A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/Wickliffites
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WICKLIFFITES, a denomination which sprang up in England in the fourteenth century. They derived their name from John Wickliff, doctor and professor of divinity in the university of Oxford, a man of an enterprizing genius and extraordinary learning. He began with attacking the jurisdiction of the pope and the bishops; and declared that penance had no sort of merit in the sight of God, unless followed with a reformed life. He was a warm opposer of absolution; for he alleged that it belonged to God alone to forgive sins, but instead of acting as God ministers, the Romish clergy took upon them, he said, to forgive sins in their own name. He also taught that external confession was not necessary to salvation, exclaimed against indulgences, prayers to the saints, the celibacy of the clergy, the doctrine of transubstantiation, monastic vows, and other practices in the Roman Catholic church. He not only exhorted the laity to study the scriptures, but also translated them into English, in order to render the perusal of them more universal. The followers of Wickliff are also called Lollards.
- Mosheim, vol. iii. p. 166. Gilpin's Life of Wickliff, p. 67-73.