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

Capitulum 8m.

cristenmen of þis ground þenken þat pariȝschens shulden drawe fro persouns offeringis & dymes & oþere godis whanne þey faylen opynly in þer offiss, for siche assent is to blame þat nurshiþ persouns in siche synne. but what meede were it to pariȝshens to ȝyue her almes to siche a prelat to werre aȝenus crist & his chirche & mayntene þe fendis part aȝenus crist? siþen crist haþ tauȝt cristenmen hou þey shulden wisely do þer almes; not aȝenus þer oune hed, ne aȝenus þer modir hooly chirche. Also bileue in ioons epistle techiþ þat*. [2 John [10].] men shulden not grete siche; but it is more to ȝyue hem almes þan to grete hem bi nakid word; myche more men shulden not grete hem wiþ almes, but fle fro hem as fro false prophetis. Also þe popis lawe biddiþ men to not here þe massis of prestis þat ben comyn lechours. Þanne ȝif prestis ben in more synne þat is more knowun to þe puple, þey shulden not take þes prestis seruyss; hou shulden þey herfore ȝyue hem almes? Also poul [page 5b] biddiþ drawe men to dele not wiþ siche men þat ben contrarie to goddis lawe, but sich prestis ben contrarie*. [[1 Cor. v. 11.]] to god & to his puple as wolues of raueyn; hou shulden men þanne ȝyue hem godis to peruerte so myche puple? for what euere þei don, in masse or mateyns or oþer dedis of þer lif, þey harmen hem silf & þer pariȝs & oþer puple*. [MS. pupple.] þat is aboute hem. & bi þe same skile [they are] foolis þat ȝyuen þer godis as almes to siche prelatis; for siche ȝifte is not almes but ȝifte of helle to strengþe þe fend. & þe fend shulde shame heere to seye þat pariȝschens shulden not iuge of þe lif of þer prelat wheþer þat he be good or yuel; for þey shulden iuge to sue hym in as myche as he sueþ crist. & þus siþ crist biddiþ Page  419 iuge his werkis, why shulden not men iuge & fle false prelatis? it is al oon to seye þis feynyng & to lette men to fle fro fendis & blesse hem fro þer wickid werkis, but teche men to assente to hem. lord, siþ crist biddiþ men þat þey shulden not trowe to hym but ȝif he dide his fadirs werkis, what priuylegie haþ anticrist heere þat men shulden trowe & susteyne hym in doyng of þe deuels werkis? Also crist techiþ in þe gospel*. [Matt. v. [13.]] þat ȝif salt vanyȝsche awey it is not worþ aftir but to be castun out & be defoulid of men; & þis salt shulde be þes prelatis. lord, wher þis casting out & þis defouling þat crist spekiþ of be ȝyuyng of godis to siche curatis, & mayntenyng of hem in þis staat. lord, siþen men doren not mayntene an opyn traytour of þe kyng, hou doren þey mayntene a more traytour & more harmful of ihesu crist? Þe harme þat wolde sue of þis lore semyþ to stonde in þis good, þat prestis shulden shewe bi þer werkis þat þey weren worþy to be helpid; but þis lore is tauȝt of crist, & blessid be þe weye þat techiþ it. Ȝif men iugen vndiscretly þey don hem more harm þan prestis, for laste prestis in vertuous lif & drede þey not of sustenaunse.