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

Capitulum 11m.

but heere moueþ þe fend men to feyne falsly aȝenus treuþe. many men taken as bileue þat þei ben lordis of þer oune godis, & þanne it is leeueful to hem to do þer almes where euere þey wolen. but where shulden þey do þer almes but to ȝyue þer dymes & þer offeringis, & to siche curatis þat þe pope & bischops lymiten hem, for ellis myȝte a man be dampnyd wiþ-outen ony defaute of hym; for hou shulde a lewid man do but as his prelat techiþ hym?

Heere men seyn bi goddis lore þat ech man þat haþ dis|crecioun shulde be tauȝt wiþ-ynne bi god of grete articlis of bileue; but oon article of bileue next aftir þe hooly goost is to trowe hooly chirche þat is cristis spouse & oure modir. & þis is a foul errour to take þe spouse of þe fend & worchipe here as cristis spouse boþe in word & in dede. we may not ȝit wite for certeyn which persone is of cristis spouse of alle þe men þat wandren heere, but we may gesse & þat is ynow. As we gessen þat þis man þat holdiþ wel cristis lawe is a leme of hooly chirche, þe which chirche is oure modir, So we gessen of an-oþer man þat reuersiþ cristis lawe, þat he is a leme of þe fend & no part of hooly chirche; & we shulden Page  423 not ȝyue dymes ne offeringis to siche men as to hooly chirche, as we shulden not loute þe fend al ȝif he shewide hym in ymage of crist. & herfore crist & his apostlis weren not gredy of worldly godis, but helden hem payed of fode & hiling, & so don prestis of cristis chirche. & þus siþ crist is cheef lord, men moten dispende cristis godis on þat maner þat crist haþ lymyted, & not hou euere a man wole, & it is not ynow to do good but ȝif a man do it wel. for þe gospel of ioon telliþ þat crist seiþ of summe foolis þat þei shulen deme*. [[John xvi. 2.]] to obesche to god in pur-suyng of his apostlis; as poul wente þat he dide wel to drawe cristenmen to ierusalem. & þus it is nyȝ þe perel to ȝyue bodily almes to men but ȝif men knowen hem betere, & þanne in litil quantite. & herfore crist tauȝte not his apostlis to bisie hem abou [page 7b] te siche almes but aboute goostly almes, þat is preching of þe gospel; but bodily almes is brouȝt yn bi freris & oþere stronge beggeres. & þes fendis clerkis feynen almes whanne it is noon almes but synne. & þus errour in bileue, to trowe to þe pope & to bischops as men shulden trowe goddis lawe, makiþ many men blamed of god. for men shulden trowe to þes prelatis aftir þer dedis groundid in goddis lawe; but men shulden trowe to cristis lawe ouer þis as bileue. but ȝit þe fend disseyueþ men þat þey ȝyuen not þis almes vnto ioon or to robert, but to god & in his name bi good entent, & þat is ynow; for a man shulde paye his dette to hym þat is traytour to god. Heere is myche for to seye, for þe fend takiþ fals þat foolis ȝyuen not þer almes to robert þat is a leme of þe fend. & ȝif þei ȝyuen þis þus to god, þei ȝyuen it on an yuel maner; but men witen þat it is dampnable to ȝyue to god þer seruyss yuele as ech fend þat is in helle ȝyueþ to god his dampnyng. & þus men moten riȝte þer entent, & ȝyue discretly goddis godis, for wenyng to do wel in many caasis is not ynow. & as anentis worldly dette þer is an-oþer resoun þer-of; for a man may meedefuly ȝyue it to hym þat shal aftir be dampnyd; for þis is no willeful almes but ȝilding of dette bi mannus lawe.