The English works of Wyclif hitherto unprinted.Edited by F. D. Matthew.
Wycliffe, John, d. 1384., Matthew, Frederic David, 1838-1918.
Page  294


I REGARD this tract as almost certainly Wyclif's, and in this I am sup|ported by Mr. Arnold's opinion, who omitted it only because he had printed so much invective against the Friars. It has an interest as showing that Wyclif felt it necessary to justify his attacks upon the Mendicants, though it must be owned that the apology takes the form of a renewal of the offence. But we must not disregard the 'pseudo' which forms part of the title, and is not forgotten in the text. What Wyclif inveighed against is the evil which followed from admitting and binding to an order men who did not live in the spirit of its founder. With a true follower of St. Francis Wyclif would have had much in common. Even as it was, he admits there were good men among them: as Paul and Nicodemus were among the Pharisees, to whom he delighted to liken them.

This higher temper may be noticed in his dealing with the practice of midnight prayers (p. 317). Such rising to pray he says may be good, or it may be a hindrance to a man whom God calls to some better occupation, and it is presumptuous to make a binding rule on the subject. So in his Latin sermons he says, "Non observant omnia que Christiana religio precipit et observat, cum non observant mensuram" (MS. Trin. Coll. Camb. fo. 195). Of his rougher humour there is a good specimen on p. 319, where he likens friars between whom there is ill-feeling to dogs in a sack.

Among the marks of authenticity we may note the incidental use of the doctrine of Dominion (p. 316) and of Wyclif's favourite point that it is impossible to tell of any man whether he will be saved or damned (p. 317). Another characteristic passage is that on p. 312: "We graunten mekeliche that . . . we faylen in the heyghnesse of charite." Wyclif knew that his besetting fault was intemperance in attack. In a passage quoted by Dr. Shirley (F. Z. xlv. note) he tells us that he was accused of vindictive|ness and spite; and in the tract De Sex Jugis (Lechler ii. 603) he says: "Omnes enim cogitamus superflue, quomodo vindicta caperetur de hostibus Christi atque ecclesiæ, et potius cogitamus imprecando istam vindictam quam alia media misericordiæ, quæ sic injuriantibus cederent ad salutem."

I must not omit to notice that this sharp attack on the Friars contains no mention of the Eucharist, but I cannot on that account disregard the weighty reasons in favour of its genuineness.

Copied from the only MS., Dublin, C. v. 6. [CC.]. Page  295

CHAP. I. Many people cannot bear to hear friars spoken of as false, but we must do as God's law bids. We are bid to reprove sin; and as Christ reproved Pharisees we must reprove these new orders, which are Pharisees from Christians p. 296
We must not blame untruly, hastily, or on false principles; nor from envy, but from love 297
Wrongfulness of trying to stop such language, since it is used by Paul 298
II. There is good and evil in the orders. Some friars leave the convent and get better employment; yet they encourage the others who remain 298
Their observances are superfluous. Christ's rebuke to Pharisees 299
The New Testament forbids sects, but these orders make sects 299
Covetousness of prelates and friars, who ought to take little and return much 300
III. A sect is a new order, with a new patron and rule 301
Christ's sect does not insist on clothes 301
St. Peter's prophecies of the new sects and their evils 302
How St. Paul speaks of them 303
IV. See whether St. James spoke of these friars. He speaks of two religions: one pure, the other vain. The pure religion is that of Christ. Not kept by friars. Their various faults 304
V. St. Jude prophesies of apostates and his warnings in their details correspond to the ways of friars 306
VI. St. John's warnings against the friars 309
His writings, like all other authors of the New Testament, teach us to reprove friars. They attribute ill-will to their reprovers, but God is the judge of intent 311
VII. The fiend's clergy say that in reproving them we make ourselves equal with God, whereas we are sinful. We acknowledge our sins, but believe that we are Christ's servants, and that we speak as he bids us 312
Christ's example. Need of reproof 313
VIII. The fiend gives six reasons to love these orders—
I. Their dress. But it is wasteful 315
II. Abstinence. Not true of all of them, and, if true, not necessarily good 316
III. The excellence of their prayers. They do not know that they will be saved. Their selling prayers shows a bad conscience 317
Their rules are presumptuous 318
IV. The holiness of the society. They are not all holy, nor is their united prayer necessarily powerful 318
Good life the best prayer, and the cloister is often not the best life 319
V. Their special prayers. Their prayers are not so good as the Paternoster, or Christ would have taught them 320
VI. Their handsome churches and appointments. These they ought to grieve for, since they are got by robbery, spoiling the poor, and injuring parish churches 321
Christ warns us against these sects. We are bound to withstand them 323 If we are shown to err, we will turn to the truth 324

Page  296
Tractatus de Pseudo-freris.

Capitulum primum.

[page 81] For many beren heuy þat freris ben clepid pseudo or ypocritis, antecristis or fendis, or ony siche name, it were to telle what goddis lawe seyþ here, & bi lore of goddis lawe men shulden stonde stifly. ffirst men taken of bileeue þat þei shulden reproue synne; siþ crist techiþ þat ȝif þyn broþer synneþ in þee, þou shalt þries reproue hym; & fro þe*. [Matt. xviii. [15.]] bigynnyng of þe world til þis tyme was it vsid þat men shulden reproue synne for loue & worship of god. for it were al oon to lette þis & to lette men to be goddis children, and to forsake crist god & take men fulliche to þe fend, & so forsake cristis maundementis, & bi-come þe fendis seruaunt. But for siche an heresye somme men shulden suffre martirdom, & somme men make resouns, & somme men vsen here worldliche strengþe; siþ crist, heued of martris, deyede to destrie þis heresye, & alle hise martris aftir deyeden in þe same cause; and heyȝ prestis of þe temple wiþ pharisees þat crist reprouede weren more and betere groundid þen ben þe sectis of þise freris. Aftirwa[r]d men supposen þat þise freris may lytlyche erre; & bi dedis þat fame telliþ, þei synnen & harmen meche þe peple. Siþ crist welle of religion here chees to hym tuelue apostlis, & ȝit oon of hem was Sharioth, whom it was leueful to reproue — what vertu hauen þise newe ordris, þat ben cropen in wiþ-oute ground, þat men shal not reproue hem, harmen þey neuere so myche þe chirche? hit were al oon to graunte þis, & ȝiue it vp to þe fend, & fyȝte no more in goddis cause, but assent to þe fend what euere he do; & it is al oon to reproue synne, & to reproue persones þat synnen. lord, siþ freris synnen ofte, why shulden not men reprouen hem, & ȝif al þe secte assenteþ, speke we sharpliche aȝen þe secte; þus spak crist sharpliche aȝen þe secte of pharisees, as matheu telliþ in eyhte woes þat*. [Matt. xxiii. [13-33.]]Page  297 crist spak aȝen hem, & ȝit crist louede persones of hem, as weren poul and nychodeme. lorde, siþ þise newe ordris ben*. [John iii. [1.]] pharisees fro cristen men, whi shulden not men by ensaumple of crist speke sharpliche aȝen here synne? but in ilche werk god askiþ ordre, & so in blamyng of freris. [page 81b] Two þingis ben in þis ordre þat cristen men shulden holde; ffirst þat men þat blamen hem shulden holde treuþe & not gabbe on hem; for al ȝif þise ordris vsen þis craft, ȝit þei don here amys, for craft of lyyng is not leueful, siþ it is openliche aȝen treuþe, & so it is aȝen crist, þe whiche is þe first treuþe. & þus men may leuefulliche, but of hard, fyȝte, plete & scorne, but þe craft of lyyng is dampned generalliche, & þus cristen men shulden be war to putte falsliche blame on freris; & herfore many men speken g[e]neralliche of here synne, & leuen to descende to persones lest þei medlen fals wiþ soþ. & þus þei speken bi condicioun, or supposyng, or gessyng, þat ȝif freris don þus cristen men schulden be war wiþ hem. neuerþelees we witen bi þe cours of goddis lawe þat þise men þat ben disposid & knowen defaute in certeyn persones shulden reproue hem in here beerd, but euere by mekenesse & loue. þus baptist reprouede heroude of his open synne. & officials and freris haunten ofte þis craft amys, when þei louen more monee or ordris þen þei don heelþe of here soulis, & ofte þei punysshen men bi peyne þat god approueþ not. Þe oþer condicioun of blamyng þat cristen men shulden holde is þat þei shulden blame no men bi enuye or coueytyse, but algatis bi charite þat þei hauen to god & to his chirche; ȝhe, to þo persones þat þei snybben, al ȝif þei shal be dampned aftir, & þus noon man shulde curse an oþer but for loue þat he haþ to hym, as god dampneth neuer his servaunt but for mercy & for loue. & þus in speche aȝen freris men casten to holde þise two, and ȝif þei faylen in ouþer of hem þei cryen on god mercy & help; for wo is vs ȝif we ben stille, & speken not aȝen here synnes, wenne we witen þat þei synnen open|liche aȝen bileue, & leden many soulis aftir hem by wrong weye as fendis don. & þus men supposen of freris þat somme Page  298 of hem shal be dampned, & þenne we witen bi þe gospel þat*. [John vi. [70.]] þei ben quike fendis. lord, who shulde lette men to speke here as crist doiþ? siþ bi siche comune speche [page 82] his lawe shulde be betere knowen, but as we witen not of þis frere wheþer he shal be dampned, so we kepen vs in oure speche þat we clepen not þis frere a fend. but aȝen errours þat þey sowen men shulden speke hertliche; & bi siche reprouyngis god may turne þise freris to goode, & kepe sugetis in goddis weye, þat ellis wolden go the weye to helle. & as anentis fals freris, resoun techiþ þat þise ben fals, & poul spekiþ þat*. [[2] Cor. xi. [26.]] perile is in fals freris. lord, whi shulden men be lettid to speke þus, siþ goddis lawe seiþ so? dampne þou þis holi writ, & lette þou men to rede it, & releese here oblishyng bi comune vse þat god approueþ, & þenne þer is som colour to blame men þat vsen þis word, but freris ben oblishid of god & bi here rewele to seye þis word, & as þei seyen freris weren þenne & longe bifore, & somme false, what shulde lette þe holi goost to speke of fals freris bi poul.

Capitulum 2m.

Ȝit cristen men shulden be war in here speche aȝen freris, & for somme ben goode and somme euele, men shulden specifie þise euele, & not reproue good wiþ euele lest þei erreden in blamyng here breþeren, & herfore cristen men han declarid hou men shulden knowe a pseudo-frere & what is good in here ordre & what in here ordre is euel, as so myche of here ordre is good as is seid in goddis lawe, & as myche of here ordre is euele as discordiþ fro goddis lawe; but many þingis may be wel don, & ȝit þei ben euele knytted to-gedre; as tyme & oþer circumstaunce þat limiten peyne for a dede ben aȝen þe fredom þat crist wole haue in hise lawe. & þus þise goode men of freris drawen hem fro here priuat rewelis & fro here lyuyng in comune, lest it neede hem to breke goddis lawe; as somme freris procuren to be bisshopis, somme to be lystris and liue out of comunes, & somme to be wiþ lordis or laydis, Page  299 & somme freris to bi wiþ bisshopis; but þat þat þei seyn is best, as obedience to here souereyn & risyng at myd-nyȝt whiþ kepyng of here priuat reulis & sewyng of here chapitris, þise ben warliche put abac wiþ þe moost witty of freris. But ȝit þer ben ouer-many [page 82b] cowordis & foolis stondyng in þis fredom, siþ þey dar not reproue here comunes in kepyng of here obseruauncis, but dwellen in her naked habitis in tokene þat þei wolen turne aȝen. & certis in þis is noon wisdom, but errour on many sydis; for siche kepyng of þise habitis techiþ þat þei lasten in þis synne, & consenten to þe first errours, as ypocritis aȝens god. and þerfore many men wolden consele þat þei casteden a-wey þise habitis & sich fool oblysshyng, and token fredom of cristis lawe; & þus techiþ ilche word of crist, þat reproueþ þise newe sectis, for here newe obseruauncis to whiche þey oblishen hem so myche smacchen som weye ypocrisie, or ellis þey ben superflue, and oblishen men wiþ-oute chesoun aȝen þe fredom of cristis lawe. & herfore crist clepiþ so ofte pharisees ypocritis, & seyþ: "ffle*. [Luke xii. [1.]] ȝee fro sourdou of pharisees, þat is ypocrisye, for þei ben blaunchid wiþ-oute as sepulcris, and wiþ-inne ful of fylþe. Wo be to ȝou, pharisees," seyth crist, "þat ben hud monu|mentis; and men wandrynge on hem knowen not þe filþe*. [Luke xi. [44.]] wiþinne. oon of þe wyse men of lawe onsuerede to crist, and seyde þus: mayster, seyng þise þingis, þou makest to vs greet strif. and crist seyde to þis man: & wo to ȝou, wise men of lawe, þat chargen men wiþ birþins þat þei may not bere, and ȝee wiþ ȝoure oon fynger touchen not ȝoure makid birþins." & here men taken of cristis wordis þat men shulden not lette to speke for god, al ȝif þei suffren harm for here speche; for crist tolde more sharpliche þis wo, when þis lawere hadde tolde þis perile. & men may see of þe same word þat consenteris to siche ypocritis ben in þe same dampnacioun, siþ crist seyþ: "and to ȝou be wo." Also bi þe newe lawe ben sectis ofte reproued, & noon drede þise newe ordris maken diuerse sectis, & so bi oure bileue þise ordris ben reproued. "I woot, seiþ poul, þat aftir myn discess wolues of raueyn shal*. [Acts xx. [29.]]Page  300 come in to þe chirche, and þei shal not spare þe floc. & of ȝou silf shal rise wicked men, spekynge peruerse þyngis, so þat þei leden disciplis aftir hem. & herfore wake ȝee, & þenke onne hou bi þre ȝeer nyȝt & day y ceessede not bi teris monestynge ilche of ȝou; & now y commende ȝou to god and to word of [page 83] his grace, whiche is myȝty to edifye & ȝiue heritage in alle halewid. but siluer and gold or cloþ of non of ȝou coueytide I, as ȝee ȝoure self witen, for to neede of þingis þat i hauede and to hem þat weren wiþ me ministreden þise hondis, bi trauel þat i me self dide. alle þise þingis haue i shewid to ȝou, for men þat trauelen þus moten take sike men & helpe hem wiþ siche goodis, & haue mynde of þe word of þe lord ihesu, for he seyde þat it is more blissid more to ȝiue þen to take." Þise wordis of holi writt, siþ þei ben feyþ of cristen men, ben more to preyse þen alle propre rewel of þise newe ordris; for here autours weren lesse worþ, & hauen neede þat þe pope conferme hem. for poul was betere & myhtyere þen alle þe patrouns of þise new ordris; & non pope confermeþ holi writt, siþ it is first confermed of god. & noo drede poul telliþ here a rewele þat cristen men shulden holde, & first men may see here hou poul prophecyede soþ of comyng of þe newe sectis in-to þe chirche, boþe oon & oþer, & hou þei shal be wolues of raueyn & not spare þe floc þat þei ben inne; for what prelat or religiose spariþ to pile þe comune peple, but coueytiþ gold & siluer & cloþ, fare þe peple neuere so euele. as freris when þei beggen of men þenken not hou þei ben rychere þen pore men þat þei beggen of, þat hauen greet neede for hem & heoris to þyng þat freris tillen of hem, and certis þis spoylyng is falsere þen open raueyn of dai þeues. But poul tauȝte aftir hou he laborede, to ȝiue ensaumple to men aftir þat þei shulden not bilde hem castels & liue oon pore men bi beggerye. for it is boþe needeful to men to ȝiue & to take of here bretheren; but þe first condicioun is betere, & þerfore crist & poul useden it. and prelatis þat hauen cure of soulis loken hou scarsly þei may liue, & wiþ hou lytil of siche almes Page  301 þei needen to charge þe peple, & hou largeliche þei ȝeuen aȝen lore and ensaumple of holynesse. Þis rewle siþ it is bileeue [page 83b] shulde be studied of alle þise sectis, & not take an oþer lesse good but ȝif þat þis rewele faylede; & herfore poul*. [1 Cor. i. [14] and iii.] heriede god þat he brouȝte not in siche sectis, but by clene lore þat crist tauȝte poul liuede & tauȝte oþer. studie wyse men on þis word of poul, & loke þei riȝtliche wheþer þise sectis ben euele & worþi to be left bi goddis lawe, & to be spoken aȝen sharpliche. & þerfore seyþ poul to conforte men, hou þei shulden haue mynde of cristis word, & hou crist shal ȝiue to men þat louen hym word & grace to reproue hem, & þis word moueþ summe men to speke aȝen þise new ordris.

Capitulum 3m.

It were to wite ouer þis what goddis lawe meneþ bi þise sectis; & it semeþ to many men þat a secte is a newe ordre bi newe patroun & newe lawe, as was þe secte of cristen men, and crist haueþ ful autorite to make siche a blessid secte for hym & hise þat comen aftir to þe ende of þe world. ȝif a cristen man haue a custom þat profitiþ to hym for a tyme, but he haueþ non patroun ne rewele but crist & lore þat he haþ ȝiuen, he makiþ not a newe secte oþer þen secte of cristen men. & ȝif benet or dominic or fraunciss or bernard or angel of heuene make a newe secte upon cristis secte, he is herfore worþi to be blamed; & þis secte shulde be despisid & cristis secte shulde be holde clene, as þe secte of macamethe takiþ meche of cristis secte, but it varieþ in som rewele & in cloþis & in patroun, & so don sectis of oure newe ordris, & of boþe þise prophecieþ poul. Crist groundede not his secte in sich changyng of cloþis, but in rewle of vertues þat ben vnsensible to men, & tolde nouȝt bi siche abitis, but in as meche as þei helpeden to vertues, & þus men shulden not be weddid wiþ hem, but change hem lest here loue erre. & þus seyen summe þat these freris habitis to whiche freris ben þus oblishid, þat ben þus large & variaunt as weren habitis of pharisees, [page 84] seruen Page  302 þe fend to putte in lesyngus & to destrie pore mennus goodis. Cristis religion telliþ lityl bi siche sensible habitis, but now takiþ oon & now an oþer, as dide crist on good fryday. for þise habitis crien to þe folc holynesse & stablenesse, þat god wole haue hid to hym, & þus þei ben ofte false signes & garnementis of ypocritis, as crist clepiþ ofte pharisees. And þus seiþ petre in his book, þat is aboue alle þise patrouns,*. [[2] Peter ii. [1.]] Soþeliche þer weren fals prophetis*. [propheris MS.] in þe peple, as shal be in ȝou mastris of lesyngis, þat shal brynge in sectis of loss, boþe of religioun & soul, as men mai openliche see now, & þei denyen þat lord þat haþ bouȝt hem, ihesu crist. for when þei leuen cristis secte, or louen it lasse for þise newe sectis, þei slaken in þis here loue to crist, & þus þei ben cursid of hym. & iuge þe peple wheþer þise sectis louen here patroun betere þen poul or oþere seyntis, þat weren betere to-fore god þen þise patrouns, & louen lesse þe rewele of crist & cristis ordynaunce for here ordris, & here dedis wolen openliche shewe þat þei don þus wiþ-oute cause. whi shulden not þise sectis be reproued? siþ þei ben þus sectis of lesyng; not of leesyng of worldliche worship ne worldliche vauntage, as we may see, but of lesyng of vertues & of blisse for here vnkyndenesse. And herfore seiþ petre aftir, þat þise sectis leden vp-on hem hasty lesynge of vertues & blisse bi here chargyng wiþ newe ordris. who wolde seie þat he ne were a fool þat hauede a good ordre þat myȝte not faile, & ȝit bryngiþ in a newe ordre þat is boþe heuy & vnperfiȝt, & lettiþ þe first parfyt ordre boþe to be loued & holden. Juge þe peple wheþer þise freris bi here newenesse þat þei han founden breken ofte cristis ordre, boþe to hem & to þe peple. And þus seiþ petre aftir, þat many shal sewe her lecheryes,*. [[2 Peter ii. 2.]] bi whom þe weye of treuþe shal be blasfemed. It is knowen þyng now þat many louen more þise newe ordris þen þei louen þe ordre of crist, & don more worship to hem, & þis is gostliche lecherie fro crist þe spouse of þe chirche, [page 84b] & þis Page  303 is opone blasfemye siþ roten ordinaunce of men is more worshipid & more told bi þen þe ordinaunce of crist. Petre telliþ aftir of þe frut þat comeþ of siche newe ordris: In*. [[2 Peter ii. 3.]] coueytise wiþ feyned wordis þei shal chaffare of ȝou. It is knowen hou þe pope wiþ his court chaffariþ wiþ simple men in beneficis & assoilyng, & certis þis is a newe secte founden ouer þe secte of crist; & þus chaffaren possessioners bi auarice wiþ seculer men; & þise freris chaffaren now, & sillen cuntrees to begge; & in alle þise wordis ben feyned of gostliche suffrage wiþ-oute grounde. þus regneth chaffaryng of prestis and lewid men by auarice. But petre telliþ aftir to what ende þise sectis bryngyn men: "To þise sectis ceessiþ not þe iugement þat is now & bifore tymes, & here leesing nappiþ not." Noo man drediþ þat haueþ witt þat petre ne reprouede here þise sectis. what cristen man shulde not speke aȝen hem bi autorite of crist & petre? ȝif petre prophecyede not þise sectis, telle þei what þe wordis of petre menen. And of þise sectis spekiþ poul to his disciple tymothe: "Þe holi gost seiþ openliche þat in þe last tymes*. [[1] Tim. iv. [1.]] summe shal depart fro bileeue, takynge hede to spiritis of errour & to loris of fendis, þe wiche fendis speken lesyng in ypocrisie; hauynge here conscience brent wiþ hoot yren of coueytise; & forfenden to wedde, & abstenen fro mete, þat god haþ ordeyned to trewe men to take wiþ þankyngis of god, & to hem þat han knowe trewþe." Here ilche man on goddis half shulde trowe þise wordis of poul, siþ god seyþ hem openliche to hym. & þus it semeþ þat poul wolde mene þat in tymes of þise ordris men departen fro bileeue þat þei shulden haue of cristis ordre, & many taken ouer-meche hede to gostliche men of þise ordris, þat erren as ypocritis & magnifien here owen ordris. & non drede siche seniours ben fendis þat speken lying in ypocrisie, & þei hauen here conscience brent wiþ fier of coueytise, for al þat þei may gete to here ordre, of men or of worldliche goodis, þei þenken þei geten newe to god, þat god is wel payed þerwiþ, & þus þise ypocritis [page 85] letten to wedde boþe of prestis & of nunnes, & bi Page  304 þis þei fallen in foul leccherie, leuyng þat þat god haþ grauntid; & þus þise freris forberen fleshe þat crist vsede & grauntede to ete. & þus þes newe obseruauncis don harm to þe chirche many weyes. & þis applieþ poul to sectis þat*. [[2] Tim. iii. [5.]] hauen licnesse of pitee, but þei denyen þe vertu þer-of; for þei hauen non conscience to robbe pore men to magnifie here new ordris, & to fordo cristis ordinaunce; but hou deneyen not þise men þe vertu of pitee to god and man?

Capitulum 4m.

See we what James seiþ þat wroot to tuelue kynredis, & so to alle cristen men, wheþer he speke ouht of freris. but ȝif god spake here of freris, certis þei ben not wiþ hym, & crist seiþ: "who þat is not wiþ me, he mot neede be aȝen me."*. [Matt. xii. [30.]] Jamus telliþ of two religions; þe first is clene wit-oute wem,*. [James i. [27.]] & þis mot nede be cristis religioun, boþe for þe patroun & þe rewele; þe secounde is veyn religioun, & þat haueþ oþer patroun and rewele. James seiþ þat clene religioun & wiþoute wem bifore god & þe fader is þis, to visite moderlees children & widewis in here tribulacion, & kepe hym silf wiþ|oute wem fro foulyng of þis world. James spekiþ not heere of þe ordris þat holden here castels or liuen as ankeris, but of þe religioun þat crist haþ ordeyned to fiȝte wiþ þe world & profite to needi men, as crist dide wiþ hise apostlis. And ȝif þou seie þat freris visiten modirlees children & widewis; soþeliche þe fend visitiþ men, but to deceyue hem & harme hem; & þus þise freris visiten men, but riche men in heere welfare. And cristis ordre biddiþ men to kepe hem vnfoulid fro þe world, but freris seldem or neuere but when coueytise fouliþ hem; for when þei visiten pore men or widewis, þei don to gete goodus of hem, as corn, monee, chese or som-what þat nediþ more hem þen þe freris; & þus þei helpen hem not in tribulacioun, but to deceyue here bodi & soule. & herfore*. [James iii. 15.] seyþ iames aftir, þat rewle or wisdom of þise ordris is worldliche, beestliche, & fendliche, & þis is veyn religioun. Page  305 Þe rewele is first worldliche, [page 85b] for þei ben ouercomen of þe world, & speche of men plesiþ hem not but ȝif it turne hem to worldis vynnyng, & sich a rewele mot neede ouercome þe flesh of siche freris, for þei seken lust as bestis, & coueyten likyngis of flesh. & þis rewele is þe deuelis; as þe deuel is here patroun in þis, "& þere," seiþ James, "is enuye & strif where sich a veyn religion regneþ." But þe rewele of clene religioun haueþ eyȝt condiciouns þat iames telliþ. "ffirst it is*. [James iii. [17.]] chast, pesible, temperat, tretable;*. [tretatable MS.] assentyng to goode þingis, þer-wiþ ful of mercy, ful of goode fruytis, & iugiþ wiþ-oute feynyng." Juge wise men wheþer þise eyȝte ben kept in þe ordris of freris. Bodiliche chastite is ofte broken, but oftere chastite of soule; ffreris fiȝten in mong hem silf, & helpen to fiȝte aȝen reeaumus; ffreris hauen a newe maner in alle þe dedis þat þei don heere, but þe old maner was ful good þat crist ȝaf to hise disciplis. Þe apostlis weren so tretable, þat ȝif men tauȝten hem a betere ordre or þat ouȝt of here bileeue were fals, þei wolden sone assente to treuþe; but þis þing myȝte not be, for stablenesse of here patroun. ffreris mai be pleynliche conuict boþe of here ordre & heere treuþe, & ȝit heere pride lettiþ hem to assente*. [assento MS.] to þis treuþe, boþe of here ordris & heere opiniouns; but þei seken mannes help & fals dilayes to lette knowyng of treuþe, & þus þei consenten not to good, but bi heere power striuen aȝen it. And when þei spoylen pore men, þei ben not ful of mercy, but louen betere stones of heere housis þen pore men or oþere freris. Hem wantiþ good fruyt, when þei pursewen trewe prestis bi gabbyngis & bi gylis for þei prechen freliche þe gospel. fflateryng þat þise men vsen telliþ þat þei iugen not wiþ-outen feynyng. Þis is þe veyn religioun þat James spekiþ of; "for who euere weneþ þat he be religiose, & refreneþ not his tunge, but deceyueþ his herte, þis mannes religion is veyn."*. [[James i. 26.]] Þise freris ben doumbe in many placis when [page 86] þei shulde speke to heere bretheren of þe treuþe of goddis lawe & oþere weyes þat helpen to vertues; but when þei comen out of þis prisoun Page  306 þei ben dilauy in heere tungis in gabbyngis & other iapis þat sounen not to charite: Juge men wheþer ony freris ben siche þat hauen sich veyn religion. James telliþ aftir bi cristis*. [[James ii. 9.]] rewele þat men shulden not accepte persones; but men seyen þat freris don, boþe of here breþeren & oþer men, for ȝif a frere be a maister or a riche frere in mong hise breþeren, he shal be loutid & worshipid more þen cristis lawe techiþ; & þus freris worshipen seculer lordis, to gete worldliche help of hem. & þus freris speken bi goddis lawe, but þei don euen þe reuers, as crist seiþ of pharisees, þat þei seyen but þei don not. Þus freris reden in goddis lawe, þat þei shal not be makid maystris, & þis þei coueyten wiþ þe synne, wherfore þis maystirship is forfendid. & þus iames forbediþ cristen*. [James v. [1-3.]] men to be riche here, for rust & wormes destrien heere richesse, & þat doiþ harm to þe comunes; but ȝit þise freris gederen monee & oþer goodis to hem self, & ben propre in heere hauyng aȝen þe rewle of charite, & but ȝif þise wordis of iames don for þise ordris, I am certeyn þat non word of iames approueþ þise newe religions.

Capitulum 5m.

Se we ouer þis what iude seiþ of apostataes of þise ordris, hou þei weren first punyshid of god in tyme of þe old lawe. for cristis religioun lastiþ euer, boþe to þe dai of dom & aftir, & alle þise newe religiouns moten haue ende þenne or bifore. Jude seiþ þat*. [Jude 12.] þise apostataas ben in heere metis filþis, þat feeden men wiþ-oute drede, feedynge hem self; & þus freris, for heere metis þat þei hauen of lordis & bishopis, feeden heere soulis aȝen bi fablis, & ben a-boute to hyde heere synnes, but certis largenesse of heere abitis hydiþ not synnes fro god. Þei mai blynde men for a tyme bi here feyned absolucions, but whenne men shal rekene bifore crist in day of his last iugement, þere þise habitis shal be a weye, [page 86b] þise rewelis & þise religiouns, & religion of cristis lawe shal shyne þen-ne for kepyng þer-of; for ypocritis shal be depperst dampned of alle þe fendis þat shal be in helle. Jude seyþ Page  307 aftir, þat þise men ben cloudis wiþ-oute watir, þat ben boren aboute wiþ wyndis; & þis a-cordiþ to fals prestis, for philosophris seyn bi resoun þat it is eir of pestilence when it semeþ to reyne & reyneþ not, as it falliþ bi siche cloudis, for þei letten þe liȝt of heuene & temperen not þe erþe bi reyn. & þus it falliþ gostliche bi men þat shulden preche goddis lawe, & letten to teche þis lawe, & occupien siche prelatis state bi gabbyng & fagyngis, & not bi reyn of goddis word; & þis is a perilose tyme of pestilence of mannes soule. Jude seiþ aftir þat þise ben heruest trees wiþoute fruyt, twyes deed, & þe rootis ben drawen up; & þus þei ben hydous trees. Þis word shulde be dred of prelatis, siþ þei ben trees in þis world; & þei shulden bere gostliche fruyt as don oþer trees in heruest, but þei ben wiþoute fruyt, as was þe fyge tree þat*. [Mat. xxi. [19.]] crist cursede, for neþer in prechyng ne good lyf þei profiten to þe peplis soule. And þus þei ben twyes dede, deed body & soule, deed in þis world & in þe oþer, deed in heere owen persone, deed in profityng to oþer men. And heere rootis ben turned up; for here loue shulde be hid, & bi growyng of þis roote þei shulden profite to mennes soulis; but ȝif heere loue be ficchid on worldliche þingis more þen on heuenliche þingis, þe rote is turned up, & þei ben drye, wiþoute fruyt. Wheþer þat freris or oþere men failen þus in heere office, iude prophecyde of hem, al ȝif þey weren not in his tyme; for as petre seiþ, "cristis apostlis haueden clere spirit to prophecie."*. [[2 Peter i. 19(?)]] And þise men ben boren aboute bi wyndis of vnstablenesse, & heyhid to grete statis, now here & now þere, for hem wantiþ þe rote of loue þat shulde be picchid in goddis lawe, & þus wyndus mouen not þise trees to growe stableliche in þe chirche. Jude seiþ aftir, þat þise ben flodis of þe wood see, þat froþen heere owen confucions. [page 87] It is knowen þat holi chirche is a ship in þe see, & þing þat moost noyeþ þis ship ben felle flodis of þis world; & ȝif freris hauen þise two, noo drede, god vndirstood hem here, & ȝif þei froþen bi irose fisege aȝen men þat tellen hem treuþe, noo drede þei froþen heere owen confusion, & maken heere malice more knowen. & but Page  308 ȝif iude spak here of freris he spak in noo place of þise sectis. Lord, siþ crist & hise apostlis spaken sharpliche aȝens mennes synnes, & þei bidden þat we shulden sewe hem, whi shulden we not so speke aftir? Ȝif a man be in despeyer of malice of þis wood see or þat men shal be helpid fro it, þenne is it noo boote hym to speke aȝen; but men hopen bi goddis grace wiþ sich sharp speche & trewe, þat somme freris shal be amendid, & þe peple shal knowe hem betere. And þus seiþ Jude aftir, þat þise men ben erryng sterris, to whom þe tempest of derkenesse is kept wiþouten ende. It is knowen bi philoso|phris þat þe sterre herid or beerdid erriþ fro heuene in his mouyng, & bitokeneþ pestilence, & so it is of wickid prestis þat erren fro kepyng of goddis lawe. & þus ȝif freris wolen excuse hem þat iude spekiþ not of hem, þei moten excuse hem first þat þei liuen not wickidliche, for euere men weren holden bi goddis lawe to speke aȝen goddis aduersaries. And herfore seiþ iude aftir, þat "enoc þe seuenþe persone fro adam prophecied of siche wickid men: lo, god comeþ in hise þousynd seyntis to make iugement aȝen alle wickid, & to reproue alle wickid men of al þe werkis of heere wickidnesse in whiche þei diden wickidliche; & of alle hard þyngis bi whiche wickid men han spoken aȝen god." Men moten oþer denye god, or seye þat fro þe bigynnyng of þe world it was leueful to reproue wickid men. Whi shulden not men reproue siche freris? siþ god haþ ordeyned many þousynd to mayn|tene his cause aȝen þe fend. And herfore seyþ iude aftir, hou men shal knowe siche pseudoes. "Þise ben gruccheris, ful of pleynt, wandringe oftir heere desyris, & here mouþ spekiþ pride, makinge [page 87b] persones wondirful bi cause of here wynnyng." Ȝif freris ben not spoken of here þei moten liue þus iustliche, þat þei grucche not aȝen here pouerte bi þe criyng of here beggyngis. And ȝif alle heere cloþis tellen to men þat þei ben needi beggers, & þei wolen take of pore & riche al maner of godis þat þei mai gete, þenne þei ben fals & ful of playnt of þe pouerte þat þei han chosen. And ȝif freris after þis feyned pouerte wandren in reumes aftir here Page  309 lustis, & chesen to ete wiþ riche men where þei may fare lustfulliche, & haue heere daliaunce wiþ wymmen for here leccherose lyues; who drediþ þat god ne spak here bi iude of þise freris? And ȝif þei speken proudliche to men of heere ordris & of here persones; hou þei passen oþere ordris & oþer persones bifore hem in holynesse & in witt; & þus glosen persones wondirful, boþe of heere ordris & wiþ-oute, bi cause of heere wynnyng, who drediþ þat god ne spak here of siche freris þat don þus? And iude moueþ cristen men aftir to be war & reproue siche men: "But ȝee, ful dere breþeren, haue mynde of þe wordis þat weren seyd byfore of þe apostlis of oure lord ihesu crist, þat han seyd to ȝou, þat in þe laste tymes shal come gilours wandring aftir heere desyris, not in good religion. Þise ben þei þat departen hem silf bestial, & hauen not þe holy goost." Juge men wheþer freris ben siche; & certis þenne god spak here of hem, for god woot al þing þat is to come, & warneþ his chirche of perilis of it. Ȝif þise freris ben gylours boþe of men & of children, bi þe holynesse þat þei biheeten to robbe men of heere goodis, & wandren in cuntrees aftir heere desyris, to placis & persones where þei hopen to fare aftir lustis of heere flesh, þenne god spak heere of freris. And ȝif freris departen heere duellyng fro oþere men, boþe lerid & lewid, & wandren not as crist or hise apostlis, more to edifie þe peple þen for lust or worldliche wynnyng, þenne god spak here of hem. liue þe freris bi goddis lawe & teche þei men þat þei ben not siche.

Capitulum 6m.

[page 88] Jon euaungelist spak sharpliche of þis matere, boþe in epistel of his wisdom & in his book of priuetees; but for he spekiþ þere mystiliche, & fewe wolen þere approue his sentence,*. [setence MS.] þerfore leue we þis book, & speke we a word of hise epistlis. Ion seiþ in his book hou alle men shulden kepe charite, & so men shulden Page  310 loue þingis aftir þat þei ben goode. But here þenken somme þat freris failen openliche, for bi graunte of hem self oþere ordris ben betere þen heeren, & ȝit þei louen more here owen þen þei don þe betere ordris. as ȝif men askeden of þise foure sectis wheþer alle þise ordris ben euene goode, þei wolen seye anon: "nay, but oon is betere þen an oþer;" & þus bi here owen speche þey tellen þat þey leuen þe betere and louen persones of here ordre not euene aftir þat þei ben goode, & so þis diuision of freris bi þise ordris þat ben not groundid makiþ a priuee enuye and puttiþ out loue of god; but certis þenne þei ben mansleers & of þe fendis religion, for ion seiþ þat ilche*. [[1] John iii. [15.]] man þat hatiþ his broþer is mansleer. & þus it semeþ of heere lyues, þat many of hem ben irreguler; & þus in trauel of þise freris, When þei wandren aboute to preche, it semeþ þat þei louen more worldliche goodis þen heelþe of soulis þat þei visiten; & who drediþ þat siche ordris ne ben brouȝt in bi þe fend? þei leuen to proue bi goddis lawe heyȝnesse of þingis þat þei preysen so; but bi talis byneþe bileeue, & bi bull of þe pope þei prouen heyȝnesse of heere patroun & holynesse of here ordre. & þus seiþ ion soþeliche þat þer ben now many*. [[1] John ii. [18.]] makid anticristis; for alle þise men þat ben aȝen crist in here loue, þei louen not moost crist of alle þingis þat ben. but þise men louedon more crist, ȝif þei haueden oonliche crist here patroun; for vnordynel love of here patroun departiþ hem fro hool loue of crist; & þus þei hauen not god here fadir, but somme patroun byneþe god; & þenne þei ben anticristis and fendis children, as ion seyþ. & þus seiþ ion,*. [[1 John iv. 3.]] þat ilche spirit þat lousiþ ihesu is not of god [page 88b] but antecrist, & þus þer ben pseudo-prophetis now in þis laste hour brouȝt in. Men may louse ihesu crist on many maneres aȝens god, as he þat trowiþ not of crist þat he is boþe god & man, but trowiþ þe oon not þe other, lousiþ crist aȝen bileue. and þise men lousen crist þat maken hise membris heere special patrouns, & leuen to haue crist oonliche heere patroun, werbi þei louen lasse crist. & þise men lousen crist þat, bi heere prechyng or heere lif, maken þat crist is vnstableliche in mennes hertis Page  311 where he was bifore. & boþe freris and oþer prestis lousen crist on many maneres, & þus men hauen of holy writ þe names þat þei putten oon freris. Ion telliþ in his secunde epistle hou men shulden leue siche antecristis, & not receyue hem in-to heere housis ne greete hem in þe weie; & in mong alle þe remedies þat god spak aȝen siche men, þis is a special remedie of god, to which ilche man is holdon. for ion seiþ*. [2 John [11.]] þat what man seiþ heyl to siche antecristis shal haue part of heere werkis for assent þat he ȝiueþ. & meche more ȝif a man norisshe hem wiþ hise goodis, or defende hem in worde & dede, for þenne he defendiþ cristis enmyes; & certis bi lawe þat men vsen þenne he is traitour to crist; & þis perile shulden men flee more þen perele of mannes lawe. & herfore biddiþ ion þat "men shulden assaye siche priuee men, wheþer*. [1 John iv. [1.]] þei ben on goddis side," for mony siche ben antecristis. & bi certeyn rewele of ion, ȝif ony siche louse crist, he is þat ilke þat men shulden fle, boþe in speche & in lyf. & þus ȝif it were wel studied ouer, mony of þise newe ordris shulden be þus fled as antecristis for diuision þat þei maken; & þus bi alle þe autours þat ben in þe newe lawe men shulden speke þus aȝen freris, when þei don þus aȝen crist. & it were al oon to men to lette þis in word or dede & to destrie bileeue þat god haþ ȝiuen in þe newe lawe. but as it is seyd bifore men shulden kepe hem in goddis boundis & kepe treuþe & good entent; & þus for charite of þe chirche & of freris speke þise wordis; [page 89] & certis þise wordis ben soþe, & ilche man shulde graunte hem. But oon errour is in þis matere when freris continuen in heere synne, & iugen to what entent oþer men seien þise treuþis to hem. But here þise wordis ben suspect for many resouns of goddis lawe. It is propre to god to iuge entent þat man haueþ; what fendis ben þei þat taken on hem to what entent a man spekiþ. Certis alle þe fendis in helle kunnen not see a mannes entent, & men shulden not in þis hye hem aboue fendis but ȝif god hadde beden hem þis. & þus men shewen hem nakid of resoun; when þat noon of hem kan proue þat þis sentence þat men seyen is fals bi goddis Page  312 lawe, but trewe & sewynge of bileue, þey shewen ferrere hou þei ben disciplis of fals pharisees, þe whiche haueden þis maner when þei myȝten not denye cristis dedis, þat þei ne weren goode in hem self & ful of myraclis & grace of god, þei depraueden þe maner of doyng, & þus crist in hise dedis. Þei seyden som tyme þat crist was not on goddis syde, but wiþ þe fend, for he kepte not his haliday in doyng of siche myraclis. Othere seyden þat crist dide þise wondris in þe vertu of beelzebub. & þus þei casteden to depraue crist when þei myȝten not forsake þe treuþe; & þus þei shewen hem luciferis children þat wolen not amende hem self, but studien hou þei may depraue men þat tellen hem treuþe to here good.

Capitulum 7m.

Bvt here grucchen þe fendis clerkis þat þus accusen men, & seyn þat þei ben clene of þis. But we ben coupable in þis synne; for we maken vs euene wiþ crist, & trowen oure wordis as we weren god, & forsaken þat we erren in entent as seyntis in heuene, but oure dedis & oure lif shewen openliche þe con|trarie. Here we graunten mekeliche þat in þis & al oure lif here we erren ofte & faylen in þe heyȝnesse of charite, & her|fore we weylen here þat we synnen þus in þis lif. & þus we wolen not be euene wiþ crist, but trow þat [page 89b] we ben hise synneful seruauntis, & in vertu & worschip of hym we seyen þe trewþe þat he haþ tauȝt; & ofte we erren in entent & desyren veniaunce in rancour, but we ben war þat we seyn soþ & profitable to cristis chirche; & when þat god ȝiueþ vs grace we leuen errour of þis entent, & witen þat we shulden not leue here for crepyng in of siche synnes, siþ we shulden synne more leuynge to speke sharpliche þis. & þus bi process of tyme we trowen þat god wole clenese oure entent, & þus when we ben in quiete we don þis moost for goddis worship, & also for profit of his chirche, & for good þat freris mai haue. Wel we witen of oure bileeue þat we shulden sewe crist, but he reprouede men sharpliche þat diden þus aȝen god; whi Page  313 shulden not we do so, siþ we graunten vs cristis disciplis? Petre ȝaf consel to crist þat he shulde not þus suffre deeþ, as*. [Mat. xvi. [22, 23.]] crist tolde bifore þat he wolde; but crist seyde aȝen to petre, for charite þat he hauede to hym: "Go bihynde me, Sathanas; for þou sauerist not þe treuþe of god." Here may we see openliche hou crist lettede not for loue of petre to reproue hym sharpliche; whi may not men do so to freris, ȝif þei trespassen more openliche & to more harm of cristis chirche. Also we may see in þise wordis hou we ben holden to sewe crist, & to suffre peynes of oure body for more good of oure soule, & herfore bad crist petre here: "go aftir me Sathanas." Men þat wolen aboue cristis lore not sewe hym but go bifore ben sathanas, as petre was, but crist reprouede þis in petre.*. [Matt. vii. [15.]] also crist telliþ þat "men shulden fle fro fals prophetis," & telliþ two condicions bi whiche men shulden knowe hem; ffirst "þei comen in cloþis of sheep," for ypocritis bigilen men bi þis. Aftir "þei ben wolues of raueyn," siþ for worldliche goodis þei feynen holynesse. & crist seyþ aftir hou men shal knowe hem bi þe fruytis þat comen of hem. Ȝif freris shewen bi here dedis þat þei ben siche fals prophetis, [page 90] & cristis chirche be harmed by hem, whi shulden not men teche here gylis? boþe for loue of cristen men, & for loue of þe freris; siþ crist biddiþ, þat "ȝif þin brother synneþ in þee, þou shalt snybbe hym." Othere we moten forsake crist, or telle here sharpliche*. [Matt. xviii. [15.]] as he haþ tauȝt. & þus we reden þat crist aftir þat he was risen fro deed reprouede sharpliche hise disciplis for here defaute in bileeue: "O foolis, & slow to trowe in þingis þat*. [Luke xxiv. [25.]] prophetis han seyd ofte." Lord, siþ crist reprouede þus hise disciplis for loue of hem, and clepede hem foolis & slow to trowe, why may not men bi lore of crist reproue more foolis for more perile? & þis men shulden do sharpliche, for softe wordis mouen not þise men. And marc telliþ þat crist spak*. [Mark iii. [21.]] so sharpliche þat somme of hise disciplis seyden þat crist bi hise dedis was turned in-to woodnesse, & þus many men for sich slowþe of sharp reprouyng synnen meche, for sharp wordis byten ofte where soft speche shulde not moue; & þus Page  314 men seyen þat hely þe heyȝ prest was dampned, for he re|proued*. [1 Sam. iii. 13.] hise sones but to softliche & slowliche; & in þis synnen mony men, & herfore freris shulden loke wheþer þei ben coupable in þis synne, & amende hem sone þerof, & iuge not by facis of men, for crist biddiþ: "Ne wole ȝee iuge*. [John vii. [24.]] aftir þe face, but iuge ȝee iust iugement of þingis þat ȝee knowen wel." & herfore seiþ ysaie: "Wo is me for I heelde*. [Isaiah vi. [5.]] myn pees." and god seyþ to ezechiel, "siþ he haþ ȝiuen hym*. [[Ezekiel iii. 18.]] offys & wit, but ȝif he telle men peril & synne he shal be dampned for þis synne." & þis moueþ somme men; siþ god*. [haþ probably omitted.] ȝiuen hem witt & power, lest þey disusen ȝift of god, þei vsen it when nede is; & þus seiþ poul: "Wo is me ȝif i preche*. [1 Cor. ix. [16.]] not," & telle þe peple heere synnes. & herfore god biddiþ his prophete to telle his peple heere foule synnes. & þus seiþ poul to tite, þe bisshop, "reproue þou wiþ al comaundement,"*. [Tytus 3o. [should be ii. 15.]] & poul biddiþ tymothe to reproue, to preie & to blame, [page 90b] but*. [2 Tim. iv. [2.]] couenabliche & wiþoute ceesyng. poul biddiþ hym reproue men, & þus men shulden not blame herfore, but ȝif þei fordiden goddis lawe, & excuseden men at domes day of reprof þat god wole ȝiue; but þis blasfemye dar not freris seye; & herfor men wolen trowe goddis lawe. Tuo sectis þer ben, & þe oon reproueþ synne hardliche, & þis secte approueþ crist in word & dede; þe oþere secte hidiþ*. [biddeth MS.] synne as antecrist & hise clerkis. & noo drede þe firste secte is cristis lore, & þe oþer þe fendis; & for þe firste secte deyede crist & bi hym alle hise apostlis, & þis þey tauȝten in worde, as we han told ofte bifore. Þe secounde secte þat hydiþ synne was in tyme of boþe goddis lawis, but now it is late renewelid in þe tyme of þise newe ordris; but noo man shulde trowe hem here, as noo man shulde be frere but ȝif bi impossible god tolde man þat he shulde make hym a frere; & þis hidyng is clepid pees þat crist com not to sende in erþe, but to depart worldliche frendis for more loue þat men shulden haue to god. & þus ȝif men shulden leue to reproue til þei weren clene wiþ-oute Page  315 synne, þey shulden neuer reproue here, siþ apostlis weren not wiþ-outen synne; but goddis lawe dampneþ þis, þat men shulden reproue a synne & wiþ þis synne more in þe synne þat þei reprouen. & þus kepe we vs fro greete synnes; & speke we wyseliche aȝen open synne; & who þat seyþ aȝen þis, he is on þe fendis syde. hou sharpliche þat men shulden speke aȝen synne, & bi what ordre, god mo teche, for hid synne þat man is inne lettiþ hym ofte to kunne þis lore. Wel I woot þat crist & baptist reproueden men for here synne & clepeden hem kyndlyngis of eddris; & god woot wheþer men ben now worse. lyue we wel, & triste we to god þat he wole ȝiue vs concel in þis, & haue we euere oure hertis to hym, and comune entent to plese hym!

Capitulum 8m.

It were to wite ouer þe falshede of euidencis þat þe fend haþ brouht in to loue hise newe ordris. al ȝif loue be good ȝif it be clene in crist, ȝit vnordinel loue groundid in falshed is noyose [page 91] to men for many enchesouns. ¶ Sixe euidencis makyþ þe fend to loue þus hise ordris. ffirst for heere habitis; þat þei ben passyngliche holy, here gurdlis & al here atier þat falliþ to hem, & ilche man loueþ kyndeliche holy|nesse of his broþer. But here shulden men wite þat holynesse is in þe soule & in noon bodiliche þing but ȝif hit springe fro þat, & ȝit it is lytil or nouȝt but ȝif it be groundid in treuþe. But men han told ofte þe cause whi þat siche atieris myȝten profite. Boþe colours & figuris ben shapen to deceyue þe folc, to suppose þat þei ben holy þat hauen siche signes wiþ|oute; but crist biddiþ þat mennus holynesse be hid fro siche signes. & so þe offys of hem, who so vndirstondiþ hem wel, is to shewe heere ypocrisie & to hyde heere synnes wiþ-inne forþ. & herfore seiþ crist of pharisees þat "þei ben*. [Matt. xxiii. [27.]] blaunchid sepulcris." lord, what helpiþ wydnesse of habitis of þise ordris? it semeþ þat to þise tuo bi cast of þe fend; ffirst to make hem more hidliche to breede hem grete balyes, Page  316 for many of siche ordris hauen heere balyes for heere god. Þe secunde cause of þis wydnesse is wastyng of goddis good; for alle goodis of þis world ben goodis of god þe cheef lord, & he ȝiueþ hem to hise pore men þat seruen hym treweliche. & so ilche þreed of siche cloþis þat ben tuo wast & too costliche beriþ wiþ hym a wrong boþe to god & man, & specialliche when þise cloþis ben too riche & costliche. Ȝif þise cloþis ben gurde & more large in widnesse, þei beren on hem more synne, for more ypocrisie in hem. And knottis þat bitokenen penaunce hongynge bifore fro þe bodi ben signes of ypocrisie & noon oþer holynesse; & þus widnesse of siche cloþis is an hord to hyde synnes, as gabbyngis & ypocrisie, ȝif it be not superflue. & trowyng of holynesse of hem bryngiþ in many heresies, þat þise cloþis ben more hooly þen weren þe cloþis of crist. Siþ pilat myȝte haue be dampned al ȝif he hadde dyed in cristis cloþis. & þus þise habitis of þe newe ordris bleren þe eyen of þe peple & [page 91b] hyden heere priuey robberye, & oþer good don þei but lytel; but ȝif þei verifyen iudis wordis, þat siche ben trees turned vpsodoun, for roote & inward of hem ben shewid wiþ-oute to þe world, and falsnesse of here entent is hid fro men bi þis turnyng. it shulde be knowen to cristen men þat alle siche sensible signes ben not signes of hoolynesse, but ȝif þei maken hooly|nesse in men. ¶ Þe secunde deceyte of þe fend bi whiche he bigyliþ simple men stondiþ in þis; þat siche ordris lyuen scars fro good mete, & so scarsnesse of heere foode telliþ to men þat þei ben hooly. But here men seyen to þe fend þat þise signes ben ofte false, for many of þise newe ordris liuen lustfulliche in heere foode & þat men mai see wel bi growyng & colour of here body. but þis may falle ofte tymes þat summe breþeren of þise ordris faylen ouer-meche in mete & drynk, & summe ben too wel fed bi vneuene partyng of here goodis; & so þis poynt of siche ordris stondiþ in þise two þingis, þat where rewele of apostlis was to haue alle þingis in comune & be partid to ilche as he hauede nede, þise ordris don þe contrarie; & so siþ apostlis rewele was good, spring|ynge Page  317 of gooddis wille, þis rewele mot nede be euel & come of lawe of lucifer. Þe secunde fruyt of þis delyng stondiþ in þis poynt, þat siche etyng is priuee & hid fro oþere breþeren, & so it askiþ priuee housis & priuee seruice to performe it. & þus when holynesse shulde be hid, & lustliche foode shulde be exilid, þis delyng doiþ þe contrarie & comeþ of þe fend heere patroun. & þus þei don not oonliche in þis partyng wrong to heere owen breþeren, but to pore men wiþoute þise ordris whom þei spoylen of heere goodis. & se, when crist biddit hise disciplis to ete & dryngke þe metis þat ben in*. [Luke x. [7.]] folc þat thei comen to, þise ordeynen þe contrarie, þat þei haue propre foode for heere mouþ þat passiþ ofte þe [page 92] boundis of resoun. & þus when siche ordris han forsake propertee & take al in comune, þei aȝen heere owne ordre hauen heere properte in lust, & comunete in simple foode is forbeden bi here ordre, & poul meneþ to tymothe þat sich is blasfeme*. [[1 Tim. iv. 3.]] abstinence. ¶ Þe þridde deceyt of þise ordris is þat þei passen oþere in preyeris, boþe for tyme þei preyen & for multitude of hem. Who shulde not bye dere siche preyeris? siþ þei bryngen men swiftliche to heuene; & oþer men when þei slepen on nyȝtis hauen of hem preyeris at mydnyȝt, þat crien devowteliche on god bi clere voys, stif & clene. Here men seyen þat in þis poynt many seculers ben deceyued, for þise ordris witen not wheþer þat þei shal come to heuene, & so wheþer þat heere preyeris profiten to hem or any oþer man. hou is heere conscience brent, þat þei dar þus sille siche preyeris; & algatis siþ it is proprid to god to parte meritis as hym likiþ, & noon man may approue hise meritis but as god iugiþ þat it is worþi; & þus þis preyere of þise ordris is of a nest of blasfemye & chaffaryng of fendis preyere bi þe craft of symonye. & where þei maken hem a rewele to ryse reweleliche at mydnyȝt, þei passen crist & david & þe ordy|naunce of þe godhede*. [goghede MS.]; for god vndisposiþ ofte tymes men to ryse þus at mydnyȝt, & askiþ of hem a betere lif, þat þei Page  318 putten of bi heere statute. Crist duelled in preyere al þe nyȝt, but bi hym silf wiþoute siche couentis; & so þise ordris holden not cristis rewele neþer in tyme ne in stide, for crist preyede wiþoute siche criynge, lyk to þe state of innocence, bi hym self vndir þe cope of heuene. Siche risyng may som tyme do good & ofte it doiþ yuel; & þus to ȝiue rewele wiþoute god were presumpcion of a fend, & to make a rewele þus to crie on god were a signe of blasfeme folye; as who seyde bi þe prophetis word: "crye ȝee fast,*. [[1] Kings xviii. [27.]] for ȝoure god slepiþ, or ellis he is in som priuee place, or ellis ocupied wiþ oþere men." [page 92b] We graunten þat criyng profitiþ som tyme, but not to make þus rewele þer-of. hit is knowen to men of resoon þat many signes ben nakid to moue men þat preyeris of þise ordris ben betere þen oþer comune lyues; for fastyng comeþ ofte in robberis, boþe in watir & in lond, meche more þen ordris taken, but biddyng of god fayliþ hem boþe; & wakyng at mydnyȝt falliþ to þeues þat robben men; & ȝif þise outlawis passen þis rewele, it is for þei robben men priueliche, & herfore þey feynen oþere causis wherby heere preyere is so good. ¶ Þe fourþe cause in ordre is holynesse of here compaynye; & as many men drawen a ship or don an oþer dede of strengþe where fewere shulden not do þis dede, so it is in craft of preyng; many men when þey ben gederid preyen more plesingliche to god þen wen þei ben scaterid in twynny, or fewe to preye god herfore. & þis þei prouen bi mannes custom; when a peple wole preye a lord, þei gederen hem hool to|gidere, & preyen*. [preyem MS.] mekeliche & wiþ knelyng. & þus men shapen for many massis to brynge a soule anoon to heuene*. [heuenene MS.]; who wolde not procure siche helperis to preye god & shende þe fend. But*. [Bub MS.] here cristen men þenken þat þise wordis smacchen ofte falshede & blasfemye aȝen god, but hou sulden þei conferme preyere? It is seyd ofte hou þat þe couent of cristis apostlis passede alle oþere couentis boþe in Page  319 patroun & in rewele, & ȝit oon of hem was scarioth; hou many scariothis ben in þise couentis? & felowship of siche pseudoes lettiþ oþer men to preye, for hou shulde þat man preye wel þat haþ enuye to his broþer & stondiþ in queer wiþ hym, oþer next hym or a syde? siþ siche daliaunce wole gregge his ire, & vnable hym to haue ouȝt of god. & þus þei faren ofte as don doggis in a poke; oon drawiþ forþ an-oþer aȝen; but hou shulde sich drawyng helpe to drawe þe ship of holy chirche bi fisshis þat ben þus deepe in watir? many of hem wolden drawe betere ȝif þei stooden hem self al one. & þis blasfeme lickenesse, [page 93] þat comunes preyen þus to lordis, telliþ openliche þis heresye þat þise newe ordris hauen here; for god for his grettnesse is in ilche place of þis world, & redy to helpe men soonere in what place þat þei lyuen betere. & þus as freris lyues techen, it were good to many men þat ben closid in þise ordris þat þei disporteden hem in þe world. for siche auentyng many times fordoiþ enuye, ire & lust, & þise þre synnes ofte tymes letten þise men to preye deuoteliche; & þus it is open heresie too trowe þat þristyng of ordris in oon cloystre or in oon hous helpiþ þat god heeriþ hem betere, al ȝif þei liuen worse or ellis not betere to goddis pay. for al þing is present to god, & sich þristyng helpiþ not to hym, but ȝif it make men worse, for the synne of oon persone bi siche þristyng fouliþ more hise broþere. Lord, siþ disciplis of crist aftir þat he was went to heuene weren scaterid in mony cuntres, & weren not þrungen in siche couentis, what wit shulde moue þise ordris aftir to gedere hem þus aȝen skile? certis a fool may wel see þat þis resoun failiþ fouliche, & crist gederede tuelue apostlis, þerfore antecrist shal gedre moo; god reyneþ in þis ordre, þerfore antecrist shulde ȝette in wallis. god wole þat men quiken þis erþe, & ben spred aboute in vertu of god, & þis tauȝten cristis apostlis fro þat þei weren quikid of crist heere maistre;*. [[2 Tim. iii. 7.]] but þise ordris wolen euere be disciplis & neuere come to knowyng of treuþe. & þus þei moten neede be euer pun|yshid as disciplis of antecrist, but ȝif þei lernen som tyme Page  320 to go out of þise newe ordris, siþ þei letten cristis lawe to rennue & double profyt of hooly chirche. ¶ Þe fifþe deceyt of þise pseudoes stondiþ falsliche in þis feynyng, þat þei maken a newe craft to preye & to loue god, & so þis newe craft is betere þen al þe ordre þat crist haþ makyd; & þus þei hauen special preyeris makid of newe bi þe pope þat ben betere þen þe pater noster, for more pardoun falliþ to hem. þise wordis may moue men þat wolen [page 93b] folyliche trowe to hem, but ion biddiþ men to assaye spiritis, wheþere þei ben on goddis*. [[1] John iv. [1.]] syde. & þus men ben not wiþ god, þat holden wiþ man more þen wiþ crist. Oure bileue techiþ us þat crist is boþe god & man, & so he is al myȝty, al witty, & al ful of good wille. & þus noon pope ne oþer prelat haueþ witt ne power but of crist, in as meche as he sewiþ crist bifore oþere of hise felowis; & so it is a feyned power, a feyned wit, & feyned good, al þat is not shewid in dede, in trewe sewyng of crist. & þus what man þat euere seiþ þat he makiþ betere preyere þen crist, & ordeyneþ þer-to more pardoun, blasfemeþ as antecrist; & þus þe old maner was betere to preye & to plese god þen ony newe preyer mai be, hou euere antecrist speke here. Shewe men bi goddis lawe or resoun þe good|nesse of siche preyeris, & þat þei plesen so meche to god as þei ben feyned of þis nouelrie; & ellis men shulden not trowe to hem, but have hem suspect bi maner of lif. Wel I wott þe fend may feyne sich goodnesse of hise preyeris & heyȝnesse of his power, for men mai not see it; & herfore he mai pursewe men but ȝif þey graunten þis excellence, but noon man shulde trowe þis but if God tawȝte it as bileeue. And here is weye to antecrist, to pursewe cristen men for þei holden hem in þe boundis þat crist haþ ȝiuen to bileeue. Cristen men trowen þis, þat ȝif þise preyeris weren so goode, crist wolde haue shewid hem bifore, when hise vikeris & his peple weren betere, & þus þei ben foolis þat trowen þis goodnesse of þise newe preyeris; for þe pater noster is þe best preyere þat ony pope or man kon ordeyne. for who shulde autorise þat god shulde more be payed of ony preyere? Page  321 & it is al oon to seye þat a preyere is betere, & þat it plesiþ god more; but who mai do þis but god? for god oonliche mai ȝiue grace & more accepte men to mede; & þus trowe we not in þise preyeris, siþ hem wantiþ ground. & þus ȝif lif [page 94] of þise newe ordris be more medeful þen mannes lif was woned, it mot neede be grauntid of god, for newe ordinaunce is but fantym here; & þus siþ good lif of men þat ben wandrynge in þis weye is betere preyere to god, ȝif it plese more to god. What lif þat plesiþ more to god is betere preiere to god; as lif of a trewe plow man or ellis of a trewe heerde is betere preyere to god þen preyere of any ordre þat god loueþ lesse, blabere þei neuere so meche wiþ lippis. as it is likeliche þat baptist preyede betere bi hym silf in desert þen ony persone of þise newe ordris, for hise lippis ben lesse worþ; & þus betere lif helpiþ more to soulis þen massis or þise newe preyeris. Þe sixte deceyte of ypocritis, þat bigyliþ men in þis matere, is þat þei liuen honestliche in chirche, in hous, & in gardyn, & in alle ornamentis þat fallen to worship of god; who shulde not loue sich a sect, boþe bi kynde & bi resoun? Here men þenken þat þe fend vsiþ hise ypocrisie, & contrarieliche to crist moueþ men bi sensible signes. it is good & resonable men to haue chirchis in mesure, & in numbre, & in weyhte, aftir þe hooly trinitee; but þenne it is nedeful þat þei be makyd bi iust dispensis, & to profit of þe lond in which þei ben makid inne, & not do wrong to old chirchis bi weye of heere newe fyndyng; & so alle housis & placis shulden be shapen bi lore of crist. But somme men þenken þat freris bildyng failiþ in alle þise þre poyntis. It is comuneliche makid bi slyh robbyngis of þe fend, so þat it is al oon to see bildyngis of þise newe ordris, & to see a fendis holde, makid of robberye of pore men; & so when men loken on heere castelis þei hauen matere to wepe, boþe þise ordris & seculeris, but specialliche þe pore peple. for ȝif we loken to cristis lif, he forsok sich bildyng,*. [Luke xix. [41.]] & lokyng on þe citee, þat he seyde was aȝen þe apostlis, he wepte þer upon for greet synne þat it hoordede. & when Page  322 crist wente out of þe temple [page 94b] & sat in þe mount aȝen it, hise disciplis for wondryng þer-of & to see his wit þer-of askeden*. [Matt. xxiv. [2.]] wheþer he sau alle þise wondirful byldyngis. & crist an|suerede to hise apostlis, & tolde hem hou hym likede herof: "Soþeliche i seye to ȝou, tyme shal come soone heraftir þat noon stoon shal be left here on an-oþer, þat it ne shal be destryed;" and so it fel soone aftir, when ierusalem was destryed. Þre þyngis shulden moue men to be glad of sich byldyng: On, for it turneþ a-wey fro þe state of innocence; & herfore crist & baptist & oþere seyntis makeden noon siche. Þe secunde cause þat shulde moue to be glad of siche byld|yng is, þat god seyþ bi poul: "we hauen not here a*. [Heb. xiii. [14.]] duellynge citee, but we seken heuen to come." & non drede siche housyng makiþ many to loue þis world, & to duelle in lustis þer-of, & leue loue of þe oþere worlde. Þe þridde cause þat men shulden haue to loke on siche byldyng is þat þei shulden þenke on þe pore peple; hou ofte þat þei ben spoylid bi suttil fraudis of þe fend bifore þat siche housis weren bildid, þat ben but an heep of wrongis. Þise þre causis shulden not ȝiue matere of ioye to men of resoun, but raþere matere of sorowe to telle hasty destriyng of hem. men may see ouer wheþer þise patrouns vseden þise housis in sich mesure, & leften in heere rewlis aftir þat heere disciplis shulden bilde þus; & siþ þe contrarie is soþ, to whiche þise ordris ben streytliche sworen, it semeþ þat þe fend shapiþ a disport to hise clerkis to serue hym inne. & so ȝif men chargen mesure, þise placis & bildyng of hem passen mesure þat god haþ tauȝt, & so þei ben agen goddis power. & ȝif we taken heede to þe noumbre of siche castel of þe fend, þey ben aȝen wisdom of crist, siþ he approuede not siche housis. for siþ in tyme of more wisdom þer weren chirchis & housis ynowe, what wisdom [page 95] is it to multiplie þise, & destrye hoolyere old placis? certis iniuries ben don to parisshe chirchis bi siche newe chirchis of ordris; & ȝif þus wrongis of a place shulden lette men to herye god þere, siche placis of newe ordris shulden be fled as fendis holetis. And ȝif we Page  323 weyn aryht dispensis bi lore of þe hooly goost, þer is neyþer stoon ne tree in alle siche newe ordris placis þat it ne is groundid bi wrong, & temporid bi robbyng of pore men. & þus siche bildyngis makyn pride, & not comfort of goddis prisounneris, for þei ben not fed bi þis, but robbid of goodis þat þei shulden haue; & þis is not lore of þe hooli goost, but techyng of þe kyng of pride. & þus ornamentis þat þise freris ordris vsen ben toolis to bigyle þe peple, & to feede heere bodiliche eye, & robbe þe eye of heere soule, as somme of þise newe ordris hauen costy encenseris to encense beddis of men & of wymmen & to spoyle hem. Þus þei assoylen men þat weren longe deed byfore; & soulis of siche men ben in helle as somme men supposen; & þise blynde men þat assoylen þus kunnen not teche þe contrarie of þis. & þus þey doon þis for monee, & not for deuocioun, but ȝif siche blynde blasfemyes be clepid deuocioun of freris. Þus ornamentis of ypocritis harmen þe peple þat þei duellen wiþ, & al heere lif doiþ harm to men boþe to body & to soule. & þus fendis children bygilen men bi þing þat hem semeþ good, & maken hem trow þat it profitiþ, but ȝit it doiþ meche harm. & siþ alle lyues of siche men ben ful of þe fendis deceytis, men sufficen not to telle heere gylis, but bi þis men may knowe somme. And here ben somme men moued to trowe þat crist spekiþ in his lawe of sich maner of ypocritis, to teche his peple to fle hem. for siþ crist is veree god,*. [good MS.] & knowiþ [page 95b] clereliche al þing to come, alle þise deceytis ben present to hym; what shulde lette hym to telle hem? Certis charite of Crist shulde neede hym to warne men here. & þus resoun moueþ men to suppose þat crist telliþ of gilis of þe pope,*. [Matt. xxiv.] & aftir of gilis of þise new sectis, for alle þise ben lemes of antecrist. whi shulde not crist telle here of hem? and þus þenken somme þat it were a medeful dede & good preyere to god to aȝenstonde þise new sectis, & clenese cristis ordi|naunce fro sich errours þat ben brouȝt inne. Lordis, clerkis Page  324 & comunes shulden helpe here for mede of crist, & oldnesse of þise errours shulde not moue to leue hem, siþ god is myȝty ynou to helpe & destrye hem alle. Þis entent hauen meke men bi grace & bileeue of crist, þat his ordinaunce was and is best, and oþer contrarie ordinaunce is euel; & bileeue techiþ þat [he] mai not fayle to helpe men þat trauelen wel here. Examine þou wel þe grounde an þe resoun of newe men, þat seyen þey holden þe lawe and þe ordinaunce of crist, & we trauelen to destrye hem. for certis ȝif we erreden here in wit or wille bi fals lore, we wolden mekeliche a-noon turne to treuþe when it were tauȝt. Amen.

Explicit tractatus de pseudo freris.