The English works of Wyclif hitherto unprinted.Edited by F. D. Matthew.
Wycliffe, John, d. 1384., Matthew, Frederic David, 1838-1918.
Page  164

VIII. THE ORDER OF PRIESTHOOD.

OF this tract I can only say that it may be by Wyclif. If so it must be one of the earliest of his English tracts, written before his order of poor priests had been fully organized. It may be taken to express that strong sense of the faults prevalent among the clergy which led him to institute his order of preachers.

The writer was certainly a zealous lover of his University, as may be seen from his complaint (Chapter XXIII.) that the clergy stir rich men to support chaplains and chantry priests rather than poor scholars.

Chapter XXII. deserves notice for its attack on priests who excite the people to war by processions and public prayers. (Cf. p. 170, 1. 3.) Is this utterance due only to a personal horror of bloodshed, or does it point to the existence of a peace party?

Copied from the Corpus MS. X. and collated with the Dublin MS. AA.

SUMMARY.Page  165
CHAP. I. Priests commit simony in using influence and bribes to be ordained.
II. Priests sell their masses, and offer a share in the mass to those who pay them.
III. Priests are so ignorant that they cannot read the service properly.
IV. Priests live idle and luxurious lives, haunting taverns, etc.
V. Priests neglect their duties and take secular office with lords.
VI. Priests take money to say prayers and by evil life make their prayers vain.
VII. Priests care chiefly for new song, which sets people dancing, but hides the words of Holy Writ.
VIII. Priests care more to keep the Ordinal of Salisbury than God's com|mandments.
IX. Priests take rash vows of chastity and do not keep them.
X. Priests fear to reprove vice in their patrons.
XI. Priests who preach falsely are Satans transformed etc.
XII. Worldly priests seek their own gain more than the good of souls.
CHAP. XIII. Priests carry on business as maltsters and cattle-dealers.
XIV. They care more for forms of service than for following God's commands.
XV. Covetousness of worldly priests.
XVI. Too many men become priests, because the life is an easy one.
XVII. The excuses priests make for sin.
XVIII. Priests do not try to keep their patrons from sin.
XIX. Many priests poison their masters' minds against true teachers.
XX. Priests claim falsely the power of restricting and assigning the benefit of their prayers.
XXI. They teach men to give money to friars instead of doing good to their poor neighbours.
XXII. They excite the people to unjust wars.
XXIII. They get rich men to waste their gifts on mass-priests and law-students.
XXIV. They get men to found chantries for useless priests.
XXV. They lead men to trust to their prayers more than to good life.
XXVI. They persecute God's servants and slander his law.
XXVII. Priests break God's law from fear of the bishops.
XXVIII. They cease to obey God by preaching, etc., because the bishop suspends them.
XXIX. Nobleness of priest's office and exhortation to priests and nobles.

Page  166
Þis is for þe ordre of presthod.

Capitulum primum.

For þe ordre of presthod is ordeyned of god boþe in þe olde lawe & þe newe, And many prestis kepen it ful euele, telle we summe errours of prestis to amende hem wiþ goddis grace. First, comynly þei comen to here ordris by symonye many weies, for þei ben more maad prestis for worldly honour & aisy lif & welfare of body þan for deuocion to lyue in clennesse & holynesse & penaunce, & gret gostly traueile in preieris & studiynge & techynge of goddis lawe, & to suffre persecucion & sclandre & prisonynge þerfore; & so þei sillen in manere þe spiritual lif of cristis*. [crist X.] apostilis & disciplis for a litel drit & wombe ioie, & þis is cursed gostly symonye & heresie bifore god. & what lettris & preieris þei maken for to ben ordrid prestis whanne þei ben vnable boþe of lif & kunnynge men may knowen opynly, & þis is styngynge*. [stynkynge AA.] heresie of symonye; & ȝit þei ȝeuen a gret raunson to bischopis officers for lettris & veyn customes or þei may be ordrid & do execucion of here office; & þouȝ prelatis & here officeris ben grettere heretikis for sillynge of þes ordris & þis extorcion doynge, neþeles þes prestis ne beþ not alle excused for þei consenten þer-to raþere þan þei wolen be harde examynyd & lettid of here ordris. sumtyme holy men & kunnynge is-scheweden*. [eschewen AA.] to be prestis for heiȝenesse of þe ordre. But now ȝonge childre vnable boþe of lif & kunnynge presen faste to be prestis in name &*. [X inserts not in name &.] not in dede, & aftirward wolen not bisien hem to lerne, But bete stretis vp & doun & synge & pleie as mynystrelis, & vse vanytees & ydelnesse.

Capitulum 2m.

Also þei lyuen comynly in symonye, sillynge here massis & þe sacrament of cristis body for worldly muk & wombe Page  167 ioie; for comynly þei wolen sille here masse for annuel salarie, & ellis not dwellen wiþ a man but where þei may most wynne, & seyn more þe masse for loue of þe peny þan for deuocion or charite to criste & cristene soulis. [page 137] for be þe masse seide in herynge of þe peple schortly & vndewoutly, litel sauour of holynesse schal men fynden wiþ hem, but nycete & pleye & goynge to þe tauerne & oþere vanytes. it semeþ resonable þat a goode prest haue resonable liflode to serue god of wilful almes of þe peple, & not bi lonynge & bedynge as who wold selle a worldly þing; for þe prest may not make his*. [is X.] maister lord ne partyner of his masse, but only god for his goode lif &*. [in AA.] charite; but many prestis don þe masse more for money & bodily welfare þan for deuocion & worschipe of god, & wollen not don þe masse but for hope of worldly wynnynge; & certis alle þes sellen criste as iudas dide, & worse, for he is nowe knowen for god & glorified in his manhede, & nowe haþ schewid mo benefices to mankynde þan he hadde do in iudas tymes, & alle þes condicions aggregen þis cursed sillynge of cristis body.

Capitulum 3m.

Also þei sclaundren & defoulen þe holy ordre of presthod bi worldly lif & ignoraunce 3of holy writ3*. [3_3 & holy X.]; for sumtyme god seide bi his prophete in reprof of worldly prestis þat þe prest*. [Hosea iv. 9.] is as þe peple. But nowe, as seynt bernard seiþ, prestis ben more worldly & vicious þan þe comune peple, þat bi hem þe peple takiþ ensaumple & boldnesse*. [blodnesse X.] in synne; & þei ben so vnkunnynge þat men scornen hem in seynge of here seruyce, &*. [in X.] redynge of here pistil & gospel. but god seiþ to such a prest: þou hast caste a weie kunnynge of my lawe & I schal*. [Hosea iv. 6.] caste þe aweie þat þou be not sette in presthod to me. & ȝit ignoraunce of good lif & goddis hestis is werse þan ignoraunce of latyn or of ony oþer langage; þerfore prestis schulden don here bisynesse to lyue wel & vnderstonde & knowe goddis Page  168 wille & teche it in word & dede, & be*. [by AA.] myrrour of holynesse to þe peple, & goddis angelis, as god seiþ bi þe prophete.*. [Mal. ii. 7.]

Capitulum 4m.

Prestis also sclaundren þe peple bi ensaumple of ydelnesse & wauntounnesse; for comynly þei chouchen*. [couchen AA.] in softe beddis whanne oþere men risen to here labour, & blabren out matynys & masse as hunteris wiþ-outen deuocion & contemplacion, & hien faste to mete richely & costly arayed of þe beste, & þan to slepe; & soone a-noon to tablis & chees & tauerne & betynge of pauement, & þan speken of lecherie, of de|prauynge of goode men, þat wolen*. [omitted X.] not sue here companye; & þanne comeþ dronkennesse, chidynge & fiȝttynge & many tymes mansleynge, & bi þes prestis & here wantownesse moche peple is brouȝt to lecherie, glotonye, ydelnesse & þefte.

Capitulum 5m.

Also prestis occupien hem ouer moche in worldly occu|pacions & seculer offices aȝenst holy writt for plesynge of lordis & hope of benefices; for comunly prestis ben stiwardis & clerkis of kechene & resceyuouris & rente gedereris & hunteris, & leuen here gostly office vndon, & han more [page 138] wakynge & rekenynge & traueile for a litel worschipe & muk þan haue many trewe seruauntis of god for alle here doynge, & þe endis ben ful dyuerse. for þe first bisynesse & care, but ȝif god helpe þe more, bryngeþ euerlastynge care & peyne of helle; & þe toþer*. [þat other AA.] liȝt traueile & ioiful bryngiþ euer|lastynge blisse of heuene in body & soule.

Capitulum 6m.

Prestis also disceyuen cristen men bi here veyn preieris & abhominable to god for here lecherie & oþere synnes; for þei taken ful mochil hire for to seie here matynes & masse & Page  169 oþere deuocions, & þer-wiþ ben foul lecchouris,*. [lecherous X.] ful of pride & coueitise, glotonye & ydelnesse; & maken þe peple wene þat here preieris ben acceptable to god, & ȝit god seiþ bi his prophete þat he curseþ suche wickid mennus blissyngis, and*. [omitted X.]*. [Mal. ii. 2.] þat mannus preiere is abhominable & cursed þat turneþ a wey*. [Prov. xxviii. 9.] his here & heriþ not goddis lawe; & god seiþ bi þe prophete ysaie to suche wickid men þat he wol not here hem whanne*. [Isaiah i. 18.] þei maken many preieris; for who lyueþ*. [leueth X.] best preieþ best, & no man preiþ wel but ȝif he leue wel, as austyn & oþere doctours techen pleynly, þanne is here a gret disceit of euyl prestis. For whan men purposen to fynde trewe seruauntis to god, þei fynden his enemys & traitours, & here preieris cursed of god for here synful lif.

Capitulum 7m.

Also þei magnyfien more newe songe founden of synful men þan þe gospel of ihū crist, þat is cristene mennus saluacion; for þei bisien hem fastere to kunne & do & teche þis newe song þan to kunne & kepe & teche cristis gospel; & þis is merueile, for þis song distractiþ þe syngere fro deuocion & lettiþ men fro consceiuynge of þe sentence; &, as austyn & gregory techen wel, preiere is betre herd of god bi compunccion & wepyng & stille devocion, as moyses & ihū crist diden, þan bi gret criynge & ioly chauntynge þat stireþ men & wommen to daunsynge & lettiþ men fro þe sentence of holy writt, as Magnyficat, sanctus & agnus dei, þat is so broken bi newe knackynge. it semeþ þat god seiþ bi þes newe singeris as he dide in þe gospel to pharisees, "þis peple*. [Matt. xv. 8.] honoureþ me wiþ lippis but here herte is fer fro me, þei worschipen me wiþ-outen cause, techynge lore & comaunde|mentis of men." moyses & ihū crist & his apostlis preiden bi nyȝt stillely in hilles, wiþ clennesse of lif & gret desir of riȝtwisnesse & brennynge charite to frende & enemys, & here fore god herde hym graciously. but now newe men crien Page  170 hiȝe to mennus eris wiþ stynckynge lecherie, pride, coueitise & oþere synnes, & in wille to meyntene synful mennus ordynaunce contrarie to goddis ordynaunce, & desiren cruel vengaunce on here enemys; & herefore we axen oure owene dampnacion in þis preiere, & ȝif god suffre vs haue oure desir, þat is vengaunce of god to haue oure wille to grettere peynes of [page 139] helle, for god hatiþ vs.

Capitulum 8m.

Ȝit þei chargen more þe ordynal of salusbury þan þe hestis of god; for ȝif a prest faile a poynt of his ordynal, þat is no poynt of cristene mennus feiþ, he schal be reproued scharply & openly anon & of manye. But þouȝ a prest faile opynly aȝenst goddis hestis bi veyn swerynge, bi pride, bi coueitise & vanyte & ydelnesse noman almost chargiþ þat, but lieȝeþ & iapiþ & helpiþ hym þer-to. ful vnable ben þes foolis to mynystre sacramentis & to be mediatours bitwixe god & synful man.*. [men AA.]

Capitulum 9m.*. [In AA the numbering of this chapter is omitted, so that all which follow it are numbered one less than they should be.]

Also many prestis vnwisly taken a wow of chastite & defoulen wyues, widewis & maydens; For þei taken presthod for to lyuen esely & fare wel, & take no reward to here heiȝe hoot complexon, but norischen it in welfare of mete & drynk of þe beste & riche cloþis & softe beddis, & traueilen not, & ben ȝonge & idel & liȝt chered & wordid & han*. [omitted X.] daliaunce wiþ nyce wommen; & alle þis bryngeþ many brondis of lecherie; & siþ seynt poul chastised his flesch wiþ so gret*. [1 Cor. ix. 27.] traueile & peyne & abstynence, & ȝit vnneþis myȝte he ouercome lustis of lecherie, hou may þes ȝonge foolis clene be*. [2 Cor. xii. 7.] kept fro þis synne wiþ þis*. [omitted X.] lusty lif & idel & daliaunce of wommen.

Page  171

Capitulum 10m.

Also þei doren not reproue men of here opyn synnes bi forme of þe gospel for displeisynge of here maistris & leesynge of here salarie; for many of hem seyn þus: "I wole not displeise him of whom I haue my lyuynge." a, ȝe blynde foolis, drede ȝe more to lese a morsel of mete þan o poynt of charite? drede ȝe more to offende an erþely wrecche þan god almyȝtty? loue ȝe more wombe ioie & worldly myrþe þan þank of god & ioye of heuene? sette ȝe more prise bi ȝoure stynkynge bely þan bi ȝoure lord? ȝe reueren god & worschipen false goddis many weies & ben hugely cursed of þe holy trinyte & alle his aungelis. hou doren ȝe, cursed wrecchis, seie ȝoure masse in þis lif to ȝoure dampnacion,*. [1 Cor. xi. 29.] as god seiþ bi seynt poul, & ofte ȝe reden it.

Capitulum 11m.

Also for gostly liȝt of good ensaumple & trewe techynge þei hilden out foul derkenesse of many synnys; for siþ god seiþ bi his prophete þat a prest is aungel of god, þat is a*. [Mal. ii. 7.] messager to telle goddis wille to þe peple, & þei leuen þis & tellen lesyngis & wrecchidnessis of synnys, þei ben angeles of sathanas transfigurid into*. [& to X.] angelis of liȝt; for þei han name of holynesse & of goddis trewe seruauntis & ben not so in dede. & siþ crist seiþ in þe gospel þat prestis owen to be*. [Matt. v. 13, 14.] salt of þe erþe & liȝt of þe world, þat is myrrour & ensaumple to make men bareyne fro synne & bi liȝt of trewe techynge brynge heþene men to cristene feiþ, hou ben þei not traitours to god [page 140] & procuratouris of sathanas whanne þei leuen þus gostly lif & trewe prechynge of the gospel & ȝeuen ensaumple of synne & boldnesse þer-inne?

Capitulum 12m.

Also worldly prestis ben anticristis disciplis, sekynge here owene worldly honour*. [hous X.] & wynnynge more þan goddis, & Page  172 helþe of mennys soulis; for þei traueilen faste aboute here owene worldly honour and lucre & ben wode ȝif ony man speke aȝenst hem, but of goddis worschipe & helþe of cristene soulis chargen þei ful litel; & þat semeþ wel bi here lif, studye & spekynge, for it is aboute worldly goodis & not aboute studie & techynge of holy writt; & ion þe euaungelist seiþ & seyn austyn declariþ þat þo men þat þus denyen ihū*. [1 John ii. 22.] ben anticristis, & settiþ ensaumple of forsworen men, of lechouris & coueitouse men & vsureris*. [usuris X.] & many moo; & seynt ysedore & ierom accorden þer-to.

Capitulum 13m.

Prestis also ben machauntis,*. [marchauntis AA.] as comunly as*. [omitted X.] worldly men & more sotil & falsere, & leuen here gostly office; for þei ben corseris & makers of malt, & bien schep & neet & sellen hem for wynnynge, & beten marketis, & entermeten hem of louedaies, holdynge wiþ fors of armes, þat þei ben myrrour of coueitise & worldly lif & pride & of discencion amonge cristene peple, for of alle wicked men weiward prestis ben chiff whanne þei turne to cursednesse, for þei ben sotil & han reste & þe fend is more maistir in hem for brekynge of þe holy ordre.

Capitulum 14m.

Also þei ben foule ypocritis, clensynge þe gnatte & swolwynge þe g[r]ete camaile alhool; for ȝif þei failen in manere of here song & oþere newe sygnes founden of synful men þei chargen þat as a greuous synne for to be dampnyd in helle þerfore, but þouȝ þei failen foule in prechynge of cristis gospel & holdynge of goddis hestis þei chargen not a straw, but raþere letten, dispisen & pursuen falsly þo prestis þat bisien hem to do þis grete poynt of charite; & ȝit*. [ȝit added in X by a later hand.] þes ypocritis feynen hem ful holy in siȝte of þe peple, & knelynge Page  173 & knockynge on here brest & oþere signes, as ȝif þei wolen flee to god al hool, & ȝit ben his stronge enemys & disceyueris of his peple.

Capitulum 15m.

Ȝit þes worldly prestis ben lik to helle, neuere ful of*. [Prov. xxvii. 20.] coueitise in no degree; for þei connen not be a-paied wiþ a resonable liflode ne resonable cloþinge, but euere redy to take of alle men þouȝ þei han no nede, & euele dispenden it & quiten not aȝen but stynkynge preiere bifore god, & lyuen forþ in ydelnesse & pride & oþere vanytes; for here herte is ouermoche on worldly goodis &*. [omitted AA.] veyn statis, what euere þe tonge sch[e]wiþ wiþ-outen forþ. & this is a venymous rote þat makiþ here seruyce & preieris not acceptable to god & helpeful to cristene peple as þei schulden be. [page 141] þerfore þis coueitise schulde be fleed of alle prestis, as ground of alle synnes as poul seiþ.*. [1 Tim. vi. 10.]

Capitulum 16m.

Also þei ben þeues, robbynge pore men of here sustenaunce bi colour of holynesse; for þei hiȝen faste to be prestis mo þan ben nedful for þe peple, for to haue esy lif & welfare & han*. [omitted X.] þe almes þat god ordeyned to pore nedy men þat han not of here owene & may not labore for sikenesse or*. [of X.] elde; & al is demyd holynesse for helpe of here preieris, & ȝit þe beste of hem wot not what his preiere is worþe & where it turne to his owene dampnacion or saluacion. & certis þat man þat loueþ best god preieþ best, not for o man only but for alle men þat ben able to haue part þer-of, be he schephe[r]de or ploughman.*. [plowþman X.] þerfore prestis owen to lyuen wel & wasten not pore mennus liflode in pride, glotonye & oþere vanytes.

Page  174

Capitulum 17m.

Prestis weiward of lif turnen vpsodoun cristis techynge bi lesyngis & ypocrisie; for þei colouren pride wiþ honeste & clennesse, wraþþe & vengaunce bi manlynesse & riȝtwisnesse, enuye bi prudence & wisdom, coueitise bi riȝt traueile & wis kepynge of goodis to do almes in nede & pursuynge of riȝt, sleuþe bi sauynge of mannes body & worþinesse, glotonye bi largenesse & fedynge of pore men & helpynge of viteleris & oþere men of craftis, dronkenesse bi good felaweschipe & gendrynge of charite & solasynge of mennus wittis, lecherie bi helpynge forþ of þe world & kyndely dede; & þis þei don to excuse here owene synne, & norischen oþere men þer-inne for þank & worldly wynnynge; but certis þes ben anticristis & perilous heretikis.

Capitulum 18m.

Also þei ben foule ypocritis & setten more prise be an oxe, hors or asse þan bi þe soule of here maistir þat costiþ mychil on hem; for ȝif þei seen vnresonable bestis of here maistris or oþere mennus fallen in a perilous lake þei wolen traueile & helpe & crien to men aboute til þe vnresonable beste be out of perils; but þouȝ here maistris*. [maistir X.] soule be in þe foule lake of old custumable synne, & body & soule in poynt to be dampned wiþ-oute ende, þei schullen not helpe to brynge hem out of þis peril, neiþer bi trewe conseilynge ne trewe prechynge ne stirynge of gostly frendis to þis helpe; & her-by þei schewen þat here herte is seeit to loue his muk & not is soule. but where ben falsere traitouris þan þes prestis þat wole not helpe here maistris*. [his maistre X.] out of þis moste peril, but raþere norische hem & conseile hem þer-inne for to haue here owene lustis & welfare.

Capitulum 19m.

Many of hem poisonen*. [poisen X.] gostily here maistris for þe benefices þat þei receyuen of hem; for þei conseilen here maistris faste Page  175 þat þei tristen not to pore prestis & witty clerkis trewely techynge þe gospel & comaundementis of god & where men owe to do here almes, but lyuen forþ after [page 142] olde errouris & lesyngis & anticristis prechouris þat prechen for here wynnynge & fablis & newe soteltes for veyn name of clergie, & bidde hem do as here fadris diden, þat many tyme lyuede in falsnesse to gete goodis of þis world and myspendeden*. [myspenden X.] hem in pride & glotonye, & þei witen neuere where þei dieden out of charite & ben dampned in helle; & þus þei conseilen here maistris to lyue forþ in here cursede synne & not to amende hem.

Capitulum 20m.

Also þei disceyuen þe peple in feiþ of cristendom; for þei maken þe peple ween þat þei schullen not haue part of here preieris, þouȝ þei ben in charite, but ȝif þei paien moche money to a prest þat is ydel & vicious. for ȝif men wisten þat þei schulden haue part of alle goode preieris bi mercy of god as moche as is riȝtful, þei wolden do here almes to here pore neiȝeboris as crist biddiþ, & not fynde so many worldly prestis þat kunnen no goode & non wolen lerne, ne teche oþere men to lyue wel 2ne lyue wel2*. [2_2 omitted X.] hem self. but þus þei maken hem maistris & lordis of goode preieris & sillen hem to men þat hem likiþ for money, & taken not reward to partynge of god, hou he is chief lord & grauntiþ part of good preieris to euery goode man þat is in grace as moche as is riȝtful.

Capitulum 21m.

Wykede prestis also disceyuen cristene men in hope; for þei techen þat men schullen haue more þank of god to do here almes to riche freris & false pardoneris & to make grete waste housynge, þanne helpe here pore neiȝeboris in cloþinge & housynge & out of dette & prison, & parische chirchis Page  176 vplond; & certis þis is anticristis techynge, for men ernen & geten moche wraþþe of god in doynge syche nouelries for worldly name & ignoraunce, þe whiche nouelries god biddiþ not, & in leuynge werkis of mercy where god comaundiþ hem to be don, for bi þis techynge þei wenen þat it is almes to myspenden*. [myspendynge X.] here goodis & leuen goddis comaundement vndo.

Capitulum 22m.

Also þei disceyuen cristene men in charite; for þei conforten hem to fiȝtte aȝenst cristene men in false werris for pride & coueitise bi sikernesse of here veyn preieris þat ben cursed of god; & hereto þei wolen crie ora pro nobis abouten þe grete stretis þat god distroie here cristene breþeren & ȝeue hem schort lif, euyl sped & wicked ende; & here-bi þei axen here owen dampnacion, as god seiþ in þe pater noster & oþere placis of þe gospel. it were betre to crie faste þat þe peple amendid here lif, & þat god helpe vs & oure enemys aȝenst þe fend & make us frendis in crist.

Capitulum 23m.

Ȝit þes worldly prestis disceyuen riche men in here almes; for þei wolen not stire riche men to fynde pore children able of witt & lyuynge to scole for to lerne, but to fynde proude prestis at hom to crie faste in þe chirche in siȝtte of [page 143] þe world, & helpe*. [hope X.] to serue hem at þe mete & oþere worldly offices; & ȝit þei stiren hem to fynde summe prestis to lawe, þat maken false dyuorsis & holden false causes & dispisen oþere symple prestis þat lyuen in mekenesse & deuocion & medlen not of syche pledynge, but þei stiren not riche men to fynde a good deuout prest able of witt & wille to lerne holy writt & preche it freely to þe peple to saue here soulis; & þis makiþ moche þat holy writt is not knowen ne kept, ne tauȝt trewely & frely as it schulde be.

Page  177

Capitulum 24m.

Also þei maken riche men & tirauntis to holde werre aȝenst god after here deþ day; for whanne þes riche marchauntis & tirauntis dien & mowen no lengere meyntene synne in þis world bi here owen persone, þan þei fynden many worldly & synful prestis, bi goodis falsly geten þat schulden be restorid to pore men, not to lerne & teche holy writt as crist comaundiþ but dwelle at o place & crie on hey wiþ newe song þat lettiþ deuocion & þe sentence to be vnderstonden; & þes worldly prestis letten most oþere prestis þat lyuen wel & techen wel, last here synne be aspied & here wynnynge & bodily ayse ceese.

Capitulum 25m.

Also þei disceyuen þe peple to holde forþ here olde cursed lif & synne; for þei seyn þat þei wolen preie for hem, & þei schullen ben excused to-fore god for þe almes þat þei don in fyndynge hem to seie masse & matynes & euensong & placebo & dirige; & herbi þe peple is bolder to dwelle in synne. but þes prestis schulden witnesse opynly þat alle þe seyntis in heuene may not brynge a man to heuene wiþ-outen his owen goode lif, kepynge þe hestis of God, & endynge in charite.

Capitulum 26m.

Also þes euele prestis pursuen crist in his membris & nailen hym on þe croos of lesynges & vnkyndenesse; for þei sclaundren cristis seruauntis wiþ lesynges & haten hem, & helpe to lette hem fro trewe prechynge bi suspendynge, symonynge*. [somenynge AA.] & cursynge & mannus iurdiccioun, & seyn þat it was god world be for þat prestis precheden & siþ haþ ben discencion & werris & pestilencis; & alle þis is to lette goddis word þat it be not knowen & kept & opynly tauȝt. & þei sclaundren goddis lawe wiþ many errouris & maken it vnsawory to worldly men, for as moche as þei wolden þat it Page  178 were not knowe[n] lesse*. [last AA.] þei were lettid of here*. [here not in X. through the margin being cut away.] coueitise & bodily welfaire & aise, & it is al on to pursue þus cristis seruauntis & to pursue crist, as he seiþ in þe gospel, & to lie þus on his lawe & to lien on him self as ion crisostom & austyn & ambrose witnessen.

Capitulum 27m.

Also þei dreden more synful men & in cas fendis of helle þan almyȝtty god in trinyte; for þouȝ god comaundid hem to preche*. [teche AA.] goddis lawe in word & ensaumple, & fauoure trewe men & helpe hem & preche þe gospel, þis doren þei not done ne*. [omitted X.] helpe oþere þer-to for drede of a wrongful maundement [page 144] of a bischop or his officeris; for þanne*. [omitted X.] þei schulden be somoned & traueiled & dispised & suspendid of here masse as þei dreden, and alle þis were medful ȝif þei wolden take it paciently. but þei dreden ouere litel þe grete peyne of helle to whiche god schal sende hem for defaute of charite &*. [in AA.] doynge his wille bifore alle oþere þingis; & þus þei dreden more þe bischopis lettre þan þe gospel of crist, & so þe bischop more þan oure lord god almyȝtty, & þis is foule blasphemye.

Capitulum 28m.

Ȝit þei leuen seruyce of god vndon for a cursed sathanas & anticrist biddiþ hem ceesse; for whanne þe bischop or his mynystris somonen hem & þei comen not but ben betre occupied to serue god in deuocion & clennesse of lif & to helpe cristene soulis to heuene, a noon þei schullen be suspendid fro seynge of masse & prechynge of þe gospel; & þus þei leuen goddis seruyce & comaundementis vndon for þe comaundement of anticrist & sathanas; & þus bischopis officeris & curatis & prestis fallen oute of bileue & renne in|to blasphemye & heresie & drawen þe comyn peple after hem in-to errour.

Page  179

Capitulum 29m.

But goode prestis, þat lyuen wel in clennesse in þouȝt &*. [in AA.] speche &*. [in AA.] dede & good ensaumple to þe peple, & techen goddis lawe vp here kunnynge, & traueile fast nyȝt & day to lerne betre & teche opynly & lastyngly, ben verrey prophetis of god & holy aungelis of god & gostly liȝt of þe world, as god seyþ bi his prophetis & ihū crist in þe gospel, & seyntis declaren it wel bi auctorite & reson. ȝe prestis þenke on þis noble office & worþi, & doþ it wilfully vpon ȝoure kunnynge & power. þenke,*. [ȝenke X.] ȝe lordis & myȝtty men þat fynden prestis, hou dredeful it is to meyntene worldly prestis in here lustis, þat neiþer kunnen goode ne wolen lerne ne lyuen holiliche in þis noble ordre. for ȝe may liȝtly amende hem wiþ-outen coste or traueile, tellynge hem þat ȝe wolen not fynde hem but ȝif þei don here besynesse to lyue wel & lerne & preche þe gospel, & certis þan þei wolden don it in dede. A, þenke ȝe, grete men, þat þis were a þousand fold betre þan to conquere al þe world, & her-by schulde be no more cost to ȝou ne traueile ne deisese, but worschipe to god & endeles good to ȝouwre*. [ȝow AA.] self, to prestis & to alle cristendom. god for his endeles mercy & charite brynge þis holy ende. Amen.