Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wycliffe, John

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WYCLIFFE, JOHN (d. 1384), religious reformer and theologian, was born, according to Leland, at Spresswel, ‘a good myle from Richemont,’ in Yorkshire. Attempts have been made to discover a place called Spreswell or Speswell, about a mile from a supposed ‘Old’ Richmond and half a mile from Wycliffe, which is situated on the Yorkshire side of the Tees, just opposite Barnard Castle, and the next parish to Rokeby. But there is no real evidence for the existence of either Spreswell or Old Richmond (cf. Matthew, English Works of Wyclif, p. 1). Dr. Poole points out that Spreswell is simply a misprint for Ipreswel (now Hipswell), a mile from the existing town of Richmond in the same county. Ipreswel is the form actually found in the earlier copies of Leland. When that writer elsewhere ascribes John Wycliffe's origin to Wycliffe, he presumably means that this was the abode of his family, and the place where he spent his early days. Only a local and family tradition connects him with the Wycliffes of Wycliffe, who had been lords of that manor since the Conquest, but there is nothing improbable in the supposition; and a John de Wycliffe was certainly patron of the living during the reformer's life, and presented to it a fellow of Balliol (Sergeant, John Wyclif, p. 96). Walsingham confirms the fact that he was a north-countryman. It is a curious circumstance that the Wycliffe family adhered to the old faith after the Reformation, and that in consequence half the inhabitants of the village are still Roman catholics (Lechler, John Wycliffe and his English Precursors, Engl. transl. by Lorimer, 1884, p. 82).

The traditional date of Wycliffe's birth (1324) rests only upon a conjecture of Lewis (Hist. of the Life and Sufferings of John Wiclif, p. 1), or rather of Bale, based upon the assumption that he was about sixty when he died of a paralytic stroke in 1384. The facts that Wycliffe is not heard of in public life till 1365, that he did not become a doctor of theology till 1372, and that it was not till 1377 that his theological heresies attracted attention, while the development of his theological position was even then very incomplete, would seem to suggest that 1324 is too early rather than too late a date for his birth.

The treatment of John Wycliffe's Oxford life is embarrassed by serious questions of identification. The following notices occur of a John Wycliffe at Oxford during the period of the reformer's residence; all of them, except the fourth, may be identical with him, but only in the first two cases is the identification quite certain.

(1) A John Wycliffe is mentioned as master of Balliol College in 1361. This would make it probable, though not certain, that Wycliffe must have been at some former period a ‘scholar’ or (as we should now say) fellow of that college. But Balliol was founded as a college of students of arts, not of theology. By the original statutes and by a special interpretation of them issued in 1325 by the two ‘external masters’ (see the printed statutes; cf. Rashdall, Universities in the Middle Ages, ii. 474), under whose government the college was originally placed, a fellow necessarily resigned his fellowship on betaking himself to the study of theology. There may therefore have been an interval between the fellowship and the mastership. In 1340 Sir William Felton left a bequest for the support of six new theological fellowships. The bequest consisted in the advowson of Abbotsley, and the college did not enter into possession of it till the death of its then incumbent in 1361, when John Wycliffe, as master or warden, was inducted on behalf of the college (Lincoln Register, Gynwell, Institutions, f. 367; Lewis, p. 4; Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. p. 447). That a youth born at Wycliffe should have been sent to the college founded by John Balliol, lord of Barnard Castle on the opposite bank of the Tees, is natural enough; and, as it was by Balliol College that Wycliffe was appointed to Fillingham, and it is certain that the vicar of Fillingham went on to Ludgershall and thence to the reformer's well-known living at Lutterworth, the identification of the master of Balliol with the reformer becomes certain. Wycliffe's mastership must have been of short duration. Another person is mentioned as master in 1356, and Wycliffe had probably ceased to hold the office before the end of 1361, if the next allusion is to be referred to the same John Wycliffe.

(2) In the last-mentioned year (1361) a certain ‘John de Wyclif, of the diocese of York, M.A.,’ appears in the roll of supplicants for provisions to benefices despatched by the university of Oxford to the papal court. He supplicated for a prebend, canonry, and dignity at York, ‘notwithstanding that he has the church of Fillingham, in the diocese of Lincoln, value thirty marks.’ The petition was not granted, but a prebend in the collegiate church of Westbury in the diocese of Worcester was given instead of it (Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers, ed. Bliss, Petitions, i. 390). Had John Wycliffe been at this time master of Balliol, it would have been necessary to state the fact. He probably resigned on accepting the rectory of Fillingham in May of the same year (Lincoln Register, Gynwell, f. 123). As it is certain (see below) that the reformer was vicar of Fillingham, the above allusion must be to the same person.

(3) A certain ‘Master John Wiclif’ appears in the accounts of Queen's College for 1371–2, for 1374–5, and for 1380–1 as paying rent for rooms as a ‘pensioner’ or ‘commoner’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. App. p. 142). Shirley's identification of this Wiclif with the reformer would be plausible enough but for the extreme probability that the pensioner of Queen's was the same as the following, of whose existence Shirley was not aware.

(4) A certain John Wyclif appears in the Queen's College computus for 1371–2 as one of the ‘almonry boys’ of that college, for whom a ‘Doctrinale’ (of Alexander de Villa Dei) and other things were purchased (ib. 2nd Rep. App. p. 141). The reformer obviously could not have been beginning his Latin grammar in 1371, but the boy of 1371 may possibly have become a master by 1374, though the time is undoubtedly rather short.

(5) A ‘John Wyclif’ appears as the weekly seneschal or steward (and therefore fellow) of Merton College in 1356 (Brodrick, Memorials of Merton College, p. 36). The principal objection to the identification of this John Wyclif with the reformer arises from the extreme probability of the Mertonian's identity with the next John Wycliffe.

(6) The most famous question of identification is connected with the appointment of a certain John Wyclif to the mastership or wardenship of Canterbury Hall by Simon Islip, archbishop of Canterbury, in 1365. This college had been founded by Islip in 1362 as a place of theological study for a warden and six fellows, of whom the warden and three fellows were to be monks of Christ Church, Canterbury, and the remaining three fellows secular priests; but, in consequence of the feud which inevitably resulted from such an arrangement, the archbishop in 1365 removed the monks and replaced the monastic warden Woodhall by a ‘John de Wyclif,’ who is described (Lewis, p. 292) as coming from the diocese of York. In 1367, however, Islip's successor in the archbishopric, the monk Simon Langham, turned out the intruded seculars and filled their places with monks. The expelled warden and fellows appealed to Rome, and in 1371 judgment was given against the appellants (Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 52; Lewis, pp. 287 sq.; Literæ Cantuar. vol. ii. pp. xxv, 504; Rashdall, Universities in the Middle Ages, ii. 498–9). It was natural that Wycliffe's opponents should see in this incident an explanation of his hostility to monks; and the insinuation is made so early that it is impossible absolutely to disprove the identification. It has the authority of the contemporary monk of St. Albans, sub anno 1377 (Chron. Angliæ, Rolls Ser. p. 115), and of Wycliffe's opponent, William Woodford [q. v.] (Fasciculi Zizaniorum, Rolls Ser. p. 517), and it is accepted by Lewis, Vaughan, and Lechler (see also Church Quart. Rev. v. 126. On the other side see an article by W. J. Courthope in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1844, ii. 136, reprinted by Vaughan, Monograph, p. 547; Fasc. Ziz. l.c., pp. 513–28; Burrows, Wycliffe's Place in History, p. 51; Poole, Wycliffe and Movements for Reform, p. 68). Against the identification it may be urged (a) that had the reformer been placed in this position, we might have expected that incident to figure more largely than it does in the controversial literature of the time; (b) especially significant is the silence of Wycliffe's most systematic adversary, Walden [see Netter, Thomas]; (c) that the warden of Canterbury seems to be spoken of as a scholar of that house at the time of his appointment (document in Lewis, p. 14), an impossible position for the vicar of Fillingham; (d) that there was certainly another John Wyclyve or Whitclyve, who was collated to the rectory of Mayfield by Archbishop Islip in 1361 (Reg. Islip, f. 287 b; Vaughan, Monograph, p. 552). Mayfield being a manor and a frequent residence of the archbishop at the time, we get a personal connection between him and this John Wycliffe. The archbishop was at Mayfield when the warden was appointed, and was himself a Merton man, besides being ex-officio visitor of that college. Moreover, it appears that in 1366 the archbishop was taking steps to annex the rectory of Mayfield to the wardenship of Canterbury Hall, a very natural arrangement if it was actually held by the then warden (Gent. Mag. l.c.). The fact that the name of the Mayfield Wycliffe is sometimes written Whitclyve or Wyttlyve (there is a township known as Whitcliffe in the parish of Ripon) will not count for very much with any one acquainted with the vagaries of mediæval spelling; but, on the other hand, no one who knows how easily even at the present day ridiculous stories about theological opponents are circulated and believed will find it difficult to understand that the monk of St. Albans and the Franciscan friar Woodford should have accepted so welcome a scandal without elaborate investigation; (e) it should be added that the reformer dismisses the whole affair without the suggestion of a personal interest in the matter (the passage in De Ecclesia, cap. xvi. p. 371, was pointed out by Shirley, Fasc. Ziz. p. 526). As in this passage Wycliffe regards Islip's original impropriation as a sin (like all impropriations), he could hardly have failed to make some apology for his own participation in its benefits had he been warden of the house at the time.

On the whole, then, it seems most probable that the reformer was a fellow, and subsequently master, of Balliol, and that the warden of Canterbury Hall was another person, probably identical with the Wyclif of Merton, almost certainly with the rector of Mayfield. At all events Wycliffe's early life must have been passed at Oxford as a student and teacher, first in arts, then in theology. The normal time required from entrance to the university for attaining the D.D. degree was not less than sixteen years. Wycliffe's works show him to have been powerfully influenced by the writings of Richard FitzRalph [q. v.], archbishop of Armagh, once a fellow of Balliol College (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. p. 443). There is no reason to believe that Wycliffe resided much at Fillingham, and he was probably only occasionally resident at Ludgershall, a benefice nearer Oxford, in the presentation of the prior of the hospital of St. John, for which he exchanged Fillingham in 1368 (Lincoln Reg. Buckingham, Institutions, f. 419). It must be remembered that the university teachers received no regular salary or endowments, and (if not fellows of colleges) had to depend upon ecclesiastical preferment. Being unable to obtain a prebend upon which he could live, he was compelled to become a more or less non-resident rector. He obtained a two years' licence of non-residence for study at Oxford from the bishop of Lincoln in 1368 (ib. Buckingham, Mem. f. 7), and may probably have required such a licence at other times.

Wycliffe's first appearance in the sphere of ecclesiastical politics is usually referred to the year 1366. A controversial tract written by him at a time when he could describe himself as the ‘peculiaris regis clericus’ has been supposed to refer to the refusal by the parliament of 1366 to pay the tribute demanded by Urban V in virtue of King John's feudal homage to Innocent III. This tract (printed by Lewis, Life of Wiclif, p. 349), which is styled ‘Determinatio quedam Magistri Johannis Wyclyff de Dominio contra unum monachum,’ is apparently only a part of an argument on the question whether the secular powers may lawfully deprive delinquent ecclesiastics of their temporalities, in the discussion of which his opponent had introduced the question of the tribute. Wycliffe declares that he will answer him by narrating the argument which he had heard used by some secular lords ‘in a certain council.’ Dr. Loserth (Engl. Hist. Rev. 1896, xi. 319) argues that this council cannot be the parliament of 1366, because the arguments used are too much like those embodied in Wycliffe's treatise ‘De Ecclesia,’ which he dates 1378, and represent too developed an anti-papal position for Wycliffe to have adopted in 1366. He accordingly refers the tract to 1376 or 1377, and the parliamentary episode to 1374, when the demand was renewed and a debate took place very much resembling that described by Wycliffe (Eulogium Historiarum, Continuatio, iii. 337). It is hardly proved that such a debate cannot have taken place or such arguments have been used by Wycliffe in 1366, and the debate itself may be much earlier than the book; but there is great probability in putting the parliamentary episode in 1374, and the tract not long afterwards. In either case only the germs of Wycliffe's characteristic doctrine of lordship can be traced in this tract. Upon the solution given to this question must depend the further question whether Wycliffe was already in the employment of the crown, and occupying some official position in connection with the session of parliament. He certainly took part in at least one later parliament, probably as one of the doctors of theology who were summoned to parliament in 1378 (Rot. Parl. iii. 37). In the ‘De Ecclesia’ (cap. xv. p. 354) he speaks of having been told by the bishop of Rochester in full parliament that his conclusions were condemned at Rome. This probably refers to the parliament of 1378, in which Wycliffe certainly played a prominent part (Adam of Murimuth, Continuation, Engl. Hist. Soc. p. 234).

It must remain doubtful whether Wycliffe's first recorded appearance as a champion of the secular power against papal encroachments took place in 1366 or in 1374.

In the last-mentioned year (1374) Wycliffe, who had now taken the degree of doctor of theology, was sent to Bruges as an ambassador to treat with the papal delegates at Ghent about the non-observance of the statute of provisors and other pending disputes between the English government and the reigning pope, Gregory XI. His name stands second in the commission, next to the bishop of Bangor (Rymer, Fœdera, Record edit. III. ii. 1000, 1007). His allowance was 20s. a day, besides expenses (Vaughan, Monograph, p. 175), and he was absent from 27 July to 14 Sept. (including the voyage). Adam of Murimuth (Engl. Hist. Soc. p. 215) tells us that in this conference the pope agreed to give up ‘reservations,’ and the king to give up conferring benefices by writ of quare impedit. But the only actual result of the conference was a batch of bulls (Rymer, l.c. pp. 1037–9) which related entirely to disputes about reservations already made by his predecessor, Urban V. There was to be a general cessation of hostilities, existing occupants of benefices being guaranteed peaceable possession of their benefices against ‘provided’ intruders, while the only stipulation for the future was that litigants should not be obliged to appear personally in the Roman court for three years or till the establishment of peace with France, while the English bishops were given powers to compel the repair of churches held by absentee cardinals. On the other hand, the king consented to obtain from parliament the repeal of the statute of provisors. The court, unlike the parliament, was not really in earnest about the matter, finding it easier to get its own share of the patronage and plunder of the English church by negotiations with the curia than by the compliance of chapters and the forced consent of the clergy. There is a certain irony in the fact that the main direct outcome of the affair was the translation of John Gilbert, bishop of Bangor, to the see of Hereford by papal provision. Wycliffe also appears to have had confirmed by the crown the prebend of Aust in the collegiate church of Westbury, to which he had already been ‘provided’ by the pope (but Shirley's reference to Rot. Pat. 49 Edw. III, pt. ii. m. 8, cannot be verified). There is no trace in the Worcester registers of his institution, and it appears to have been conferred on another shortly afterwards (ib. 49 Edw. III, pt. ii. m. 11). It is probable that Wycliffe objected to pluralities, while the prebend by itself was insufficient for his support. Dr. Loserth has called attention (introduction to Op. Evang. p. xxx) to the fact that Gregory XI provided Wycliffe with a prebend in Lincoln Cathedral, but it would appear that on his refusing or delaying to pay the first-fruits (facta sollicitudine ad colligendum sibi primos fructus xlv. librarum) the pope conferred it upon a young foreigner. This appears from a passage in the unprinted third book of ‘De Civili Dominio.’ In January 1373 Wycliffe, spoken of as a canon (not yet a prebendary) of Lincoln, is licensed by the pope to keep the Westbury prebend even after he should have obtained possession of a prebend at Lincoln (Cal. Papal Letters, ed. Bliss and Twemlow, iv. 193, a reference kindly communicated before publication by Mr. Twemlow). The same document supplies a date hitherto much wanted in Wycliffe's career, showing that he had only just become a doctor of theology. He must have taken that degree in 1372.

Soon afterwards he resigned the living of Ludgershall upon receiving that of Lutterworth in Leicestershire on the presentation of the crown during a minority (Rot. Pat. 48 Edw. III, pt. i. m. 23).

At the Bruges conference (1374) Wycliffe was brought into personal contact—possibly not for the first time—with the Duke of Lancaster. The Oxford doctor's objections to the secularity of the clergy and his exaltation of the rights of secular lords exactly suited the personal and selfish designs of the duke upon the political influence of churchmen and the wealth of the church. A year later (1376) the Good parliament renewed the attack on the one hand upon papal reservations, provisions, and exactions; on the other, upon Alice Perrers [q. v.] and the tools of Lancastrian misgovernment. On the dissolution of that parliament, however, the duke resumed all his former influence [see art. Wykeham, William of], and in 1377 he was able to get together a parliament in which only about a dozen members of the Good parliament were returned; he succeeded in procuring the reversal of its acts against Alice Perrers, Lord Latimer, and Richard Lyons; while Wykeham was forced (it is said) to the humiliation of buying the intercession of the king's mistress for his restoration. Besides these overt acts, the Lancastrian party was vaguely suspected of more far-reaching designs against the wealth and power of the clergy. What part Wycliffe took in all these proceedings we cannot say in detail, but the St. Albans chronicler reports that he had now ‘for many years’ been engaged in teaching his opinions about the relations between the temporal and the spiritual power (‘barking against the church’), and in preaching against them both in the city of London, probably at Paul's Cross, and elsewhere, ‘running about from church to church’ (Chron. Angl. pp. 115–117). The chronicler adds that his opinions were much applauded by the Duke of Lancaster and Henry, lord Percy. The first prosecution of Wycliffe for heresy was the reply of the English hierarchy to the Lancastrian attack upon Wykeham, and to the actual or threatened anti-ecclesiastical policy of the duke.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Simon Sudbury [q. v.], was not at all eager to meddle with Wycliffe; for an attack on Wycliffe meant an attack upon the Duke of Lancaster. At last, however, he was goaded into activity by the bishops, and Wycliffe was summoned to appear before the archbishop and his suffragans. He appeared on 19 Feb. in St. Paul's Cathedral, escorted by Lord Percy, earl marshal of England, and other powerful supporters. The crowd in the church was so great that the accused and his friends found it difficult to make their way to the Lady-chapel, where the court was sitting. The earl marshal, accompanied, of course, by a numerous retinue, made a passage for him by force. The bishop of London, William Courtenay [q. v.], protested against this assumption of authority within the walls of his cathedral, and declared that had he but known the earl was going to act like that he would have had him excluded from the church. The earl ‘stormed’ and declared that he would be master there, whether the bishop willed or no. What followed may be told in the old and rather loose translation of the ‘Chronicon Angliæ’ (Archæologia, xxii. 258): ‘When they were come into our Ladye's Chapel, the duke and barons, with the archbishop and bishopps, syttinge downe, the foresayd John also was sent in by Syr Henrye Percye to sytt down, for because, sayed he, he haythe much to answeare he haith neade of a better seate. On the other syde, the byshopp of London denied the sayme, affyrmynge yt to be agaynst reason that he sholde sytt there, and also contrary to the law for him to sytt, whoe there was cited to answere before his ordinarye; and therfor [rather ‘but for’] the tyme of hys answearynge, or so longe as any thynge sholde be deposed agynste hym, or hys cause sholde be handled, he ought to stande. Hereupon very contumelyous wordes did ryse betwene Syr Henrye Percye and the bishopp, and the whoole multitude began to be troubled. And then the duke began to reprehende the bishopp, and the bishopp to turne then on the duke agayne. The duke was ashamed that he colde not in this stryfe prevaile, and then began with frowarde threatenynges to deale with the bishopp, swearyng that he wolde pull downe both the pryde of hym and of all the bishopps in Englande, and added, “Thou trustest (sayed he) in thy parents, whoe can profytt the nothynge, for they shall have enough to doo to defend themselves” (for hys parents, that ys to say hys father and hys mother, were of nobylitye, the Earle and the Countes of Devonshire). The bishopp on the other syde sayed, “In defendynge the trueth I trust not in my parents, nor in the lyfe of any man [rather ‘in thee nor in any man’], but in God, in whom I ought to trust” [rather ‘my God who him who trusts in him …’ unfinished]. Then the duke whysperynge in his eare sayed he had rather draw hym furth of the churche by the heare than suffer such thynges. The Londoners hearynge these words angerlye with a lowd voyce cried out, swearynge they wolde not suffer there Bishopp to be injured, and that they wold soner loose there lyfe then there bishopp sholde be dishonered in the churche, or pulled out with such vyolence.’

The duke's unpopularity among the citizens (who had to pay more for their wine in consequence of Lyons's monopoly) had been increased by his threat to abolish the mayoralty and place London under the government of a ‘captain,’ nominated by the crown. The citizens were also indignant at a rumour that the marshal was keeping a prisoner in his house within the city jurisdiction, and the fury of the citizens reached a climax when it was reported that their mayor had been arrested—of course, by order of the duke. The court broke up in confusion, no sentence was passed, and no official record of its proceedings has been preserved. The next day the citizens met in their guildhall to take counsel as to how they were to defend their threatened privileges. The affair ended in a riotous attack, first upon the marshal's house, where the prisoner was released, and then upon the duke's palace in the Savoy, which was plundered by the mob, the duke himself escaping by river to Kennington. The disturbance was with difficulty quelled by the exertions of the bishop.

Intimidated by the result of their first assault on the anti-clerical doctor, Wycliffe's enemies—among whom the monks were probably the most active—determined to adopt a different method of procedure. Shortly before Christmas a batch of bulls arrived from Rome directed against Wycliffe and his teaching. A bull addressed to the chancellor and university of Oxford accuses Wycliffe of teaching the condemned doctrines of Marsilius of Padua and John of Jandun, and orders the university to arrest the heresiarch and hand him over to the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of London. Other bulls direct those prelates to cite Wycliffe to appear before Gregory XI in person within three months; while yet another, issued on the same day, authorised them to conduct his examination themselves, and to transmit his confession to the papal court. These inconsistent directions were apparently intended to allow the English prelates to use whichever mode of procedure circumstances might render expedient. The king was also urged to support the proceedings against Wycliffe, and a schedule of the errors attributed to him was annexed (Chron. Angl. App. p. 396; bulls in Chron. Angl. pp. 174 sq.; Lewis, pp. 305 sq.; Wilkins, iii. 116 sq.).

The difficulty that was experienced in executing these bulls testifies to the immense influence and importance which Wycliffe had by this time acquired—an influence, it will be observed, which was quite independent of Wycliffe's connection with the Lancastrian faction, since the chronicles testify to his especial popularity among the anti-Lancastrian citizens of London. The bulls were issued at Rome on 22 May. They must have arrived in England before August, yet Wycliffe was formally consulted by the new king's advisers and the parliament which met in October 1377 as to whether they might lawfully take measures to prevent money going out of the kingdom to foreign and absentee holders of English benefices. His very bold paper on the subject is preserved by Walden (Fasc. Zizan. pp. 258 sq.), as also a defence of his views on dominion, which he presented apparently to the same parliament (ib. p. 245). According to that writer (ib. p. 271) the king and council imposed silence upon Wycliffe on the matters discussed in this tractate. It was only after the dissolution of parliament that the bull was sent down to Oxford, and then the proctors hesitated to act upon it (Chron. Angl. p. 173; Fasc. Zizan. pp. 300–1). Wycliffe's friends protested in congregation against the imprisonment of an English subject ‘at the command of the pope, lest they should seem to give the pope dominion and royal power in England,’ and the commissary or vice-chancellor, though a monk, was obliged to content himself with requiring him to confine himself to Black Hall (Eulog. Histor. iii. 348). Even this qualified imprisonment, or some earlier imprisonment which had taken place before the interposition of congregation, was subsequently made matter of accusation against the vice-chancellor, who was imprisoned and deprived of his office by the king, as also was the chancellor, though he pretended to resign voluntarily (ib. p. 349); but the condemnation in his case was unconnected with Wycliffe's affair, and was due to his failure to punish an outrage on a member of the king's household. At present even the theologians were in Wycliffe's favour. The chancellor and doctors unanimously affirmed Wycliffe's conclusions to be true, although they were ill-sounding propositions (‘male sonare in auribus auditorum,’ ib. pp. 348–9).

When at last the accused heresiarch appeared before the two prelates in the archbishop's chapel at Lambeth (February or March 1378), the Princess of Wales, widow of the Black Prince and mother of the young king (belonging, of course, to the anti-Lancastrian party), sent a message to forbid the prelates to interfere with him, and the citizens of London, the bitterest enemies of the duke, but, like him, sympathetic hearers of Wycliffe's London sermons, burst into the chapel and interrupted the proceedings. The second trial was as abortive as the first (Chron. Angl. p. 183). The archbishop, if not his suffragan, was probably half-hearted, and willing enough to avail himself of a show of violence as an excuse for inaction. (From Walsingham, i. 325, it might appear that the first trial at St. Paul's was in pursuance of the papal bulls, and it is true that the summons to Wycliffe in the summer of 1377 is to appear at St. Paul's. If Walsingham be right, we should have to place both the trials in 1377–8, but the attack on the Savoy in February is expressly said to have been in Lent, which would not have been the case had it taken place in February of what we should call the year 1378.)

The charges now made against Wycliffe (Chron. Angl. pp. 181 sq.), with his answers and explanations (intended apparently for transmission to Rome), enable us to trace the progress of his theological development since 1366. The accusations are established by the usual controversial device of extracting propositions from a writer's works without the context, qualification, and explanation which are needed to represent his real mind, or even to make them intelligible. Still, they are in most cases verbally—in all substantially—identical with positions maintained in his writings. For historical purposes it will be most instructive to give the actual ‘conclusions’ in all their bald crudity, as formulated by Wycliffe's accusers, with an occasional word of explanation. The articles were eighteen in number, though some authorities give only thirteen, and we are told that they are only a selection from the fifty sent to Rome by his enemies (Chron. Angl. p. 396; also in Wilkins, iii. 123).

(1) The whole human race, apart from Christ, has no power of ordaining absolutely that Peter and all his successors shall have political dominion in perpetuity over the world [for all human dominion must cease at the last judgment].

(2) God cannot give a man civil dominion for himself and his heirs in perpetuity [because, Wycliffe explains, God could not, consistently with his nature, defer indefinitely the attainment of complete beatitude by his church].

(3) Humanly invented charters cannot possibly confer a perpetual right of civil inheritance [i.e. they are conditional upon the fulfilment of certain conditions and may be forfeited by misconduct].

(4) Any one being in a state of grace, such as confers grace finally, has not merely in right but in actual fact all the gifts of God [based on Matt. xxv. 21 and Augustine's ‘Justorum sunt omnia’].

(5) Man can only ministerially confer either on a natural son or a son by imitation [Walsingham's and Wycliffe's texts have ‘imitationis’] in the school of Christ either temporal or eternal dominion [1 Cor. iv. 1].

(6) If there is a God, temporal lords can legitimately and meritoriously take away earthly goods from a delinquent church [i.e. God can authorise them to take them away, but only, Wycliffe explains, ‘by the authority of the church in the cases and forms defined by law’].

Whether the church is in such a state or not, it is not for me to discuss, but for the temporal lords to examine, and in the case contemplated to take away her temporalities under pain of eternal damnation.

(7) We know that it is not possible that the vicar of Christ should habilitate or inhabilitate any one either merely by his bulls or by them with the will and consent of his college [of cardinals, i.e. a man cannot be saved without grace, which must be conferred directly by God].

(8) It is not possible for a man to be excommunicated, unless he be first and principally excommunicated by himself [Wycliffe adds that even an unjust excommunication is to be treated with respect, but in that case it will turn to the salvation, and not to the damnation, of the humble excommunicate].

(9) Nobody is [i.e. ought to be] excommunicated or suspended or punished with other censures for his deterioration, but only [should be excommunicated at all] in a cause of God [i.e. for just cause].

(10) Anathema or excommunication does not bind simply, but only in so far as it is directed against an adversary of the law of Christ.

(11) There is no example of the power of excommunicating subjects being employed by Christ or his disciples, especially for temporal matters, but the contrary.

(12) The disciples of Christ have no power of compelling the payment of temporalities by ecclesiastical censures [Wycliffe quotes Luke xxii. 25, 26, and adds that the payment may be so enforced ‘accessorily to the punishment of the injury to God Himself’].

(13) It is not possible, even by the absolute power of God, that if the pope or any other should pretend in any way whatever to bind or loose any one, he by that very fact binds or looses any one [i.e. no one can be damned by an unjust excommunication. To deny that an excommunication may be unjust, says Wycliffe, would involve the impeccability of the pope or prelate].

(14) It ought to be believed that he then only looses or binds when he conforms himself to the law of Christ.

(15) This ought to be believed, as part of the catholic faith, that any priest whatever, rightly ordained, has sufficient power to confer any sacraments whatever, and by consequence to absolve the contrite from any sin whatever [directed against the Roman theory of jurisdiction and the system of reserved cases].

(16) Kings may take away temporalities from ecclesiastical persons habitually abusing them [Wycliffe here cites the Decretum of Gratian in support of his views, pt. ii. cause xii. 7. c. 31, and i. dist. xl. p. iii].

(17) Whether it was temporal lords or holy popes, or Peter, or the head of the church, which is Christ, who endowed the church with the goods of fortune or of grace, and excommunicated those who take away its temporalities, it is still lawful, on account of the implicit condition [under which they were given] to despoil it of its temporalities proportionally to its wrongdoing.

(18) The ecclesiastical ruler, and even the Roman pontiff, may legitimately be corrected or even accused by subjects and laymen.

These doctrines of Wycliffe may be looked upon from two points of view. On the one hand, as abstract speculations they are the outcome of the long development of scholastic thought which at this time had its most active centre in Oxford; on the other hand, they may be looked upon as the views of a practical reformer, inspired by a statesmanlike outlook upon the present position of the mediæval church and the political necessities of the English state. From the speculative point of view, we can trace in them the influence of Bradwardine's predestinarian doctrine of grace, of whole centuries of controversy about the source of temporal power, and especially of the Ghibelline apologists whose left wing passed into the heresies of Occam, Marsilius of Padua, and John of Jandun, and most directly of the doctrine of dominion taught by Richard FitzRalph, archbishop of Armagh (in De Pauperie Salvatoris, published by Dr. Poole in his edition of De Dominio Divino), the prelate who conducted both the literary and the diplomatic crusade of the English seculars on behalf of the bishops and curates against the encroachments of the mendicants. From the practical point of view, these propositions imply that Wycliffe had become a determined opponent of the secularity of the mediæval church; that he was convinced of the injury done to the spiritual influence of the clergy by their vast wealth, by the abuse of excommunication for political, and indeed purely commercial, purposes, and by the exemption of ecclesiastical persons and property from lay control. It is this latter point that differentiates him from the ordinary preachers, pamphleteers, and reformers of the middle age. All agreed as to the abuses. Wycliffe was the first to see that no effectual church reform would be possible unless it were undertaken by the lay power, and the first to suggest the enormous social and political advantages that might be obtained were the wealth of the monastic idlers and the superfluous possessions of the secular clergy placed at the disposal of the state. It is true that late in life he assumes that the confiscated lands should be given to ‘poor gentlemen’ (Select English Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 216–17); yet even so, they would be held subject to military service and other feudal incidents. But it is clear that the relief of the poor from ever-growing taxation was one of the foremost of Wycliffe's practical aims. On the purely theological or speculative side there was little in his present ‘conclusions’ which could not boast very respectable ecclesiastical authority. Even the pope calls them only ‘errors,’ not heresies, though once they are alleged to ‘savour of’ heresy. Only on the single point of the right of the secular power to interfere in the purely spiritual region could Wycliffe's ‘conclusions,’ when fairly interpreted, be identified with anything that had been condemned by the church. What made these ‘conclusions’ a new thing in the mediæval world was that here for the first time a bold and accredited academic thinker was prepared to call upon the state to reform an unwilling clergy.

Wycliffe's trial at Lambeth apparently passed off without any formal judgment or sentence. He was more or less formally commanded or requested by the bishops not to teach these doctrines in the schools or the pulpit, ‘on account of the scandal [i.e. against the clergy] which they excited among the laity’ (Chron. Angl. p. 190; Eulog. Hist. iii. 348). To these precepts he paid, so far as we can judge, not the slightest attention.

During the autumn parliament of 1378 John of Gaunt had incurred fresh unpopularity among the clergy, and probably the people at large, by a peculiarly high-handed violation, not merely of the right of sanctuary attaching to the precincts of Westminster Abbey, but of the sanctity of the church itself. Two English squires, Robert Hale and John Schakyl, though required to do so both by the marshal's court and by parliament, had refused to surrender a Spanish hostage (whose custody they claimed as a right by the then accepted laws of war) to the Duke of Lancaster, whose interference was based upon his claim to the crown of Castile. They were imprisoned in the Tower, but managed to escape to Westminster. Schakyl was recaptured by a ruse, but Hale was murdered in cold blood by the duke's emissaries, as was also the servant of the church who had attempted to prevent the arrest. The matter was discussed in the parliament which was summoned to meet at Gloucester in October 1378, when Wycliffe employed his pen, and apparently his voice (Continuation of Adam of Murimuth, Engl. Hist. Soc. p. 234; Rot. Parl. iii. 37), in defending the outrageous proceeding (in a tract afterwards embodied or expanded in the ‘De Ecclesia,’ cap. viii. sq.) It was the misfortune of his position that he had to attack abuses at a time when their abolition was but too likely to be followed by worse abuses, and to defend the rights of the state at a time when its rights were likely to be asserted in practice for the satisfaction of a clique of lay nobles, greedier, more unscrupulous, and more incompetent than the respectable ecclesiastical statesmen who failed so conspicuously to realise Wycliffe's evangelical ideal of a Christian ministry. There are, however, two sides to the present question. There was a real legal doubt as to whether the privilege of sanctuary extended to pleas of civil debt, and Wycliffe's case was that the men were killed owing to their violent resistance to a legal arrest. The language used by the lords in reply to the petition of the bishops and clergy is obviously inspired by Wycliffe, and is really a summary of the tractate laid before them by Wycliffe in pursuance of the royal commands. They asserted: ‘Que Dieux, salvez sa perfection, ne le Pape, salve sa saintitee, ne nul Roi ou Prince, purroit granter tiel privilege’ (Rot. Parl. iii. p. 37).

A few months after Wycliffe's appearance at Lambeth occurred the great schism in the western church. The cardinals of the French party, declaring that the election of Urban VI was due to the violence of the Roman mob, renounced their allegiance to him and elected a separate pope, who assumed the title of Clement VII and established a rival curia at Avignon, where the predecessors of Gregory XI had already sojourned for nearly seventy years. Such an event could not but exercise an immense effect on minds already indignant at the abuses of the papacy, and puzzled by the difficulty of reconciling its claims with the New Testament, with the earlier history of the church, and with the growing sense of national independence. When facts demonstrated with daily increasing clearness that there might be two popes without either side being visibly the worse for its apostasy, men could not help asking themselves whether catholicity necessarily involved adherence to either. No doubt, as has been pointed out by Shirley, the fact that the papacy with which Englishmen had to reckon was no longer an ally of France tended to diminish the purely political antagonism to its claims and its unpopularity with the mass of the clergy; but such was not the effect of the schism upon minds like Wycliffe's. It was from this time that Wycliffe's mind began to move out of the groove already marked out by the politico-ecclesiastical debates of the fourteenth-century schools, and to question not merely the accidental abuses of the existing church system, but its underlying principles and the theological doctrines upon which they were based. All along Wycliffe had been a preacher as well as a scholastic divine, something of a pastor as well as a politician and controversialist. From this time, largely owing to the failure of his political hopes, his activity becomes almost entirely religious.

At about this period, though we can assign no precise date, he began, it would seem, a systematic effort to fight against the popular ignorance of the essentials of vital and evangelical religion. This effort assumed two forms—the institution of his ‘poor preachers’ and the translation of the Bible. The former certainly belongs to the crisis in Wycliffe's life which followed his first collision with ecclesiastical authority; the other may have begun now, but is generally associated with the last three years of his life.

To assist him in preaching the simpler gospel which he desired to diffuse among the people, he now ‘gathered around him many disciples in his pravity, living together in Oxford [probably leading a common life in some academic hall], clad in long russet gowns of one pattern, going on foot, ventilating his errors among the people and publicly preaching them in sermons’ (Chron. Angl. p. 395; cf. Knighton, Chron. ii. 184–185, where the gowns are described as being of undyed wool). By these men the new doctrines which Wycliffe was developing in the Oxford schools and embodying in his elaborate scholastic works were diffused among rich and poor throughout the land. Although these ‘poor priests’ are not to be thought of as ignorant evangelists (they were most of them university men, who had listened to Wycliffe's lectures), many of them no doubt exaggerated his antagonism to the existing church order, and preached the new tenets in a cruder and coarser form than was given to them by the master himself; and among the laity who had imbibed his teaching occasional acts of fanaticism occurred which tended still further to excite alarm and hostility among the bishops and the mass of the clergy. Wycliffe had taught that tithes might be withheld from bad priests by legal authority or by the combined action of the whole parish (Select English Works, iii. 176, 177); his disciple, William Swinderby, went about urging individuals to refuse such dues on their own responsibility to an immoral curate (Chron. Angl. p. 340), while a little later a knight near Salisbury took home the consecrated wafer and consumed it at an ordinary meal (ib. p. 282).

Whether or not Wycliffe actually began the work of translation at this period of his life, his whole teaching put the Bible in quite a different position from that which was assigned to it by common mediæval tradition. All his works exalt the authority of the Bible, whether as compared with that of later fathers and doctors, or as compared with that of the contemporary prelacy and priesthood, and he insists much on the necessity of its being accessible to all Christians. Wycliffe had begun the great protestant appeal to Scripture against the abuses of the mediæval church. The demand for a closer acquaintance with its text on the part of the laity was the natural sequel.

Parts of the Bible had already been done into Anglo-Saxon and into English, especially the great treasure-house of mediæval devotion, the Psalms; and the whole Bible had been translated into the court French dialect, which had now ceased to be the living language of the highest classes. Wycliffe and his associates for the first time conceived and executed the great task of translating the whole Bible into the vulgar tongue. Wycliffe himself translated the Gospels, and probably the whole New Testament. His disciple, Nicholas Hereford [see Nicholas, fl. 1390], began on the Old Testament, which he completed to Baruch iii. 20. The rest of the Apocrypha (except 4 Esdras) was completed by another, possibly, as some have thought, by Wycliffe himself. Afterwards the whole was revised by John Purvey [q. v.], his friend and parochial chaplain, or, as we should say, his ‘curate’ at Lutterworth. The work was completed by about 1388, certainly before 1400. It is this edition which is for the most part exhibited in most of the 170 extant manuscripts of Wycliffe's Bible, nearly all of which were produced between 1400 and 1450. Both translations were of course made from the Vulgate. Their connection with Wycliffe, at least as the moving spirit if not as the actual author of the earlier version, rests on the testimony of Huss (who declares that the English commonly ascribed the translation of the whole Bible to him, Opp. 1558, vol. i. p. cviii b), of Knighton (Chron. ii. 152), and of Archbishop Arundel (Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 350; see also preface to Forshall and Madden's magnificent edition, London, 1850, p. vi n.) The doubts of Dom Gasquet (Dublin Review, July 1894) are quite gratuitous, and are satisfactorily disposed of by Mr. F. D. Matthew (Engl. Hist. Rev. 1895, x. 91 sq.). As to the date at which the translation was executed, we can only say that the silence of Wycliffe's accusers in 1371, and even in 1381, makes it improbable that any part had begun to be widely diffused before the latter date.

The year 1381 constitutes the second great crisis in the life of Wycliffe. In that year occurred the great and mysterious rising of the peasants in Essex, Kent, Suffolk, and elsewhere, and the murder of Archbishop Sudbury. The way for this movement was in places apparently prepared by vague socialistic or communistic teaching more or less akin to Wycliffe's tenets about lordship and grace. By the monk of St. Albans (p. 321) John Ball is described as a teacher of Wycliffe's ‘perverse dogmas,’ and Walden (Fasc. Ziz. p. 273) declares that the same leader after condemnation professed that for two years he had been a disciple of Wycliffe. On the other hand the former authority also mentions that he had preached his revolutionary creed ‘for twenty years and more’ (Chron. Angl. p. 320), which shows that the first impulse at all events cannot have come from the academic reformer; and Ball had been excommunicated in 1366. In all probability there was very little historical connection between the two movements, except in so far as both sprang out of ideas which were in the air, and in so far as it is impossible for any one to set men thinking about ultimate questions without contributing something to the social and intellectual ferment out of which such movements are born. Even those who traced the outbreak to Wycliffe's heresies thought of it rather as a judicial visitation for their impiety than as the natural consequence of Wycliffe's teaching (Chron. Angl. p. 311). It is worth mentioning that there were others who attributed the origin of the movement to the mendicants (Fasc. Ziz. p. 393; Chron. Angl. p. 312). It is alleged too, on somewhat doubtful authority, that Jack Strawe confessed to an intention of murdering all the clergy except the begging friars—certainly not a probable result of Wycliffite teaching at this period of his life (Chron. Angl. p. 309). The rebels are never accused of heresy (Réville, Le Soulèvement des travailleurs d'Angl. en 1381, p. lxiii) nor (with hardly an exception) the lollards with communism (Trevelyan, England in the Age of Wycliffe, p. 340).

Whatever the origin of the movement, it contributed of course to the increasing indignation of the ecclesiastical world, and to the growth among the laity of a reactionary spirit. Moreover, just before this crisis in the external fortunes of the Wycliffite movement, the development of its leader's theological opinions had reached the point where they placed him most incontrovertibly, most irreconcilably beyond the pale of mediæval orthodoxy. When he wrote the ‘De Civili Dominio,’ Wycliffe still accepted the doctrine of transubstantiation. It was in the summer of 1381, or more probably (at latest) of 1380 (as has been shown by Mr. F. D. Matthew, Engl. Hist. Rev. 1890, v. 328 sq.), that Wycliffe in the schools of Oxford ‘began to determine matters upon the sacrament of the altar;’ and his determination amounted to a categorical and peremptory denial of the doctrine of transubstantiation (Fasc. Ziz. p. 104). ‘The consecrated host which we see on the altar is neither Christ nor any part of him, but the effectual sign of him’ (ib. p. 104). The patristic doctrine of the real presence he continued verbally to assert in vague and general language; but, whenever he defined, the real presence tended more and more to be explained as a spiritual presence, the bread and wine ever more and more to become a sign of the reality, and not the reality itself. If for a time he still was even content to say that ‘the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ,’ the admission was qualified by the words ‘in a figure,’ or ‘virtually, as a king is in the whole of his kingdom,’ or ‘as a man is created into a pope, while remaining the same man as he was before’ (ib. p. 107). To the last his views on the subject were tentative, shifting, and barely consistent. But the metaphysical dogma of the mediæval schools in which alone transubstantiation becomes a definite, clearly cut, arguable, intellectual position—the doctrine of the fourth Lateran council, of the angelical doctor, of the whole mediæval church—was now for the first time publicly challenged, dissected, ridiculed in the mediæval schools. Wycliffe, understanding much better than its conventional teachers the true meaning of realism, denied the possibility of the accidents—the sensible properties—of the bread and wine remaining while their ‘substance’ was destroyed, and replaced by the substance of the body and blood of Christ. All Wycliffe's previous aberrations from orthodoxy were not insusceptible of some defence on traditional lines; all, if eventually condemned, had been held by considerable sections of the church. Many of the Gallican opponents of the schism, for instance, were going quite as far as Wycliffe in minimising the authority of the papacy, and even in upholding that of the secular power. Wycliffe's new heresy sealed his doom in the eyes of the mediæval church. For those who conceded least to the claims of the priesthood admitted that priests and priests alone could ‘make the body of Christ.’ If they could not do that, the lay world would inevitably draw inferences which would be fatal to the whole system of hierarchical pretension. Even Lancaster was shocked at this denial of the central doctrine of mediæval orthodoxy (Fasc. Ziz. p. 318). It was Wycliffe's doctrine of the eucharist which ruined for the immediate future his chances as a practical reformer.

The natural result of these two fresh features in the situation—the peasant revolt and Wycliffe's new heresy—was a fresh outburst of ecclesiastical repression. The first attempt was made in Oxford itself. The chancellor for the time being, William de Berton [q. v.], was hostile to Wycliffe, and assembled a body of doctors of theology and canon law—not the whole of either faculty, as he admits, but ‘those whom we believed to be most expert’—which condemned Wycliffe's eucharistic doctrine, and forbade it to be taught in the university under pain of imprisonment, academical suspension, and the greater excommunication. Only one secular doctor of theology and only two secular canonists took part in this proceeding. The sentence was pronounced in Wycliffe's presence in the school of the Austin friars. Against this decision Wycliffe at once appealed—characteristically and of course uncanonically—to the king. But the Duke of Lancaster enjoined silence upon him, an injunction which did not prevent Wycliffe immediately putting forth a ‘confession’ in which the old doctrine is reasserted and defended, though perhaps in somewhat more guarded language (ib. pp. 113 sq.; Wilkins, iii. 170).

The Oxford condemnation must have taken place in the summer of 1381, just before the beginning of the peasant revolt. After its suppression the murdered archbishop, the apathetic, moderate, and rather Lancastrian Sudbury, was succeeded by the zealous and energetic Courtenay, the old enemy of the now less powerful duke. As soon as he had received the pallium from Rome, the new primate lost no time in availing himself of the spirit of ecclesiastical reaction which, since the late disorders, had taken possession of king and parliament. Yet Wycliffe's place in public opinion was still so strong that the prelates judged it expedient to begin by attacking the doctrines, and then afterwards to invoke the aid of the state in suppressing the persons. In point of form there was no personal attack on Wycliffe himself. Still, an enumeration of the theological positions now assailed will be a sufficient indication of the progress of Wycliffe's mind and of the Wycliffite movement since 1377.

On 17 or 21 May 1382 there met at the archbishop's summons a court or council consisting of ten bishops, sixteen doctors and eight bachelors of theology, thirteen doctors of canon and civil law, and two bachelors of law. This assembly has sometimes been described as a synod of the southern province, but that it certainly was not; there is no evidence that all the southern bishops were cited, while among those who were present were the bishop of Durham and a foreign bishop (‘Nanatensis’). The bishops and doctors were simply the arbitrarily and perhaps judiciously selected assessors of the archbishop. All the theological doctors were friars except one who was a monk; the warden of Merton was the only secular bachelor, or rather licentiate, of theology. The session took place in the hall of the Blackfriars' convent, just outside the walls of London. It so happened that an earthquake—of unusual violence for England—took place during the meeting. There were those who urged that after such an omen the proceedings should be abandoned; but Courtenay was disposed to put another interpretation on the event: as the earth was purging itself of its foul winds, so the kingdom would be purged, though not without great trouble and agitation, of the heresies which afflicted it (Fasc. Ziz. p. 272). The council became known as the ‘earthquake council.’ Before such an assembly the condemnation of Wycliffism was a foregone conclusion, and on 28 May 1382 the archbishop issued his mandate addressed to the Carmelite friar, Dr. Peter Stokes [q. v.], requiring him to publish the condemnation of Wycliffe's theses in Oxford. In Walden's account of the council's proceedings (ib. pp. 272–91) there follows a list of the doctors present at its second, third, fourth, and fifth sessions, and now begin to appear the names of a few secular theologians; but these sittings took place after the condemnation, and some of the doctors now summoned were probably suspects who were required to subscribe by way of purging themselves from complicity in error, among them Robert Rygge [q. v.], the notoriously Wycliffite chancellor of Oxford. Wycliffe's strenuous disciples, Nicholas Hereford, Philip Repington [q. v.], and John Aston [q. v.], were likewise cited, but refused to sign, and were cited to appear as accused persons. Aston was condemned as a heretic, and Hereford and Repington excommunicated as contumacious for non-appearance.

The propositions condemned were as follows (Chron. Angl. p. 342; Fasc. Ziz. p. 277; Wilkins, iii. 157, the official account from the Archbishop's Register): (1) That the substance of the material bread and wine remains after consecration in the sacrament of the altar. (2) That the accidents do not remain without a subject [or substance] after consecration in the same sacrament. (3) That Christ is not in the sacrament of the altar identically, truly and really in his proper corporal presence. (4) That if a bishop or priest be in mortal sin, he does not ordain, consecrate (‘conficit’), or baptise. (5) That if a man be duly contrite, all exterior confession is for him superfluous or useless. (6) Pertinaciously to assert that the proposition that Christ ordained the mass is not founded in the gospel. (7) That God ought to obey the devil. [By this Wycliffe meant that since God has permitted evil to exist in the world, He must have regard to the existence of such evil in his government thereof. Elsewhere, by a disciple, the doctrine is explained to mean that God owes the devil love, and shows it by punishing him.] (8) If the pope be foreknown [i.e. predestined to damnation] and a bad man, and consequently a member of the devil, he has no power over Christ's faithful given him by any one, unless it be perchance by Cæsar. (9) After Urban VI no other is to be received as pope, but we ought to live after the fashion of the Greeks, [each nation] under its own laws. (10) To assert that it is contrary to holy scriptures that ecclesiastical persons should hold temporal possessions. The above propositions are described as heretical; the following are only erroneous, and contrary to the determination of the church: (11) That no prelate ought to excommunicate any one unless he first knows him to be excommunicated by God. (12) Any one so excommunicating is by that very fact heretical or excommunicate. (13) A prelate excommunicating a clerk who has appealed to the king and council of the realm is thereby a traitor to God, the king, and the realm. (14) Those who desist from preaching or hearing the word of God or the gospel preached [or, according to another reading, preaching the gospel] on account of the excommunication of men are excommunicate, and in the day of judgment will be held traitors to God. (15) To assert that it is lawful for any one—even a deacon or priest—to preach the word of God without licence of the apostolic see or of a catholic bishop or any other sufficiently recognised authority. (16) To assert that no one is a civil lord, no one a bishop, no one a prelate, while he is in mortal sin. (17) That temporal lords can at their pleasure take away temporal goods from ecclesiastics habitually delinquent, or that the people may at their pleasure correct delinquent lords. (18) That tithes are pure alms, and that parishioners may, on account of the sins of their curates, withhold them, and at their pleasure confer them on others. (19) That special prayers applied to one person by prelates or ‘religious’ persons are of no more use to that person than general prayers under the like conditions (cæteris paribus). (20) That by the very fact of a man entering any private religion whatever he is made less fit and capable of observing the commandments of God. (21) That the saints in instituting any private religions whatever, whether of the possessioned or of the mendicants, have sinned in such institution. (22) That the religious living in private religions are not of the Christian religion. (23) That the friars are bound to acquire their livelihood by the labour of their hands and not by mendicancy. (24) That any one conferring alms upon the friars is excommunicate, and so is the receiver of them. [In the version of Chron. Angl. the sixteenth and the twenty-fourth of these are omitted.]

It will be observed that not all these opinions are ascribed to Wycliffe personally; still, if we allow for the crude and exaggerated way in which they are stated, they are certainly based upon the doctrines maintained in his extant writings. We may summarise the position at which Wycliffe had arrived by saying that he had now fully developed the doctrine that all authority, secular as well as ecclesiastical, is derived from God and is forfeited when the possessor of it is in a state of mortal sin; that he has applied it more definitely than before to the condemnation of many features in the existing church order; that he has denied the doctrine of transubstantiation upon which the power of the priesthood was fundamentally based, and that he has condemned the whole institution of monasticism in all its forms.

A word must be said on this last change of opinion. It is certain that in earlier life—at least from 1378 (Eulog. Hist. iii. 345)—Wycliffe had attacked the endowed orders for their wealth, luxury, and uselessness, while he had been rather inclined to approve of the mendicant rules as more agreeable to his own ideal both of preaching activity and of evangelical poverty (Chron. Angl. p. 116). When he appeared for the first time before the archbishop at St. Paul's, the Duke of Lancaster had provided four friars to defend him (ib. p. 118). A chronicler (Eulog. Hist. iii. 345) makes him (about 1377) greatly commend the religion of the friars minors, saying that they were the dearest to God (so Chron. Angl. p. 116). He speaks more doubtfully in the ‘Dialogus’ (about 1379), and from that time his hostility is ever on the increase. Though he felt that in the existing state of things it was necessary that his followers should (like John Wesley) take the whole world for their parish, his poor priests were seculars. This is a point which differentiates Wycliffe from previous assailants of mediæval abuses and preachers of practical religion. However strongly they might attack the evils of existing orders, they had usually ended by founding a new one—to divert earnest men from the ranks of the ordinary parochial clergy, and to become in a generation as corrupt as its predecessors. Wycliffe had not only seen the practical evils of mendicancy which was now being felt as a serious burden upon the poor householder, but had discerned the unevangelical character of the fundamental principles upon which all the religious orders were based—the theory that Christ's ‘counsels’ were only binding on the religious, while secular people—including the secular clergy—were only bound to the lower morality represented by the evangelical ‘precepts.’ He held that the obligation of poverty rested upon the whole of the clergy. The opposition which the ‘poor priests’ experienced at the hands of the friars, to which he is constantly alluding in his controversial tracts against them, had no doubt much to do with the intense bitterness against the mendicant orders which pervades Wycliffe's later writings. The poor priests began by preaching in churches, and, when excluded therefrom, preached in the open air and often without episcopal licence (Fasc. Ziz. p. 275).

The first measure of suppression directed against Wycliffism was, as we have seen, the work of the bishops acting on their own initiative. In the second case the prelates acted under papal authority. In the third the suppression was the work of the state, now more closely associated with the hierarchy through the reactionary impulse succeeding the peasants' war. Formerly secular magnates had been disposed to welcome Wycliffe's teaching as a weapon against the hierarchy; now temporal and ecclesiastical authority, temporal and ecclesiastical property alike, seemed threatened by the levelling doctrines which were in the air. The archbishop first issued mandates to the university of Oxford and to the bishops enjoining them to suppress the condemned doctrine under pain of excommunication, and then in parliament (May 1382) proposed that the sheriff should be authorised upon the significavit of the bishops to imprison the offending preachers and their adherents. An ordinance was issued in accordance with the archbishop's proposal (Rot. Parl. iii. 124), but it had never been passed by the commons, and in the next session of parliament (October 1382) the lower house petitioned for the cancelling of the pretended statute, which was accordingly repealed (ib. iii. 141). But on 26 June 1382 the king had already issued a patent authorising the bishops themselves to imprison defenders of the condemned doctrines until they recanted or other action should be taken by the king in council (Rot. Pat. 6 Richard II, pt. i. m. 35). It is a curious fact that the commons should have resented the former of these measures, which only reasserted the existing law, except in so far as it apparently authorised the imprisonment of heretics before, instead of after, excommunication, while the patent of June introduced a very serious legal innovation—the imprisonment of laymen by direct authority of the ecclesiastical judge without a royal writ. The facts only show the transitional stage through which the development of constitutional principles was passing, and the divided state of public opinion upon the question of Wycliffism.

Whatever were the views of the classes represented in parliament, at Oxford at all events the ‘evangelical doctor’ was still a power. There he was still the greatest living teacher of theology and philosophy, the representative of views shared by at least one half of the university, the ‘flower of Oxford’ (Eulog. Histor. iii. 345). His influence was especially paramount among the younger masters of arts, for whom he was identified with the cause of realism in its struggles with the Parisian nominalism, with the cause of the philosophical faculty in its jealousy of the superior faculties of theology and canon law, with the cause of the seculars in their conflicts with the mendicants, and of the university in itself in its jealous struggle against external ecclesiastical authority.

On Ascension day (15 May 1382) a violent discourse against the regulars was preached in the churchyard of St. Frideswyde's (now Christ Church) by Wycliffe's most prominent disciple, Nicholas Hereford (Bodleian MS. 240; Fasc. Ziz. p. 296; cf. Academy, 3 June 1882, and art. {{sc|Nicholas, fl. 1390). The archbishop's mandate for the condemnation of the prohibited tenets in the university was issued on 28 May, and its execution was entrusted to the Carmelite doctor, Peter Stokes, who had been the ringleader in the agitation against Wycliffe at Oxford, and had virtually conducted the prosecution (ib. p. 296). But Stokes found it impossible to get the chancellor, Robert Rygge, to act. Rygge was probably at heart a Wycliffite, though he had joined in the Oxford condemnation of his ecclesiastical doctrines, and Stokes was too much intimidated to publish the mandate himself. Two days later the archbishop sent a menacing letter to the chancellor, abusing him for having let Hereford preach (ib. p. 298), and requiring him to assist Stokes in the publication. The chancellor had already invited Philip Repington to preach before the university on Corpus Christi day in St. Frideswyde's cemetery. The archbishop's letter had been intended to prevent another Wycliffite sermon, but the chancellor denied the archbishop's jurisdiction within the university, pretended doubts as to authenticity, deliberated with the proctors and ‘other secular regents,’ expressed himself ready to assist the archbishop, but took no action till the sermon was over. The sermon was a strong defence of Wycliffe's doctrine. Repington declared that temporal lords ought to be mentioned before the spiritual in the form of bidding prayer, and excited the people ‘to insurrection and to the spoiling of churches,’ says the friar Walden. After the sermon, the chancellor waited for the preacher at the door of the church: they went home together laughing, ‘and great joy was caused among the lollards at such a sermon’ (Fasc. Ziz. p. 300). The excitement and alarm were such that the chancellor had secured a guard of a hundred armed men from the mayor, while twenty men with weapons under their gowns escorted the preacher (ib. pp. 299–301). On a subsequent disputation in the schools between Stokes and Repington it was also reported that the partisans of Wycliffe had taken a similar precaution (ib. p. 302). Stokes, who had gone to St. Frideswyde with the intention of publishing the mandate, was afraid to leave the church, and wrote to the archbishop that he had not been able to fulfil his mission for terror of his life (ib. pp. 301–2). The next day he again formally handed the original letters under the archbishop's seal in full congregation to the chancellor, who dutifully professed his readiness to comply if the university after due deliberation approved, but did nothing. The chancellor and proctors were immediately summoned to Lambeth (ib. p. 302). They were directed to appear before the tribunal already described on 12 June, and were then accused and convicted of being ‘fautors’ of the Wycliffite heresies. One of the articles of charge is significant as illustrating the attitude probably of many of Wycliffe's supporters, who really thought as he did, but were always quite prepared to make formal submission to the authority of the church. When an ardent Wycliffite had declared in the schools that there was no idolatry like the sacrament of the altar, the chancellor had contented himself with the protest, ‘Now you are speaking as a philosopher.’ It is also interesting to note the formal statement that not only the chancellor and proctors, but the majority of the regents in arts (i.e. the masters actually teaching at Oxford), were ‘not amicable or benevolent to those who determined against Nicholas Hereford and Philip Repington, but were most hostile to them, though before they were friends. Therefore it appears that they held the same as Nicholas and Philip’ (ib. p. 308). On the other hand we are told that now all the regents in theology (who had supported Wycliffe in 1377) ‘determined against’ his doctrine (Eulog. Hist. iii. 351).

The accused officials ended by subscribing the condemnation; the chancellor begged pardon on his knees, and was forgiven on the intercession of the aged and always moderate William of Wykeham (ib. p. 308). He was thereupon handed a fresh and more strenuous mandate, requiring him not to allow the condemned tenets to be taught in the university, and to suspend from preaching and from all academical acts Wycliffe, Hereford, Repington, Aston, and Lawrence Bedeman [q. v.] until they had purged their innocence before him. Another mandate required him to publish the condemnation in St. Mary's Church and in the schools, and to make an inquisition through the halls of the university for the supporters of these doctrines, and to force them to purgation. The chancellor pleaded that he dare not for fear of his life publish such a document. ‘Then,’ replied Courtenay, ‘is the university a fautor of heretics if she will not allow orthodox truths to be published’ (ib. p. 311). And the accusation was certainly no more than the truth. However, the chancellor now went back to Oxford with a royal injunction to carry out the archbishop's commands. He proceeded to suspend Hereford and Repington both from preaching and lecturing; and a royal writ required the chancellor and proctors, with the assistance of the doctors of theology, to make a general inquisition throughout the university for heretics and for all books by Wycliffe or Hereford (Fasc. Ziz. p. 312). But the archbishop's threats did not prevent him suspending a violent anti-Wycliffite partisan, the Cistercian Henry Crump [q. v.], himself, however, a heretic in another direction, as a disturber of the peace of the university (ib. pp. 311–12, 344). This incident led to the citation of the chancellor and proctors before the king in council, by whom they were compelled to remove the suspension (ib. p. 314). All the more prominent of Wycliffe's followers were sooner or later forced into some kind of retractation, and it is a proof of the astonishing hold which Wycliffe had acquired over large sections of the English people that he escaped any form of personal condemnation. It is not even clear that the archbishop's command to suspend him from all academical acts was ever carried out. He had apparently left Oxford of his own accord, and retired to Lutterworth. There he occupied himself with preaching to his rural congregation the sermons which have come down to us, in making or completing his translation of the Bible, and in composing increasingly violent treatises or pamphlets against the abuses of the church, especially against the papacy and the regulars.

It is alleged that Wycliffe in person had to appear before the bishops assembled at Oxford in November 1382, and that he there recanted, but the statement rests entirely upon the authority of Knighton (Chronicon, ii. 160), who represents the assembly as an adjourned session of the ‘earthquake council,’ assuming that the later sittings of that assembly, in which so many Oxford doctors figured, must have been held in the university itself. Moreover the English document which Knighton gives as a recantation emphatically reasserts the opinions that Wycliffe had always entertained, and Knighton's whole treatment of Wycliffe's life is confused and unchronological. It is improbable that Wycliffe appeared before such an assembly, and certain that he did not retract his opinions. The archbishop's registrar, who duly chronicles the recantation of Repington and Aston (Wilkins, iii. 172), would not have failed to place on record so welcome an event.

For the last time the crusade which Urban VI had proclaimed against his rival of Avignon brought Wycliffe back into his old field of political pamphleteering (1382). Here indeed was an exhibition on a more than ordinary scale of every abuse which Wycliffe had denounced. A pretended pastor of one half of Christendom was encouraging by the most extravagant indulgences the murder and plunder of his rival's adherents in Flanders, which was invaded by an army of ruffians recruited by preaching friars, financed by church collections, and led in person by the fiery prelate Henry Despencer [q. v.], bishop of Norwich, who had already used his formidable mace in putting down with more than the ruthlessness of any secular lord the rebellion of the peasants in Norfolk. Wycliffe's letter to Urban VI is sometimes said to have procured him the honour of a citation to Rome in 1384, which he was prevented by illness from obeying. But the fact of the citation rests entirely upon the authority of a letter of Wycliffe's apologising for non-obedience to it (Fasc. Ziz. p. 341), and the document, the real occasion of which must remain uncertain, scarcely reads (as Lechler points out) like a real letter actually sent to Rome, though the fact of the citation is accepted by Dr. Poole (Wycliffe and Movements for Reform, p. 111). A mere rumour that he was to be cited might well have moved the reformer to some such unfinished sketch of a reply, or it may have referred to the citation to Rome enjoined by one of the bulls of 1377.

It is to the parliament of November 1382—the parliament which cancelled the pretended statute against heresy—that Wycliffe is supposed to have addressed an ‘English petition’ to the following effect: (1) That regulars might be free to leave their orders; (2) that those men who unreasonably and wrongfully have damned the king and his council (for taking away the goods of ecclesiastics) may be amended of so great error; (3) that tithes and other ecclesiastical dues be withheld when not used for their proper purpose; (4) that the true doctrine of the eucharist may be taught (the document, which contains an elaborate statement of reasons, is printed in Arnold's ‘Select English Works of Wycliffe,’ iii. 508). A decidedly different version of the propositions addressed by Wycliffe to parliament is given by Walsingham (ii. 51). It invites parliament to withhold obedience to prelates, except in so far as such obedience promotes obedience to Christ; not to send money to the Roman court, not to allow absentees to enjoy benefices in England, not to oppress the people with tallages till the property of the clergy is used up, and to confiscate the goods of delinquent clergy; but contains no allusion to the eucharist.

Wycliffe had already, in 1382 or 1383, experienced a paralytic stroke. On 28 Dec. 1384 (see Bishop Buckingham of Lincoln's Reg. Memorabilia, f. 7, ap. Lewis, p. 44, and the testimony of Gascoigne's manuscript deposition, ap. Lewis, p. 336; not, as the monk of St. Albans for polemical purposes represents, on the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, 29 Dec., Chron. Angl. p. 362) it was repeated while he was hearing mass in his own church; he never spoke again, and died three days later (31 Dec.) He was buried at Lutterworth, where his body remained till 1428, when it was disinterred, burnt, and thrown into the adjoining river Swift, in accordance with the orders of the council of Constance, by his former disciple Richard Fleming [q. v.], now bishop of Lincoln.

The repose enjoyed by Wycliffe's remains at Lutterworth from his death till 14 May 1415 is symbolical of the subsequent history of Wycliffism or Lollardism (the name is probably derived either from ‘loller,’ an idle fellow, or from the verb ‘lull,’ to sing or mutter psalms). The movement was no doubt thrown back by the repression which immediately preceded and followed his death, especially by the measures taken to collect and destroy his writings in Oxford (Wilkins, Concilia, iii. f. 160). It is to this reaction against Wycliffism that the Oxford chancellor and proctors owe their formal appointment as ‘inquisitores hereticæ pravitatis’ by the royal writ of 1381, which ordained a monthly inquisition for Wycliffites and Wycliffite books through the colleges and halls of Oxford. The title suggests at once how favourable to the spread of Wycliffe's opinions had been the absence in England of that cunningly devised institution the papal inquisition, by which the earlier thirteenth-century revolt against mediæval orthodoxy had been effectually repressed. Even the measures now taken by the state against the lollards were of a comparatively mild description. Imprisonment was the severest penalty which they involved, and, in spite of all of them, it is clear that Wycliffism continued in force in Oxford and in many parts of England, especially in the great towns like London and Bristol (Adam of Usk, Chron. ed. Thompson, p. 3) and in the country round Leicester, till the reign of Henry IV brought with it a fresh and far more rigorous renewal of the alliance between the court and the hierarchy for the preservation of the status quo against subversive and revolutionary opinions in church and state. The Wycliffite rising of 1399 enabled the enemies of his doctrine to stamp it out in blood. According to Adam of Usk (Chron. ed. M. Thompson, p. 3) twenty-three thousand Wycliffites were put to death—of course an enormous exaggeration. The reform movement in Bohemia, if not in the first instance due to the influence of Wycliffe's writings, had owed to them its definitely heretical character; the writings of John Huss are largely transcripts from those of Wycliffe (see Loserth, Wiclif and Hus); and the violent form assumed by the movement in Prague turned the suppression of lollardy from an English into a European question. In 1401 the secular arm was strengthened in its efforts to assist the humane persuasions of mother church by the statute ‘de hæretico comburendo,’ which for the first time gave the force of statute to the punishment of burning for heresy, though it is possible that this punishment would in theory have been recognised by the common law (Maitland, Canon Law in the Church of England, pp. 176 sq.). In 1411 the university of Oxford was forced, with extreme difficulty, to submit to a visitation ‘de hæretica pravitate’ by Archbishop Arundel, and to condemn the opinions of Wycliffe, an event which may be regarded as closing the history of really vital scholastic thought in that university (Rashdall, Universities, ii. 432–5, 542). The work was completed by the measures of the council of Constance in 1415–16. From this time Wycliffism could only survive in hole-and-corner fashion. But it may be broadly asserted that lollardy never quite died out in England till it merged in the new Lutheran heresies of the sixteenth century (see Trevelyan's admirable chapter on the later ‘History of the Lollards’ in England in the Age of Wycliffe, p. 333; cf. Rashdall, Universities, ii. 543).

Wycliffe's bible was extensively copied up to about 1450, and even then the copies which had been made did not disappear. It is certain that the Reformation had virtually broken out in the secret bible-readings of the Cambridge reformers before either the trumpet-call of Luther or the exigencies of Henry VIII's personal and political position set men free once more to talk openly against the pope and the monks, and to teach a simpler and more spiritual gospel than the system against which Wycliffe had striven.

Of Wycliffe's personal appearance we only know that his frame was spare and emaciated (William Thorpe's examination reported in Fasc. Ziz. p. xlv, n. 3) None of the extant portraits (as to which see Sergeant, Life of Wycliffe, p. 16) can be supposed to represent more than some faint tradition of his personality, and are more probably quite imaginary. His enemies apparently ascribed the fascination which he exercised to studied asceticism, and he thinks it necessary to reply that his conscience is troubled by nothing so much as that he might have consumed the goods of the poor by excessive eating and drinking (De Veritate S. S. c. 12, quoted by Shirley, Fasc. Zizan. p. xlvi). Such a self-accusation is a sufficient defence. If any charge of inconsistency could plausibly have been preferred against this preacher of evangelical poverty and simplicity of life, it would assuredly have been made. Some other penitent expressions of his are quoted as suggestive of a quick temper (Shirley, loc. cit.); and the tone of his writings is certainly trenchant and uncompromising enough. The malicious suggestion that his zeal against clerical endowments was due to his disappointment at losing the bishopric of Worcester, eagerly adopted by Father Joseph Stevenson [q. v.] (The Truth about John Wyclif, 1885), seems traceable to Walden (Doctrinale, pt. iv. cap. 33; the printed text (Venice, 1571) ‘in Reygorinensi Ecclesia’ is supposed to represent ‘Vigornensi’). The charge of personal timidity sometimes made against him is sufficiently refuted by his whole career. Short of actually insisting on being persecuted, his protests against the abuses which he denounced could hardly have been bolder than they were up to the very date of his death. His immunity from personal attack is no doubt remarkable, and is a striking witness to the strength of his influence with all sorts and conditions—the Princess of Wales, the Duke of Lancaster, powerful nobles, wealthy citizens, poor peasants, undergraduates and graduates of Oxford; and it is probable enough that his opponents were wise in their generation when they determined that the recantation of his followers and the suppression of his books would be a greater and easier triumph than a martyrdom which would have brought with it no submission, and which would have reawakened the opposition of large numbers who were not prepared to sympathise with the fully developed Wycliffite doctrine.

A few words must be added to supplement the account of his doctrines which we have hitherto derived partly from the testimony of his enemies. Wycliffe was famous as a philosopher before he became a theologian at all, and famous as a theologian before he became a heresiarch. He was the last great realist of the mediæval schools, carrying on that tradition of resistance to the Parisian Thomism of which Oxford had always been the centre. He belongs indeed to the decadence of scholasticism—to the period when scholastic thought had become over-subtle, technical, and intricate, and its expression barbarous and uncouth even as compared with the latinity of the thirteenth century. Some of Wycliffe's works are among the most intricate and obscure of all scholastic writings. It is the more remarkable that amid such surroundings we should discover in him a real thinker who turned its own weapons against much of the scholastic absurdity of his day, and a profoundly religious mind which by sheer hard thinking—and not by the short cuts of Renaissance scepticism or Reformation dogmatism—fought its way to a conception of the Christian gospel which was above all things ethical and practical.

It is not necessary to say much of Wycliffe's philosophy, except that his doctrine of universals is a realism of a moderate and enlightened character which had profited by the criticism of Occam and the nominalists. He acknowledges that the universal ideas are only substances ‘in an equivocal sense’—that is to say, that they have merely an intelligible or possible ‘esse’ which is necessary and eternal. Their existence, in short, is only logically separable on the one hand from the particulars in which they are realised, or on the other from the mind of God in which they eternally exist. God is the ‘forma rerum.’

The connection of Wycliffe's philosophy with his theology is by no means an external or accidental one. Everywhere he discovers in nominalism the seat of all theological error. His conception of the nature of God is profoundly platonic. He fights against the idea of arbitrary divine decrees. The will of God is eternal and unchangeable, and is determined by the ‘rationes exemplares’ or ‘ideas’ (which together constitute the Second Person of the Holy Trinity) eternally immanent in his nature. It would be impossible for God Himself to grant the arbitrary and immoral privileges which Christ's vicar and his delegates undertake to confer in Christ's name. About his quite orthodox doctrine of the incarnation it is unnecessary to say more than that he has, for a mediæval, an unusually strong appreciation of the real humanity of Jesus Christ. His doctrine of the atonement seems largely founded on the teaching of St. Anselm, by whom he was in other ways greatly influenced. Although he insists much upon the necessity of divine grace, predestination is with him reasonable, directed to the highest good of all creatures, not arbitrary. He recognises that all moral impulses come from God, and has no objection to the doctrine that man's use of his will merits grace ex congruo, though objecting to the ordinary ex condigno doctrine, and denying the possibility of works of supererogation. In spite of his strong assertion that all that happens happens of necessity, and that the whole course of the world's history is the necessary outcome of the will—that is to say the essential and eternal nature—of God, he does appear, at least in his earlier writings, to assert human freedom in something more than the equivocal sense in which it is admitted by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. He was evidently trying to steer a mid-course between the indeterminism of FitzRalph and the thoroughgoing predestinarianism of Bradwardine. In early life (when he wrote the Quæstiones XIII) there could be no doubt about his libertarianism, and in the ‘De Dominio Divino’ he still maintained that sufficient grace is given to every man to enable him to fulfil the law of God, but the deterministic tendency grew upon him in later years. There is little of that insistence upon ‘faith without works’ which is characteristic of the reformation theology. Wycliffe's practical religious teaching is above all things ethical: the gospel is to him mainly a revelation of practical duty, and its essence is the law of charity.

The intricacy of a very technical philosophy and the directest and simplest inculcation of Christian morality meet strangely in Wycliffe's most characteristic doctrine—the doctrine of dominion founded on grace. All dominion, Wycliffe holds, is founded upon the will of God. Dominion is of three kinds: (1) natural, (2) evangelical, and (3) political. Natural dominion is the dominion which man had (by the grace of God) over all men and all things before the fall—a joint dominion over things and a dominion over other men of which the correlative is submission to a like dominion of those others—a state in which all in love serve one another. Were the law of Christ perfectly observed even now, this is the state to which human society would return, and then no law would be necessary but the law of Christ (though there are some reserves in favour of laws founded on the law of Christ), and coercion would be superfluous. And even now the righteous man has ideally a dominion over all things, though the fall has made it necessary for him to submit in practice to some limitation in the exercise of this dominion. It is sin that has brought with it the necessity for other laws and the coercive political authority necessary to enforce them.

But even so the laws owe their authority to their conformity with the law of Christ, the laws regarding property as much as other laws. The practical outcome of this doctrine is that lords ought to exercise their powers and to use their property in accordance with the Christian law of charity, which is sometimes identified with the law of nature. To what use of wealth this principle would point in the case of the secular rulers, Wycliffe does not explain in detail. But, though there is an admission that under certain circumstances the subject may be released from his allegiance, Wycliffe had no revolutionary practical intention as regards the state. The immediate practical object of the treatise is to develop the idea that ‘evangelical dominion,’ such as is conferred by Christ upon ecclesiastics, carries with it no property in things or coercive jurisdiction over persons; and, since all grants of property are conditional on the fulfilment of the conditions upon which it was originally given, he urges that it is the duty of the secular ruler under certain circumstances (he avoids in the treatises ‘De Dominio,’ though not in the later pamphlets, saying that those circumstances had actually arisen) to take away this property. The state should not enforce spiritual censures or the payment of tithes. Wycliffe's ideal was that the clergy should live a life of poverty—not a fantastic, technical poverty like that prescribed by the mendicant ideal, but a life of extreme simplicity, supported by the tithes or other voluntary offerings which would be freely given by their flocks to a clergy who really preached the gospel and worked among their parishioners. In urging upon the laity the duty of reforming the abuses of the church, Wycliffe was no Erastian, since, while he held strongly to a distinction of office between clergy and laity—between secular lords, to whom coercive jurisdiction was entrusted, and priests, whose authority was purely spiritual or pastoral—he asserts very emphatically the priesthood of the laity, and insists that he is only calling upon one part of the church to remove the evils due to the misconduct of another. The existence of the church is not dependent upon the clergy.

In his later theological writings and polemical pamphlets Wycliffe more and more develops into practical detail the consequences of these views. He denies more and more strongly the ‘jus divinum’ of the papacy; and he habitually treats the papacy in its present form as the most signal manifestation of the spirit of Antichrist. He accepts from Jerome the idea of the identity of the New Testament bishop with the New Testament presbyter. The priesthood, or the priesthood with the diaconate, is the only essentially necessary order of the ministry. At the same time he has no objection to episcopacy, and does not contemplate its abolition, provided it be limited to purely spiritual authority and functions. He pleads for the permission of clerical marriages, though he seems to regard celibacy as the higher ideal. More and more vehemently, as the struggle with his great enemies thickened, he denounces the whole principle of monachism. The monks are condemned for their wealth and their uselessness, the friars as the great hawkers of indulgences, pardons, ‘letters of fraternity,’ and so on—the great enemies of practical and spiritual religion in the church of his day. But his objections are not limited to the abuses of monasticism: he objects to its principle. The cloistered life, gregarious and yet isolated, the self-imposed obedience to prelates who might not be in a state of grace, the waste of time in mechanical devotions of inordinate length, the inevitable growth of a zeal for the order and its traditions, to the disparagement of the all-sufficient law of Christ, were in his view simply so many obstacles to the realisation of the evangelical ideal of life.

Wycliffe had no objection to the use of the term ‘seven sacraments,’ but held that there is no reason why the word ‘sacrament’ should be limited to the traditional seven; and, while he quite admits the necessity of signs and the obligation of the two ordained by Christ himself, he more and more strenuously insisted upon the supreme importance of spiritual religion—of obedience to the divine law in personal and social life—and the comparative unimportance of ceremonies. Enough has been said of his doctrine of the eucharist. It grew out of an opposition to the nominalistic doctrine of the annihilation of substance, which is to be found even in his Logic, though he long saved his orthodoxy by highly technical distinctions. Beginning in the simple denial of the scholastic doctrine that the accidents remained after the substance of the elements had been destroyed by the act of the priest, it gradually passed through a doctrine having some affinity to consubstantiation into a view which really made the presence of Christ a spiritual presence, and the sacrament a sign of a spiritual reality which depended upon the spiritual condition of the recipient. In so far as he still continues to use the language of the real presence, that presence is of a kind which does not depend upon the mechanical act of consecration. In the ‘Trialogus’ he suggests that the eucharist might under certain circumstances be consecrated by laymen, but holds that ‘it is decent’ that it should be consecrated by a priest, since it was to them specially that Christ's injunction was directed. The host may be adored ‘conditionally,’ but the body of Christ which is adored therein is the body which is in heaven.

Wycliffe assails the whole doctrine of a ‘treasury of merits’ dispensed by pope and prelate, and denies to the clergy all power—whether by excommunicating a good man or by absolving or indulging a bad man—of mechanically affecting the salvation of any one. Confession he held to be useful in many cases, but it should not be enforced, and priestly absolution was not a necessity. Bought masses, indulgences, or prayers are of no avail. Even when they are not bought, it is better to pray for all men than for particular persons. The doctrine of purgatory he leaves, but insists much on the limitation of our knowledge about it. Apart from the technical Reformation doctrine of justification, there is little in the general principles of the teaching of the sixteenth-century protestants which Wycliffe did not anticipate. He accepted quite as explicitly as they the supreme authority of scripture. It is perhaps chiefly in his mediæval principles of interpretation that he falls below the intellectual level of the Reformation. In the spirituality and the purely ethical tone of his teaching he is more thoroughgoing than his successors, while he is more moderate and statesmanlike in his attitude towards practical questions—such as the use of images or of indifferent ceremonies—though personally inclined to an austere condemnation even of elaborate music. His exaggerated opposition to clerical endowments, an exaggeration naturally provoked by the extreme secularisation of the mediæval church, is his nearest approach to fanaticism. It is strange that, while condemning the mendicancy of the friars, he should have advocated a system which would have practically reduced the secular clergy to the position of beggars; and his condemnation of wealthy ecclesiastics was too sweeping to bring his schemes within the limits of a wise and practical statesmanship. Even on the purely religious side, this extravagance—carrying with it the condemnation even of universities and colleges—ultimately destroyed the influence of the Wycliffite movement among the educated clergy, and reduced it to a struggling and almost illiterate sect. But if in his fundamental principle of lordship founded on grace there is some intellectual confusion (largely due to his acceptance of the feudal language by which political authority was identified with proprietary right), the confusion itself points to a truth in seeing which Wycliffe was before his time. The world has generally accepted Wycliffe's principle that political authority springs from its tendency to promote the material and spiritual good of society at large; it has hardly yet accepted with equal explicitness the principle that rights of property are no less in need of social justification.

Wycliffe's writings may conveniently be divided into three groups, of which the first belongs to his early life as a schoolman; the second to the period of his development in which his doctrine of dominion, with its consequences, constituted his chief departure from orthodoxy; the third, beginning with his denial of transubstantiation in 1379 or 1380 to the closing years of his life, in which he rapidly developed into complete antagonism to the whole mediæval system in theology and church government.

Wycliffe's works have for the most part remained unpublished until a few years before the quincentenary of his death. The only important exception is the ‘Trialogus,’ published under the title ‘Dialogorum libri quatuor’ at Bâle in 1525. The following is a list of the Latin works now in print; the dates must be looked upon as approximate and largely conjectural:

I. ‘De Logica,’ with a ‘Logicæ Continuatio’ (possibly finished in later life); ‘De Compositione Hominis;’ ‘XIII Quæstiones logicæ et philosophicæ;’ ‘De Ente Prædicamentali.’

II. ‘De Incarnatione Verbi;’ ‘De Dominio Divino’ (before 1377, possibly circa 1372); ‘De Dominio Civili’ (before 1377); ‘De Ecclesia,’ 1377–8; ‘De Officio Pastorali,’ 1379; ‘De Officio Regis,’ 1379.

III. ‘Dialogus’ or ‘Speculum Ecclesie Militantis,’ 1379; ‘De Eucharistia,’ 1379–80; ‘De Simonia,’ 1379–80; ‘De Apostasia,’ ‘De Blasphemia,’ 1381–2; ‘Opus Evangelicum,’ i. ii. (mostly written after 1379); ‘Trialogus,’ 1383.

The following minor works are printed together in ‘Polemical Works,’ edited by Buddensieg, and mostly belong to the period 1382–4: ‘De Fundatione Sectarum,’ ‘De Ordinatione Fratrum,’ ‘De Nova Prævaricantia Mandatorum,’ ‘De Triplici Vinculo Amoris,’ ‘De Septem Donis Spiritus Sancti,’ ‘De Quattuor Sectis Novellis,’ ‘Purgatorium Sectæ Christi,’ ‘De novis Ordinibus,’ ‘De Oratione et Ecclesiæ Purgatione,’ ‘De Diabolo et Membris ejus,’ ‘De Detectione Perfidiarum Antichristi,’ ‘De Solucione Satanæ,’ ‘De Mendaciis Fratrum,’ ‘Descriptio Fratris,’ ‘De Dæmonio Meridiano,’ ‘De Duobus Generibus Hæreticorum,’ ‘De Religionibus Vanis Monachorum,’ ‘De Perfectione Status,’ ‘De Religione Privata,’ i. ii., ‘De Citationibus,’ ‘De Dissensione Paparum,’ ‘Cruciata,’ ‘De Christo et suo Adversario Anti-christo,’ ‘De Contrarietate Duorum Dominorum,’ ‘Quattuor Imprecationes,’ ‘De Anti-christo’ or ‘Opus Evangelicum,’ iii. 1384. There are also four volumes of ‘Sermones.’

All the above published works appear in the Wyclif Society publications except the ‘Trialogus,’ which has been edited by Lechler (Oxford, 1869), and the ‘De Officio Pastorali’ by the same editor (Leipzig, 1863). The more systematic theological works were intended to form part of a connected ‘Summa in Theologia,’ the ‘De Dominio Divino’ being intended as an introduction, and the following twelve books arranged as follows: ‘De Mandatis Divinis,’ ‘De Statu Innocentiæ,’ ‘De Dominio Civili,’ i. ii. iii., ‘De Veritate Sacræ Scripturæ,’ ‘De Ecclesia,’ ‘De Officio Regis,’ ‘De Potestate Papæ,’ ‘De Simonia,’ ‘De Blasphemia.’

For complete lists of the very numerous works attributed to Wycliffe reference should be made to Shirley's ‘Catalogue of the Works of John Wyclif,’ Oxford, 1856, and the old catalogues published in the ‘Polemical Works.’ The genuineness of some of the later tracts is no doubt unprovable, though they must have been produced under Wycliffe's immediate influence; but a strong and consistent tradition and the striking individuality of Wycliffe's style do not allow us to entertain a serious doubt about any of his more considerable writings. A few of the English works of the reformer were published early, especially the very popular tract known as ‘Wycliffe's Wycket’ (Nuremberg), 1546, and many subsequent editions; but all those which can with any probability be ascribed to the reformer are to be found in the following works: ‘Three Treatises of John Wycliffe, D.D.,’ ed. Todd, Dublin, 1851; the ‘Select English Works of Wyclif,’ edited by T. Arnold (Oxford, 1869–71), and ‘The English Works of Wyclif hitherto unprinted,’ by F. D. Matthew, London, 1880 (Early English Text Soc.), whose introduction is a valuable contribution to the biography of the reformer.

[The most important original authorities for Wycliffe's life are: the collection of documents and narratives about Wycliffe and Wycliffism called Fasciculi Zizaniorum, attributed to the Carmelite Thomas Netter of Walden (often styled Walden), ed. Shirley, London, 1858; the Chronicon Angliæ, auctore Monacho quodam Sancti Albani, ed. Maunde Thompson, London, 1874 (an early English translation of part of this work was published in Archæologia, 1844); the Historia Anglicana of Thomas Walsingham, ed. Riley, London, vol. iii. 1869, one of the numerous re-editings of the Chronicon Angliæ and the principal source of the accounts of Wycliffe till the recent recovery of the Chronicon Angliæ [see under art. Walsingham, Thomas]; the Chronicon of Henry Knighton, monk of Leicester, ed. Lumby, London, vol. ii. 1895, which supplements the Chronicon Angliæ, but is confused in chronology; it is, however, valuable as a Lancastrian corrective to the anti-Lancastrian St. Albans chroniclers, and as being written in the country most affected by Wycliffism. The Continuation of the Eulogium Historiarum, London, vol. iii. 1863, is often very valuable for the general history (all the above are published in the Rolls Series). Other chronicles of course add details as to the general history, but not much about Wycliffe personally. Among the earlier scholars who have written on Wycliffe's Life, it will be enough to mention Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and An Apologie for John Wycliffe, showing his conformitie with the new Church of England, by Thomas James [q. v.], Oxford, 1608. Among more or less systematic biographies the most important are: Varillas's Histoire du Wiclefianisme, Lyons, 1682, translated by Earbery in The Pretended Reformers, London, 1717, a libel with a thin basis of garbled facts; Lewis's History of the Life and Sufferings of John Wycliffe, London, 1720 (other editions, London, 1723, Oxford, 1820); R. Vaughan's John de Wycliffe, D.D., a Monograph, London, 1853, and The Life and Opinions of John de Wycliffe, London, 1828, add but little to Lewis; Shirley's valuable introduction to his edition of the Fasciculi Zizaniorum;}} Böhringer's Johannes von Wykliffe in Die Vorreformatoren des vierzehnten und fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts, Zürich, 1856 (containing an elaborate study of his theology); Lechler's Johann von Wiclif und die Vorgeschichte der Reformation, Leipzig, 1873 (Engl. transl., John Wiclif and his English Precursors, by Lorimer, 1878, and 1881 and 1884; this is at present the most important authority for Wycliffe's life, and the fullest account of his opinions); R. L. Poole's Wycliffe and Movements for Reform, London, 1889 (Dr. Poole has also dealt with Wycliffe's politico-theological doctrines in his Illustrations of the Hist. of Mediæval Thought, London, 1884); Burrows's Wiclif's Place in History, London, 1881 and 1884; Buddensieg's Johann Wiclif und seine Zeit, Gotha, 1885, and John Wiclif as Patriot and Reformer, London, 1884 (both short ‘Festschriften’ for the Wycliffe Quincentenary); Vattier's John Wyclyff, D.D., sa vie, ses œuvres, sa doctrine, Paris, 1886; Sargeant's John Wyclif, last of the Schoolmen and first of the English Reformers, New York, 1893—a popular work. G. M. Trevelyan's Age of Wycliffe, 1898, is a thorough and brilliant study of the history of the period, especially from the political and social point of view. The following studies of Wycliffe's theology may also be noticed: Jäger's John Wycliffe und seine Bedeutung für die Reformation, Halle, 1854; and Lewald's Die theol. Doctrin des Johann Wycliffe in the Zeitschrift für die Hist. Theologie, Leipzig, 1846 and 1847. The dependence of Huss upon Wycliffe is shown by Loserth in Hus und Wiclif, Prague, 1884, Engl. transl. (Wiclif and Hus), by M. J. Evans, London, 1884. Many important corrections of the older biographies are to be found in Dr. Poole's works, and in various articles and prefaces by Mr. F. D. Matthew, some of which are quoted above.]

H. R.-l.