological expert. It was a case of Athanasius standing alone. The mendicants waxed violent. Oxford authorities, at the instance of the archbishop and bishops, instituted a trial, the court consisting of Chancellor Berton and 12 doctors. Without mentioning Wyclif by name, the judges condemned as pestiferous the assertions that the bread and wine remain after consecration, and that Christ’s body is present only figuratively or tropically in the eucharist. Declaring that the judges had not been able to break down his arguments, Wyclif went on preaching and lecturing at the university. But in the king’s council, to which he made appeal, the duke of Lancaster took sides against him and forbade him to speak any more on the subject at Oxford. This prohibition Wyclif met with a still more positive avowal of his views in his Confession, which closes with the noble words, "I believe that in the end the truth will conquer."
The same year, the Peasants’ Revolt broke out, but there is no evidence that Wyclif had any more sympathy with the movement than Luther had with the Peasants’ Rising of 1525. After the revolt was over, he proposed that Church property be given to the upper classes, not to the poor.564 The principles, however, which he enunciated were germs which might easily spring up into open rebellion against oppression. Had he not written, "There is no moral obligation to pay tax or tithe to bad rulers either in Church or state. It is permitted to punish or depose them and to reclaim the wealth which the clergy have diverted from the poor?" One hundred and fifty years after this time, Tyndale said, "They said it in Wyclif’s day, and the hypocrites say now, that God’s Word arouseth insurrection."565
Courtenay’s elevation to the see of Canterbury boded no good to the Reformer. In 1382, he convoked the synod which is known in English history as the Earthquake synod, from the shock felt during its meetings. The primate was supported by 9 bishops, and when the earth began to tremble, he showed admirable courage by interpreting it as a favorable omen. The earth, in trying to rid itself of its winds and humors, was manifesting its sympathy with the body ecclesiastic.566 Wyclif, who was not present, made another use of the occurrence, and declared that the Lord sent the earthquake "because the friars had put heresy upon Christ in the matter of the sacrament, and the earth trembled as it did when Christ was damned to bodily death."567
The council condemned 24 articles, ascribed to the Reformer, 10 of which were pronounced heretical, and the remainder to be against the decisions of the Church.568 The 4 main subjects condemned as heresy were that Christ is not corporally present in the sacrament, that oral confession is not necessary for a soul prepared to die, that after Urban VI.’s death the English Church should acknowledge no pope but, like the Greeks, govern itself, and that it is contrary to Scripture for ecclesiastics to hold temporal possessions. Courtenay followed up the synod’s decisions by summoning Rygge, then chancellor of Oxford, to suppress the heretical teachings and teachers. Ignoring the summons, Rygge appointed Repyngdon, another of Wyclif’s supporters, to preach, and when Peter Stokys, "a professor of the sacred page," armed with a letter from the archbishop, attempted to silence him, the students and tutors at Oxford threatened the Carmelite with their drawn swords.
But Courtenay would permit no trifling and, summoning Rygge and the proctors to Lambeth, made them promise on their knees to take the action indicated. Parliament supported the primate. The new preaching was suppressed, but Wyclif stood undaunted. He sent a Complaint of 4 articles to the king and parliament, in which he pleaded for the supremacy of English law in matters of ecclesiastical property, for the liberty for the friars to abandon the rules of their orders and follow the rule of Christ, and for the view that on the Lord’s table the real bread and wine are present, and not merely the accidents.569
The court was no longer ready to support the Reformer, and Richard II. sent peremptory orders to Rygge to suppress the new teachings. Courtenay himself went to Oxford, and there is some authority for the view that Wyclif again met the prelate face to face at St. Frideswides. Rigid inquisition was made for copies of the condemned teacher’s writings and those of Hereford. Wyclif was inhibited from preaching, and retired to his rectory at Lutterworth. Hereford, Repyngdon, Aston and Bedeman, his supporters, recanted. The whole party received a staggering blow and with it liberty of teaching at Oxford.570
Confined to Lutterworth, Wyclif continued his labors on the translation of the Bible, and sent forth polemic tracts, including the Cruciata,571 a vigorous condemnation of the crusade which the bishop of Norwich, Henry de Spenser, was preparing in support of Urban VI. against the Avignon pope, Clement VII. The warlike prelate had already shown his military gifts during the Peasants’ Uprising. Urban had promised plenary indulgence for a year to all joining the army. Mass was said and sermons preached in the churches of England, and large sums collected for the enterprise. The indulgence extended to the dead as well as to the living. Wyclif declared the crusade an expedition for worldly mastery, and pronounced the indulgence "an abomination of desolation in the holy place." Spenser’s army reached the Continent, but the expedition was a failure. The most important of Wyclif’s theological treatises, the Trialogus, was written in this period. It lays down the principle that, where the Bible and the Church do not agree, we must obey the Bible, and, where conscience and human authority are in conflict, we must follow conscience.572
Two years before his death, Wyclif received a paralytic stroke which maimed but did not completely disable him. It is possible that he received a citation to appear before the pope. With unabated rigor of conviction, he replied to the supreme pontiff that of all men he was most under obligation to obey the law of Christ, that Christ was of all men the most poor, and subject to mundane authority. No Christian man has a right to follow Peter, Paul or any of the saints except as they imitated Christ. The pope should renounce all worldly authority and compel his clergy to do the same. He then asserted that, if in these views he was found to err, he was willing to be corrected, even by death. If it were in his power to do anything to advance these views by his presence in Rome, he would willingly go thither. But God had put an obstacle in his way, and had taught him to obey Him rather than man. He closed with the prayer that God might incline Urban to imitate Christ in his life and teach his clergy to do the same.
While saying mass in his church, he was struck again with paralysis, and passed away two or three days after, Dec. 29, 1384, "having lit a fire which shall never be put out."573 Fuller, writing of his death, exclaims, "Admirable that a hare, so often hunted with so many packs of dogs, should die quietly sitting in his form."
Wyclif was spare, and probably never of robust health, but he was not an ascetic. He was fond of a good meal. In temper he was quick, in mind clear, in moral character unblemished. Towards his enemies he was sharp, but never coarse or ribald. William Thorpe, a young contemporary standing in the court of Archbishop Arundel, bore testimony that "he was emaciated in body and well-nigh destitute of strength, and in conduct most innocent. Very many of the chief men of England conferred with him, loved him dearly, wrote down his sayings and followed his manner of life."574
The prevailing sentiment of the hierarchy was given by Walsingham, chronicler of St. Albans, who characterized the Reformer in these words: "On the feast of the passion of St. Thomas of Canterbury, John de Wyclif, that instrument of the devil, that enemy of the Church, that author of confusion to the common people, that image of hypocrites, that idol of heretics, that author of schism, that sower of hatred, that coiner of lies, being struck with the horrible judgment of God, was smitten with palsy and continued to live till St. Sylvester’s Day, on which he breathed out his malicious spirit into the abodes of darkness."
The dead was not left in peace. By the decree of Arundel, Wyclif’s writings were suppressed, and it was so effective that Caxton and the first English printers issued no one of them from the press. The Lateran decree of February, 1413, ordered his books burnt, and the Council of Constance, from whose members, such as Gerson and D’Ailly, we might have expected tolerant treatment, formally condemned his memory and ordered his bones exhumed from their resting-place and "cast at a distance from the sepulchre of the church." The holy synod, so ran the decree, "declares said John Wyclif to have been a notorious heretic, and excommunicates him and condemns his memory as one who died an obstinate heretic."575 In 1429, at the summons of Martin IV., the decree was carried out by Flemmyng, bishop of Lincoln.
The words of Fuller, describing the execution of the decree of Constance, have engraven themselves on the page of English history. "They burnt his bones to ashes and cast them into Swift, a neighboring brook running hardby. Thus this brook hath conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they into the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wicliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed the world over."
In the popular judgment of the English people, John Wyclif, in company with John Latimer and John Wesley, probably represents more fully than any other English religious leader, independence of thought, devotion to conscience, solid religious common sense, and the sound exposition of the Gospel. In the history of the intellectual and moral progress of his people, he was the leading Englishman of the Middle Ages.576
§ 41. Wyclif’s Teachings.
Wyclif’s teachings lie plainly upon the surface of his many writings. In each one of the eminent rôles he played, as schoolman, political reformer, preacher, innovator in theology and translator of the Bible, he wrote extensively. His views show progress in the direction of opposition to the mediaeval errors and abuses. Driven by attacks, he detected errors which, at the outset, he did not clearly discern. But, above all, his, study of the Scriptures forced upon him a system which was in contradiction to the distinctively mediaeval system of theology. His language in controversy was so vigorous that it requires an unusual effort to suppress the impulse to quote at great length.
Clear as Wyclif’s statements always are, some of his works are drawn out by much repetition. Nor does he always move in a straight line, but digresses to this side and to that, taking occasion to discuss at length subjects cognate to the main matter he has in hand. This habit often makes the reading of his larger works a wearisome task. Nevertheless, the author always brings the reader back from his digression or, to use a modern expression, never leaves him sidetracked.
I. As a Schoolman.—Wyclif was beyond dispute the most eminent scholar who taught for any length of time at Oxford since Grosseteste, whom he often quotes.577 He was read in Chrysostom, Augustine, Jerome and other Latin Fathers, as well as in the mediaeval theologians from Anselm to Duns Scotus, Bradwardine, Fitzralph and Henry of Ghent. His quotations are many, but with increasing emphasis, as the years went on, he made his final appeal to the Scriptures. He was a moderate realist and ascribed to nominalism all theological error. He seems to have endeavored to shun the determinism of Bradwardine, and declared that the doctrine of necessity does not do away with the freedom of the will, which is so free that it cannot be compelled. Necessity compels the creature to will, that is, to exercise his freedom, but at that point he is left free to choose.578
II. As a Patriot.—In this role the Oxford teacher took an attitude the very reverse of the attitude assumed by Anselm and Thomas à Becket, who made the English Church a servant to the pope’s will in all things. For loyalty to the Hildebrandian theocracy, Anselm was willing to suffer banishment and à Becket suffered death. In Wyclif, the mutterings of the nation, which had been heard against the foreign regime from the days of William the Conqueror, and especially since King John’s reign, found a stanch and uncompromising mouthpiece. Against the whole system of foreign jurisdiction he raised his voice, as also against the Church’s claim to hold lands, except as it acknowledged the rights of the state. He also opposed the tenure of secular offices by the clergy and, when Archbisbop Sudbury was murdered, declared that he died in sin because he was holding the office of chancellor.
Wyclif’s views on government in Church and state are chiefly set forth in the works on Civil and Divine Lordship—De dominio divino, and De dominio civili — and in his Dialogus.579 The Divine Lordship discusses the title by which men hold property and exercise government, and sets forth the distinction between sovereignty and stewardship. Lordship is not properly proprietary. It is stewardship. Christ did not desire to rule as a tenant with absolute rights, but in the way of communicating to others.580 As to his manhood, he was the most perfect of servants.
The Civil Lordship opens by declaring that no one in mortal sin has a right to lordship, and that every one in the state of grace has a real lordship over the whole universe. All Christians are reciprocally lords and servants. The pope, or an ecclesiastical body abusing the property committed to them, may be deprived of it by the state. Proprietary right is limited by proper use. Tithes are an expedient to enable the priesthood to perform its mission. The New Testament does not make them a rule.
From the last portion of the first book of the Civil Lordship, Gregory XI. drew most of the articles for which Wyclif had to stand trial. Here is found the basis for the charge ascribing to him the famous statement that God ought to obey the devil. By this was meant nothing more than that the jurisdiction of every lawful proprietor should be recognized.
III. As a Preacher.—Whether we regard Wyclif’s constant activity in the pulpit, or the impression his sermons made, he must be pronounced by far the most notable of English preachers prior to the Reformation.581 294 of his English sermons and 224 of his Latin sermons have been preserved. To these discourses must be added his English expositions of the Lord’s prayer, the songs of the Bible, the seven deadly sins and other subjects. With rare exceptions, the sermons are based upon passages of the New Testament.
The style of the English discourses is simple and direct. No more plainly did Luther preach against ecclesiastical abuses than did the English Reformer. On every page are joined with practical religious exposition stirring passages rebuking the pope and worldly prelates. They are denounced as anti-christ and the servants of the devil—the fiend—as they turn away from the true work of pasturing Christ’s flock for worldly gain and enjoyment. The preacher condemns the false teachings which are nowhere taught in the Scriptures, such as pilgrimages and indulgences. Sometimes Wyclif seems to be inconsistent with himself, now making light of fasting, now asserting that the Apostles commended it; now disparaging prayers for the dead, now affirming purgatory. With special severity do his sermons strike at the friars who preach out of avarice and neglect to expose the sins of their hearers. No one is more idle than the rich friars, who have nothing but contempt for the poor. Again and again in these sermons, as in his other works, he urges that the goods of the friars be seized and given to the needy classes. Wyclif, the preacher, was always the bold champion of the layman’s rights.
His work, The Pastoral Office, which is devoted to the duties of the faithful minister, and his sermons lay stress upon preaching as the minister’s proper duty. Preaching he declared the "highest service," even as Christ occupied himself most in that work. And if bishops, on whom the obligation to preach more especially rests, preach not, but are content to have true priests preach in their stead, they are as those that murder Jesus. The same authority which gave to priests the privilege of celebrating the sacrament of the altar binds them to preach. Yea, the preaching of the Word is a more precious occupation than the ministration of the sacraments.582
When the Gospel was preached, as in Apostolic times, the Church grew. Above all things, close attention should be given to Christ’s words, whose authority is superior to all the rites and commandments of pope and friars. Again and again Wyclif sets forth the ideal minister, as in the following description:—
"A priest should live holily, in prayer, in desires and thought, in godly conversation and honest teaching, having God’s commandments and His Gospel ever on his lips. And let his deeds be so righteous that no man may be able with cause to find fault with them, and so open his acts that he may be a true book to all sinful and wicked men to serve God. For the example of a good life stirreth men more than true preaching with only the naked word."
The priest’s chief work is to render a substitute for Christ’s miracles by converting himself and his neighbor to God’s law.583 The Sermon on the Mount, Wyclif pronounced sufficient for the guidance of human life apart from any of the requirements and traditions of men.
IV. As a Doctrinal Reformer.—Wyclif’s later writings teem with denials of the doctrinal tenets of his age and indictments against ecclesiastical abuses. There could be no doubt of his meaning. Beginning with the 19 errors Gregory XI. was able to discern, the list grew as the years went on. The Council of Constance gave 45, Netter of Walden, fourscore, and the Bohemian John Lücke, an Oxford doctor of divinity, 266. Cochlaeus, in writing against the Hussites, went beyond all former computations and ascribed to Wyclif the plump sum of 303 heresies, surely enough to have forever covered the Reformer’s memory with obloquy. Fuller suggests as the reason for these variations that some lists included only the Reformer’s primitive tenets or breeders, and others reckoned all the younger fry of consequence derived from them.
The first three articles adduced by the Council of Constance584 had respect to the Lord’s Supper, and charged Wyclif with holding that the substance of the bread remains unchanged after the consecration, that Christ is not in the sacrament of the altar in a real sense, and the accidents of a thing cannot remain after its substance is changed. The 4th article accuses him with declaring that the acts of bishop or priest in baptizing, ordaining and consecrating are void if the celebrant be in a state of mortal sin. Then follow charges of other alleged heresies, such as that after Urban VI. the papacy should be abolished, the clergy should hold no temporal possessions, the friars should gain their living by manual toil and not by begging, Sylvester and Constantine erred in endowing the Church, the papal elections by the cardinals were an invention of the devil, it is not necessary to salvation that one believe the Roman church to be supreme amongst the churches and that all the religious orders were introduced by the devil.
The most of the 45 propositions represent Wyclif’s views with precision. They lie on the surface of his later writings, but they do not exhaust his dissent from the teachings and practice of his time. His assault may be summarized under five heads: the nature of the Church, the papacy, the priesthood, the doctrine of transubstantiation and the use of the Scriptures.
The Church was defined in the Civil Lordship to be the body of the elect,—living, dead and not yet born,—whose head is Christ. Scarcely a writing has come down to us from Wyclif’s pen in which he does not treat the subject, and in his special treatise on the Church, written probably in 1378, it is defined more briefly as the body of all the elect—congregatio omnium predestinatorum. Of this body, Christ alone is the head. The pope is the head of a local church. Stress is laid upon the divine decree as determining who are the predestinate and who the reprobate.585
Some persons, he said, in speaking of "Holy Church, understand thereby prelates and priests, monks and canons and friars and all that have the tonsure,—alle men that han crownes,—though they live ever so accursedly in defiance of God’s law." But so far from this being true, all popes cardinals and priests are not among the saved. On the contrary, not even a pope can tell assuredly that he is predestinate. This knows no one on earth. The pope may be a prescitus, a reprobate. Such popes there have been, and it is blasphemy for cardinals and pontiffs to think that their election to office of itself constitutes a title to the primacy of the Church. The curia is a nest of heretics if its members do not follow Christ, a fountain of poison, the abomination of desolation spoken of in the sacred page. Gregory XI. Wyclif called a terrible devil—horrendus diabolus. God in His mercy had put him to death and dispersed his confederates, whose crimes Urban VI. had revealed.586
Though the English Reformer never used the terms visible and invisible Church, he made the distinction. The Church militant, he said, commenting on John 10:26, is a mixed body. The Apostles took two kinds of fishes, some of which remained in the net and some broke away. So in the Church some are ordained to bliss and some to pain, even though they live godly for a while.587 It is significant that in his English writings Wyclif uses the term Christen men—Christian men—instead of the term the faithful.
As for the papacy, no one has used more stinging words against individual popes as well as against the papacy as an institution than did Wyclif. In the treatises of his last years and in his sermons, the pope is stigmatized as anti-Christ. His very last work, on which he was engaged when death overtook him, bore the title, Anti-christ, meaning the pope. He went so far as to call him the head-vicar of the fiend.588 He saw in the papacy the revelation of the man of sin. The office is wholly poisonous—totum papale officium venenosum. He heaped ridicule upon the address "most holie fadir." The pope is neither necessary to the Church nor is he infallible. If both popes and all their cardinals were cast into hell, believers could be saved as well without them. They were created not by Christ but by the devil. The pope has no exclusive right to declare what the Scriptures teach, or proclaim what is the supreme law. His absolutions are of no avail unless Christ has absolved before. Popes have no more right to excommunicate than devils have to curse. Many of them are damned—multi papae sunt dampnati. Strong as such assertions are, it is probable that Wyclif did not mean to cast aside the papacy altogether. But again and again the principle is stated that the Apostolic see is to be obeyed only so far as it follows Christ’s law.589
As for the interpretation of Matthew 16:18, Wyclif took the view that "the rock" stands for Peter and every true Christian. The keys of the kingdom of heaven are not metal keys, as popularly supposed, but spiritual power, and they were committed not only to Peter, but to all the saints, "for alle men that comen to hevene have these keies of God."590 Towards the pope’s pretension to political functions, Wyclif was, if possible, more unsparing. Christ paid tribute to Caesar. So should the pope. His deposition of kings is the tyranny of the devil. By disregarding Peter’s injunction not to lord it over God’s heritage, but to feed the flock, he and all his sect—tota secta — prove themselves hardened heretics.
Constantine’s donation, the Reformer pronounced the beginning of all evils in the Church. The emperor was put up to it by the devil. It was his new trick to have the Church endowed.591 Chapter after chapter of the treatise on the Church calls upon the pope, prelates and priests to return to the exercise of spiritual functions. They had become the prelates and priests of Caesar. As the Church left Christ to follow Caesar, so now it should abandon Caesar for Christ. As for kissing the pope’s toe, there it; no foundation for it in Scripture or reason.
The pope’s practice of getting money by tribute and taxation calls forth biting invective. It was the custom, Wyclif said, to solemnly curse in the parish churches all who clipped the king’s coins and cut men’s purses. From this it would seem, he continued, that the proud and worldly priest of Rome and all his advisers were the most cursed of clippers and out-purses,—cursed of clipperis and purse-kerveris,—for they drew out of England poor men’s livelihoods and many thousands of marks of the king’s money, and this they did for spiritual favors. If the realm had a huge hill of gold, it would soon all be spent by this proud and worldly priest-collector. Of all men, Christ was the most poor, both in spirit and in goods and put from him all manner of worldly lordship. The pope should leave his authority to worldly lords, and speedily advise his clergy to do the same. I take it, as a matter of faith, that no man should follow the pope, nor even any of the saints in heaven, except as they follow Christ.592
The priests and friars formed another subject of Wyclif’s vigorous attack. Clerics who follow Christ are true priests and none other. The efficacy of their acts of absolution of sins depends upon their own previous absolution by Christ. The priest’s function is to show forgiveness, already pronounced by God, not to impart it. It was, he affirmed, a strange and marvellous thing that prelates and curates should "curse so faste," when Christ said we should bless rather than reprove. A sentence of excommunication is worse than murder.
The rule of auricular confession Wyclif also disparaged. True contrition of heart is sufficient for the removal of sins. In Christ’s time confession of man to man was not required. In his own day, he said, "shrift to God is put behind; but privy (private) shrift, a new-found thing, is authorized as needful for the soul’s health." He set forth the dangers of the confessional, such as the unchastity of priests. He also spoke of the evils of pilgrimages when women and men going together promiscuously were in temptation of great "lecherie."593 Clerical celibacy, a subject the Reformer seldom touched upon, he declared, when enforced, is against Scripture, and as under the old law priests were allowed to marry, so under the new the practice is never forbidden, but rather approved.
Straight truth-telling never had a warmer champion than Wyclif. Addressing the clergy, he devotes nearly a hundred pages of his Truth of Scripture to an elaboration of this principle. Not even the most trifling sin is permissible as a means of averting a greater evil, either for oneself or one’s neighbor. Under no circumstances does a good intention justify a falsehood. The pope himself has no right to tolerate or practice misrepresentation to advance a good cause. To accomplish a good end, the priest dare not even make a false appeal to fear. All lying is of itself sin, and no dispensation can change its character.594
The friars called forth the Reformer’s keenest thrusts, and these increased in sharpness as he neared the end of his life. Quotations, bearing on their vices, would fill a large volume. Entire treatises against their heresies and practices issued from his pen. They were slavish agents of the pope’s will; they spread false views of the eucharist; they made merchandise of indulgences and letters of fraternity which pretended to give the purchasers a share in their own good deeds here and at the final accounting. Their lips were full of lies and their hands of blood. They entered houses and led women astray; they lived in idleness; they devoured England.595
The Reformer had also a strong word to say on the delusion of the contemplative life as usually practised. It was the guile of Satan that led men to imagine their fancies and dreamings were religious contemplation and to make them an excuse for sloth. John the Baptist and Christ both left the desert to live among men. He also went so far as to demand that monks be granted the privilege of renouncing the monkish rule for some other condition where they might be useful.596
The four mendicant orders, the Carmelites, Augustinians, Jacobites or Dominicans, and Minorites or Franciscans gave their first letters to the word Caim, showing their descent from the first murderer. Their convents, Wyclif called Cain’s castles. His relentless indignation denounced them as the tail of the dragon, ravening wolves, the sons of Satan, the emissaries of anti-christ and Luciferians and pronounced them worse than Herod, Saul and Judas. The friars repeat that Christ begged water at the well. It were to their praise if they begged water and nothing else.597
With the lighter hand of ridicule, Chaucer also held up the mendicants for indictment. In the Prologue to his Canterbury Tales he represents the friar as an—
... easy man to yeve penaunce,
Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce
For unto a powre order for to give
Is signe that a man is well y-shrive.
* * * * * * *
His wallet lay biforn him in his lappe
Bretful of pardoun come from Rome all hoot,
A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot
Ne was ther swich another pardonour
For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer [pillow]
Which that, he seyde, was our Lady’s veyl:
And in a glas he hadde a pigges bones.
Skeat’s ed., 4:7, 21.
If it required boldness to attack the powerful body of the monks, it required equal boldness to attack the mediaeval dogma of transubstantiation. Wyclif himself called it a doctrine of the moderns and of the recent Church—novella ecclesia. In his treatise on the eucharist, he praised God that he had been delivered from its laughable and scandalous errors.598 The dogma of the transmutation of the elements he pronounced idolatry, a lying fable. His own view is that of the spiritual presence. Christ’s body, so far as its dimensions are concerned, is in heaven. It is efficaciously or virtually in the host as in a symbol.599 This symbol "represents"—vicarius est—the body.
Neither by way of impanation nor of identification, much less by way of transmutation, is the body in the host. Christ is in the bread as a king is in all parts of his dominions and as the soul is in the body. In the breaking of the bread, the body is no more broken than the sunbeam is broken when a piece of glass is shattered: Christ is there sacramentally, spiritually, efficiently—sacramentaliter, spiritualiter et virtualiter. Transubstantiation is the greatest of all heresies and subversive of logic, grammar and all natural science.600
The famous controversy as to whether a mouse, partaking of the sacramental elements, really partakes of Christ’s body is discussed in the first pages of the treatise on the eucharist. Wyclif pronounces the primary assumption false, for Christ is not there in a corporal manner. An animal, in eating a man, does not eat his soul. The opinion that the priest actually breaks Christ’s body and so breaks his neck, arms and other members, is a shocking error. What could be more shocking,—horribilius,—he says, than that the priest should daily make and consecrate the Lord’s body, and what more shocking than to be obliged to eat Christ’s very flesh and drink his very blood. Yea, what could be thought of more shocking than that Christ’s body may be burned or eructated, or that the priest carries God in bodily form on the tips of his fingers. The words of institution are to be taken in a figurative sense. In a similar manner, the Lord spoke of himself as the seed and of the world as the field, and called John, Elijah, not meaning that the two were one person. In saying, I am the vine, he meant that the vine is a symbol of himself.
The impossibility of the miracle of elemental transmutation, Wyclif based on the philosophical principle that the substance of a thing cannot be separated from its accidents. If accidents can exist by themselves, then it is impossible to tell what a thing is or whether it exists at all. Transubstantiation would logically demand transaccidentation, an expression the English Reformer used before Luther. The theory that the accidents remain while the substance is changed, he pronounced "grounded neither in holy writt ne reson ne wit but only taughte by newe hypocritis and cursed heretikis that magnyfyen there own fantasies and dremes."601
Another proof of Wyclif’s freedom of mind was his assertion that the Roman Church, in celebrating the sacrament, has no right to make a precise form of words obligatory, as the words of institution differ in the different accounts of the New Testament. As for the profitable partaking of the elements, he declared that the physical eating profits nothing except the soul be fed with love. Announcing it as his expectation that he would be set upon for his views, he closed his notable treatise on the eucharist with the words, The truth of reason will prevail over all things.
Super omnia vincit veritas rationis.
In these denials of the erroneous system of the mediaeval Church at its vital points, Wyclif was far in advance of his own age and anticipated the views of the Protestant Reformers.
§ 42. Wyclif and the Scriptures.
Wyclif’s chief service for his people, next to the legacy of his own personality, was his assertion of the supreme authority of the Bible for clergy and laymen alike and his gift to them of the Bible in their own tongue. His statements, setting forth the Scriptures as the clear and sufficient manual of salvation and insisting that the literal sense gives their plain meaning, were as positive and unmistakable as any made by Luther. In his treatise on the value and authority of the Scriptures, with 1000 printed pages,602 more is said about the Bible as the Church’s appointed guide-book than was said by all the mediaeval theologians together. And none of the Schoolmen, from Anselm and Abaelard to Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, exalted it to such a position of preëminence as did he. With one accord they limited its authority by coördinating with its contents tradition, that is, the teachings of the Church. This man, with unexcelled precision and cogency, affirmed its final jurisdiction, as the law of God, above all authorities, papal, decretist or patristic. What Wyclif asserts in this special treatise, he said over again in almost every one of his works, English and Latin. If possible, he grew more emphatic as his last years went on, and his Opus evangelicum, probably his very last writing, abounds in the most positive statements language is capable of.
To give the briefest outline of the Truth of Scripture will be to state in advance the positions of the Protestant Reformers in regard to the Bible as the rule of faith and morals. To Wyclif the Scriptures are the authority for every Catholic tenet. They are the Law of Christ, the Law of God, the Word of God, the Book of Life—liber vitae. They are the immaculate law of the Lord, most true, most complete and most wholesome.603 All things necessary to belief for salvation are found in them. They are the Catholic faith, the Christian faith,—fides christiana,—the primal rule of human perfection, the primal foundation of the Christian proclamation.
This book is the whole truth which every Christian should study.604 It is the measure and standard of all logic. Logic, as in Oxford, changes very frequently, yea, every twenty years, but the Scriptures are yea, yea and nay, nay. They never change. They stand to eternity.605 All logic, all law, all philosophy and all ethic are in them. As for the philosophy of the pagan world, whatever it offers that is in accord with the Scriptures is true. The religious philosophy which the Christian learns from Aristotle he learns because it was taught by the authors of Scripture.606 The Greek thinker made mistakes, as when he asserted that creation is eternal. In several places Wyclif confesses that he himself had at one time been led astray by logic and the desire to win fame, but was thankful to God that he had been converted to the full acceptance of the Scriptures as they are and to find in them all logic.
All through this treatise, and in other works, Wyclif contends against those who pronounced the sacred writings irrational or blasphemous or abounding in errors and plain falsehoods. Such detractors he labelled modern or recent doctors—moderni novelli doctores. Charges such as these would seem well-nigh incredible, if Wyclif did not repeat them over and over again. They remind us of the words of the priest who told Tyndale, 150 years later, "It were better to be without God’s laws than to be without the pope’s." What could be more shocking,—horribilius,—exclaimed Wyclif, than to assert that God’s words are false.607
The supreme authority of the Scriptures appears from their contents, the beneficent aim they have in view, and from the witness borne to them by Christ. God speaks in all the books. They are one great Word of God. Every syllable of the two Testaments is true, and the authors were nothing more than scribes or heralds.608 If any error seem to be found in them, the error is due to human ignorance and perverseness. Nothing is to be believed that is not founded upon this book, and to its teachings nothing is to be added.609
Wyclif devotes much time to the
principles of biblical exposition and brushes away the false principles of the
Fath-ers and Schoolmen by pronouncing the "literal verbal sense" the
true one. On occasion, in his sermons, he himself used the other senses, but
his sound judgment led him again and again to lay emphasis upon the
etymological meaning of words as final. The tropological, anagogical and
allegorical meanings, if drawn at all, must be based upon the literal meaning.
Wyclif confessed his former mistake of striving to distinguish them with strict
precision. There is, in fact, only one sense of Scripture, the one God himself has
placed in it as the book of life for the wayfaring man.610 Heresy is the contradiction of Scripture. As for himself, Wyclif
said, he was ready to follow its teachings, even unto martyrdom, if necessary.611
For hundreds of years no eminent teacher had emphasized the right of the laity to the Word of God. It was regarded as a book for the clergy, and the interpretation of its meaning was assumed to rest largely with the decretists and the pope. The Council of Toulouse, 1229, had forbidden the use of the Bible to laymen. The condemned sects of the 12th and 13th centuries, especially the Waldenses, had adopted another rule, but their assailants, such as Alanus ab Insulis, had shown how dangerous their principle was. Wyclif stood forth as the champion of an open Bible. It was a book to be studied by all Christians, for "it is the whole truth." Because it was given to the Church, its teachings are free to every one, even as is Christ himself.612
To withhold the Scriptures from the laity is a fundamental sin. To make them known in the mother-tongue is the first duty of the priest. For this reason priests ought always to be familiar with the language of the people. Wyclif held up the friars for declaring it heresy to translate God’s law into English and make it known to laymen. He argued against their position by referring to the gift of tongues at Pentecost and to Jerome’s translation, to the practice of Christ and the Apostles who taught peoples in their native languages and to the existence in his own day of a French translation made in spite of all hindrances. Why, he exclaims, "should not Englishmen do the same, for as the lords of England have the Bible in French, it would not be against reason if they had the same material in English." Through an English Bible Englishmen would be enabled best "to follow Christ and come to heaven."613 What could be more positive than the following words?
Christen men and women, olde and young, shulden study fast in the New Testament, and no simple man of wit shulde be aferde unmeasurably to study in the text of holy Writ. Pride and covetise of clerks is cause of their blyndness and heresie and priveth them fro verie understonding of holy Writ. The New Testament is of ful autorite and open to understonding of simple men, as to the pynts that ben most needful to salvation.
Wyclif was the first to give the Bible to his people in their own tongue. He knew no Hebrew and probably no Greek. His version, which was made from the Latin Vulgate, was the outgrowth of his burning desire to make his English countrymen more religious and more Christian. The paraphrastic translation of books which proceeded from the pen of Richard Rolle and perhaps a verse of the New Testament of Kentish origin and apparently made for a nunnery,614 must be considered as in no wise in conflict with the claim of priority made for the English Reformer. In his task he had the aid of Nicolas Hereford, who translated the Old Testament and the Apocryphal books as far as Baruch 3:20. A revision was made of Wyclif’s Bible soon after his death, by Purvey. In his prologue, Purvey makes express mention of the "English Bible late translated," and affirms that the Latin copies had more need of being corrected than it. One hundred and seventy copies of these two English bibles are extant, and it seems strange that, until the edition issued by Forshall and Madden in 1850, they remained unprinted.615 The reason for their not being struck off on the presses of Caxton and other early English printers, who issued the Golden Legend, with its fantastic and often grewsome religious tales, was that Wyclif had been pronounced a heretic and his version of the Scriptures placed under the ban by the religious authorities in England.
A manuscript preserved in the Bodleian, Forshall and Madden affirm to be without question the original copy of Hereford himself. These editors place the dates of the versions in 1382 and 1388. Purvey was a Lollard, who boarded under Wyclif’s roof and, according to the contemporary chronicler, Knighton, drank plentifully of his instructions. He was imprisoned, but in 1400 recanted, and was promoted to the vicarage of Hythe. This preferment he resigned three years later. He was imprisoned a second time by Archbishop Chichele, 1421, was alive in 1427, and perhaps died in prison.
To follow the description given by Knighton in his Chronicle, the gift of the English Bible was regarded by Wyclif’s contemporaries as both a novel act and an act of desecration. The irreverence and profanation of offering such a translation was likened to the casting of pearls before swine. The passage in Knighton, who wrote 20 years after Wyclif’s death, runs thus: —
The Gospel, which Christ bequeathed to the clergy and doctors of the Church,—as they in turn give it to lay and weaker persons,—this Master John Wyclif translated out of the Latin into the Anglican tongue, not the Angelic tongue, so that by him it is become common,—vulgare,—and more open to the lay folk and to women, knowing how to read, than it used to be to clerics of a fair amount of learning and of good minds. Thus, the Gospel pearl is cast forth and trodden under foot of swine, and what was dear to both clergy and laity is now made a subject of common jest to both, and the jewel of the clergy is turned into the sport of the laity, so that what was before to the clergy and doctors of the Church a divine gift, has been turned into a mock Gospel [or common thing].616
The plain meaning of this statement seems to be that Wyclif translated at least some of the Scriptures, that the translation was a novelty, and that the English was not a proper language for the embodiment of the sacred Word. It was a cleric’s book, and profane temerity, by putting it within the reach of the laity, had vulgarized it.
The work speedily received reprobation at the hands of the Church authorities. A bill presented in the English parliament, 1891, to condemn English versions, was rejected through the influence of the duke of Lancaster, but an Oxford synod, of 1408, passed the ominous act, that upon pain of greater excommunication, no man, by his own authority, should translate into English or any other tongue, until such translation were approved by the bishop, or, if necessary, by the provincial council. It distinctly mentions the translation "set forth in the time of John Wyclif." Writing to John XXIII., 1412, Archbishop Arundel took occasion to denounce "that pestilent wretch of damnable memory, yea, the forerunner and disciple of anti-christ who, as the complement of his wickedness, invented a new translation of the Scriptures into his mother-tongue."617
In 1414, the reading of the English Scriptures was forbidden upon pain of forfeiture "of land, cattle, life and goods from their heirs forever." Such denunciations of a common English version were what Wyclif’s own criticisms might have led us to expect, and quite in consonance with the decree of the Synod of Toulouse, 1229, and Arundel’s reprobation has been frequently matched by prelatical condemnation of vernacular translations of the Bible and their circulation down to the papal fulminations of the 19th century against Bible societies, as by Pius VII., 1816, who declared them "fiendish institutions for the undermining of the foundation of religion." The position, taken by Catholic apologists, that the Catholic hierarchy has never set itself against the circulation of the Scriptures in the vernacular, but only against unauthorized translations, would be adapted to modify Protestantism’s notion of the matter, if there were some evidence of only a limited attempt to encourage Bible study among the laity of the Catholic Church with the pages of Scripture open before them. If we go to the Catholic countries of Southern Europe and to South America, where her away has been unobstructed, the very opposite is true.
In the clearest language, Wyclif charged the priestly authorities of his time with withholding the Word of God from the laity, and denying it to them in the language the people could understand. And the fact remains that, from his day until the reign of Elizabeth, Catholic England did not produce any translations of the Bible, and the English Reformers were of the opinion that the Catholic hierarchy was irrevocably set against English versions. Tyndale had to flee from England to translate his New Testament, and all the copies of the first edition that could be collected were burnt on English soil. And though it is alleged that Tyndale’s New Testament was burnt because it was an "unauthorized" translation, it still remains true that the hierarchy made no attempt to give the Bible to England until long after the Protestant Reformation had begun and Protestantism was well established.
The copies of Wyclif’s and Purvey’s versions seem to have been circulated in considerable numbers in England, and were in the possession of low and high. The Lollards cherished them. A splendid copy was given to the Carthusians of London by Henry VI., and another copy was in the possession of Henry VII. Sir Thomas More states distinctly that there was found in the possession of John Hunne, who was afterwards burnt, a Bible "written after Wyclif’s copy and by him translated into our tongue."618 While for a century and a half these volumes helped to keep alive the spirit of Wyclif in England, it is impossible to say how far Wyclif’s version influenced the Protestant Reformers. In fact, it is unknown whether they used it at all. Some of its words, such as mote and beam and strait gate, which are found in the version of the 16th century, seem to indicate, to say the least, that these terms had become common property through the medium of Wyclif’s version.619 The priceless heirloom which English-speaking peoples possess in the English version and in an open Bible free to all who will read, learned and unlearned, lay and cleric, will continue to be associated with the Reformer of the 14th century. As has been said by one of the ablest of recent Wyclif students, Buddensieg, the call to honor the Scriptures as the Word of God and to study and diligently obey them, runs through Wyclif’s writings like a scarlet thread.620 Without knowing it, he departed diametrically from Augustine when he declared that the Scriptures do not depend for their authority upon the judgment of the Church, but upon Christ.
In looking over the career and opinions of John Wyclif, it becomes evident that in almost every doctrinal particular did this man anticipate the Reformers. The more his utterances are studied, the stronger becomes this conviction. He exalted preaching; he insisted upon the circulation of the Scriptures among the laity; he demanded purity and fidelity of the clergy; he denied infallibility to the papal utterances, and went so far as to declare that the papacy is not essential to the being of the Church. He defined the Church as the congregation of the elect; he showed the unscriptural and unreasonable character of the doctrine of transubstantiation; he pronounced priestly absolution a declarative act. He dissented from the common notion about pilgrimages; he justified marriage on biblical grounds as honorable among all men; he appealed for liberty for the monk to renounce his vow, and to betake himself to some useful work.
The doctrine of justification by faith Wyclif did not state. However, he constantly uses such expressions as, that to believe in Christ is life. The doctrine of merit is denied, and Christ’s mediation is made all-sufficient. He approached close to the Reformers when he pronounced "faith the supreme theology,"—fides est summa theologia,—and that only by the study of the Scriptures is it possible to become a Christian.621
Behind all Wyclif’s other teaching is his devotion to Christ and his appeal to men to follow Him and obey His law. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the name of Christ appears on every page of his writings. To him, Christ was the supreme philosopher, yea, the content of all philosophy.622
In reaching his views Wyclif was, so far as we know, as independent as any teacher can well be. There is no indication that he drew from any of the medieval sects, as has been charged, nor from Marsiglius and Ockam. He distinctly states that his peculiar views were drawn not from Ockam but from the Scriptures.623
The Continental Reformers did not give to Wyclif the honor they gave to Huss. Had they known more about him, they might have said more.624 Had Luther had access to the splendid shelf of volumes issued by the Wyclif Society, he might have said of the English Reformer what he said of Wessel’s Works when they were put into his hands. The reason why no organized reformation followed Wyclif’s labors is best given when we say, the time was not yet ripe. And, after all the parallelisms are stated between his opinions and the doctrines of the Reformers, it will remain true that, evangelical as he was in speech and patriotic as he was in spirit, the Englishman never ceased to be a Schoolman. Luther was fully a man of the new age.
Note. – The Authorship of the First English Bible. Recently the priority of Wyclif’s translation has been denied by Abbot Gasquet in two elaborate essays, The Old English Bible, pp. 87–155. He also pronounces it to be very doubtful if Wyclif ever translated any part of the Bible. All that can be attempted here is a brief statement of the case. In addition to Knighton’s testimony, which seems to be as plain as language could put it, we have the testimony of John Huss in his Reply to the Carmelite Stokes, 1411, that Wyclif translated the whole Bible into English. No one contends that Wyclif did as much as this, and Huss was no doubt speaking in general terms, having in mind the originator of the work and the man’s name connected with it. The doubt cast upon the first proposition, the priority of Wyclif’s version, is due to Sir Thomas More’s statement in his Dialogue, 1530, Works, p. 233. In controverting the positions of Tyndale and the Reformers, he said, "The whole Bible was before Wyclif’s days, by virtuous and well-learned men, translated into English and by good and godly people, with devotion and soberness, well and reverently read." He also says that he saw such copies. In considering this statement it seems very possible that More made a mistake (1) because the statement is contrary to Knighton’s words, taken in their natural sense and Huss’ testimony. (2) Because Wyclif’s own statements exclude the existence of any English version before his own. (3) Because the Lollards associated their Bible with Wyclif’s name. (4) Because before the era of the Reformation no English writer refers to any translating except in connection with Wyclif’s name and time. Sir Thomas More was engaged in controversy and attempting to justify the position that the Catholic hierarchy had not been opposed to translations of the Scriptures nor to their circulation among proper classes of the laity. But Abbot Gasquet, after proposing a number of conjectural doubts and setting aside the natural sense of Knighton’s and Arundel’s statements, denies altogether the Wycliffite authorship of the Bible ascribed to him and edited by Forshall and Madden, and performs the feat of declaring this Bible one of the old translations mentioned by More. It must be stated here, a statement that will be recalled later, that Abbot Gasquet is the representative in England of the school of Janssen, which has endeavored to show that the Catholic Church was in an orderly process of development before Luther arose, and that Luther and the Reformers checked that development and also wilfully misrepresented the condition of the Church of their day. Dr. Gasquet, with fewer plausible facts and less literature at command than Janssen, seeks to present the English Church’s condition in the later Middle Ages as a healthy one. And this he does (1) by referring to the existence of an English mediaeval literature, still in MSS., which he pronounces vast in its bulk; (2) by absolutely ignoring the statements of Wyclif; (3) by setting aside the testimonies of the English Reformers; (4) by disparaging the Lollards as a wholly humble and illiterate folk. Against all these witnesses he sets up the single witness, Sir Thomas More.
The second proposition advocated by Dr. Gasquet that it is doubtful, and perhaps very improbable, that Wyclif did nothing in the way of translating the Bible, is based chiefly upon the fact that Wyclif does not refer to such a translation anywhere in his writings. If we take the abbot’s own high priest among authorities, Sir Thomas More, the doubt is found to be unjustifiable, if not criminal. More, speaking of John Hunne, who was burnt, said that he possessed a copy of the Bible which was "after a Wycliffite copy." Eadie, I. 6O sqq.; Westcott, Hist. of the Eng. Bible. Gairdner who discusses the subject fairly in his Lollardy, I. 101–117, Capes, pp. 125–128, F. D. Matthew, in Eng. Hist. Rev., 1895, and Bigg, Wayside Sketches, p. 127 sq., take substantially the position taken by the author. Gasquet was preceded by Lingard, Hist. of Eng., IV. 196, who laid stress upon More’s testimony to offset and disparage the honor given from time immemorial to Wyclif in connection with the English Bible.
How can a controversialist be deemed fair who, in a discussion of this kind, does not even once refer to Wyclif’s well-known views about the value of a popular knowledge of the Scriptures, and his urgency that they be given to all the people through plain preaching and in translation? Dr. Gasquet’s attitude to "the strange personality of Wyclif" may be gotten from these words, Old Eng. Bible, p. 88: "Whatever we may hold as Catholics as to his unsound theological opinions, about which there can be no doubt, or, as peace-loving citizens, about his wild revolutionary social theories, on which, if possible, there can be less," etc.
The following are two specimens of Wyclif’s versions:—
MATT. VIII. 23–27. And Jhesu steyinge vp in to a litel ship, his disciplis sueden him. And loo! a grete steryng was made in the see, so that the litil ship was hilid with wawis; but he slepte. And his disciplis camen nigh to hym, and raysiden hym, sayinge, Lord, saue vs: we perishen. And Jhesus seith to hem, What ben yhee of litil feith agast? Thanne he rysynge comaundide to the wyndis and the see, and a grete pesiblenesse is maad. Forsothe men wondreden, sayinge: What manere man is he this, for the wyndis and the see obeishen to hym.
ROM. VIII. 5–8. For thei that ben aftir the fleisch saueren tho thingis that ben of the fleisch, but thei that ben aftir the spirit felen tho thingis that ben of the spirit. For the prudence of fleisch: is deeth, but the prudence of spirit: is liif and pees. For the wisdom of fleische is enemye to God, for it is not suget to the lawe of God: for nether it may. And thei that ben in fleisch: moun not please to God.
§ 43. The Lollards.
Although the impulse which Wyclif started in England did not issue there in a compact or permanent organization, it was felt for more than a century. Those who adopted his views were known as Wycliffites or Lollards, the Lollards being associated with the Reformer’s name by the contemporary chroniclers, Knighton and Walsingham, and by Walden.625 The former term gradually gave way to the latter, which was used to embrace all heretics in England.
The term Lollards was transplanted to England from Holland and the region around Cologne. As early as 1300 Lollard heretics were classed by the authorities with the Beghards, Beguines, Fratricelli, Swestriones and even the Flagellants, as under the Church’s ban. The origin of the word, like the term Huguenots, is a matter of dispute. The derivation from the Hollander, "Walter Lollard," who was burnt in Cologne, 1322, is now abandoned.626 Contemporaries derived it from lolium,—tares,—and referred it to the false doctrine these sectarists were sowing, as does Knighton, and probably also Chaucer, or, with reference to their habit of song, from the Latin word laudare, to praise.627 The most natural derivation is from the Low German, lullen or einlullen to sing to sleep, whence our English lullaby. None of the Lollard songs have come down to us. Scarcely a decade after Wyclif’s death a bull was issued by Boniface IX., 1396, against the "Lullards or Beghards" of the Low Countries.
The Wycliffite movement was suppressed by a rigid inquisition, set on foot by the bishops and sanctioned by parliament. Of the first generation of these heretics down to 1401, so far as they were brought to trial, the most, if not all, of them recanted. The 15th century furnished a great number of Lollard trials and a number of Lollard martyrs, and their number was added to in the early years of the 16th century. Active measures were taken by Archbishop Courtenay; and under his successor, Thomas, earl of Arundel, the full force of persecution was let loose. The warlike bishop of Norwich, Henry Spenser, joined heartily in the repressive crusade, swearing to put to death by the flames or by decapitation any of the dissenters who might presume to preach in his diocese. The reason for the general recantations of the first generation of Wyclif’s followers has been found in the novelty of heresy trials in England and the appalling effect upon the accused, when for the first time they felt themselves confronted with the whole power of the hierarchy.628
In 1394, they were strong enough to present a petition in full parliament, containing twelve Conclusions.629 These propositions called the Roman Church the stepmother of the Church in England, declared that many who had priestly ordination were not ordained of God, took up the evils growing out of enforced celibacy, denied Christ’s material presence in the eucharist, condemned pilgrimages and image-worship, and pronounced priestly confession and indulgences measures invented for the profit of the clergy. The use of mitres, crosses, oil and incense was condemned and also war, on the ground that warriors, after the first blood is let, lose all charity, and so "go straight to hell." In addition to the Bible, the document quotes Wyclif’s Trialogus by name.
From about 1390 to 1425, we hear of the Lollards in all directions, so that the contemporary chronicler was able to say that of every two men found on the roads, one was sure to be a Lollard.630 With the accession of Henry IV. of Lancaster (1399–1413), a severe policy was adopted. The culminating point of legislation was reached in 1401, when parliament passed the act for the burning of heretics, the first act of the kind in England.631 The statute referred to the Lollards as a new sect, damnably thinking of the faith of the Church in respect to the sacraments and, against the law of God and the Church, usurping the office of preaching. It forbade this people to preach, hold schools and conventicles and issue books. The violators were to be tried in the diocesan courts and, if found guilty and refusing to abjure, were to be turned over to the civil officer and burnt. The burning, so it was stipulated, was to be on a high place where the punishment might be witnessed and the onlookers be struck with fear.
The most prominent personages connected with the earliest period of Wycliffism, Philip Repyngdon, John Ashton, Nicolas Hereford and John Purvey, all recanted. The last three and Wyclif are associated by Knighton as the four arch-heretics.
Repyngdon, who had boldly declared himself at Oxford for Wyclif and his view of the sacrament, made a full recantation, 1382. Subsequently he was in high favor, became chancellor of Oxford, bishop of Lincoln and a cardinal, 1408. He showed the ardor of his zeal by treating with severity the sect whose views he had once espoused.
John Ashton had been one of the most active of Wyclif’s preachers. In setting forth his heretical zeal, Knighton describes him as "leaping up from his bed and, like a dog, ready to bark at the slightest sound." He finally submitted in Courtenay’s court, professing that he "believed as our modur, holy kirke, believes," and that in the sacrament the priest has in his hand Christ’s very body. He was restored to his privileges as lecturer in Oxford, but afterwards fell again into heretical company.632
Hereford, Wyclif’s fellow-translator, appealed to Rome, was condemned there and cast into prison. After two years of confinement, he escaped to England and, after being again imprisoned, made his peace with the Church and died a Carthusian.
In 1389, nine Lollards recanted before Courtenay, at Leicester. The popular preacher, William Swynderby, to whose sermons in Leicester the people flocked from every quarter, made an abject recantation, but later returned to his old ways, and was tried in 1891 and convicted. Whether he was burnt or died in prison, Foxe says, he could not ascertain.
The number suffering death by the law of 1401 was not large in the aggregate. The victims were distributed through the 125 years down to the middle of Henry VIII.’s reign. There were among them no clergymen of high renown like Ridley and Latimer. The Lollards were an humble folk, but by their persistence showed the deep impression Wyclif’s teachings had made. The first martyr, the poor chaplain of St. Osythe, William Sawtré, died March 2, 1401, before the statute for burning heretics was passed. He abjured and then returned again to his heretical views. After trying him, the spiritual court ordered the mayor or sheriff of London to "commit him to the fire that he be actually burnt."633 The charges were that he denied the material presence, condemned the adoration of the cross and taught that preaching was the priesthood’s most important duty.
Among other cases of burnings were John Badby, a tailor of Evesham, 1410, who met his awful fate chained inside of a cask; two London merchants, Richard Turming and John Claydon at Smithfield, 1415; William Taylor, a priest, in 1423 at Smithfield; William White at Norwich, 1428; Richard Hoveden, a London citizen, 1430; Thomas Bagley, a priest, in the following year; and in 1440, Richard Wyche, who had corresponded with Huss. Peter Payne, the principal of St. Edmund’s College, Oxford, took refuge in flight, 1417, and became a leader among the Hussites, taking a prominent part as their representative at the Council of Basel. According to Foxe there were, 1424–1480, 100 prosecutions for heresy in Norwich alone. The menace was considered so great that, in 1427, Richard Flemmyng, bishop of Lincoln, founded Lincoln College, Oxford, to counteract heresy. It was of this college that John Wesley was a fellow, the man who made a great breach in the Church in England.
The case of William Thorpe, who was tried in 1397 and again before Arundel, 1407, is of interest not only in itself, but for the statements that were made in the second trial about Wyclif. The archbishop, after accusing Thorpe of having travelled about in Northern England for 20 years, spreading the infection of heresy, declared that he was called of God to destroy the false sect to which the prisoner belonged, and pledged himself to "punish it so narrowly as not to leave a slip of you in this land."634 Thorpe’s assertion that Wyclif was the greatest clerk of his time evoked from Arundel the acknowledgment that he was indeed a great clerk and, by the consent of many, "a perfect liver," but that many of the conclusions of his learning were damned, as they ought to be.
Up to the close of the 14th century, a number of laymen in high position at court had favored Wycliffism, including Sir Lewis Clifford, Sir Richard Stury and Sir John Clanvowe, all of the king’s council, Sir John Cheyne, speaker of the lower house, the Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas Erpingham and also the earl of Salisbury.635 This support was for the most part withdrawn when persecution took an active form. With Sir John Oldcastle, otherwise known as Lord Cobham from his marriage with the heiress of the Cobham estate, it was different. He held firm to the end, encouraged the new preachers on his estates in Kent, and condemned the mass, auricular confession and the worship of images. Arundel’s court, before which he appeared after repeated citations, turned him over to the secular arm "to do him to death." Oldcastle was imprisoned in the Tower, but made his escape and was at large for four years. In 1414, he was charged with being a party to an uprising of 20,000 Lollards against the king. Declared an outlaw, he fled to Wales, where he was seized three years later and taken to London to be hanged and burnt as a traitor and heretic, Dec. 15, 1417.636 John Foxe saw in him "the blessed martyr of Christ, the good Lord Cobham."
It is a pleasant relief from these trials and puttings-to-death to find the University of Oxford in 1406 bearing good testimony to the memory of its maligned yet distinguished dead, placing on record its high sense of his purity of life, power in preaching and diligence in studies. But fragrant as his memory was held in Oxford, at least secretly, parliament was fixed in its purpose to support the ecclesiastical authorities in stamping out his doctrine. In 1414, it ordered the civil officer to take the initiative in ferreting out heresy, and magistrates, from the Lord chancellor down, were called upon to use their power in extirpating "all manner of heresies, errors and lollardies." This oath continued to be administered for two centuries, until Sir Edward Coke, Lord High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, refused to take it, with the name Lollard included, insisting that the principles of Lollardy had been adopted by the Church of England.637
Archbishop Chichele seemed as much bent as his predecessor, Arundel, on clearing the realm of all stain of heresy. In 1416 he enjoined his suffragans to inquire diligently twice a year for persons under suspicion and, where they did not turn them over to the secular court, to commit them to perpetual or temporary imprisonment, as the nature of the case might require. It was about the same time that an Englishman, at the trial of Huss in Constance, after a parallel had been drawn between Wyclif’s views and those of the Bohemian, said, "By my soul, if I were in your place I would abjure, for in England all the masters, one after another, albeit very good men, when suspected of Wicliffism, abjured at the command of the archbishop."638
Heresy also penetrated into Scotland, James Resby, one of Wyclif’s poor priests, being burnt at Perth, 1407, and another at Glasgow, 1422. In 1488, a Bohemian student at St. Andrews, Paul Craw, suffered the same penalty for heresy.639 The Scotch parliament of 1425 enjoined bishops to make search for heretics and Lollards, and in 1416 every master of arts at St. Andrews was obliged to take an oath to defend the Church against them.
Between 1450–1517, Lollardy was almost wholly restricted to the rural districts, and little mention is made of it in contemporary records. At Amersham, one of its centres, four were tried in 1462, and some suffered death, as William Barlowe in 1466, and John Goose a few years later. In 1507, three were burnt there, including William Tylsworth, the leading man of the congregation. At the crucial moment he was deserted by the members, and sixty of them joined in carrying fagots for his burning. This time of recantation continued to be known in the district as the Great Abjuration. The first woman to suffer martyrdom in England, Joan Broughton, was burnt at Smithfield, 1494, as was also her daughter, Lady Young. Nine Lollards made public penance at Coventry, 1486, but, as late as 1519, six men and one woman suffered death there. Foxe also mentions William Sweeting and John Brewster as being burnt at Smithfield, 1511, and John Brown at Ashford the same year. How extensively Wyclif’s views continued to be secretly held and his writings read is a matter of conjecture. Not till 1559 was the legislation directed against Lollardy repealed.
Our knowledge of the tenets and practices of the Lollards is derived from their Twelve Conclusions and other Lollard documents, the records of their trials and from the Repressor for over-much Blaming of the Clergy, an English treatise written by Dr. Pecock, bishop of Chichester, and finished 1455. Inclined to liberal thought, Bishop Pecock assumed a different attitude from Courtenay, Arundel and other prelates, and sought by calm reasoning to win the Lollards from their mistakes. He mentioned the designation of Known Men—1 Cor. 14:38, 2 Tim. 2:19—as being one of old standing for them, and he also calls them "the lay party" or "the Bible Men." He proposed to consider their objections against 11 customs and institutions, such as the worship of images, pilgrimages, landed endowments for the church, degrees of rank among the clergy, the religious orders, the mass, oaths and war. Their tenet that no statute is valid which is not found in the Scriptures he also attempted to confute. In advance of his age, the bishop declared that fire, the sword and hanging should not be resorted to till the effort had been made "by clene wit to draw the Lollards into the consent of the true faith." His sensible counsel brought him into trouble, and in 1457 he was tried by Archbishop Bouchier and offered the alternative of burning or public recantation. Pecock chose the latter, and made abjuration at St. Paul’s Cross before the archbishop and thousands of spectators. He was clothed in full episcopal robes, and delivered up 14 of his writings to be burnt.640 He was forced to resign his see, and in 1459 was, at the pope’s instance, remanded to close confinement in Thorney Abbey. His Repressor had been twice burnt in Oxford.
There seems to have been agreement among the Lollards in denying the material presence of Christ in the eucharistic bread and in condemning pilgrimages, the worship of images and auricular confession. They also held to the right of the people to read the Scriptures in their own tongue.641 The expression, God’s law, was widely current among them, and was opposed to the canon law and the decisions of the Church courts. Some denied purgatory, and even based their salvation on faith,642 the words, "Thy faith hath saved thee," being quoted for this view. Some denied that the marriage bond was dependent upon the priest’s act, and more the scriptural warrant and expediency of priestly celibacy.643
Lollardy was an anticipation of the Reformation of the sixteenth century, and did something in the way of preparing the mind of the English people for that change. Professed by many clerics, it was emphatically a movement of laymen. In the early Reformation period, English Lutherans were at times represented as the immediate followers of Wyclif. Writing in 1523 to Erasmus, Tonstall, bishop of London, said of Lutheranism that "it was not a question of some pernicious novelty, but only that new arms were being added to the great band of Wycliffite heretics."644
§ 44. John Huss of Bohemia.
Across the seas in Bohemia, where the views of Wyclif were transplanted, they took deeper root than in England, and assumed an organized form. There, the English Reformer was called the fifth evangelist and, in its earlier stages, the movement went by the name of Wycliffism. It was only in the later periods that the names Hussites and Hussitism were substituted for Wycliffites and Wycliffism. Its chief spokesmen were John Huss and Jerome of Prag, who died at the stake at Constance for their avowed allegiance to Wyclif.
Through Huss, Prag became identified with a distinct stage in the history of religious progress. Distinguished among its own people as the city of St. John of Nepomuk, d. 1383, and in the history of armies as the residence of Wallenstein, the Catholic leader in the Thirty Years’ War, Prag is known in the Western world pre-eminently as the home of Huss. Through his noble advocacy, the principles enunciated by Wyclif became the subject of discussion in oecumenical councils, called forth armed crusades and furnished an imposing spectacle of steadfast resistance against religious oppression. Wycliffism passed out of view in England; but Hussitism, in spite of the most bitter persecution by the Jesuits, has trickled down in pure though small streamlets into the religious history of modern times, notably through the Moravians of Herrnhut.
During the reign of Charles IV., king of Bohemia and emperor, 1346–1378, the Bohemian kingdom entered upon the
[picture with title below]
John Huss of Bohemia
golden era of its literary and religious history. In 1344, the archbishopric of Prag was created, and the year 1347 witnessed an event of far more than local importance in the founding of the University of Prag. The first of the German universities, it was forthwith to enter upon the era of its brightest fame. The Czech and German languages were spoken side by side in the city, which was divided, at the close of the 14th century into five quarters. The Old Town, inhabited chiefly by Germans, included the Teyn church, the Carolinum, the Bethlehem chapel and the ancient churches of St. Michael and St. Gallus. Under the first archbishop of Prag, Arnest of Pardubitz, and his successor Ocko of Wlaschim, a brave effort was made to correct ecclesiastical abuses. In 1355, the demand for popular instruction was recognized by a law requiring parish priests to preach in the Czech. The popular preachers, Konrad of Waldhausen, d. 1369, Militz of Kremsier, d. 1874, and Matthias of Janow, d. 1394, made a deep impression. They quoted at length from the Scriptures, urged the habit of frequent communion, and Janow, as reported by Rokyzana at the Council of Basel, 1433, seems to have administered the cup to the laity.645 When John Huss entered upon his career in the university, he was breathing the atmosphere generated by these fervent evangelists, although in his writings he nowhere quotes them.
Close communication between England and Bohemia had been established with the marriage of the Bohemian king Wenzel’s sister, Anne of Luxemburg, to Richard II., 1382. She was a princess of cultivated tastes, and had in her possession copies of the Scriptures in Latin, Czech and German. Before this nuptial event, the philosophical faculty of the University of Prag, in 1367, ordered its bachelors to add to the instructions of its own professors the notebooks of Paris and Oxford doctors. Here and there a student sought out the English university, or even went so far as the Scotch St. Andrews. Among those who studied in Oxford was Jerome of Prag. Thus a bridge for the transmission of intellectual products was laid from Wyclif’s lecture hall to the capital on the Moldau.646 Wyclif’s views and writings were known in Bohemia at an early date. In 1381 a learned Bohemian theologian, Nicolas Biceps, was acquainted with his leading principles and made them a subject of attack. Huss, in his reply to the English Carmelite, John Stokes, 1411, declared that he and the members of the university had had Wyclif’s writings in their hands and been reading them for 20 years and more.647 Five copies are extant of these writings, made in Huss’ own hand, 1398. They were carried away in the Thirty Years’ War and are preserved in the Royal Library of Stockholm.
John Huss was born of Czech parents, 1369, at Husinec in Southern Bohemia. The word Hus means goose, and its distinguished bearer often applied the literal meaning to himself. For example, he wrote from Constance expressing the hope that the Goose might be delivered from prison, and he bade the Bohemians, "if they loved the Goose," to secure the king’s aid in having him released. Friends also referred to him in the same way.648 His parents were poor and, during his studies in the University of Prag, he supported himself by singing and manual services. He took the degree of bachelor of arts in 1393 and of divinity a year later. In 1396 he incepted as master of arts, and in 1398 began delivering lectures in the university. In 1402 he was chosen rector, filling the office for six months.
With his academic duties Huss combined the activity of a preacher, and in 1402 was appointed to the rectorship of the Chapel of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem. This church, usually known as the Bethlehem church, was founded in 1391 by two wealthy laymen, with the stipulation that the incumbent should preach every Sunday and on festival days in Czech. It was made famous by its new rector as the little church, Anastasia, in Constantinople, was made famous in the fourth century by Gregory of Nazianzus, and by his discourses against the Arian heresy.
As early as 1402, Huss was regarded as the chief exponent and defender of Wycliffian views at the university. Protests, made by the clergy against their spread, took definite form in 1403, when the university authorities condemned the 24 articles placed under the ban by the London council of 1382. At the same time 21 other articles were condemned, which one of the university masters, John Hübner, a Pole, professed to have extracted from the Englishman’s writings. The decision forbade the preaching and teaching of these 45 articles. Among Wyclif’s warm defenders were Stanislaus of Znaim and Stephen Paletz. The subject which gave the most offence was his doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.
A distinct stage in the religious controversies agitating Bohemia was introduced by the election of Sbinko of Hasenburg to the see of Prag, 1403. In the earlier years of his administration Huss had the prelate’s confidence, held the post of synodal preacher and was encouraged to bring to the archbishop’s notice abuses that might be reformed. He was also appointed one of a commission of three to investigate the alleged miracles performed by the relic of Christ’s blood at Wylsnak and attracting great throngs. The report condemned the miracles as a fraud. The matter, however, became subject of discussion at the university and as far away as Vienna and Erfurt, the question assuming the form whether Christ left any of his blood on the earth. In a tract entitled the Glorification of all Christ’s Blood,649 Huss took the negative side. In spite of him and of the commission’s report, the miracles at Wylsnak went on, until, in 1552, a zealous Lutheran broke the pyx which held the relic and burnt it.
So extensive was the spread of Wycliffism that Innocent VII., in 1405, called upon Sbinko to employ severe measures to stamp it out and to seize Wyclif’s writings. The same year a Prag synod forbade the propaganda of Wyclif’s views and renewed the condemnation of the 45 articles. Three years later Huss—whose activity in denouncing clerical abuses and advocating Wyclif’s theology knew no abatement—was deposed from the position of synodal preacher. The same year the University authorities, at the archbishop’s instance, ordered that no public lectures should be delivered on Wyclif’s Trialogus and Dialogus and his doctrine of the Supper, and that no public disputation should concern itself with any of the condemned 45 articles.
The year following, 1409, occurred the emigration from the university of the three nations, the Bavarians, Saxons and Poles, the Czechs alone being left. The bitter feeling of the Bohemians had expressed itself in the demand for three votes, while the other nations were to be restricted to one each. When Wenzel consented to this demand, 2000 masters and scholars withdrew, the Germans going to Leipzig and founding the university of that city. The University of Prag was at once reduced to a provincial school of 500 students, and has never since regained its prestige.650
Huss, a vigorous advocate of the use of the Czech, was the recognized head of the national movement at the university, and chosen first rector under the new régime. If possible, his advocacy of Wyclif and his views was more bold than before. From this time forth, his Latin writings were filled with excerpts from the English teacher and teem with his ideas. Wyclif’s writings were sown broadcast in Bohemia. Huss himself had translated the Trialogus into Czech. Throngs were attracted by preaching. Wherever, wrote Huss in 1410, in city or town, in village or castle, the preacher of the holy truth made his appearance, the people flocked together in crowds and in spite of the clergy.651
Following a bull issued by Alexander V., Sbinko, in 1410, ordered Wyclif’s writings seized and burnt, and forbade all preaching in unauthorized places. The papal document called forth the protest of Huss and others, who appealed to John XXIII. by showing the absurdity of burning books on philosophy, logic and other non-theological subjects, a course that would condemn the writings of Aristotle and Origen to the flames. The protest was in vain and 200 manuscript copies of the Reformer’s writings were cast into the flames in the courtyard of the archiepiscopal palace amidst the tolling of the church bells.652
Two days after this grewsome act, the sentence of excommunication was launched against Huss and all who might persist in refusing to deliver up Wyclif’s writings. Defying the archbishop and the papal bull, Huss continued preaching in the Bethlehem chapel. The excitement among all classes was intense and men were cudgelled on the streets for speaking against the Englishman. Satirical ballads were sung, declaring that the archbishop did not know what was in the books he had set fire to. Huss’ sermons, far from allaying the commotion, were adapted to increase it.
Huss had no thought of submission and, through handbills, announced a defence of Wyclif’s treatise on the Trinity before the university, July 27. But his case had now passed from the archbishop’s jurisdiction to the court of the curia, which demanded the offender’s appearance in person, but in vain. In spite of the appeals of Wenzel and many Bohemian nobles who pledged their honor that he was no heretic, John XXIII. put the case into the hands of Cardinal Colonna, afterwards Martin V., who launched the ban against Huss for his refusal to comply with the canonical citation.
Colonna’s sentence was read from all the pulpits of Prag except two. But the offensive preaching continued, and Sbinko laid the city under the interdict, which, however, was withdrawn on the king’s promise to root out heresy from his realm. Wenzel gave orders that "Master Huss, our beloved and faithful chaplain, be allowed to preach the Word of God in peace." According to the agreement, Sbinko was also to write to the pope assuring him that diligent inquisition had been made, and no traces of heresy were to be found in Bohemia. This letter is still extant, but was never sent.
Early in September, 1411, Huss wrote to John XXIII. protesting his full agreement with the Church and asking that the citation to appear before the curia be revoked. In this communication and in a special letter to the cardinals653 Huss spoke of the punishment for heresy and insubordination. He, however, wrote to John that he was bound to speak the truth, and that he was ready to suffer a dreadful death rather than to declare what would be contrary to the will of Christ and his Church. He had been defamed, and it was false that he had expressed himself in favor of the remanence of the material substance of the bread after the words of institution, and that a priest in mortal sin might not celebrate the eucharist. Sbinko died Sept. 28, 1411. At this juncture the excitement was increased by the arrival in Prag of John Stokes, a Cambridge man, and well known in England as an uncompromising foe of Wycliffism. He had come with a delegation, sent by the English king, to arrange an alliance with Sigismund. Stokes’ presence aroused the expectation of a notable clash, but the Englishman, although he ventilated his views privately, declined Huss’ challenge to a public disputation on the ground that he was a political representative of a friendly nation.654
The same year, 1411, John XXIII. called Europe to a crusade against Ladislaus of Naples, the defender of Gregory XII., and promised indulgence to all participating in it, whether by personal enlistment or by gifts. Tiem, dean of Passau, appointed preacher of the holy war, made his way to Prag and opened the sale of indulgences. Chests were placed in the great churches, and the traffic was soon in full sway. As Wyclif, thirty years before, in his Cruciata, had lifted up his voice against the crusade in Flanders, so now Huss denounced the religious war and denied the pope’s right to couple indulgences with it. He filled the Bethlehem chapel with denunciations of the sale and, in a public disputation, took the ground that remission of sins comes through repentance alone and that the pope has no authority to seize the secular sword. Many of his paragraphs were taken bodily from Wyclif’s works on the Church and on the Absolution from guilt and punishment.655 Huss was supported by Jerome of Prag.
Popular opinion was on the side of these leaders, but from this time Huss’ old friends, Stanislaus of Znaim and Stephen Paletz, walked no more with him. Under the direction of Wok of Waldstein, John’s two bulls, bearing on the crusade and offering indulgence, were publicly burnt, after being hung at the necks of two students, dressed as harlots, and drawn through the streets in a cart.656 Huss was still writing that he abhorred the errors ascribed to him, but the king could not countenance the flagrant indignity shown to the papal bulls, and had three men of humble position executed, Martin, John and Stanislaus. They had cried out in open church that the bulls were lies, as Huss had proved. They were treated as martyrs, and their bodies taken to the Bethlehem chapel, where the mass for martyrs was said over them.
To reaffirm its orthodoxy, the theological faculty renewed its condemnation of the 45 articles and added 6 more, taken from Huss’ public utterances. Two of the latter bore upon preaching.657 The clergy of Prag appealed to be protected "from the ravages of the wolf, the Wycliffist Hus, the despiser of the keys," and the curia pronounced the greater excommunication. The heretic was ordered seized, delivered over to the archbishop, and the Bethlehem chapel razed to the ground. Three stones were to be hurled against Huss’ dwelling, as a sign of perpetual curse. Thus the Reformer had against him the archbishop, the university, the clergy and the curia, but popular feeling remained in his favor and prevented the papal sentence from being carried out. The city was again placed under the interdict. Huss appealed from the pope and, because a general council’s action is always uncertain and at best tardy, looked at once to the tribunal of Christ. He publicly asserted that the pope was exercising prerogatives received from the devil.
To allay the excitement, Wenzel induced Huss to withdraw from the city. This was in 1412. In later years Huss expressed doubts as to whether he had acted wisely in complying. He was moved not only by regard for the authority of his royal protector but by sympathy for the people whom the interdict was depriving of spiritual privileges. Had he defied the sentence and refused compliance with the king’s request, it is probable he would have lost the day and been silenced in prison or in the flames in his native city. In this case, the interest of his career would have been restricted to the annals of his native land, and no place would have been found for him in the general history of Europe. So Huss went into exile, but there was still some division among the ecclesiastical authorities of the kingdom over the merits of Wycliffism, and a national synod, convoked February 13, 1413, to take measures to secure peace, adjourned without coming to a decision.
Removed from Prag, Huss was indefatigable in preaching and writing. Audiences gathered to hear him on the marketplaces and in the fields and woods. Lords in their strong castles protected him. Following Wyclif, he insisted upon preaching as the indefeasible right of the priest, and wrote that to cease from preaching, in obedience to the mandate of pope or archbishop, would be to disobey God and imperil his own salvation.658 He also kept in communication with the city by visiting it several times and by writing to the Bethlehem chapel, the university and the municipal synod. This correspondence abounds in quotations from the Scriptures, and Huss reminds his friends that Christ himself was excommunicated as a malefactor and crucified. No help was to be derived from the saints. Christ’s example and his salvation are the sufficient sources of consolation and courage. The high priests, scribes, Pharisees, Herod and Pilate condemned the Truth and gave him over to death, but he rose from the tomb and gave in his stead twelve other preachers. So he would do again. What fear, he wrote, "shall part us from God, or what death? What shall we lose if for His sake we forfeit wealth, friends, the world’s honors and our poor life?... It is better to die well than to live badly. We dare not sin to avoid the punishment of death. To end in grace the present life is to be banished from misery. Truth is the last conqueror. He wins who is slain, for no adversity "hurts him if no iniquity has dominion over him." In this strain he wrote again and again. The "bolts of anti-christ," he said, could not terrify him, and should not terrify the "elect of Prag."659
Of the extent of Huss’ influence during this period he bore witness at Constance when, in answer to D’Ailly, he said:
I have stated that I came here of my own free will. If I had been unwilling to come, neither that king [referring to Wenzel] nor this king here [referring to Sigismund] would have been able to force me to come, so numerous and so powerful are the Bohemian nobles who love me, and within whose castles I should have been able to lie concealed.
And when D’Ailly rebuked the statement as effrontery, John of Chlum replied that it was even as the prisoner said, "There are numbers of great nobles who love him and have strong castles where they could keep him as long as they wished, even against both those kings."
The chief product of this period of exile was Huss’ work on the Church, De ecclesia, the most noted of all his writings. It was written in view of the national synod held in 1413, and was sent to Prag and read in the Bethlehem chapel, July 8. Of this tractate Cardinal D’Ailly said at the Council of Constance that by an infinite number of arguments, it combated the pope’s plenary authority as much as the Koran, the book of the damned Mohammed, combated the Catholic faith.660
In this volume, next to Wyclif’s, the most famous treatment on the Church since Cyprian’s work, De ecclesia, and Augustine’s writings against the Donatists, Huss defined the Church and the power of the keys, and then proceeds to defend himself against the fulminations of Alexander V. and John XXIII. and to answer the Prag theologians, Stephen Paletz and Stanislaus of Znaim, who had deserted him. The following are some of its leading positions.
The Holy Catholic Church is the body or congregation of all the predestinate, the dead, the living and those yet to be.661 The term ’catholic’ means universal. The unity of the Church is a unity of predestination and of blessedness, a unity of faith, charity and grace. The Roman pontiff and the cardinals are not the Church. The Church can exist without cardinals and a pope, and in fact for hundreds of years there were no cardinals.662 As for the position Christ assigned to Peter, Huss affirmed that Christ called himself the Rock, and the Church is founded on him by virtue of predestination. In view of Peter’s clear and positive confession, "the Rock—Petra — said to Peter—Petro — ’I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, that is, a confessor of the true Rock which Rock I am.’ And upon the Rock, that is, myself, I will build this Church." Thus Huss placed himself firmly on the ground taken by Augustine in his Retractations. Peter never was the head of the Holy Catholic Church.663
He thus set himself clearly against the whole ultramontane theory of the Church and its head. The Roman bishop, he said, was on an equality with other bishops until Constantine made him pope. It was then that he began to usurp authority. Through ignorance and the love of money the pope may err, and has erred, and to rebel against an erring pope is to obey Christ.664 There have been depraved and heretical popes. Such was Joan, whose case Huss dwelt upon at length and refers to at least three times. Such was also the case of Liberius, who is also treated at length. Joan had a son and Liberius was an Arian.665
In the second part of the De ecclesia, Huss pronounced the bulls of Alexander and John XXIII. anti-christian, and therefore not to be obeyed. Alexander’s bull, prohibiting preaching in Bohemia except in the cathedral, parish and monastic churches was against the Gospel, for Christ preached in houses, on the seaside, and in synagogues, and bade his disciples to go into all the world and preach. No papal excommunication may be an impediment to doing what Christ did and taught to be done.666
Turning to the pope’s right to issue indulgences, the Reformer went over the ground he had already traversed in his replies to John’s two bulls calling for a crusade against Ladislaus. He denied the pope’s right to go to war or to make appeal to the secular sword. If John was minded to follow Christ, he should pray for his enemies and say, "My kingdom is not of this world." Then the promised wisdom would be given which no enemies would be able to gainsay. The power to forgive sins belongs to no mortal man anymore than it belonged to the priest to whom Christ sent the lepers. The lepers were cleansed before they reached the priest. Indeed, many popes who conceded the most ample indulgences were themselves damned.667 Confession of the heart alone is sufficient for the soul’s salvation where the applicant is truly penitent.
In denying the infallibility of the pope and of the Church visible, and in setting aside the sacerdotal power of the priesthood to open and shut the kingdom of heaven, Huss broke with the accepted theory of Western Christendom; he committed the unpardonable sin of the Middle Ages. These fundamental ideas, however, were not original with the Bohemian Reformer. He took them out of Wyclif’s writings, and he also incorporated whole paragraphs of those writings in his pages. Teacher never had a more devoted pupil than the English Reformer had in Huss. The first three chapters of De ecclesia are little more than a series of extracts from Wyclif’s treatise on the Church. What is true of this work is also true of most of Huss’ other Latin writings.668 Huss, however, was not a mere copyist. The ideas he got from Wyclif he made thoroughly his own. When he quoted Augustine, Bernard, Jerome and other writers, he mentioned them by name. If he did not mention Wyclif, when he took from him arguments and entire paragraphs, a good reason can be assigned for his silence. It was well known that it was Wyclif’s cause which he was representing and Wycliffian views that he was defending, and Wyclif’s writings were wide open to the eye of members of the university faculties. He made no secret of following Wyclif, and being willing to die for the views Wyclif taught. As he wrote to Richard Wyche, he was thankful that "under the power of Jesus Christ, Bohemia had received so much good from the blessed land of England."669
The Bohemian theologian was fully imbued with Wyclif’s heretical spirit. The great Council of Constance was about to meet. Before that tribunal Huss was now to be judged.
§ 45. Huss at Constance.
Thou wast their Rock, their fortress and their might;
Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their light of light. Alleluia.
The great expectations aroused by the assembling of the Council of Constance included the settlement of the disturbance which was rending the kingdom of Bohemia. It was well understood that measures were to be taken against the heresy which had invaded Western Christendom. In two letters addressed to Conrad, archbishop of Prag, Gerson bore witness that, in learned centres outside of Bohemia, the names of Wyclif and Huss were indissolubly joined. Of all Huss’ errors, wrote the chancellor, "the proposition is the most perilous that a man who is living in deadly sin may not have authority and dominion over Christian men. And this proposition, as is well known, has passed down to Huss from Wyclif."670
To Constance Sigismund, king of the Romans and heir of the Bohemian crown, turned for relief from the embarrassment of Hussitism; and from Lombardy he sent a deputation to summon Huss to attend the council at the same time promising him safe conduct. The Reformer expressed his readiness to go, and had handbills posted in Prag announcing his decision. Writing to Wenzel and his queen, he reaffirmed his readiness, and stated he was willing to suffer the penalty appointed for heretics, should he be condemned.671
Under date of Sept. 1, 1414, Huss wrote to Sigismund that he was ready to go to Constance "under safe-conduct of your protection, the Lord Most High being my defender." A week later, the king replied, expressing confidence that, by his appearance, all imputation of heresy would be removed from the kingdom of Bohemia.
Huss set out on the journey Oct. 11, 1414, and reached Constance Nov. 3. He was accompanied by the Bohemian nobles, John of Chlum, Wenzel of Duba and Henry Lacembok. With John of Chlum was Mladenowitz, who did an important service by preserving Huss’ letters and afterwards editing them with notes. Huss’ correspondence, from this time on, deserves a place in the choice autobiographical literature of the Christian centuries. For pathos, simplicity of expression and devotion to Christ, the writings of the Middle Ages do not furnish anything superior.
In a letter, written to friends in Bohemia on the eve of his departure, Huss expressed his expectation of being confronted at Constance by bishops, doctors, princes and canons regular, yea, by more foes than the Redeemer himself had to face. He prayed that, if his death would contribute aught to God’s glory, he might be enabled to meet it without sinful fear. A second letter was not to be opened, except in case of his death. It was written to Martin, a disciple whom the writer says he had known from childhood. He binds Martin to fear God, to be careful how he listened to the confessions of women, and not to follow him in any frivolity he had been guilty of in other days, such as chess-playing. Persecution was about to do its worst because he had attacked the greed and incontinence of the clergy. He willed to Martin his gray cloak and bade him, in case of his death, give to the rector his white gown and to his faithful servant, George, a guinea.
The route was through Nürnberg. Along the way Huss was met by throngs of curious people. He sat down in the inns with the local priests, talking over his case with them. At Nürnberg the magistrates and burghers invited him to meet them at an inn. Deeming it unnecessary to go out of its way to meet Sigismund, who was at Spires, the party turned its face directly to the lake of Constance. Arrived on its upper shore, they sent back most of their horses for sale, a wise measure, as it proved, in view of the thousands of animals that had to be cared for at Constance.672
Arrived at Constance, Huss took lodgings with a "second widow of Sarepta," who had kept the bakery to the White Pigeon. The house is still shown. His coming was a great sensation, and he entered the town, riding through a large crowd. The day after, John of Chlum and Baron Lacembok called upon pope John XXIII., who promised that no violence should be done their friend, nay, even though he had killed the pope’s own brother. He granted him leave to go about the city, but forbade him to attend high mass. Although he was under sentence of excommunication, Huss celebrated mass daily in his own lodgings. The cardinals were incensed that a man charged openly with heresy should have freedom, and whatever misgivings Huss had had of unfair dealing were to be quickly justified. Individual liberty had no rights before the bar of an ecclesiastical court in the 15th century when a heretic was under accusation. Before the month had passed, Huss’ imprisonment began, a pretext being found in an alleged attempt to escape from the city concealed in a hay-wagon.673 On November 28, the two bishops of Trent and Augsburg entered his lodgings with a requisition for him to appear before the cardinals. The house was surrounded by soldiers. Huss, after some hesitation, yielded and left, with the hostess standing at the stairs in tears. It was the beginning of the end.
After a short audience with the cardinals, the prisoner was taken away by a guard of soldiers, and within a week he was securely immured in the dungeon of the Dominican convent. Preparations had been going on for several days to provide the place with locks, bolts and other strong furnishings.
In this prison, Huss languished for three months. His cell was hard by the latrines. Fever and vomiting set in, and it seemed likely they would quickly do their dismal work. John XXIII. deserves some credit for having sent his physician, who applied clysters, as Huss himself wrote. To sickness was added the deprivation of books, including the Bible. For two months we have no letters from him. They begin again, with January, 1415, and give us a clear insight into the indignities to which he was exposed and the misery he suffered. These letters were sent by the gaoler.
What was Sigismund doing? He had issued the letter of safe-conduct, Oct. 18. On the day before his arrival in Constance, Dec. 24th, John of Chlum posted up a notice on the cathedral, protesting that the king’s agreement had been treated with defiance by the cardinals. Sigismund professed to be greatly incensed, and blustered, but this was the end of it. He was a time-serving prince who was easily persuaded to yield to the arguments of such ecclesiastical figures as D’Ailly, who insisted that little matters like Huss’ heresy should not impede the reformation of the church, the council’s first concern, and that error unreproved was error countenanced.674 All good churchmen prayed his Majesty might not give way to the lies and subtleties of the Wycliffists. The king of Aragon wrote that Huss should be killed off at once, without having the formality of a hearing.
During his imprisonment in the Black Friars’ convent, Huss wrote for his gaoler, Robert, tracts on the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, Mortal Sin and Marriage. Of the 13 letters preserved from this time, the larger part were addressed to John of Chlum, his trusty friend. Some of the letters were written at midnight, and some on tattered scraps of paper.675 In this correspondence four things are prominent: Huss’ reliance upon the king and his word of honor, his consuming desire to be heard in open council, the expectation of possible death and his trust in God. He feared sentence would be passed before opportunity was given him to speak with the king. "If this is his honor, it is his own lookout," he wrote.676
In the meantime the council had committed the matter of heresy to a commission, with D’Ailly at its head. It plied Huss with questions, and presented heretical articles taken from his writings. Stephen Paletz, his apostate friend, badgered him more than all the rest. His request for a "proctor and advocate" was denied. The thought of death was continually before him. But, as the Lord had delivered Jonah from the whale’s belly, and Daniel from the lions, so, he believed, God would deliver him, if it were expedient.
Upon John XXIII.’s flight, fears were felt that Huss might be delivered by his friends, and the keys of the prison were put into the hands of Sigismund. On March 24th the bishop of Constance had the prisoner chained and transferred by boat to his castle, Gottlieben. There he had freedom to walk about in his chains by day, but he was handcuffed and bound to the wall at night. The imprisonment at Gottlieben lasted seventy-three days, from March 24th-June 5th. If Huss wrote any letters during that time none have survived. It was a strange freak of history that the runaway pontiff, on being seized and brought back to Constance, was sent to Gottlieben to be fellow-prisoner with Huss, the one, the former head of Christendom, condemned for almost every known misdemeanor; the other, the preacher whose life was, by the testimony of all contemporaries, almost without a blemish. The criminal pope was to be released after a brief confinement and elevated to an exalted dignity; the other was to be contemned as a religious felon and burnt as an expiation to orthodox theology.
At Gottlieben, Huss suffered from hemorrhage, headache and other infirmities, and at times was on the brink of starvation. A new commission, appointed April 6, with D’Ailly at its head, now took up seriously the heresy of Huss and Wyclif, whom the council coupled together.677 Huss’ friends had not forgotten him, and 250 Moravian and Bohemian nobles signed a remonstrance at Prag, May 13, which they sent to Sigismund, protesting against the treatment "the beloved master and Christian preacher" was receiving, and asked that he might be granted a public hearing and allowed to return home. Upon a public hearing Huss staked everything, and with such a hearing in view he had gone to Constance.
In order to bring the prisoner within more convenient reach of the commission, he was transferred in the beginning of June to a third prison,—the Franciscan friary. From June 5–8 public hearings were had in the refectory, the room being crowded with cardinals, archbishops, bishops, theologians and persons of lesser degree. Cardinal D’Ailly was present and took the leading part as head of the commission. The action taken May 4th condemning 260 errors and heresies extracted from Wyclif’s works was adapted to rob Huss of whatever hope of release he still indulged. Charges were made against him of holding that Christ is in the consecrated bread only as the soul is in the body, that Wyclif was a good Christian, that salvation was not dependent upon the pope and that no one could be excommunicated except by God Himself. He also had expressed the hope his soul might be where Wyclif’s was.678 When a copy of his book on the Church was shown, they shouted, "Burn it." Whenever Huss attempted to explain his positions, he was met with shouts, "Away with your sophistries. Say, Yes or No." The Englishman, John Stokes, who was present, declared that it seemed to him as if he saw Wyclif himself in bodily form sitting before him.
On the morning of June 7th, Huss exclaimed that God and his conscience were on his side. But, Said D’Ailly, "we cannot go by your conscience when we have other evidence, and the evidence of Gerson himself against you, the most renowned doctor in Christendom."679 D’Ailly and an Englishman attempted to show the logical connection of the doctrine of remanence with realism. When Huss replied that such reasoning was the logic of schoolboys, another Englishman had the courage to add, Huss is quite right: what have these quibbles to do with matters of faith? Sigismund advised Huss to submit, saying that he had told the commission he would not defend any heretic who was determined to stick to his heresy. He also declared that, so long as a single heretic remained, he was ready to light the fire himself with his own hand to burn him. He, however, promised that Huss should have a written list of charges the following day.
That night, as Huss wrote, he suffered from toothache, vomiting, headache and the stone. On June 8th, 39 distinct articles were handed to him, 26 of which were drawn from his work on the Church. When he demurred at some of the statements, D’Ailly had the pertinent sections from the original writings read. When they came to the passage that no heretic should be put to death, the audience shouted in mockery. Huss went on to argue from the case of Saul, after his disobedience towards Agag, that kings in mortal sin have no right to authority. Sigismund happened to be at the moment at the window, talking to Frederick of Bavaria. The prelates, taking advantage of the avowal, cried out, "Tell the king Huss is now attacking him." The emperor turned and said, "John Huss, no one lives without sin." D’Ailly suggested that the prisoner, not satisfied with pulling down the spiritual fabric, was attempting to hurl down the monarchy likewise. In an attempt to break the force of his statement, Huss asked why they had deposed pope John. Sigismund replied that Baldassarre was real pope, but was deposed for his notorious crimes.
The 39 articles included the heretical assertions that the Church is the totality of the elect, that a priest must continue preaching, even though he be under sentence of excommunication, and that whoso is in mortal sin cannot exercise authority. Huss expressed himself ready to revoke statements that might be proved untrue by Scripture and good arguments, but that he would not revoke any which were not so proved. When Sigismund remonstrated, Huss appealed to the judgment bar of God. At the close of the proceedings, D’Ailly declared that a compromise was out of the question. Huss must abjure.680
As Huss passed out in the charge of the archbishop of Riga, John of Chlum had the courage to reach out his hand to him. The act reminds us of the friendly words Georg of Frundsberg spoke to Luther at Worms. Huss was most thankful, and a day or two afterward wrote how delightful it had been to see Lord John, who was not ashamed to hold out his hand to a poor, abject heretic, a prisoner in irons and the butt of all men’s tongues. In addressing the assembly after Huss’ departure, Sigismund argued against accepting submission from the prisoner who, if released, would go back to Bohemia and sow his errors broadcast. "When I was a boy," he said, "I remember the first sprouting of this sect, and see what it is today. We should make an end of the master one day, and when I return from my journey we will deal with his pupil. What’s his name?" The reply was, Jerome. Yes, said the king, I mean Jerome.
Huss, as he himself states, was pestered in prison by emissaries who sought to entrap him, or to "hold out baskets" for him to escape in. Some of the charges made against him he ascribes to false witnesses. But many of the charges were not false, and it is difficult to understand how he could expect to free himself by a public statement, in view of the solemn condemnation passed upon the doctrines of Wyclif. He was convinced that none of the articles brought against him were contrary to the Gospel of Christ, but canon law ruled at councils, not Scripture. A doctor told him that if the council should affirm he had only one eye, he ought to accept the verdict. Huss replied if the whole world were to tell him so, he would not say so and offend his conscience, and he appealed to the case of Eleazar in the Book of the Maccabees, who would not make a lying confession.681 But he was setting his house in order. He wrote affecting messages to his people in Bohemia and to John of Chlum. He urged the Bohemians to hear only priests of good report, and especially those who were earnest students of Holy Writ. Martin he adjured to read the Bible diligently, especially the New Testament.
On June 15th, the council took the far-reaching action forbidding the giving of the cup to laymen. This action Huss condemned as wickedness and madness, on the ground that it was a virtual condemnation of Christ’s example and command. To Hawlik, who had charge of the Bethlehem chapel, he wrote, urging him not to withhold the cup from the laity.682 He saw indisputable proof that the council was fallible. One day it kissed the feet of John, as a paragon of virtue, and called him "most holy," and the next it condemned him as "a shameful homicide, a sodomite, a simoniac and a heretic." He quoted the proverb, common among the Swiss, that a generation would not suffice to cleanse Constance from the sins the body had committed in that city.
The darkness deepened around the prisoner. On June 24th, by the council’s orders, his writings were to be burnt, even those written in Czech which, almost in a tone of irony, as he wrote, the councillors had not seen and could not read. He bade his friends not be terrified, for Jeremiah’s books, which the prophet had written at the Lord’s direction, were burnt.
His affectionate interest in the people of "his glorious country" and in the university on the Moldau, and his feeling of gratitude to the friends who had supported him continued unabated. A dreadful death was awaiting him, but he recalled the sufferings of Apostles and the martyrs, and especially the agonies endured by Christ, and he believed he would be purged of his sins through the flames. D’Ailly had replied to him on one occasion by peremptorily saying he should obey the decision of 50 doctors of the Church and retract without asking any questions. "A wonderful piece of information," he wrote, "As if the virgin, St. Catherine, ought to have renounced the truth and her faith in the Lord because 50 philosophers opposed her."683 In one of his last letters, written to his alma mater of Prag, he declared he had not recanted a single article.
On the first day of July, he was approached by the archbishops of Riga and Ragusa and 6 other prelates, who still had a hope of drawing from him a recantation. A written declaration made by Huss in reply showed the hope vain.684 Another effort was made July 5th, Cardinals D’Ailly and Zabarella and bishop Hallum of Salisbury being of the party of visiting prelates. Huss closed the discussion by declaring that he would rather be burnt a thousand times than abjure, for by abjuring he said he would offend those whom he had taught.685
Still another deputation approached him, his three friends John of Chlum, Wenzel of Duba and Lacembok, and four bishops. They were sent by Sigismund. As a layman, John of Chlum did not venture to give Huss advice, but bade him, if he felt sure of his cause, rather than to be against God, to stand fast, even to death. One of the bishops asked whether he presumed to be wiser than the whole council. No, was the reply, but to retract he must be persuaded of his errors out of the Scriptures. "An obstinate heretic!" exclaimed the bishops. This was the final interview in private. The much-desired opportunity was at hand for him to stand before the council as a body, and it was his last day on earth.
After seven months of dismal imprisonment and deepening disappointment, on Saturday, July 6th, Huss was conducted to the cathedral. It was 6 A. M., and he was kept waiting outside the doors until the celebration of mass was completed. He was then admitted to the sacred edifice, but not to make a defence, as he had come to Constance hoping to do. He was to listen to sentence pronounced upon him as an ecclesiastical outcast and criminal. He was placed in the middle of the church on a high stool, set there specially for him.686 The bishop of Lodi preached from Rom. 6:6, "that the body of sin may be destroyed." The extermination of heretics was represented as one of the works most pleasing to God, and the preacher used the time-worn illustrations from the rotten piece of flesh, the little spark which is in danger of turning into a great flame and the creeping cancer. The more virulent the poison the swifter should be the application of the cauterizing iron. In the style of Bossuet in a later age, before Louis XIV., he pronounced upon Sigismund the eulogy that his name would be coupled with song and triumph for all time for his efforts to uproot schism and destroy heresy.
The commission, which included Patrick, bishop of Cork, appointed to pronounce the sentence, then ascended the pulpit. All expressions of feeling with foot or hand, all vociferation or attempt to start disputation were solemnly forbidden on pain of excommunication. 30 articles were then read, which were pronounced as heretical, seditious and offensive to pious ears. The sentence coupled in closest relation Wyclif and Huss.687 The first of the articles charged the prisoner with holding that the Church is the totality of the predestinate, and the last that no civil lord or prelate may exercise authority who is in mortal sin. Huss begged leave to speak, but was hushed up.
The sentence ran that "the holy council, having God only before its eye, condemns John Huss to have been and to be a true, real and open heretic, the disciple not of Christ but of John Wyclif, one who in the University of Prag and before the clergy and people declared Wyclif to be a Catholic and an evangelical doctor—vir catholicus et doctor evangelicus." It ordered him degraded from the sacerdotal order, and, not wishing to exceed the powers committed unto the Church, it relinquished him to the secular authority.
Not a dissenting voice was lifted against the sentence. Even John Gerson voted for it. One incident has left its impress upon history, although it is not vouched for by a contemporary. It is said that, when Huss began to speak, he looked at Sigismund, reminding him of the safe-conduct. The king who sat in state and crowned, turned red, but did not speak.
The order of degradation was carried out by six bishops, who disrobed the condemned man of his vestments and destroyed his tonsure. They then put on his head a cap covered over with pictures of the devil and inscribed with the word, heresiarch, and committed his soul to the devil. With upturned eyes, Huss exclaimed, "and I commit myself to the most gracious Lord Jesus."
The old motto that the Church does not want blood—ecclesia non sitit sanguinem — was in appearance observed, but the authorities knew perfectly well what was to be the last scene when they turned Huss over to Sigismund. "Go, take him and do to him as a heretic" were the words with which the king remanded the prisoner to the charge of Louis, the Count Palatine. A guard of a thousand armed men was at hand. The streets were thronged with people. As Huss passed on, he saw the flames on the public square which were consuming his books. For fear of the bridge’s breaking down, the greater part of the crowd was not allowed to cross over to the place of execution, called the Devil’s Place. Huss’ step had been firm, but now, with tears in his eyes, he knelt down and prayed. The paper cap falling from his head, the crowd shouted that it should be put on, wrong side front.
It was midday. The prisoner’s hands were fastened behind his back, and big neck bound to the stake by a chain. On the same spot sometime before, so the chronicler notes, a cardinal’s worn-out mule had been buried. The straw and wood were heaped up around Huss’ body to the chin, and rosin sprinkled upon them. The offer of life was renewed if he would recant. He refused and said, "I shall die with joy to-day in the faith of the gospel which I have preached." When Richental, who was standing by, suggested a confessor, he replied, "There is no need of one. I have no mortal sin." At the call of bystanders, they turned his face away from the East, and as the flames arose, he sang twice, Christ, thou Son of the living God, have mercy upon me. The wind blew the fire into the martyr’s face, and his voice was hushed. He died, praying and singing. To remove, if possible, all chance of preserving relics from the scene, Huss’ clothes and shoes were thrown into the merciless flames. The ashes were gathered up and cast into the Rhine.
While this scene was being enacted, the council was going on with the transaction of business as if the burning without the gates were only a common event. Three weeks later, it announced that it had done nothing more pleasing to God than to punish the Bohemian heretic. For this act it has been chiefly remembered by after generations.
Not one of the members of the Council of Constance, after its adjournment, so far as we know, uttered a word of protest against the sentence. No pope or oecumenical synod since has made any apology for it. Nor has any modern Catholic historian gone further than to indicate that in essential theological doctrines Huss was no heretic, though his sentence was strictly in accord with the principles of the canon law. So long as the dogmas of an infallible Church organization and an infallible pope continue to be strictly held, no apology can be expected. It is of the nature of Protestant Christianity to confess wrongs and, as far as is possible, make reparation for them. When the Massachusetts court discovered that it had erred in the case of the Salem witchcraft in 1692, it made full confession, and offered reparation to the surviving descendants; and Judge Sewall, one of the leaders in the prosecution, made a moving public apology for the mistake he had committed. The same court recalled the action against Roger Williams. In 1903, the Protestants of France reared a monument at Geneva in expiation of Calvin’s part in passing sentence upon Servetus. Luther, in his Address to the German Nobility, called upon the Roman Church to confess it had done wrong in burning Huss. That innocent man’s blood still cries from the ground.
Huss died for his advocacy of Wycliffism. The sentence passed by the council coupled the two names together.688 The 25th of the 30 Articles condemned him for taking offence at the reprobation of the 45 articles, ascribed to Wyclif. How much this article was intended to cover cannot be said. It is certain that Huss did not formally deny the doctrine of transubstantiation, although he was charged with that heresy. Nor was he distinctly condemned for urging the distribution of the cup to the laity, which he advocated after the council had positively forbidden it. His only offence was his definition of the Church and his denial of the infallibility of the papacy and its necessity for the being of the Church. These charges constitute the content of all the 30 articles except the 25th. Luther said brusquely but truly, that Huss committed no more atrocious sin than to declare that a Roman pontiff of impious life is not the head of the Church catholic.689
John Huss struck at the foundations of the hierarchical system. He interpreted our Lord’s words to Peter in a way that was fatal to the papal theory of Leo, Hildebrand and Innocent III.690 His conception of the Church, which he drew from Wyclif, contains the kernel of an entirely new system of religious authority. He made the Scriptures the final source of appeal, and exalted the authority of the conscience above pope, council and canon law as an interpreter of truth. He carried out these views in practice by continuing to preach in spite of repeated sentences of excommunication, and attacking the pope’s right to call a crusade. If the Church be the company of the elect, as Huss maintained, then God rules in His people and they are sovereign. With such assertions, the teachings of Thomas Aquinas were set aside.
The enlightened group of men who shared the spirit of Gerson and D’Ailly did not comprehend Wycliffism, for Wycliffism was a revolt against an alleged divine institution, the visible Church. Gerson denied that the appeal to conscience was an excuse for refusing to submit to ecclesiastical authority. Faith, with him, was agreement with the Church’s system. The chancellor not only voted for Huss’ condemnation, but declared he had busily worked to bring the sentence about. Nineteen articles he drew from Huss’ work on the Church, he pronounced "notoriously heretical." However, at a later time, in a huff over the leniency shown to Jean Petit, he stated that if Huss had been given an advocate, he would never have been convicted.691
In starting out for Constance, Huss knew well the punishment appointed for heretics. The amazing thing is that he should ever have thought it possible to clear himself by a public address before the council. In view of the procedure of the Inquisition, the council showed him unheard-of consideration in allowing him to appear in the cathedral. This was done out of regard for Sigismund, who was on the eve of his journey to Spain to induce Benedict of Luna to abdicate.692
As for the safe-conduct—salvo-conductus — issued by Sigismund, all that can be said is that a king did not keep his word. He was more concerned to be regarded as the patron of a great council than to protect a Bohemian preacher, his future subject. Writing with reference to the solemn pledge, Huss said, "Christ deceives no man by a safe-conduct. What he pledges he fulfils. Sigismund has acted deceitfully throughout."693 The plea, often made, that the king had no intention of giving Huss an unconditional pledge of protection, is in the face of the documentary evidence. In September, 1415, the Council of Constance took formal notice of the criticisms floating about that in Huss’ execution a solemn promise had been broken, and announced that no brief of safe-conduct in the case of a heretic is binding. No pledge is to be observed which is prejudicial to the Catholic faith and ecclesiastical jurisdiction.694
The safe-conduct was in the ordinary form, addressed to all the princes and subjects of the empire, ecclesiastical and secular, and informing them that Huss should be allowed to pass, remain and return without impediment. Jerome, according to the sentence passed upon him by the council, declared that the safe-conduct had been grossly violated, and when, in 1433, the legates of the Council of Basel attempted to throw the responsibility for Huss’ condemnation on false witnesses, so called, Rokyzana asked how the Council of Constance could have been moved by the Holy Ghost if it were controlled by perjurers, and showed that the violation of the safe-conduct had not been forgotten. When the Bohemian deputies a year earlier had come to Basel, they demanded the most carefully prepared briefs of safe-conduct from the Council of Basel, the cities of Eger and Basel and from Sigismund and others. Frederick of Brandenburg and John of Bavaria agreed to furnish troops to protect the Hussites on their way to Basel, at Basel, and on their journey home. A hundred and six years later, Luther profited by Huss’ misfortune when he recalled Sigismund’s perfidy, perfidy which the papal system of the 16th century would have repeated, had Charles V. given his consent.695
In a real sense, Huss was the precursor of the Reformation. It is true, the prophecy was wrongly ascribed to him, "To-day you roast a goose—Huss—but a hundred years from now a swan will arise out of my ashes which you shall not roast." Unknown to contemporary writers, it probably originated after Luther had fairly entered upon his work. But he struck a hard blow at hierarchical assumption before Luther raised his stronger arm. Luther was moved by Huss’ case, and at Leipzig, forced to the wall by Eck’s thrusts, the Wittenberg monk made the open avowal that oecumenical councils also may err, as was done in putting Huss to death at Constance. Years before, at Erfurt, he had taken up a volume of the Bohemian sermons, and was amazed that a man who preached so evangelically should have been condemned to the stake. But for fear of the taint of heresy, he quickly put it down.696 The accredited view in Luther’s time was given by Dobneck in answer to Luther’s good opinion, when he said that Huss was worse than a Turk, Jew, Tartar and Sodomite. In his edition of Huss’ letters, printed 1537, Luther praised Huss’ patience and humility under every indignity and his courage before an imposing assembly as a lamb in the midst of wolves and lions. If such a man, he wrote, "is to be regarded as a heretic, then no person under the sun can be looked upon as a true Christian."
A cantionale, dating from 1572, and preserved in the Prag library, contains a hymn to Huss’ memory and three medallions which well set forth the relation in which Wyclif and Huss stand to the Reformation. The first represents Wyclif striking sparks from a stone. Below it is Huss, kindling a fire from the sparks. In the third medallion, Luther is holding aloft the flaming torch. his is the historic succession, although it is true Luther began his career as a Reformer before he was influenced by Huss, and continued his work, knowing little of Wyclif.
To the cause of religious toleration, and without intending it, John Huss made a more effectual contribution by his death than could have been made by many philosophical treatises, even as the deaths of Blandina and other martyrs of the early Church, who were slaves, did more towards the reduction of the evils of slavery than all the sentences of Pagan philosophers. Quite like his English teacher, he affirmed the sovereign rights of the truth. It was his habit, so he stated, to conform his views to the truth, whatever the truth might be. If any one, he said, "can instruct me by the sacred Scriptures or by good reasoning, I am willing to follow him. From the outset of my studies, I have made it a rule to joyfully and humbly recede from a former opinion when in any matter I perceive a more rational opinion."697
§ 46. Jerome of Prag.
A year after Huss’ martyrdom, on May 30, 1416, his friend Jerome of Prag was condemned by the council and also suffered at the stake. He shared Huss’ enthusiasm for Wyclif, was perhaps his equal in scholarship, but not in steadfast constancy. Huss’ life was spent in Prag and its vicinity. Jerome travelled in Western Europe and was in Prag only occasionally. Huss left quite a body of writings, Jerome, none.
Born of a good family at Prag, Jerome studied in his native city, and later at Oxford and Paris. At Oxford he became a student and admirer of Wyclif’s writings, two of which, the Trialogus and the Dialogus, he carried with him back to Bohemia not later than 1402. In Prag, he defended the English doctor as a holy man "whose doctrines were more worthy of acceptance than Augustine himself," stood with Huss in the contest over the rights of the Bohemian nation, and joined him in attacking the papal indulgences, 1412.
Soon after arriving in Constance, Huss wrote to John of Chlum not to allow Jerome on any account to go to join him. In spite of this warning, Jerome set out and reached Constance April 4th, 1415, but urged by friends he quit the city. He was seized at Hirschau, April 15, and taken back in chains. There is every reason for supposing he and Huss did not see one another, although Huss mentions him in a letter within a week before his death,698 expressing the hope that he would die holy and blameless and be of a braver spirit in meeting pain than he was. Huss had misjudged himself. In the hour of grave crisis he proved constant and heroic, while his friend gave way.
On Sept. 11, 1415, Jerome solemnly renounced his admiration for Wyclif and professed accord with the Roman church and the Apostolic see and, twelve days later, solemnly repeated his abjuration in a formula prepared by the council.699
Release from prison did not follow. It was the council’s intention that Jerome should sound forth his abjuration as loudly as possible in Bohemia, and write to Wenzel, the university and the Bohemian nobles; but he disappointed his judges. Following Gerson’s lead, the council again put the recusant heretic on trial. The sittings took place in the cathedral, May 23 and 26, 1416. The charge of denying transubstantiation Jerome repudiated, but he confessed to having done ill in pledging himself to abandon the writings and teachings of that good man John Wyclif, and Huss. Great injury had been done to Huss, who had come to the council with assurance of safe-conduct. Even Judas or a Saracen ought under such circumstances to be free to come and go and to speak his mind freely.
On May 30, Jerome was again led into the cathedral. The bishop of Lodi ascended the pulpit and preached a sermon, calling upon the council to punish the prisoner, and counselling that against other such heretics, if there should be any, any witnesses whatever should be allowed to testify,—ruffians, thieves and harlots. The sermon being over, Jerome mounted a bench—bancum ascendens — and made a defence whose eloquence is attested by Poggio and others who were present. Thereupon, the, holy synod "pronounced him a follower of Wyclif and Huss, and adjudged him to be cast off as a rotten and withered branch—palmitem putridum et aridum.700
Jerome went out from the cathedral wearing a cheerful countenance. A paper cap was put on his head, painted over with red devils. No sentence of deposition was necessary or ceremony of disrobing, for the condemned man was merely a laic.701 He died on the spot where Huss suffered. As the wood was being piled around him, he sang the Easter hymn, salva festa dies, Hail, festal day. The flames were slow in putting an end to his miseries as compared with Huss. His ashes were thrown into the Rhine. And many learned people wept, the chronicler Richental says, that he had to die, for he was almost more learned than Huss. After his death, the council joined his name with the names of Wyclif and Huss as leaders of heresy.
Poggio Bracciolini’s description of Jerome’s address in the cathedral runs thus:—
It was wonderful to see with what words, with what eloquence, with what arguments, with what countenance and with what composure, Jerome replied to his adversaries, and how fairly he put his case .... He advanced nothing unworthy of a good man, as though he felt confident—as he also publicly asserted—that no just reason could be found for his death .... Many persons he touched with humor, many with satire, many very often he caused to laugh in spite of the sad affair, jesting at their reproaches .... He took them back to Socrates, unjustly condemned by his fellow-citizens. Then be mentioned the captivity of Plato, the flight of Anaxagoras, the torture of Zeno and the unjust condemnation of many other Pagans .... Thence he passed to the Hebrew examples, first instancing Moses, the liberator of his people, Joseph, sold by his brethren, Isaiah, Daniel, Susannah .... Afterwards, coming down to John the Baptist and then to the Saviour, he showed how, in each case, they were condemned by false witnesses and false judges .... Then proceeding to praise John Huss, who had been condemned to be burnt, he called him a good man, just and holy, unworthy of such a death, saying that he himself was prepared to go to any punishment whatsoever .... He said that Huss had never held opinions hostile to the Church of God, but only against the abuses of the clergy, against the pride, the arrogance and the pomp of prelates .... He displayed the greatest cleverness,—for, when his speech was often interrupted with various disturbances, he left no one unscathed but turned trenchantly upon his accusers and forced them to blush, or be still .... For 340 days he lay in the bottom of a foul, dark tower. He himself did not complain at the harshness of this treatment, but expressed his wonder that such inhumanity could be shown him. In the dungeon, he said, he had not only no facilities for reading, but none for seeing .... He stood there fearless and unterrified, not alone despising death but seeking it, so that you would have said he was another Cato. O man, worthy of the everlasting memory of men! I praise not that which he advanced, if anything contrary to the institutions of the Church; but I admire his learning, his eloquence, his persuasiveness of speech, his adroitness in reply .... Persevering in his errors, he went to his fate with joyful and willing countenance, for he feared not the fire nor any kind of torture or death .... When the executioners wished to start the fire behind his back that he might not see it, he said, ’Come here and light the fire in front of me. If I had been afraid of it, I should never have come to this place.’ In this way a man worthy, except in respect of faith, was burnt .... Not Mutius himself suffered his arm to burn with such high courage as did this man his whole body. Nor did Socrates drink the poison so willingly as be accepted the flames.702
Aeneas Sylvius, afterwards Pius II., bore similar testimony to the cheerfulness which Huss and Jerome displayed in the face of death, and said that they went to the stake as to a feast and suffered death with more courage than any philosopher.703
§ 47. The Hussites.
The news of Huss’ execution stirred the Bohemian nation to its depths. Huss was looked upon as a national hero and a martyr. The revolt, which followed, threatened the very existence of the papal rule in Bohemia. No other dissenting movement of the Middle Ages assumed such formidable proportions. The Hussites, the name given to the adherents of the new body, soon divided into two organized parties, the Taborites and the Calixtines or Utraquists. They agreed in demanding the distribution of the cup to the laity. A third body, the Unitas Fratrum, or Bohemian Brethren, originated in the middle of the 15th century, forty years after Huss’ death. When it became known that Huss had perished in the flames, the populace of Prag stoned the houses of the priests unfriendly to the martyr; and the archbishop himself was attacked in his palace, and with difficulty eluded the popular rage by flight. King Wenzel at first seemed about to favor the popular party.
The Council of Constance, true to itself, addressed a document to the bishop and clergy of Prag, designating Wyclif, Huss and Jerome as most unrighteous, dangerous and shameful men,704 and calling upon the Prag officials to put down those who were sowing their doctrines.
The high regard in which Huss was held found splendid expression at the Bohemian diet, Sept. 2, 1415, when 452 nobles signed an indignant remonstrance to the council for its treatment of their "most beloved brother," whom they pronounced to be a righteous and catholic man, known in Bohemia for many years by his exemplary life and honest preaching of the law of the Gospel. They concluded the document by announcing their intention to defend, even to the effusion of blood, the law of Christ and his devoted preachers.705 Three days later, the nobles formed a league which was to remain in force for six years, in which they bound themselves to defend the free preaching of the Gospel on their estates, and to recognize the authority of prelates only so far as they acted according to the Scriptures.
To this manifesto the council, Feb. 20, 1416, replied by citing the signers to appear before it within 50 days, on pain of being declared contumacious.
Huss’ memory also had honor at the hands of the university, which, on May 23, 1416, sent forth a communication addressed to all lands, eulogizing him as in all things a master whose life was without an equal.706 In omnibus Magister vitae sine pari.
Upon the dissolution of the council, Martin V., who, as a member of the curia, had excommunicated Huss, did not allow the measures to root out Hussitism drag. In his bull Inter cunctos,707 Feb. 22, 1418, he ordered all of both sexes punished as heretics who maintained "the pestilential doctrine of the heresiarchs, John Wyclif, John Huss and Jerome of Prag." Wenzel announced his purpose to obey the council, but many of his councillors left the court, including the statesman, Nicolas of Pistna, and the military leader, the one-eyed John Zizka. The popular excitement ran so high that, during a Hussite procession, the crowd rushed into the council-house and threw out of the window seven of the councillors who had dared to insult the procession.
Affairs entered a new stage with Wenzel’s death, 1419. With considerable unanimity the Bohemian nobles acceded to his successor Sigismund’s demand that the cup be withheld from the laity, but the nation at large did not acquiesce, and civil war followed. Convents and churches were sacked. Sigismund could not make himself master of his kingdom, and an event occurred during his visit in Breslau which deepened the feeling against him. A merchant, John Krasa, asserting on the street the innocence of Huss, was dragged at a horse’s tail to the stake and burnt. Hussite preachers inveighed against Sigismund, calling him the dragon of the Apocalypse.
Martin V. now summoned Europe to a crusade against Bohemia, offering the usual indulgences, as Innocent III. had done two centuries before, when he summoned a crusade against the Cathari in Southern France. In obedience to the papal mandate, 150,000 men gathered from all parts of Europe. All the horrors of war were perpetrated, and whole provinces desolated. Five times the holy crusaders entered the land of Huss, and five times they were beaten back. In 1424 the Hussites lost their bravest military leader, John Zizka, but in 1427, under his successor, Procopius Rasa, called the Great, the most influential priest of Prag, they took the offensive and invaded Germany.
While they were winning victories over the foreign intruders, the Hussites were divided among themselves in regard to the extent to which the religious reformation should be carried. The radical party, called the Taborites, from the steep hill Tabor, 60 miles south of Prag, on which they built a city, rejected transubstantiation, the worship of saints, prayers for the dead, indulgences and priestly confession and renounced oaths, dances and other amusements. They admitted laymen, including women, to the office of preaching, and used the national tongue in all parts of the public service. Zizka, their first leader, held the sword in the spirit of one of the Judges. After his death, the stricter wing of the Taborites received the name of the Orphans.
The moderate party was called now Pragers, from the chief seat of their influence, now Calixtines,—from the word calix or cup,—or Utraquists from the expression sub utraque specie, "under both forms," from their insisting upon the administration of the cup to the laity. The University of Prag took sides with the Calixtines and, in 1420, the four so-called Prag articles were adopted. This compact demanded the free preaching of the Gospel, the distribution of the cup to the laity, the execution of punishment for mortal sins by the civil court, and the return of the clergy to the practice of Apostolic poverty. The Calixtines confined the use of Czech at the church service to the Scripture readings.708
After the disastrous rout of the Catholic army, led by Cardinal Cesarini at Tauss, Aug. 14, 1431, the history of the Bohemian movement passed into a third stage, marked by the negotiations begun by the Council of Basel and the almost complete annihilation of the Taborite party. It was a new spectacle for an oecumenical council to treat with heretics as with a party having rights. Unqualified submission was the demand which the Church had heretofore made. On Oct. 15, 1431, the council invited the Bohemians to a conference and promised delegates safe-conduct. This promise assured them that neither guile nor deceit would be resorted to on any ground whatsoever, whether it be of authority or the privileges of canon law or of the decisions of the Councils of Constance and Siena or any other council.709 Three hundred delegates appointed by the Bohemian diet appeared in Basel. On the way, at Eger, and in the presence of the landgrave of Brandenburg and John, duke of Bavaria, they laid down their own terms, which were sent ahead and accepted by the council.710 These terms, embodied in thirteen articles, dealt with the method of carrying on the negotiations, the cessation of the interdict during the sojourn of the delegates in the Swiss city and the privilege of practising their own religious rites. The leaders of the Bohemian delegation were John Rokyzana of the Utraquist party and the Taborite, Procopius. Rokyzana was the pastor of the Teyn Church in Prag.
The council recognized the austere principles of the Hussites by calling upon the Basel authorities to prohibit all dancing and gambling and the appearance of loose women on the streets. On their arrival, Jan. 4, 1433, the Bohemians were assigned to four public taverns, and a large supply of wine and provisions placed at their disposal. Delegations from the council and from the city bade them formal welcome. They followed their own rituals, the Taborites arousing most curiosity by the omission of all Latin from the services and discarding altar and priestly vestments.
On the floor of the council, the Bohemians coupled praise with the names of Wyclif and Huss, and would tolerate no references to themselves as heretics. The discussions were prolonged to a wearisome length, some of their number occupying as much as two or three days in their addresses. Among the chief speakers was the Englishman, Peter Payne, whose address consumed three days. The final agreement of four articles, known as the Campactata, was ratified by deputies of the council and of the three Bohemian parties giving one another the hand. The main article granted the use of the cup to the laity, where it was asked, but on condition that the doctrine be inculcated that the whole Christ is contained in each of the elements. The use of the cup was affirmed to be wholesome to those partaking worthily.711 The Compacts were ratified by the Bohemian diet of Iglau, July 5, 1436. All ecclesiastical censures were lifted from Bohemia and its people. The abbot of Bonnival, addressing the king of Castile upon the progress of the Council of Basel, declared that the Bohemians at the start were like ferocious lions and greedy wolves, but through the mercy of Christ and after much discussion had been turned into the meekest lambs and accepted the four articles.712
Although technically the question was settled, the Taborites were not satisfied. The Utraquists approached closer to the Catholics. Hostilities broke out between them, and after a wholesale massacre in Prag, involving, it is said, 22,000 victims, the two parties joined in open war. The Taborites were defeated in the battle at Lipan, May 30, 1434, and Procopius slain. This distinguished man had travelled extensively, going as far as Jerusalem before receiving priestly orders. He was a brilliant leader, and won many successes in Austria, Moravia and Hungary. The power of the Taborites was gone, and in 1452 they lost Mt. Tabor, their chief stronghold.
The emperor now entered upon possession of his Bohemian kingdom and granted full recognition to the Utraquist priests, promising to give his sanction to the elections of bishops made by the popular will and to secure their ratification by the pope. Rokyzana was elected archbishop of Prag by the Bohemian diet of 1435. Sigismund died soon after, 1437, and the archbishop never received papal recognition, although he administered the affairs of the diocese until his death, 1471.
Albert of Austria, son-in-law of Sigismund and an uncompromising Catholic, succeeded to the throne. In 1457 George Podiebrad, a powerful noble, was crowned by Catholic bishops, and remained king of Bohemia till 1471. He was a consistent supporter of the national party which held to the Compactata. The papal authorities, refusing to recognize Rokyzana, despatched emissaries to subdue the heretics by the measures of preaching and miracles. The most noted among them were Fra Giacomo and John of Capistrano. John, whose miraculous agency equalled his eloquence, succumbed to a fever after the battle of Belgrade.
In 1462 the Compacts were declared void by Pius II., who threatened with excommunication all priests administering the cup to the laity. George Podiebrad resisted the papal bull. Four years later, a papal decree sought to deprive that "son of perdition" of his royal dignity, and summoned the Hungarian king, Matthias Corvinus, to take his crown.713 Matthias accepted the responsibility, the cross and invaded Moravia. The war was still in progress when Podiebrad died. By the peace of Kuttenberg 1485 and an agreement made in 1512, the Utraquists preserved their right to exist at the side of their Catholic neighbors. Thus they continued till 1629, when the right of communion in both kinds was withdrawn by Ferdinand II. of Austria, whose hard and bloody hand put an end to all open dissent in Bohemia.714
The third outgrowth from the Hussite stock, the Unitas Fratrum, commonly called the Bohemian Brethren, has had an honorable and a longer history than the Taborites and Calixtines. This body still has existence in the Moravians, whose missionary labors, with Herrnhut as a centre, have stirred all Protestant Christendom. Its beginnings are uncertain. It appears distinctly for the first time in 1457, and continued to grow till the time of the Reformation. Its synod of 1467 was attended by 60 Brethren. The members in Prag were subjected to persecution, and George Podiebrad gave them permission to settle on the estate, Lititz, in the village corporation of Kunwald.715 Martin, priest at Königgraetz, with a part of his flock affiliated himself with them, and other congregations were soon formed. They were a distinct type, worshipping by themselves, and did not take the sacraments from the Catholic priests. They rejected oaths, war and military service and resorted, apparently from the beginning, to the lot. They also rejected the doctrine of purgatory and all services of priests of unworthy life.
The exact relation which this Hussite body bore to the Taborites and to the Austrian Waldenses is a matter which has called forth much learned discussion, and is still involved in uncertainty. But there seems to be no doubt that the Bohemian Brethren were moved by the spirit of Huss, and also that in their earliest period they came into contact with the Waldenses. Pressing up from Italy, the followers of Peter Valdez had penetrated into Bohemia in the later part of the 14th century, and had Frederick Reiser as their leader.716 This Apostolic man was present at the Council of Basel, 1435, and styled himself, "the bishop of the faithful in the Romish church, who reject the donation of Constantine." With Anna Weiler, he suffered at the stake in Strassburg, 1458. One of the earliest names associated with the Bohemian Brethren is the name of Peter Chelcicky, a marked religious personage in his day in Bohemia. We know he was a man of authority among them, but little more.717
Believing that the papal priesthood had been corrupt since Constantine’s donation to Sylvester, the Brethren, at the synod of 1467, chose Michael, pastor of Senftenburg, "presbyter and bishop," and sent him to the Waldensian bishop Stephen for sanction or consecration.718 It seems probable that Stephen had received orders at Basel from bishops in the regular succession. On his return, Michael consecrated Matthias of Kunwald, while he himself, for a time and for a reason not known, was not officially recognized. The synod had resorted to the lot and placed the words "he is" on 3 out of 12 ballots, 9 being left blank. Matthias chose one of he printed ballots.719 Matthias, in turn, ordained Thomas and Elias bishops, men who had drawn the other two printed ballots.
By 1500, the Bohemian Brethren numbered 200,000 scattered in 300 or 400 congregations in Bohemia and Moravia. They had their own confession, catechism and hymnology.720 Of the 60 Bohemian books printed 1500–1510, 50 are said to have been by members of the sect. A new period in their history was introduced by Lucas of Prag, d. 1528, a voluminous writer. He gave explanations of the Brethren’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper to Luther. Brethren, including Michael Weiss, the hymnwriter, visited the German Reformer, and in 1521 he had in his possession their catechism.
The merciless persecutions of the Brethren and the other remaining Hussite sectarists were opened under the Austrian rule of Ferdinand I. in 1549, and continued, with interruptions, till the Thirty Years’ War when, under inspiration of the Jesuits, the government resorted to measures memorable for their heartlessness to blot out heresy from Bohemia and Moravia.
The Church of the Brethren had a remarkable resurrection in the Moravians, starting with the settlement of Christian David and other Hussite families in 1722 on land given by Count Zinzendorf at Herrnhut. They preserve the venerable name of their spiritual ancestry, Unitas Fratrum, and they have made good their heritage by their missionary labors which have carried the Gospel to the remotest ends of the earth, from Greenland to the West Indies and Guiana, and from the leper colony of Jerusalem to Thibet and Australia. In our own land, David Zeisberger and other Moravian missionaries have shown in their labors among the Indian tribes the godly devotion of John Huss, whose body the flames at Constance were able to destroy, but not his sacred memory and influence.
* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.
535 Mandeville composed his travels in 1356 in French, and then translated out of French into English, that every man of his nation might understand. Trevisa, writing in 1387, said that all grammar schools and English children "leaveth French and construeth and learneth English."
536 See Kriehn, AmHist. Rev., pp. 480, 483.
537 Gascoigne, as quoted by Gairdner: Lollardy and the Reform., I. 262.
538 p. 253
539 His Defensio curatorum contra eos qui privilegatos se dicunt is printed in Goldast, II. 466 sqq. See art. Fitzralph, by R. L. Poole, Dict. of Nat. Biog., XIX. 194-198. Four books of Fitzralph’s De pauperie salvatoris were printed for the first time by Poole in his ed. of Wyclif’s De dominio, pp. 257-477. As for libraries, Fitzralph says that in every English convent there was a grand library. On the other hand, the author of the Philobiblion, Rich. de Bury, charges the friars with losing their interest in books.
540 Wyclif: De verit. scr., I. 30, 109, etc.
541 De causa Dei contra Pelagium et de virtute causarum ad suos Mertinenses, ed. by Sir Henry Saville, London, 1618. For other works, see Seeberg’s art. in Herzog, III. 350, and Stephens in Dict. of Nat. Biog., VI. 188 sq. Also S. Hahn, Thos. Bradwardinus, und seine Lehre von d. menschl. Willensfreiheit, Münster, 1905.
542 See art. by Tait in Dict. of Nat. Biog., LXIII. 225-231.
543 Rolls Series, IV. 559.
544 De eccles., p. 332
545 Walsingham, Hist. Angl., I. 200 sqq., and the pope’s reply, p. 208 sqq. Benedict showed his complete devotion to the French king when he wrote that, if he had two souls, one of them should be given for him. Quoted by Loserth, Stud. Zur Kirchenpol., p. 20.
546 Gee and Hardy, pp. 92-94.
547 For the text of the parliamentary brief and the king’s letter, which was written in French, see Merimuth, p. 138 sqq., 153 sqq., and for Clement’s reply, Bliss, III., 9 sqq.
548 See the texts of these statutes in Gee and Hardy, 103 sqq., 112-123. With reference to the renewal of the act in 1390, Fuller quaintly says: "It mauled the papal power in the land. Some former laws had pared the pope’s nails to the quick, but this cut off his fingers."
549 II. 345; III. 54 sq. Prebend has reference to the stipend, canonry to the office.
550 Bliss, II. 521. Cases of the payment of large sums for appointments to the pope and of the disappointed ecclesiastics-elect are given in Merimuth, pp. 31, 57, 59, 60, 61, 71, 120, 124, 172, etc., Bliss and others. Merimuth, p. 67, etc., refers constant]y to the bribery used by such expressions as causa pecunialiter cognita, and non sine magna pecuniae quantitate. In cases, the pope renounced the right of provision, as Clement V., in 1308, the livings held in commendam by the cardinal of St. Sabina, and valued at 1000 marks. See Bliss, II. 48. For the cases of agents sent by two cardinals to England to collect the incomes of their livings, and their imprisonment, see Walsingham, I. 259
551 Bliss IV. 257.
552 Inter curiales vertitur in proverbium quod Anglici sunt boni asini, omnia onera eis imposita et intolerabilia supportantes. Merimuth, p. 175. To these burdens imposed upon England by the papal see were added, as in Matthew Paris’ times, severe calamities from rain and cold. Merimuth tells of a great flood in 1339, when the rain fell from October to the first of December, so that the country looked like a continuous sea. Then bitter cold setting in, the country looked like one field of ice.
553 Often supposed to be a description of Wyclif.
554 Fasciculi, p. 362.
555 Leland’s Itinerary placed Wyclif’s birth in 1324. Buddensieg and Rashdall prefer 1330. Leland, our first authority for the place of birth, mentions Spresswell (Hipswell) and Wyclif-on-Tees, places a half a mile apart. Wyclif’s name is spelled in more than twenty different ways, as Wiclif, accepted by Lechler, Loserth, Buddensieg and German scholars generally; Wiclef, Wicliffe, Wicleff, Wycleff. Wycliffe, adopted by Foxe, Milman, Poole, Stubbs, Rashdall, Bigg; Wyclif preferred by Shirley, Matthew, Sergeant, the Wyclif Society, the Early English Text Society, etc. The form Wyclif is found in a diocesan register of 1361, when the Reformer was warden of Balliol College. The earliest mention in an official state document, July 26, 1374, gives it Wiclif. On Wyclif’s birthplace, see Shirley, Fasciculi, p. x sqq.
556 A Wyclif is mentioned in connection with all of these colleges. The question is whether there were not two John Wyclifs. A John de Whyteclyve was rector of Mayfield, 1361, and later of Horsted Kaynes, where he died, 1383. In 1365 Islip, writing from Mayfield, appointed a John Wyclyve warden of Canterbury Hall. Shirley, Note on the two Wiclifs, in the Fasciculi, p. 513 sqq., advocated the view that this Wyclif was a different person from our John Wyclif, and he is followed by Poole, Rashdall and Sergeant. Principal Wilkinson of Marlborough College, Ch. Quart. Rev., October, 1877, makes a strong statement against this view; Lechler and Buddensieg, the two leading German authorities on Wyclif’s career, also admit only a single Wyclif as connected with the Oxford Halls.
557 So Lechler, who advances strong arguments in favor of this view. Loserth, who is followed by Rashdall, brings considerations against it, and places Wyclif’s first appearance as a political reformer in 1376. Studien zur Kirchenpol., etc., pp. 1, 32, 35, 44, 60. A serious difficulty with this view is that it crowds almost all the Reformer’s writings into 7 years.
558 John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, was the younger brother of the Black Prince. The prince had returned from his victories in France to die of an incurable disease.
559 Chron. Angl., p. 115 sq.
560 Gee and Hardy, p. 105 sqq.
561 Fasc., pp. 242-244.
562 Chron. Angl., p. 395; also Knighton, II. 184 sq.
563 Fasc., p. 104.
564 See Trevelyan, p. 199; Kriehn, pp. 254-286, 458-485.
565 Pref. to Expos. of St. John, p. 225, Parker Soc. ed.
566 Sicut in terrae visceribus includuntur aëret spiritus infecti et ingrediuntur in terrae motum, Fasc., p. 272.
567 Select Engl. Works, III. 503.
568 Gee and Hardy, pp. 108-110.
569 Select Engl. Writings, III. 507-523.
570 Fasc., pp. 272-333. See Shirley, p. xliv.
571 Latin Works, II. 577 sqq.
572 Fasc., p. 341 sq.; Lechler-Lorimer, p. 417, deny the citation. The reply is hardly what we might have expected from Wyclif, confining itself, as it does, rather curtly to the question of the pope’s authority and manner of life. Luther’s last treatment of the pope, Der Papst der Ende-Christ und Wider Christ, is not a full parallel. Wyclif was independent, not coarse.
573 2 The most credible narrative preserved of Wyclif’s death comes from John Horn, the Reformer’s assistant for two years, and was written down by Dr. Thomas Gascoigne upon Horn’s sworn statement. Walden twice makes the charge that disappointment at not being appointed bishop of Worcester started Wyclif on the path of heresy, but there is no other authority for the story, which is inherently improbable. Lies were also invented against the memories of Luther, Calvin and Knox, which the respectable Catholic historians set aside.
574 Bale, in his account of the Examination of Thorpe, Parker Soc. ed., I. 80-81. The biographies of Lewis, Vaughan, Lorimer and Sergeant give portraits of Wyclif. The oldest, according to Sergeant, pp. 16-21, is taken from Bale’s Summary, 1548. There is a resemblance in all the portraits, which represent the Reformer clothed in Oxford gown and cap, with long beard, open face, clear, large eye, prominent nose and cheek bones and pale complexion.
575 A part of the sentence rans, Sancta synodus declarat diffinit et sententiat eumdem J. Wicleff fuisse notorium haereticum pertinacem et in haeresi decessisse ... ordinat corpus et ejus ossa, si ab aliis fidelibus corporibus discerni possint exhumari et procul ab ecclesiae sepultura jactari. Mansi, XXVII. 635.
576 2 Green, in his Hist. of the Engl. People, passes a notable encomium on the "first Reformer," and the late Prof. Bigg, Wayside Sketches, p.131, asserts "that his beliefs are in the main those of the great majority of Englishmen to-day, and this is a high proof of the justice, the clearness and the sincerity of his thoughts." The Catholic historian of England, Lingard, IV. 192, after speaking of Wyclif’s intellectual perversion, refers to him, "as that extraordinary man who, exemplary in his morals, declaimed against vice with the freedom and severity of an Apostle."
577 Op. evang., p. 17, etc., De dom. div., p. 215, etc., De dom. civ., 384 sqq., where the case of Frederick of Lavagna is related at length.
578 Hergenröther, II. 881, speaks of Wyclif’s system as pantheistic realism and fatalism, D. Lehrsystem des Wiclif ist krasser, pantheistischer Realismus, Fatalismus u. Predestianismus.
579 The De dom. civ. and the De dom. div., ed. for the Wyclif Soc. by R. L. Poole, London, 1885, 1890. See Poole’s Prefaces and his essay on Wyclif’s Doctrine of Lordship in his Illustrations, etc., pp. 282-311. TheDialogus, sive speculum ecclesiae militantis, ed. by A. W. Pollard, 1886.
580 Salvator noster noluit esse proprietarie dominans, sed communicative, p. 204.
581 Loserth, Introd. to Lat. sermones, II., p. xx, pronounce their effect extraordinary. The Engl. sermons have been ed. by Arnold, Select Engl. Works, vols, I, II, and the Lat. sermons by Loserth, in 4 vols.
582 Evangelizatio verbi est preciosior quam ministratio alicujus ecclesiastici sacramenti, Op. evang., I. 375. Predicatio verbi Dei est solemnior quam confectio sacramenti, De sac. scr., II. 156. See also Arnold, Engl. Works, III. 153 sq., 464;Serm. Lat., II. 115;De scr. sac., II. 138.
583 Debemus loco miraculorum Christi nos et proximos ad legem Dei convertere. De ver., I. 90; Op. evang., I. 368.
584 See Mansi, XXVII., 632-636, and Mirbt, p. 157 sq.
585 De dom. civ., I. 358. Ecclesia cath. sive Apost. est universitas predestinatorum. De eccles., ed. by Loserth, pp. 2, 5, 31, 94, Engl. Works, III. 339, 447, etc.
586 De eccles., 5, 28 sq., 63, 88, 89, 355, 358, 360.
587 Engl. Works., I. 50.
588 The condemnatory epithets and characterizations are found in the Engl. Works, ed. by Matthew, De papa, pp. 458-487, and The Church and her Members, and The Schism of the Rom. Pontiffs, Arnold’s ed., III. 262 sqq., 340 sqq., the Trialogus, Dialogus, the Latin Sermons, vol. II., and especially the Opus evangelicum, parts of which went under the name Christ and his Adversary, Antichrist. See Loserth’s introductions to Lat. Serm., II. p. iv sq., and Op. evang., vol. II.; also his art. Wiclif’s Lehre, vom wahren, undfalschen Papsttum, Hist Ztschrift, 1907, and his ed. of the De potestate papae. In these last works Loserth presents the somewhat modified view that when Wyclif inveighed against the papacy it was only as it was abused. The De potestate was written perhaps in 1379. His later works show an increased severity.
589 Lat. Serm., IV. 95; De dom. civ., 366-394; De ver. scr., II. 56 sqq.; Dial., p. 25; Op. evang., I. 38, 92, 98, 382, 414, II. 132, III. 187; Engl. Works, II. 229 sq., etc.
590 Op. evang., II. 105 sq.; Engl. Works, I. 350 sq.
591 De ver., I. 267; Engl. Works, III. 341 sq.; De Eccles., 189, 365 sqq.; Op. Evang., III. 188.
592 Engl. Works, III. 320. Letter to Urban VI., Fasc. ziz., p. 341; Engl. Works, III. 504-506.
593 His De eucharistia et poenitentia sive de confessione elaborates this subject. See also Engl. Works, I. 80, III. 141, 348, 461.
594 De eccles., p. 162; De ver. scr., II. 1-99. Omne mendacium est per se peccatum sed nulla circumstantia potest rectificare, ut peccatum sit non peccatum, De ver., II. 61.
595 Engl. Works, III. 420 sqq.; Op. evang., II. 40; Lat. serm., IV. 62, 121, etc.
596 See the tract Of Feigned Contemplative Life in Matthew, pp. 187, 196; De eccles., p. 380; Lat. Serm., II. 112.
597 Lat. serm., II. 84; Trial., IV. 33; Engl. Works, III. 348; Dial., pp. 13, 65, etc.
598 Ab isto scandaloso et derisibili errore de quidditate hujus sacramenti, pp. 52, 199.
599 Corpus Chr. est dimensionaliter in coelo a virtualiter in hostia ut in signo. De euchar., pp. 271, 303. Walden, Fasc. ziz., rightly represents Wyclif as holding that "the host is neither Christ nor any part of Christ, but the effectual sign of him."
600 De euchar., p. 11; Trial., pp. 248, 261.
601 De euch., pp. 78, 81, 182; Engl. Works, III. 520.
602 De veritate Scripturae, ed. by Buddensieg, with Introd., 3 vols., Leip., 1904. The editor, I. p. xci, gives the date as 1387, 1388. Wyclif starts out by quoting Augustine at length, I. 6-16. The treatise contains extensive digressions, as on the two natures of Christ, I. 179 sqq., the salutation of Mary, I. 282 sqq., lying, II. 1-99, Mohammedanism, II. 248-266, the functions of prelates and priests, III. 1-104, etc.
603 lex domini immaculata ... verissima, completissima et saluberrima, I. 156.
604 Illum librum debet omnis christianus adiscere cum sit omnis veritas, I. 109, 138.
605 I. 54. Aliae logicae saepissime variantur ... logica scripturae in eternum stat.
606 I. 22, 29, 188. Christianus philosophiam non discit quia Aristotelis sed quia autorum scripturae sac. et per consequens tamquam suam scientiam quo in libris theologiae rectius est edocta.
607 I. 151, 200, 394, 408; Lat. serm., 179; De eccles., 173, 318, etc.
608 Tota scrip. est unum magnum Verbum Dei., I. 269. Autores nisi scribae vel precones ad scrib. Dei legem. I. 392. Also I. 86, 156, 198, 220 sqq., III. 106 sqq., 143.
609 Falsitas in proposito est in false intelligente et non in Scrip. sac., p. 193. Nulli alii in quoquam credere nisi de quanto se fundaverit ex script. I. 383. De civ. dom., p. 394.
610 De ver., 114, 119, 123. Sensus literalis script. est utrobique verus, p. 73. Solum ille est sensus script. quem deus et beati legunt in libro vitae qui est uni talis et alteri viatoribus, semper verus, etc., p. 126.
611 Oportet conclusiones carnis et seculi me deserere et sequi Christum in pauperie si debeam coronari, I. 357. Also II. 129-131. In view of the above statement, it is seen how utterly against the truth Kropatschek’s statement is, Man wird den Begriff Vorreformatoren getrost in die historische Rumpelkammer werfen können, we may without further thought cast the idea of Reformers before the Reformation into the historical rag bag. The remark he makes after stating how little the expression sola scriptura meant in the mouths of mediaeval reformers. See Walter In Litzg., 1905, p. 447.
612 Illum librum debet omnis Chriatianus adiscere cum sit omnis veritas. De ver., I. 109. Fideles cujuscunque generis, fuerint clerici vel laici, viri vel feminae, inveniunt in ea virtutem operandi, etc., pp. 117, 136. Op. evang., II. 36.
613 Matthew, Sel. Works, p. 429 sq.
614 The text pub. Cambr., 1902 and 1905, by Anna C. Paues: A Fourteenth Engl. Bible Vs.
615 The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal Books, in the earliest English Versions made from the Vulgate by John Wycliffe and his Followers. 4 vols., Oxford, 1850. The work cost 22 years of labor. It contains Purvey’s Prologue and an exhaustive Preface by the editors. Purvey’s New Test. had been printed by John Lewis, London, 1781, and reprinted by Henry Baber, Lond., 1810, and in the Bagster English Hexapla, Lond., 1841. Adam Clarke had published Wyclif’s version of the Canticles in his Commentary, 3rd vol., 1823, and Lea Wilson, Wyclif’s New Test., Lond., 1848.
616 Commune aeternum. It is hard to give the exact rendering of these words. Knighton goes on to refer to William of St. Amour, who said of some that they changed the pure Gospel into another Gospel, the evangelium aeternum or evangelium Spiritus sancti. Knighton, Chronicle, II. 151 sq.
617 Novae ad suae malitiae complementum Scripturarum in linguam maternam translationis practica adinventa. Wilkins, III. 350.
618 More’s Works, p. 240, quoted by Gairdner, I. 112.
619 See Forshall and Madden, p. xxxii, and Eadie, pp. 90-94.
620 Buddensieg, Introd. to De ver., pp. xxxii, xxxviii.
621 See De ver. scr., I. 209, 212, 214, 260, II. 234. He made a distinction between the material and formal principles when he spoke of the words of Christ as something materiale, and the inner meaning as something formale. Buddensieg, p. xlv, says Wyclif had a dawning presentiment of justifying faith. According to Poole, he stated the doctrine in other terms in his treatment of lordship. Rashdall, Dict. Natl. Biog., LXIII. 221, says that, apart from the doctrine of justification by faith, there is little in the teachings of the 16th cent. which Wyclif did not anticipate.
622 Summus philos., immo summa philosophia est Christus, deus noster, quem sequendo et discendo sumus philosophi. De ver. scr., I. 32.
623 De ver. scr., I. 346 sqq. See Loserth, Kirchenpolitik, pp. 2, 112 sq. Buddensieg, De ver. scr., p. viii, says, Was er war wissen wir, nicht wie er es geworden. We know what he was, but not how he came to be what he was. See, for a Rom. Cath. judgment, Hergenröther-Kirsch, II. 878, who finds concentrated in Wyclif the false philosophy of the Waldenses and the Apocalypties, of Marsiglius and Ockam.
624 Melanchthon, in a letter to Myconius, declared that Wyclif was wholly ignorant of the doctrine of justification, and at another time he said he had foolishly mixed up the Gospel and politics.
625 In 1382 Repyngdon was called Lollardus de secta Wyclif, and Peter Stokes was referred to as having opposed the "Lollards and the sect of Wyclif," Fasc., 296. Knighton, II. 182, 260, expressly calls the Wycliffians Lollards, Wycliviani qui et Lollardi dicti sunt.
626 Fredericq, I. 172. A certain Matthew, whose bones were exhumed and burnt, is called Mattaeus Lollaert. Fred., I. 250. For documents associating the Lollards with other sectarists, see Fred., I. 228, II. 132, 133, III. 46, etc.
627 So Jan Hocsem of Liége, d. 1348, who in his Gesta pontiff. Leodiensium says, eodem anno (1309) quidam hypocritae gyrovagi qui Lollardi sive Deum laudantes vocabuntur, etc. Fred., I. 154. Chaucer, in his Prologue to the Shipman’s Tale, says:—
This loller here wol prechen us somewhat
He wolde sowen some difficulte
Or sprenge cokkle in our clene corn.
628 Cheyney, p. 436 sqq.
629 Gee and Hardy, pp. 126-132. Fasc., pp. 360-369. See Gairdner, I. 44-46
630 Knighton, II. 191.
631 De comburendo haeretico, Gee and Hardy, pp. 133-137.
632 Knighton, II. 171 sqq., gives the recantation in English, the Fasc., p. 329, in Latin. John Foxe’s accounts of the Lollard martyrs are always quaintly related. Gairdner is the fullest and best of the recent treatments. For his judgment of Foxe, see I. 159, 336 sqq. He ascribes to him accuracy in transcribing documents. The articles in the Dict. of Natl. Biog. are always to be consulted.
633 Gee and Hardy give the sentence and the Fasc. the proceedings of the trial. It is a matter of dispute under what law Sawtré was condemned to the flames. Prof. Maitland, In his Canon Law, holds that It was under the old canon practice as expressed in papal bulls. The statute De comburendo was before parliament at the time of Sawtre’s death.
634 The proceedings are given at great length by Foxe and by Bale, who copied Tyndale’s account. Sel. Works of Bp. Bale, pp. 62-133.
635 Walsingham, II, 244; Knighton, II. 181; Chron. Angl., p. 377.
636 Walsingham, II. 328, says he was hung as a traitor and burnt as a heretic. Usk p. 317 , reports he "was hung on the gallows in a chain of iron after that he had been drawn. He was once and for all burnt up with fierce fire, paying justly the penalty of both swords." The Fasciculi give a protracted account of Sir John’s opinions and trial. Judgments have been much divided about him. Fuller speaks of him "as a boon companion, jovial roysterer and yet a coward to boot." Shakespeare presents him in the character of Falstaff. See Gairdner, I. 97 sq.
637 Summers, p. 67.
638 Loserth, Wiclif and Hus, p. 175.
639 Mitchell: Scottish Reformation, p. 15.
640 Among these works was the Provoker, in which Pecock denied that the Apostles had compiled the Apostles’ Creed. See Introd. to Babington’s Ed. of the Repressor in Rolls Series, and art. Pecock in Dict. Natl. Biog., XLIV. 198-202.
641 Knighton, II. 155, complains of the Lollards having the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue. Such a translation he said the laity regarded as melior et dignior quam lingua latina.
642 So Walsingham, II. 253.
643 Summers, p. 60, speaks of an unpublished Lollard MS. of 37 articles which deal with clerical abuses, such as simony, quarrelling, holding secular offices, oaths, the worship of images, the eucharist and papal authority.
644 Trevelyan, p. 349.
645 The truth of Rokyzana’s statement is denied by Loserth, In Herzog, VIII. 588 sq. On other Bohemian preachers of Huss’ day, see Flajshans, Serm. de Sanctis, p. iv.
646 See Loserth, Wiclif and Hus, p. 70. Wenzel or Wenceslaus IV., surnamed the Lazy, was the son of Charles IV. His second wife was Sophia of Bavaria. His half-brother, Sigismund, succeeded him on the throne.
647 Flajshans: Serm. de Sanctis, p. xxi. Nürnb. ed., I. 135.
648 Workman: Hus’ Letters, pp. 94, 118, 163, 189, 192, 198, 201. The spelling, Hus, almost universally adopted in recent years by German and English writers, has been exchanged by Loserth in his art. in Herzog for Huss, as a form more congenial to the German mode of spelling. For the same reason this volume has adopted the form Huss as more agreeable to the English reader’s eye and more consonant with our mode of spelling. Karl Müller adopts this spelling in his Kirchengeschichte. The exact date of Huss’ birth is usually given as July 6th, 1369, but with insufficient authority. Loserth, Wiclif and Hus, p. 65 sq.
649 De Omni Christi sanguine glorificato, ed. by Flajshans p. 42.
650 See Rashdall: Universities of Europe, I. 211-242. The number of departing students is variously given. The number given above has the authority of Procopius, a chronicler of the 15th century. Only 602 were matriculated at Leipzig the first year, and this figure seems to point to a smaller number than 2000 leaving Prag. Kügelgen, Die Gefängnissbriefe, p. ix, adopts the uureasonable number, 5000.
651 Workman: Hus’ Letters, p. 36.
652 Among the condemned writings, 17 in all, were the Dialogus, Trialogus, De incarnatione Verbi and the De dominio civili.
653 These letters are given by Workman, pp. 51-54.
654 Huss’ reply, Replica, and Stokes’ statement, which called it forth, are given in the Nürnb. ed., I. 135-139.
655 Huss’ tract is entitled De indulgentiis sive de cruciatu papae Joh. XXIII. fulminata contra Ladislaum Apuliae regem. Nürnb. ed., 213-235.
656 Workman: Hus’ Letters.
657 See Huss’ reply, Defensio quorundam articulorum J. Wicleff, and the rejoinder of the Theol. faculty, Nürnb. ed., I. 139-146.
658 Workman: Hus’ Letters, pp. 60, 66.
659 Workman, p. 107-120. Workman translates seventeen letters written from this exile, pp. 83-138.
660 Du Pin, Opp. Gerson., II. 901. The De ecclesia is given in the Nürnb. ed., I. 243-319.
661 Eccl. est omnium praedestinatorum universitas; quae est omnes praedestinati, praesentes, praeteriti et futuri. Nürnb. ed. I., 244.
662 Writing to Christian Prachatitz, in 1413, Huss said, "If the pope is the head of the Roman Church and the cardinals are the body, then they in themselves form the entire Holy Roman Church, as the entire body of a man with the head is the man. The satellites of anti-christ use interchangeably the expressions ’Holy Roman Church’ and ’pope and cardinals’ etc." Workman: Hus’ Letters, p. 121.
663 Propter confessionem tam claram et firmam, dixit Petra Petro, et ego dico tibi quia tu es Petrus, id est confessor Petrae vertae qui est Christus et super hanc Petram quam confessus es, id est, super me, etc., Nürnb. ed., I. 257. Petrus non fuit nec est caput s. eccles. cathol., p. 263. See also the same interpretation in Huss’ Serm. de Sanctis, p. 84.
664 Nürnb. ed., I. 260, 284, 294, etc.
665 Huss also in his Letters repeatedly refers to Joan and Liberius, e.g. he writes, "I should like to know if pope Liberius the heretic, Leo the heretic and the pope Joan, who was delivered of a boy, were the heads of the Roman Church." Workman: Hus’ Letters, p. 125.
666 Nürnb. ed., I. 302.
667 De indulgentiis, Nürnb. ed., pp. 220-228.
668 Loserth wrote his Wicliff and Hus to show the dependence of Huss upon his English predecessor, and the latter half of this work gives proof of it by printing in parallel columns portions of the two authors, compositions. He says, p. 111, that the De ecclesia is only "a meagre abridgement of Wyclif’s work on the same subject." This author affirms that in his Latin tractates Huss "has drawn all his arguments from Wyclif," and that "the most weighty parts are taken word for word from his English predecessor," pp. xiv, 139, 141, 156, etc. Neander made a mistake in rating the influence of Matthias of Janow upon Huss higher than the influence of Wyclif. He wrote before the Wyclif Society began its publications. Even Palacky, in his Church History of Bohemia, III. 190-197, pronounced it uncertain how far Huss was influenced by Wyclif’s writings, and questions whether he had attached himself closely to the English Reformer. The publications of the Wyclif Society, which make a comparison possible, show that one writer could scarcely be more dependent upon another than Huss was upon Wyclif.
669 Workman: Hus’ Letters, p. 36.
670 Van der Hardt, I. 18; Palacky, Docum., pp. 523-528.
671 For these letters and copies of the handbill, see Workman, Hus’ Letters, p. 140 sqq.
672 Huss kept one for himself, thinking it might be necessary for him to ride and see Sigismund. Writing from Constance, Nov. 4th, he said that horses were cheap there. One, bought in Bohemia for 6 guineas, was given away for 7 florins, or one-third the original price. Workman: Letters, p. 158.
673 The charge is reported by Richental, p. 76 sq. His story is invalidated by the false date he gives and also by the testimony of Mladenowitz, who declared it wholly untrue. If there had been any attempt at escape, it would hardly have been allowed to go unnoticed in the trial. See Wylie, p. 139.
674 In an audience with Sigismund, D’Ailly protested that factum J. Hus et alia minora non debebant reformationem eccles. et Bon. imperii impedire quod erat principale pro quo fuerat concilium congregatum. Fillflastre, in Finke, p. 253.
675 On reading a letter in the Bethlehem chapel, Hawlik exclaimed, alas, Hus is running out of paper." And John of Chlum spoke of one of Huss’ letters as being written " on a tattered, three-cornered bit of paper." Workman: Hus’ Letters, p. 196.
676 Workman: Letters, p. 174, 182, 184, 190.
677 See Card. Fillastre’s Diary in Finke’s Forschungen, pp. 164, 179.
678 Utinam anima esset ibi, ubi est anima Joh. Wicleff. Mansi, xxvII. 756.
679 Nos non possumus secundum tuam conscientiam judicare, etc., Palacky, Doc. 278. Tschackert, pp. 225, 235, says D’Ailly would have been obliged to lay aside his purple if he had not resisted Huss’ views. Huss had said of Gerson,O si deus daret tempus scribendi contra mendacia Parisiensis cancellarii, Palacky, Doc. 97. Gerson went so far as to say that Huss was condemned for his realism. See Schwab, pp. 298, 586.
680 See Tschackert p. 230. D’Ailly persisted in this position after he left Constance. Wyclif and Huss remained to him the dangerous heretics, pernitiosi heretici. Van der Hardt, VI. 16.
681 Workman: Hus’ Letters, pp. 226, 289-241.
682 See Workman, pp. 185, 245, 248.
683 Workman, p. 264.
684 Ibid., p. 276.
685 Non vellet abjurare sed millisies comburi, Mansi, XXVII. 764.
686 Ad medium concilii ubi erat levatus in altum scamnum pro eo. Mansi, XXVII. 747.
687 The articles are given in Mansi, pp. 754 sq., 1209-1211, and Hardt, IV. 408-12.
688 Buddenseig, Hus, Patriot and Reformer, p. 11, says, "The whole Hussite movement is mere Wycliffism." Loserth, Wiclif and Hus, p. xvi, says, it was Wyclif’s doctrine principally for which Hus yielded up his life. Invectives flying about in Constance joined their names together. TheMissa Wiclefistarum ran, Credo in Wykleph ducem inferni patronum Boemiae et in Hus filium ejus unicum nequam nostrum, qui conceptus est ex spiritu Luciferi, natus matre ejus et factus incarnatus equalis Wikleph, secundum malam voluntatem et major secundum ejus persecutionem, regnans tempore desolationis studii Pragensis, tempore quo Boemia a fide apostotavit. Qui propter nos hereticos descendit ad inferna et non resurget a mortuis nec habebit vitam eternam. Amen.
689 Note appended to Huss’ writings, ed. 1537. See Huss’ Opp., Prelim. Statement, I. 4. It did not require the study of the modem historian to affirm the view taken above. John Foxe, in his Book of Martyrs, presented it clearly when he said, "By the life, acts and letters of Huss, it is plain that he was condemned not for any error of doctrine, for he neither denied their popish transubstantiation, neither spake against the authority of the church of Rome, if it were well governed, nor yet against the seven sacraments, but said mass himself and in almost all their popish opinions was a papist with them, but only through evil will was he accused because he spoke against the pomp, pride and avarice and other wicked enormities of the pope, cardinals and prelates of the church, etc.
690 Gerson declared that among the causes for which Huss was condemned was that he had affirmed that the Church could be ruled by priests dispersed throughout the world in the absence of one head an well as with one head. Schwab, p. 588.
691 Schwab, pp. 588-599, 600. On the whole subject of Huss’ views Schwab has excellent remarks, p. 596 sqq.
692 See Workman: Age of Hus, pp. 284, 293, 364, and Wylie, p. 175 sqq.
693 Workman: Hus’ Letters, p. 269 sq.
694 Mansi, XXVII. 791, 799. Also Mirbt, p. 156. Lea, Inquisition, II. p. 462 sqq., has an excellent statement of the whole question of Huss’ safe-conduct.
695 Luther declared that a safe-conduct promised to the devil must be kept. See Köstlin, M. Luther, I. 352.
696 John Zacharias, one of the professors of the university at Erfurt, had taken a prominent part in the debates at Constance against Huss, and received as his reward the red rose from the pope. Köstlin, M. Luther, I. 53, 87.
697 Si aliqua persona ecclesiae me scrip. s. vel ratione valida,docuerit, paratissime consentire. Nam a primo studii mei tempore hoc mihi statui proregula, ut quotiescunque saniorem sententiam in quacunque materia perciperem, a priori sententia gaudenter et humiliter declinarem. Wyclif had expressed the same sentiment in his De universalibus, which Huss translated, 1398. See Loserth, p. 253.
698 Workman: Letters, p. 266.
699 Mansi, XXVII. 794 sqq., 842-864.
700 For the sentence, see Mansi, XXVII. 887-897. Foxe, in his Book of Martyrs, gives a translation and an excellent account of the proceedings against Jerome and his martyrdom.
701 Laicus, Mansi, XXVII. 894.
702 Huss, Opera, II. 532-534. Palacky, Mon. 624-699. A full translation is given by Whitcomb in Lit. Source-Book of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 40-47.
703 Hist. Boh., c. 36.
704 Improbissimos, et periculosissimos, teterrimosque viros, Mansi, XXVII. 781-783.
705 Mansi, pp. 789-91.
706 Palacky, Monum., I. 80-82.
707 Mansi, XXVII. 1204-15. Also Mirbt, p. 157 sqq.
708 As early as 1423, dissenters with the name of Hussites appeared in Northern Germany and Holland, Fredericq, Corpus Inq., III. 65, 142, etc.
709 Sine fraude et quolibet dolo, occulte vel manifeste, etc. Mansi, XXIX. 27.
710 See Hefele, VII. 476 sq.
711 See Mansi, XXXI. 273 sqq.
712 Haller, Concil. Basil., I. 291 sqq.
713 Pius had received at Mt. Tabor hospitable treatment from the Hussites, whom he was afterwards to treat with wonted papal arrogance. Travelling through Bohemia on a mission from Frederick III., and benighted, he preferred to trust himself to the Taborites rather than to their enemies. Although he had found refuge with them, he used ridicule in describing their poverty and peasant condition. Some he found almost naked, some wore only a sheepskin over their bodies, some had no saddle, some no reins for their horses. And yet he was obliged to say that, though they were bound by no compulsory system of tithes, they filled their priests’ houses with corn, wood, vegetables and meat. See Lea, II. 561.
714 The Utraquists came into contact with Luther as early as 1519. At the time of the Leipzig Colloquy, two of their preachers in Prag, John Poduschka and Wenzel Rosdalowsky, wrote him letters. The first also sent Luther a gift of knives, and the second, Huss’ work On the Church, which was reprinted in Wittenberg, 1620. Luther replied by sending them some of his smaller writings. Köstlin, M. Luther, I. 290.
715 The old Moravian school for girls near Lancaster, Pa., gets its name from this colony. The wife of President Benjamin Harrison studied there.
716 For the earlier history of the Austrian Waldensians, see vol. V., part I., p. 500 sq.
717 Goll, Untersuchungen, is a strong advocate of the dependence of the Bohemian Brethren upon the Waldenses for their peculiar views, although he denies that the two sects had any organic connection. Karl Müller, Herzog Enc., III. 448, comes to the same conclusion. He is, however in doubt whether Chelcicky was associated with the Waldenses. Goll is of the opinion that he was strongly influenced by them. Preger, Ueber d. Verhältniss der Taboriten zu den Waldesiern des 14ten Jahrh., Munich, 1887, occupies an isolated position when he represents the Taborites as a continuation of the Bohemian Waldenses, with some modification. These two bodies were separate when the Bohemian Brethren began to appear on the scene.
718 So Lucas of Prag. See his writings in Goll, pp. 107, 112. De Schweinitz, Hist. of the Un. Fratrum, p. 141 sqq., accepts the ordination of Stephen as regular. Müller questions it, Herzog, III. 452.
719 See Goll, p. 87, and the letter to Rokyzana, whose nephew Gregory belonged to the Lititz colony, p. 92. Of the consecration of Michael by Stephen there is no doubt. There is some uncertainty about the details.
720 See Müller’s art. on Bohemian Hymnody in Julian’s Dicty.