The English works of Wyclif hitherto unprinted.Edited by F. D. Matthew.
Wycliffe, John, d. 1384., Matthew, Frederic David, 1838-1918.
Page  429

Capitulum 15m.

ant heere þe freris wiþ þer fautours seyn þat it is heresye to write þus goddis lawe in english, & make it knowun to lewid men. & fourty signes þat þey bringen forto shewe an heretik ben not worþy to reherse, for nouȝt groundiþ hem but nygromansye.

it semyþ first þat þe wit of goddis lawe shulde be tauȝt in þat tunge þat is more knowun, for þis wit is goddis word. whanne crist seiþ in þe gospel þat boþe heuene & erþe shulen passe but his wordis shulen not passe, he vndirstondith bi his woordis his wit. & þus goddis wit is hooly writ, þat may on no maner be fals. Also þe hooly gost ȝaf to apostlis wit at wit-sunday for to knowe al maner langagis to teche þe puple goddis lawe þerby; & so god wolde þat þe puple were tauȝt goddis lawe in dyuerse tungis; but what [page 10] man on goddis half shulde reuerse goddis ordenaunse & his wille? & for þis cause seynt ierom trauelide & translatide þe bible fro dyuerse tungis into lateyn þat it myȝte be aftir translatid to oþere tungis. & þus crist & his apostlis tauȝten þe puple in þat tunge þat was moost knowun to þe puple; why shulden not men do nou so? & herfore autours of þe newe law, þat weren apostlis of iesu crist, writen þer gospels in dyuerse tungis þat weren more knowun to þe puple. Also þe worþy reume of fraunse, not-wiþ-stondinge alle lettingis, haþ translatid þe bible & þe gospels wiþ oþere trewe sentensis of doctours out of lateyn in-to freynsch, why shulden not engliȝsche men do so? as lordis of englond han þe bible in freynsch, so it were not aȝenus resoun þat þey hadden þe same sentense in engliȝsch; for þus goddis lawe wolde be betere knowun & more trowid for onehed of wit, & more acord be bi-twixe reumes. & herfore freris han tauȝt in englond þe paternoster in engliȝsch tunge, as men seyen in þe pley of ȝork, & in many oþere cuntreys. siþen þe pater|noster is part of matheus gospel, as clerkis knowen, why Page  430 may not al be turnyd to engliȝsch trewely, as is þis part? specialy siþen alle cristenmen, lerid & lewid, þat shulen be sauyd, moten algatis sue crist & knowe his lore & his lif. but þe comyns of engliȝschmen knowen it best in þer modir tunge, & þus it were al oon to lette siche knowing of þe gospel & to lette engliȝsch men to sue crist & come to heuene. Wel y woot defaute may be in vntrewe translating, as myȝten haue be many defautis in turnyng fro ebreu in-to greu, & fro greu in-to lateyn, & from o langage in-to an|oþer. but lyue men good lif & studie many persones goddis lawe; & whanne chaungyng of wit is foundun amende þey it as resoun wole. summen seyn þat freris trauelen & þer fautours in þis cause for þre chesouns, þat y wole not aferme, but god woot wher þey ben soþe. first þey wolden be seun so nedeful to þe engliȝschmen of oure reume þat singulerly in her wit layȝ þe wit of goddis lawe, to telle þe puple goddis lawe on what maner euere þey wolden. & þe secound cause herof is seyd to stonde in þis sentense; freris wolden lede þe puple in techinge hem goddis lawe & þus þei wolden teche sum, & sum hide, & docke sum. For þanne defautis in þer lif shulden be lesse knowun to þe puple, & goddis lawe shulde be vntreweliere knowun boþe bi clerkis & bi comyns. þe þridde cause þat men aspien stondiþ in þis as þey seyn; alle þes newe ordris dreden hem þat þer synne shulde be knowun, [page 10b] & hou þei ben not groundid in god to come in-to þe chirche, & þus þey wolden not for drede þat goddis lawe were knowun in engliȝsch, but þey myȝten putte heresye on men ȝif engliȝsch toolde not what þey seyden. god moue lordis & bischops to stonde for knowing of his lawe.