The English works of Wyclif hitherto unprinted.Edited by F. D. Matthew.
Wycliffe, John, d. 1384., Matthew, Frederic David, 1838-1918.

Capitulum 16tum.

it were to speke ouer þis of dymes & of offeringis þat ben hire to prestis þat don trewely þer seruyss; & dymes ben clepid goddis part in goddis lawe for greet wit. many causis men tellen comynly why dymes ben clepid Page  431 goddis part. nyne partis ben of creaturis & god is in þe tenþe degre; & in tokene þat god is lord general ouer alle creaturis, men ȝyuen god þe tenþe part in tokene of his general lordchip. þe werkes of þe sixe dayes in whiche god made þe world holden sixe kyndis of þingis in þis ordre of ten; & ȝit þer ben nyne ordris of aungels, al ȝif þe firste bok of þe bible specifie not þes nyne ordris, as poul doiþ in his bokis. þe eyȝthe maner of creaturis ben comyn þingis þat god haþ maad, & hooly writ spekiþ of hem in many bokis of goddis lawe. þe nyneþe maner of creaturis, & þe hierste of alle oþere, is þe manhed of crist: & on þis sueþ his godhed, & þis tenþe þing is hierst lord of al maner of creaturis. & god moueþ al maner of tungis to clepe þis firste noumbre of ten bi symple name & aftirward þei clepen it bi a gederid name; & þis may men se in many tungis. & þis mouyde men in many agis to paye to god þe tenþe part, so þat bi þis þey confessiden to hym þe generalte of his lordchip; & þis cause is ynow to moue men to paye dymes. but it were for-to wite whiche men shulden reseyue dymes. þe firste bok of þe olde lawe telliþ of abel & caym, hou þey brenten þer tyþis to god, & þe smoke wente up to heuene. & it is licly þat þis maner lastide vn-to þe tyme of moyses; but god lymytide in moysees lawe þat prestis & dekenes shulden lyue on dymes, & semelily þis maner lastide vn-to þe comyng of crist. but nou in þe þridde tyme of grace prestis & prelatis chalengen to hem dymes & mennus offeringis bi autorite of þe olde lawe, & þis semyþ skileful, so þat men trauele wel wiþ hem, for men shulden paye þer dymes ȝit as þey diden in þe olde lawe, but þey shulden not brenne hem nou, for þer ben many pore goddis seruauntis. & þus lawe & skile chacchiþ men to ȝyue to trewe prestis þes dymes, for þis were moost liȝt & resonable ȝif þat prestis lyuen wel. & men neden not to rikene heere hou ofte þe olde lawe biddiþ þat prestis shulden haue hem; but for crist & hise apostlis weren fewe & lyueden on litil almes, [page 11] y can-not se bi goddis lawe þat ne dymes may be partid among cristis pore men, þe whiche crist Page  432 telliþ in þe gospel, as pore feble & pore lame & pore blynde.*. [Luke xiv. [13.]] & prestis ben þe firste for þei shulden be pore as crist, & feble þey ben to do þer seruyss & to gete þer-wiþ fode & hiling. crist koude bi weye of myraclis & weye of almes gete ynow, but ȝit crist was pore & feble & figuride prestis aftir to come.