Select English works of John Wyclif; edited from original mss. by Thomas Arnold.
Wycliffe, John, d. 1384., Arnold, Thomas, ed. 1823-1900.
Page  xxxPage  [c]

EVANGELIA DOMINICALIA.

Page  [d]Page  1

HERE BIGYNNEN
ÞE SONEDAI GOSPELIS,
EXPOWNED IN PARTIE.

ÞE FIRSTE SONEDAI GOSPEL AFTER TRINITE SONDAI.

[SERMON I.]

Homo quidam erat dives.
—LUYK xvi. [19.]

CRIST telliþ in þis parable how richessis ben perilouse, for liȝtli wole a riche man use hem unto moche lust. A parable is a word of stori, þat bi þat hydeþ a spiritual witt. Þe stori telleþ;—Þere was a riche man þat disuside his richesse in pride and in glotonye, for he was cloþid in purpur and bise, þat ben prescious cloþes boþe rede and white; and so he was an ypocrite, þat shewide him to þe world boþe austerne and clene, as worldly men done. And over þis, ech daie was he fedd shynyngly, boþ for shynyng of vessel and prescious food, and þere was a pore man liynge at his ȝate þat was clepid Lazarus, full of sore biles; and he wolde be fillid by crummes þat felden fro þe riche mannes bord, but no man ȝaf him hem*. [This additional clause is found in the Vulgate; 'et nemo illi dabat.'], for avarise of þe lord, but þe houndis of þe lord comen, and lickide his biles; and þis signifieþ compassioun of riche mennes servantis, þat þey have of pore men; but þei ben lettid to helpe hem. And it is maad by Goddis wille þat þis begger was deed; and was born by aungelis into Abrahams bosum; þis riche man was dede, Page  2 but not solempnely to God, and he was buried in helle*. ['Sepultus est in inferno:' Vulg.], in token þat he shulde ever dwelle there. Abrahames bosum is clepid a place of reste þat holy soulis restiden inne bifore Cristis ascensioun. And here may we see þat þat neiþer riche men ne pore, in þat þey ben sich, be blessid in hevene; sith Abraham þe riche man toke Lazarus into his bosum; but disuse of richesses and impacience of pore men ben dampned of Crist; and ellis not siche men; and þei ben not preisid of Crist but bi contrarie virtues. Þis riche man lifte up hise iȝen in hise turmentis of helle, and siȝ Abrahame a ferre, and Lazarus in his lappe; and he criede, Fader Abraham, have mercy on me, and sende þe lazar hidir, wetynge his fyngres eende in water to colde my tonge, for Y am tormentid in þis flawme. Þe manner of speche of holy writt is to undirstonde by names of bodi ver|tues of þe soule, þat dwellen for a tyme in siche bodies; and so, for þis riche man was boostful in speche and likerous in foode, he was tormentid in vertu of his tunge; and þus men in weye to blis, whanne þei traveilen in sutil and medeful werkes, þei swagen in a maner þe peyne of dampned men; for þei have slakyng of þer peyne in þat þat þey hopen to have fewer felowis in helle, to be peyned wiþ hem. And Abraham seide to þe riche man, dampnyd, Sone, have mynde how þou haddist lust in this lyfe, and Lazar peyne, and þerefore, bi rigt jugement of God, he is now confortid and þou art now turmentid; for he sufferide peyne paciently and þou toke þi lusts synfulli. And sum men þenken, for þis dampnid riche man clepid Abraham his fadir, and Abraham clepid him aȝen his sone, þat he was an Ebreu, and Abraham was his fadir; but Abraham answeride him, bi treuþe þat God tolde him, þat þere was a myche void place stablid betwene hem, derke and unordynel, þat lettid dampned men to come to hem, al ȝif þei wolden, or hem come to dampned men: for þei desiren it not, and ȝif sum seintis coveiten kyndely to comferte þer frendis, þey have stronger wille to confourme hem to Goddis wille, and men may neiþer falle fro hevene to helle, ne flee fro helle to hevene at þer owne wille. But þe riche man preied Abraham to sende Lazar to his fadir hous, forPage  3he hadde fyve breþeren, and he wolde þat þei weren warnid to amenden hem of her lyf; not for charite þat men dampned in helle have to lyvyng men or ellis to dampned men; for as seintis in hevene wanten envye, so dampned men failen in charite; but he dredde him of his peyne þat he shulde have by dampnyng of hise breþren; for he assentide to hem in þer wickide lyf. But Abraham seide to him þat þei have Moyses and prophetis in þer bokes þat þei writen, heere þei hem spedely, and kepe þei Goddis commandementis; and þis riche dampned man seide to Abraham, Nay, Fadir Abraham, but if ony of dede men wende to hem and warne hem, þei shal do penaunce, and flee þer dampnacioun. But Abraham seide aȝen, þat ȝif þei heeren not Moyses and prophetis þat spaken by God, þei shall not trowe to dede men; for þer wordes ben of lasse evydence, and it falliþ not to God to make a newe lawe and newe miraclis for ech man þat shal be dampned, as Crist wolde not come doun of þe crosse to conferme the fals Jewis.

In*. [The language of this concluding paragraph shows that these homi|lies were written rather with a view to publication than to delivery from the pulpit.] þis Gospel may preestis telle of fals pride of riche men, and of lustful lyf of myȝty men of þis worlde, and of longe peynes of helle, and joyful blis in hevene, and þus lengþe þer sermoun as þe tyme axiþ. And marke we how þis gospel telliþ þat þis riche man was not dampned for extorsioun or wrong þat he dide to his neiȝbore, but for he failide in werkes of mercy; and þus shulde we warne boþ o man and oþer how sum men shal be dampnyd more felly for raveyne, and sum shal be dampnyd more softly, for misusinge of Goddis goodis.

ÞE SECUNDE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER TRYNYTE.

[SERMON II.]

Homo quidam fecit coenam magnam.
—LUC. xiiii. [16.]

ÞIS gospel moveþ men bi witt of a parable to desire spedely to come to hevene. We shal undirstonde þat eche worde of Page  4 Goddis lawe is soþ, alȝates if some men undirstonde it falsely; for so þey undirstonden God, and ȝit þei maken him not fals; and so pryve undirstondinge of þis holy Gospel is alȝates soþ, and þe storye boþe. Þe Gospel telliþ þat þere was a man þat makide a greet soþer and clepide þereto many men. Þis man is Jesus Crist, þat is boþe God and man; and þis grete soper is the grete mangery þat seintis in hevene shall eten of Goddis bord; and þis shall ever last wiþout irkyng or noye, for þere shal noþing faile þat seintis wolen desire. And, for þis shal be þe laste mete, it is well clepid a soper, for soper is þe laste mete þat man takiþ in þe daie. And for foure causis it is a greet soper, for þe Lord is grete þat makeþ þis soper, so þat no man but he may make siche a soper; also the peeple is grete and many þat sitteþ at þis soper; also þe mete is prescious þat þei soupen wiþ, siþ Crist is al maner of mete and drynke, þat þei be fed wiþ; also þe tyme of sittyng at þis soper is wiþouten eende. Þis lord clepiþ many to þis soper; for þere nys no man but ȝif he longe sum weie after blise; for ech man longiþ after good, and þe last good and best in which oonly man shulde reste is blisse. But þe gospel seiþ þat many men ben clepid, and fewe ben chosen, for alle men þat God ȝeveþ desiryng to blis ben clepide, but al oonly þese ben chosen, þat lasten in love of God to þer ending day, for to alle siche and oonly siche haþ God ordeyned blisse. And he sente out his servauntis in houre of þis soper to seie to men clepid hereto to come, for now alle þingis ben redy. Þe hour of þis soper is tyme of þe Incarnacion, for in þat tyme was heven first persid*. ['pierced' is used in the sense of penetrated, or forcibly entered.], and men sett first in hevene wiþ Crist. Þis servant sent out is the manheed of Crist, wiþ hise membris þat here lyveden wiþ him, as Joon Baptist and oþer apostlis and oþer trewe servauntis. Alle þingis were redy; for the Godhede and manhede of Crist was for þat time redy to fede seintes in hevene, and Crist, as Paul seiþ, is alle þingis in alle men þat shal be savyd, and riȝt so his lawe is þe first and þe laste and fully ynouȝ, after which shulde be noon other lawe. For Anticristis lawe, cloutid of many, is full of errors, and disseyveþ many men, as law of Sarasyns and of þese newe Page  5 ordris. And as þe gospel seiþ, al siche men bygan togiþer for to excuse hem; for al þese men and al oonli siche þat tellen more bi siche lawe þan bi Goddis lawe excusen hem to come þe riȝt weye to hevene. And as þere is þre maner of synne, so þre maner men excusiden hem fro þis soper. Þe first seide þat he hadde bouȝt a toun and was nedid to go out and see it; and þis bitokeneþ proude men, þat for worldly lordship wenden out fro þe weye of God, and occupien her wittes about worldely hey|nesse; and for þe first seide þat þis was nedeful, þerefore he preide þe lordis messanger to have him excusid. Þe seconde seide, bat he hadde bouȝt fyve yockis of oxen, and he wente to assay hem, and þerefore he preide him to have him excusid. Þes fyve yockis bitokenen plente of worldely goodis; for traveil and foure pro|fitis þat comen of oxen; and for þis bisynesse turneþ rundely in hemsilf þerefore it is well seide þat þere ben fyve yockis. And for siche worldely men ben yockid togiþere wiþ þe fend and þe world, þerefore the gospel clepiþ hem yockis. Þe þridde man seide þat he hadde wedded a wyf, and þerefore myȝte not come. Þis þridde bitokeneþ men þat ben overcomen wiþ fleishly synne, as glotonye and lecherie; and þes men more beestly excusen hem, not curteysly, as þese two first diden; but seien shortly, þay may not come. Þe first two men excusiden hem by þis, þat þey wolen be lordly to distroye Goddis enemyes, and þei wolen be riche to helpe pore men; but þe þridde, þat haþ his fleish as his wyf, maister of his soule, is an uncurtais fool; and þere|fore he answeride þus. Þe servaunt turnide aȝen and tolde his lord þe answere of þese þre men; for every creature seiþ to Crist fully himsilf. But þe lord was wrooþ wiþ excusacioun of þese beden foolis, and bad his servaunt wende out into stretis of þe citee, more and lasse, and brynge into þis feeste þis þre maner of men, pore feble men, pore blynde men, and pore lame men. Þese þre ben Goddis prisoneris, þat boþe God and man helpen wiþ almes. And it semeth þat þese and noon oþer shal come to hevene, for who shal come to hevene but if he be pore in spirit; who shal come to heven but ȝif he be feble in spirit and nedid to have mercy; who shall come to hevene but ȝif he bi liȝtned of his blindnesse; and who shal come to hevene, but he þat halteþ now hiȝe in vertues and now low in synnes? Page  6 Certis noon but þe lord of þis feeste; and to siche bodili pore men techeþ þis gospel men to do her almes; for we shall sue Crist, þat doiþ specialy his greet almes to þese þre men, and of þese þre maner of men many comen to heven. But Goddis servauntis boþe of men and aungelis seien after þis secounde maner of clepyng, Lord, it is done as þou comandist, and ȝit þere is a voide place, for men þat shulden soupe wiþ þee; for þis maner of clepyng of men to þe joie of hevene filleþ not hevene of men þat God haþ ordeyned*. [So in B; the Bodleian MS. has ordeyneþ.] to blis, and herfore þe Lord of hevene in his þridde clepyng, þat shal be in tyme nyȝ þe daie of dome, biddeþ his servantis go out into weyes and hegges and constreynen men to entre þat my hous be fillid. For now in þe laste daies, whan preestis ben turnid to avarice, stonys shal crye and constreyne preestis þat maken hem a privat religioun as an hegge and oþer men þat suen hem in þe brode weye to helleward,—þese stoonys, þat ben myȝty men in þe worlde, shal constreyne boþe preestis and peple for to entre into hevene bi holding of Goddis lawe, for drede of takinge of her goodis and punishinge of her bodies shal constreyne hem by drede to kepe þis streyte wey to hevene. And so þe noumbre of men þat God haþ ordeyned to blisse mut nedis be fillid, maugre Anticrist. But Crist seiþ to his Apostlis, þat noon of þe firste men þat God clepid to þe mete and wolde not come shal taiste his souper in ye blisse of hevene. For God haþ ordeyned whiche men shal be saved and which shal be dampned, and boþ þese noumbres mote nede be fulfilled; and lordis for her profit moten nedes helpe herto, and Anticristis feynynge mote nedes be knowun.

Here may men touche of alle manere of synne, and specialy of false preestis, traitors to God, þat shulden treuly clepe men to blise and telle hem ye wey of þe lawe of Crist, and make knowe to þe peple the cautelis of Anticrist.

Page  7

ÞE ÞRIDDE SONDAY GOSPEL AFTER TRYNYTE SONDAY.

[SERMON III.]

Accesserunt ad Jesum publicani et peccatores.
—LUC. xv. [I.]

IN þis gospel telliþ Crist two parablis of comfort, how his peple shal be saved alȝif preestis grutchen þere aȝen, boþe prelatis and religiouse, for her pryde and coveitise. Þe story of þis Gospel telliþ how publicanis and sinful men weren comyng to Jesus to here his lore; and he tretide hem graciously as a good lord; but scribis and Phariseis gruchiden aȝens þis and blas|femiden aȝens Crist, and seiden, He ete wiþ hem unlawfully; and þis dede may figure þingis þat falliþ now, siþ prelatis, as scribis, and religiouse, as Phariseis, grutchen aȝens trewe preestis, membris of Crist, þat communen wiþ commounes as publicanis and seculer lordis, as sinful men; and seien it falliþ not to hem to knowe Goddis lawe. For þei seien it is so hey, so sutil and so holy, þat al oonly scribis and Phariseis shulden speke of þis lawe. And þes seculer prelatis may wele be clepid scribis, for þei boþe more and lasse writen þe money þat þei pilen of þe peple more bisily þan þei prynten in her soulis þe knowyng of Goddis lawe. And þes religiouse ben Pharisees: for þei ben divydid fro þe comoun maner of lyvynge bi hir rotun rytys as Pharisees weren. Þre causis þere ben whi þis hevenly leche resseyvede freely þes synful men and eet wiþ hem,—ffirst, for he wolde converte hem to confusioun of proude prelatis þat lettiden þe fredom of Goddis lawes to have hir cours; by þis shulden þei mekely knowe þat heynes of state makiþ not a man evermore beter to God. Þe seconde cause is, þat Crist wolde ȝyve his preestis in tyme of grace lore and ensample to do wisely so, and to stonde for þe fredom of Goddis lawe. Þe þridde cause is,—for Crist wolde shewe his general lordship and savynge not oonly of Jewis but of heþene men in dyverse statis. Þese prelatis wolden fayn þat all Goddis lawe were hongynge on hem for to spuyle þe puple; for þanne Page  8 wolde þei telle þis lawe, and put þereto fals undirstondinge, as þei myȝten have more wynnynge of þe puple. — ¶ Þe first parable stondiþ in a question of Crist; he axiþ which man of hem hadde an hundrid shepe to kepe, and he were nedid to save hem ech on, and he hadde lost oon of hem; ne wolde he not le eve fourescore and nyntene in a sikir deserte and go and seke þis lost sheep til þat he fond it; and when he hadde founden it, wolde leien it on his shuldris wiþ joie and whanne he comeþ hoom, he clepeb togidre his frendis and neiȝboris, and seiþ to hem, Be ye gladde and þanke me, for Y have founde my sheep þat was perishid. Certis Y seie to you þat þere shal be joie in hevene upon oon synful man þat doiþ penaunce, ȝhe þo more þan upon foure score and nyntene riȝt-wise þat have no nede of penaunce. Þis man is Jesus Crist þat was of þe Jewis, and he was herty and wyse and hadde in his kepynge þe aungelis confirmed in hevene, and wiþ hem mankynde. Nynty and nyne bitokeneþ þes aungelis, for þes nyne ordres þat ben knytted in Crist; and þis oo sheep is mankynde, þat acordiþ more to-gider þan þese nyne ordres of aungels. Þis oo sheep þat was lost perishide by synne of Adam, as þe psalme seiþ. Hevene is clepid disert by many enchesouns, for it is selde visited of men, þat slowly comen þidir, and it is not tilid*. [For 'tilled' (?) D has tylud; C tillid.] as is erþe here wiþ us, and it is florishid wiþ goostly trees þat evermore ben grene, for grenesse in virtues may nevere faile in hevene. And þis is a sykyr place; for fendis tempten men not þere. Crist lefte þis aungel kynde dwellyng in hevene; for Crist toke not angels kynde but toke here mannis kynde, and bi his greet virtue he suffride peyne as oþer men þre and þritty ȝeer, and brouȝt mankynde to hevene, and bade þe aungelis his frendis, and man next him in manhede, rejoyeshe hem wiþ him, for he hadde saved man|kynde þat was perishide. And bi þis aungels in hevene, mankynde, and feendis, shulde be gladde bi resoun; for þe more þat ben dampned þe more is fendis peyne, and þus is more joie in hevene of þis oo sheep, þan of nyne ordris of aungels þat neden noo penaunce, for þei synneden nevere. Þis o sheep þat is mankynde synede for þe more parte, and Page  9 was quykid bi Crist, þat was oon wiþ his breþeren; and he, alȝif he myȝte not synnen, suffride peyne for his sheep. And more joie is in hevene of him and his membris þan of nyne ordris of angelis, for þei ben beter and lyveden more medefully as trewe knyȝtis of God. Þe seconde parable of Crist stondiþ in þis, þat a wyse womman þat hadde ten dragmes, ȝif she hadde lost oon, she wolde liȝtne her lanterne, turne up hir house to seke þis lost dragme, and whan she hadde founden it, she wolde make joie as it was seid bifore of him þat lost þe sheep.—¶ Þis womman is Jesus Crist, wysdom of þe fadir; þese ten dragmes ben his resonable creaturis, for þei ben maid alle to ymage and licnesse of þe Trinite. Þe tenþe dragme þat was lost is man|kynde, þe lanterne þat was liȝtid is þe manhede of Crist, þe turning up of þis house is changinge of statis þat ben maid in þis world by manhede of Crist. For þe angel wolde not suffren Joon to knele and worshipe him, for his lord was Joones broþir, and þe aungelis weren hise servauntis; and so many þingis of þis world weren turnid up so down, siþ evry parte of þis worlde was beterid bi Cristis manhede.

We may touche in þis gospel what spediþ men and what þing lettiþ men for to be saved, for men mote nede do penaunce in berynge of þis sheep, and have liȝt of þis lanterne for to fynde þis lost dragme.

ÞE FOURÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER TRYNYTE.

[SERMON IV.]

Estote misericordes.
—LUC. vi. [36.]

ÞIS gospel moveþ men to mercy aȝen þe ypocrisye of þes false Pharisees, and Crist biddiþ first generally men to be merciful as your fadir is merciful. For whanne a general word is seid bi himsilf, it shal be taken for þe most famous. Þere ben many fadris, as fadir of kynde, and fadir of lore, but þe mooste propre fadir is he þat makiþ men of nouȝt, for he is fadir of mennis bodies, and fadir of her soulis, and in vertue Page  10 of him worchen all oþer fadris. And þis fadir shulden we sue in alle our werkes, for alȝif we may not atteyne to þis fadir, neþeles þo dedis ben nouȝtis þat ben not ensaumplid and wrouȝt by þis fadir. Þe mercy of þis fadir can we not telle fulli, for he is þe mooste worcher þat may be in þis world, and he cannot worche, but ȝif he medle mercy, for he wrouȝt by mercy whan he made þis worlde, siþ he dide good to angelis, and makide hem perfit, and brouȝte hem to heyer state wiþ|outen her disert. And so when he doiþ good to eny creature, he makiþ it perfit of his pure grace, siþ God Almiȝty, al witty, and al godely, cannot worche but ȝif he worche by mercy. Be we þan mercyful for goodnesse of God. Þe lest mercy of men is among clerkis: þat wolen not ȝyve goodis of grace but ȝif þei sillen hem, and þerefore þis synne is heresie before God, þe most and þe first þat parteþ men fro God, for þei weyen her wynnynges more þan þer God. And herfore all þat we done shulde be done in Goddis name, to wirchip of oure God, and profit of his church. Ȝhe ȝif we ben holden boþe to God and man by resoun of dette to do a good dede, loke þat þis reson be first hidde in our þouȝt, and so no man may excuse him fro werkes of mercy as no man may wante werkes of a good wille, for þat werke is þe first and heiest in man. First shulde a man have mercy of himsilf, and mercy of his modir, þat is Holy Chirche; and þan haþ he mercy of all his ende kyn*. [ende kyn. There is no difference of reading in the MSS. The phrase seems to mean 'remoter kindred,' as 'ende-men' signifies 'borderers' in Anglo-Saxon.]. Þe secound word of Crist forbediþ fool jugement; and resoun of þis stondiþ hereinne þat God may not folily juge ony man; and so as oure wille haþ nede to be cloþid wiþ mercy, so oure undirstondinge haþ nede to have riȝt jugement. For many men wenen to be merciful to ypocritis, and þei done harm to men to which þei wenen do profit; and many men wenen to juge þer breþeren, and ȝit þei jugen falsely and cruely of many; and eche man shulde tempere sich jugement aftir God, for God in his jugement may not faile for resoun. Þe þridde word bidditþ Cristen men beware of foly dampnynge up peyne of þer dampnacion; and al ȝif þis semeþ no comoun Page  11 synne among men, neþeles al maner of men synnen herynne; and prelatis, þat dampnen men in maner of þer cursyng. And ofte tymes þei witen not how þei ben to God; and by reputa|cion þat shulde be take of Goddis lawe þes men done well as God biddiþ hem do. Lordis jugen ofte tymes þat oþer men done amys, whan þei displesen hem in þir wronge wille; as we dampnen Clement*. [This allusion fixes the date of the composition of these Sermons to a time between 1378 and 1394, in which latter year the anti-pope Cle|ment VII died.] wiþ his fautours, and þei dampnen us, and o king dampniþ his adversarie, and he dampniþ him aȝen, and comounes dampnen proude men and oþers to be ypocrites. And comounly foly jugement is þing þat men knowen not, for þei leden not þer witt after Goddis lawe, for þei presumen as þe fende to kunne þat þei knowen not.—¶ Þe fourþe and þe fifþe word biddiþ men forȝyve and ȝyve sum maner of goodis, and so shal God rewarde hem. And not al oonly God, but seintis in hevene, shal rewarde men, after þat þey have done here to hem. For þese fyve dedis*. [After dedis D inserts aren. A and C agree with B.] alargid to alle men mut have sum men seintis in hevene. And þese seintis shulen reward men here in abound|ance of foure þingis; first, þei shal rewarde men in a good mesure, for seintis in hevene done beter to men þan þei diden to hem here in þis lyf; and where men diden scarsely good to þir breþeren, seintis fillen trewe men wiþ all manere of goodis; and þis fillyng is not voide but sadly replenchid*. [voydid but sadly replenysched, D.], and at þe laste it is heepid as myche as it wole take. And siche metyng of corn, of mele, or oþer þing, wolde be preisid among men fer þe largenesse of þe meter; and þis þing men have here in her bosum, but God filliþ þe substance. For certis in sich mesure as men mesuren to her breþeren shal it be mesurid to hem bi jugement of God. Ȝif þe mesure be good, þei shal have good aȝen, and ȝif þe mesure be unjust, þei shal have peyne aȝen. And, for defaute in al þis comiþ of ypocrisye of prelatis, þat shulden teche pleynly Goddis lawe and not þer erþly wynnynges, þerfore seiþ Crist in his parable, þat ȝif þe blynde lede þe blynde boþe fallen in þe dike. But for Crist shulde be oure maister, and Page  12 we shulden not strange from him, we shulden leeve þes ipocritis and sue þe lore of þis good maister, siþ he may not leve treuþe, ne faile in teching of truþe. And þus shulden men ben perfit, and flei the rote of falshede. And þes prelatis have of þere maistris comounly þis manere, þat þei can see a mot in hir bro|þer' eye, but a beem in þer owen iȝe þenke þei not oon. For þere witt is sett to spuyle and to accuse, and not for to helpe hem ne oþer men, and þerefore her coveitise blindiþ hem þus; but bi lore of Crist men shulden sei to hem, Ypocrite, cast first þe beeme out of þin owne eye and þan maist þou poke beter þe mot fro þi broþir.

Here may men see þat sugettis shulden blame prelatis whan þey seen opynly greet defautes in hem, as defaute of Goddis lawe in keeping and teeching; for þis is a beeme bi which þe fende bindeþ his hous and þei shulden knowe þes as þei shulden fele the lore þereof.

ÞE FYFÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER TRINITE.

[SERMON V.]

Cum turbae irruerunt ad Jesum.
—LUC. V. [I.]

ÞE story of þis gospel telliþ good lore, how prelatis shulden teche folk under hem. Þe story is pleyn, how Crist stood by þe river of Genazereþ, and fisheris comen doun to waishe þerynne þer nettes; and Crist wente up into a boot þat was Symonis, and preiede him to move it a litel fro þe lond, and he sate and tauȝte the peple out of the boot. And whanne Crist ceesside to speke, he seide to Symoun, Lede þe boot into þe hey see, and late out your nettis to takyng of fishe. And Simoun answerynge seid to him, Comand|our, al þe nyȝt traveilinge token we nouȝt; but in þi word shal Y lose þe nett. And whan þei hadden done þis, þei token a plentenouse multitude of fishe, and þer nett was broken. But þei bekeneden to þer felowis þat weren in þe toþer boot, to come and helpe hem; and þei comen and filliden boþ botes of fishe, so þat wel nyȝ were þei boþe dreynt. And whanne Petre hadde seen þis wounder, he fellPage  13doun to Jesus knee, and seide, Lord, go fro me for Y am a synnful man. For Petre held him not worþi to*. [om. A.] be wiþ Crist, ne dwelle in his cumpanye: for woundir came to hem alle in takynge of þes fishes. And so woundriden James and Joon, Zebedes sones, þat weren Symondis felowis. And Jesus seide to Symound, Fro þis tyme shalt þou be takynge men. And þei setten þer bootis to þe londe, and forsook al þat þei hadden, and sueden Crist.—¶ Byfore we go to spiritual undirstonding of þis gospel, we shal wyte þat þe same Cristis disciple þat was first clepid Symoun, was clepid Petre after of Crist, for sadnesse of bileve þat he toke of Crist, which Crist is a corner stoon, and groundiþ al treuþe. Over þis we shal undirstonde þat þe apostlis were clepid of Crist in many degrees; first þei weren clepid and acceptid to be Cristis disciplis; and yet þei turneden aȝen, as Crist himsilf ordeynede, to lyve in þe world. After þei were clepid to see Cristis myra|clis, and to be more homely wiþ him þan þei weren before; but yet þei turneden aȝen to þe worlde by tymes, and lyveden worldely lyf, to profit of folk þat þei dwelten wiþ. And on þis wyse Petre James and Joon wenten now to fishe. But þe þridde clepyng and þe moost was þis,—þat þe Apostlis for|soken holly þe world and worldly þingis, and turneden not aȝen to worldly lyf, as after þis miracle Petre and his felowis sueden Crist contynnely. It is noo nede to depe us in þis stori more þan þe gospel telliþ, as it is no nede to bisie us what hiȝt Tobies hound. Hold we us apaied on þe mesure þat God haþ ȝovun us, and dreeme we not aboute newe pointes þat þe gospel leveþ, for þis is a synne of curiouste, þat harmeþ more þan pro|fitiþ. Þe story of þis gospel telliþ us goostly witt, boþ of lyf of þe churche and medeful werkis, and þis shulde we undirstonde, for it is more prescious. Two fishingis þat Petre fishide bito|keneþ two takingis of men unto Cristis religioun, and fro þe fend to God. In þis first fishinge was þe nette broken, to tokne þat many men ben convertid, and after breken Cristis religioun; but at þe seconde fishinge, after þe resurrectioun, whan þe nett was ful of many grete fishes, was not þe nett broken, as þe gospel seiþ; for þat bitokeneþ seintis þat God chesiþ to hevene. And so þese nettis þat fisheris fishen wiþ Page  14 bitokeneþ Goddis lawe, in whiche virtues and treuþes ben knyttid; and oþer propretees of nettis tellen propretes of Goddis lawe; and voide places betweene knottis bitokeneþ lyf of kynde, þat men han beside vertues. And foure cardynale virtues ben figurid bi knittyng of þe nett. Þe nett is brood in þe bigynnyng, and after streit in ende, to teche þat men, when þei ben turned first, lyven a brood worldely lyf; but afterward, whan þei ben depid in Goddis lawe, þei kepen hem streitlyer fro synnes. Þese fisheris of God shulden waishe þere nettis in þis ryver, for Cristis prechours shulden chevely*. [clenli, B.] tellen Goddis lawe, and not medle wiþ mannis lawe, þat is trobly water; for mannis lawe conteyneþ sharpe stones and trees, bi which þe nette of God is broken and fishis wenden out to þe world. And þis bitokeneþ Genasareþ*. [Gennesaret is really a corrup|tion of the older name, Chinnereth (Smith's Dict. Bible); but Wyclif appears to derive it from the Greek [gap: 1] .], þat is, an wounderful birþe, for þe birþe by whiche a man is borne of water and of þe Holy Goost is myche more wounderful þan mannis kyndely birþe. Summe nettis ben rotun, sum han hoolis, and sum ben unclene for defaute of waishing; and þus on þree maneres faileþ þe word of preching. And mater of þis nett and brek|ynge þereof ȝyven men greet mater to speke Goddis word, for vertues and vices and treuþis of þe gospel ben mater ynow to preche to þe peple.

ÞE SIXTE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER TRINITE.

[SERMON VI.]

Nisi habundaverit justitia vestra plus quam Pharisaeorum.
—MATT. V. [20.]

IT is seide in þe nexte*. [nexte. Meaning the last, proximus.] gospel what nettis preestis shulden have for to drawe men fro þe see of þis worlde to þe drye lond of þis lyf. Þis gospel telliþ of þe devylis nett, in which he Page  15 fishiþ and drawt men to helle. Cristis nett is knytt wiþ riȝt-wisenesse to God aboven men, to creatures bineþe men, and to aungels in oþer side of men; and þis clepiþ God fully riȝt|wisenesse, and feyned falsely riȝt-wisnesse of ypocritis clepiþ Crist not riȝt-wisnesse, alȝif ypocritis clepen it so, but of scribis and Pharisees, þat is to seie, unriȝt-wisnesse, feyned as it were riȝt-wisnesse, of scribis and Phariseis. And as Crist seiþ, But ȝif your riȝt-wisness passe a point þe feyned riȝt-wisnesse of scribis and Phariseis, ȝe shal nevere come to hevene. We may undir|stonde by scribis and Phariseis men of þe fendis chirche, as we diden before; so þat scribis ben clepid seculer prelatis, and Phariseis ben clepid þese newe religious. Þes men maken hem a riȝt-wisnesse bi hemsilf as þei maken hem a lawe of Anticrist; and certis þis law may Crist never conferme; and so, as Poul seiþ, þes Anticristis disciplis heyen hem over Crist, boþ over his godhede and over his manhede. For riȝt-wisnesse generaly is fulfillinge of lawe, and so fulfillinge of Goddis lawe is verrei riȝt-wisnesse; and fulfillinge of mannis lawe is Anticristis riȝt|wisnesse. And so þre degrees ben in þe law of scribis; þe first and þe moost is in þe Popis welle; and as men of þe worlde seien, þere is welle of riþt-wisnesse; but þei gon ofte biside þe riȝt for þer roten ground; þei tristen on riȝt of mannis lawe, and gone ofte biside þe soþe. And ȝit þei excusen þis fals lawe, and seien it mut nede juge fals, for ellis it faillide in his cours, and riȝt of þe worlde were fordone. But þei þenken not how Crist forsoke to juge bi mannis lawe, teching þat eche juge|ment þat is not done by Goddis lawe, is jugement of þe fend, and we witen not where it be riȝt. And þat man is a fool þat jugiþ after ony law, and woot not wheþir he juge bi God, or ellis by jugement of þe fend; and ȝif men avysiden hem on þis resoun, noone shulde juge bi mannis lawe. And þis fals riȝt is more feyned in consistorie law and in chapitre lawe. For algatis þei supposen þat witnesse may not faile, or ellis þe juge may not faile þat jugiþ after fals witnesse; and of þis roten blasfemye comeþ many fals jugementis. Juge we bi riȝt con|science þat God telliþ or specifieþ and leve we mannis jugement, and suffre we fewe wrongis þat falle, for mo wrongis shulen be don for foli of mannis dome. Þe riȝt of þe Phariseis buriouneþ Page  16 to harme of þe Chirche, not oonly among hemsilf, þat holden al þing wel done þat is done bi þer ordre, alȝif it be a foly feyned by mannis witt, but how ever þei may gete good bi coloure of þis feyned ordre, þei clepen it hey riȝt-wisnenesse. For þe ground good and holy triste we to Cristis religioun, for þat is beter þan þes newe; for ellis we comen not to hevene, but shulen be dampned wiþ ypocritis. And witt of þese scribis is so myche sett in worldely goodis, þat þei clepen not riȝt-wisnesse but ȝif it be of worldely catel þat is geten by mannis lawe, alȝif Goddis lawe dampne it. And so þe fals Phariseis tauȝten men þat Goddis lawe defendiþ*. [forfendiþ, B and C.]not but man-slauȝter or oþer sensible wrong, and not oþir pryvey wrongs þat is worse roote hereof; and þis were blasfemye in God, to leeve þe worse and dampne þe beter. And herfore declariþ Crist þre manere of wickid ire. Þe first maner of ire is whan a man is wraþþid wiþouten resoun, and sich is coupable aȝens God to be jugid to helle. For þis un|kyndely venym aȝen þe state of innocence is roote of malice wiþoute-forþ, þat in caas is lesse yvel; and for þis cause men usen whan þei drawen to þer deeþ to forȝeve men alle wrongis, and axe men mercy of here synne. Þe secounde degree of þis ire is whanne a man haþ conseyved wraþþe and brekeþ out in scorneful wordis of his first conseyved ire. Soþely ire may falle to men for to venge Goddis cause, and so may men scorne oþer, for þei folily synnen in God, as Hely*. [Hely. Elias.] scornede þe preestis of Baal. But boþe þes ben perilous, and herfore he þat scorniþ þus is coupable to falle in conseile, where his foli shal be hardid, til þat he falle to more synne. Þe þridde degree of þis ire is whan a man spekiþ folily, as he þat sclaundriþ a man or repreveþ him falsely; and þat man, as Crist seiþ, is coupable of þe fier of helle, for his ire is turned to hate, and as Seint Joon seiþ, al siche been men sleeris, þat ben worþi to be dampned. And so shulden men kepen charite boþe in wille and in word, and not oonly spare strokis, as Fariseis falsely seiden. And herfore shulden irrous men axe mekely forȝyvenesse, for ȝif þei wanten charite al is yvel whatever þei do. And þerfore if þou offre þiPage  17gifte to God, þat þe scribis preisen myche, and þou þenke þat þi broþir, for þi synne, haþ a cause aȝens þee, leeve þi offring at þe auter, and go first to be accordid wiþ him. For meke offringe in mannis herte is betere þan offringe wiþoute-forþ. And ȝif þi broþir be ferre fro þee, Goddis lawe is so resonable, þat it suffisiþ þat þou go out of ire and be recounsilid in herte wiþ him, and in hool purpos to make aseeþ*. [aseeþ, B; asseþ, D. See Glossary.] as soone as þou goodly mayst. By þis lore may we see how ferre it is fro scole of Crist for to chide or to plede or to fiȝt as men now done.

ÞE SEVENÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON VII.]

Cum turba multa esset cum Jesu, nec haberent quod manducarent.
—MARK viii. [I.]

FOR alle werkis of Crist ben good lore to Cristen men, to teche hem how þei shal lyve for to gete þe blisse of hevene, þerfore þis gospel of Crist telliþ how he bi boþe his kyndis did a miracle of mercy in fedynge of þe nedy folk. Whan myche peple was wiþ Jesus, and þei hadden not to ete, he clepide his disciplis togidere and seide, Y have ruþ upon þe peple, for þei have sued me þree daies, and now þei han not for to ete, and if Y lete hem go fastinge home, þei shal faile in þe weye, for sum of hem comen fro ferre. And his disciplis seiden to him, Whereof myȝte a man fede þis folk here in þis waste place? And Crist axide hem, how many loves þat þei hadden, and þei seiden seven. And Crist commandide þe peple to sitte doun on þe erþe; and takynge þes sevene loves and doinge þankingis to God, he brak hem, and ȝaf hise disciplis to putt to þe puple, and þei ȝaven þis breed to þe puple. And þei hadden a fewe litil fishis, and hem he blesside and makide his disciplis ȝyve hem to þe peple. And þe peple eet, and was fulfillid; and ȝit þei gedriden seven berlepis*. [That is, 'carrying-baskets,' from the A.S. 'beran,' to bear, and 'leap,' a basket. Both Wycliffite versions have 'leepis' at the same passage.]of relif þatPage  18was laft. And þere was of þe puple, hungry and longe fastinge, as it were foure þousand, and Criste lefte hem, and lete hem go home. Þe gospel telliþ of siche two feestis þat Criste maade here in erþe. In þe first weren fyve þousaund fedde, and in þe toþir foure þousand, and þis was þe seconde feste, as seint Mark telliþ. And of greet witt weren þes two, as seintis beren witnesse*. [This is the reading of B. A has wittis.]; for two is þe firste noumbre þat comeþ after oon|heed, and herfore men clepen it a noumbre wiþouten fame; for it is þe first noumbre þat partiþ fro unite; and certis, if no man hadde partid from God bi synne, it hadde be noo nede to make siche feestis; for ech man shulde redely have mete whan him nedide, as beestis han gras*. [So in B; gresse, C; grace, A.] in plentenous pasture. And so bi þis bodili werk of merci of Crist ben we tauȝt to which men we shulden do sich almes; for Crist techiþ in þe gospel of Luke þat we shulde feden siche þat have greet nede, and if we feden oþir men, biside þe resoun of almes, þe fruyte of oure almes in þat is awey. And so curatis þat ben better occupied about spiritual nedis shulden for þer feblenesse, fer fro state of innocence, take bodily almes to perfourme þer office, ȝhe ȝif þei ben stronge in bodi in reward of oþer men; and þis title of almes is mooste acording to preestis; but in state of innocens shulde þis almes be awey; for men shulde have redily fruyt þat þai hadden nede of; and þis feblenesse of bodi is falle to men for synne. Crist þat was boþe God and man hadde not þis feblenes, for he myȝt have mete whan and wher he wolde; but we shal wite þat our Jesus Crist dide more miracle, and bad hise disciplis serve þe puple at þe mete, to teche us þat we ben myn|ystris and not autouris of miracle. And þus he quykide Lazarus, and made his apostolis efte to lose him, to teche þat he forȝeveþ þe synne, and his vikeris shewen it to þe puple. But þei assoilen on oþir weye, as prestis in þe olde lawe telden bi signis of the olde lawe þat men weren cleen of lepre. And ȝif þe Pope and his vikeris wolden studie wel þis mater, þei shulden leve to assoile men so largely in þis fourme, for our bileve techiþ us þat no viker assoileþe here, but in as myche as Crist assoileþ first him whom he assoileþ in virtue of Crist. We shal see moreover Page  19 þat þe folke þat Crist fedde here weren fedde comounly, and not by maner of þis world, for to dampne riche mannis maneris þat feden hemsilf coostly, and ordeyne strange and likerous mete, and in greet multitude, and excuse hem herbi þat relif goiþ to pore men, for pore men myȝten many mo be beter fedde wiþ comoun metis; and so þis is a likerous pride, how|ever we gabben to God. But go we nere to þe witt þat þe gospel techiþ us, and we shall see þat eche preest shulde be viker of Crist, and take of him oyle of grace, and so in a maner be Crist, and fede þe puple goostly wiþ þe wordis of God; for neiþer Crist ne hise Apostlis hadden ay bodily mete to fede folk þus; and Crist techiþ us in þis þat goostly fode is beter þan þis, and in token herof þis secounde feste was algatis lasse, but goostly feeste shulde encreese, þat haþ fulli ende in hevene. Þese sevene loves ben sevene bokes of þe newe testament, and foure gospellis, and þerwiþ stories of þe Apostlis wisdom, of bokes of Poul, and Apocalips of Joon. Þese fewe litil fishes þat þei hadden to companage ben pistlis of reule of James and Petre and Joon and of Judas. Þe seven berlepis of relif ben alle þe sentences of seintis after, bi which þei feden trewe men by delyng of Goddis lawe. For many ben fedd by relif þat kouden not ete þis hole mete. Þe multitude of just men ben þes foure þousaund men, þat Crist grauntiþ her owne wille to go to þe house of hevene.

ÞE EIȜTÞE SONEDAI GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON VIII.]

Attendite a falsis prophetis.
—MATT. vii. [15.]

ÞIS gospel biddiþ Cristene men to be ware wiþ false prophetis, þat comen in cloþing of sheep. And þes wordis may be applyed unto fals freris; for soþe þis lore of Crist wolde he not ȝyve in tyme of grace, but if siche men weren for to come which þei shulden flee. And so, be þei freris or be þei oþer þat speken falsely in þer prechinge, oure good maister Crist bad þat we Page  20 shulden be ware wiþ hem. Þei ben prophetis, in þat þei speken aferr of þe dai of dome, of blisse, and of peynes; and þus seiþ Crist þat he sendeþ prophetis to men þat ben of fals feiþ, and þei shal tormente hem. And it is noo doute þat ne siche men ben profetis, and þei ben false prophetis; if þei lyven þus þat þei shapen her lyf and her wordis boþe, more for ypocrisie and wynnynge of þe peple þan for worship of God or helþe of her soule. If þei fynden novelry in þer fals habitis, and ȝit lyven as yvel as oþir comoun men, who shulde drede of hem þat ne þei ben fals profetis? Al þer founden signes þei shewen oþir men, þat þei shulden crye þer holynesse over oþir Cristene men. But, Lord, whi shulden þei do þus? siþ holynes shulde be privy, and þei myȝten lyve as holy lyf wiþouten siche signes. Certis it semeþ no cause but if it be ypocrisie, þat þei shewen to þe peple þer holynes as Phariseis doen, and so to be more told by, and liȝtlyer to wynne goodis, for take awey þis eende, and her signes serven of nouȝt. And as Crist seiþ a good lore to knowe hem were, to marke þer fruytis, þat specialy comen of hem. Wel Y wote þat þe Churche profitide before freris camen in, and siþen han ben sowen many fals lores, boþe in þer religioun, and preisyng of scribis; as we seen of þe sacrid oost, of þe begginge of Crist, of lettris of þe breþheed, and oþir worldely lyvynge. Þe knowyng of siche signes shewiþ wel þer fruyte, how þei ben chargeous to þe peple, and fals in þer entent; for greet noumbre and costlewe housis and greet dis|pensis of þis world, wiþ reulynge of worldely causis, tellen what ende þei worchen fore. And herfore seiþ Crist, þat þei ben wiþinne wolves of raveyne*. [So in B. A has rayne.]; wulves þei ben if þei loven more catel þan mennis soulis, and open þer mouþ to heveneward to feyne preestis power, þat neiþir þei can grounden in þe lawe of God, ne it may not falle to God himsilf, and bi þis power þei spuylen þe puple of þer goodis, and not assoilen hem freely for to save þer soulis. And bi þis fruyte may men knowe þe falshede of þes wolvys, for we shal wite as bileve þat who loveþ more mannis good þan he loveþ helþe of his soule, he is wulf and fendis child. And þis may men wel see by þes preestis' Page  21 bisynesse; and herfore seiþ Goddis word, þat men gederen not of þornes grapis, to glade men goostly wiþ, ne gidere not figis of breris, for as þes trees han not of kynde to brynge to men siche fruytis; so siche children of þe fend feden not men goostly, neiþir wiþ figis of bileve ne wiþ grapis of devocioun, but þei han more bisynes to spuyle fro men þer worldely goodis, as boþe þornes and bryres reven fro sheepe þer wolle. And þus ech good tree þat God haþ ordeyned to þe hous of heven, bereþ here good fruyte and þe yvel tree beriþ venym; for riȝt as Goddis children may not do but good þing, so children of þe fend may not do but harmful þing. For riȝt as fendis semen to do good, and it turneþ at þe ende to þer harm, so Goddis children semen to do yvel, but God turneþ it to þer good. And to þis witt seiþ þe word of Crist, þat a good tree may not bere yvel fruyte, ne an yvel tree good fruyte. For þei may not turne as þe wynd, for alle þingis þat shal come mut nedis come as we taken here; and so eche tree here in þis world þat makiþ not þus good fruyte, shall be fellid and putt to þe fier to brenne in helle wiþouten ende. And þus bi fruyte of preestis shulen ȝe knowe whos þei ben, and herby bewar wiþ hem, for condicions of her maistris. And it sufficib not to seie, Lord, Lord, but it nediþ to lyve wele to a mannes lyves ende; and so it sufficiþ not to preestis to seie, God be wiþ you, but þei mut seie wele in herte and wele in mouþe and lyve wele, for ellis a man shal not be saved ne broȝt to liknes of þe Trinite. Ne þis lore is not oonly constreyned to fals freris, but generaly to preestis, þat seien þat þei han care of mennis soulis; for worchyng bi riȝt lyf, endid after Goddis wille, makiþ a man Goddis child and come to þe blisse of hevene.

Page  22

ÞE NYNÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER TRINITE SONDAY.

[SERMON IX.]

Homo quidam erat dives et habebat villicum.
—LUC. xvi. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how men shulde make hem frendis of worldely goodis, for reward þat þei shulden have aftir in hevene. Þe parable telliþ how a man hadde a fermour, as keper of a toun*. ['toun,' from the A.S. verb tynan, to hedge in or enclose, had origi|nally pretty nearly the same mean|ing as the word 'clearing' has in our colonies now; it was the piece of land enclosed from the forest or moor and made habitable for men. From a single clearing, it came to be applied to the whole cleared and enclosed land in any particular locality, and so to the principal collection of dwellings forming the homes of the cultivators of such land.], þat was defamyd to him as he hadde wastid his goodis; but not al fulli, for he hadde spendid hem unwarly, but þe lord hadde þe worship. Þis lord clepide þis fermour and seide þus to him, How heere Y þus of þee, þat þou wastist my good? Ȝife a rekenynge of þi baillyship, for þou maist be no longer in þis office. And þis servant seide wiþyne to himsilfe, What shal Y do? for my lord takiþ fro me þis office; delve may Y not, and me shameþ for to begge; but Y woot what Y shal do, þat whan Y am removed fro þis office, oþir tenauntis of þe lord shal resceyve me into þere housis, for goodis þat Y shal do to hem: while Y am in þis office. And he gaderide togidere alle þe dettours of his lord; and axide þe first how myche he ouȝt his lord; and he seide he ouȝte him an hundrid barels of oyle. And he seide to him, Take þi caucioun and sitte soone and wryte fifty barellis. And efte he seide to anoþir, How myche owist þou? And he seide he ouȝte an hundrid skippis of corn. (Þis mesure of corn is more þan a quarter.) And he badde him take his lettris, bi which he was bounden, and wryte foure score. And þe lord preiside þe bailly of wickidnes, for he hadde warly done; for children of þis worlde ben more ware þan children of liȝt in þer kynrede. In þis parable we shulden wite þat Crist is þis lord, þat is kyng of kyngis and lord of lordis; þis bailly of þis Page  23 lord, or keper of his litil toun, is eche man of þis world, seme he never so greet, for emperoure or kyng is tenaunt to þis lord and keper of his litil toun, to regard of Cristis greet lord|ship. For Crist is lord of hevene and helle and al þis erþe, ȝhe lord of al þis world, wiþ goodis of it opyn and hidde, and no conquerrour myȝte ateyne to lordship of al þis erþe, for Alis|aundre and Julius leften myche to conquere, and God wolde not þat þer lordship were more here in erþe, techinge us þat þe fend prince of þis world haþ but litil lordship of children of pryde, alȝif he be now partener wiþ Crist of mo servauntis of þe fend þan shal come to hevene. But Crist is chefe lord of þe fend and al his lymes, and þei mut nedis serve him oþir wele or yvel, doinge wel þat þei shulden do, or ellis suffringe peyne. And siþ Crist haþ lent ech man here al þat he haþ, and wole axe of þis streite rekenynge, how he dispendiþ it, to ech man of þis world may þis parable be applied; and whanne men dispenden not warly Goddis goodis, þanne þei ben defamyd to him as þei hadden wastid hem, but dispending of alle goodis mut sowne to Goddis worship. For alle men shulden knowe þat alle þes ben Goddis goodis, and he wole þat þei be spendid þus to profit of his Churche, and so spekyng of þis lord is movynge of mennys conscience, and þus God telliþ to men boþe more and lasse, how he knowiþ her traytery, whan þei done amys, and hou þei ben nedid to die from þis office, and hou þei ben nedid to God to rykene for þis servyse. And sum han drede how þei shal lyve after þis lyf, for after þer deeþ þei may not delve, or do medefulli to þer soule, and shameful þing it is to begge oþer of men þat here lyven, or of seintis in hevene, but as þei witen þat þei shulden helpe after þat men han her deserved while þei lyveden here in þis lyf. And so þis fermour grantide þre þingis þat men shulden knowe here in þis lyf. First he grantide þat aftir þis lyf he myȝt not wirche medefulli. Aftir he grantide þat he shulde shame to begge more þan he hadde disservyd. And so stronge beggers here on lyf, ben more unshameful þan ben soulis or in helle or in purgatorie, þat wolen not axe but þat þei han disservyd, for þei witen þat it were veyn to axe more of þer God. But þis baily turnede wisely him to a good conseil; þat while he lyvede Page  24 here in erþe he shulde make men his frendis wiþ goodis of God þat he kepiþ, and þei shulde helpe him whan he is deed. And þus it perteyneþ to kingis first to do worship to God, and siþ to do riȝt to þer servauntis and so to alle men under hem. And þis discharge may baillies do wiþouten injurie to God; for sum men þenken þat þis bailly þat forȝafe fifty barels of oile and þerto twenty skippis of corn, dide wronge to his lord, and so þe lord preiside him not wele; but we shal wite þat þis lord is God, and þis bailly lord of þis world, and so God approveþ wele forȝyvynge of mannis rente; and wiþ graunte of þe cheef lord, baillyes may forȝyve þer dette; and so it were a medeful þinge to worldely lordis to forȝyve dette, and discharge þer pore tenantis of many chargis þat þei ben inne. And so as þis miȝte falle in dede, þat þis bailly was worldly wyse, so hevenly prudence myȝte falle to children of liȝt, but þe first prudence falliþ more comounly þan þe secounde unto men, for pryde and coveitise of goodis blyndiþ men to do almes, but herfore goodis of for|tune ben clepid bi a fendis name, þingis of wickidnessis, for þei ben ofte unjustly delt. But conseil and bidding of Crist, þat is chefe lord of alle, is þat men make hem frendis here of siche goodis of wickednesse.

ÞE TENÞE SONDAI AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON X.]

Cum appropinquaret Jesus Hierusalem videns civitatem.
—LUC. xix. [41.]

ÞIS*. [In the margin of B here occurs the following note, in a late fifteenth century hand: 'Noat this specially of thee clergy the only hurt unto thee Churche of Christe.'] gospel telliþ generaly, what sorewe men shulden have for syne, siþ Crist, þat myȝte not do synne, wepte so ofte for synne. For we rede þat Crist wepte þries, and eche tyme he wepte for synne. And so telliþ our bileve in storye of þe gospel, þat Jesus seynge Jerusalem wepte þeron, for þe synne of Page  25 it, and seide þat if þou knewe þus synne, þou shuldist wepe as Y do nowe, and certis in þis dai of þee þat shulde be comen in pees to þee, if þou woldist receyve þis day and pees of it, as þou shuldist, for alle þes þingis þat þou shuldist cunne ben now hidde fro þi iȝen. For daies shal come in þee, for synne þat þou shalt do in me, and þin enemyes schulen envyron þee as a palis al aboute, and parre þee in Jerusalem, as sheep ben parrid in a foold, and þei shal felle þee to þe erþe, and þi children þat ben in þee, and þei shal not leve in þee stoon liynge upon a stoon, þat þei ne shal be removed, and þi wallis al distried, and þe cause of al þis shal be þe un|kynde unknowynge þat þou wolt not knowe þe tyme þat God bi grace haþ visitid þee. Alle þes wordis weren shewide in dede, as Josephus makiþ mynde of hem, how Titus and Waspasian þe secounde and fourty ȝeer aftir þat Crist was steied to hevene, comen at solempnite of Paske, and ensegiden Jerusalem, and distrieden men and wallis uttirly þat þei founden þere. And þis is a pryvy synne wiþ which þe fend blindiþ men, þat þei sorewen not more for synne þan þei done for oþir harm; for þus wille is mysturned, and men failen to serve God. And herefore techiþ Crist hise apostlis þat þei shulden not be aferd for perelis þat shal come for to venge synne þat is done, but þe moste drede of alle shulde be to falle in synne, for þat is worse þan þe peyne þat God ordeyned to sue herof. And þus in foure affecciouns þat ben groundid in mannis wille stondiþ alle mannis synne þat he doiþ aȝens God, for if sorwe and joie of man and hope and drede were reulid wel, his wille were ordeyned unto God, to serve him as it shulde do. After þis telliþ þe storye how Jesus wente into þe temple and caste out boþe bieris and selleris, and seide to hem þat it is writun, Myn hous shulde be an hous of preier, but ye have maad it a denne of þeves. And for a long tyme after he was eche day techinge in þe temple. And in þis dede þat Crist dide, he techiþ his Chirche to bygynne for to purge his seintuarie, þat ben preests and clerks þerof, þat ben þe moost cause of synne, and siþ purge oþir partis, whan þe rote is dis|tried.—¶ And þis telde Crists wending into þe temple after þes wordis, as ȝif he wolde seie in his worching, Þe cause of synne þat Y have told is wickednesse of preestis and clerkes, and herfore Y bigyne at þe temple, not to distrie hem in her Page  26 persones, but to take from hem cause of her synne, and ordeyne þe Churche in temporal goodis as Y have ordeyned hem to lyve. And it is al oon to seie þat þese goodis ben þus sacrid and ȝyven to preestis þat no man may take hem fro þes preestis, and to seie þat Anticrist haþ so weddid þes goodis wiþ preestis þat noon may make þis dyvors; for preestis ben uncorrigible; but þes defamaciouns shulde preestis flee wiþ al þere myȝt, and preien þat þei weren amendid bi þe ordenance of Crist. For resoun shulde teche hem þat þei ben worse þan frentikes, and so þei hadden nede to be chastisid til þis passion were fro hem. For what man wolde bi resoun, kepyng a man in frenesie, ȝyve him a swerd or a knyf bi which he wolde slee himsilf? or who þat kepte a man in feveris, and wiste wele hou he shulde be reulid, and þat þis mete or þis wyne were contrarye to his helþe, wolde ȝyve him at his wille þis foode þat shulde anoye him? so, siþ preestis have goodis of men boþe of lordis and comouns, and þei disusen hem þus, þei myȝten and shulden by charite wiþdrawe þes brondis þat þus done harme to preestis, and in mesure and manere ȝyve þes goodis to preestis þat he himsilf haþ ordeyned him and hise to have siche goodis. And þis may bi charite be wiþdrawen by þe ȝyvers þerof, siþ no man may do yvel to men and not do good to þe same men, but if he be a quyke fend, þat we shulden not putte to seculers. And to þis ende shulden clerkes traveile and procure þat þis þing were done boþe for love of Goddis lawe and for love of clerkes and comouns, and ȝif þe fend by envie, þat is enemye to charite, seiþ þis þing may not be done by þe lawe þat now is sett, he seiþ þat Anticristis lawe, founden aȝens Goddis lawe, is strenger þan charite, and Anticrist strenger þan Crist. For þis ende shulden clerkes wepe and preie God þat his ordrenance*. [ordenaunce, B.] were kepte in his strengþe and Anticristis lawe putt abac.

Page  27

ÞE ENLEVENÞE SONDI AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XI.]

Dixit Jesus ad quosdam qui confidebant tanquam justi.
—LUC. xviii. [9.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ in a parable how þat men shulden be meke and not justifie hemsilf and dispise oþir men, for þis is a spise of pride þat men clepen ypocrisie Þis parable telliþ þat two men wente into the temple for to preye, þe toon was a Phariseie and þe toþir was a publican. Þe Pharise stood as a proud man and preiede þes þingis bi himsilf; God, Y þanke þee for Y am not as oþir men of þe world, robberis, unjust men, avoutrers, as þis publican*. [So in B; puplican, A.]; Y fast twies in þe woke, and ȝyve tiþes of alle my goodis. And þe publican stood aferre, and wolde not lifte his iȝen to heven, but he smote upon his breest, to figure true confessioun, and seide, God be helplich to me þat am synful. But Crists juge|ment seiþ þat, þis publicane wente hoom, made riȝtful fro þis Pharise for þe mekenesse þat he hadde, for ech þat þus heieþ himsilf shal be made lowe, bi peyne, and he þat mekiþ him, bi grace, shal be heyed, by mede of God. Of þis gospel may we wite how þe firste spice of pride, þat is ypocrisie, envenymeþ gretely þe churche, and, for þis ypocrisie is comounly amounge religiouse, þerfore biddiþ Crist his disciplis beware wiþ sour dow of Pharisees, and Crist himsilf expowneþ and seiþ, it is ypocrisie. Phariseis ben seid, as departid from oþir puple, and weren religiouse in Cristis tyme, as Saduceis and Esses. And al þes þree ordris of men Crist distried, and savyd þe persones, siþ boþe Poul and Nichodeme weren Phariseis, as Goddis lawe seiþ. And siþ al Cristis dedes ben ensaumples to trewe men, many men þenken þat þes newe sectis shulden be distried and þe persones saved, for þus ordeynede Crist maister best of alle; and Y clepe sectis newe mannes ordres, þat oon sueþ anoþir as he shulde sue Crist, and so eche secte smatchiþ*. [smacchiþ, B.] many synnes; Page  28 but if it be þat sect which Crist himsilf made, þat Goddis lawe clepiþ secte of Cristene men, for we shal bileve þat Crist may not do synne in ȝyvynge of his reule to lede Cristene men. And so þis secte is þe beste þat ony man may have, siþ Crist, almygty, alwitty, and alwilful, ordeyne þis sect covenable for eche man; but oþir newe sectis founden bi mannis witt mut nedis smatche synne for errour of þe fynder. And riȝt as þer weren þre suche sectis in Cristis tyme, so þer ben now monkes, chanouns, and freris; and dyvysyons in þes þree seien dyvy|siouns in mennis wille. Al þes þree sectis mote nedis smatche errour, siþ þei grounden a perpetuel reule to all men of þes ordres þat þe gospel lefte by wisdom of Crist; and it were woundirful þat þes synful foolis shulde fynde a betere reule þan Crist himsilf fond. For who shulde make a reule to men þat he knoweþ not, ne haþ no maistrie of hem, ne techyng to kepen it? but o complexion and oon elde axiþ o manere of lyvynge and anoþir anoþir, þat þes patrons knewe not. And so oonly oure patron Crist, þat is boþe God and man, calengiþ as propre to himsilf to grounde siche ordres, and herfore seint Poul and Petre, wiþ oþir apostolis, fledden to grounde siche ordris for drede of blasfemye. And it were more suffrable to dwelle amonge Sarazynes or oþir paynym sectis as doen many Criste men þan to dwellen among sectis of þese newe religiouse. And þat þei seien, þat þei ben erberis betir þan comoun pasture, for erbis of vertue þat growen in hem, certis makinge of erberis in a comoun pasture wolde distrie þis pasture and lyf of þe comouns, boþe for dichyng and hegging and delvynge of tounes. And ȝif we marke alle siche erberis in Engelond, þat ben plantid of newe in comoun Cristis religioun, as þei spuylen þe reme|naunt of temporal goodis, so, þat is more deel, þei spuyle hem of vertues, for alle Cristene men shulden be of oo wille, and variaunce in siche sectis makiþ variaunce in wille, and gendriþ discencioun and envye among men. And herfore ordeynede Crist but þree partis of þe Churche, ech to have nede and helpyng of oþir; but certis it is not þus of þese new religions. Of þis treuþe may be maad such a good resoun. It is a greet synne of two þingis to chese þe worse, whan a man may as freely have þe betere as þe worse; but þese new ordris ben Page  29 worse þan þe sect of Crist, and it is more liȝt, more fre, and more perfit, þan ony oþir sect þat man may chese. And her|fore it is a synful errour to chese siche sectis, siþ þe ordre of Crist wole betere occupie at þe fulle þan ony siche sect founden of men. And so siþ þese patrons han no leeve of God to make siche erberis in his comoun pasture, law of þis cheef lord shulde distrie þes sectis, siþ Crist loveþ more his comounes þan þes newe erberis. And þus meneþ þe gospel þat þe þridde servaunt of God shal constreyne men to entre and soupe wiþ him in hevene, boþe men in comoun weyes and þes þat dwellen in heggis, and þus was Poul constreyned to crepe out of his hegge, and holde þe sect of Crist, forsakinge þe sect of Pharisees; and þus þis publican þat was a comoun laborer was beter þan þis Pharisee, as þis gospel seiþ.

ÞE TWELFÞE SONEDAY GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE SONDAY.

[SERMON XII.]

Exiens Jesus de finibus Tiry.
—MARK vii. [31.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a myracle of Crist to make men to love him and trowe in his power; how a deef man and a doumbe was helid of Crist. Jesus wente oute of þe contree of Tirus and he cam by Sidoun to þe water of Galile, and he cam þourȝ a countree þat men clepen Decapolios, which contre conteyneþ ten citees wiþynne him, and men of þe contre brouȝten to him a deef man, and doumbe also, and preieden Crist to putte to him his hond, for þei conseyveden þat bi þis shulde Crist fully hele hym. And Crist toke þis syke man aside fro þis puple, and putte his fingres into boþe his eeres, and spittinge, wiþ his fyngir Crist touchide his tonge, and Crist lokynge into hevene wiþ a deulful chere seide to þis syke man, Be þi wittis opened; and anoon weren his eeres opened for to here, and þe bond of his tonge was opened for to speke ariȝt. And Crist bade þes men to publishe not þis myracle; but ever þe more þat he bad þus, ever þe more þei prechiden, and ever þe more þei woundriden, and seiden amonge hemsilf þat Crist hadde donePage  30alle þingis wele, for he made deefe to heere and doumbe men to speke. It is seid comounly þat holy writt haþ foure undirstondingis. Þe first undirstondinge is pleyne, bi letter of þe storye. Þe secounde undirstondinge is clepid witt allegoric, whan men un|dirstonden bi witt of þe lettre, what þing shal falle here bifore þe dai of dome. Þe þridde undirstondinge is clepid tropologik, and it techiþ how men shulden lyve here in vertues. Þe fourþe undirstondinge is clepid anagogike, and it telliþ how it shal be wiþ men þat ben in hevene. We shulde knowe þis secounde witt of þe gospel, for it is bileve of Cristene men in erþe; we shulden bileve þat mankynde felle fro þe staat of innocence for Adams synne and Eve, and Jesus, God and man, bouȝte man|kynde fro þe fendis prisoun, as þis gospel telliþ. And so oure Jesus wente fro þe lond of Tirus, whan he wente fro þe bosim of þe fadir of hevene, for Tirus is makyng*. [Tzôr, the Hebrew name of Tyre, signifies a rock.], and God made of noȝt boþe aungels and men and al þis brood worlde. He cam bi Sidon, þat is angel kynd, whan he grette oure Lady bi servise of angel, and þis angel Gabriel wiþ all oþirs stondinge heelden pees wiþ God, and leften þe firste synne, and Sidon is helþe or leevynge siche synne. But oure Lord Jesus wente out to þe water of Galile, for he took þe staat of man slydun from inno|cence; for Galile is a wheel*. [Galil, whence Galilee is derived, means in Hebrew, circle, or circuit. (Smith's Dict. Bib.)] whirlinge or passinge; and so dide mankynde aftir þat it hadde synned. Crist came þurȝ þe cuntre þat hadde ten citees, for he cam bi alle men þat weren segid wiþ þe fend; and þes men ensegid þus ben al þes citees, and mankynde þus ensegid bryngiþ to Jesus hir kynde, þat was deef and dombe by þe synne of Adam, ffor þei leften to heeren God and herden þe fend, and trowiden to þe fendis lore, and lefte þe lore of God, and so weren þei deef to heere of God what þei shulden do. Jesus took mankynde þat þus was syke, not in ech persone but singulerly in oon, and Crist putt his fyngirs in eres of þis dombe man, whan he appliede his virtue, sutili worchinge, for to teche man how he wente fro God, and wiþ his spotle he touchide his tonge, whan he ȝaf him virtue to herye God riȝtli. And so Crist hadde sorewe of þes two synnes of Page  31 man, and bad þat þe bond of his witt shulde be opened. But Jesus bad þat þei shulden not preise him herfore bi his man|hede, and for þis mekenesse þei preisiden him more bi his godhede, and seiden soþ þat he made alle þingis wele, for he made deef men to heeren and dombe men to speken. For men deefid in Goddis lore he made to heere what God spake in hem, boþ in mandementis and conseilis; and herbi þei lerneden to speke; and so þre miraclis did Crist togidere, in savynge of mankynde; he made men deef bi synne to heere what God spak in hem, and men dombe fro riȝt speche to speke opynly Goddis lawe, and so, biside þes virtues to heere and to speke, God moved mankynde to do as þei shulden; and so mai men see how myche þei ben to blame þat ben dombe and deef in þis manere of worching.

ÞE ÞRITTENÞE SONDAY GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XIII.]

Beati oculi qui vident quae vos videtis.
—LUC. x. [23.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ bi a parable how eche man shulde love his even cristene; and, for siȝt pryntid in us of manheed of Crist techiþ þis lore graciously, þerfore bigynneþ Crist and seiþ on þis manere. Blessid ben þe eyen*. [iȝen, B; eyne, C.]þat seen þat ȝe seen; for Y seie to ȝou, þat many kyngis and prophetis wolden se þat ȝe seen and siȝen hem not, and here wordis þat ȝe heeren, and herden hem not. And lo a wyse man of lawe roos and temptide Crist, and axide, Maistre, what shal Y do to have þe blisse of hevene? For he wiste wele bi skile þat it was not ynouȝ to see þe manheed of Crist for to come to heven; for many þingis, as Scarioþ and bestis, siȝen Crist, þat weren not able to have blisse. But Crist seide to þis legistre, What is writun in þe lawe? how redist þou? And he answeride and seide, þat þe lawe biddiþ þat a man shulde love þe Lord his God of al his herte and of al his soule, and of al his strengþis, and of al his mynd, and his neiȝbore as him silf.Page  32And Crist seide to him þat he answeride riȝt; do he þis indede, and he shal lyve in blisse. But þis lawier wolde justifie himsilf, and þerfore he axide, who was his neiȝbore. And Crist tolde him a parable, þat was sutil in witt, for Crist lokynge on him seide him þis parable, how a man wente doun fro Jerusalem into Jerico and felde in þefes handis, þat dispuyliden him and fastiden many sores on him and wenten and leften him halfe quyke. And it fell þat a preest passide þe same wey; and he siȝ him lye þus hirt, and wente awey and helpide him not. And a deken, whan he was niȝ þe place, and siȝ him sich, passide awey. But a Samaritan making his weie bi þat place cam bi side him, and siȝ his state, and hadde mercy on him; and he cam nyȝe, and bond his woundis, and helde in hem boþe oile and wyn, and put him upon his hors, and brouȝt him in to stable of a toun, and þere he did cure of him. And anoþir dai he toke two pens, and ȝaf hem to þe hosteler, and bade him have cure of him, and seide þus, What ever þou ȝyvest over, whan Y come aȝen Y shal pay þee. And whan Crist hadde seide þis parable, he axide of þis man of lawe, which of þese þree men semede him to be neiȝbore unto þis syke man þat þus fell into beves handis. And he seide, þat þe þridde man, þat dide mercy on him. And Jesus seide to þis legistre, Go þou and do riȝt so. Þis man of lawe þat is here nemed was neþir civilian ne canonistre, but he was man of Goddis lawe þat wolde lerne þe wey to hevene. And Crist supposiþ to þis wise man þat ech man is to oþir a neiȝbore as nyȝ as he may, siþ þei ben boþe of o kynde; but of neiȝborishep of place or dwellinge or of worldes ffrendship shulden men not recke here; but we shulden wite þat alle men þat God ordeyneþ to blis ben ful breþeren boþe of fadir and of modir, siþ God is þer fadir, and his Chirche is þer moder. And so techiþ Crist in þis parable, how ech shulde be to oþir neiȝ|bore in good wille, boþe for we came alle of Adam and Eve, and specialy for we came goostly of Crist and his Chirche and þei ben oure nexte and most fadir and modir. Þis man þat cam doun fro Jerusalem to Jericho is oure firste eldris, Adam and Eve, for þei camen fro siȝt of pees to state of slydyng, as þe moone. Þes þeves þat woundiden him ben þe fendis þat temptiden him, but þei lefte lyf in him, as God ordeynede him to blisse; but þei drowun fro þis man goodis of virtu and of Page  33 kynde, and woundiden him boþe in bodi and soule, and lettiden him to live just lyf. Þis preest þat passide first bi mankynde and siȝ myscheffe þat it was inne, weren patriarkes, boþe bifore þe lawe, and in tyme þat God ȝaf law. Þe dekene þat passide bi þis weye weren prophetis and oþir seintis þat weren bineþe þes first seintis, as dekenes ben under preestis; and boþe þei knewen þat þei myȝten not helpe neiþer oþer men ne hemsilf fro þe synne þat þei fellen ynne bi tempting of þe fend. But þe þridde Samaritan, þat was Jesus, helpide mankynde, for he was an alien as anentis his godhede, and he was keper of man bi boþe two kyndis þat he hadde, and he myȝte not do synne, siþ he was boþe God and man, and hadde not personale beynge of mankynde as oþer men hadden, siþ he hadde a ful beynge bifore tyme þat he was man. He helde in oile to make woundis softe, and to dispose man to be hool; for he putte man in hope to come to hevene bi feiþ of Crist; and he putte in wyn þerwiþ, whan he spake sharpe wordis for to prik men fro synne. He put mankynde upon his hors, whan he made his own manhede to be oure broþer and to bere our syne; alȝif he ouȝte not for his synne; he brouȝte mankynde in to a stable, whan he helide men in þis Chirche; and þis is but a litil stable to regard of al þe Chirche; and he curide men in þis stable bi sacramentis and hevenly ȝiftes. And on oþir daie, after tyme þat he was deed, whiche was þe tyme of grace, and þe sunne was newe sprongen, he ȝaf two pens to þis keper, boþe of his godhede and of his manhede, to fede mankynde til þe daie of dome. And so þe keper of þis stable is alle þes men þat God haþ chosen to fede his Chirche wiþ his lawe, and Cristis godhede wiþ his manhede ben sufficient herfore, for þei ben wiþouten ende, as þes serkelis of two pens; and what ever þat prelatis traveilen unto spede of Cristis Chirche, Crist wole at þe daie of dome ȝelde hem graciousely; and so ech trewe prelat þat helpiþ Crist to hele his Chirche, is trewe neiȝbore to þe Chirche and doiþ in part as Crist did.

Page  34

ÞE FOURTENÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XIV.]

Cum iret Jesus in Jerusalem, transibat.
—LUC. xvii. [11.]

CHRIST wole teche bi þis miracle in þis parable þat riȝt bileve is ground of mennes salvacioun. Whan Jesus went to Jerusalem he went þurȝ Samarie and Galile, and whan he wente into a castel, ten meselis comen aȝens him, and þei stooden aferre and crieden on him as þei myȝten, and seiden, Jesus, comandour, have mercy on us. But whan Crist siȝ þes leprous men cryinge þus, and stondinge togidere afer, lest þei blemyschiden oþer men, he bad hem go and shewe hem to preestis, as God bad in þe olde lawe, and as þei wenten, þei weren heelid of her lepre. And oon of hem, whan he siȝ þat he was þus heelid bi miracle, turnede aȝen to Jesus wiþ a greet vois preisynge God, and he feld doun in his face bifore Cristis feet, and þankide him; and þis man þat þus cam aȝen was a Samaritan. And Jesus spake and seide þus of þis dede þat was fallen, Ne ben not ten maad clene, and where ben oþer nyne? Þere is noon founden þat cam aȝen, and þankiþ God, but þis alien. And Crist seide unto him, Rys and go whider þou wilt, for þi bileve haþ made þee saaf.

To þe witt of allegoric*. [allegorik, B; allegorie, C.], bitokeneþ þis dede of Crist how he was wendinge to hevene, þat is clepide Jerusalem, and he passide by Samary and Galile, or he went to teche, þat he wolde save boþe heþene men and Jewis. For it is knowen of Samarie þat þei weren not of Jewis kynde but aliens þat dwelliden þere, fro þe time of conquest of þat lond. And ten kynredis of Israelis sones weren ever putt out, as now ben Jewis, and herfore þe Jewis loveden not þes Samaritanes, and to þe repreef of Crist þei clepide him a Sama|ritan, þat he grantide in a manere, and denyede þat he was ledd by þe fend. Cristis wendinge in to þe castel bitokeneþ his litil Chirche, þat is armed wiþ virtues as þe castel is kepte fro enemyes; ten leprous men ben alle þe synful þat mekeli axen forȝevenes of þer synnes. Þei stooden first fer fro Goddis folk; and siþ þei Page  35 wenten to Cristis preestis, and bifore þei comen to hem God assoilide hem of þer synnes; for God seiþ in þe psalme how man in purpos to leve his synne seide þat he wolde shryve him to God, and God forȝaf him his synne. And so Crist tauȝte bi þis dede þat assoilinge of men is not but ȝif God assoile bifore, as God himsilf assoilide þes leprous. And so preestis assoilen as Goddis vikeris, according to Goddis assoilinges, and ellis þei assoilen no more þan preestis of þe olde lawe heelide men of þer lepre, and þat myȝt þei not do. Þis alien þat cam aȝen to þanke God of his helþe, bitokeneþ trewe Cristene men þat dwellen in þis bileve; þes nyne þat ben many moo bitokeneþ men out of bileve, þat trowen þat it is ynouȝ þat her preest assoile hem, and specialy þe hey preest, how evere he erre in juge|ment, and how þei lyven bifore or after, þes men þat þus ben assoilid. And aȝens þis eresie shulde trewe preestis crye fast, for bi þis synne is synne hid, and assoilyng bouȝt and sold, as who so wolde bye an oxe or a cow, and myche more falsely. We shulden come aȝen to Crist, and confesse boþe his kyndis, and make covenaunt wiþ him to leve oure synne from hennsforþ, and þenke how Crist bad þe woman go and wille no more do synne. For þis covenaunt, kept wiþ sorwe of synne and Goddis grace is ynow, alle ȝif men speken no more wiþ preestis; but speche wiþ hem is nedeful in þat þat þei techen men þis treuþe, and mennys ordenaunce may not reverse þis sentence; and þus we graunten þat ech þing þat Petre bonde or assoilid on erþe, or ony viker of Petre, in þat þat þei acorden wiþ God, is bounden or loosid in hevene, and ellis not, for ellis þei ben fals. And so ordenaunce of men in byndinge and assoilynge bryngiþ in many errours and lettiþ trewe prechinge. But Bede seiþ þat þes leprouse men bitokenen heritikes of many colours þat shulden stonde aferr fro men, and turne to Crist bi riȝt feiþ, and knowe þat Crist bi his word myȝte have mercy on hem; and aftirward algatis þei shulden be aliens fro Pharisees*. [The meaning seems to be, 'And even then, after having been healed, these lepers would still be counted aliens by the Pharisees.']. And so alle synful men shulden crye mekely wiþ þes leprous, þat Crist þat is boþe God and man shulde have mercy on þer synne, for he is lord wiþouten eende, and þei han yvel wraþþid him, and so her synne Page  36 is so greet þat but if Crist of his power and of his grace forȝyve þis synne, it may never be forȝyven. And for þis þing seiþ þe Chirche in þer preyeris þat oure God makiþ moost his myȝt knowen in sparynge and havynge mercy; for ȝif Crist dide not so, no synful man myȝte be saved. But we shulde undirstonde þat as God is mercyful so he is riȝtful, and hatiþ men þat breken covenaunt; and þerfore holde we covenaunt to God, and dis|seyve we not oure silf, for God may not be disseyved, however preestis bigile us.

ÞE FIFTENÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTIR TRINYTE.

[SERMON XV.]

Nemo potest duobus dominis servire.
—MATT. vi. [24.]

ÞIS gospel techiþ men hou þei shulden be bisye for blisse and leve oþer worldely bisynesse þat lettiþ men fro þis. First seiþ Crist þis principle þat ech man shulde trowe, þat no man may wel serve two fulle lordes, for oþir shal he hate þe toon and love þe toþir, or susteynen cause of þe toon and dispise þe toþir; þus algatis he serveþ amys.—If he serve hem togidere, þe cause is more pleyn; and if he serve first þe toon and siþ þe toþir, oþer he serveþ amys þe toon or þe toþir. In alle þes resouns we shul suppose þat þe gospel spekiþ of siche lordis þat nouþir is wel servaunt to ouþir, as ben God and þe fend; for if þer ben two lordis and þat oon serve wel þat oþir, a man may serve wel to hem boþe, as we seen al daie; but þe gospel undirstondiþ of siche cheefe lordis þat han not above hem anoþir cheef lord. And so is þis world dyvydid in two maner of lordshipis þat ben Goddis and þe fendis, for alȝif þe fend have no propre lordship*. [Proper fiefs were those only which were held on condition of military service, in which case there was a mutual benefit. Improper fiefs were those held upon con|dition of various other kinds of service. The devil's lordship over man is not 'proper,' because he has no right to demand of man that he should fight his battles for him; nor is his forced service to God 'proper,' because it is attended by no benefit to himself. See Hallam's Middle Ages, I. 181.], neþeles he calengiþ to have greet lordshipe, and so Page  37 maugre his he serveþ to God, and þis servise is unpropre, as is þe fendis lordship, siþ he serveþ not God to his owne mede but aȝens his wille he profitiþ to Cristis Chirche, and þus for gene|ralite of lordship of Crist, he seiþ, who is not wiþ him is aȝens him, and þus seiþ Crist wel, þat we may not serve God and richesse of þe worlde, for þei ben contraries; for as we may not serve þe fend wiþ servise of God, so we may not serve þe world þat is þe fendis servant. But in al þis speche we shal speke of riȝt servise and of unpropre servise þat þe fend mystakiþ, and þan we may see how siche heed servise may not acorde to God and to þe world. For ȝif a man traveile for goodis of þis world, and haþ riȝt entent for to worshipe God, he serveþ not þe world, but it serveþ him. But it is ful hard to have siche riȝt entent, for sich entent mut be mesure of bisynesse, and noumbre of traveile, and weiȝt*. [So in B; wiȝte in A, weyȝt in C.] of mannys wille, and herfor forbediþ Crist bisynesse of foode and hilyynge, for aboute þes two þingis shulden men sonnest be bysye, and Crist spekiþ of bisynesse most principal in man. And so trewe men witen wele þat ech man shulde cast al his bisynesse in God, as seint Petre biddiþ, and þus seiþ Crist, þat we shulde not be bisye to oure lyf what we shulden ete, ne to oure bodi what we shulde be cloþid wiþ; for siþ lyf is more þan mete and mannis bodi more þan cloiþ, as God ȝyveþ man þes two, so wille he ordeyne for hem. Biholde ȝe þe foulis of þe eire, how þei sowen, neiþir repen, ne gederen not in to bernes, and ȝit God fediþ hem, and siþ ȝe ben more worþ þan þei, God wole take more heed to you. For as ȝe bisien ȝou not of þe bodi, so shulden ȝe not bisien ȝou of hilyynge þerof. For what wolde it profite to man to bisye him þus about his bodi, siþ he may not cast þerto a cubite, over þat kynde ȝyveþ him. And þus siþ God bi kynde of man ordeyneþ for mannis bodi, he will ordeyne for þe lesse, how mannis bodi shulde be hilid. And ȝif þou seie þat many men bi þis shulde sterve for defaute of mete, wel Y wote bi my bileve þat no man shulde faile of mete unto har|mynge of his soule, but ȝif his synne be cause þerof, and so þat it be good and just þat he faile þus of mete; and þus Y rede þat God bad foulis and pore folk fede his prophete, and fedde Page  38 him as best was to profite of his soule. And of cloþis what ben ȝe bisye? loke ye to þe lylyes of þe felde, how þei growe and ben cled and þei traveilen not þereaboute, ne spynnen for þer cloiþ, and ȝit Salomon in al his glorie was not cled as oon of þes is, for shap and coloure of lely flours is not made bi mannis crafte; and so, ȝif þe hay of þe feld þat now is, and to-morewe is brent, is þus cled bi Goddis wit, myche more wolde he cloþe men, þat he telliþ more by. And so litilnes of bileeve makiþ men þus to be bisy, for þei witen not what manere of þing is profitable for mannis soule, and so, Be we not bisye what we shal ete or drynke or wiþ what þingis oure bodi shal be atired, ffor al sich þingis seken heþen men faste, and so seke we first þe kingdom of God and riȝtwysnesse of him, and all siche þingis shal be cast to us. Aȝens þis lore synnen men of þe world, ȝhe preestis and clerkes and men of religioun, for þei bisien hem for atire and for foode also, þat profitith not to þer soule, þat God forfendiþ here; and, for breking of þis heste brekiþ þe ten comandmentis, and al men of þis world ben ful nyȝ to breke it, þerfore Crist and hise apostlis, and Baptist, and oþer prophetis kepten hem ferr fro þis peril, lest þei slydun þerinne. And Crist wiþ his disciplis wolde not be weddid wiþ habitis ne manere of penaunt*. [So in B; penaut, A; poynant, C; penaunce, E.] metis, lest þei weren to bisie for nouȝt, and hou evere we denyen þat we ben to bisye here, neþeles Goddis lawe, þat is Crist, shal rykene wiþ us and juge us at þe daie of dome, wher þis be soþ þat we seyen, and þan worship of þis worlde and curtais manere þat men axen shal not excuse us, but resoun shal be our juge.

ÞE SIXTEENÞ SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER TRINITE.

[SERMON XVI.]

Ibat Jesus in civitatem quae vocatur Naym.
—LUCAE vii. [II.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of a myracle þat Crist dide of a deed bodi þat was þe secounde of þre þat Crist reiside fro deþ to lyf. And so telliþ þe gospel þat Jesus wente in to a cite þat is clepid NaymPage  39wiþ his disciplis and oþer puple. And whanne he cam nyȝ þe ȝate of þe citee, cam a cors þat was born to be biried, þat was a childe of a widowe, and myche puple of þe citee cam wiþ þis widowe and made sorewe. And whan Crist sawe þis widowe, he hadde mercy upon hir, and bad hir wepe not; but he went and touchide þe beere þat þei baren and þes men þat baren þe beere stooden stille to see the ende. And Crist seide to þe dede bodi, Ȝounge man, Y bidde þe aryse; And þe ȝounge man þat was deed sate up and bigan to speke, and Crist ȝaf him to his modir. Al þe puple hadde drede, and preisiden God, and saiden, þat a greet prophete roos amonge hem, and þat God hadde visitid his puple, for this miracle þat þei seien. Þe gospel telliþ of þre dede bodies þat Crist reiside fro deþ to lyf. Þe firste was þe persones douȝter þat he reiside wiþin þe hous; þe secounde was þis widowes sone þat he quykede in þe ȝate; þe þridde was þe stynkyng careyne þat he quykide in þe grave. And þis bitokeneþ þree synnes þat God forȝeveþ in þis worlde. Þe firste bitokeneþ ful consense for to do aȝens God, but it comeþ not out in deede, as þe maide lay in þe hous. Þe secounde bitokeneþ þe secounde synne, whan a man to wickide wille putteþ to a wickide dede, but he comeþ not to custom as dide Lazarus þat was biried in a grave, and þis is þe ȝong man þat we speken of stonding in þe ȝate. Þe þridde synne addiþ to þes two a long custom to ligge in synne, and þis is Lazar þat foure daies lay stinkinge in his grave. Þe secounde is a widowes sone, for siche synners wanten God, and so þei, failinge of spouse, of þe Chirche may wel be clepid a widowe, but þei han sorwe of her synne, and oþir neiȝboris also. Crist biddiþ þe beere stoonde whan he ceessiþ men of her synne; and he touchiþ þe bodi, whane he ȝyveþ hem contricion, and he comandiþ it to arise, whanne he comandiþ medeful werkes, and þis man bigynneþ to speke, whanne he þankid God in grace, and Crist ȝyveþ him to his modir, whanne he makiþ him helpe his Chirche. And þus wente Crist into Naym, whanne he entride newe to his Chirche; for Naym is as myche to say as flowynge or movynge, for þe Chirche first flowide wiþ synne, and siþ was moved to God by bemes of þe Holy Goost, whan it hadde grace to come to him. Wiþ Crist wente his disciplis and a greet route of folk, for Page  40 many weren helpers of God to bringe his Chirche to riȝt staat. Þe ȝate of þis citee is entree to religioun of Cristis Chirche, in which ȝate ben many ȝonge men, blynde and deed goostli, for þei knowen not Cristis religioun how it passiþ alle oþir. And so in þis ȝate ben two maneres of dede men. To summe lokiþ Crist, and quykeþ hem in grace, and ȝyveþ hem power and wille to come clene to his order. And wite þat al oþer ordris ben chargious to men as myche as þei adden to Cristis reli|gioun, ffor noon addicioun is worþ but ȝif Goddis lawe grounde it. Sum men ben deed in þis ȝate þat Crist aquykeþ not, but lasten in her olde errours to her deþ dai; and ben þes þat taken a lyf ungroundid in Goddis lawe, and þes men lasten in her errour out of þe bondis of Goddis lawe, and ben born fro þe ȝate to be beried in helle. But þere is a privy quykenynge þat God doiþ neiȝ þe deeþ, þat we can not telle of, but if God wil shewe it us, and þerefore folis jugement shulde be fled in þis mater; and þus þes men þat baren þis beere to putt þis deed man in erþe, ben men þat consenten and procuren to wickid|nesse. And so upon þes þree synnes God haþ mercy here, but upon þe ferþe synne God ceessiþ never to punnishe, for þei synnen to þe deeþ, and so aȝens the Hooly Goost, þat God mut needis punishe wiþouten ende, for þis synne may have noon eende in helle. In þis mater we shulden bewar of peril of ypocrisie, for many feynen hem in statis, and done reverse in her lyf, and ȝit þei seien þei ben perfiter þan weren þe first clerkis of Crist. And þus enemyes of Cristis religioun chalengen to be of his ordre, alȝif þey done even þe contrarie to name þat þei beren; as þe Pope shulde be moost meke man, moost ser|vysable and most pore, as we ben tauȝt in Seint Petir þat was Pope next after Crist. And now men seyen þat þe Pope mote nedis reverse þis ordenaunce, and have more power for to do þingis þat touchen excellence, and þus bishopis þat shulden be clerkis and pore men, as apostlis weren, ben moost lordis of þis world, and reversen apostlis lyf. Sum tyme weren mounkes lewede men, as seintis in Jerusalem; and þanne þei kept hem silf fro synne as seynt Bernard beriþ witnesse; but now monkes ben turned unto lordis of þis worlde moost ydel in goddis travaile, and seyen þat þei ben betre monkes þan weren þe first Page  41 seintis. And so freris, þat weren breþeren in Crist, and not chargeous to þe Chirche, neiþir in noumbre ne in cloþing, ne in mete ne in housynge, ben even turned aȝen fro þe first lyf of hem, and ȝit bi þer ypocrisie þei blynden þe Chirche many ȝatis, and þus names of offices and names of virtues also ben changid bi ypocrisie, and cursed men reulen þe world.

ÞE SEVENTENÞE SONDAI AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XVII.]

Cum intrasset Jesus domum cujusdam.
—LUC. xiv.[I.]

ÞIS gospel techiþ men how þei shal not by þer hiȝ staat hide þere synne, and disturble þe ordenaunce þat Crist haþ made. Þe story telliþ hou Jesus entride in to a Pharisees hous on a Satirday to ete wiþ him, and þei aspieden to take him in defaute; and a syke man in dropesie was þer bifore Crist. And Jesus spake to wyse men of þe lawe, and to Pharisees, where it were leveful to hele in þe Sabot; and þei weren stille, lest þat resoun wente aȝens hem; but Crist toke þis syke man, and heelide him þanne bifore hem, and Crist axide hem þis demaunde, þat ȝif þer oxe or þer asse felle in þe diche, wolde þei not drawe him out in þer sabot daie; and þei wisten wel þat þei shulden by bileve of þere owen lawe, and þei myȝte not answere him to denye þat he axide. And upon þis arguyde Crist þat myche more it were leveful to helpe in þe Sabot a man put in more peril, siþ þis work is more spirituel, and man is beter þan a beest. And, for þe synne of þese men stood in pryde of her statis, Crist tolde hem a parable, techinge hem how þei shulden chese þe first statis; þat God lovede moost, þat was moost meke statis, but þei chosen as proude men þe first statis to þe world. But Crist biddiþ in his parable, Whan þou ert biden to þe feste, sitte not in þe first place, lest a more wor|shipful þan þou be beden to þe same feest, and þe lord of þe feste bidde þee, Ȝive þis man stede, and þut þee doun out of þi place, and þan shalt þou bygynne wiþ shame for to holde þe last place. And herfore whan þou art beden to a feste, sitte doun in þe last place, Page  42so þat he þat haþ beden þee seie to þee for þi mekenesse, Frend stye more up; þanne shalt þou have worship and joie bifore hem þat sitten at þe feste. For ech man þat heieþ him by presumpcioun shal be mekid bi God, and he þat mekiþ him in his soule shal be heyed bi God. Þere we shal undirstonde þat Crist spekiþ not here of worldely feste, ne of place, for þanne his sentence were nouȝt; for þan strif shulde be for place, and oonli oon shulde do Cristis bidding, and so Crist shulde ordeyne discencioun wiþouten fruyt among men; and herfore shulde we undirstonde þat þis feste is þe laste soper, þat shal be in heven of seintis aftir þe day of dome; and þe last place at þis feeste shulde be mannis reputacioun, bi whiche he shulde not presume to be in heven bifore oþirs, but reste mekeli in þis þat he shal come to hevene. Eche man shal hope for to come to blisse; and if he lyve febly and make þis hope fals, himsilf is cause whi his hope is suche. Ffor þis fals hope, þat sum men do clepen dispeir, shulde have anoþir qualite, and it shulde not be sich, whan we witen þat we shulden hope for to come to hevene, after we maken comparisoun bytwene us and oþers; and many men for pryde hopen to passe oþers, and suche presumpcioun of hope is sittynge here in hey place. We shulden reste in þis hope þat we shal come to hevene, and leve sich veyne comparisouns, lest we setten us here to hey, and þis is þe last place þat þe gospel spekiþ of. And þus siche false presumpcioun of heynes of state, and aftir þis presumpcioun, of heyenesse in hevene, makiþ a man to come at þe laste to þe loweste place in þe world, þat is to seie, to depe helle, þat is þe myddil of þe world. And so spekiþ þe gospel on two weies of þe last place. The laste place here stondiþ in meke reputacioun, but þe last place at þe day of dome stondiþ in dampnacioun. And so knyttiþ Crist wel þe helynge of þis ydropesie, for as ydropesie is an yvel of fals gretenesse of mennys lymes, and comeþ of unkyndli watir bitwene þe fleish and þe skyn; so pride of worldly goodis, þat ben unstable as þe watir, makiþ a man in ydropesie, and falsely presume of himsilf; as many men in greet astaate and in ryches of þis worlde þenken þat þei shulden þus in heven be bifore oþir men. For, as þei supposen now, þei lyven to God aftir þer staat, and so þei profiten more in þis world þan Page  43 done men under hem, and after þat þei profiten more, þei shal be heiȝer in hevene, and so þei seien, as þei shulden hope to come to hevene, so shulde þei hopen here to be heier in hevene. But siche proude men, and presumptuous of her staat, shulden traveil in virtues þat þei begilen not hem silf; and þerfore techiþ þe wise man, þat ever þe more þat þou be here, ever þe more meke þou shuldist be, in al manere of mekenes. And so, if þou be greet here, þou shuldist reste in þe last place, and suppose mekeli of þi silf wiþouten siche comparisoun. Ffor who is he þat may seie he serveþ God after his staat? and so statis here and statis in hevene, late or nevere acorden togidere, for fewe men here or noon serven God even to þer state; and so statis of men may cause þer dampnyng deep in helle, and for uneven service here in statis, may men ben ful lowe in hevene.

Þe lessoun of þis gospel is litil coud in þe Chirche, for lordis stryven wiþ hem silfe, and religiouse among hem silf, about heyenes of þer staat, and þe rote of al þis is pryde. And þei shulden wite þat states here ben harmful unto men, but ȝif men after her statis serven treuly to þer God; ffor falsnesse in statis makiþ men to be low or dampned.

ÞE EIȜTENÞE SONDAI AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XVIII.]

Accesserunt ad Jesum Pharisei audientes.
—MATT. xxii. [34.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist distroiede sectis, techinge us how we shulden traveile suying Crist in þis. Þe storye of þe gospel seiþ þat whan þe Phariseis hadden herd þat Crist hadde stemned*. [The reading of B is stonyed, i.e. astonished; C, stoned, a 'y' being inserted by a later hand; stemnyde, E. Both Wycliffite versions have 'put to silence.']Saduceis, on of þe Phariseis, þat was a doctour of lawe, temptide Crist on þis wise, and axide him þis question, Maister, which is a greet mandement in þe lawe? And Jesus seide to him þus, ÞouPage  44shalt love þi Lord God of al þi herte, in al þi soule, and in al þi mynde; þis is þe firste and þe moste mandement of alle. And þis mandement is þe first of þre of þe first table, ffor þre of þe first table techen to love God, and conteyneþ þre partis answeringe to þe Trinite. It is seid comounly þat in tyme of Crist weren þre sectis of religions, Pharises, Saduceis, and Esses, but of þe two first makiþ þis gospel mencioun. Þe firste was moost myȝty, and þerfor it lastide lengest; for aboundance of goodis, and long rotyng in þe sect, defenden þes sectis, and maken hard to distroie hem. But Crist distriede þes sectis and savede þe persones; as Poul and Nichodeme weren makid bi grace Cristen men. And herfore seiþ þis gospel, þat Crist stemned*. [B here reads stemnede, in agreement with A; C has stoned or stilled.] Saduceis, not þat he distriede hem, siþ he lovede þer persones; and so Crist distriede þe errours of Phariseis, as he distriede þe errours of þe oþer two. Sum men þenken licly þat þis doctour þat here temptide Crist, dredde him of his sect þat Crist shulde distroien it, or ellis enfeblen it, as he distriede þe myddil sect, and þis is more licly þan þat þis doctour dide for veyn glorie or to be holden*. [This is the reading of B; A has biholden; be holdun, E.] wise or to lerne Goddis lawe. He clepide Crist reverently maister, ffor it is manere of ypocritis and of sophists to fage and to speke plesantli to men, but for yvel entent. But oure Pharisees to dai done wel wers, ffor þei putten abac goddis lawe and magnifien þer ordres; and þus þei failen in þe first mandement, and so in al oþer. And many men trowen not ne supposen þat þei ben men of holi Chirche, but supposen þat þei ben lymes of þe fend. But he loveþ God of al his herte þat loveþ him of al his witt; and he loveþ God in al his lyf þat loveþ him in al his werkes; for Cristen men lyven in God, and ben moved to al her werkes; for Crist is forme of god, and in Crist we lyven, as Poul seiþ. And herfore we shal not take þe word of oure God in veyn. Þe þridde part of þis mandement, answerynge to þe Holy Goost, biddiþ þee love þi God in al þi mynde, siþ he is mynde of þe Fadir, and of þe Sone, and love of hem two; for undirstonding in a man, and acte of him, þat is his lyf, and refleccioun of lyf, þat is mynd Page  45 and wille of soule, bitokeneþ to Cristene men her God, þat is þe Trinite. And herfore biddiþ Goddis lawe, have mynde to holde þin halidai. And þan we loven þis Trinite perfitli as we shulden, whan we loven it more þan ony oþir þing; and as many men þenken, ȝif þis Pharisee kepte þis, he shulde leve þis straunge sect, as shulden þes newe religions.—Þe secounde mandement, þat is sevene, biddiþ þe love þi neiȝbore as þou lovest þisilfe, and þat art þou tauȝt by kynde, and in þese two mandements hongiþ al þe lawe and þe prophetis. And whan þe Farisees were gedrid, Crist axide hem a questioun of þing þat þei shulden bileve, What hem þouȝt of þe kynde of Crist, and, whos sone Crist is; and þei seiden, He is David sone; and Crist replied aȝens þis, how David clepide him his lord, siþ Crist is David sone, and porer man þan David was. Þe psalm telliþ how David seide of þe Fadir and þe Sone, Þe Lord, þe Fadir, seide to my Lord, Sitte up on my riȝt side as long as Y putt þi enemyes in helle a stool undir þi feet. And siþ þis dampnyng shal be ever, God grantide here to Crist þat he shulde ever sitt in heyene on his Fadir riȝt hond; Ffor ȝif David clepiþ him Lord, how is pore Crist David sone? And þei myȝte not here answere Crist, ne dursten not axe him more fro þat dai. —And here convyctide Crist þes men of open untreuþe in hir bileve; and so mente privily þat þes sectis shulden be distried, siþ he shal reprove þe worlde of þe synne of untreuþe. And it semeþ to many men þat alle þes sectis synnen þus, for þei loven not hir God as þe gospel biddeþ here; for ȝif þei loveden wel God, þei shulden kepe þis word of him. Generaly þes newe sectis loven more þer owen ordre þan þei done þe ordre of Crist, which he ȝaf his owne persone; and þan þei loven her sect more þan þei loven þe sect of Crist. Þis sect of Crist by þat is lasse þat þei putten in þes newe sectis; siþ þei, kepinge Cristis secte, bi þat maken his sect more; and it is oon to love a þing and to willen þat þing good; but þei wolden þat al þis world were suget unto þer sect. And, Lord! if þat men wolden undirstonden, what it is to love a þing; and whanne men loven, loven þer god over al oþir þingis; þanne heresie of þes newe sectis, and oþir errours in þe worlde shulden be more knowen unto folk þan þei ben now for ypocrisie. Þes ypocritis seien þat þer sectis and al þe deedis þat þei done is groundid upon Page  46 Crist, and is Cristis religioun; and so þei have none newe ordris, but new customes, þat þei may leve; and so þei shulden seie bi resoun þat þer be not many ordris of freris, ne accepcions of persones to helpe or to punishe men; siþþe ech man of Cristis religioun is of alle manere ordre; and so lawe of apos|tataas and of oþir reulys þat þei have founden, shulden ben contrarye to hemsilf, as freris dedis reversen þis lawe.

ÞE NYNTENÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XIX.]

Ascendens Jesus in naviculam.
—MATT. ix. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of a miracle þat Crist dide before þe peple, and þerwiþ reprevyde þe scribis; and how he doiþ awei synne. Þe story telliþ how Jesus steyȝe in to a boot, and cam to his citee, and it is seid comounly þat he rowide to Galilee, and cam in to Nazareþ, þat was citee of his birþe, and þere þey brouȝten him a syke man by palsie, liynge in a bedde. And Jesus seynge her bileve, seide unto þis syke man, Have trust, sone, þi synes ben now forȝeven þee. And sum scribis seiden wiþinne hemsilf, Jesus blasfemeþ in þis word. And whan Crist saw hir þouȝtis wiþinne, he seide, Whereto þei þouȝten þus yvel in her hertis? And bi þis word he tauȝte hem þat he was God, for oonli God mai þis wise wite, what a man þenkiþ wiþynne. Crist axide hem, Where is it liȝter, to seie, þi synnes ben forȝyven þee, or ellis to seie, rys and go? as ȝif Crist wolde mene þis resoun, he þat haþ power to do þat oon, haþ power to do hem boþe. And Jesus seide, For ȝe shulde wite þat Y have power to forȝyve synne, he seide to þe man in palasie, Rys and take þi bedde anoon and go hool in to þi hous. And he aroos and wente in to his hous on þat manere þat Crist bad him, and þe puple seynge þis þing dredden, and glorifieden God þat ȝaf siche power to men. As to Jesus and his disciplis, þis storye of Crist may betoken þe lyf þat Crist lyvede here; so þat þe takyng of his boot bitokeneþ his manheed, or þe bodi of his modir; for mannis bodi is liche a boot. In þis boot Crist Page  47 wente over þe water of peynes of þis worlde, and wente not oonli into hevene, þat is propre citee of Crist, but into Nazareþ, in which Crist dide þis miracle. But boþe men and aungels offred to Crist mankynde, þat was smyten in palesie; for pro|pirte of þis yvel palasie is a sikenesse groundid in synewis of a man, þe which sinowis ben unstable to move a man as þei shulden; and moistnes of þes senewis þat ben wrappid in moist þing is a cause of þis yvel, as philosophris seyen. Shaking in þe palesie is unstabilnesse of bileve; for eche article of þe trouþe shulde have a synowe for to lede it, and al þes articlis shulde come of Crist, þat is heed of holy Chirche. And, for þes þat offriden þis man ben o persone wiþ him, þerefore biddiþ þe gospel wel, þat Cristis sone shulde truste in him, and Crist forȝeveþ him first his synne of untreuþe þat he was inne, for untreuþe is þe first synne þat comeþ unto man, and it fel not to þis lord to ȝyve but a greet ȝyfte, siþ ech ȝyfte þat man ȝyveþ shulde answer to þe ȝyver. But scribis þat knowen not Cristis godhede seien þat Crist blasfemed in þis, for al oonli God may forȝyve synnes; but Crist techiþ þat he is God bi þe werkes þat he doiþ, for it is yliche*. [ilich, B; eliche, C.] liȝt to do miraclis bi himsilf, and to forȝyve synnes, for noon but God may do þes þingis. And herfore Crist helide mankynde of his goostly palesie, and put bileve in oþir men þat Crist hadde power to do þus, and þus wente mankynde, þat God hadde ordeyned unto blisse, fro error of his olde synne into þe hous of Cristis Chirche.

But here men douten of þe letter, wher prelatis may forȝyve synne, and it semeþ þat þei may, for preestis may assoile of synne, and it is al oon to assoile men of synne and to forȝyve þe same synne. And it semeþ þat preestis mai not forȝyve synnes unto men, for þere is noo synne here but ȝif it be offence of God; but no man mai forȝeve þis but ȝif it be God him silfe. And so it semeþ þat oure prelatis may not here forȝyve synne. Soþ it is þat men mai here forȝyve trespas done to hem, and remitte mannis iniurie as much as in hem is, but not remitte uttirly synne done aȝens God. Here it is nede to undirstonde how preestis assoilen men of synne, and how preestis forȝyven synne, Page  48 for boþe ben conseyved wel and yvel: preestis may assoile of synne if þei acorden wiþ keies of Crist, and if þei discorden fro þes keies, þei feynen hem falsely to assoile. And so on two maneres men may be assoilid of her synnes; and first pryn|cipaly of God whan Goddis injurie is forȝoven; and þe secounde is assoiling by a turne þat preestis han; and if þis assoilinge be trewe, þei kepen þe boundis þat God ȝaf hem, and þis assoilinge han preestis as vikers of goddis wille. And þere lien many disseitis in suche absolucioun, for if þis assoilinge be trewe, it mut acorde wiþ Cristis assoilinge, and to such assoilinge is needful boþe witt and power. And so on two maneres may a man remitte or deny þe trespas þat is done to him, and so remitte synne; first remitte wronge of God, þat is propred unto God, or ellis dismitte wronge of his broþer in þat þat it is made aȝens him. And so remission is complete þat perteyneþ oonly to God, or ellis remissioun incomplete þat men shulden have generaly, for ellis Crist wolde not teche men to preie on þis maner, Forȝyve us, Lord, oure dettes of synne, as we forȝyven oure dettours. Ȝif ony man wolde telle more pleynly þis sen|tence bi Goddis lawe, Y wole mekeli assente þerto, ȝif þei grounden þat þei seien; and ȝif ony man prove þis fals or aȝens Goddis lawe þat Y have seid now here, Y wole revoken it mekeli, but wele Y marke þat þis gospel seiþ þat God ȝaf sich power to men, but þis gospel seiþ not þat God ȝaf þis power to men.

ÞE TWENTIÞE SONDAY GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XX.]

Loquebatur Jesus cum discipulis.
—MATT. xxii. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ in a parable what men shulde trowe of þis Chirche fro hennes to þe dai of dome, as it is touchid sum|what bifore.

Jesus spake wiþ hise disciplis in parablis and seide þus. Þe rewme of hevene is maad liche unto a man þat is a kyng, þat made wedding to his sone; and sente his servauntis to clepe þes men þatPage  49weren beden to þe brydale; and, for þei wolden not come, he sente oþir servauntis and seide, Seie ȝe to men þat ben beden, Lo Y have made redy my mete, my boles and my volatils*. [volatiles, E.]*. [That is poultry, Fr. volaille.]ben kild, and al oþir þingis ben redy; come ȝe faste to þe feste. But þei dispisiden his biddinge, and sum wente into his toun, and sum into his chaf|farynge, and token þis kyngis servauntis, and punishiden wiþ conteke*. [contect, B; contec, E; conteke, C; this is unques|tionably the right reading; see Glossary.]and killiden hem. And þe kyng, whan he say þis, was wrooþ, and sente his ostis, and loste þes mansleeris, and brente hir citee; and seide þan to his servauntis, Metis of þis bridale ben redy, but men clepid were not worthi; þerfore go ȝe to eendis of weies, and whomever ȝe finde clepe ye to þe mete. And þes ser|vauntis wenten out, and gedriden men al þat þei founden boþe good and yvel, and þe bridale was fulfillid wiþ men sittinge at þe mete; al ȝif þei weren not alle ful served. Þe Kyng cam in to se his gistis, and saw þere oon wiþoute bride cloþis, and seide to him, Frend, how entredist þou hider wiþouten bride cloþis? and he was doumbe. And þan þe lord bade hise servauntis to bynde him boþe hondis and fete, and sende him into utter derknesse, þere shal be wepyng and gnastige of teeþ. For many ben clepid and fewe ben chosen. Þe kyndom of hevene is þe Chirche, þat takiþ name of þe Heed, as þe gospel spekiþ comounly; and so þis rewme is liche a kyng; þat is þe Fadir in Trinite; and þis kynge made a mariage to Crist þat is his sone, and to þis Chirche þat is his spouse, and to damyselis þerof. For, as Salomon seiþ, foure degrees ben in þis Chirche; sum ben quenes, sum ben lem|mannes, and sum damyselis; but oone is spouse þat conteyneþ alle þes þree, and þat is al holi Chirche. And þus þere ben many chirches, and a newe chirche wiþ Crist; ȝhe al þe chirche of men and aungels is newid bi þe Incarnacioun.—Þe servantis of þis spouse bidden men to þe feste, whan þei moven men to come to blisse bi þer just lyfe; and þes servantis weren pro|phetis and apostolis of Goddis two lawes; but þei weren clepid specialy whan Cristis birþe was shewid hem, for as it was seid bifore, þan alle þingis weren made redi; and many men in boþe Page  50 þes tymes wolden not come þus to þis feste. After þes servantis he sent oþir, as men þat nexte sueden þe apostlis; and bolis and volatils weren slayn, and mete was redy to þis feste. Þe boles bitokenen þe olde fadris, as patriarkes and David, for þei diden bataillis of God, and turneden his enemyes wiþ her hornes, and ȝit þei kepten ful bisili þe grete mandementis of God. Þe volatils þat serven seyntis at þe secounde cours of þis feste ben seintis of þe newe lawe þat wiþ þes mande|mentis kepten Cristis conseilis; and ȝit men forsoken to come notwiþstondinge sample of þes seintis. And sum wenten aftir lordship of þis worlde, and sum after chaffare of þis worldely richesse; but sum slowen Cristis servauntis, as em|perours of Rome and preestis. Þe king of hem was wrooþ herfore, and sente his oostis out to Jerusalem and slow þes sleeris of Crist, and brent þer citee, as Josephus telliþ. And þis dede done in Jerusalem þe two and fourty ȝeer after þe deeþ of Crist bitokeneþ þe vengeaunce of God for sleing of Cristis membris. And þus men þat stoonden bihynde, boþe in þe olde lawe and in þe newe, weren unworþi to fille þe nombre þat God ordeynede to be saved. And now in þes laste daies God bade hise servantis clepen men boþe good and yvel in to þe Chirche þat weren out of þe riȝt weye, and wenten bi weyes of errours þat weren hard for to wende; and so as Petir in his first fishinge toke two manere of fishes, sum dwelliden in þe nette, and sum borsten þe nette and wenten awey; so here in þis Chirche ben sum ordeyned to blisse and sum to peyne, al if þei lyven justly for a tyme. And so men seien comounly þat þere ben here two manere of chirches, holy Chirche or Chirche of God, þat on no manere may be dampned, and þe chirche of þe fend, þat for a time is good, and lastiþ not; and þis was nevere holy Chirche, ne part þerof.

But þe king aftir þis feste came in at þe dai of dome, for God shewiþ him þanne to alle, for he knowiþ alle mennes lyf; and þes þat wolden not laste in grace weren not cloþid in bride cloþis; and alle þes ben o man þat hadde noo witt to answere God. But, for þis man wiþ parts of him profitide to Cristis Chirche, and was of þe same kynde wiþ Crist, Crist clepiþ him frend, as he dide Judas; but alle þes men can not answere how Page  51 þei entren in to þe Chirche, for it was told hem opynli þat þei ben traitours but if þei lasten, and ben more worþi to be dampned þan men þat nevere entriden þus. And so al siche men token peyne bi just jugement of God, þat þer willis shulden be bounden and þer profitable werkes, and shulden be cast in to helle, where men shulden wepe and gnaste wiþ teeþ; wepynge shal be sensible sorowe, and gnastynge shal be wantinge of blisse. Wherfore men shal moost grutche, siþ þei myȝt liȝtly have come to blisse, and aftir þis þei shal have noo wille neiþer to desire ne to wirche wel, and þus many men ben clepid, but few ben chosen to blisse.

ÞE OON AND TWENTIEÞ SONDAI GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XXI.]

Erat quidam regulus.
—JOH. iv. [46.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how a kyng, þat sum men seien was an heþene man, bilevede in Crist, and disserved to have a myracle of his sone. Þe story seiþ, how in Galilee was dwelling a litil kyng, in þe citee of Capharnaum þat hadde a sone ful syke of þe feveris. And whanne he herde telle þat Jesus come fro Jude to Galilee, he came and mette him on þe wey, and preiede him come doun and hele his sone, for he was in point of deeþ. And Crist seide to þis kyng, to amende his bileve, Ȝe bileven not in Jesus but if ȝe se signes and woundris; as þis man bilevede not in þe godhede of Crist, for if he hadde, he shulde have trowide þat Crist myȝte have savyd his sone ȝif he hadde not bodily come to þis syke man and touchid him; but þis kyng had more herte of helþe of his sone þan he hadde to be helid of untreuþe þat he was inne, and þerfore he tolde not herby but axide eft Crist to hele his sone. And in þis forme of wordis*. [wormes, B; wordis, C and E.] in which he shewide his untreuþe, Lord, he seide, come doun bifore þat my sone die. But Jesus, as wise lord and merciful, heelide his sone Page  52 in siche manere þat he myȝte wite þat he was boþe God and man; Go, he seide, þi sone lyveþ. And þerwiþ Crist tauȝte his soule boþe of his manhede and godhede, and ellis hadde not þis king trowid; but þis gospel seiþ þat he trowid, and al his hous; and upon þis treuþe he wente homward and mette his men upon þe wey, þat tolden him þat his sone shulde lyve, for he is coverid of his yvel. And he axide whan his sone ferde beter, and þei seiden, þat ȝistir dai þe sevenþe houre þe feveres forsoke þe child. And þe fadir knewe bi his mynde þat it was þe same houre þat Crist seide, Þi sone lyveþ, and herfore bilevede he and al his hous in Jesus Crist. And þerfore Jesus seide soþ, þat he and men liche to him trowen not but if þei se boþe signes and woundris; it was a signe of þe sike child þat he dide werkes of an hool man*. [The meaning seems to be, 'It was a sign that the sick child should be healed at all; it was a wonder that he should be healed though a great distance off.'], but it was a greet woundir þat bi virtue of þe word of Crist a man so ferre shulde ben hool, for so Crist shewide þat he is virtue of Godhede, þat is everywhere; and þis virtue mut be God, þat dide þus þis myracle.

Þis stori seiþ us þis secounde witt þat God ȝyveþ to holy writt, þat þis litil kyng bitokeneþ a mannis witt bi synne slyden fro God, þat is but a litil king in regard of his maker; and his sone was syke on þe feveris, as weren þes heþene folke and þer affecciouns þat comen of þer soulis; but þei hadden a kyndli wille to wite þe treuþe and stonde þereinne. Þis kyng cam fro Capharnaum, þat is, a feld of fatnesse*. [Capharnaum, i.e. Kaphar-na|oum, means 'hamlet of Nahum.' (Bib. Dict.)]; for man fattid and alardid*. [alargid in B and C; but A probably preserves the true reading; largid, E.] wendiþ awey fro God. Þis mannis witt, whanne he herde þat Jesus cam to heþen men, and þat bitokeneþ Galilee, þat is, transmigracioun*. [See p. 30, note.], mette wiþ Jesus in pleyn weie, and lefte his heþene possessioun, and preide God to heele his folke þat weren syke bi goostly fevere. But Crist sharpide þes mennis bileve, for feiþ is first nedeful to men, but undirstonding of man preide Crist come doun bi grace bifore mannis affeccioun die Page  53 aboute erþely goodis. But, for men trowiden þe godhede of Crist, þei weren hool of þis fevere, whan þei forsoken þis world and putte þer hope in hevenly goodis. Þes servauntis ben low virtues of þe soule, which, worching ioyfulli, tellen mannis witt and his wille þat þis sone is hool of fevere. Þis fevere bito|keneþ shakyng of man bi unkyndli distempoure of abundaunce of worldely goodis, þat ben unstable as þe water; and herfore seiþ Seint Jame þat he þat doutiþ in bileve is lyke to a flood of þe see þat wiþ wynde is born aboute.—Þat þes servauntis tolden þis king þat in þe sevenþe houre fevere forsoke þis childe, bitokeneþ a greet witt, as Robert of Lincoln shewiþ. First it bitokeneþ þat þis fevere goiþ awey fro mannis kynde bi seven ȝiftes of þe Holy Goost, þat ben undirstonden bi þes houres. And þis clerk dividiþ þe dai in two halves bi sixe houres, so þat al þe daie bitokeneþ liȝt of grace þat þat man is inne. Þe firste sixe houres bitokenen joy þat man haþ of worldely þing, and þis is bifore spiritual joy, as utter man is bifore spiritual. But in þe firste houre of þe secounde halve leveþ gostly fever man, for who so evere have worldely joie, ȝif he have grace on sum manere, ȝit he trembliþ in sum fevere aboute goodis of þe world; but anoon in þe sevenþe hour, þat is þe firste of þe secounde halfe, whan wille of worldely þingis is lefte, and spi|ritual þingis begynen to be loved, þan þis shakynge passiþ fro man, and goostli helþe comeþ to þe spirit. And so shadewis of liȝt of sunne fro þe sevenþe houre in to þe niȝt ever wexen more and more, and þat bitokeneþ goostli, þat vanite of þis world semeþ ay more to mannis spirit til he come to þe ende of þis lyf to lyf þat ay shal laste. And so þis man trowiþ in God, boþ wiþ undirstonding and wille, wiþ al þe maynè of his hous, whan al his wittis and alle his strengþis ben obeshinge to resoun, whan þis fever is þus passid. Of þis undirstondinge men may take moral witt how men shal lyve, and large þe mater as hem likeþ.

Page  54

ÞE TWO AND TWENTIÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XXII.]

Simile est regnum caelorum homini.
—MAT. xviii. [23.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ bi a parable how bi riȝt jugement of God men shulden be merciful.—Þe kyngdom of hevene, seiþ Crist, is lyke to an erþeli kyng þat wolde ryken wiþ hise servauntis. And whanne he hadde bigun to rekoun, oon was offrid unto him þat owid him ten thousand besantis, and whan he hadde not to paye of, þe lord bad he shulde be soold, his wyf and his children and al þat he hadde, and þat þat he ouȝt þe lord shulde be algatis paid. Þis servant fell doun and praiede þe lord and seide, Have pacience in me, and Y shal quyte þee al. Þe lord hadde mercy on him, and forȝaf him al his dette. Þis servant went out and found oon of hise dettours, þat ouȝt him an hundred pens; and toke him and stranglide him, and bade him paie his dette. And þis servant felle doun and praiede him of pacience, and he shulde bi tyme ȝelde him al þat he ouȝte him. But þis man wolde not, but wente out and putte him in prisoun, til he hadde paied þe dette þat he ouȝte him. And oþir servauntis of þis man, whan þei seyen þis dede, mourneden ful myche, and tolden al þis to þe lord. And þe lord clepid him, and seide unto him, Wickide servant, al þi dette Y forȝaf þe, for þou preiedist me; ne bihoved þee not to have mercy on þi servant, as Y hadde mercy on þee? And þe lord was wroþ, and ȝaf him to turmentours, til he hadde paied al þe dette þat he ouȝte him. On þis manere, seiþ Crist, shal my Fadir of hevene do to you, but ȝif ye forȝyve, ech on to his broþir, of ȝour free herte þe trespas þat he haþ done him.

Þe kyngdom of hevene is holy Chirche, of men, þat now traveilen here; and þis Chirche bi his heed is lyke to a man kyng, for Crist, heed of þis Chirche, is boþe God and man. Þis kyng wolde ryken wiþ his servantis, for Crist haþ wille wiþouten ende to rykene wiþ men at þre tymes. First, Crist rykeneþ wiþ men whan he techiþ hem bi resoun how myche þei han hadde of him, and hou myche þei owen him; þe secounde tyme Crist Page  55 rykeneþ wiþ men, whan in þe houre of mannis deeþ he telliþ hem at what point þes men shal ever justli stonde; þe þridde rekenyng is general, þat shal be at þe daie of dome, whan þis jugement generali shal be opynli done in dede. As anentis þe first rekenynge, Crist rekeneþ wiþ riche men of þis worlde, and shewiþ hem, how myche þei owen him, and shewiþ bi riȝt|wisnesse of his lawe how þei and þeires shulden be sold, and so make aseeþ*. [By suffering pain, make amends for neglected duties.] bi peyne of þingis þat þei perfourmeden not in dede. But many sich men for a tyme have conpuncioun in herte, and preien God of his grace to have pacience in hem, and þei shal in þis lyf serve to Crist treuly. And so Crist for|ȝeveþ hem upon þis condicioun. But þei wenden out, and suen not Crist þer lord in mercy, but oppressen þer servauntis þat owen þem but a litil dette, and putten hem in prisoun, and þenken not on Goddis mercy; and oþir servantis of God boþe in þis lyf and in þe toþir tellen to God þis felnes, and preien him of venjance. No doute God is wrooþ at þis, and at two rekenyngis wiþ man, he resouneþ þis cruel man, and jugiþ him justli to peyne.

And þerefore Crist biddiþ, bi Luk, al men to be mercyful, for þer Fadir of heven þat shal juge hem is mercyful. But we shul undirstonde bi þis, þat þis mercy þat Crist axiþ is noþing aȝen resoun, and so bi þis just mercy men shulen sum tyme forȝyve, and sum tyme shulden þei punishe, but ever bi resoun of mercy. Þe resoun of mercy stondiþ in þis; þat men myȝten do cruely þei done justly for Goddis sake, to amendement of men; and men may mercyfully reprove men, and punishe hem, and take of hem þere just dettis for beterynge of þese dettours. On þis manere doþ God þat is ful of mercy, and seiþ þat he reproveþ and chastisiþ his wantoun children þat he loveþ; and þus Crist reprovede Pharisees, and punishide preestis wiþ oþir peple, and punishiþ mercifulli alle dampned men in helle, for it stondiþ not wiþ his riȝt þat he punishe but mercifulli. God ȝyveþ goodis of kynde bi grace to þes men þat he dampneþ, and if he punishide hem more, ȝit he medliþ mercy. But here men shulden be ware þat al þe goodis þat þei han ben goodis of her God, and þei nakide servantis of God; and þus shulden þei warly flee to take Page  56 þere owen venjance, but venge injurie of God, and entenden amendement. Þus Crist, mekist of all, suffride his owne injurie in two*. [So in B and C; A has to.] temptaciouns of þe fend, but in þe þridde he saide, Go, Saþan, and reprovede him sharpli bi autorite of God.—Þus Moises, myldest man of alle, killide many þousand of his folk, for þei worshipiden a calfe, as þei shulden worshipe God. And þus in oure werkes of mercy lieþ myche discrecioun, for ofte tymes oure mercy axiþ to venge and to punishe men, and ellis justises of mannis lawe shulden nevere punishe men to þe deeþ, but ofte tymes þei done amys, and þei witen not whan þei done wele, and so religioun of preestis shulde leve sich jugementis.

ÞE ÞRE AND TWENTIÞE SONDAI GOSPEL.

[SERMON XXIII.]

Abeuntes Phariseei.
—MATT. xxii. [15.]

ÞE storye of þis gospel telliþ how þe Phariseeis casten to disseyve Crist bi wordis of ypocrisie. And so þe Phariseeis wendinge out, fro þe weye of treuþe, maden a conseil bi hem silfe to take Jesus in speche, and first þei spaken fagynge wordis, as ypocritis doen, but ȝit þei senten her disciplis, and comen not hemsilf, lest þei weren convictid bi wisdom of Crist. Þei sente to Crist two puplis, Jewis and Erodians, to witnesse aȝen him what ever he hadde seide, or aȝen þe Jewis, or aȝen þe emperoure. Maister, þei seiden, we witen wel þat þou art sad trewe, and þe weie þat lediþ to God þou techist in treuþe, (and þou takist noon heede of man, but booldli techist þe soþe,) for þou reckest of no man but puttist God bifore. And aftir þei axiden þis questioun of Crist, þat he shulde telle þat him þouȝt, and not bi oþer mennis witt, where it where leveful to ȝyve taliage to þe emperour. Hem þouȝte þat Crist shulde nedis seie ȝhe or nay; ȝif he seide ȝhe, he spake aȝen þe Jewis, for þei calengiden of Page  57 þer fadirys to be suget to no man; and ȝif he seide nay, he were aȝens þe emperoure, and so on ech side hem þouȝte þat Criste was take. But Crist shewide first þe purpos of þes ypocritis. Whan Jesus knewe þe wickidnesse of þes fals men, he clepide hem ypocritis, and axide whereto þei temptiden him. And efte Crist toke a meene weye, anoþir þan þei þouȝten on; Shewe ȝe me, seide Crist, þe moneye of þe taliage; and þei shew|iden him a peny. And Crist axide over, whos ymage is þis, and whos writing above? And þei seiden, it was þe emperours. And Crist ȝaf hem þis answere, general and sutil, Ȝyve ye to þe emperoure þat is his, and to God þat is His. Bi which word it semeþ þat Crist approvede þe emperour and subiec|cion to him in þat þat he makiþ Goddis pees; and servise propre to God shulde be kepte to Him; and so Cristis wordis myȝte no man disprove.

Here men may touche þe malice of ypocrisie, for þere is no wers synne, ne more general, ne more venymous; for it is more yvel þat it þus contrarieþ to treuþe, siþ an ypocrite feyneþ him holy, and he is a fals fend. And herfore reprovede Crist ypocrisy of ordris, for he wiste wel þat þei shulden after do more harm in þe world. Ffirst sich ypocritis lyen on hemsilfe, and seien þei done for holynesse what evere þat þei done, and so þei venymen first hem silf, and afterward oþer men. And it is more general þan many oþir synnes, for ech state of men is blemyshid wiþ þis synne, but first and moost, religions and clerkes, for þere is no spedy cause whi þei usen siche habitis but to devyde hem in holynesse fro þe common peple, siþ as medeful werkes myȝten þei done in seculer habitis, and more privily, as Crist biddiþ us be holy. And herfore Crist biddiþ to be war wiþ sour dow of Phariseis, siþ þere is no resoun to ypocrisy but to shewe menys synne*. [So B and C; A reads lyve.], and to disseyve on ech side boþ þe ypocritis hem silfe and oþir men þat dwellen wiþ hem. And so her religioun serveþ to crye þat þei ben holy, and to make dyvysioun bitwixe hem and oþer men. And siþ liknes is cause of love amonge men, sich dyvy|sioun is cause of envye and hate. Goddis lawe and kynde techiþ þat ech beest loveþ beest like to him, and so experience techiþ þat oon ordre loveþ his broþir more þan a strange man Page  58 aȝen þe reule of charite. And sich gedring of lumpis bi sensible signes haþ not autorite of Crist but raþer repreving. For upon Good Friday Crist ordeynede him to be cloþid þries aȝens sich weddinge wiþ cloþis of colour and shap; and as Crist seiþ in reprof of siche sectis, Kynrede of hordom sekiþ siche signes; alle þe dedes þat þei done sownen to ypocrisie, and aȝens no men spake Crist sharplier.

And alȝif freris seien þat þei beggen for charite, whan þei have prechid for siche beggyng, and þat Crist beggid so, and bad hem begge þus, neþeles al þis speche is poudrid wiþ gabbinge, and, as ypocritis done, þei seken þer owen avantage and not þe worship of Crist, ne to profite of his Chirche. For if þei diden, þei wolden sue Cristis reule, and leve chargyng of þe puple boþe in noumbre and begging, and leve her heye housis þat þei propren unto hem, siþ Crist hadde no propre hous to reste in his heed. And as Macometis lawe takiþ myche of Cristis lawe, and meddliþ oþir lawis, and þere comeþ in venym, so doiþ Anticrist in þes newe sectis; and as þei bringen in breþeren bi falshede of lesyngis, so ben þer ordris groundid in falshede in ech side. And siche men mote needis disturble holy Chirche; and þus seculer clerkes ben ful of ypocrisie, boþ popis and bishopis and clerkes under hem. Crist forfendide to putte miraclis þat he had done to þe manhede of him for errour in bileve; but þe fend drediþ not to feyne absoluciouns and indulgencis wiþ oþir ȝiftis, þat God grantide nevere, to spuyle men of her money, and not for soule hele; for þan wolden þei ȝyve freely þes ȝiftis, as Crist ȝaf himsilf and bad oþirs do. And þus lower clerkes traveilen bi water and bi londe for to have benefices and propre possessions, more þan þei done for helþe of mannis soulis; and how ever þei speken, þei lyven al in ypocrisie; and þus whan men fiȝten, pleden, or chiden, charite is not þere ende, but pride and propre havynge. And þus it is of seculers þat ben weddid men; and so charite of men is blyndid bi ypocrisie, so þat no synne of þis world lettiþ now more charite; and so ypocrisie is more general synne, and more pryvy sin to begile men, and werst to dis|troien þe comoun peple, and al þis figureden Pharisees aȝens Jesus Crist.

Page  59

ÞE FOURE AND TWENTIÞE SONDAI AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XXIV.]

Loquente Jesu ad turbas, ecce princeps*. [So in B; A has principes.].
—MATT. ix. [18.]

Þis gospel telliþ of þe firste dede bodi þat Crist reiside to lyf, and how Crist helide a womman as he wente þidir. Þe storie telliþ þat, as Crist spake to þe folk, a prince came to him and worshipide him wiþ honoure, and seide to him, Sire my douȝter is now deed, but come and putte þi hond on hir and she shal lyve, bi vertue of þe. We shal undirstonde þat in tyme of Crist weren princes of preests, as princis of knyȝtis, as Nichodeme was a prince, and bishopis of Jerusalem weren clepid princes of preestis, and þis man here, þat was keper of a synagoge, as now ben persones; and þes men hadden comounly wyves and children, as preestis han wers now, for þei han out of wedloke. And Jesus roos up, and suede þis prince, and his disciplis, for he was redi to do good, and as he wente, a syke womman by flix of blood þat lastide xii wynter came bihynde Jesus and seide to hir silf, If Y touche þe hemn of þe cote of Jesus, Y shal be safe for holynes of him. And Jesus turnede agen, and lokide on hir, and say her bileve, and saide þus to hir, Affie þe, douȝter, þi bileve haþ made þee saif. And þe womman was saved from þe same hour. Þe gospel of Mattheu telliþ ferþer, hou Crist came to þe hous of þis prince þat þe wenche lay deed inne; and whan Crist say mynystralis, and folk makinge nois, he badde hem go þenne, for þe wenche is not dede but slepiþ. And þei scorneden Crist, for þei wenden þat he had errid. And whan þe folk was cast out, Crist wente in to þe hous, and toke þe hond of þe wenche, and saide, Wenche, rys up. And þe wenche roos, and dide werkes of lyf.

It is seid bifore*. [See p. 39.] how þis firste bodi þat Crist reiside from deþ to life bitokeneþ siche men þat ben goostly deed, for ful concense to synne; but þei do not þe dede wiþout; and þat is bitokned þat þe wenche was in þe hous ȝit. Þis prince is mannis þouȝt, þat kyndly haþ sorewe þat þe spirit of it is þus fillid wiþ synne; Page  60 and þus it preieþ to God þat þis douȝter be quykened. And whan Crist entriþ to þe soule of þis maiden and moveþ wiþ his worchinge hond þe spirit of it, þan it riseþ to lyf and worchiþ by grace. And here men noten, how a ligginge man, þat shulde be areisid up, shulde bede his hond and þe reiser shulde take it, and so bi strengþe of hem boþe shulde þe man rise. Ech man in synne liþ*. [liip, B.] at þe erþe, and God helpiþ many men to rise up to grace, and if þei wirchen wiþ God to þis werke of lyfe, God wole make hem stonde, and comfort hem to wirche. Þis woman þat was heelid, as Crist wente to þis hous, of þe flix of blood þat she hadde twelve ȝeere, is every persone of man combrid wiþ synne, where it be symple persone or gedrid of many; and þes twelve ȝere bitokenen double age of two kyndis of man bi which he dwelliþ in synne. But man may spende al þat he haþ aboute oþir fisicians*. [So in B; fecicisians, A; fesicianes, C.] and gete him absolucions, ȝhe after þe daie of dome, and many indulgensis, wiþ lettris of fraternite, þat biho|tiþ*. [heten, B; biheten, C.] him to come to hevene, as soone as he is deed, and ȝit mai þe flixe of blood rennen wiþ al þis, and he may be depper in synne wiþ al þes dispensis. And herefore mekenesse of Crist is a special medicine, þat a man þenke hou he is in þe last place beden of Crist to soupe wiþ him in hevene. And þus þis cloþing of Crist ben seintis þat he cloþid, and þe last of þis cloþing is þe last place þat men shulden repute hem inne bi mekenesse of herte, and doing awey þes presumpciouns comen þei þus bihinden, and Crist bi siche mekenesse ȝyveth hem grace to leve synne, and þis is beter þan medecynes þat fesicians sellen. And siche men ben confortid bi wordis of Crist, for Crist heliþ noone bodily but ȝif he hele hem of synne, and þus ech storye of myraclis of Crist mai be moralisid to a good witt, ne is it no perel to varie in siche wittis, so þat men varien not fro þe treuþe, ne fro good lore, for þe Holy Goost, autor of þes wordis, ordeyneþ men to have al sich wittis, and he ordeyneþ þis tixt to move hem herto. Hou shulde sich sense be error in man? But siche wordis axen good jugement, for many heretikis seyen þat þei han witt of God, and ȝit it mai be oon of þe fendis heresies.

Here men douten comonly whan men synnen dedely Page  61 wiþinne in þer soule, and done noon yvel dedes wiþouten in þer bodi þat anoien men. And men moven over how resoun mai assente to ony synne of man, siþ ech synne is aȝens resoun; and ȝit sum men seien þat it is alon resoun and mannis spirit; and so ȝif mannis spirit assente, resoun as|sentiþ; for mannis spirit haþ al vertues in man honginge on him, and it mut nedelingis*. [nedeli, B; nedely, C.] do what ony of þes vertues doiþ. Here we shulen conseyve þat it is not nedeful here to wite which is dedely synne, and wite which is venial, but ech synne shulde a man flee, lest it be dedli to him. But clerkis seyen comounly þat man haþ two wittis, oon hongiþ on his bodi and haþ many partis; anoþir is aboven his bodi, þat dwelliþ wiþ his spirit, whan þe spirit and þe bodi ben departed atwynne, and þis vertue in a man is sum tyme clepid resoun. And so, as in þe first synne Eve temptide Adam, and Adam synnede not bifore he hadde assentid, so in ech synne in an hool man þe flesh temptiþ þe spirit, and it synneþ not bifore it have assentid*. [So in B; A has assentiþ.] to lustis of þe flesh. And so power of þe spirit, þat sum men clepen resoun, assentiþ aȝen resoun to fleishli likingis, and so þe spirit is nedid to consente þus, but it is not constreyned, siþ it assentiþ freeli. And bi þis may we se hou argumentis gone awei bi equivocacion of wordis þat men speken, as a man haþ many wittis boþe fleishli and spiritualy, and so many maneres he assentiþ to a þinge. But sum foolis þer ben þat seien þat a man haþ no vertue of soule, but ȝif it be þe same soule, and þis errour bringiþ in oþir, and þus resoun of man is sum tyme clepid treuþe þat God causiþ wiþouten ende, ȝif a man die, and sum tyme vertue of man þat goiþ wiþ þe soule is clepid resoun of man to anoþir witt. Bi þis may men see sumwhat, how þei shulden answere to þe doutes þat ben maad, and to oþer also, for we shulde bileve þat men may be dampned for synne in her soule, ȝif þei worche not outward, for oryginal sin and actual*. [So in B and C; accual, A.] also, and þus mai men be saved for þouȝtis in þer hertis, al ȝif þei done not outward meritory werkes; and þus mai men done harm to oþers bi þouȝtis of herte, and profite also to hem, ȝif þei ben ferre from hem, and siþ spiritual harmynge or profite is myche more bodili profite.

Page  62

ÞE FYVE AND TWENTIÞ SONDAI GOSPEL AFTIR TRINITE.

[SERMON XXV.]

Cum sublevasset oculos Jesus.
—JOH. vi. [5.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a myracle how Crist fedde þe folk; and þis miracle techiþ men boþe good feiþ and vertues. It is seid bifore*. [See Sermon VII.] how Crist fedde þe folk þus twyes, and of þe secounde fedynge it is seid bifore, and of þe first fedynge shulde we speke now. Þe gospel seiþ þus, þat þis miracle was don whanne Jesus hadde cast up his eyen and seiȝ þat myche folk was comen to him, to here Goddis word, he saide to Philip, Whereof þei shulden bigge breed for to fede þis folk, for he wiste þat þei hungriden. Þis seide Crist to Philip for to tempte him, for he wiste ful wel what he hadde to do. And Philip seide to Crist, þat loves of two hundrid pens ne sufficiden not to hem, so þat ech on myȝte take a litil what of breed. But anoþir disciple, Andrew, Petris broþir, seide, þer was a child þat þere hadde fyve barly loves, and þerto two fishis, but what wolden þes be amonge so myche folke. And Jesus bade his apostlis to make þe men sitte doun to mete, for þere was much hay, þat þei myȝte sitte on, and þe men weren sette as it were fyve þousand. And Jesus tooke þan þes loves, and whan he hadde þanked God, he délide hem to þe sittinge men, and also of þe fishis as myche as þei wolden. And whan þei weren fillid, Crist seide to his disciplis, gedre ȝe þe relif þat lefte, þat it perishe not. And þei gedriden and filden twelve coffynes*. [In this word, by which Wyclif (as well as both Wycliffite versions in loco) simply Englishes the [gap: 1] of the original, we seem to have the source of the word 'coffin.']of relif of fyve barly loves, þat weren lefte of þis folke þat eten. And þes men, whan þei hadden seen þe signe of þis myracle, saiden among hem|silfe, þat þis is a verrey prophete, þat is come in to þis world, as prophetis bifore hadden told. We shal suppose of þis myracle þat it is dyverse fro þe toþir; for ellis Mark wolde not have told þes myraclis so dyversly and in diverse places, for þat oon hadde Page  63 þen be fals, and it hadde be superflue to þus have told þis tale; and herfor we shal suppose þat þes weren two myraclis þat weren do in þis maners as þe gospel telliþ. And we shal suppose over þat as Crist quykid þre men for a notable cause, who so koud*. [kowde, B.] undirstonde it, so he made þes two festis, for a certeyn resoun. And it is seid comounly þat as þe noumbre of two is þe first þat comeþ from oonhede of noumbris, so þe two feestis bitokenen þat men for þer synne ben fallen in þis nede to be fedde þus. For, if man hadde stonde in þe staat of innocence, he shulde have had no nede to be fedde þus, for man shulde have feelid no peyne bifore þat he hadde synned, and so he shulde not have hungrid for defaute of mete. But, for he wente first bi synne from oonhede of God, þerfore he felde þus twyes in peyne for his synne. And God telliþ suche treuþes on diverse maneres, now for o cause, and now for an|oþir; and þus bi þis resoun curatis of puplis, ȝif þei ben hooli in bodi, ben pore feble men. Þei ben pore men, ȝif þei kepen her ordre, for þei shulden sue Crist in poverte, nerrer þan oþir comounes, and þei ben feble, for þei have nede of sustenaunce þat þei shulde not have hadde in state of innocence; and þei mai not, as Crist, have mete where þei wolden; and þus for poverte and febilnes þei taken almes of comounes. Þes fyve loves ben fyve bokes of Moises, þat ben boþe streite and sharpe, as seint Petir seiþ. Þes two fishis ben two bokes, of Wisdom and of prophetis, þat ben sonel*. [souvil, B; sowle, C.] to þes loves. And þis o child, þat haþ al þe mete, is þe child born to us, þat Ysay spekiþ of. Þis child makiþ his puple sitte don in mekenesse, þenkinge þat þei ben hey whos floure falliþ, but þe goostly food is proposid of Crist for to be tokned bi bodily foode. And fyve þousend of men fedde wiþ þis mete weren al þo in which Goddis grace was greene; for al þes moten meken hem, and be fed wiþ Goddis word; for ellis may no man come to hevene blis. And þus men þat ben fallen doun bi pryde of synne, shal bi mekenesse of þe centre be brouȝt unto hevene. For as lownesse of þe centre of þe world and þe erþe, is þe most lownesse þat God may make, so mekenes of Crist is þe mooste þat mai be, and Page  64 in þis mekenesse mut a man grounde his toure, ȝif it shal teyne to hevene, for þe toure of þe gospel þat man shulde wille to rere is undirstonde comounly heynesse of vertues, of which vertues mekenes is ground, and charite þe heyeste parte, þat teyneþ unto hevene. After þis mete weren gedrid twelve cof|fynes, ffor holy doctours after þes maters weren more sutil in witt of holy writt þan aftirward ben doctours in witt of Goddis lawe. For siþ, men stonden in sophymes and crafte of worldely wynnynge, and lore of foure doctours is myche leid asleepe, naþeles þis relif shulde fede folk now, for neiþer þis hool mete ne relif þerof may rote or perishe, siþ it is treuþe of God. And so al þes twelve coffynes ben alle þe mo*. [moo in B.] sentencis þat first weren gedrid of witt of holy writt, but þe sevene lepis þat weren gedrid after weren fewere goode sentences þat weren take of Goddis lawe. And þis myracle of multipliynge of Goddis lawe bi so fewe prechours among so fele folk was more myracle þan bodili woundris, and þerfore holy men turneden to God, glorifien him, and holden hym þer kyng.

Page  65

HERE BIGYNNEÞ
ADVENT BIFORE CRISTEMASSE.

ÞE FIRSTE SONDAI GOSPEL IN ADVENT.

[SERMON XXVI.]

Cum appropinquasset Jesus Jerosolumis.
—MATT. xxi. [1.]

ÞIS Gospel telliþ of the secounde advent of Crist and it is noo drede it techiþ us vertues, siþ alle þe dedes of Crist tellen men how þei shulden do. Þe story telliþ how Jesus cam to his passioun unto Jerusalem, to teche þat he ordeynede himsilf for to suffre, for he myȝte have fledde þis passioun of him, ȝif he wolde himsilf not have suffrid þus. And so men seyen co|mounly þat þere ben þre adventis biside þe comoun advent þat Crist comeþ to mannis soule. In þe firste advent Crist cam to be man, and þis advent aboden seintis of þe olde lawe, and þis was no morynge but lassyng of God, ȝhe more lassyng þan to aungelis, as þe psalme seiþ, for God was made erþe whan he was maad man. Þe secounde advent is cominge to Cristis passioun; and of þis makiþ þe gospel mynde to daye. Þe þridde advent shal be whan Crist shal come to jugement at þe daie of dome, to juge boþe good and yvel. And in al þes þre adventis Crist visitide ever his sugetis to amende hem and not to spuyle hem; and wolde God þat preelatis*. [prelatis, B.] wolde þenke on þis now; þanne shulde þei not come in Anticristis name more to spuyle þer sugetis þan to amende hem. Þe first advent of Crist we bileven as passid, and þe þridde advent we abiden, þat is to come; but to þe secounde advent we shulden maken us redy to suffre in oure body for þe name of Crist.

Crist cam to Beþfage*. [Bethphage is said to mean house of unripe figs (Smith's Bib. Dict.). Wyclif was apparently thinking of the Greek [gap: 1] .], þat is a litil toun in þe foot, of Olyvete, Page  66 a myle fro Jerusalem, and þis toun was ȝovun to preestis for mete of her mouþis, for Beþfage is hous of mouþ, or ellis hous of etynge—and bi þis tauȝte Crist how he lyvede pore lyf and nedy for love of man, siþ he dwelte in siche þropis*. [þorpes, C.]*. [Þropis. Þrop is given in Bos|worth's Dictionary as an alternative form of þorp, village.], and he tolde hou preestis eten hym by envie. Þanne he sente two disciplis to Jerusalem, þat was wallid, and þerfore Crist clepiþ it a castel þat was aȝen holy Chirche*. [This clause is rightly not written as a quotation in C.]. Crist bad his disciplis to bringe him an asse and þe fole of þis asse þat þei shulden fynden al redy, and bad þat þei shulden lose hem and brynge hem to Crist; and ȝif ony seide ouȝt to hem, þei shulden seie, Þe Lord haþ nede of hem, and he shulde leve hem anoon. And þis was fild, as Crist seide bi prophete longe bifore, Telle ȝe to Syon þe douȝter of Jerusalem, Lo, þi kyng comeþ to þee, homely, sittynge upon asse and upon þe asse fole; which asse was a drawyng beest. And his disciplis wenten and diden as Jesus comandide hem. For alle þes þingis moten nedis be riȝt as Crist hadde ordeyned hem, and bi þis myȝten þe disciplis knowe þat þis Lord was al witty. And his disciplis puttiden her cloþis upon þes two beestis, first upon þe fole, siþ upon þe asse, to teche us þat heþene men, þat weren wanton as foolis*. [folis. B.], shulden resseyve Crist and his lawes, and after Jewis as assis, for þei shal bere to þe ende of þe world þe wiȝte of þe olde lawe, as folt*. [So in B and C; A has foli.]*. [Folt=foaled.] assis beren chargis what so ever be leid on hem. And his disciplis maden Crist to sitte upon þes boþe beestis. But þre manere of folk cam out of Jerusalem and dide worship to Crist, for comounes lovede him riȝt wele. Myche peple þat was riche spradden her cloþis in þe weye, and porer schreden branchis of trees and spradden hem in þe weye, and oþir, boþe ȝong and olde, comynge bifore and bihynde songen þis song in worship of Crist; David Sone, we preien, make us safe*. ['Save, we pray,' is the correct translation of Hosanna.]: þis we seien to David Sone, Blessid be he þat is come þus to us in Goddis name!

Sum men seien þat þes disciplis þat weren sent to Jerusalem ben herty preestis and worldely lordis þat shulde be boþe Cristis Page  67 disciplis, and brynge to Crist þis asse and hir fole to ryde to hevenly Jerusalem. And as Jerusalem was wallid aȝens Crist and his apostlis, so þes religious to daie ben wallid aȝens Cristen men. But þis wal is mennis fyndinge, hepid wiþouten charite, for it is no charite to leve þe ordre þat Crist ȝaf, and to take þes stynkinge ordres, and telle more prys bi þis resoun;—þis synful patroun bade do þus, þerefore we shulden do þus; þan bi þis,—Crist bad alle men do þus, þer|fore þei shulden do þus. He þat synneþ in þis feiþ synneþ aȝen bileve; aȝen þe mandementis of þe first table, and so aȝen alle Goddis mandementis. And þus shulden Cristen men bringe to Crist boþ þis asse and hir fole þat ben bonden in Jerusalem bi sich fals religiouse; and so þis asse and hir fole ben comen to þes pryvat ordris, but not to alle Cristene men, al if þei ben betere and have more nede. Ȝit þes ȝoldes*. [Besides the old Anglo-Saxon Guilds (on which see Pearson's Early English History, i. 271) there were the merchant guilds, and the art guilds. The last class is probably referred to in the text. A curious account of the organization of the guild of painters at Florence in 1349, by Jacopo di Casentino, will be found in Crowe's Hist. of Painting in Italy, ii. 2.] founden of men helpen al þer breþeren in nede boþe of temporal goodis and laten hem dwelle in Cristis ordre, but þes sectis of newe ordris helpen not þus þer breþeren, for, be þei olde, be þei ȝonge, be þei nevere at siche meshese*. [myschef, B; mischefe, C.], þei wolen not helpe hem wiþ goodis for to lyven in Cristis ordre, but raþer emprisoun hem or punishe hem aȝens Goddis lawe. But bi þe reule of charite þei shulden selle þer hiȝe housis and alle þe meblis þat þei have, and helpe þer breþeren in nede, and lyven al aftir Cristis lawe. Þus Crist ȝaf boþe bodi and soule for relevynge of his enemyes, but how lasten siche religious, or in mercy or in charite, þat wolen not ȝyve þer ydel goodis for þe helping of þer breþeren? And þus hem wantiþ hiest love and ech degre of charite, for þei loven more þer ydel muk, þan þei done þer breþeren in God. Feyned lettris of fraternite

* Chaucer, whom nothing escaped, has noted this practice of giving 'letters of fraternity,' which however had been practised by the monks for centuries before the friars were heard of. In the Sompnour's Tale, Thomas, the farmer, asks the questing friar whether he is not his 'brother.'

'Ye, certcs, quod the frere, trust|eth wel;

I took our dame the letter, under our seal.'

Among the Dominicans, and pro|bably among the Franciscans also, these letters admitted to the brother|hood of the third order, and imparted to the persons admitted the bene|fit of all the masses, fasts, prayers, and other good works done or to be done throughout the order. For the 'formula admissionis,' see Ducange (Paris, 1843), article 'Fraternitas.'

wolen þei ȝyve to symple men, but Page  68 to lordis and to men þat þei seyn þat þei loven more, wolen þei not profre siche lettris, lest her falsheed be perseyved. For siche lettris of chartris profiten not to men, but oþer to make men have riȝt, or ellis to defende her riȝt. Siche lettris maken no riȝt; ȝhe bi mannis lawe; and þis riȝt is not enpechid bifore þe dai of dome; and ȝif men shewen*. [The reader will be reminded here of a passage in the Paradise Lost, Book iii. 485.] þan þes lettris oþir to God or his lawe þei profite noþing to hem ne defenden hem aȝens God, and so þes lettris ben superflue, as ben þes ordris þat maken hem.

ÞE SECONDE SONDAI GOSPEL IN ADVENT.

[SERMON XXVII.]

Erunt signa in sole.
—LUC. xxi. [25.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ derkely a prophecie of Crist; how it shal be in þis Chirche bifore þe dai of dome. Crist seiþ, Þer shal be signes in þe sunne and moone and in þe sterres of hevene, and in þe erþe pressure of folk, by movynge of heven. For þes þre partis of hevene, sunne and moone and sterris, shal move to|gidere boþe see and watris; for þei ben more redy to be moved by hevene þan oþir erþe or eir, for þei ben bitwene þes two, neiþir to hevy ne to þinne; but large in quantite and disposid to take liȝt of þes þre bodies of hevene and to be confusid and to make noise. And siþ of þis see and watir rysen wyndis and blowen on londis, it is no wounder ȝif oure eire be chaungid in qualitees; and siþ chaunginge of oure eire makiþ chaung|inge in mennis bodies, it is no wounder ȝif mennis bodies be changid bi þis eire; and so maneres, þat suen þe chaunging of mannis complexioun, shal be changid in oure erþe þat men dwelle inne; and so, men shal wexe drye, boþe be siche erþely eir, and bi drede of oþer signes þat shal come among men. And þanne men shal fiȝte in erþ, o cuntree wiþ anoþir, for such changing in eir shal make changinge in mennis lyfe, and þus dede bodies Page  69 cast in þe water or erþe chaungen þe eir, and alle oure places þat we dwellen inne, oþerwise þan it shulde have be in þe state of innocens; for þanne our places undir þe mone shulde have be wiþouten siche medlinge; ffor hevene worchiþ kyndely, dy|versely in dyvers maters. And after al þis shal men see Crist oure Lord come from hevene, and his angelis with him, to deme men þat dwellen here; for þe vertues of hevene, þat ben liȝts, shal be chaungid here, and al þe governaile of hevene shal be varied þus to men. And þanne men shal see Crist comyng doun in a cloude wiþ greet power and maieste, to men þat can rede þes signes; and Crist confortiþ his children, and biddiþ hem putte drede awey, ffor comynge of siche signes bito|keneþ þat þer blisse is neiȝe; and þerfore shulden þei rere þer heedis, and be gladde of þes signes, and nouȝt honge þere heedis doun as men hevyed wiþ þe erþe. For what man wolde not be gladde whan he shulde go out of prison, and be brouȝt to þe blisse of hevene and passe awey fro siche peyne. And Crist seide to his disciplis þis similitude in kynde. See ȝe þe gardyn of fige trees and al oþer trees of fruyte; whan þei bryngen forþ fruyte of hem, ye witen wel þat somer is nyȝe. (And somer is in sum contrees time to gedre fruyte of þe erþe.) And so whan ȝe seen þes signes be made, wite ye þat youre bigginge is nyȝe. For biginge is clepid here fruyte þat comeþ of þis bigginge, and Crist seiþ soþely þat þe kynrede of his children shal not passe out of þis world bifore þat alle þes þingis be done. Hevene and erþe shal passe in chaunginge, but Cristis wordis shal not passe þus. Wel we witen þe sunne stood and sum tyme it wente aȝen, but þus mai not sentence be chaungid of þe wordis of oure Lord; but þere is more stabilhede in wordis þat ben seid of Crist þan is in hevene or erþe, siþ Crist is above þes two, and comynge in þes tweyne is not nedeful but for þat Crist haþ ordeyned it.

Þes wordis of Crist may be undirstonden goostli, so þat þe sonne be Crist, God and man, and þe mone be holy Chirche, and þe sterres in hevene be seintis in þe worlde. Signes ben made in hem, for þei moven erþely men, and chaungen as þe see temporal goodis, and for siche chaunginge chaungen men in wille, and membris of þe fend ben drye fro grace and ben adredde for Crist, and sentence of his chirche. Ffor vertues of Page  70 hevene shal move Cristene men to vencushe þe fendes lymes, and to feren hem, al if þei for a tyme maken greet soune, and stynkyn wiþ synne, and froþyn wiþ lecherie. And þe more fishes swelewen þe lasse; and cours of þis moone moveþ worldely men, and wyndis of pryde wawen þes floodis, so þat it is perilous to shippis for to wandre, al ȝif þei ben born up wiþ þe crosse of Crist. But wele Y wote þat men þat ben chosen of God may flottre in þe see, but þei may not perishe; for al þing mut nede come þat God himsilf haþ ordeyned. And þus sad bileve of þis þridde Advent shulde stire men fro synne and drawe hem to vertues. Ffor ȝif þei shulden to morewe answere to a juge, and wynne greet rentis or ellis lese hem, þei wolde ful bisili shape for þer answere, and myche more ȝif þei shulden wynne or lese þer lyfe—Lord! siþ we ben certeyn of þe day of dome þat it shal come to us, and we wite not how soone, and þere we shal have jugement of hevenly lyfe, or ellis of deeþ of helle þat evermore shal laste, how bisie shulde we be to make us redy for þis! Certis defaute of bileve is cause of oure sleuþe; and þus shulden we fasten in us articlis of þe trouþe, for þei wolen be louse in us as nailes in a tree, and þerfore it is nedeful to knocke and make hem faste. For it is noo drede þat no man doiþ synne but ȝif he faile in bileve upon sum manere. Sum men wanten bileve, and nevere hadden bileve, as Paynemes and oþer men þat nevere weren turned to Crist. Sum failen in bileve, for þer bileve slepiþ, and oþer þingis wakeþ þat þei trowen more; and þus failiþ ech man þat is overcomen wiþ synne; for lust wakiþ in hem to whiche þe synne moveþ hem, and peyne and drede of his synne is leide asleepe; and þus failen in trouþe þe more part of men. We shulde þenke freishely on þe day of dome, and how no þing may þan lette Cristis jugement; ffor treuþe and resoun shal fulli go forþ þanne, and herfore seiþ þe gospel þat men þan nakid fro charite shal be þanne dombe, and not shal answere to Crist. And for þis cause prophetis of Goddis lawe clepen þe daie of dome þe daie of þe Lord, for in þat daie not*. [nowt, B and C.] shal go aȝens him, but þei clepen daies bifore daies of men, for þe fend and his membris have now þer purpos, al ȝif þei shal þan bie it ful dere.

Page  71

ÞE ÞRIDDE SONDAY GOSPEL IN ADVENT.

[SERMON XXVIII.]

Cum audiisset Joannes in vinculis.
—MATT. xi. [2.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a storye of Joon Baptiste þat touchiþ al þree adventis of Crist, but specialy þe þridde, to whom serven two bifore. Baptist was in prison wiþ Heroude Antipas, for he reprovede his advoutre wiþ his broþer wyf. And Joon bounden in prison herde of Cristis werkes, and he made moche joie and preiside myche Crist, as oþer gospellis tellen, and specialy Jones gospel. Sum men in þe countre helden Joon more þan Crist, and Jones disciplis weren in þis errour; but ȝit þei trowiden þat þe greet prophete bihiȝt in þe lawe, þat þei cle|piden Messias, was more þan Joon Baptist. And herfore sente Baptiste two of his disciplis, for to speke wiþ Crist and purge hem of þis errour. And Jon bade hem axe þus Crist on his bihalve, Ert þou he þat is to come, and to save mankynde, þat þe law spekiþ of? or we abide anoþer? We shal suppose þat Baptist was stable in his trouþe, and coveitide þat þe feiþ of Crist and love of Crist growide, and bifore þat he were deed, þat he trowide shulde come soone. For trewe men coveiten more þe honoure of God þan þer owen honour, for ellis þei weren unreasonable. And þus cast Joon þis weye to worship of Crist, and to þis entent of Joon Crist spake and wrouȝte in dede. Go ȝe and telle aȝen to Joon what ye have herd and sen, Blynde seen, crokide gone, meselis ben heled, deefe heeren, dede rysen, pore men ben preisid of God*. [This is a different mistranslation from that found in the Wycliffite versions, which is, 'pore men ben taken to prechynge of the gospel.'], and blessid be he þat shal not be sclaundrid in me.

And on two maneres men ben sclaundrid in Crist. Sum men bi worchinge putten errours in him, and þis manere of sclaundrynge is algatis yvel, siþ þei fallen in heresie þat þus trowen of Crist. Þes men ben sufferyngly sclaundrid in Crist þat fallen fro bileve þat þei shulden have of Crist. On þe Page  72 þridde maner we seyen þat men ben sclaundrid whan þei ben defamyd of ony kyn þing þat þei have hem amys aboute ony siche þing; and þus many holy men weren sclaundrid of Crist. And so, of þes sevene myraclis, þe laste is þe moste; and alle þes sevene miraclis techen how we shulden love Crist; for we þat weren first blynde bi defaute of feiþ, sen aftir in oure soule what we shulden trowe; and so first crokid in medeful werkes, wandren after in holynesse of lyf; and so first leprous by heresyes of feiþ, ben after clensid of alle þes heresyes; deef men fro Goddis word, heeren his lawe; and dede men in soule bi custome of synne, rysen to spiritual lyf of þer soule; men þat weren pore bifore for þer holy werkes, ben seid good lyvers of him*. [So in B; hym, C; A has hem.] þat may not erre. And it semeþ þat Jones disciplis saien summe of þes miraclis, or ellis hem alle, in feiþ þat Crist ȝaf hem.

And whan þei weren wente fro Crist, he preiside Joon Bap|tist, techinge þat men shulden not preise a man in his presence ne in presence of his, lest he were a faioure*. [See Glossary.]. Crist preiside Baptiste, axinge of him þre þingis, so þat þe peple were nedid to graunte þat Joon was holy. Whan ȝe seien Baptist in desert, what wente ȝe to see? sawe ȝe a reede wawinge wiþ þe wynde? nay, suche men ben unstable for lovynge of worldely mukke, for Joon was stable in þe love of God, and so was he groundid in þe stone of riȝt-wisnesse. Or what wente ȝe out to see whan ye wente to see Joon? wher ȝe wenten to see a man cled in softe cloþis? nay, lo, men þat ben cled þus drawen hem to kyngis hous, and ben tenderly fedde wiþ metis þat plesen þe fleishe. For Joon Baptiste was contrarie to such men in boþe þes, siþ he dwelte in desert, and was fedde wiþouten foode þat was maad bi mannis crafte, and so þe world and his fleish overcame he perfitli, and it is no drede to us þe fende hadde þan noon holde in him. But what went ȝe out to see? certis to see a prophete; ȝhe Y seie to you, Joon was more þan a prophete, for Joon hadde office of God to se Crist, and waishe him, and to shewe hym at eye, þat is more þan prophetis office. And he is of whom it is writun, þat þe Fadir spekiþ to þe Sone, Page  73Lo Y send myn angel, þat is myn owen messenger, to fore þi face þat shal make redy þi weie tofore þee; for Joon Baptiste movede men to trowe in Crist many gatis.

Here men may touche many synnes þat rengnen*. [regnen, B; regne, C.] amonge men, and specialy synne of clerkes þat lyven in lustis of foode and in lustis of atire contrarie to Joon Baptiste. And þus, as þe gospel seiþ, þei putten on Joon þat he hadde a fend, and was ladde in desert bi þis spirit þat susteynede him, and he lyvede not mannis lyfe, ne ȝaf ensaumple to sue him; and in Crist þei ben sclaundrid, and seiden he lyvede a lustful lyf and was frend to synful men, and þus shulden not men lyve. And þus þese newe religiouse fallen in heresie of Jewes, for neiþer þei make Baptist ne Jesus Crist þer patroun, but þei chesen hem a newe patroun and newe religioun; þei seien þat Baptist was to harde, and Cristis lyf was to large, but þei have founden a good mene and vertues to lyven inne. And þus boþe clerkes seculers and þese newe religiouse forsaken þes two weies and taken weie of þe fend; for þere is noon oþer weie but Cristis weie and þe fendis, siþ no man may lyve in vertues but ȝif þat he sue Crist, and no man may lyve in synne but ȝif þat he sue in þat þe fend. Boþe þes endes ben to blame, but more þes newe religiouse; ffor þes ypocritis leven Crist and Joon Baptist his prophete, and chesen hem a newe wey þat mut ofte tymes be cloutid and be dispensid wiþ bi Anticrist, as þe fend techiþ hem. Þe seculers ben lasse ypocritis, but þei lyven al amys, siþ þei dwellen wiþ kyngis and lordis for to geten hem bene|fices; and in þe mene tyme þei lyven in lustis, and leven þe state þat þei shulden kepe; and þus blynde men leden þe blynd, and boþe fallen in þe lake. For þere nys noon oþer wey but ouþer wende upward aftir Crist or ellis to wende doun aftir þe fend into þe deppest lake of alle*. [B agrees with A; C reads hel, which must surely be right.]. Ȝhe, þes þat semen in þe heyer state suen Petir in his errour, and seien, Sire, God forbede þat þou lyve þus in þi membris, for witt and worship þat þou shouldist have. And certis al siche ben Saþanas, for þei wolen reverse Crist, or addinge to Cristis lawe, or ellis wiþdrawinge þat he bad.

Page  74

ÞE FOURÞE SUNDAI IN ADVENT.

[SERMON XXIX.]

Miserunt Judei ab Jerosolumis.
—JOH. i. [19.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of godhede and manhede of Crist, and of mekenesse of Baptiste, how myche þat he lovede Crist. Þe Jewes senten fro Jerusalem preestis and dekenes unto Joon, for to wite what he was, and how he groundide his newe lyf. Þese Jewes semeden hiȝe preestis of þe temple and Phariseis, and þes þat weren sent to Joon weren of Pharisees, for þei weren lasse of state and semeden of more religioun. But Joon confesside unto hem and denyede not treuþe, and so he confessid first þat he was not Crist, for it was most perilous to be holden Crist, and þerfore he putte first þe moost peril from him. And þus lowe preestis undir hiȝe preestis of þe temple, and dekenes þat boþe kouden*. [So in B and C; A reads kouden boþe.] þe olde testament, and weren more lyk Jon in manere of religioun, and betere shulden enquere of his newe ordre, lest þe toon erride and supplantide þat oþer, weren sent to Joon to axe of his state. Þere was behiȝt a greet prophete in þe olde lawe þat þei clepiden Crist, and þis myȝte Joon have be holden, ȝif he wolde be proude. And here be we tauȝt to boste not of þis þat we ben membris of holi Chirche, and so selle our suffragies, for it is hid from us where we shal be savyd, and ȝif we shal not be savyd, we ben not membris þus, ne oure preier for þis is not worþ*. [worþi, B and C.] to us silfe. And to gabbe þus in þis point is a greete synne, and to take mennis goodis bi sich a fals chaffare, for a worldely man wole not selle but þat he wote is his, and God haþ ordeyned þis privy þinge to be unknowe of us. For we shulde not þus boste ne disseyve oure neiȝbores, and þus to putte of Goddis ordenaunce were a greet synne.—Þei axiden Joon þe secounde tyme, where he were Hely, and he seide he was not þis Hely in persone. Þe Jewes hadden in þe olde lawe þat Helye was ravyshid, and lyveþ ȝit in a place, and shal come aȝen bifore þe daye of dome, and fiȝte wiþ Antecrist, and þus þei supposiden þat Baptist was he, speciali for solitary lyf and penaunce in etyng. And to þis entent denyede Joon þat he was Hely, but Crist seide þat Joon Page  75 was Hely in figure, for riȝt as Hely figuride the firste advent of Crist, so Joon figuride þe þridde advent of him. And as sum men seien, þei boþe figuren þe day of dome; and þus þere nys no falshede in Crist ne in Baptist.—Þei axiden þe thridde tyme where Joon were þe prophete, and he seide, Nay, to þer undirstondinge, for name of prophete bi himsilf bitokeneþ þe more famous prophete. Crist seiþ þat Joon is a comoun pro|phete, and boþe þes weren soþe. And affter þes þree purgingis, þei axiden of Joon who he was, þat þei myȝten answere to men þat hadde sent hem. And Jon seide mekely upon Ysay þe prophete, þat he was a vois of cryer in desert, to bidde men make redy þe weye of oure Lord. For riȝt as a vois shewiþ þe word of mannis þoȝt, so Jon shewide þe word of þe Fadir; and clerkes knowen wele þat a vois or soun is substanciali þat þing þat souneþ; and alȝif Joon myȝte have seide þat he was criynge, neþeles he chees to speke more mekeli; for among alle þingis vois is a freel þing.

And þe messengeris axiden Joon, whereto he baptiside and brouȝt in a newe ordre, siþ he was noon of þes þree. But Jon answeride hem þat he baptiside in water, and on myddis of hem stood þat þei knewen not; and þat is þe greet prophete þat þei souȝten after, for he is boþe God and man to save mankynde. In þat þat he is God he is every where myddil, as he is þe myddil persone in þe holy Trinite; and in þat þat he is man, and heed of holy Chirche, he is myddil of alle men gedrid in his name. In vertu of þis man cam Joon þus, and baptiside in water to make redy bifore Crist, as a rude werke goiþ bifore a sutil. To þis prophete servede Joon, and dide him al worship in þat þat he was God. And, for he was þis man, he is to come after Joon, al if he be Joonis pryour. Ffor he was not made bifore Joon in tyme, neiþer bi his manhede neiþer bi his god|hede, for Joon was man bifore þat Crist was man; and as nentis godhede, Crist was not made. And þei traveilen in veyn þat calculen þat Crist was conseyved bifore þe soule of Joon was knittid to his bodi, for Joon spekiþ of forþerhede of man|hede of Crist bifore Joon in grace, and also in worþynes; and herfore seiþ Joon, þat he is not worþ to louse*. [loose, B.]þe þuong*. [þong, B.]of Cristis shoo. And þis men undirstonden þus, þat Baptist is not Page  76 worþi to declare Cristis manhede; but, as me þinkiþ, it is beter and more suynge þis gospel to seie, þat Joon grauntiþ him not worþi to loose þe ordre of Crist, bi which Crist hadde ordeyned to be patroun of Cristene men. For þis ordre is a þuonge to bynde mennis willes togidere; and þus me þinkiþ þat freris chiden in veyn. Prechours*. [Fratres praedicantes, or Domi|nicans.] seyn þat Crist hadde hiȝe shone as þei have; ffor ellis wolde not Baptist mene þat Crist hadde þuongis of siche schone. Menours*. [Fratres minores, or Franciscans.] seyn þat Crist wente bar|fote, or ellis was shood as þei ben, for ellis Magdalene shulde not have founde to þus have washid Cristis feet. But levynge þis chidynge, we supposen of oure Jesus þat he tok ful litil hede of such manere of wendinge, but he chargide myche þe wille of his religioun and affeccioun of his disciplis to be bounden fro worldely goodis. And þus freris, as Pharisees, clensen þe gnatte and swolewen þe camel; for þei dar, above Baptist, founde hem newe ordres, of reulis þat Crist chargide not, but ȝif it were to dampne hem; and coveitise of worldely goodis chargen þes ordres not, ȝif þei be gete*. [geten, B, C.] wiþ fals menes, which treuþe of Crist haþ dampnyd. But þis was done in Beþanye be|ȝonde þe water of Jordan, in þe lond of two kynredis*. ['Þe lond of two kynredis.' For a long time I was unable to satisfy myself as to the exact meaning of this phrase. There is nothing in the Commentaries of S. Austin, S. Je|rome, and the Venerable Bede, nor in the Homilies of Pope Gregory, which throws the smallest light up|on it. Upon turning however to the Commentary of Nicholas de Lyra, written in the early part of the four|teenth century, I found some words which, I think, solve the difficulty. Distinguishing this Bethany (Beth|abara in the authorized version) from the one near Jerusalem, De Lyra de|scribes it as lying beyond the Jordan, 'scilicet in sorte duarum tribuum et dimidiae;' i. e. Reuben and Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Wyclif probably meant to say the same thing, but inadvertently omitted mention of the half-tribe, of which indeed very slight notice is taken in the account (Numb. xxxii.) of the negotiation between Moses and the 'lynages' (Wycl. Ver.) of Reuben and Gad.]; and so men seyen þat þer ben two Beþanies in þat lond, oon biside Jerusalem where Lazarus was reisid to lyf, and anoþer biȝonde þe water where Joon hadde mater to baptise men. For Beþanie*. [Bethany signifies 'house of dates.' (Smith's Dict. Bible.)] sowneþ þes þre; it is hous of obedience and also hous of penaunce, and hous of Goddis ȝifte. Alle þes names accorden to Joon; but þei ben contrarie to alle þes newe ordris þat ben presumed aȝens Crist.

Page  77

ÞE SONDAI WIÞINNE OCTAVE OF TWELFÞE DAI.

[SERMON XXX.]

Vidit Johannes Jesum venientem ad se.
—JOH. i. [29.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a witnesse, how Baptist witnesside of Crist, boþ of his godhede and eke of his manhede. Þe storye seiþ þus, þat Joon say Jesus comynge to him and saide þus of oure Lord, Lo, þe loomb of God; lo him þat takiþ awey the synnes of þis world, for he is boþe God and man. Crist is clepid Goddis lombe, for many resouns of þe lawe. In þe olde lawe weren þei wont to offre a lombe wiþouten wem, þe whiche shulde be of o ȝere, for þe synne of þe puple. Þus Crist, þat was wiþ|outen wem, and of o ȝeer in mannis elde was offrid in þe cros for þe synne of al þis worlde, and where siche lambren þat weren offrid felden sum tyme to þe preestis, þis lombe þat made ende of oþer felde*. [fel, C.] fulli to Goddis hond. And oþer lambren in a maner fordide þe synne of o cuntre, but þis lombe proprely fordide þe synne of alle þis worlde. And þus he was ende and figure of lambren of þe olde lawe, and þus shewiþ Baptist by his double spekynge þe manhede of Crist and his godhede; for oonly God myȝte þus fordo synne, siþ alle oþer lambren hadden wemmes, þat þei myȝten not hem silfe fordo. And so, al if preestis have power to relese synne as Cristis vikeris, neþeles þei have þis power in as myche as þei acorden wiþ Crist; so þat ȝif þer keies and Cristis wille be discording atwynne, þei feynen hem falsely to assoile, and þan þei neiþer loosen ne bynden; so þat in ech siche worchynge þe godhede of Crist mut first wirche.

And herfore seiþ Baptist of Crist; Þis is he þat Y seide of, After me is to comen a man, þe whiche is made bifore me, for he was anoon my priour. For riȝt as Crist was a man, þe first tyme þat he was conseyved, so God made him þan priour of al his religioun; and he was abbot, as Poul seiþ, of þe best Page  78 ordre þat may be. And first Y knewe hym not; I wiste in soule þat he was born, but Y koude not wiþ bodily eye knowe him fro anoþer man. And þis falliþ comounly; but, for to shewe hym in Israel, þerefore Y baptise þus in water. And Joon bare witnesse, and seide þat he sey a spirit come doun as a culver from hevene and lefte oþer and dwelte on him. But God, þat sente me to waishe wiþ water, he tauȝt me and seide þus, On whom þou seest þe spirit come down and dwellinge upon him, þat is he þat baptiseþ men in þe Holy Goost. And Y sey and bere witnesse þat þis is Goddis kyndely sone.

We shal wite þat þis dowfe was a verre foule as oþer ben; and so it was not þe þridde persone in Trinite taken in oonhede of þis persone, as Goddis Sone toke his manhede; but for mekenesse of þe dowfe, and moo good propirtees þat she haþ, she bitokeneþ þe þridde persone; and þis persone is seid of hir, for Joon seiþ, The Spirit cam doun and dwelte long upon Crist;—and þis Spirit was þis dowfe. And so it semeþ þat þis dowfe was God; and so, al if þe two persones may be moved in creatures, neþeles þe Trinite may not be moved in his kynde. But it semeþ þat we may graunte þat þis dowfe was þe Holy Goost, as we granten þat þis persone was comynge doun in þis dowfe. And þus, as God seiþ in his lawe þat sevene oxen ben sevene ȝeer, and þat þe sacrid breed is verrely Goddis bodi, so it semeþ þat he seiþ, þat þis dowfe is þe Holy Goost. But clerkes witen þat þer ben two manere of seyngis, þat ben personel seynge, and habitudinel seynge. Þis dowfe myȝte not be God in his kynde, but bi sum habitude it signefieþ God, and þus bi autorite of God it is God. And if þou sey þat ech þinge bi þis shulde be God, as ech Goddis creature signefieþ his maker, as smoke kyndely signefieþ fier, and þus semeþ Poul to speke, whan he seiþ þat Crist shal be al þingis in al þingis to men þat undirstonden him; for after þe day of dome al þis worlde shal be a boke, and in ech part þerof shal be God writun, as God shal be in his kynde in ech part of þe world; and þus siþ God is bitokened first and moost in ech þinge, whi may men not graunten þat God is ech þinge? —in þis men mut undirstonde dyversite in wordis, and to what entent þes wordis ben undirstonden. And þus bi autorite of þe Page  79 lawe of God men shulden speke her wordis as Goddis lawe spekiþ, and strange not in speche from undirstondinge of þe puple, and algatis beware þat þe puple undirstonde wel, and so use comoun speche in þer owne persone; and ȝif þei speken in Cristis persone wordis of his lawe, loke þat þei declare hem, for drede of privy errours.

And scorne we þe argumentis þat foolis maken here, þat bi þe same skile shulde we speken þus, for God spekiþ þus in wordis of his lawe. Sich apes lickenes*. [apis licnessis, B and C.] passen beestis foly, for þei wolden brynge bi þis þat ech man were God. And so ȝyve we God leve to speke as him likeþ, al if we speken not ay so bi þe same autorite; þes wordis þat God spekiþ shulde we algatis graunt, and declare hem to trewe undirstondinge. And rekke we not of argumentis þat sophistis maken, þat we ben redargued, grantynge þat we denyen, for we granten þe sentence and not oonli þe wordis, for þe wordis passen awey anoon whan we have spoken hem. And as Aristotle seiþ*. [Analyt. Prior. ii. 15.], contradicioun is not oonly in wordis but boþe in wordis and sentence of wordis. And bi þis we seien þat Crist in speche is not contrarie to him silfe, ne o part of his lawe contrarie to anoþir. And þus ȝif we graunten þat Crist is al þingis, it sueþ not hereof þat Crist is an asse, ne þat Crist is ech þing, or what þat we wolen nempnen. For God seiþ þe tone and he seiþ nouȝt þe toþir. But we graunten þat Crist is boþe lombe and sheepe, for Goddis lawe grauntiþ boþe þes two of him; and so Crist is a lioun and a worm; and þus of many þingis þat holy writt telliþ. And it is ynow to seie for dyversite, þat God haþ special sentence of on and not so of anoþer. And þus þe comyn undirstondinge shulden we algatis holden, but ȝif Goddis wordis tauȝten us his propre sense. And siche stryfe in wordis is of noo profite, ne proveþ not þat Goddis word is ony wey fals. In þis mater we have ynow stryfen in Latyn*. [Wyclif probably refers here to the treatise De Veritate Scripturae.] wiþ adversaries of Goddis lawe, þat seyen þat it is falsest of alle lawes in þis world þat ever God suffride.

Page  80

ÞE GOSPEL ON OCTAVE OF TWELEÞE DAI, AND IT FALLIÞ SUMTYME ON SUNDAI.

[SERMON XXXI.]

Venit Jesus Galilea.
—MATT. iii. [13.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist tauȝte Baptist boþe bi word and myracle how he shulde be meke. Þe storye telliþ þat Jesus cam fro Galilee to Jordan to Joon Baptist, to be baptisid of him. And þis was greet mekenesse, þat þe Lord wolde come so fer to his servaunt, and to take of him baptym, and Johan forfen|dide him, for woundringe of þe dede, and seide þat Y shal be baptisid of þee, and þou comest to me: to be þus baptisid. But Jesus answeride to Joon, and seide to him wiseli, Suffre now þis, for it falliþ to us to fulfille al riȝt. It is opyn riȝt þat þe lasse be suget to þe more, and it is more privy riȝt þat þe evene obeishe to þe evene; but most privy riȝt of alle stondiþ in þis, þat þe hiȝeste of alle obeishe to his servaunt, as Crist priour of us alle obeishide to Baptist; and so was it sittinge Crist to teche þis mekenesse. And here schulen we wite, as men in comyn speche seien sum wordis rehersid hem of oþer, and sum wordis þei seien in her owne persone, (and þis may be varied after þre maneris; sum þing men seien, witinge þat it is soþ, affermynge þe sentence wiþouten ony condicioun, as trewe men seien þat God is in hevene; sum þing men seien, proposinge to fulfille it, but undirstonden, if God wole ȝyve hem grace, as men seyen þat þei shulen holde Goddis comandementis, and þus techiþ James, þat whan we speken of oure dedes þat we shulden do, we shulden undirstonde, 'if þat God wole;' but ȝit on þe þridde maner we supposen þat it shulde be þus, and neiþer we witen it ne trowen it;) and wiþ þis we undirstonden a condicioun, 'if God wole;' and þus spake Baptist whan he forfendide Crist to be baptisid of him, and herwiþ he heeld obedience. But over þis we shulde wite, þat þere is greet diversite bitwixe servise of a þing and obedience þerof, for God obeishide to mannis vois, and servede not to him; but in Page  81 mannis persone þei rennen boþe togidere, for þe more obeishiþ to þe lesse, and eke serveþ to him, for þe more is erþ, and þe lesse is spirit, and so he is boþe more and lesse to his servaunt. And þus Crist fulfillide al manere of riȝtwisnesse, for riȝtwis|nesse is comounly callid al manere of vertue, and so riȝtwisnesse is al manere of mekenesse.

And þus John suffride Crist to tak þis servise of him, and ȝit he seide soiþ in wordis þat he spake, for Johun was baptisid of Crist as he shulde, siþ he was baptisid of the Holy Goost; and werkes of þe Trinite ben undepartid wiþoutenforþ. And wiþ þis cam Crist to be baptisid in water of John, as he shulde for many enchesouns. First to teche þis moost degree of mekenesse. Siþ, for to halowe þe water of baptym, for vertue of touchinge of Crist streechide ful fer. Þe þridde cause is to ȝyve us ensaumple to take mekely baptem, siþ Crist was baptisid þus. And herfore John leet Crist to be baptisid of him, for Joon was tauȝt in his soule þat it was Goddis wille. And here takiþ men wel þat if a man avowe a þinge, and he wite after þat it were betere to leve it, þanne he shal leve it, and have sorewe of his foly biheste, but him nediþ not to go to Rome to perfourme þis medeful dede. And here manye ben disseyved in power of þer sovereynes; þei wenen þat hem nediþ to have leve of hem to do as þei shulden do; þis lore shulden men taken of þer prelatis above, and not traveilen in veyn, ne dispende more þan þei shulden. And whan Jesus was þus baptisid, he wente anoon out of þe water, to teche us þat in siche meenes we shulden not dwelle more þan nede is*. [This clause is rightly written in B; in A and C it appears as a quotation.], and to confermen al þis þing, hevenes weren opened, to Crist, and he siȝ þe spirit of God comynge down as a dowve and comynge upon Crist. And þis þing þat he siȝ wiþ his eye was a dowfe, and þis þing þat he siþ wiþ his soule was God; and þus þe spirit of God cam doun in a dowve, and þere was a vois comynge doun from hevene, and seide in þe persone of þe Fadir, Þis is my Sone, ȝhe, þat Y kyndely love, in whiche Y pleside to my silfe, and þerfore, heere ȝe him.

And so bi autorite of þe Fadir of hevene and eke bi autorite of þe Holy Goost, and also bi autorite of Goddis kyndeli Sone, was þe manhede of Crist here shewid wiþ his dedes. Bi autorite of Crist shulden Cristene men trowe, þat he is þe Page  82 best man, þe wiseste, and þe beste willid, þat mai be in þe world; siþ he is boþe God and man. And herof wole it sue þat Cristis owne ordre is beter þan ony newe ordre founde of synful men, for ellis hadde Crist failid in power, in witt, or in wille; and, for þis is aȝens bileve, þerfore þei feilen in feiþ þat trowen þat þes newe religious passen Cristis religioun. And herfore he ordeynede his ordre to stonde in vertues of mannis soule and not in sensible signes. And as þe holy Trinite approvede Crist here, so it approveþ þe ordre þat he made, and putte it in þes þree þingis, in obedience to God, in poverte, and chastite wel undirstonden. Men may undirstonden amys þis obedience to Crist, and trowe þat it stondiþ in doinge of ech þinge þat þi privat priour biddiþ þee do; and certis þanne þou puttest him to be unsynful above Crist, or ellis þat þou shuldist do his wille aȝens Crist. Certis Crist haþ no power to lyve as þis prelat doiþ, but if Crist hadde fredom to falle in synne, and þus þis pryour were more free þan Crist. And her|fore shulde we trowe þat ech obedience to man is as myche worþ as it techiþ obedience to God; and if it faile herfro bi unobedience, men shulden leve þis as venym contrarie to obe|dience; for ech verry obedience is obedience to God, and men shulden more obeishe to God þan to ony creature. And so unobedience brouȝt yn bi þes newe ordres fouliþ many heepis of men bi foly of her prelatis. Soþeli in þes newe ordres men shulden obeishe to ech þing þat techiþ more obedience to God þan done siche prelatis. And it is not bileve þat þei techen betere obedience to God þan doiþ ony oþer lawe or þingis þat speken to þes ordris. And þis movede Poul and oþer Apostlis to holden hem to Cristis ordre, siþ þe abbot is betere, þe reule, and þe knyȝtis; and algatis it is more free to holde Goddis comandementis. For þis feyned obedience lettiþ ofte to serve Crist, and herfore men shulden lerne obedience, to aȝenstonde. Whan ony creature of God biddiþ þee do contrarie to þat þat þi prelat þiddiþ þee do bi expresse signes, and God bi his creature biddiþ þee do þe contrarie, þanne þou shuldist aȝenstonde þi prelate in þis, and obeishe to God in what signe þat he usiþ. On þis maner Petre and oþer apostlis seiden þat men moten more obeishe to God þan to man, and Goddis lawe seiþ þat Page  83 God obeishide to mannis vois; for to ech þing men shulden obeishe in þat þat it sowneþ obedience to God. And if þis bileve were kept wel, þis newe obedience shulde gone aweie.

ÞE FIRSTE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER OCTAVE OF TWELFÞE DAY.

[SERMON XXXII.]

Cum factus esset Jesus.
—LUC. ii. [42.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a lore of Crist whan he was twelfe ȝeer olde, and þis lore is ful of myraclis as oþer dedis ben þat he dide. Þe story telliþ þat, whan Jesus was maad of twelfe ȝeer olde he wente wiþ Joseph and Marye unto Jerusalem, as þei hadden custum at Paske for to make þis pilgrimage. And whan þe daies weren endid, of makinge of þis pilgrimage, his fadir and his modir wenten hoom, and Crist lefte aloone in þe citee. And his fadir and his modir wisten not þat Jesus was left bihynde, for children hadden in free custom to chese wheþer þat þei wolden wende wiþ fadir or wiþ modir; and þus Joseph wende þat Crist hadde come wiþ his modir, and oure Lady supposide þat Crist hadde come wiþ Joseph. And among Jewis was þis religioun kept, þat men shulden go bi hemsilf, and wymen bi hemsilf; for þei kepten hem fro lecherie in siche pilgrimage; but now pil|grimage is mene for to do lecherie. And al þis ordeyned oure maister for to teche his Chirche to enfourme þe prelatis after general doinge*. [doyngis, C.]*. [The meaning seems to be, 'in order to teach his Church so to fashion the mode of life of her pre|lates as that it may serve for a general example.'], for errour in hem is more, and more harmful to þe Chirche. And whan þei weren met togidir, and wantiden þe child Jesus, þei wenden þat he hade*. [badde, B; bad, C.]ben in felowship wiþ sum kyn of his freendis, and þei wenten aȝen to seke him amonge hem, and oo dai þei wenten aȝen and fond him not in þe wey. Þe þridde dale þei souȝten in þe citee, and þei fond him not, and after þe þridde day þei fond him in þe temple, sittynge amonge doctours, heerynge and axinge hem. No drede þat ne Crist kepte good order in his doinge, ffirst heerynge and after axinge Page  84 wordis of þe lawe. And alle þat herden him hadden wounder upon his wisdom and his answeris, and seynge þe ȝouþe of þe childe þei hadden wounder of his dedis. And his moder seide to him, Sone, whi didist þou þus to us? lo, þi fadir and Y boþe sorwynge have souȝt þee. And Crist seide unto hem, Wherto have ȝe souȝt me? ne wisten ȝe not þat Y moste be in þe nedis of my Fadir? And here shulde prelatis lerne first to worshipe þer God, and to serve his Chirche, bifore þat þei bisieden hem aboute worldely werkes. For*. [So B and C; A has 'And, for,' which gives no sense.] ech man shulde serve God bifore þat he servede oþer þing, for his first entent shulde be to worship God whatever he dide; and þis mut nede be in Crist, for he did al þingis as he shulde. But þei undirstooden not þe word þanne þat Crist spake here to hem. And Crist wente doun wiþ hem fro Jerusalem to Nazareþ, and he was suget unto hem, in þingis þat þei baden him do. And his moder kepte alle þes wordis, berynge hem in her herte. And Jesus profitide in wisdom, in age, and in grace boþe to God and to man.

We shal wite þat oure Jesus, siþ he was þis manhede, and suget to oþer men, and growide*. [So B; grouyd, C; A has growiþ.] in wexinge and elde, he profitide in kunnynge which þat cam of his wittis; but he had cunnynge of godhede and blesside cunnynge of man, bi which he was in al his tyme yliche wiys and knewe al þing. Here may holy Chirche knowe boþ þe religioun of Crist and partis of þis religioun, as obedience and mekenesse. For Crist was suget to his lesse, and servede hem ful mekely, for Goddis lawe tauȝte him þat þei weren in spirit more þan Crist was bodily. And Goddis reule shulde suffice to men, al if þei cloutiden not newe reulis. For Crist tauȝte perfitli a ful reule for al Cristene men, and it is a foul pryde to cloute our errours to his wisdom, for olde cloiþ cloutid to newe makiþ more hole, as Crist seiþ. And we ben certeyne of oure bileve, þat Crist haþ mesurid his ordre in liȝt|nesse and in fredom more þan oþer men kunnen shape. How shulden blynde foolis after amende þis reule þat Crist haþ ȝovun? And so God enformeþ men of þes pryvat ordres þat þre þingis of her ordres ben ydil and noyous; first þer clouting of þer reule, and siþ þer obedience, and after þer obligacioun to þer Page  85 habitis and oþer uses. First, Cristis reule were fulli suffisant to alle men, and more free and more liȝt, and of more autorite. How myȝte þe fend for shame combre men wiþ sich cloutinge? And ȝif a man shulde wende aweie, it were noo nede to charge him wiþ þingis þat weren unprofitable ȝif he hadde ynowȝ bisyde. And so as God forfendiþ men to adde to his lawe, or for to drawe þerefro, for it is made in ful mesure, riȝt so we shulden holde his reule bi whiche he techiþ al Cristene men, neiþer adde to ne drawe þerfro, lest we peiren Goddis ordenaunce. And litil errour in þis bileve growiþ to more in longe tyme, and þis fendis blasfemye in God disturbliþ þe Chirche more and more. As anentis obedience, it is knowen þat Cristis obedience kept clene were sufficient to alle men here on lyf, and oþer obedience þat is cloutid doiþ harm manye weies. For it supposiþ þat þis prelate erriþ not in his commandementis, but ever more biddiþ his sugettis þe same þinge þat God biddiþ; and þus ech prelat shulde be yliche-wyse and evene wiþ God; and whan þei ben made prelatis bi synful menes as ofte falliþ, God shulde algatis ȝyve hem witt, and conferme hem in grace; for if þei myȝten after do synne, þei myȝten be proud in þer prelacie and reule þer sugettis amys aȝen þe comandementis of God. And þan were it profitable to wante siche blynde leders, siþ affiance in God and proving of his governaile myȝte not faile to men but ȝif þei shal faile first.—Lord! whi ordeynede not God siche ordris in þe olde lawe ne in state of innocense; but distryede newe þat weren mad? wher God be not as wise as he was in þe olde lawe, and ordeniþ*. [This is the reading of C; A and B have ordeynede, clearly the wrong tense.] now for his spouse as tendirly as he dide þanne? And þus alle newe ordres ben ful of heresie. And as anentis þes newe habitis, certeinly þei ben of þe fend, but ȝif þere be sum nedeful cause byndynge men þus to hem, for ellis þei weren superflue, and not of God but of þe fend, siþ þei tarrien*. [tauȝten, C.]*. [Some words seem to have dropt out here, (though the MSS. con|sulted all concur in the reading given in the text,) which would have completed the sense, which is, that to attach more importance to the friar's habit than to counsels or commandments of God, is to do the devil's work.] mennis wittis and her kepynge fro Goddis werkes. But it is knowen þinge to men þat þes habitis profiten not to Page  86 werkes of vertues, but hiden þes ypocritis, siþ þei may wiþ siche habitis be quyke fendis in þis world. And ȝif þei profite bi ony caas, þei done harm ofter, as doiþ synne, and crien to men ypocrisie of siche ordris þat usen hem. And ȝif þes signes ben fals, þei maken men fals þat usen hem; and so algatis, siþ vertues myȝte be kepte wiþouten sich signes more pryvyly and sikirly, þei ben brouȝt in bi þe fende, and specialy, to charge hem more þan conseilis or mandementis of God. Ech man mut hav sum custom, but loke he wedde him not þerwiþ, ne bisye him not þat it be kepte of many men, for þei ben dyverse and axen dyverse costoms aftir þat God moveþ hym.

ÞE SECOUNDE SONDAY GOSPEL AFTIR OCTAVE OF TWELFÞE DAY.

[SERMON XXXIII.]

Nuptiae factae sunt in Chana Galilee.
—JOH. ii. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of þe first myracle þat Crist dide in presence of his disciplis. And þus telliþ þe story, þat weddingis weren made in a litil dwellinge place in þe contre of Galile, and Jesus' moder was þere, wiþ Jesus and his disciplis. For as men seyen comounly, Joon Evangelist was weddid here*. [This myth, for it is nothing more, appears in its complete form in De Lyra (Biblia Sacra, Lugduni, 1589). 'Dicitur communiter quod istae nuptiae fuerunt Johannis Evan|gelistae a quibus eum Christus vo|cavit ante consummationem matri|monii per copulam carnis.' There is no trace of it in the works of St. Austin or St. Jerome, nor, according to Cave (Antiq. Apostolicae, p. 118), in any of 'the Fathers and best writers of the Church.' Bede (Prol. in Joh. Evang.) says, 'Hic est Jo|annes Evangelista . . . . qui virgo a Deo electus est; quem de nuptiis, volentem nubere, vocavit Deus.' But he does not identify these 'nuptiae' with the marriage at Cana.], and Crist was his cosyn, and Cristis modir was his aunte; and herfore þei weren homelyer in þis weddinge of Joon. Studie we not to what woman þis Joon was weddid, ne axe we not autorite to prove þat Joon was weddid now; ffor þat þe gospel seiþ here is ynow to Cristen feiþ. And whan wyn failide, at þis feste, Jesus modir seide to him, Þei have noo wyn. And herby þis Lady ment on curtays manere as she durst, þat Jesus shulde helpe þis feste of Page  87 wyn bi his myracle. But Jesus answerede, strangely, What is þat to me and to þee, woman? as if he seide, Y have not by my manhede of þee for to do siche myraclis, but þerto nediþ my godhede; but afterward shal tyme come whan Y shal offre my bodi þat Y hadde of þee, for savynge of mankynde. And herfore notiþ Austyn*. [The interpretation throughout this sermon is generally founded on S. Austin's eighth Tractate In Jo|bannis Evangelium. Compare the fol|lowing passage: 'Miraculum autem quod facturus erat, secundum divini|tatem facturus erat, non secundum infirmitatem; secundum quod Deus erat, non secundum quod infirmus natus erat. . . . . . Miraculum ergo exigebat mater, at ille tanquam non agnoscit viscera humana, operaturus facta divina, tanquam dicens, Quod de me facit miraculum, non tu ge|nuisti; divinitatem meam non tu genuisti: sed quia genuisti infirmi|tatem meam, tunc te cognoscam, cum ipsa infirmitas pendebit in cruce.'] how Jesus Crist clepiþ specialy in þes two places his moder, woman, and here he figuride his speche in his passioun. And to þis entent seiþ Crist, þat his hour is not ȝit comen, in which he shulde bi suffringe putte his bodi in werke. But his modir, supposinge ay good of hir sone, seide to þe mynystris to do what ever he seide. And þere were at þe feste sixe water pottis sett, and ech of hem held a galoun or more.—Þe Jewis hadden a custoum to washe hem ofte, for touching or seynge of þinge clene ynow, as Seint Mark meneþ in his gospel. Jesus bade þe servauntis fille þe pottis with watir, and þei filliden hem alle up to þe mouþe. And Jesus seide þan, Helde out now, and bere þe persoun:—an architriclyn was he, þat was clepid to blesse þe feeste, and principal*. [So B; A and C have principaly.] in þe hous þat was of þre stages, as ȝif it were now a persone of a churche. And þei baren to þis persoun þe wyn þat Jesus hadde made. And whan he hadde tastid þerof, and wiste not how it came, but þe servauntis wisten wel þat drowen þe water, he clepide þe spouse of þe hous, and seide to him þus, Þes men þat festen oþer putten first good wyn, whan þer tast is freishe, for to juge þe goodnesse, and after whan þei ben drunken and þer taist failiþ, þanne he puttiþ wers wyn, but þou doist even þe contrarie, for, þou hast kept good wyn unto þis tyme. Þis was þe bigynnynge of signes þat Jesus dide in Galile, and shewide his glorie, bi doinge of þis myracle, and his disciplis trowiden in him.

Þis wedding bitokeneþ love þat God hadde to his Chirche, how he wolde bicome man, and be newe weddid to it. And herfor was Crist not bigamus, ne brake not his matrimonye, Page  88 siþ þe same Chirche his wyf lastiþ ever more, but wiþ newe wenchis is Crist now weddid, and on newe maner he kepte his firste matrimonye; as, if a spouse of a wife were newe cled, herfore were not dyvors made bytwene hem. A newe weddinge wiþ membris of þis grete womman makiþ not divors, ne bryngiþ in no bigamye; as, if a wyf growide and hadde many partis þat she hadde not bifore, sche were not þerfore lefte. And þus Chana, þat is gelousnes*. [gelousnesse, B and C.], and Galilee, þat is a turnynge whele, bitokenen þe love of Crist þat he hadde to conforte his spouse in þis weie, and brynge her after to blisse in þe chaum|bre of hevene.—Þe turnynge of þis water into good wyn techiþ hou Crist made his lawe more savery, as þe wyne was beter þan þe water bifore. And riȝt as o substaunce is first water and siþ wyne, riȝt so o lawe is first colde and siþ hote; and herfore seiþ Crist þat he came not to fordo þe lawe but to fulfille þe lawe, and make it more savery. And drede we not þes philo|sophris to graunte hem aptly þat þe same substaunce is first watir and siþ wyne, ne drede we not dyvynes þat axen in þis cas, what was maad newe of Crist in þis myracle; siþ qualite, as coloure or savoure of wyne, may not be by it silf. As Austyn seiþ*. ['Sicut enim quod miserunt mini|stri in hydrias, in vinum conversum est opere Domini, sic et quod nubes fundunt, in vinum convertitur ejus|dem opere Domini. Illud autem non miramur, quia omni anno fit; assiduitate amisit admirationem.' S. Aug. loc. cit.], we shal wite þat myracle of Crist was wrouȝt here, so þat riȝt as water, þat first was in þe erþe, is drawen in to þe vyne tree, and siþ in to þe grapis, and by tyme defyed*. [defied, B, C.] til þat it be wyne, so Crist did þis chaunginge in a litil tyme; but more myracle was of beteringe of his lawe, and þe moste of alle, of swifte turnynge to it. Þes sixe water pottis þat helden þis colde water ben men of þe olde lawe þat kepten Goddis lawe. But þei weren sixe, for fro ȝeer to ȝeer þei kepten þis lawe þat was hard as stones, and made hem colde on oþer manere þan þe newe lawe; for it makiþ men liȝt, and hetiþ hem, and confortiþ hem, as wyn doiþ mannis bodi. As philo|sophris seyn, þes mesures of þes vessilis ben þe olde cerymonyes þat weren beden of God, and sum founden of Jewis, and al þes weren fillid of Crist. But, to anoþer witt, þis archytryclyn was Page  89 þe manheed of Crist, for he made þis myracle bi his godhede. He was þe first þat tastide þis wyn and ȝaf it þes propreetes, boþe in him and oþers; and doinge of þis myracle passide mannis feestyng, for God puttiþ him silfe to be boþe mete and drynke to men þat he fediþ, and he is þe best. For worldely festyng is first savery to man, and siþ it is bittir as wermode*. [wormood, B; wormode, C.] to hym; but goostly foode aȝenward first is unsavery, and siþ it is swete, whan men defien*. [The following passage, from the first Wycliffite version (I Sam. XXV. 37), throws light on the meaning of the text:—'Forsoþe eerli, whanne Naabal hadde defied þe wyn, his wyf shewide to him þes wordis.'] it, for Goddis lawe savouriþ wele whan it is defoulid, as spicerye ȝyveþ smell whan it is powned, but dritte, ȝif stired more, is more unsavery, and þus þe ȝyvyng of þe lawe of God was ground and bigynnyng of Cristen mennis religioun. And þus þe disciplis of Crist, alle þat he haþ ordeyned for to come to hevene bi riȝt bileve, trowen in him bi vertue of þis wyne; and þus is Crist glorified in hevene and in erþe bi strengþe of his lawe þat he þus ȝaf.

ÞRIDDE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER OCTAVE OF TWELFÞ DAI.

[SERMON XXXIV.]

Cum descendisset Jesus de monte.
—MATT. viii. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of two myraclis þat Crist dide, and conteyneþ myche witt aboute þes two myraclis. Þe story telliþ how Jesus cam doun of þe hille, whan he hadde ȝovun his lawe to his disci|plis, and a myche peple suede him, for devocioun þat þei hadden in his lawe, and eke in his wordis. And lo, þere cam a mesel man, and loutide him and seide, Lord, ȝif þou wolt, þou maist hele me. And Crist seide he wold, and bade him be hole. It is comounly supposid þat þis leprous man trowide þat Crist was boþe God and man, and so Crist myȝte hele him, but of his owne wor|þinesse affiede he not þis; and herfore he seide þat, ȝif Crist wolde, he myȝte hele him of his lepre, and þan was Crist God. And God wolde þat proude men and leprous heretikes wolden wel confesse þe feiþ, and þan shulden þei be hool. And Crist stretchid out his hond, and touchide him, and seide, Y wole makePage  90þee hoole, and able þee þerto; and þus doiþ God to whom he ȝyveþ grace. And anoon was clensid þe lepre of þis man. And þis hasty helynge bitokeneþ þis myracle; and þat Crist touchide þis leprouse techiþ us now þat þe manhede of Crist was instru|ment to his godhede, for to do myraclis þat he wolde weren do*. [wer done, C.], and þat touchinge of leprouse men was leveful to men þat þus wolden helpe hem. But Crist myȝt not be blemyshid by touchinge of þis leprouse; and so tauȝte Crist his everlasting good wille, and tauȝte us to performe þe good wille that we have. And after Crist bade him, See þat þou telle no man, but go and shewe him to þe preest, and offre þat ȝifte þat Moises bad in witnesse of siche helþe.

And so men seien, on þree maneris may þis word be undir|stonden. First þat þis man shulde telle no man herof bifore þat he had offrid þat Crist bad him do. Þe secounde cause and betere is, þat Crist bad þis, to teche us to flee boost, and þanke of siche men to whiche we done good bi maner of mercy; and þus we shulden not telle þis, bi entent of mannis þank. Þe þridde weye seiþ, þat Crist bad þis negatife, to flee sclaundre of Goddis lawe and man, and flee bostinge of himsilfe, and conseyvynge of yvel of God. And, for þe olde lawe was þan ceesid, Crist bad fille þis lawe as autor þerof. And þus whan a man shewiþ by his holy lyf, actif lyf, þat is two dowfe bryddis, or contemplative lyf, þat is a paire of turturs, bi siche signes he shewiþ þat his synne is forȝovun, and þat unto preestis þat wel undirstonden þis. And þus synful men shulden conseile with preestis, and take of hem medecine to fle more synne.

Þe secounde myracle techiþ how Crist helide an heþene man, for love of centurion þat kepte Capharnaum, þat was heed toun of þe contre of Galile. Þis centurio tolde Crist þat his child lay in his hous syke on the palesie, and was yvel turmentid. But Luke telliþ how þis knyȝt dide al þis by olde men of þe Jewis þat myche preisiden þis knyȝt, and seiden þat he was frend to hem, and bilde hem a synagoge. And Crist cam wiþ hem nyȝe to þis knyȝtis hous, and þis knyȝt seide þus unto Jesus Crist, Lord, Y am not worþi þat þou entre under my roof, but seie oonly wiþ word, and my servantPage  91shal be hool. For Y am a man putt in þis place bi power of þe emperour, havynge under me knyȝtis, for to do myn office, and Y seide to on, Go, and he goiþ, and Y seide to anoþer, Come, and he comeþ, and Y seide to my servaunt, Do þis, and he doiþ it. And bi þis wolde þis knyȝt mene þat Crist hadde no nede to entre in to his hous to hele þis seke man, siþ Crist is God Almyȝty, under no power. Jesus herynge þes wordis woundride in hise wittis: al if he wist and ordeyned bifore þat þis knyȝt shulde þus trowe*. [So in B; towe, A; betrew, C.], and herfore seide Crist to þe folk þat sueden him, Soþely Y seid to you, Y fond not so myche feiþ in al þe folk of Israel, neiþer preestis ne comouns. Crist mente not of hise apostlis ne of his modir ne of his maynè, for þei weren take from Israel, as Crist was here a strange lord. And herfore bihetiþ Crist his Chirche þat shal be of heþene men, þat many of þe este and west shal come and reste wiþ patriarkes in þe kyngdom of hevene, where children of þis rewme shal be putt out, and cast into helle; þere shal be wepynge, þat is, sensible sorewe, and gnastinge of teeþ, þat is more, for it is peyne of harm of blisse, þat passiþ al sensible peyn. And Jesus seide efte to þis knyȝt, Go, and þi servaunt shal be hool; for as þou trowist, bi my grace, be it done unto þee. And þe childe was maad hoole in þe same houre, þat Crist spake þus. We shal wite þat feiþ is a ȝifte of God, and so God may not ȝyve it to man but ȝif he ȝyve it graciousely. And þus alle goodis þat men have been ȝiftes of God, and þus whan God rewardiþ a good werk of man, he corouneþ his owne ȝifte. And þis is of grace, for alle þingis ben of grace þat men have of wille of God; and Goddis goodnesse is firste cause why he ȝyveþ men þes goodis. And so it may not be þat God do good to men, but ȝif he do þes goodes freely bi his grace. And wiþ þis we shall graunte þat men disserven of God; for in grace þei maken hem worthi to have þis good of God; but we shal not undirstonde þat ech grace of God is a lump of þingis þat may be bi hymself, but grace is a manere in man bi which he is graciouse to God, and oþer grace on Goddis side is good wille of God. And for siche grace in God men resceyven grace in hem, and chiding of ydiotis, as was Pilagius and oþer, þat conseyven not Page  92 þat a þing may be but ȝif it be bi himsilf, as ben substancis, is for to scorne and to leve to foolis. For nyne kyndis of acci|dentis have contrary manere, siþ ech of hem is a manere of substance of a þing, and it may not be by himsilf, as heretikes dreemen. And herfore leeve we þis, and lerne we of þis knyȝt to be meke in herte in word and in dede, for he grauntide first þat he was under mannis power, and ȝit bi power of man he myȝt do many þingis; myche more shulden we knowe þat we ben undir Goddis power, and þat we may do noo þinge but by power of*. [om. A.] God; and ȝif we disusen þis power, woo shal us be þerefore. And so þis rote of mekenesse shal gete oþer vertues to us, and grace of God to disserve mede of hevene and goodis of glorie, as it was in þe gentil knyȝte.

ÞE FOURÞE SONDAY GOSPEL AFTER OCTAVE OF TWELFÞE DAI.

[SERMON XXXV.]

Ascendente Jesu in naviculam.
—MATT. viii. [23.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a myracle þat Crist dide in þe water, and syche myraclis confermen þe feiþ of holy Chirche ful myche in rude men; al ȝif þei ben hard. And so doinge of myraclis in water and londe bitokneþ þat Crist shewide his woundris to dyverse men. Sum resseyveden hem not to hele of her soule, for þei weren unstable as water, and fordiden soone Cristis prente*. [prynte, B.]; but oþer men weren stable as lond, þat helden þe prente þat Crist putt in hem, and bi þe ground of siche feiþ þei wenten fulli þe wey to hevene. Þe storye telliþ of Jesus þat he stepide in to a boote, and his disciplis sueden him. And lo, þe water movede fast, so þat þe boot was hid with wawis, for þe wynd and þe water weren contrarye to hem:—Criste slepte in þis tyme*. [A and B include the words 'in þis' in the italics; C rightly excludes them.] in þe boot, as he hadde ordeyned. Þe disciplis comen and wakiden him, and seide þus to Crist, Lord, save us, for we perishen. And Crist seide to hem, What dreden ȝe of litil feiþ? And Crist roos up anoon, and comandide to þe wyndis and þe water, and þei weren restid anoon. And al þe puple woundridePage  93herof, and saiden among hem selfe, What is he þis, for the wyndis and þe see obeishen to him?

Siþe alle þe dedes þat Crist dide techen men how þei shulden do, þis restyng of Crist in þis boot bitokeneþ lore to be markid. We shulden be tymes reste, and preye to God in scilence*. [silence, C.], and heere of him heelful lore þat we shulden after teche þe puple. And þus shulde techers flee preisynge of þe peple, as Crist dide. And þis is a pryvy synne amonge men þat prechen to þe puple, and certis it is a greet synne, for God shulde have al hool þe þank. And þus þe sleping of Crist bitokeneþ his verre manhede, and makiþ his*. [þis, C.] myracle more, and to preye him hertlier in nede. And þus al oonli we dreden for defaute of feiþ in us, and Crist slepiþ not to us but for defaute of feiþ, for þe godhede may not slepe, and ȝit we speken unto him, Ryse, why slepist þou, Lord? and helpe us in þis nede. And þus on two maneres failiþ bileve in men. First, whan men wantiþ bileve, as þes þat trowiden not þat Crist was God; for ȝif þei hadden trowid þis hooli, þei shulde have trowid þat Crist myȝte slepinge have done þis myracle and myche more. On þe secounde manere failiþ bileve, whan it worchiþ not wele in dede, but is ydel as a slepynge man; and þan clerkes seyen it is in habite*. [That is, [gap: 1] , to use the language of Aristotle, not [gap: 1] .]. And þus may no man do synne but ȝif his bileve faile ouþer on oo manere or on oþer; for ȝif he hadde freishely bileve how foul his synne is, and hou myche it harmeþ him, he wolde not for al þis worlde do þis synne, but fleen it. And herfore preyden dis|ciplis to alarge him*. [hem, B; hem in, C. Him is the purer and older form for the dative plural of the third personal pronoun.] bileve, and Crist seide to Petre, Whi doutist þou of litil bileve? And Crist seide to a man þat he shulde trowe, for alle þingis ben possible to men þat bileve. And shortly no kyn vertue was preisid more of Crist þan was riȝt bileve, for it is ground of alle oþer; ne doute we not how bileve may now be lesse and now be more, siþ þan partis of bileve myȝten go awey and come newe, and þan þer weren dyverse bileves for dyversitee of parties. Siche doutes we shulden sende to þe scole of Oxenforde, and we shulden wite wel bi God þat dyverse feiþis in a man, now on*. [oon, B.] and now oþer, Page  94 make no feiþ in him, ȝhe, ȝif þe tyme be dyverse þat þis feiþ þus comeþ or goiþ. And þus may God encrese oure feiþ, and we by synne enfeblen oure feiþ; and Crist slepiþ ofte to us for siche slepynge of oure synne. For whan wyndis of mennis bost maken us to drede of worldely harmes, and flodis of tribulacioun comen to us, þei maken us dreden and crye on Crist to have helpe for failinge in our bileve. For we shulden trowe þat noo siche a cas myȝte anoy us but for synne, and ȝif it come for oure synne, it is just, and Goddis wille. Whi shulde we be þus distemprid for þing þat is nede to come? Love we God, and do we his wille, and drede we noo þing but hym. For defaute in oure bileve makiþ us to drede for siche þingis. For þes foure mannis affecciouns, drede and sorewe, hope and joye, changen a mannis wille after þat he haþ vertues. And if he be rootid in synne þei chaungen myche in a man, for he haþ drede of þing of not*. [nouȝt, B.], and after joye of worldely þingis, and also sorewe of losse of þinge þat were betere to him to want, and hope of þingis ferre fro his helpe, as is welfare of þis worlde. And alle þes techen þat his wille is not sette on hevenly þingis, ne his bileve groundid in God for defaute of good love, for ech man shulde drede more loss of Goddis love by synne þan he shulde drede losse of ony worldely þingis. For as bileve techeþ us loss of Goddis love were wers, whi shulde we not drede þis more, siþ it bringiþ more harm to us, and hope more helpe bi charite þan bi any mannis helpe? And þus cursiþ þe prophete him þat tristiþ þus in man. And here may men have a myrroure to juge wher þei love God and where þei ben in charite, bi þe ordre þat þei shulden have ȝif þei loven God wel; þei shulde more have joie of him þan of ony erþelye þinge. And so of his loss, ȝif it come; ȝif þei lesen þe love of God bi þer synne, þat þei shulden knowe, þei shulde have more sorewe þerof þan of loss of oþer þing. And þis joye, wiþ þis loss, wolde make men to flee synne. Siþ many men with diligence fleen losse of worldely goodis, and kepen hem þat þei ben not dampned in siche los by mannis lawe, and drede not so myche to lese goodis of grace þat be beter, it is open þat charite is not ordynel in Page  95 hem. And þus of goodes of kynde, men drede myche to lesen hem, as reule of kynde techiþ us, and comoun expe|riens; and ȝif þei comen to us, we joien ful myche, as we witen well; but goodis of grace we putten bihynde, and þat fordoiþ oure charite. And ȝif we feynen falsehede in þes two þingis, boþe God and our bysynes shal be jugis aȝens us. Lord! wheþer traveilen we more, aboute goodis of þes two þingis or aboute goodis of grace? Oure owne traveil shal juge us; what preest bisieþ him more now for to sue Crist in vertues, þan for to gete a benefice, or for to gete worldely goodis? And þis techiþ þat he joieþ more of worldely goodis þan goodis of grace. How ever þat we stryven now, oure juge shal dampne us at þe laste. And bi þis same skile, hope and sorewe shal jugen us, for we casten more oure bisynes in hope of a worldely prowe þan we done in hope of hevene or hevenly blisse þat we shulden have; and þus we dreden more of loss of worldely goodis þat we hopen þus, þan we done of goodis of blisse; and þis reversiþ al oure lyf.

ÞE FYFÞE SONDAI AFTER OCTAVE OF TWELFÞE DAI.

[SERMON XXXVI.]

Simile est regnum celorum homini qui seminavit.
MATT. xiii. [24.]

CRIST in þis parable telliþ þe staat of his Chirche, and seiþ þat þe kyndom of hevene is lyke to a man þat sew good seed in his felde. Þe kyngdom of hevene telliþ boþe togidere, Crist and his maynè, but principali Crist. And herfore Crist is often clepid þe kyngdome of hevene, and þe Chirche, þat is his*. [So in C; om. A, B.] wyfe, is o persone wiþ him. And þus þe kyngdome of hevene seiþ þis spouse and his*. [þis, C.] wyfe; but here is þis kyngdom take for Jesus Crist, þat is boþe God and man, and ordeyneþ wel for his Chirche. Þis man sew first good seed in þe feld of þis Chirche; for he puttide first good feiþ in herte of his servauntis, and þis seed is Goddis word, as Crist himsilf seiþ. Ffirst þis seed growide clene, and brouȝt Page  96 forþ good fruyt, but þe fend had envye þat þis seed growide þus; and þis man þat is enemye to Crist and his Chirche cam and sew tares whan men weren aslepe. For bi dowynge of þe Chirche and necligence of prelatis is mannis lawe medlid wiþ Goddis lawe. And þes double mannis lawes, þe popis and þe emperours*. [The canon law and the civil law.], letten Goddis lawe to growe, and gnaren þe Chirche, as tares gnaren corn, and letten it to þryve. And þe fend went awey, and ceesside sum what to tempte men, for he was sikir of þis tare þat it shulde myche lette þe Chirche. And þis is þe cautil of þe fend, to wiþdrawe his malice and shewe signes, as myraclis, whan he haþ sowen yvel seed, as if God were wel paied wiþ sowyng of siche seed. And as wete somers nurishen siche tares, so lustful lyf of men þat shulden florishe in vertues bryngiþ in siche lawes biside wordis of bileve. And þis lettiþ trewe men to telle Goddis lawe, and lettiþ þe Chirche to growe in feiþ and oþer vertues. And first, whan þe Chirche growid wiþ þis tare, ȝit it was hidd long after þe dowynge*. [The supposed endowment of the Church by Constantine under Pope Sylvester.], but siþ was þis tare shewid, and Goddis lawe hidde. For many wete someres ben comen to þe Chirche, and so mannis lawe growiþ and Goddis lawe is lettid, and speciali bi lawes of þes newe ordres. But whan malice of þes lawes was knowun to trewe men, þanne þei and aungels spoken*. [So in B; spaken, C; speken, A.] to God and preyd Him þat þei myȝt gedre awey þes tares, so þat Goddis lawe myȝte renne freely as it first dide. But Crist denyeþ þis to hem, for harm þat myȝt come, for good corn myȝte be drawun up bifore þat it were rype, as trewe men in God myȝte be sone kild, ȝif þei shewiden to myche þis cause, of clennesse of Goddis lawe. But God haþ ordeyned his seed to growe til it be rype, as God haþ ordeyned his membris to helpe aȝens þe fendis lymes, as longe as it is good þat þe Chirche profite here bi hem. And þus ȝif sowynge of þe fend tarieþ here Cristis Chirche, and makiþ here Cristis corn ful þinne, and makiþ þicke þe fendis lymes, neþeles þis good corn groweþ more medefulli to þe Chirche, for þei have more lettinge, but wel is him þat may stonde. And herfor biddiþ Crist, þat men shal suffre boþe þesPage  97two growe til þet yme of repinge, and þan shal he sey to þe repers, Gidere ȝe first þes tares togidere, and bynde hem in knytchis to brenne, but gedere ȝe þe good corn to my berne. Tyme of þis repinge is clepid þe day of dome, or ellis tyme nyȝ it, and þes repers ben good angelis, þat gederen partis of Cristis Chirche; and þes good angels shal bynde Cristis enemyes in knytchis; and after þei shal brenne in helle bi þe ryȝtful dome of God, and trewe servauntis of Crist shall be gederid bi good aungelis and come to hevene as Goddis bern. And here sup|posen men, siþ it is nyȝe domes day, þat soone hereaftir shal be distryed boþ mannes lawe and her makers, and so, ȝif God wil, boþe ypocritis and trynauntis*. [tirauntis, B; tyrantis, C.] shal be distryed, as þe Antipope wiþ his court, and þes newe religiouse. And þan shal Goddis lawe regne wiþ þe trewe partis of his Chirche; for, as þis gospel telliþ, þes tares shal be gedrid first; but at þe day of dome Cristis lymes shal first be comfortid; and so it semeþ þat Crist spekiþ here of tyme bifore þe day of dome, and þus he moveþ many men for to trete þis mater now. And prey we al devoutely þat God do here as him lykeþ, and stonde we stif in Goddis lawe, and preise we it bifore þis tare.

Many men musen*. [mosyn, C.] of undirstondinge of þis gospel, and þenken þat it is foly to speke aȝens Anticrist, siþ treuþe of Goddis lawe telliþ þat he shal vencuschen Cristene men for a tyme, and we may see þis at eye. And þus telliþ þe gospel þat God*. [So in C; om. A and B.] wole þat tare growe til þe day of dome among good corn, but who shulde reverse God and do aȝens his wille? Here shal we suppose comoun bileve and comoun distincciouns, þat ben said in Latyn, and þanne me þinkiþ þat we shulden preien þat Goddis wille be done, as it is in hevene, so here in erþe. And over þis we shulden stonde sadde in bileve of God, and lyve in vertues as Goddis lawe biddiþ us, and assenten not to synne of Anticrist þat regneþ now, but have sorewe þerfore, siþ Crist hadde sorewe for synne and wepte never but þries for synne, as Goddis lawe techiþ us, and resoun acordiþ herwiþ; siþ synne is moost yvel, and so we shulden more have sorewe for synne þan for ony Page  98 oþer yvel. And þus, ȝif we myȝte lette synne, we shulden be Goddis proctours, al if we dien þerfore, and profiten here no more. But lyve we wel, and God failiþ not to consaile us how we shal do, and þus assente we not to synne but profite we as God biddiþ us. And herby may we answere to þe fendis argument. Suppose we þat Anticrist shall vencushe trewe men for a tyme; but þis is in bodily victory and not in vencushing of treuþe; for þus he vencuschiþ no man, but ever is overcome him silf. And þus trewe men shal ever have mater for to fiȝte goostly, boþe wiþ þe fend and his membris, þat ben wickide men of þis world. And so wiþ þis undir|stondinge fiȝte we wisely wiþ þis world, but algatis loke þat we be armed wiþ pacience and charite; and þan þe fiȝting of þe fend may no wey do us harm. And if þis skile shulde move men to performe Goddis wille, never shulde man fiȝte wiþ synne, for God wole þat synne profite. But what witen we wher tyme be come þat God wole þat þis tare be distryed? And herfore worche we wiseli, and fiȝte we aȝens þe fend, siþ þis stondiþ wiþ Goddis lawe and wiþ fillinge of Goddis wille.

ÞE GOSPEL ON SEPTUAGESIME SONDAY.

[SERMON XXXVII.]

Simile est regnum celorum homini patrifamilias.
—MATT. xx. [I.]

ÞIS gosþel telliþ bi a parable how God haþ ordeyned for his Chirche fro þe bygynnynge of þe world, as longe as it dwelliþ here. The kyngdom of hevene, seiþ Crist, is lyke to a good huse|boonde*. [Bonde in the Scandinavian dialects has the sense of peasant, or small proprietor.]; þat wente first eerly to hire werkmen into his vyneȝerde. Þis housbonde is God, and þis vyneȝerde is his Chirche, and at þe bygynnynge of þe world he hyred men to wirche þerynne, for alle þes men þat comen to hevene wirchen wel in þis Chirche; and her hire is a peny þat þei taken, for dai of hir lyf. And þis peny is hadde of men bi godhede and manhede of Crist. AndPage  99aftir þis acorde made, he sente þes werkmen into his Chirche. And þis housbonde wente out in þe þridde houre of his day, and say oþer stondinge ydel in þe cheping to be hired, and þis fadir seide to hem, Go ȝe in to my vyneȝerde, and þat þing þat is riȝt Y shal ȝyve ȝou. Þes werkmen ben seintis þat God hadde ordeynede for to travaile in his Chirche after þe first age, and þei stoden ydel in þe way to heveneward bifore þat God hadde moved hem to traveile in his Chirche. And God bihiȝt þat he shulde ȝyve hem þat were riȝtful hem to have, and þat is þe blisse of hevene, þat falliþ to þis large lord. For it is uncerteyne to hem where þei shal perfourme þis travail, herfore he bihetiþ to hem to ȝyve hem þat were riȝtful. And þei wenten forþ and wrouȝten wel, werke of þis vyneȝerde; and þus he dide in þe sixte houre and in þe nynþe houre also. For God hirede laborers after þat his Chirche hadde nede, and so he bood*. [abode, C.] first oo our and siþ two to hire servauntis. He wente forþ aboute þe enlevenþe hour, and fond oþer men stondinge, and seide to hem, Whi stonde ȝe here al dai ydel fro traveil af þis vyneȝerde*. [So in C; A and B wrongly include the clause in the italics.]? And þei seiden to him, for no man hadde hirid hem; and he seide unto hem, And go ȝe in to my vyneȝerde. He made noon oþer covenaunt wiþ hem, for two bifore weren ynow.

Þes fyve houres bitokenen boþe þe elde of þe Chirche from þe bigynnynge til þat Crist cam, and trewe men þat traveiliden þer|inne. For it is seid comonly þat þe world haþ sixe eeldis. Þe first was from Adam to Noe; þe toþer from Noe to Abraham; þe þridde from Abraham to David; þe fourþe from tyme of David to passinge in to Babiloyne; and þe fyfte fro þat tyme til þe natyvyte of Crist. Þe sixte age is undirstonde from þennes til þe day of dome. Þan shal the liȝt of Crist go doun fro dwellinge in þis world, and shyne in þe toþer worlde by mene of þe day of dome, and for notablete*. [notablite, B; notabilite, C.] of Crist. He telliþ not hirynge for þis hour; and, for þis tyme is to come, and Goddis lawe is ful hereof, he telliþ not of þis sixte hiryng, but undir|stondiþ it in oþer. Ne we shulde not knowe nowe þe quantite of þis age þat lastiþ fro Cristis ascencioun unto dai of jugement. Þe traveile in þis vyneȝerde stondiþ in þes þre þingis: firste, digge aboute þe vyne rotis, and dunge hem wel, and hile hem þanne. Page  100 Þe secounde traveile in þis vyneȝerde is to kitte wel þe braunchis; and þe þridde traveile herof were to araile þes growynge vynes. Sum of þis perteyneþ to God and sum is done bi mannis traveile. God himsilf makiþ þes vynes, and plantiþ hem in his ȝerde; for God makiþ trewe men, and ȝyveþ hem witt to bryng good fruyte; and prechours ben helpours of God, and delven aboute bi bileve, but God ȝyveþ þe growynge, al ȝif men planten and watren. For þus dide Jeromye in þe olde testament; and þus also dide Poul in þe tyme of grace. And so þes laborers have nede to delve aboute þes rotis, lest yvel eerbis growen þere, and bastard braunchis wiþouten bileve. Þei ben dungid wiþ fyve wordis, þat seint Poul wolde teche þe puple; þe whiche sum men undirstonden hevene and helle and weies to hem; but þe first word and þe fifþe is þe holy Trinite. Whan þes fyve sentencis ben prechid, and declarid on good manere, þan þes vynes ben dungid, and wele hilid wiþ erþe. But wise men kitten þes branchis, whan þei wiþdrawun cursid men þat ben superflue in þe Chirche, and letten it to brynge forþ wyne. And to þis helpen myȝti men þat drawen fro clerkis worldely goodis þat þei have aȝen Goddis lawe, and done harm to his Chirche, but þei þat martiren Goddis servauntis, be þei knyȝtis, be þei preestis, þei be foxis þat ben aboute to distrie þis vyneȝerd. Þe railynge falliþ to prelatis and oþer vikeris of God, þat makiþ þe statis of men to stonde in þe bondis þat God haþ ordeyned; and ȝif wyndis or oþer weders putten doun þes statis to þe erþe, bi vertue and strengþe of prelatis shulde þes statis ben holden up. And so ech cristene man shulde helpe þis vyneȝerde; for growynge of coolwortis and oþer wedis maken malencolie and oþer synnes, and gladen men not, to wende to hevene, but maken hem hevy to falle to helle. And whan evenynge was come, þe lord of þis vyneȝerde seide to his proctour, and bade hem clepe þes werkmen, and ȝyve hem her hire, bigynynge at þe last werkmen unto þe first laborers.

Þe lord of þis vyneȝerde is þe godhede of Crist, and þe proctour herof may be clepid his manhede. Þis evenynge is þe day of dome, þat sum tyme is clepid myd nyȝt, and sum tyme clere dai, to dyverse men þerinne, as þe same tyme is clepid here day and here nyȝt, here faire tyme and Page  101 hoot, and her foule wedir and coold. Clepynge of þes werk|men is clepynge to goddis dome, þat is þe laste trumpe þat seint Poul spekiþ of. Crist shal bigynne at men of þis last tyme, for men of þis last age shal be more blessid, and be first in worþynesse þan men of oþer ages, siþ þe manhede of Crist is in þe sixte age, and his modir wiþ apostlis shulen passe oþer in blisse, and so in oþer agis þe later hadden more grace, siþ Crist is þe emperoure, þat wendiþ ever alarginge. Þe sevenþe age is clepid of men þat slepen in purgatorye, and þe eiȝte age of blissed men in hevene, and in þes eiȝte agis endiþ al þis world.

And so al þes laborers toke ech one his peny. But men of þe first hour demeden þat þei shulden have more þan men of þe enlevenþe hour, ffor þei travailiden first and longer. And þus þei grucchiden aȝen þe housebonde, and seiden to him; Þes comen in þe last houre, and þou madist hem evene to us, þat baren þe charge and þe hete of þe daie of traveile. But he answeride to oon of hem, and seide þus to him, Frend, Y do þee no wronge; for of a peny þou cordist wiþ me. Take þat is þine, and go ful paied, for Y wole ȝyve þis laste as myche as Y wole ȝyve þee. Where it is not leveful to me to*. [So in B and C; om. A.]do wiþ my owne þing as Y wole? Wher þin eyen ben wickid for þat Y am good? Þus shal þe laste be firste, and þe first be last; for many ben clepid, but fewe of hem ben chosen. Þis grutchinge of þes seintis is not stryvinge of hem, but woundringe in soule, as Seint Gregore*. [See the nineteenth Homily of Pope Gregory (Benedictine edition, Paris, 1705), vol. i. p. 1512. The labourers that murmured are inter|preted to mean the saints under the old dispensation, who, though they had merited heaven by their good lives, yet obtained it not, till the descent of Christ into hell had set them free, and opened to them the gates of Paradise.] seiþ. And so þis demynge and grutching þat þis gospel spekiþ of is woundrynge in soule, and þankinge of Goddis grace, þat he ȝaf so myche joie to men for so litil traveile. For more joie þei myȝt not have, but fulli as myche as þei wolden. And so shal al witen wel þat God doiþ no wrong to hem, but þat he hiȝt hem graciously, he haþ fully ȝyven hem; ne noon of hem shulde grutchen aȝen goodnesse of þis just fadir, for he may ȝyve of his owne, more þan ony man may Page  102 disserve bi mannis riȝtwisnesse, or evenhede*. [ony nede, C.] of ony chaffare*. [The meaning is, 'or according to the just understanding of any bargain.']. And so God seiþ to ech seint þat he shulde take his mede by grace, and so go in to þe blisse of hevene where seintis shal ever dwelle in pees.

SEXAGESIME SONDAY GOSPEL.

[SERMON XXXVIII.]

Cum turba plurima.
—LUC. viii. [4.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ in a parable hou þat holy Chirche growide bi graciouse sowynge of Crist, and growinge of þis holy seed; and in tyme of Sexagesime men sowen bodili seed. Þe storye of þe gospel telliþ, Whan myche puple was come to Crist, and þei hastiden of citeis to heere of him Goddis word, he seide bi a simili|tude; He wente out þat sowiþ ay to sowe his seed in his lond; but on foure maneres felle his seed upon his lond. Sum fellen bi side þe wey, and was defoulid, and foulis of heven ete it. And sum felle on a stone, and whan it was sprongen, it dryed up, for it hadde no moisture. Sum felle among þornes, and þornes grow|inge strangliden it. And sum felle in to good erþe, and þat sprong up, and made an hundrid fold fruyt. And Crist, seiyng þes wordis, cryede and seide to þe puple, He þat haþ eeres to heere, heere he, and undirstonde þis witt. And evermore, as seintis seyen, whan God biddiþ men heere þus, his sentence is presciouse and shulde be markid wel of men. And his disciplis axiden him what ment þis parable, and Crist seide unto hem, þat to hem was grauntid to knowe þe privyte of þe rewme of God, and to oþer men in parablis, þat þei, seynge wiþouten forþ, se not wiþynne in her soule, and þei heerynge þe wordis of þe parable undirstonden not þe witt of þem.

Crist seide þat þis is undirstonding of þis parable. Þe seed is Goddis word, þat felle to men on foure maneres.—Þis first seed is Goddis word, þat fell in sum biside þe wey; for sum ben Page  103 cumbrid wiþ þe fend, and so defoulid wiþ þe worlde þat þe erþe is not able to take þis seed and hilen it; and herfore comeþ þe fend and takiþ Goddis word fro þer hertis, for he puttiþ in her þouȝt strange þing fro þis seed and so he takiþ fro þer witt þe vertue of Goddis seed. And herfore it is perelous to dwelle þus biside þe weye, and be defoulid wiþ þe fend and wiþ sentence þat he wole teche. Þe fend takiþ fro men Goddis word þat þei trowe not in it; and for, bi suche trouþe, men may sunnest be saif, þe fend purposiþ to take awey Goddis word, last þat men trowen in it, and so be saaf. Þe fendis may dwelle in comoun weye, where God wole not sowe his seed, and pike awey þe seed biside, and aspie unsow place, and gedere þe seed þat is sowen. He haþ noo power of þis seed, but power of þe man by synne. And þus men out of bileve, þat ben hardid in þer untreuþe, maken a comoun weye and playne, where fendis and beestis may freely go; and on londis biside þis weye ben many voide places, for many semen in bileve, but feiþ is voided fro hem. Þe secounde place of þis lond þat Goddis seed is sowen ynne, is stony lond wiþ brood stoonys, upon which þis seed falliþ, and stones ben hard and erþe litil, and for a tyme þei taken wiþ joie þe wordis of God þat ben sowen, but hem wantiþ rootis of charite; and so þei turnen to þe world, for coveitise of worldely goodis. And þis seed wantiþ rotis of love to stonden in Goddis lawe, for þei loven more erþely goodis þan þe fruyt of bileve. For þis seed of Goddis word mut be rootid in charite, so þat neiþer poverte ne peyne ne manasse made of Antecrist make men falle fro Goddis lawe, for stabilnesse in þe roote. Þe þridde lond þat takiþ þis seed is ful of þornes and yvel weedis, and þes growen up wiþ þe corn, and distrye good seed; for siche ben ȝoven*. [So B; A has ȝyve.] to worldely lustis, and lustful þing lykeþ hem, as þingis þat plesen þe bodi, as mete and drynke, and ydlenesse, and leichery, wiþ worldely goodis þat susteynen bodily lustis. And þus it fareþ as Gregory seiþ*. [S. Greg. Homil. in Evang. xv. § 3.]: al ȝif rychesse liken þe fleishe, neþeles þei ryven*. [reyven, C.] þe soule, and maken it bisye aboute veyn þingis; and þus þei prycken and wounden þe soule, as þornes done harm to þe fleishe. Page  104

And þus þis lond is undisposid bi þree enemyes of a man, þe which be, þe fend, þe world, and þe fleishe wanton of a man. Of þes speken Joon and James, and Crist here in her*. [his, C.] wordis; for þes þree letten Goddis word to bryng forþ fruyte in mannis soule. And þerefore, ȝif þou coveite in God þat his seed profite to þee, chastise wele þes þree enemyes þat letten Goddis seed to growe, and þan þou hast good land and wel disposid to take þis seed, and it bryngiþ in siche soulis fruyte to an hundrid fold; siþ goodis of blisse þat ben in hevene passen alle oure goodis here, as an hundrid done oon. And þes in substaunce ben þis seed, and þis lore is profitable to holi Chirche and makiþ it growe, and reisiþ it fro þe erþe to þe heynesse of hevene. Þis seed haþ many propertees þat fallen to bodily seed, for it is litil in quantite and þe vertue of it is hid, but Goddis grace mut quykene it, as liȝt of hevene quykeneþ oþer seed, and dewe of grace þat comeþ of God, wiþ þe hete of charite, norishen þis goostly seed, and maken it growe up to hevene. But as þe gospel of Joon seiþ, þe corn of whete falliþ in to erþe, and siþ it dieþ, and þan it groweþ many folde to myche corn. Þis whete corn is Cristis bodi, þat bicam man here in erþe, þat first was deed and siþ roos, and brouȝte of him many partis; and þus growide holi Chirche from oon to hir ful noumbre. But beestis and lymes of þe fend be myche to blame for þis fruyte, for þei letten it to growe many weies bi fendis cautelis, and sum, bifore þat it be rype, þei kitten*. [om. E.] and*. [om. E.] letten fruyte to come. And her|fore hey wardis shulden be ware and do þer office in þe Chirche, for ellis þei ben traitours to God, in fals kepinge of his felds. And vertues of a soule, and specialy mannis pacience, ben as marle or dunge to men, and maken hem bryng forþ siche fruytis.

Aboute þis tixt may men doute, how þis seed may wexe drye, or faile in ony wyse, siþ it is Cristis word, and Crist seiþ þat hevene and erþe shal passe and faile, but not his word. But here we witen how treuþe of God may not faile in his substaunce, siþ it is kynde of God, þat nedely is ȝif ouȝt be; but þe fruyte þat it shulde make may faile in men by synne of hem. And þus þis seed haþ many names, and bi Page  105 many resouns is knowen, and bi diversite of resouns may men assoile þes doutes. But moreover þes men douten here, siþ God is sower of þis seed, and He is ful of witt and myȝt, whi sowiþ he in yvel lond? But here we shal undirstonde þat noo defaute may be in God; but as he ȝyveþ reyn and wedris to good men and to yvel, so he offrid his seed boþe to lond good and yvel; and al ȝif fruyte þat it shulde have perishe ofte for mannis synne, neþeles substaunce of þis seed may not faile, siþ it is God. And þus meneþ Anselme*. ['Improprie hujus vel illius rei esse dicitur [veritas]; quoniam illa non in ipsis rebus, aut ex ipsis, aut per ipsas, in quibus esse dicitur, ha|bet suum esse; sed cum res ipsae secundum illam sunt, quae semper praesto est his quae sunt sicut de|bent, tunc dicitur hujus vel illius rei veritas.' S. Anselm Dialog. de Veritate, ch. xiii. The heading of the chapter is 'Quod una sit veritas in omnibus veris.'], þat þere is no treuþe but oone, for ech treuþe in his ground is þe first treuþe of alle. And leve we to ȝonge men scole tretynge of þis matere, but ȝit men douten what moveþ God to wiþdrawe his grace fro men, and to lette þis seed for to growe, as he shewiþ it in parablis. But here seiþ Poul þat no man shulde blame God for his good dede, siþ he doiþ bi his grace al þingis þat he doiþ, and wiþdrawiþ never his grace, but ȝif man unable him selfe; and þan bi riȝtwisnesse of God nediþ þis synner to be punishid. But sum men seyen þat alle þingis moten nedis come by God, and so what harmes comen in þis world, profiten unto þis world, eiþer*. [euþer, A; for, E; the reading in the text is that of B.] to make good þing beter, oþer to make good anewe*. [So in B; onewe, A; of newe, E; of new, C.], or ellis to preyse God and to joie for peyne þat is to men in helle. And so Crist telliþ in parablis his witt for many causis. First, for men unworþi to knowe it ben blyndid bi derke speche; moreover, for men þat medefulli traveilen for to knowe þis parable witt boþe shal traveile more medefulli and betere printe þe witt þus gate; and also, in siche parablis as myche philosophie is knowen as is nedeful for a man for to cunnen in þis weie. And so, ȝif God ordeyne þus, it is best þat it be so.

Page  106

QUINQUAGESIME SONDAY GOSPEL.

[SERMON XXXIX.]

Assumpsit Jesus duodecim discipulos.
—LUC. xviii. [31.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist warnede his disciplis bifore of his passioun, to teche þat he ordeynede it, and suffride not aȝens his wille, but chees for love þat he hadde to man to suffre þus and bigge man. Jesus toke his twelve disciplis, and seide þus unto hem, Loo, we steien to Jerusalem, and alle þingis þat ben writun bi prophetis of mannis sone shal be endid, as þei nedis mote. Crist clepiþ himsilf mannis sone bleþeliche*. [bleliche, B, C, E.], for þis cause. Foure maneres þere ben of men þat ben brouȝt in to þis world. Þe first man was made of erþe, but Eve was made of man. Þe þridde man cam of hem two by comoun gendrure of man; but Crist worshipid*. [That is, dignified.] womans kynde, and cam bi myracle of Marye, so þat whan þat Crist clepiþ himsilf wommans sone, or his modir womman, he specifieþ his manhede. And so, ȝif prophetis and oþer men weren soþeli seid mannis sones, naþeles Crist was propreli sone of a persone of mankynde, for he was a virgyns sone, wiþoute man þat gate*. [gat, B, C.] Crist of hir. Þes forfadris of whiche Crist cam, as Abraham, David, and oþer, gendriden not Crist of Marye, for she kepte ever her maydenheed. And so for worship of his modir, and of kynde of men and wommen, Crist wolde clepe him mannis sone, and specifie his manheed. Sixe þingis telliþ Crist to come in his passioun. First, Crist shal be ȝovun to Pilat and knyȝtis, to be slayn; and alle þes weren heþene men, and figuriden*. [figurid, C.] þat þei shulden be turned. And ypocrisie of Jewis, whan þei feyneden unleveful to hem for to slee Jesus Crist, telliþ þat þei shulden be endured*. [That is, hardened.]. After Crist was many weies scorned, and aftir he was tormentid, and after he was spitt upon; and aftir þis turment he was kild, and he roos on þe þridde day, as it was shewid aftir in dede. But disciplis of Jesus undir|stoden not of þes sixe þingis; for al ȝif þei herden þe voicis, þei undirstoden þan noon of þes, for it was unsemely to hem þat Page  107 ony of þes þingis shulde falle; and so þei supposiden þat Crist spake mystily in þes wordis. And whan Crist cam nyȝe Jerico, a blynde man sate bi þe weye and beggide, for synne of þe puple þat wolde not helpe him wiþouten siche begginge, al ȝif Goddis lawe forfende siche beggers for to be. Whan þis blynde man herde þe puple passinge wiþ Crist in þe weye, he axide what þat was; and þei seiden aȝen to him þat Jesus of Nazareþ passide þerbi. And he criede on him, and seide, Jesus, þat art David sone, have mercy on me. And men þat wenten bifore Crist blameden him, and bade him holde his pees; but he cryede myche more, David sone, have mercy on me. And Jesus bleþeli dide mercy whan he was clepid David sone, for it was soþ bi Goddis heste; and David was woundirful meke, and figuride Crist specialy in many þingis þat felle to him. And þus stood Jesus, and made þis man be brouȝt to him, and whanne he cam nye, Crist axide him, what he wolde þat Crist did to him. And he seide, Lord, þat Y see. And Jesus seide to him, Þan loke þou, þi bileve haþ made þee saaf. And he saw anoon, and suede Crist, heriyinge*. [So B, C, E; heerynge, A.]God; and al þe puple, whan þei sawe þis, ȝaven loovynge*. [louyng, E; lowyng, C.]to God.

Þe goostly sence of þis gospel moveþ men to vertues, al if fleishely disciplis undirstonden þis not. A vertuous man must suffre of his kynde six maner of suffringis, as Crist dide here, and þan in siche pacience is þis man ordeyned to go to hevenly Jerusalem, as Crist wente here in erþe to bodili Jerusalem. A man shulde first be ȝovun to þes heþene fendis; and þei first scornen þis man, and tempten him bi his fleishe; and siþ þei puten him on þe cros to chastise his fleish as Poul dide, and siþ to die to þis world, and siþ to ryse spiritualy, for þus men shulden flee þer fleishe and ryse to God in þer goost. And ȝif þes wordis ben scorned of fleishly men and worldely, neþeles it shulde be þus, bi bileve þat men shulden have; and þus we shulden sue Crist, suffringe as he suffride, and we shulden wende bi Jerico, and speke wiþ þis blynde man, and do werkes of mercy to him goostly as Crist dide.—Jerico is þe mone*. [Jericho means " 'place of frag|rance,' from [gap: 1] , Ruach, to breathe, [gap: 1] , to smell; older commentators derive it from [gap: 1] , Fareach, the moon." (Smith's Dict. of the Bible.)], or smellynge þat men shulde have, for ech man in Page  108 þis lyf shulde smelle Crist, and sue hym. And riȝt as þe mone is principale planete after þe sunne, so Cristis manhede is principal after his Godhede. And as fadris of þe olde lawe smelliden Crist in þer dedes, so myche more we shulden now smelle Crist in alle oure dedes, and þanne we shulden sue þis moone, and eende sikirly þis weie. For þis smelle is Crist, clepid plantinge of rose in Jerico, and his weye is smellinge of a ful felde þat God hadde blessid, and þis smel hadde Jacob and oþer fadris þat trowiden in Crist. Þis blynde man is mankynde þat was blyndid bi synne, and beggide boþe of God and man, for it was nedid herto. Ech man mote begge of God and axe of him his ech daies breed, and begge goostly werkis of mercy of his breþeren, for þei ben slowe to do þes werkes as þei ben holden to do bi þe lawe of God. And þes men sitten bi þe weye þat ben temptid of þe fend, þat takiþ of hem Goddis word, and makiþ hem pore in bileve. Þes men heeren þat Jesus passid bi þis wey in many membris, and þei cryen fast on him to helpe hem in þis nede; but Jesus biddiþ siche blynde men to be brouȝt to him in þer bileve; and þei axen first of Jesus, to see wel in riȝt bileve. And men þat ben worþi herto, seen anoon in þer bileve, suyinge Crist and lovynge God, for þan þei witen how þei shulden lyve. But þes men þat comen bifore blamen faste þis blynde man and letten him for to crye and axe helpe þus of Crist. For many comen not wiþ Jesus in þer lore þat þei techen, but comen bifore him, and seien þat þei ben betere þan he, and suen him not in þer lyf, but holden a lyf þat þei have founden. And þes men þat smellen Crist in his lyf, and his lawe, þei clepen hem ypocritis, and maken hem ceese to speke of Crist. But þes men þat saveren God bi suche wordis, speken more, and preien Crist to helpe hem to þe tyme þat þei ben dede, and ever þese*. [So in B; þes, C; þis, A.] men smellen more of Jesus Crist, þat is þis rose. For good þing comfortiþ men, ȝhe more whan it is more defoulid. And þus þei seen and suen Crist to hevenly Jerusalem, and loven him in word and dede from þe tyme þat þei have þis siȝt.

Page  109

ÞE FIRSTE SONDAI GOSPEL IN CLEENE LENTUN.

[SERMON XL.]

Ductus est Jesus in desertum.
—MATTH. iv. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist was temptid þre tymes of þe fend, and how he overcam þe fend, to teche us, how we shulde do. Þe storye telliþ þat Jesus was ladde of þe Holy Goost in to þe desert sone after his fastynge, to be temptid of þe fend. For þe fend temptiþ men, whan he supposiþ þat þei ben moost feble. Þe fend supposid þis of Crist whan he hadde fastid fourty daies, and resouns of þe fend, where Crist was boþe God and man, marrid him so þat he wiste nevere where þis was soþ or fals. And þis coveitide he to wite, for þanne he wolde have lettid men to do Crist þus to þe deþ, lest he savyde mankynde. It was not pleyne to þe fend þat Crist was God for þis fastynge. For Moyses and Ely boþe fastiden fully fourty daies, and ȝit neiþer of hem was God, as þe fend wiste wel. But Jesus bi his manere of fastinge passide boþe Moyses and Hely. For Crist fastide fourty daies, and neiþer ete ne drank in þis tyme, and he was in quyke age, and listide wel to ete, and he was not occupied on oþer|wise as þes two weren. Moyses was in þe mount wiþ God, and fed wiþ him in al þis tyme. Hely was an oold man, and fedde wiþ drede of þe kyng. But Jesus was a ȝonge man, and fourty daies lyvede wiþ beestis, and suffrid of God for to hungre more þan ony oþer dide. And so Crist passide boþe þes two and Joon Baptist wiþ hem, al ȝif he lyvede after comoun lyf to ȝyve ensaunple to his Chirche, but Baptiste lyvede more comounly peynful lyf þan dide Crist.

Þe fend bigan to tempte first Crist at pryde and glotonye, for him þouȝt bi þes two he shulde sounest overcome Crist. Þis tempter seide þus to Crist, ȝif þou be Goddis sone, sey þat þes stones be maad loves, for þe fend wiste wele þat þis myȝte God liȝtly have do, for Crist dide more wounder whan he made þis world of not, and whan he fed so many folk wiþ fyve loves and fewe fishes, as þe fend wiste wele after, but ȝit þis was hidde Page  110 fro him. And here we witen þat oure philargis ben more foolis þan is þe fend; for þe fend wote wele þat God may liȝtly make stones loves, but oure philosophris seyen as foolis þat þis þing may no wey be. And so þe fend supposid of Crist, ȝif he were God, he shulde do þis, boþe for shewynge of his myȝt and for to*. [So in B and C; om., A.] abate his hunger. But here answeride Crist to þe fend bi autorite of holy writt, and seide, It is writun þere inne þat not oonly in breed lyveþ man, but in ech word þat comeþ of Goddis mouþ; þat is, his vertue to speke to men in þer soule; and þis passiþ erþely breed. And so þe fend failide foule in þis temptacioun of Crist, for ȝif Crist wolde for pryde do þis myracle, and make þus breed of stoones, he wolde in comunalte*. [communete, B.] do þis dede, and not þus oonli in desert. And ȝif Crist myȝt þus make breed, he myȝt þus make boþe fleish and fishe, and þan Crist hadde noo nede þus to hungre aȝens his wille. And so þe fend was a fool whan he temptide Crist þus. But Crist answeride wisely, and for to ȝyve men ensaumple to answere bi Goddis lawe, and to love more it þan erþely þing.—A sophistre wolde denye þis resoun þat þe fend made to Crist, but he coude not teche þus þat Goddis word is more to love þan ony erþely mete, and so it shulde not be lefte þerfore. And þus ȝif we can answere covenably bi Goddis lawe whan þat we ben temptid of pryde, of glotonye or oþer synne, we may wel overcome þe fend and ech þing þat temptiþ us þus. For ȝif we love betere Goddis word þan ony mete þat we shulden ete, we shulden not leve Goddis word and chese þis mete aȝens resoun.

Þe secounde temptacioun in which þe fend temptide Crist was done on þis manere, for to move Crist to pride. Þe fend toke him in to þe holy citee, and as men seien comounly, þe fend bare him over Jerusalem, as Crist were fleyng in þe eire, and putte him above þe pynacle of þe temple: þat sum men seyen weren þe aleis, and seide to Crist, ȝif he were Goddis sone, þat he shulde make him silf go doun. And herto aleggid þe fend to Crist þe psalme, þat he myȝte surely do þis, for God bade his aungelis of Crist to kepe him in al his weies, Page  111lest he hurte his foot at þe stoone. And myche more Crist shulde not hirte him at þe eire, ne in his fallyng at þe erþe, ne at no þing þat Crist mette. And here men passen foly of þe fend. For he wolde alegge holy writt in temptacioun of Crist to prove him þat it were sykir; but Antecrist deyneþ not to alegge Goddis lawe for his power; but he seiþ þat if men denyen it þei shal be cursid, slayn, and brent*. [This passage alone would prove that there had been question among the bishops of resorting to the ultima ratio of fire and faggot, many years before the enactment of the statute of 1401.]. But þus þe fend temptide not Crist, al ȝif he were of more power þan ben þes Antecristis disciplis to tempte Crist or Cristen men. But Crist answeride bi holy writt as þe fend aleggide it to him, and seide to þe fend þat it was writun þat noon shulde tempte þe Lord his God. But it were al oone to lepe doun þus and to tempte God. And so, siþ Crist chargide more Goddis word þan ony worship or mete, myche more he chargide þe synne þus for to tempte God.—Lord! what nede shulde Crist have to lepe doun þus fro þe pynacle, siþ he myȝte on oþer maner surely come doun bi þe aleis. And ȝif men perseyveden not þe heyng*. [hyeng, B, C.] of Crist to þe pynacle, ne berynge of him over þe citee, for mennys eyen as it is seide weren hid fro lokynge upon Crist, myche more men shulden not wite hou Crist cam doun to þe erþe. For lesse it is to come doun from an hey place þan to come þider. And þus feilide foly of þe fend to tempte Crist þus to pryde. But here men douten comounly what it is to tempte God, and it is seid comounly þat ech man temptiþ God þat chesiþ þe werse weye, and leveþ þe beter þat he shulde knowe. And so no man may do synne but ȝif he tempte God in a manere, for God dide no wronge to man ȝif he dampnede man for synne, were it never so liȝt synne, and ȝif his temptynge were never so stronge. And þus þenken many men, þat who ever entre a newe religioun þat was not first ordeyned of Crist, he temptiþ God and synneþ gretely. For two weyes ben putte to him. Þe toon is re|ligioun of Crist of whiche he shulde be sure bi feiþ þat it is þe best þat may be, and þe toþir is new founden of synful servauntis of Crist, þat men shulden wite is not so good as Cristis ordre Page  112 more liȝt. And so þis man temptiþ God þat chesiþ þus þis newe ordre, and þis synne is comoun now among men for chesing of state. For who ever chesiþ him a state to lyve inne, and to serve God, but ȝif he trowe þat þis state be betere to him and more siker, þat man in þis temptiþ God, and þis man mut putte awey þe worlde, þe fend, and his fleishe, þat þei disseyven him not in chesynge of siche state.

Þe þridde temptinge of þe fend made to Crist is þus told. Þe fend toke Crist in to an hill þat was ful hiȝ, and shewide hym al þe rewmes of þis world and þe joye of hem, and seide to Crist, Al þise shal Y ȝyve þee, ȝif þou falle and loute me. And þan seide Jesus to þe fend, Go awey, Saþanas, ffor it is writun in Goddis lawe, þe Lord þi God þou shalt worshipe, and to him oone þou shal*. [schalt, B, C.]serve þus. And here men marken how þat Crist was pacient in two temptyngis bifore, but in þe þridde he myȝte not suffre þat ne he spake sharpely to þe fend. And in þis be we tauȝt to suffre mekely oure owne wronge, but aȝen wrong of God we shulden be wood to venge it. For þus dide Crist and*. [So B and C; A has to.] Moyses and oþer men þat sueden him. And þus in þree temptaciouns oure Lord Jesus overcam þe fend by þe wisdom of God, and autorite of holy wrytte. And ȝif we marken wel þes þre, we may not be temptid of yvel spirit, but ȝif we have lore to overcome him, ȝif we studien wel þis gospel. And after þes þre victories þis greet fend lefte Crist, and good aungelis comen to him and serveden to him as to þer God. And*. [So B and C; A has As.] sum men seien þat þis fend was Saþanas, þe moost of alle, þat siþ was bonden in helle a þousand ȝeer, as seint Joon seiþ, for as men seyen comounly whan a fend is þus vencushid, he haþ no power to tempte þat man, and specialy of þat synne. And þus delyveride Crist þis world of þis fend and his felowis, þat þei anoiden*. [anoieden, B; anoyden, E.] lasse his Chirche after bi þis þousand ȝeer.

Page  113

ÞE SECOUNDE SONDAI IN LENTEN.

[SERMON XLI.]

Egressus Jesus secessit in partes Tyri.
—MATT. XV. [21.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a myracle of Crist to stire men to hope mercy, al ȝif þei ben synful. Þe story telliþ how Jesus wente oute of Jude and fel in þe contrees of Tiry and Sidon, þat were countres occupied wiþ heþene men, and nyȝe to Jude. And hem visitide Crist, and lo, a womman of Canaan wente out of hir coostis, and cryede upon Crist, and saide þus to him, Lord, have mercy on me, David sone, my douȝtir is yvel traveilid of a fend. And Crist to contynue devocioun of þis womman, answeride not first a word to hir. And here may we lerne to contynue oure good werke, al ȝif God graunt not oure wille at þe bigynnyng; for God wole have oure herte devoute to him wiþouten ende, here and in hevene. Þe disciplis cam to Crist and spake þus to him, Leve þis womman, for sche crieþ after us. But Crist answeride and seide þus comounly*. [So rightly in E; A and B include the words in the italics.]*. [comounly is equivalent to 'in general terms.'], Y am not sent but to þe perishid sheep of þe hous of Israel, wher þis woman be siche*. [So rightly in B, C, and E. The clause is included in the italics in A.]. And bi þis þis womman came and loutide Crist, and seide, Lord, help me, and Crist answeride and seide, It is not good to take þe breed þat falliþ to children and ȝyve it to houndis to ete fro þes children. And þis womman answeride knowinge Cristis speche, and grauntide þat it were good; as if she wolde mene þus; siþ þou clepist me an hound, and Y suffre mykely, ȝyve þou sum mete of children to þis hound, for whelpis eten of crummes þat fallen fro lordis boordis. And Jesus answeride to her, and wiste hir entent*. [So rightly C; clause included in the italics in A and B.], and seide, O womman, grete is þi feiþ; be it done to þee, riȝt as þou wilt. And hir douȝter was heelid riȝt in þat hour.

Here men douten comounly, where Crist mysseide þis womman or scornede hir, or putt on hir þat she was an hound. Page  114 Or ellis al þes wordis of Crist shulde be take axingly.— Here we shal bileve þat Crist dide alle gatis evene as he shulde do, and þus ȝif Crist scornede hir, þat Y dar not seye, scornynge was leveful, as holy writt proveþ. For Hely þe prophete bade priestis of Baal þat þei shulde strongely crye, leste þer god slepte, or spake wiþ oþer men, þat he myȝte not here hem. And þus scorneþ Poul spekynge to Corynþios, Where Y dide lasse to you þan oþer apostlis diden, but þat Y toke not of ȝou, forȝyve ȝe me þis wronge. And so ofte in Goddis lawe is scornynge wel ment, as ȝif it were leveful done on good manere. But it is seide comounly þat þre þingis ben hard to men, to scorne men medefully, or medefulli plete wiþ men, or ellis for to fiȝt wiþ man, bi þe weye of charite. But al þis may be done, as wise men þenken. But for þei ben perelous, many men supposen þat Crist uside hem never, but wente þe kyngis hye weye. And so Crist axide*. [So B and E; axid, C; axinge, A.] bi manere of ques|tioun where it were not good to take children mete and ȝyve it unto houndis, as who seiþ, Telle þou, and þus heþene men weren clepid houndis of Goddis folc, for properte of houndis acordinge to heþene men. But þis womman mekely grauntide siþ question, and þus men clepid houndis may bicome Goddis children as it bifel of many heþene, þat weren convertid to Crist and made Cristene men. And þus Crist preiside þis womman by hir greete feiþ, and wiþ þis bodili myracle made hir soule hole, and figuride þat heþene folk shulden be turned to him, and of men þat weren first houndis shulden be maad by grace his children. And so þe word of Crist*. [A and B insert here the word shewiþ, which makes the sentence ungrammatical; E and C have it not.], þat he was not sent but to þe seke children of Jacobis hous, was sooþ to þis entent, þat he was sent to hele þes. For what man it be þat Crist convertiþ and saveþ him in hevene, he is Israelis sone, for he supplantiþ þe fend as Jacob dide Esau, and he is maad a man þat seeþ God bi feiþ. And Crist is clepid þus boþ Jacob and Israel, and oþer holy fadris þat figureden Crist, and þus men ben maad by grace of þe hous of Jacob.

But it were to wite þe moral sense of þese wordis, siþ þis kernel is more swete þan sense of þe storye. Tyrus and Page  115 Sidoun weren of þe lond of biheest, nye þe hill of Libanye, but Israel sufficide not to cast hem out of þis lond, and so heþene folk dwelten þere til þat Crist came*. [This sentence is almost literally translated from De Lyra.]. And so þis paynym womman is þe substans of mennis soule, þat is moved of God to preye for hir douȝtir heele. For boþe vertues of þis soule and werkes þerof ben drecchid*. [dretchid, E.] of þe fend and lyven un|medefully. And suche a soule wendiþ out of þe coostis of Chanaan, ffor it forsakiþ þe paynym life þat it was before inne, and it sekeþ not oonly Crist in þe hous but upon þe weye, and cryeþ on him keneli*. [So B; kenely, C, E; A has keneely.] whan by contemplacioun it is devoute in God. And in doinge of werkes it preieþ to him þat it do fully to plesaunce of God. And interpretacioun of Canaan acordiþ, siþ Canaan is chaungid or chaunging*. [See Excursus at the end of the volume.], and a soule þat is first heþene and þus turned to Crist is chaungid by myracle more þan ony body. And Crist norishiþ and scharpiþ þe preier of siche soulis til þat þei ben worþi to have grace of him. And so þes soulis knowun þat þei ben seke sheepe of þe hous of Israel þat have nede of confort. And þei seien þat siche whelpis shulden ete trenchours of lordis, and knowe how God haþ fed his children, and so do bi hem. For it is liȝt to God to make of siche whelpis hool sheepe of Jacobis hous, and þus converte her soulis. And þus bi greetnesse of feiþ enfourmed wiþ charite ben siche soulis maad hool, and turned unto Goddis children. And riȝt as in Cristis tyme, and after bi hise apostlis, he turnede many heþene men to Cristis religioun, so now in tyme of Ante|crist ben Cristene men maad heþene, and reversen Cristis lawe, his lore and his werkes. As now men seyen þat þei shulden, bi lore of þer feiþ, werre upon Cristen men, and turnen hem to þe pope, and slee þer persones, þer wyves, and þer children, and reve hem þer goodis, and þus chastise hem. But certis þis came nevere of chastyment of Crist, siþ Crist seiþ he cam not to lese lyves, but save hem. And herfore þis is chastyment of þe felle fend, and nevere chastyment of Crist, þat uside pacience and myraclis. For Crist techiþ in his lawes þat al þat we shulden Page  116 wille þat men diden skilfulli to us, we shulden do to hem. But what man wolde by skile be þus chastisid of his broþer, for mannis obedience þat he doutiþ to be a fend? Crist axide not siche obedience to be done to him, but who so wolde wiþ good wille obeishe to him wiþouten ȝifte, Crist wolde take hem to grace; but þes men taken to tirantrie. But, as þe sixte sermoun seiþ*. [See page 16, supra.], scribis and pharisees seiden þat man-sleynge was forfendid, but neiþer yre ne yvel word. But Crist diffineþ þus, þat who so is wroþ to his broþer is worþi of jugement, to be dampnyd in helle; and who so wiþ þis ire spekeþ wordis of scorne, he is worþi to be dampned bi counseile of þe Trinite. And whoso wiþ þis wraþe spekiþ folily wordis of sclaundre, he is worþi to be punishid wiþ þe fier of helle. Myche more ȝif preestis now wiþouten cause of bileve sleen*. [So B and E; A has slen.] many þousand men, þei ben worþi to be dampnyd—Croiserye ne assoilinge feyned now of prelatis, shal not at þe daie of dome reverse Cristis sentens. And take we hede to þes þree þat Crist chargiþ bi ordre: wraþe, and scorneful speche, and foli speche of sclaundre; and to þes þree Crist shapiþ jugement, conseil, and þe fier of helle. It is hard to be dampned bi jugement of Cristis manhede, but it is hardere to be dampnyd bi conseile of þe Trinite, but it is hardest to be putt bi þes to þe fier of helle. Lord! ȝif God punishe þus wille and mannis wordis, myche more shal he punishe wille, word, and wickide dede.

ÞE ÞRIDDE SONDAY GOSPEL IN LENTEN.

[SERMON XLII.]

Erat Jesus ejiciens demonium.
—LUC. xi. [14.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Jesus bi a myracle and witty wordis enformeþ his Chirche to flee synne and perel þerof. Þe storye telliþ how Jesus was castynge out a fend of a man and þis fend was doumbe. For he made þis man dombe. And whan hePage  117hadde cast out þis fend, þis man dombe bifore spake and the puple woundride herof for gretnesse of þe myracle. But þe enemyes of Crist, as weren scribis and pharisees, whan þei myȝten not denye þis dede, for it was open to þe puple, þei enterpretiden it amys; and seiden þat Crist dide suche woundris in þe power of a fend, to whom he servede bisily. And þis fend was clepid of hem Belsabub, a*. [om. E.]prince of oþer. And þes men þat defameden Crist þus weren preestis or pharisees; but oþer men bi lasse envye*. [Words rightly excluded from the italics by E, but included by A, B, C.]axiden of Crist a signe of hevene, to conferme þat he dide þis bi þe vertue of God. But Crist when he knew þere þouȝtis, þat þei weren turned þus fro treuþe, bi many resouns proved hem þat þei weren fals in þouȝt and word. And first he seide þus to hem, Ech rewme dividid in him silfe shal be desolatid, and hous shal falle upon hous; and þus ȝif Saþanas be dividid in him silfe as ȝe seien, how shal his rewme stonde stably wiþouten eende? For siþ ȝe seien þat Y cast out a fend bi anoþer, nedis o fend mut be contrarye to anoþer. Þe first word þat Crist toke is soþ by open resoun, for þe strengþe of a rewme comeþ of acord of þe partis of it, and ȝif oon contrarieþ anoþer, nedis þe strengþe is enfeblid. And ȝif þe partis mut ever laste and oon wite anoþeris state, þat rewme mut nede be desolate, al ȝif þes partis shal laste ay; for on hous of a more myȝti prince shal falle upon anoþer hous, and bi fiȝtynge amonge hem shal al þe rewme be feblid, siþ þes partis, ful acordid, shulden helpe þis rewme and make it strong. And riȝt as a ruynous hous falliþ on anoþer and brekeþ it, so o maynè of a rewme falliþ on anoþer and enfebliþ it. And so shulde it be of þe fendis, ȝif o prince contraried anoþer. And so ȝif Saþanas, prince of fendis, be þus dividid in him silfe, how shulde his rewme be strengþid by dedes þat Crist doiþ? but myche more Cristis rewme, þat is strengþid aȝens the fend, shulde have anoþer prince contrarie to Saþanas. Also, ȝif Y cast out a fend in vertue of Belsabub, ȝour children, þat ben my postlis, in whos name shulden þei cast out fendis? Certis not in my name, for þan Y were a wickide man, and siþ þei done þus comounly in my name, þat is Jesus, þei shal juge ȝou as fals in þis interpre|tacioun. Page  118But certis ȝif Crist cast out þus þe fendis in special werk of God, þe rewme of God, þat is his Chirche, is comen*. [So B and E; A has comoun.]amounge hem. And so þe heed of þis Chirche, contrarye to Sa|þanas, is comyn among hem, in whos vertue þes dedis ben done. And so bi chasynge of þes fendis done bi Crist in þis manere, myȝte þei wele wite þat Crist was evene contrary to þe fendis, and þan Crist was a spirit þat was nedis boþe God and man.

Also ȝif a strong man wel armed kepe his castel, alle þingis þat he haþ þerynne ben surely kept in pees: and ȝif oon stronger þan he com on him and vencushe him, he wole take awey his armes in which he affiede him. And siþ þis is done to fendis, as ȝe may se bi þer dedis, ȝe mut graunt þat a prince more strong þan þe fend is comen. Þis strong man is þe fend; his armes ben his cautelis; his castel ben his lymes þat he dwelliþ inne. Þe strenger is Crist þat comeþ upon þe fend; þat ven|cushide þe hede fend, in his þre temptaciouns, and ofte tymes he cast out fendis of men. Al þe cautelis of þe fend toke Crist awey, and kyndely vertues of men þat þe fend spuylide Crist delte graciousely aȝen, as þe gospel telliþ. And as Matheu seiþ, Crist toke awey þe vesselis of men þus segid wiþ fendis, whan he dide awey her synnes, þat weren ful of venym to ȝyve men to drynke, and þe poweris of þe soule Crist fillid wiþ vertues. Also, þe generalte of lordship of Crist shewiþ þat þe fendis ben contrary to him; for whoever is not wiþ Crist, he is aȝens him, as whoever is not wiþ trouþe holdiþ wiþ false|hede; and who ever gederiþ not wiþ Crist, scateriþ of his good. And siþ þe fend is not wiþ Crist, he mut nedis be aȝens him; and herfore comaundide Crist þe fendis þat he caste out þat þei shulden not speke to witnesse his Godhede, for þes weren fals witnessis to prove siche treuþe. And here supposiþ Crist þat he is treuþe, and þat þe fend is fadir of lesyngis, and þat his lordship haþ noon enemye but falshede. And þanne is þe resoun pleyne bi his general lordship and bi his contrarite of þe fende þat was ofte shewid.

And after þes fyve resouns Crist telliþ a sharpe sentence of malis of þe fend and how þat it is endid. Whan an unclene spiritPage  119is went out from a man, he waundriþ bi drye placis and sekiþ him reste; and whan he findiþ noon, he seiþ to him silfe, Y shal turne aȝen to þat house þat Y cam of. And whan he comeþ to þat house, he fyndiþ it ydel, clensid wiþ besemes*. [besemys, B; besomes, E.], and shynyngely arrayed. Þan he goiþ and takib wiþ him sevene oþer spiritis worse þan him silfe, and þei, entrid in to þe man, dwellen in him, and þus þe laste of þis man ben worse þan he was bifore. Þis unclene spirit is þe heed fend, and þis man ensegid bi him is þe kynrede of þe Jewis, of whom Crist shulde come, and þerfore he assailide it; but patriarkes and holy fadris fouȝten wele aȝen þe fend, þat him þouȝte he hadde not þere a plesinge place to dwelle inne. And so he wente to heþene folc þat weren wiþouten grace, and ȝit he likide not wiþ hem for þer kyndely resoun. And þanne þe fend seide to him silfe þat he wolde go aȝen to generacioun of Crist and perverte it more. And in tyme þat preestis regneden, he entride to aspie it, and he fond it ydel from kepyng of Goddis lawe, and occupied wiþ mannis lawe þat sownede unto coveitise. And bi þis þei swepten comynalte of men and maden hem bare and colde as floures ben maad. But housis of preestis weren worldely arayed, and þei kepten as sacramentis many of her fynding, and bi þes þe fend þouȝt þat he shulde overcome hem. And he gidere to him al manere of fendis, and dwelte wiþ þis peple, and made hem worst men; for þei growiden ever in malice, til þei hadden killid Crist. And þus, seiþ Crist, shal be to þis worste kynrede, siþ ende of mennis wickidnesse was to slee Crist. And so, it is lickely*. [licli, B; licly, E.] þat þe Chirche fariþ now bi sleynge of treuþe þat is Goddis lawe, so þat men in erþe, clepid Cristen men, passen in malis*. [malice, E.] Jewis and Sarasynes. And rote of þis malice is co|veitise of preestis, and levynge of Goddis lawe, and hiȝyng of mannis lawe. Bi þis is þe comynalte of puple maad pore, and swepte as þe pament from hilyyng of stree, and coldid in cha|rite, boþe þei and preestis. But housis of preestis ben worldely arayed, and þis aray is hid from partynge of comounes. And þis is wey of Antecrist, and ende of þe last yvel. And soone after þis lyfe shal come þe daie of dome, but bifore, ȝif God wole, Page  120 the Chirche shal be mendid. And þis is þe moost perelous harme þat þe Chirche hadde ever, for cautelis of Antecrist disseyven many men. And whan Jesus saide þes wordis, a womman of þe puple heyed*. [So B, C, E; beid, A.]her vois and seide þus to Crist, Blessid be þe wombe þat bare þee in to þis world, and blessid be þe tetis þat þou hast soukid. But Crist blessid more þes men þat heeren Goddis word and kepe it wiþouten lesyng, as oure Lady dide; ffor þis bi himsilfe makiþ a man blessid. And it is lickely þat þis womman undirstood Cristis wordis, and herfore she blesside þe moder þat bare sich a child.

ÞE FOURÞE SONDAY GOSPEL IN LENTEN.

[SERMON XLIII.]

Abiit Jesus trans mare.
—JOHN vi. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ þe first feste þat Crist made to þe puple, bi multipliynge of mete, as þre gospelis tellen. Þe story telliþ þat Jesus wente over þe water of Galile þat is clepid Tiberiadis, and many oþer names, for contres and touns þat it ȝede bi|twene. And a greet multitude suede Crist here, for þat þei seien þe signes þat Crist dide on syke men. And Jesus whan he cam over þis water of Galile, he wente in to an hill and sate þere wiþ hise disciplis. And Paske was ful nyȝe, a greet feste among Jewis. And whan Jesus cast up his eiȝen, and saw a ful grete multitude was comen to him, he seide unto Philip, Wherof shal we bigge looves, þat þes men ete. And þis seide Crist to tempte Philip, for he wist what he was to do. And Philip seide to Crist þat looves of two hundrid pens suffiden not to hem, þat ech man take a litil what. And oon of Cristis disciplis, Andrew, Petris broþer, seide to Crist, þer was a child þat hadde fyve barly loves and two fishes, but what ben þes among so many men? And Jesus seide to hem, to make hem sitte doun to þe mete, for þere was myche hay in þe same place; and so þei satePage  121to þe mete, as fyve þousand men. And Jesus toke þes fyve looves, and ȝaf þankynge to God, and delide among þes sittinge men, and also of þe fishis as myche as þei wolden. And whan þei weren fillid, Crist seide to his disciplis, Gedre ȝe þat ben lafte relefes þat þei perishe not. And so þei gedriden and filliden twelve cofynes of relyf of fyve barly loves and two fishis þat weren lefte of hem þat hadden ete. And þes men, whan þei hadde seen þe signe þat Crist hadde done, þei seiden þus of him, þis is a verre prophete þat is come in to þis world.

Þis bodily fode bi whiche Crist fedde þe folc, bitokeneþ goostly foode bi whiche he fedeþ mankynde. His passynge over þis water with his disciplis, is passyng over worldely perilis to take Goddis lore. Cristis sittinge in þis hille is rysyng to spiritual lyf, and Cristis lokyng on þe peple is goostly mercy do*. [done, E, C; to do, B.] to hem, and steiynge in to þe hille of Jesus wiþ his disciplis is takynge of goostly lyf for to lerne Cristis lawe. Axinge of Philip, þat was made to shewe þe myracle þe more, and for to have beter in mynde, is fillinge of Goddis word in dede. Þes fyve looves þat Andrew shewide ben harde lyfe þat men moten lyve bifore þei kunne Cristis lore; and two fishes ben þenkinge of God and hevene. Sit|tinge doun in þe hey, is meke þouȝt of mennis freelte. And so Andreu undirstood more þan Philip þat God þat multiplied mete, as þe lawe telliþ, by Helyse, myȝt liȝtly multiplie þis mete and so fede al þis peple. But wiþouten myracle myȝte not so myche puple be fedde of Crist. And þes fyve þousend of men, wiþouten wommen and children, ben þe noumbre þat shal be savyd bi þis spiritual foode; for fyve is a round nombre þat turneþ wiþouten eende in to him silfe. And so not al þat ben fed þus shal come to þe blisse of hevene. Þe twelfe coffynes of relyfes, ben alle þe seintis gloses þat be gedrid of Goddis lawe to fede þe puple afterward. And goostly lore haþ properte to be multiplied in men; for of o lore comeþ anoþer, and al is þe same treuþe. And bi þis fode men þanken God, and seien þat Crist is þat grete prophete þat is to come in to þis world, and fille it of hevenly lore. For of oþer myraclis of Page  122 Crist þis myracle is oon of þe most, þat so fewe disciplis of hise filliden þe world in so short tyme wiþ þe same gospel of Crist; and he it was þat dide þis myracle.

And here men moven þre doutis. First, how Criste absentide him fro Jerusalem at þis Paske, siþ Baptiste hertely reprovede Heroud, and Crist was more hardy þan Joon for to suffre passioun for þe love of mankynde. But here we trowen þat Jesus, siþ he was boþe God and man, dide alle his dedis at point devys, and myȝte no wey be amendid. And þus he absentide him now to prophite*. [profite, B, C, E.] more to his Chirche, for his tyme was not come to die at þe Paske, þat he hadde ordeyned. For, as men seyen comounly, Crist moste passe þis secounde Paske, and in þe þridde Paske die gladly for mankynde. And so Crist suffride more freely þan Baptist or oþer martiris. But he was more nedid bi wisdom to suffre as him silfe had cast, and so, as Crist himsilfe hadde ordeyned, Baptist shulde die bifore, and so go to purgatorye and be taken out bi Crist. And þus Crist ȝaf ensaumple to us to fle deþ, whan he moveþ us, as al his lyf was ensaumple to teche men how þei shal lyve. Þe secounde doute is axid here, whi Crist wolde not take þe rewme of Judee þat was owid to him, siþ þe puple preferide him anoon, aftir þis myracle þat Crist had fedd þus þe folk. But here men seyen, as to þe first, þat it were a manere of biggynge to have þe rewme for suche a feste, and of puple þat was so symple. Also, al ȝif Crist was kyng, he wolde not þus regne worldely, ne him was owid no siche rewme, siþ God wolde not þat it were so. Also Crist ordeynede him silfe to lyve wiþouten wronge of ony man, and so he wolde not regne þus wiþouten þe emperour's leve, þat men shulden wite þat his lyfe no weye reversid þe emperour. And so witnessis þat accusiden him in tyme of his deeþ weren opynly fals. And þus as oure Lord forsoke to be preisid of þe fendis, so he forsoke now to take þe rewme þus of þis puple.—Þe þridde doute þat sueþ þes two is, how Crist myȝte disserven in suffringe of his passioun, siþ he was nedid to suffre þus. But here we witen, as Crist was nedid to suffre and die as he hadde ordeyned, so he was Page  123 nedid to have blis for þis wilful passioun, siþ al þis passioun of Crist was more wilful þan any oþer myȝt be. And for myche wilfulnesse was his passioun more medeful. And here þes blynde heretikes wanten witt as ydiotis, whan þei seien þat Petre synnede not in smytynge of Malcus ere, but ȝaf en|saumple to preestis to fiȝt. And þus Crist lettid him to fiȝt more; for hadde Petre and oþer apostlis fouȝten þus, þanne þei hadden lettid þe passioun of Crist and savyng of mankynde. But here þes blynde heretikes, þat ben unable to conseyve sutilte of holy writt, shulden first lerne þer owen wordis. Soþ it is þat al þingis mut nedis come as God hath ordeyned, and so ech dede of Crist muste nedis be done as he dide it. And þus ȝif men shulden not sue Crist here, for he muste nedis suffre, no Cristen man shulde sue Crist in no þing þat he dide. For alle þe þingis þat Crist dide musten nedely comen as þei came, and so siche heritikes musten nede suen Antecrist and be dampnyd wiþ him, for defaute of her bileve. And ȝif þei seien þat þis is fals, þat al þing mut þus nedely come, Lord! hou dremeden þes foolis þanne þat ȝif Petre hadde fouȝte forþ, þanne Crist shulde not have suffrid deeþ, ne have bouȝt mankynd! Certis þes idiotis can not shewe hou þis shulde suen of ony treuþe, but ȝif þei supposen here, þat þus it mut nedis be. And ȝif we shulde herfore lette to take ensaumple to sue Crist, we shulden lette evermore to sue Crist and take his lore. But siþ Crist reprovyde Petre and saide a cause general, þat who ever smytiþ þus wiþ sworde, he shal perishe bi Goddis word, it is knowun þing þat Petre synnede in þis fyȝtynge; and myche*. [So E; om. A, B, C.] more shulden preestis fiȝt not for a cause of lasse value.

Page  124

ÞE FIFÞE SONDAY GOSPEL IN LENT.

[SERMON XLIV.]

Quis ex vobis arguet.
—JOHN viii. [46.]

ÞIS gospel techiþ bileve by hie wordis þat Crist spake, and hou men shulden lyve þere after, and trowen in Crist and suen him. First axiþ Crist þat who of hem shal reprove him of synne; and he wolde mene þat noon myȝte. And so Crist myȝte not do synne, for ȝif he myȝte have synned, þe Jewis myȝten have reproved him of synne, as þei enforsiden many gatis, but þei traveiliden in veyn. And here we undirstonden reprofe for matere þat is trewe for cause þerof. As false peny is noo peny, so fals reprofe is no repreefe, for ech þing mut have treuþe in þat þat it haþ beyng. And in þis word Crist wolde mene þat he was boþe God and man, for ȝif he hadde not be God, he myȝte have synned as aungelis diden. And it were liȝt for to synne in veyn glory or in gabbyng, for ech gabbing is synne, and Crist gabbid, or he was God. And after þis bileve of Crist, proveþ he þat þei shulden trowe him. For siþ he seiþ but treuthe to hem, as he may noo gatis synne, þei shulden trowe unto þat treuþe, siþ þat God knowiþ al treuþe. And herfore seiþ þe word of Crist, þat ȝif he seiþ treuþe, whi trowen þei not to him. But as Crist soþely takiþ, he þat is on Goddis syde, he heeriþ Goddis wordis, or bodily or spiritualy; siþ no man may be but ȝif he heere treuþe or o tyme or oþer. And so þes hey preestis of Jewis heeren not þus Goddis wordis, for þei ben not on Goddis halfe; and þanne þei ben wiþ þe fend.

But þes Jewis conceyveden þes wordis how þei weren sharply seid to hem, and þei hadden no wey to answere ne to replie aȝens him. And herfore þei bigan to chide and accusiden Crist wiþouten cause. And two þingis þei putten on him, first þat he was a Samaritane, and*. [om. B, C.]siþ þat he hadde a fend, þat was felowe and helpe to him. But Crist lefte answere to þe first, and þe secounde he denyede; and so he grauntide in a manere þat he Page  125 was a Samaritan, siþ he was keper of mankynde, as he telliþ in a parable. Þat man is seid to have a fend whom þe fend dis|seyveþ, as he is seid to have an heed þat is hedid bi þis hede; and so of oþer relatives as clerkes knowen in manere of speche. And after þis answere Crist telliþ how he doiþ treuþe and þei done falshede aȝen, ffor he doiþ worship to his Fadir and þei unworshipiden him; he sekiþ not his owne glorye, but his Fadir sekiþ and jugiþ. And þis is þe maner of speche þat Crist usiþ ofte, þat he bi his manhede doiþ not suche þing, whan he bi þis kynde doiþ not principalli þis þing. For Crist seiþ to þis entent þat his lore is not his, ne þe word þat ȝe herde is not his, but his Fadris. And on þis manere semeþ Ambrose*. [S. Ambros. De Fide, lib. iv., cap.5. 'Nos autem quotienscunque sacramenta sumimus, quae per sa|crae orationis mysterium in carnem transfigurantur et sanguinem, mor|tem domini annunciamus.'] to graunten þat þe sacred breed is not after breed but Goddis body, for it is not after principaly breed but Goddis bodi, in maner as Austin seiþ*. [I have examined scores of pas|sages in the works of St. Austin, but have not found one which ex|actly corresponds to the reference in the text, so as to imply that the sacramental bread, after consecra|tion, while it became principally the body of Christ, yet continued in a certain sense to be bread. For this is clearly the meaning of Wyclif's words, and this was in fact the main point of his controversy with the friars on the Eucharistic mystery; in which he quarrelled with their definition of the consecrated species as an 'accident without a subject' for this very reason, that it utterly denied the co-presence of bread in any sense, after consecration. It is therefore a point of much interest to ascertain whether St. Austin's works really contain any passage which would justify the reference in the text; in other words, which would support Wyclif's favourite theory of consubstantiation; and I shall be glad if this note should be the means of directing the attention of theological students to the search. (See note on p. 379, Serm. 112.)]. But siþ al werkes of þe Trinite may not be departid, al þe þree persones seken glorie of Crist. But þe manhede of Crist is herto an instrument; and as þe ax hewiþ not, but þe wriȝt bi his crafte, riȝt so Crist sekiþ not his owne glorie. But Crist to shewe boþe his kyndis doubliþ þis amen, and telliþ þat he seiþ soþeli to hem; þat who ever kepiþ his word shal not taste deeþ wiþouten eend. For he bi comoun speche kepiþ a þing, þat wiþouten lesyng kepiþ þe same þing, and þus whoever kepiþ ony word of Crist, he shal never have þe deþ þat ever shal laste.

But here þe Jewis knewen not þe manere of Cristis speche, and replieden aȝen him and seiden, Now we witen wele þat þouPage  126hast a fend þat lediþ þe in þi dedis. Abraham was deed, and oþer holy prophetes, and þou seist, whoever kepiþ my word shal nevere die. Lord! wher þou be more þan oure fadir Abraham þat is deed, and prophetis also; whom makist þou þee? wher þou be more þan ony of þese seintis? Here may we see þe folye of þes Jewis, for þei koud not knowe dyversite of þes wordis; who þat lyveþ þus, he shal not taaste þe longe deþ; and who so lyveþ þus shal never taste deþ. But Jesus lefte þis foly and spake to þe purpos; ȝif Y glorifie þus my silfe, my glorie is not, but Y have a Fadir þat þus glorifieþ me; and ȝe seyen þat he is ȝour God; but ȝe have not knowe him; but Y have knowe him, and ȝif Y sey nay, Y shal be like to you, a lyer. Abraham ȝoure fadir hadde grete joie to se my daie, and he sey it and hadde joie. But here þe Jewis knewen not þe maner of riȝt speche of Crist, for þei knewen not how Crist clepide God syngulerly his Fadir. For þan bi riȝt speche God was his Fadir bi kynde. God is oure alþer fadir*. [aller-fadur, C. See Glossary.] but who ever of us seiþ, God is my fadir, he blas|femeþ in God. Þis man is my fadir, ȝif þat Y have properte in gendrure of him bifore oþer men. And þus þes foolis replieden aȝen þe wordis of Crist, and seiden; Þou hast not ȝit fifty ȝeer in age and ȝit þou menest in þi speche þat þou hast seen Abraham. And, for þe first blyndenesse þat þei weren to blame fore, Crist spake more derkely to hem þan he dide bifore, and seide, Soþely, soþely, to showe his two kyndis, Bifore þat Abraham shulde be, Y am. And herfore þei weren depid in worse synne of dede, whan þei token up stonys to stone Crist to deeþ. But Jesus hidde him and wente out of þe temple, as it was liȝt to hym to hiden him among many; for boþe he myȝt stoppe her siȝt, and shewen him in dyverse formes. And here he tauȝt his disciplis in dede for to flee, but he tauȝt hem nevere for to fyȝte bodily. And siche blessid cowardise makiþ Goddis children, for Crist seiþ þat in þer pacience þei shal have þer lyf in pees. But þe fend techiþ his children to be hardy heere, and fiȝte wiþouten hevenly cause, and þus þei lesen þer lyf; for techingis þus contrarye leden to contrarye eendis.

But we þat ben in bileve over þes blynde Jewis shulden Page  127 knowe þes wordis of Crist þat he seid to hem, Biforn þat Abraham shulde be, Y am. But as we witen bi oure bileve þat þes wordis ben ful of witt, so we witen þat in hem Crist shewide his godhede. For we witen wel þat þis word, Y am, bitokeneþ þe godhede, for godhede may not be chaungid, neiþer from ȝonge to elde, ne from worse to beter; for it is ever oon, and a þousand ȝeer ben to him as ȝisterday; and, shortly, al þing þat was or ever shal be hereafter is present unto him, ffor streeching of his longe beying. And herfore telliþ God to Moyses þat he þat is, is his name, and þis is a memorial to God wiþouten ende. But over þis we shulden wite whan Abraham shulde be. And certis, siþ þat God wiste, ȝhe*. [So B and E; ȝe, A.], bifore he made þis world, þat Abraham shulde be, þanne it was soþ, and herfore seyen clerkes þat ech creature haþ beyng in his sample*. [The belief that the ideas, or original patterns (exemplaria—'sam|ples'), of all things and persons exist from eternity in the divine mind, borrowed by the schoolmen from the Platonic philosophy, is defined and adopted in the Summa of St. Thomas. The following ex|tract is from the first Article of Quaestio xv., Prima Pars. 'Dicen|dum quod necesse est ponere in mente divina ideas. Idea autem Graece, Latine forma dicitur. Unde per ideas intelliguntur formae alia|rum rerum praeter ipsas res exis|tentes. Forma autem alicujus rei praeter ipsam existens ad duo esse potest; vel ut sit exemplar ejus cujus dicitur forma; vel ut sit prin|cipium cognitionis ipsius.' Again (Art. ii.) quoting St. Austin, he says, 'Ideae sunt principales quae|dam formae, vel rationes rerum sta|biles atque incommutabiles; quia ipsae formatae non sunt, ac per hoc aeternae.'] þat is wiþouten eende. And so, þat Abraham shulde be, is treuþe wiþouten eende, but ȝit bifore þis treuþe, is God þat knowiþ it. And so þis word, bifore, bitokeneþ forþerhede of beyng, and not forþerhede of tyme, siþ al þis was wiþouten ende. And so to blaberynge in þis speche mennis voicis ben not sufficient, but sum glymerynge we have in oure soule of þis treuþe, and betere knowen it in oure herte þan we can speke it in vois. And blessid be þe Holy Goost þat sette siche wordis in his lawe, þat alle men here in erþe can unneþe undirstonde hem. For Y am certeyn ȝif þou be never so wyse ne olde, unneþe þou wolt afferme þis shorte word of Crist, whan he seiþ þat, Bifore þat Abraham shulde be, Y am. And here tellen seintis cause of þis derknesse. First we shulden wel witen þat autour of þis gospel is more witty in himsilf þan we alle can conseyve. Page  128 Also he wole þat his preestis traveilen fast in his lawe, and kepen hem medefully from oþer occupaciouns; for noon of us haþ matere to say þat he can alle Goddis lawe, and so he haþ no more to lerne þerynne. Also we shulden trowe þat alle mennys wordis may not come to þe witt þat is in Goddis wordis; for we witen þai nouȝt in hem is seid wiþouten chesoun, but in ech Goddis word is more witt þan we knowe.

ÞE GOSPEL ON PALM SONDAY.

[SERMON XLV.]*. [The style of this sermon rises occasionally to real eloquence.]

Altera autem die quae est post parasceven.
—MATT. xxvii. [62.]

WE suffisen not here to telle pleynly þis gospel, but þe ende þerof makiþ mynde of oure bileve, how, after þe tyme þat Crist hadde suffrid deeþ, þe nexte day after, þat is þe holy Satirday, þes men þat hadden kild Crist gideren to gidere. For þe gospel telliþ þat princes of prestis and þe Phariseis comen to gidire to Pilate, and þes two folk, as hie preestis of þe temple and þes religiouse, diden Crist to deþ. And herfore telliþ Matheu how þes two dredden more þat þe name of Crist shulde growe among men, and so þer defamyng shulde growe, and þei shulden be distryed. And certis as þese two maner of folk diden Crist to þe deþ, so þei ben now cheveteynes to distrien his lawe; for þei letten þat þei may þe treuþe of þe gospel. And noo woundir is; for þei in þer lyvynge reversen þe lyf of Crist, and ben weddid to contrarye lyf. And siþ þe gospel telliþ dampnynge of siche men, and hou þat men shulden flee hem as heretikes and fals prophetis, þei dreden þat þer gile by þis shulde be knowe. And herfore þei seien þat Goddis lawe is fals, but ȝif þei glosen it after þat þei wolen; and þus þer glose shulde be trowid as bileve of cristene men, but þe tixt of Goddis lawe is perelous to trowe. Þes two manere of folk comen to gidere to Pilate on þe next Satirday aftir þei hadden kild Crist, and þus seiden to him, Page  129Sire, we þenken on þat þis gilour*. [gylour. E.]saide whan he was on lyve, þat he shulde ryse after þre daies; þerfore commaunde his sepulcre to be kept til þe þridde day, lest his disciplis comen and stelen his body, and feynen to þe peple þat he is risen fro deþ; and so þe laste errour shal be worse þan was þe former. And þes pagyn playen þei þat hiden þe treuþe of Goddis lawe. And Pilat seide to hem, ȝour silf have þe kepyng; goþ forþ and kepiþ it as ye can, for þis is not myn office. And þus seyn þes two folk to princes of þe world, þat þes heretikes ben fals men aȝens holy religioun, and þei casten to distrye lordshipis and rewmes; and þerfore com|aunden hem to be dede or lette hem to speke. But lordis seien aȝen þat þei shulde knowe þe lawe þat holy Chirche haþ, to punishe siche heretikes; and þerfore þei shulden go forþ and punishe hem bi þer lawe. And bi siche execucioun of fals prelatis and freris, is Goddis lawe quenchid and Antecristis arerid. But God wolde þat þese lordis passiden Pilat in þis point, and knewen þe treuþe of Goddis lawe in þer modir tunge, and have þes two folk suspect, for þer cursid lyvynge and hydyng of Goddis law fro knowyng of seculers. For bi þis cautel of þe fend ben many trewe men quenchid. For þei wolen juge for heretikes al þat speken aȝens hem, ȝhe, ȝif þei tellen Goddis lawe, and shewe synnes of þes two folke. And þei wenten forþ, and kepten wiþ knyȝtis þe sepulcre of Crist, markynge þe stoon þat was putt at þe dore in siȝt of þe keper, to marke þer diligence. And þus done oure heye preestis and oure newe religiouse. Þei dredden hem þat Goddis law shal quyken after þis, and herfore þei maken statutis, stable as a stoon; and þei geten graunt of knyȝtis to confermen hem. And þis þei marken wel, wiþ witnesse of lordis, lest þat treuþe of Goddis law, hid in þe sepulcre, brest out to knowyng of þe comoun peple. O Crist! þi lawe is hid ȝit; whan wilt þou sende þin aungel to remove þe stone, and shewe þi treuþe to þi folk? Wel Y wote þat knyȝtis tooken gold in þis case, to helpe þat þi lawe be hid, and þin ordenaunce ceesse, but wel Y wote þat it shal be knowen at þe day of dome, or bifore whan þe likeþ aȝen al þi enemyes.

Here shulden men marke þe passioun of Crist, and prynten in þer herte sumwhat to shewe it, for it was most wilful Page  130 passioun þat ever was, and most hard passioun þat ever man suffride. It was þus wilful and so moost medeful. And her|fore tolde Crist þe forme of his passioun to his xii disciplis, whan he wente to Jerusalem; and herfore Crist, þat*. [om. E.] hidde him bifore to come to þe citee, came*. [and cam, E.] now for to suffre, to shewe his free wille. And herfore he seiþ at his soper here, Wiþ desire Y have coveitid to ete þis Paske wiþ you. For desire of his god|hede and desire of his manhede movede him to ete þus and to suffre after. But al þis was mene and figure of his last soper þat he etiþ in hevene wiþ men þat he haþ chosen. And þus siþ noo contrariete was in Cristis resoun, to suffre þis passioun, and his witt was moost clene, no þing þat man dide was to him more willeful. And siþ Crist suffride þus for synne of his breþeren, þei shulden suffre þancfulli for þer own synne. Crist axiþ not greet peyne in his breþeren, but þat þei have sorewe for þere synne, and purpos*. [So B, E, C; in purpos, A.] to forsaken it; and þis is cause whi þat God wolde have his passioun þus rehersid, for profit of his breþeren and not for his owne. Þis peyne of Cristis passioun passid al oþer, for he was moost tendir man and in his myddil age, and God leet bi myracle Cristis wyttis suffre, for ellis he myȝte bi joye have hadde noo sorewe. But alle circumstauncis þat shulden make peyne hard, weren in Cristis passioun to make it more medeful. Þe place was most solempne and þe day also; þe houre was most knowun to Jewes and to heþen men; and þe dispit was moost: for men þat moost shulden love Crist or|deyneden þis moost foule deeþ, aȝen Cristis moost kyndnesse. And we shal bileve þat Crist suffride not in no manere but for certeyn enchesoun; for he, boþe God and man, þat made al þingis in noumbre, shope his passioun to answere to byggynge of mannys synne. And so sevene wordis þat Crist spake on þe cross an|sweren woundirfully to alle synnes of men; and shortly, no þing þat Crist ever dide was done but for greet cause and profit of men. Suche causes shulde we studie, and prenten hem in oure mynde, for wyte wel þat al þis was done for profit of Cristen men. And þus trowe we not þes heretikes þat ben foolis out of bileve, þat seien we may not sue Crist, and namely in his passioun, for Crist was nedid to suffren here al þat he Page  131 suffride. Certis þes founede*. [founyd, B; fond, C; foltid, E.] heretikes shulden wel wite þat al þing mut nede come as God haþ ordeyned. And so sue we Crist afer in his blessid passioun, and gedre devout mynd of him, and kepe us aferre fro synne.

ÞE GOSPEL ON EESTIR DAY.

[SERMON XLVI.]

Maria Magdalene.
—MATT. xxviii. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ hou þes holy wymmen comen to bileve þat Crist was rysen fro deþ. Sum men seien þat here weren but two Maries, þat was Marie Magdalene, and Marie James modir; and þis secounde Marye was boþe our ladyes sister and Sa|lomens dauȝter. But sum men seien þat þere weren þree. But it is ynow to us to trowen þat þei weren two, and leve to knowynge of God ȝif þere weren moo. Þes two Maries bouȝten hem at even oynementis, for it was leveful to wirchen at even in þe Sabotis. And eerly on þe Sonnenday þei comen to þe sepulcre of Crist, at þe sunne rysynge, and seiden to gidere, Who shal turne to us þe stone fro dore of þe sepulcre? And þei lokiden þerto, and siȝen it turned awey, for soþe it was ful grete; and passide þes wommans power to removen it fro þe dore, by castynge of þe Pharisees; for þei seiden þat Cristis dis|ciplis wolden come and stelen his bodi. And so þis stone was removed bi service of aungelis, for disciplis of Crist dredden hem ȝit to walken. And þes wymmen comen in to þe sepulcre of Crist, and þei seien an angel of God in forme of a ȝonge man sittynge on þe riȝt side and hild*. [bilyd, E.]wiþ a whiȝt stole. And þei woundriden of þe siȝt, but þe aungel seide to hem, Wole ȝe not drede, for Y knowe youre purpos, Ȝe seken Jesus of Nazareþ þat was done on þe cros, but he is rysen to lyve, and is not now here. For here is þe stede voide, where þei hadden putt him. But go ȝe and seie ȝe to Christis disciplis, and algatis to Petir, þat Crist shal go bifore ȝou to þe contre of Galile. And þere shal ȝe see him as he saide ȝou bifore; and he may not lye.

Ech word of þis gospel bereþ grete mysterye. First Crist Page  132 apperide to þes holy wommen, fer to graunt a privylegie to wom|man's kynde. For it is seid comounly þat Crist apperide ten tymes from hour of his rysynge to his steiynge into hevene. First Crist apperide unto Marye Magdalene, and made her sterre of þe see, to ȝyve liȝt to men, and to put hir fro dispeire of hir first synnes. We denyen not þat ne Crist bifore þis apperide to his modir, hou þat he wolde, or in body or in soule, for she was ever sad in feiþ. Þe comynge of þes two Maries, þat was þe secounde shewynge þat Crist shewide him on lyve þat þe gospel telliþ, techiþ hou Crist wolde shewyn him unto many statis, and hou men shulde be disposid to have the siȝt of Crist. Þis eerly comynge with liȝt of þe sunne is redy comynge in grace for to serve Crist, and ȝit þe making redy on þe nyȝt bifore is done of Crist, but not in siche grace. The musing of þese wommen as þei wenten by þe wey, bitokeneþ bisy þouȝt how men shal come to serve Crist. But lore of good aungelis opneþ to men þis lessoun, for þe stoone of unbileve is first ful grete in synful men. Þis entrynge to þe sepulcre is comynge to þe service of Crist. Þis aungel þat techiþ men treuþe is good aungel of God þat sittiþ on þe riȝt side, to teche men þe wey to hevene, and to sitten on Cristis riȝt hond on þe daie of dome. Þe whitnesse of þis stole is clenesse of victorye þat siche men have of þer goostly enemyes. And as Gregory notiþ*. [S. Greg. In Evang. Hom. xxi. 'In fulgure etenim terror timoris est, in nive autem blandimentum candoris. Quia verò omnipotens Deus et terribilis peccatoribus, et blandus est justis, recte testis resur|rectionis ejus Angelus et in fulgure vultus et in candore habitus demon|stratur; ut de ipsâ suâ specie et ter|reret reprobos, et mulceret pios.'], þe face of þis aungel semed as liȝtnynge, and his cloþis whiȝt as snow; for Crist and his aungelis ben dredeful to wickide men, and plesyng to good men. Ȝhe, to þe day of dome þis aungel confortiþ men, and riȝtiþ þer purpos, and telliþ hem how now Crist is sittynge in hevene, for his staat here in erþe is fulli performed. And office of suche men is aftirward enjoyned hem, þat þei shulden parte wiþ þer breþeren goostly werkes of mercy, not oonly wiþ comounnes*. [comyns, E.] but also wiþ prelatis. Þe goynge bifore of Crist to þe contre of Galile is, goinge bifore of Crist to hevene. Þere he shal shewen him to men as he haþ hiȝt to hem ofte in þe gospel. Page  133

Here after þis witt men may large þis gospel, and trete what mater þat þei wenen shulde profite to þe puple; but it is comounly told of þe sacrament of þe auter, and how men shal disposen hem now to take þis sacrament. And it is seid comounly, þat as þes holy wymmen hadde lefte þer former synne, and taken þer freishe devocioun; so men shulden come to þe chirche to take þis holy sacrament, and þus come wiþ þes hooly wymmen wiþ liȝt of þe sunne. And þus men shulden cloþen hem wiþ þes þre vertues, bileve, hope, and charite, to resceyve þis sacrament. Bileve is first nedeful; and algatis of þis breed, hou it is Goddis body by vertue of Cristis wordis. And so it is kyndely breed, as Poul seiþ*. [I do not know to what passage the writer refers.], but it is sacramentally verre Goddis bodi. And herfore seiþ Austyn*. [I am indebted to the kind as|sistance of Professor Stubbs for the discovery of the passage in the works of St. Augustine to which the text probably refers, though some force appears necessary to make the words of the saint bear the meaning which Wyclif imposes on them. The pas|sage is in a remarkable sermon, No. 272 (vol. v., p. 1104 of the Bene|dictine edition), addressed 'ad In|fantes' on their due reception of the Eucharist. The impression left by the entire sermon might certainly, to a mind already prepossessed. accord with the view of the Eucharist taken by Wyclif; on the other hand, the language is quite compatible with the view taken by his opponents, the friars. The words most to the pur|pose are these: 'Ista, fratres, ideo dicuntur sacramenta, quia in eis aliud videtur, aliud intelligitur. Quod videtur, speciem habet corporalem; quod intelligitur, fructum habet spi|ritalem.'], þat þing is breed þat þi iȝen tellen þee and þat þou seest wiþ hem. For it was not trowid bifore þe fend was losid*. [It had become a popular belief by this time, among the spiritual Franciscans and the various revo lutionary sects, that since the year 1000 A.D the devil, after his mil|lennary captivity (Apoc. xx. 2), had been let loose from the bottomless pit 'to deceive the nations.'], þat þis worþi sacrament was accident wiþouten suget. And ȝit dwellen trewe men in þe old bileve, and laten freris foulen hem silfe in þer newe heresie. For we trowen þat þere is beter þing þan Goddis bodi, siþ þe holy trinite is in eche place. But oure bileve is sette upon þis point; what is þis sacrid hoost, and not what þing is þere. Þe secound vertue þat shulde cloþe trewe men is þe vertue of hope, þat is ful nedeful; how men shulde hope bi þer lyfe here, and first, wiþ þe grace of God, for to come to hevene. And to þis entent men taken now þis sacrament, so þat bi takynge herof þer mynde be freschid in hem to þenken Page  134 on kyndenes of Crist to maken hem clene in soule. And herfore seiþ Poul þat he þat wantiþ þis ende, etiþ and drynkeiþ his judgement, for he jugiþ not þe worþines of Goddis bodi, ne worshipiþ his ordenaunce. Þe þridde vertue nedeful for to take þis sacrament is vertue of charite; for þat is ever nedeful, siþ no man comeþ to Cristis fest but ȝif he have þis cloþing. And þus, as Austyn declariþ*. [I have to thank Professor Stubbs for this reference also. In Serm. 272, already quoted, and also in Serm. 227, the various processes that enter into the making of bread are com|pared to the spiritual operations which combine to make the perfect Christian. But in Serm. 229, these processes are distinctly set down as four: threshing, which answers to conversion by preaching; grinding, which represents the discipline of fasting and exorcism; mixing with water, which is Baptism; and baking, which corresponds to the flames kin|dled in souls by the Holy Ghost.], foure poyntis þat falliþ*. [fallen, B, C, E.] to makinge of breed techen us þis charite, and algatis to have it now. For ellis we greggen*. [agreggen, E.] our synne in etynge of þis breed. And ȝif we have þis cloþinge, takinge þis mete in figure, it shal brynge us to hevene, þere to ete Goddis body goostly wiþouten ende; and þat is mennis blisse.

ÞE FIRSTE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTIR EESTIR.

[SERMON XLVII.]

Cum esset sero die una.
—JOHN XX. [19.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of þe fifþe apperynge, þat was þe last, and late done upon Paske daie, and þis is told wiþ oþer to conferme bileve of þe Chirche. As þe secounde apperynge was to þe holy wommen, so þe first apperynge was alone to Marye Mag|dalene, as telliþ þe gospel of Joon in þe same capitle. Þe þridde tyme Crist apperide to Petir as Seint Luke telliþ in eende of his gospel; and þis was, as sum men seyen, whan Petre and Joon comen fro þe sepulcre, and Petre went bi him|silfe woundrynge and musinge. Þe fourþe apperynge was maad to two disciplis þat wenten to Emawus, and Crist soupid wiþ hem. Of þis telliþ þe eende of Seint Lukes gospel. Þe fifþe apperynge was þis þat oure gospel telliþ of, and þis was last of fyve, þat Crist Page  135 shewide on Paske daye. And on þat dai sevene niȝt Crist ap|peryde þe sixte tyme, and of þes two apperingis telliþ þis gospel.

Þe storye seiþ, whan it was late, þe first day of þe woke þat came nexte after þe Frydaye þat God was done to deþ on, and þat was in þe Sonenday next after þe Sabot. But it was late, and þe disciplis weren gedrid þere, to conforte hem to gidere, and for drede þat þei hadde of Jewes þat weren her enemyes: þer ȝatis weren fast shitt, for drede of þe same folk; Jesus cam, not lettinge þat þe ȝatis weren shitt þus, and stood in þe myddis of his disciplis, and seide þus unto hem; Pees be to ȝou, for Y am alyve, wole ȝe not drede þe while ȝe have siche a keper. And he shewide to hem his hondis and his side, and þe disciplis hadden joie*. [So in E; A wrongly excludes the words 'and — joie' from the italics.]whan þei hadden seen þus þe Lord. For sorewe of his deþ and drede of Jewis weren clenly putt awey bi siȝt of þis lord. And Christ seide aȝen, Pees be to ȝou, to tellen hem þe ful pees þat þei shulden have þerafter boþe in bodi and soule, for þere medeful pacience. And þei shulden not grutche for þis short pursuynge, for Crist telliþ þat, as his Fadir sent him so he sendiþ hem, to suffre tribulaciouns; and þei shulden holden hem paied of sich form of sendinge. And whan he hadde seid þus, he blew on hem and seide, Take ȝe þe Holy Goost, for herby ȝe shulen be stronge by power and by witt, þat ȝe shal have by him.

Here we shal wite þat Crist blew not bi childhode upon his apostlis but bi greet witt; for herby Crist tauȝt þat þe Holy Goost comeþ boþe of þe Fadir and þe Sone, as wyne of erþe and water. And comyng forþ of þis Gost is not nativite, but sutil inspiringe of þes two persones, and her|fore þei ben clepid o principle of þis Gost. And holy writt grauntiþ þat þe Sone sendiþ þis Goost, and herfore Crist grauntiþ þis privylegie to his disciplis, þat whos synnes þat þei forȝyven, þei ben forȝovun to hem, and whos synnes þat þei wiþolden, þei ben holden to hem. And boste men not for þis privylegie grauntid to þe apostlis, for it is undirstonden in as myche as siche apostlis acorden wiþ þe keies of þe chirche above. And herfore shulden siche bostours ben certeyne at Page  136 þe firste þat þei ben verrey vikers of þe holy apostlis. And siþ God enspiriþ*. [So in B and C; enspireþ, E; A has enspirit.] hem and ȝyveþ hem witt and power to bynden and to lousen as Crist him silfe doiþ, or ellis hem wantiþ þis power, and þanne þei shulde not boste þat þei have siche power, so þei myȝte not pleynher shewen hem to have no siche power þan fer to bargayn herwiþ, and boste hem to have siche power. For þanne þei ben noon of hem to whom Crist ȝaf þis power; for ȝif þer weren two popis, the toon aȝens þe toþir, and þe toon looside alle þat þe toþer boond, it were not for to dreme wheþer of hem did soþely, but wheþer more suede Goddis doynge and resoun. And siþ God may not folde fro riȝt and resoun, it is knowen bi Goddis lawe þat no pope assoiliþ but in as myche as Crist assoiliþ first*. [This position recalls one of the twenty four conclusions, condemned by the 'earth-quake' synod of 1382: 'That no prelate ought to excom|municate any one, unless he first know that he is excommunicated by God.' Lewis's Wyclif, p. 108.]. And her|fore Seint Petre and oþer Cristis apostlis asoilliden not þus, ne ȝyve siche indulgencis; for þei diden never siche dedis but whan God enspiride hem. And so no þing is falser þan ypocritis to boste þus, and ȝif men loke to resoun þei may wele se þat many siche feynyngis ben of þe fendis scole. For ellis myȝte a pope assoile men boþe of peyne and blame*. [The ordinary indulgence ab|solved poena sed non culpa. In theory, the guilt of sins, and the eternal punishment due to them, were remitted in the sacrament of penance; it was the temporal pun|ishment only, the poena, which the indulgence professed to remit, in whole or in part. But it is well known that, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, a great laxity prevailed, if not in the actual word|ing of indulgences, at any rate in the language of those to whom their distribution was entrusted. The form was probably observed strictly enough all along; so that the preacher's words must be taken with some allowance. In turning over the pages of the Bullarium, I observe, under the year 1515, only two years before the first public appearance of Luther, the formal grant by Leo X of two indulgences, and in both cases the form of words is; — [Indulgemus] 'quod quilibet Christi fidelis . . . . . . plenariam omnium peccatorum suorum, de qui|bus corde contritus, atque ore confessus fuerit, indulgentiam et remissionem consequatur.'], for þei killen þer evene cristene*. [The allusion is to Bishop Spen|cer's crusade. When it was over, and men should cease to kill their fellow-Christians, then the papal in|dulgence, or 'assoilinge,' would also cease.], and ever while þei done so; and ȝif þei ceessen fro sich killing, þer assoilinge shal ceesse. But what men wolden triste to siche assoilinge? Wel we witen Page  137 þat God is moost lord of al oþer, and no man may do synne, but ȝif he synne aȝens him, and no synne may be forȝovun but ȝif God first forȝyve it. And so it is propre to God to forȝyve þus offence, and ȝif a man forȝyve siche synne, þat is bi power of viker; and siche power haþ he not, but ȝif God shewe it him. For ellis myȝte he graunte pardoun for longe after þe day of dome to men þat God wole have dampnyd, for a newe founde praier, and heien it for mannis love more þan þe Pater Noster: as men seien þat a pope haþ grauntid two þousand ȝeer to ech man þat is contrite and confessid of his synne, þat seiþ þis orisoun 'Domine Jesu Christe' bitwene þe sacringe of þe masse and þe þridde Agnus Dei. And þan it were ydil to traveile for ony pardoun, siþ a man myȝte at home gete him fourty þousand ȝeer bi noone. And so þat man þat shal be dampned, þat is confessid and contrite, and seiþ þus ofte þis praier, shulde have many þousand ȝeer in helle after þe daie of dome. Triste we to þe old bileve þat Crist assoiliþ as he wole, and þis forme is hid to men as oþer treuþis þat God wole hide.

Thomas oon of þe twelve þat is clepid Didimus was not wiþ þes ten whan Jesus came and dide þus; and oþer disciplis tolden him hou þat þei saien þe Lord. But he seide unto hem, But ȝif Y see in his hondis picching*. [pitchyng, E.]of þe naillis, and putt my fynger in þe place þat Crist was ynaillid in, and put my hond in his syde where he was persid wiþ þe spere, Y shal nevere trowen þat oure Jesus is rysen. And on þe Sonday nexte after, weren þes disciplis inne and Thomas wiþ hem; and Crist shewide him as bifore. For he came whan þe ȝatis weren closid and stood amyddis, and saide, as he saide bifore, Pees be to you. And after he seide to Thomas, þat he sente after to Inde, Putt in here þi finger and se my hondis and putt hidir þin hond and putt in to my side, and wole þou not be untrewful but trewe in bileve. Thomas answeride and seide to Crist, My Lord and my God. And Jesus seide to him þan, For þou say me þus, Thomas, þou bilevidst in me; but blessid ben þo þat saien not þis, and trowen as þou doist. Many oþer signes dide Crist in siȝt of his disciplis, but þes few ben writun in þis book for þis ende, þat ȝe bileve þat Jesus is Goddis sone, and þat ȝe for þis bileve have blisse in his name. Amen.

Page  138

ÞE SECOUNDE SONDAY GOSPEL AFTIR EESTIR.

[SERMON XLVIII.]

Ego sum pastor bonus.
—JOHN X. [II.]

CHRIST telliþ in þis gospel þe maners of a good herde, so þat herbi we may witen how oure herdis failen now. And defaute of siche heerdis is moost peril in þe Chirche; ffor, as riȝt office of hem shulde moost bringe men to heven, so defaute of þis office drawiþ men moost to helle. Crist telliþ of him silf, how he is a good herde, for he is þe beste herde þat mankynde may have. For he is good bi him silf and may no wey faile, for he is boþe God and man; and God may no wey synne. And þus we have þe mesure to knowe a good herd and an yvel, for þe more þat an herd is lyke to Crist, he is þe beter, and þe more þat he strangiþ from him, he is þe worse in þis office. And efte whan Crist haþ ȝyve þe mesure for to knowe good herdis, he telliþ þe heieste proprete þat falliþ to a good herde: a good herde, as Crist seiþ, puttiþ his lyf for his sheep; for more charite may noon have þan to putte his lyfe for his frendis, and ȝif he worchiþ wysely*. [om. E.], for to bring þes sheep to hevene. For þus þe herde haþ moost peyne and þe sheep moost profit.

Þus we may see, who is good herde and who failiþ in þis office; for as Crist puttiþ wisely his owen lif for his sheep, so Antecrist puttiþ proudly many lifes for his foule lyfe. As, ȝif þe fend ledde þe pope to kille many þousend men to holde his worldely state, he suede Antecristis maneres. And siþ þis pro|pirte of herde groundiþ charite in men, eche man shulde have herof algatis more or lesse; as he is ferre fro þis maner þat wole not ȝyve his worldely goodis to his sheep or his breþeren, whan þei have grete nede þerto, for sich goodis ben worse þan mannis lyfe. And þus semen oure religious to be exempte fro charite; ffor nede a man nevere so myche to have helpe Page  139 of siche goodis, ȝee, alȝif þei have stoonys or oþer jewelis þat harmen hem, but þei wolen not ȝyve siche goodis ne value of hem to helpe þer breþeren, ne ceesse to anoye hem silf in bilding of hye housis, ne to gaderen sich veyn goodis, ȝif it do harm to þer breþeren. Sich averous men ben ferre fro maneres of a good herde, and so thes newe religious þat þe fend haþ tollid inne, bi colour to helpe þer former heerdis, harmen hem many weies, and letten þis office in þe chirche. For trewe prechinge and worldely goodis ben spuylid bi siche religiouse; and herfore techiþ Crist to flee hem, for þei ben ravyshinge wolvys. Sum wole, as breris, tere wolle of sheepe and make hem coold in charite, and sum wole sturdly, as þornes, sleye sheep of Holy Chirche, and þus is our moder shent for defaute of mennys help. And more mede myȝt no man have þan to helpe þis sory wydewe; for princis of preestis and Pharisees þat calliden Crist a giloure have crocchid*. [crocbid, B, C, E.] to hem þe chesynge of many heerdis in þe Chirche. And þei ben tauȝt by Ante|crist to chese hise herdis and not Cristis, and þus failiþ Christis Chirche. Lord! siþ heerdis shulden passe þer sheep as men passen bletyng sheep, how shulde Cristis Chirche fare, ȝif þes heerdis weren turned to woolvys! But Crist seiþ þat þus it fareþ among þe heerdis of þe Chirche, þat many of hem ben hired hynes and not heerdis over þe sheep, for þe sheep ben not þer owun. And so þei loven to litil þe sheep, for ȝif þei have þere temporal hire, þei recken not how þer flok fare. And þus done alle þes curatours, þat tellen more by worldely wynnynge þan by vertues of þer sugettis or soule hele to come to hevene. Siche ben not heerdis of sheep, but of dunge and wolle of hem, and þes shal not have in hevene joie of þer sheep þat þei kepen. Siche hynen seen þe wolvys comynge to flokkis þat þei shulde kepe, and þei fleen for drede of not*. [nouȝt, B, E.], and þes wolvys ravyshen þe sheep and scateren hem, for þis eende þat þei þanne may souner perishe. And þus moved Poul to found none ordre, for Christis ordre is ynouȝ, and þanne shulde alle Cristen men be more surely in o flok. Lord! ȝif cowardise of siche hynen be þus dampned of Crist, how myche more shulden wolvys be Page  140 dampnyd þat ben putt to kepe Cristis sheep. But Crist seiþ a clene cause whi þes hired hynen fleen þus. For he is an hyred hyne, and þe sheep perteynen not to him, but þe dung of siche sheep, and þis dung suffisiþ to hem, howevere þe sheep faren. Sum ben wolves wiþouten forþ, and sum ben wolves wiþinne, and þes ben more perilous*. [So B; perilouse, E; A has perolous.], for homely enemyes ben þe worste. Yvel wolvys ben religiouse, þat Crist seiþ in Mathew's gospel, ben wolvys ravyshinge, alȝif þei comen in sheepis cloþis; for bi þis ypocrisye þei disseyven sonner þe sheep. And alȝif þer dwellyng be wiþouten parishens of þes sheep, and þei ben strange and newe brouȝt in by þe fend, ȝit þei forȝiten not to come and visite þe sheep. But comounly whan þei comen, þei comen moost for to spuyle; and þus done generaly boþ freris and monkes and chanouns. But þei ben wolvys wiþinne þat seien þat þei have cure of soulis, and ravyshen goodis of þes sheep, and feden hem not goostli, but raþer moven hem to synne, and waken not in heerdis office.

But Crist seiþ he is a good heerde, and knowiþ his sheep, and þei him. For þe office þat falliþ to heerdis makiþ him known among hem, as my Fadir knowiþ me, and Y aȝen knowe my Fadir. So seiþ Crist, Y putt my lyf to kepe my sheep aȝen wolvys. And as þis knowynge myȝt not quenche bitwene Crist and his Fadir, so shulden þes heerdis waken upon þer sheep; and þei shulden knowen him not by bodili feestis ne oþer synnes þat he doiþ, but by þree offices of heerdis þat Crist haþ lymytid to hem. It falliþ to a good herde to lede his sheep in hole pasturis, and whan his sheep ben hirt or stabbid, to hele hem and to grese hem; and whan oþer yvel beestis assailen hem, þan helpe hem. And herto shulde he putte his lyfe to save his sheepe fro siche beestis. Þe pasture is Goddis lawe, þat ever more is greene in treuþe, and rotun pasture ben oþer lawes and oþer fablis wiþouten ground. And cowardise of siche heerdis þat dar not defende Goddis lawe witnessiþ þat þei failen in two offices suyng after; for he þat dar not for worldes drede defende þe lawe of his God, how shulde he defende his sheep for love þat he haþ to hem? And ȝif þei bryngen in newe lawes contrarie Page  141 to Goddis lawe, how shulden þei not failen after in oþer offices þat þei shulden have? But Crist þat is heed of herdis seiþ, þat he haþ oþer sheep þat ben not ȝite of þis flok, and hem mut he brynge togidere, and teche hem to knowe his vois. And so shal þere be oo flok, and oon herde over hem alle. Þes sheep ben heþene men or Jewes þat Crist wole converte, ffor al þes shal make o flok, þe which flok is holy Chirche; but ferre fro þis undirstondinge, þat alle men shal be convertid.

ÞE ÞRIDDE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER EESTIR.

[SERMON XLIX.]

Modicum et jam non videbitis me.
—JOON xvi. [16.]

HERE telliþ Crist to his Chirche how þer wille shulde be tem|prid, for variynge of þer heed after his resureccioun. He seiþ ferst to his apostlis þat þer is ny a litil tyme and þei shal not see him, for he shal be deed and buried; for þes wordis of Crist weren seid þe nexte Þursday bifore his deeþ; and aftir Crist seiþ to his disciplis, þat þere shulde sue a more tyme and þan þei shulden see Crist, and ofte tymes be confortid by him. And þat was fro rysynge of Crist to þe tyme þat he steye to hevene. But for Crist haþ lymytid tyme þat he shuld come to his Fadir, Crist seiþ þis time shal be litil, for he goiþ to his Fadir. For boþe Cristis liynge in þe sepulcre and his dwellinge here in erþe was litil tyme as God limitide, to answere to his ascencioun. And sum of disciplis of Crist saiden togidere, What is þis þat Crist seiþ to us, a litil and efte ȝe shal se me, for Y go to my Fadir. And þei seiden, What is þis litil, for we witen nevere what he meneþ. And Jesus wiste þat his disciplis wolden axe him of þis unknowun þinge*. [So E; A and B wrongly italicise the word.], and he seide þus to hem; Of þis ȝe axen among you, þat Y seide, a litil tyme shulde come, and þan ȝe shal not se me, and siþ a litil but more tyme, and þan ȝe shal see me. Forsoþe, fforsoþe, Y seie to you, þat ȝe shal boþe grete and wepe, but þe worldPage  142þanne shal joie, and þan shal ȝe be soreuful, but ȝoure sorewe shal turne to joie. And þis was soþ of þe apostlis aftir þe rysyng of Crist, ffor first þei maden more sorewe, and siþ lasse, and siþ joie. And worldely men contrarieden hem, þat first hadden joie and siþ sorewe, for þei joieden of apostlis sorewe and sorewiden of apostlis joie. And efte Crist telliþ a kyndely saumple, to prynte þis word more in þer herte.

A womman, seiþ Crist, whan she travailiþ wiþ child, haþ sorewe of hir peyne, but aftir whan she is delyverid, she haþ joie of hir child, and forȝetiþ her former sorewe, for man is bore in to þe world. And þerfore ȝe have sorewe now, but efte Y shal see you, and youre herte shal have joie, and no man shal take fro ȝou ȝour joie. Þis womman, to Cristis entent, is oure modir holy Chirche, and every party þerof þat is also holy Chirche. And as long as we lyven here, we ben travelynge of child, to brynge oure soule to surete fro bisie sorewe of þis world, and so to brynge forþ þe hole man to blisse boþe in bodi and soule. And whan we comen to þis state we þenken not of oure former sorewe to oure anoye or to oure mornynge, for joie of ende þat sueþ; but we þenken in oure herte þat for þis peyne þat we have now, we shal have myche joie whan we ben ful made in þe world. And þat shal nevere be done fully bifore þat we come to blisse, for we mornen til þat tyme. For we may liȝtly perishe fro lyfe, but þanne a man is fully made, whan he is corouned in blisse, for þanne he is certeyne to lyve evere in blis withouten peyne.

Clerkis seien þat whan a man is brouȝt þus to Goddis chambre, þan he is fully spousid with God, and dowid, boþe in bodi and in soule, of foure doweris of þe bodi. Crist toke ernes*. [ernys, C.] here in þis world, for whan he cam out of his modir he brak not þe cloister of hir, but, as þe sunne comeþ þorouȝ þe glas, so Crist cam fro his modir wombe. And þis morwȝyve*. [morwe-ȝyve, B; morow-ȝyfe, E; more ȝif, C.] is clepid of clerkes, dower of bodily sutilte, and ofte usid Crist þis dower fro þat tyme þat he was rysen. Þe secounde dower of þe bodi is clepid agilite, þat is swiftnesse þerof and to moven hou a man wole; and þis dower usid Crist whan he wente upon þe water, and specialy at þat tyme þat he stied in to heven. Þe Page  143 þridde dower of þe bodi is incorruptibilite, þat þe body may not die ne be broke bi no þing; and þis dower knew þe fend whan he aleggide to Crist þat he shulde not hurte his foot, ȝif he lepte doun fro þe temple. And by vertue of þis dower þe knyȝtis broken not Cristis þies, ne, whan he cam in at þe ȝatis þe bordis broken not his bodi. Þe fourþe dower and þe laste is cleryng of mannis bodi, whan it shyneþ briȝt in hevene as þe sunne or oþer sterres; and þis dower toke Crist to him in tyme of his trans|figuringe. And herfore seide Petre þanne, þat good was hem to be þere, for þis is þe heiest dower þat falliþ unto mannis body.

And after þes foure doweris fallen foure unto þe soule. Þe first and þe moste dower answeriþ to þe last of þe bodi, þat a soule blessid in hevene haþ clere knowyng of alle þingis, þat is or was or ever shal be. And siþ a man haþ delite to see a pley here in erþe, or a lord, or þing of wounder, and þerwiþ fediþ his bodi, myche more þis clere siȝt of God and alle his creaturis shulden fulli fede þe blessid soule, and þereafter blisse þe bodi. And herfor seiþ oure Jesus, in the gospel of Seint Joon, þat þis is lyf wiþouten ende, to knowe þe Fadir and his Sone. For þan men knowen in þis myrour al creaturis þat may be; and þis clere siȝt is more joyeful þan ony tunge may telle here. Þe secounde dower of þe soule is vertue to kepe ful knowynge, so þat knowyng of oo þing contrarieþ not to anoþer. And riȝt as bodi shal ever last, for acorde of alle his partis, so mannis wittis shal ever last for lokynge in þe first myrour; and so man forȝiteþ not in hevene þingis þat he sum tyme knewe. Þe þridde dower of þe soule is redynesse for to knowe al þingis þat man wole, hou ofte þat he wole þenke on hem; for ȝif he traveilid in þis þouȝt ony þing aȝens his wille, he were not fully in blisse, ne wiþouten anoyous peyne. And neþeles we bileven þat seintis have what þei wolen have, and þei wolen noo þing þat is yvel. And þus men grounden many blyssis, but al ben brouȝt to þes foure þat we can rekene in seintis. As þe fourþe dowery of man in blis, answeryng to þe first of þe bodi, is sutilte of mannis soule, þat it takiþ al kyn treuþe, and herby is [not]*. [The 'not,' which spoils the sense, is rightly omitted in E.] undisposid to cast out oo treuþe by Page  144 anoþer; but as many blessid bodies ben togidere in o place, so many blessid knowyngis ben togidere in oo soule. Surete of siche goodis may not faile to þes seintis, siþ þei seen clerely in God how it is nede al þis to be. And so þei witen how þei have al þe joie þat þei wolen, siþ hem wantiþ no kyn þing þat þei shulden desire to have.

ÞE FOURÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTIR EESTIR.

[SERMON L.]

Vado ad eum qui misit me.
—JOHN xvi. [5.]

ÞIS gospel of Joon telliþ hie pryvete of þing þat is to come bifore þe day of dome. And, for Cristis assencioun is neyȝ, þerfore Crist telliþ a word of his assencioun þat his apostlis shulden trowe. Crist, to whom al þing þat shal be is present, seiþ upon þe Þursday þat he shulde die on þe morow: Y go to him þat haþ sent me to þe erþe, and þat is a myche office, to bye þe chirche of men. And for my steiyng is so opyn, as*. [and, E.] it is hid bifore tyme, noon of ȝou axiþ me whidir þat Y go, but ȝit, for Y have spoke þes þingis unto ȝou, ȝe trowen not*. [now, E.] but liȝtly þat þei ben soþe, and so oonhed*. [oon bid, B; unbid, E; on bid, C.]*. [The variations of the MSS. and the fact of their all including the words 'and so oonhed' in the italics, show that the scribes themselves did not understand this passage. I have restored the words to Wyclif, and explain the passage thus; 'You readily believe that my words are true, and so unity;' i.e. harmonious and self-consistent.], sorow haþ now fillid ȝoure hertis, for Y have told ȝou how þat Y shal suffre, hou Y shal be reproved, and how Y shal die, and how Y shal aftir be absentid fro ȝou; and how Y shal dwelle in hevene til Y come to þe last day to juge þe world to joye or to peyne. And þes wordis shulden make frendis to mourne among hem silf, but Y seie ȝou treuþe, it spediþ to ȝou þat Y go, for ȝif Y go not, þe Holy Goost shal not come to ȝou, and ȝif Y shal go, Y shal sende him to ȝou. And whan he shal come he shal reprove þe world of synne, of riȝtwis|nese, and also of jugement.Page  145

But þis shal be undirstonde thus—God shal reprove þis world of synne of untreuþe, for þei trowiden not in me. And þis is þe first synne, and moost unkynde þat þei myȝten do to God; ffor siþ Crist came to þis world and by-cam our broþer to bye us, and algatis to profite to mankynde, and he is so opyn treuþe shewid þus unto man, þis is a greet synne to trowe not here to Crist. For in synnynge in þis feiþ unkynde men untrowen to his Fadir and to Crist and also to þe Holy Goost, for þis holy Trinite witnessiþ þis journey. And as bileve is first vertue and ground of al oþer, so unbileve is þe first synne of alle oþer, and þerfore synne take*. [taken, E.] by himsilf is take for þis moost famous. Of þis synne shal the Gost repreve men of þis world.

Secoundly shal þis Goost repreve men of riȝtwisnesse þat þei shulden have to Crist and unkyndely wanten it. For sich a messanger should be worshipid of alle men, and heried, for sich a message, siþ it was so profitable. And so þe world shal be dampned for wanting of þis riȝtwisnesse, and spe|cialy, for siche a persone goiþ aȝen to his Fadir. And þat shewiþ þat Crist is þe secounde persone in Trinite, and so bi his godhede evene wiþ his Fadir, and bi his manheed lasse, but even in kynde wiþ his breþeren. And þus riȝt wole axe þat þis persone were worshipid.

Þe þridde tyme shal þis Goost reprove men of þis world, for þei jugide folily þat Crist was led by a fend. And ȝit þe most hie fend, prince of þis worlde, is now juged to helle, for he temptide þus Crist and dide him unworshipe.

Ȝit, seiþ Crist, Y have many þingis to seie to ȝou, but ȝe may not bere hem now; but þe spirit of treuþe shal come to ȝou, and teche you alle treuþe, and make ȝou strong to bere treuþe to suffryng of deeþ. Þerfore þis good maister shal here by|gynne for to teche þe boke of lyfe, and he shal nevere ende to teche, til þat his disciplis comen to hevene; and þere þei shal clerely knowe eche treuþe þat men can telle. He shal not speke of himsilf, wiþouten ony cause bifore, but al þingis þat he shal here of the Fadir and of þe Sone shal he speke and telle Page  146 ȝou, and ȝe shal after teche his Chirche. And þingis þat here after ben to come shal þis Goost telle ȝou. For þe apostlis knewun here al þat now is nede to knowe, for in þis mesure ledde God hem, and movede hem to do his dedis. He chargide hem not wiþ ydel witt þat herfore þei shulden be proud, but alle þat nedide hem to kunne, þei kouden þat redely. Þis Goost shal clarifie me, for he shal take of myne and shewe ȝou þe treuþe þat Y am and þat Y have. And so in knowing of þis treuþe þe apostlis shal wele knowe Crist, how bi his godhede he is ever wiþ þe Fadir, and anentis his manhede, he is evere in kynde wiþ his breþeren. But in grace of oonhede he passiþ alle oþer men þat may be, siþ no man may be God but he, and welle of grace as he is. And herfore Crist declariþ him silf, and seiþ, þat alle þat his Fadir haþ ben*. [is, E.]hise, and herfore he seide þat þe Goost shal take of his and shewe to his disciplis, as ben þe apostlis and oþer after.

And in þese heye wordis of witt, Crist techiþ how he wiþ his Fadir is þe same God in kynde, and bryngiþ forþ þe Holy Goost. For ellis þe Fadir hadde þis Goost, and Crist hadde not þis same Goost, and so not al þat þe Fadir haþ had Crist as verre God. But siþ þis word of Crist is soþ, it shewiþ openly þat Crist is God and of him wiþ his Fadir comeþ forþ þe Holy Goost. Þis Holy Goost may not be made, but ever comeþ forþ of þes two, as ȝif þe shynynge of þe sonne come forþ evere of liȝt and briȝtnesse. But, for þis sentence is myche hid fro witt of þe comoun peple, þerfore shulde preestis shapen of þe wordis of þis gospel, what myȝt profite to his puple after undirstondinge of hem.

And we shulden marke þis word of Crist whan he seiþ to his disciplis, but ȝif he go fro hem to hevene, he shal not sende to hem þe Holy Goost; and many men musen of þes wordis, siþ Crist was every where almyȝty, and so he myȝt as wele in erþe as in hevene sende hem þis Goost. Lord! what nedid Crist to stye and speke wiþ mouþ wiþ þis Goost. Sich wordis shewen men ful rude to conseyve þis mater, and þerfore it were nede to hem to knowe witt of þes wordis. We shal trowe þat Cristis Page  147 disciplis loveden him here to fleishly, and þei musten be purgid here of þis love bi þe Holy Goost; and þes þingis myȝt best be done whan manhede of Crist was fro hem. And þus for rudenesse of apostlis, Crist seiþ þat it spediþ þat he go fro hem, but he dwelliþ bi his godhede and his vertue ever wiþ hem. And herfore he seiþ anoþer tyme, þat he is al daies wiþ hem unto þe eende of þis world, bi Godhede and vertue of his manhede. And þus whan Crist was went to hevene, his apostlis weren clere in love, and leften þe love of erþely þingis, and þouȝten clenly of hevenly þingis.

And of þis witt taken sum men þat it falliþ not to Cristis viker ne to preestis of holy Chirche to have rentis here in erþe. But Jesus shulde be her rente, as he seiþ ofte in the olde lawe; and þer bodily sustynaunce þei shulden have of Goddis parte, as of dymes and offryngis and oþer almes taken in mesure; þe which by þer holy lyf þei abliden hem*. [abliden bem, that is, qualified themselves.] to take þus. Lord! siþ þe bodi of Crist undisposid þe apostlis to take þis Goost, myche more shulde worldely lordship unable men now to take þis Goost. And siþ þei have now o Goost, it is lycly bi þer dedis þat þei have a wickide Goost þat lediþ hem an yvel wey. And in þes wordis we may see hou religiouse þat ben to day, drawen more to þer abite and to þer stynkynge ordenaunce, þan Crist wolde þat his apostlis chargiden þanne*. [om. C; þe, E; þanne, B.]*. [Unless þanne is to be taken as representing the old form of the A. S. masc. sing. accus. þone, the reading of the Douce MS., þe, is preferable.] presence of his bodi. And herfore Crist sent his apostlis aloone, scaterynge into þe world, and certis þei weren more able now þan whan he sent hem two and two; for now þei weren rype by þe Holy Goost more sadly þan þei weren bifore. But oure freris þat ben syke ben closid now in cloistre togidere, mo þan twelve of Cristis apostlis; and þis semeþ by þe fendis cautel, þat ȝif on blec*. [blekke, B, C; blecke, E.] not his broþer, anoþer worse shulde fylen*. [defoule, B.] hem. And herfore sum freris have witt to holde hem ferre fro siche a lumpe and avente hem in þe world; and þan shulden þei have good goost, for þus did Crist wiþ his disciplis, and him þei shulden suen in lyf.

Page  148

ÞE FYFÞE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER EESTIR.

[SERMON LI.]

Amen, Amen, dico vobis, si quid petieritis.
—JOHN xvi. [23.]

CRIST telliþ in þis gospel hou his disciplis shulden be helpid by vertue of her preier, whan he was styed in to hevene. And first he seiþ a general word, and takiþ boþe his kyndis to witnes, þat, ȝif þei axen ouȝt þe Fadir of hevene in his name, he shal ȝyve it hem. But, as Crist seiþ, unto þat tyme his disciplis axiden not in his name, and herfor aftirward shulden þei axen þat þere joie were ful, and þei shulden take. Al þe hardnesse of þis mater is to cunne perfitly to axe in Cristis name, for he shal have þat axiþ þus. But siþ oure Jesus is treuþe and helþe of men þat trowun in him, þat man axiþ in Cristis name, þat axiþ in treuþe his soule helþe. Crist is moost lord of al, and þerfore he wole have dispit, but ȝif men axen him a greet þing; ffor ellis his lordship and þat axing acorden not to his name. And so, ȝif þou wilt axe in Cristis name, axe þe blisse þat evere shal laste; and siþ Crist is treuþe and resoun, loke þi axinge be resonable, and þan maist þou be sure to have þe þing þat þou axist þus. And herfore Crist in þis gospel biddiþ us to axe oure ful joie, and þan shal we have it, if þat we axen it in resoun; for no man haþ but half joie, but ȝif he be ful of blisse. And þis greet lord wole not be axid but þis blisse, or menes þerto; and ȝif man axe þus in resoun þat he be worþi to have it, he shal have it wiþouten doute whan best tyme were þat he hadde it; and he shal have on þe best manere þe þing þat he axiþ þus.

And herfore þe seven axingis þat Crist techiþ in þe Pater noster meneþ*. [So in B; menen, E, C; moveþ, A.] þis forme of axinge; and algatis to axe in charite; and þerfore men þat lyven in werre ben unable to have þer axinge: but þei axen þer owne dampnynge in þe fifte peticioun, for þer þei axen þat God forȝyve hem þer dettis þat þei owen to hym, riȝt as þei forȝyven men þat ben dettours unto hem. And Page  149 here we shal undirstonde þat ech man is dettour to God, and ech man owiþ to eche oþer to do him good in charite. And so failynge to love God of al þin herte and alle þi wille, þou rennest in grete dette boþe aȝens God and man. And so in þis fifte axing þes men þat werren now-a-daies, axen him as þei wolden mene,—forȝyve us for we ben even wiþ þee, or ellis take venjaunce in ire of us, as we taken vengeaunce of oure bre|þeren. And þis is noo good praier, but more axinge of Goddis venjaunce; and for þis cause many men ben unherd in þer praier, and turned in to more yvel for þere unskilful praier. And siche men weren better to leve þan to preien on sich maner. For many men preien for venjaunce and for worldis prosperite, and in þe ire of God he ȝyveþ hem þat þei axen; but it were beter to hem to preye not þus, ne to have þes þingis. And þus men of contrarie londis preien God in grete pro|cessiouns; and for unworþinesse of her preier hem were beter to sitten at home. And, for men witen not for what þing þei shulden preie God in siche causis, þerfore good lyvynge pro|fitiþ more, and þe Holy Goost axiþ þan for hem. And who ever stere*. [stireþ, E.] men to yvel lyfe, ȝif*. [alȝif, E.] þei ben freris þat crien heye, God heereþ hem not to good, but raþer to take venjaunce on hem. For Crist seiþ, þat not ech man þat seiþ to him Lord, Lord, shal come in to þe blis of hevene, but he þat eendiþ in riȝt lyf, for he preieþ in þe name of þe Trinite. And þus Ȝebedeus sones preieden for good, but in yvel manere. And so algatis ryȝt lyf is þe beste in mannis preier, for siche lyfe preieþ beter to God þan hie voicis of ypocritis.

And after seiþ Crist to his apostlis, þat þes þingis he seide bifore to hem in proverbis and mystily; but now is come tyme whan he shal not speke þus unto hem in proverbis, but apertly of his Fadir he shal telle hem as best is. In þat daie shal Cristen men axe in Cristis name unto þer blisse. And now he seiþ unto hem þat he shal preie his Fadir of*. [for, E.]hem, for þei shal be mateer to Crist and make his rewme. Wherfore he preieþ, þat þe Fadir love þes apostlis and oþer men þat suen him, for þei loveden Jesus Crist and trowiden þat he cam fro God; ȝhe, þat Crist bi his manhede Page  150 came of God in his godhede. Crist cam fro þe Fadir and cam in to þe world, and now whan Crist haþ done his message, he forsakiþ aȝen þe world, and goiþ bi manhede to his Fadir. And Cristis disciplis seiden to him, Lo, now þou spekist opynly, and þou seist now noo proverbe; and þerfore we witen wele þat þou knowist alle þingis, and it is to þe no nede þat ony man axe þe ouȝt, for þou wost bifore þe axinge, what men shulde axen and what þingis leve. In þis we trowen þat þou come fro God as his owne sone.

And þis bileve is ground to men to have of God what þat hem nediþ, and to wite what is best to hem, al ȝif it displese to þe world. But, as men þat ben in feveris desire not þat were best for hem, so men here in synne coveiten not best þing for hem. For þe world seide þat þe apostlis weren foolis and forsaken of God, and so it wolde seie todaie of men þat lyveden lyke to hem, for worldis joie and eerþely good plesiþ to hem, wiþ meenes þerto, and þei saveron*. [saveren, E.] not hevenly good ne riȝt suyng after Crist. And þis jugement now in þe world is open witnesse aȝens men, þat þei be not hoole in soule, but turned amys to worldely þingis. For as a mouþ of a syke man distempered fro good mete, moveþ him for to coveite þingis contrarie to his helþe, so it is of mannis soule þat savoureþ not Goddis lawe. And as wanting of appetit is a signe dedly to man, so wanting of Goddis witt is signe of his secounde deeþ. And jugement þat now regneþ of worldely prosperite is token of men þat þei ben foolis and saveren not of Goddis lawe. For þe world seiþ comounly þat ȝif a man have worldely blisse and þe world leiȝe*. [joye, C.] to him in killynge of his enemyes, þan God loveþ him and doiþ miraclis for his sake. But, Lord! where is oure bileve þat we shulde trowe in love of God, þat it stondiþ not in þis but raþer hate of God! And, as Gregori seiþ*. [I have been unable to verify this reference.], as a bole þat shal be kild goiþ in corn at his wille, and is not pyned*. [So in B; pynyd, E; pynde, C; A has pyndid.] ne traveilid wiþ oþer beestis; so a lyme of þe fend is left fro þe grace of God, to figure his dampnacioun, and suffrid Page  151 to do myche harme here, to large his peyne aftirward. We shulden leve þes sensible signes and take ensample of holy men, as of Crist and of his apostlis; hou þei hadden not her blisse here. But here Crist ordeynede peynes and hate of þe world and pursuyng to men þat he moost lovede, to teche us þat come after hem. And þus signes of paciens and pursuynge in þis erþe shulde be tokens of Goddis love and not signes of Antecrist.

ÞE SIXTE SONDAI GOSPEL AFTER EESTIR.

[SERMON LII.]

Cum venerit Paraclitus.
—JOHN XV. [26.]

CRIST telliþ his disciplis of comyng of þe Confortour, þe which is þe Holy Goost, and what lyf þei shal after lede. And ech man shulde cunne here þis lore, for þan he may be soulis leche, and wite, bi signes of his life, wher his soule be seke or hoole. Lord! siþ a fisician lerneþ diligentli his signes, in veyne, in pows*. [pouse, E; powse, C.], and oþer þingis, wher a mannis bodi be hool; how myche more shulde he knowe sich signes þat tellen helþe of mannis soule, and how he haþ him to God. Alȝif siche þingis ben pryve and passen worldly witt of men, neþeles þe Holy Goost telliþ men sum of siche signes, and makiþ hem more certeyne þan men can juge of bodily helþe. And, for we shulden kyndely desire for to knowe þe soulis state, þerfore þe Holy Goost, þat techiþ us to knowe þes signes, is clepid a con|fourtour of men, passinge oþer confortours. And as a mannis soule is beter þan þe bodi, and endeles good passiþ temporal good, so þis knowynge of þe soule passiþ oþer mannis cunnynge.

Crist seiþ þus to his disciplis, Whan þis confortour shal come þat Y shal sende ȝou of þe Fadir, Goost of treuþe þat comeþ forþ of him, he shal also bere witnesse of me; and ȝe shal also berePage  152witnesse, for ȝe ben wiþ me alwey fro þe bigynnynge of my prechinge. But here may Grekes be moved to trowe þat þe Holy Goost comeþ not forþ but of þe Fadir and not of Crist þat is his sone; for þe toon seiþ Crist, and in þis gospel leveþ þe toþer. And it semeþ to sum men, ȝif þis were treuþe þat shulde be trowid, God wolde liȝtly telle þis treuþe as he telliþ oþer þat we trowen; and ellis it were presumpcioun to charge þe Chirche wiþ þis truþe, siþ neiþer autorite of God, ne resoun, techiþ þat þis is soþ; and al bileve nedeful to men is tolde hem in þe lawe of God. Here me þinkiþ þat Latynes synneden sum what in þis poynt, for many oþer pointis weren now more nedeful to þe Chirche; as it were more nedeful to wite, where al þis Chirche hange in power of þe pope, as it is seid comounly, and where men þat shal be savyd ben nedid here to shryve hem to preestis, and þus of many degrees þat þe pope haþ liȝtly ordeyned. But me þinkiþ þat it is soþ þat þis Goost comeþ boþe of þe Fadir and of þe Sone, and þes persones ben o cause of him; and me þinkiþ, to noon entent shulde Crist seye, he sendiþ þis Goost, or þat þis Goost is his, but ȝif þis Goost come of him. And to þis þat Grekes seien, þat Crist leveþ þis word, certis so doiþ he many oþer for certein cause, and ȝit we trowen hem; as Crist seiþ his lore is not his, for it is principaly his Fadris; and ȝit we trowen þat it is his, but þe welle is in his Fadir. So we trowen þat þe wille bi which þe Fadir loveþ þe Sone comeþ of witt þat is þe Sone, but principaly of Goddis power. And in þis word Crist techiþ us to do algatis worship to God. And þus þes Grekes may not prove þat we trowen fals in þis bileve, or þat Crist lefte þis treuþe, wiþouten cause to telle it þus; for bi þis þat Crist seiþ, þe Holy Goost came of his Fadir, and leveþ þus þe comynge of him, he stoppiþ þe pride of þe Chirche and techiþ men to worshipe God. But whan he seiþ þat he sendiþ þe Holy Goost to his disciplis, and alle þat his Fadir haþ ben his, he techiþ clerely þat þis Goost comeþ of him; and oþer wise shulde Crist not speke.

And þus Latyns ben to blame, for þei leven nedeful treuþe, and depen hem in oþer treuþe, þat is now not so nedeful. And þus seien sum men þat þe bishop of Rome, þat þei clepen heed of þe Chirche, and þerto pope, and Cristis viker, doiþ more harme to þe Page  153 Chirche of Crist þan doiþ viker of Thomas in Inde*. [The tradition of the visit of the apostle Thomas to India is of later origin than the time of Eusebius, being first mentioned by writers of the close of the fourth, and begin|ning of the fifth century, such as Gregory Nazianzen, St. Ambrose, and St. Jerome. The Christians found in Malabar by St. Francis Xavier certainly called themselves 'Christians of St. Thomas;' but this is supposed by many to have arisen from a confusion between the apostle and a Nestorian missionary. (Dean Stanley, article 'Thomas;' Smith's Bibl. Dict.; Kitto's Cyclo|pædia.)], or viker of Poul in Grees, or þe Soudan of Babilon. For þe rote of which he came, þat is dowynge of þe Chirche and heyng of þe emperoure, is not ful holy ground, but envenymed wiþ synne. But þis venym first was litil, and hid by cautelis of þe fend, but now it is growen to myche and to hard to amende. Soþ it is þat ech apostle was obedient to ech oþer, as Petre obeishid unto Poul whan he reprovede hym; and þus þenken sum men þat þei shulden obeishe to þe pope, but no more þan Crist biddiþ, no more þan to oþer preestis, but ȝif he teche bettre Goddis wille and more profitiþ*. [profite, E.] to men; and so of alle his ordenaunce, but ȝif it be groundid in Goddis lawe, sette no more prys þerby þan bi lawe of þe emperoure. Men shulden seie myche in þis matere, and oþer men shulden do in dede; but men wolden holde hem heretikes, as þe fendis lymes diden Crist. And so þicke ben his membris þat who so holdiþ wiþ Cristis lawe, he shal be schent many weyes and algatis wiþ lesyngis.

And þis telliþ Crist bifore unto his postlis, to make hem stronge and arme hem aȝens siche persecuciouns. Þes þingis, seiþ he, Y spake to you, þat ȝe be not sclaundrid. He is sclaundrid þat is lettid by word or by dede, so þat his riȝt wille falle doun fro his witt; and so ȝif a man be pursued and suffre it paciently, he is not sclaundrid, al ȝif men synnen aȝens him. Þe first pursuyt aȝens Crist shal be of false preestis, not al oonly lettyng þe membris of Crist to reule þe puple in chirchis, as curatis shulden do, but putte hem out of chirche as cursid men or heretikes. And herfore seiþ Crist þat þei shal make ȝou wiþout synagogis. But ȝit shal more woodnesse come after þis, for þei procuren þe puple, boþe more and lasse, to kille Cristis disciplis for hope of grete mede. And herfore Crist seiþ certeyn of þis Page  154 mater, þat hour is come þat ech man þat killiþ þus good men, shal juge him to do to God medeful obedience. And to þis ende pro|curen freris, Antecristis disciplis, þat wel nyȝe it is þus now among Cristene men. Sum men be sumnyd to Rome and þere putt in prisoun, and sum ben cryed as heretikes among þe comoun peple; and over þis, as men seien, freris killen þer owen breþeren, and procuren men of þe world to kille men þat seien hem treuþe. And oo drede lettiþ hem þat þei stirte not to more woodnesse, for þei defenden þat it is leveful and mede|ful, preestis for to fiȝt in cause þat þei feynen Goddis; and so ȝif þer parte be stronger þan seculers, þei may move þes preestis to fiȝt aȝens þes gentilmen. And as þei have robbid hem of temporal goodis, so þei wole pryve hem of swerde as unable, and seie þat sich fiȝting shulde best falle to preestis. Þus hadden preestis þis swerd bifore þat Crist cam, and þei drowun so ferre out of religioun of God til þat þei hadden kild Crist, heed of holy Chirche.

Alle men shulden be ware of cautelis of þe fend, for he slepiþ not, castynge fals weies, and al þes done fendis lymes; for þei knowen not þe Fadir and his sone bi propertees of hem. Þe fend blyndiþ hem so in worldly purpos, þat þei knowen not strengþe of God ne wisdom of his bidding; for feiþ failiþ unto hem þat þei loken not aferre, but þing þat is nyȝe þer eye, as beestis wiþouten resoun. Alle þis haþ Crist spoke to his disciplis þat whan tyme comeþ of hem, þei shulden þan have mynde þat he haþ seid hem þes perelis to come. And þe Holy Goost moveþ ever sum men to studie Goddis lawe and have mynde of þis witt; and so love of Goddis lawe and sadde savoure þerynne, is token to men þat þei ben Goddis children, but ȝit of þer ende þei ben uncerteyn.

Page  155

ÞE GOSPEL ON WITT SONDAI.

[SERMON LIII.]

Si quis diligit me.
—JOHN xiv.*. [So in E; both A and B have xviii, erroneously.] [23.]

IN þis gospel moveþ Crist his children to love, for charite is þe best cloiþ þat ony man may have; and herfore seiþ Goddis lawe þat love is stronge as deeþ, for love moveþ men to suffre deeþ gladly, in Goddis cause. And where deþ is þe moste þing þat man drediþ here, þis love passiþ kynde and makiþ men to coveite siche deeþ; and þis wille is not harmful but glorious to men, siþ bi siche love men brennen as coolis*. [colis, B.], and turnen in to Goddis cloþis as angelis of hevene. First seiþ Crist þus, ȝif ony man love him, he shulde kepe his word, for þat is þe same treuþe; and siþ God is kynde aȝen to men þat loven him þus, Crist seiþ þat his Fadir shal love him aȝen; and ȝif his Fadir love a man, þe two oþer persones loveþ*. [This is the old plural present indicative of the Southern dialect, proceeding directly from the West Saxon form lufiað.] him, and al siche love of God mut nedis be evermore. And þe manhede of Crist worchiþ þus bi þis love; it shal brynge wiþ Crist siche membris of him to hevene, and so to clere siȝt of þe holy Trinite. And so Crist wiþ his membris shal make þere þer dwellinge wiþ|outen ony ende, bi love of þe Holy Goost; for seintis in hevene may not passe þis ende, for þan þei weren foolis chesynge a worse eende.

For Crist wolde shewen oonhede to loven him and to kepen his wordis; þerfore he seiþ efte, He þat loveþ him not, he kepiþ not hise wordis. And herfore Crist, discryvynge a man þat loveþ him, seiþ þus after in þe same gospel, He þat haþ my comandementis and kepiþ hem in his lyfe, he is þat ilke þat loveþ me wel*. [So E and B; A and C give no marks of quotation.]. Here may we wite where a man love God, for ȝif he loveþ God, he loveþ his lawe and wordis Page  156 of þe gospel, for alle þei comen to oon; and ȝif he loveþ not Goddis lawe he loveþ not his God. And herfore ech man þat loveþ not Goddis word, þat he wolde not die þerfore to defende it, he loveþ not his God as he shulde love him; for it is al oone to love God and to love his word, and as myche as þou lovest God, shuldist þou love his word. But for love of þi God, þou shuldist lese þi lyfe, and so þou shouldist lese þi lyfe for defence of Cristis word; and in cowardise of þis love ben many men smyttid, but knyȝtis bi þer ordre shulden be redy in þis love. But, for Crist haþ seid þat men shulden kepe hise wordis, many men myȝten muse what þing ben þese wordis. But Crist seiþ þat alle þes wordis ben treuþes, as ten treuþis of þe comandementis, and alle ben wiþouten ende; and so he þat kepiþ not þe wordis of Crist, he kepiþ not his o word þe which þei have herd, and þis o word which þei have herd is not Cristis, but his Fadris. For it is Cristis persone, and Crist is not Cristis sone, but þe Sone of þe Fadir; and þus we may see worþinesse of Goddis word. Wordis of God ben many by diversite of resoun, but al þei rennen to gidere in o myddil poynte, and so þei ben alle Goddis word, þat is him silfe. And, for þes wordis ben mysty and derke to þe puple, þerfor ȝyveþ Crist hem a confort in þis matere, and seiþ, þat he haþ spoke þes þingis unto hem dwellynge wiþ hem, and þei ben ȝit mysty; but þe Confortour þat is þe Holy Goost, þe which þe Fadir shal sende in þe name of Crist, shal teche hem alle þingis þat ben now hid to hem. And þus it falliþ unto men to know rudely first a þing and generaly, as philosophris speken, and after shulden þei knowe more sutilly þe same þing; and þus Crist bi his manheed told first mysty wordis, and siþ bi his fynger shewide sutilte of hem. And ȝit þis Holi Goost shal have order of þis lore, for first he shal move mennis eris in sensible voicis, and siþ he shal be slyden ynne and teche mennis þouȝtis, in alle þat Crist haþ spoke bifore, in general wordis. Þei ne shal ceese anoon to lerne more sutilly, but ever in þis lyf þei wexen more rype til þat þei comen to hevene, and þere knowe al fulli.

And, for pees of mannis soule disposiþ him to lerne, þerfore Crist byhotiþ his children þis pees, and seiþ þus, Pees Y leve to you; and my pees Y ȝyve ȝou. Crist wiste þat him silfe Page  157 shulde soone passe fro his children; ffor on þe Þursdaie at niȝt he seide to hem þes wordis, and on þe morewe at noon he died for þer love; and herfor he bihiȝt hem þat he shulde leve hem pees. But Crist specifieþ þis general pees, whanne he seiþ þat he ȝyveþ hem his own pees; and þis shal be first wiþ pursuynge of body, but it shal grow after to moost ful pees. And herfore seiþ Crist þat not as þe world ȝyveþ, he ȝyveþ hem, but on contrary maner. Þe world ȝyveþ þingis þat now ben likyng, but bi processe of tyme þei wexen more bitter, and so þei turnen to peyne and sorewe, þat first weren likynge; and so pees of þis worlde is ever more decresynge, but pees of God growiþ unto ful pees.

And bi þes wordis of witt Crist confortiþ his children, and biddiþ hem, þat þer herte be not disturblid ne drede; for who ever troweþ fully þis sentence þat is seid, and hopiþ fully þat he were of nombre of þes children, he were an untrewe man ȝif þat he drede þus. Apostlis dredden hem of perelis þat weren nyȝe, but þei failiden not of þis treuþe, þat þei ne shulde have a good ende, and what þingis þat felle to hem, it shulde falle to hem for þe betere. And so as þe worlde is sikir of þing neyȝe it, and in doute of þing ferre, so in contrary manere ben Cristis children sikir of þer ferre eende, but of þer nyȝe menes ben þei sum tyme in drede. And grounde of þis sentence is Cristen mennis bileve, and herfore seide Crist, Ȝe herden how Y seide to ȝou, Y go and Y come to ȝou; and he þat trowiþ fully þes witty wordis of Crist he shulde not drede him of þis for seid sentence, for Crist seiþ, as God to whom al þing is present, Y go and Y come to you, for certeinte herof. And as Crist was certeyne of his deeþ and his steiyng up and of his comynge aȝen at þe daye of dome, so shulden his children be certeyn of his forseid sentence. And ȝit Crist moveþ his children to have joie of his goyng, and þis was a point for which þei mourneden moost; and Crist seiþ þus to hem to abate þer mournynge, Certis, ȝif ye loveden me, ȝe shulden have joie for Y go to my Fadir, siþ he is more þan Y; for þus bi manheed Y shulde encreese in bliss, and he þat joieþ not herfore, he loveþ not Crist. And it is told bifore hou ech man shulde love him; And now Y seide to you, bifore it is falle, þat whan it done, ȝe trowen in my witt; Page  158 and so shulde þei trowe to alle þing þat he hadde seid, for þus he is God þat can wel al þing. And Crist, teching his children to marke beter his wordis, seiþ, þat he shal speke now but fewe þingis unto hem, but þei shulde have moost enemyte here of þe heed fend þat Crist haþ overcome; and þerfore he telliþ hem, þat prynce of þis worlde is come for to tempte Crist, and he haþ not in him; and þus in þis overcomynge shulde þei not drede þe fend. But al þis is done þat þe worlde knowe þat Y love þe Fadir; and so shulde ȝe do, for alle þingis þat Y do shulden be ensaumple to you. And herfor Y do as my Fadir comandide me, for wel Y woot in þis may I not faile. And al þis sentence of þe gospel of Joon is fully perteynynge to comynge of þe Holy Goost, and so redyng of þis gospel was wel ordeyned for þis day.

ÞE GOSPEL ON ÞE TRINITE SONEDAY.

[SERMON LIV.]

Erat homo ex Phariseeis Nychodeme.
—JOHN iii. [I.]

ÞIS gospel undir a story telliþ of þe Trinite, and boþe þes ben harde, as comounly is Jones gospel. Þe storye telliþ þat þer was a man of Pharisees þat hiȝte Nichodeme, and was prince of þe Jewis; he cam to Jesus on a nyȝt and seide þus to him; Rabi we witen wel þat þou art come fro God; and raby is as myche as maister in Englishe. And Nichodeme tolde þe cause whi he trowide þis, for no man may make, he seide, þes signes þat þou makist, but ȝif God be wiþ him, and so he comeþ fro God. And Jesus answeride Nychodeme, and seide þus to him, bi my double kynde Y seie to þee, but ȝif a man be born aȝen, he may not se Goddis rewme. And þes wordis weren woundirful to Nichodeme, and þerfore he axide where a man myȝte be bore whan he were an old man, wher he myȝte crepe in to his moder wombe for tyme þat he was olde and be born aȝen.

Þis Nichodeme cam in þe nyȝt, þat figuride his ignoraunce, but to þe literal witt, he dredde him for his breþeren, to come Page  159 apertly in þe day, and speke wiþ Jesus Crist; and boþe þes undirstondingis shope þe Holy Goost. And so þis goostly birþe þat Nichodeme mut first have bitokeneþ þe Fadir of hevene þat þryngeþ forþ two oþer persones; and so Nichodeme to litil knewe þis persone of God, and for þis unknowinge he axide þis questioun. For he seide not þat Crist was kyndely Goddis Sone, ne þat he was Goddis word and so God him silfe; and so þis Nichodeme hadde nede to be cristened in feiþ, and so Crist lovede his persone, alȝif he hatide his ordre, for Crist savyde his persone and distryede his ordre. And þus Crist lovede Poul, þat seiþ he was a Pharisee; but þe more part of Pha|risees weren fals and heretikes. And þis nativite shewiþ Crist in þes wordis; Forsoþ, forsoþ, Y seie to þee, but ȝif man be born of water and þe Holy Goost he may not entre in to Goddis rewme. And þus bi þis baptym, þis water and þe Holy Goost, Crist tolde him þe Trinite ȝif he koud conseyve it. Þis baptym seiþ þe Trinite, in whos name it is mad; þis water is þe waishinge þat ranne of Cristis herte; and so baptym and water and þe Holy Goost tellen Nichodeme þe Trinitee, and þerwiþ þe sacra|ment, for Crist is compendious in spekynge of his wordis.

But Crist makiþ distynccioun of two manere of birþis, and seiþ þat þing born of fleishe is fleish in his kynde, and þing þat is born of spirit is spirit on sum manere; and þerfore, wounder þou not þat Y seide to þee, Ȝe moten be born aȝen, and bi Goost made children of holy Chirche, and so in spirit maad Goddis children, and so his spouse shal be your moder. Þis gendrure of þis Goost is boþe free and wilful, and herfor Crist seiþ to Nicho|deme, þat þe spirit breþiþ wher he wole, and þou herest his vois bi which he moveþ þee. And on þis maner þe Spirit of oure Lord haþ fillid þis world wiþ witt of oure feiþ, and þat þing þat holdiþ alle haþ science of vois. And herfore at Wit-Sonday whan þis Goost apperide was a greet soun, and tungis of fier, to telle þat men shulden speke on hiȝt*. [beyȝt, E; beiȝþe, B; beiȝe, C.] to þer breþeren, and þei shulden have charite, þe which seiþ þe Holy Goost. And alle ȝif we knowen þe vois of þis Goost, neþeles we witen not whennes þat it comeþ ne whidir þat it goiþ, to men þat ben Page  160 biside us; for we knowen not þe ordenaunce of God, whi he enspireþ þes men, and to what ende, or wheþer he shal save þis man or wende awey from him. And so ech man þat is born of þis spirit is unknowun to oþer by many hid resoun, and so ech man is sumwhat knowun and sumwhat unknowun for wisdome of þis spirit.

But Nichodeme answerede and seide here to Jesus, How may þes þingis be done? And Crist seide to him; In þe lond of Israel ben manye blynde maisters, for þou art maister in Israel, and ȝit þou unknowist þes þingis: and so it is noo wounder ȝif þis lond be mysled, ffor ȝif þe blynde leden þe blynde, þei fallen boþe into þe lake. And neþeles Y teche hem as myche as þei ben worþi; and so seiþ Crist to Nicho|deme, Soþely, soþely, Y seie to þee, defaute is not in me, in teching of þes puple, but in untrewe hardnesse of it; for, þing þat we knowun, we tellen to hem, and þat we have sene in Godhede, we witnessen, and ȝe taken not oure witnesse, for ȝoure unkynde hardnesse. And þerfore ȝe knowen not þe gendrure of þe firste persone. Ȝif Y seide to ȝou erþely þingis and ȝe trowen hem not, how, ȝif Y seide to you hevenly þingis, shal ȝe trowen hem? Crist tolde here of bodily birþe, and ofte tymes of erþely treuþe, but þei trowiden him not for þer fole hard herte; but neþeles Crist telliþ þis man knowinge of þe secounde persone, and in an article of bileve, þat is, his ascensioun; and no man, seiþ Crist, steieþ in to hevene but he þat cam doun fro hevene, mannis sone þat is in hevene. And in þes wordis myȝt Nichodeme undir|stonde boþe þe godhede of Crist and þerto his manhede, and so shulde he knowe wel þe secounde persone of God. By þat þat Crist steied þus, and þus is mannis sone, miȝt he knowe his manhede bifore oþer manhedis; for alȝif oþer men steieden a litil in þis eire, neþeles no man steieþ in to hevene þus but Crist. And so noon oþer man comeþ to hevene but ȝif he be Cristis membre, and be drawun bi þe Trinite in to þis hey place. And þus seiþ Crist soþ, þat no man steieþ in to hevene, but him silf aloone; and seiþ þere ben foure manere of bryngingis forþ of man, and þe fourþe and þe laste, apropred unto Crist, is þat man comeþ clene of womman wiþout man. Crist clepiþ him wel here a sone of mankynde; and þus bi þes two wordis Page  161 myȝt he knowe Cristis manhede. And by oþer two wordis myȝt he knowe Cristis godhede; first by þat he seiþ þat þis man cam doun bifore fro hevene, and þis myȝt nevere be but ȝif Crist were God or*. [or='before that.'] he were man. Þe secounde word þat shewiþ þe godhede of þis persone, is, þat Crist seiþ þat he is mannis sone þat is in hevene, ȝhe, after þat he bycam man; ffor þus is Crist*. [Crist is, B, C.] two kyndes godhede for evermore, and evermore*. [So E; A, B, C, om. and evermore.] in hevene drawynge to him whom him likeþ. And þus Crist techiþ wel ynouȝ to knowe þe secounde person, boþ in godhede and in manhede, as myche as he shulde þan knowe him.

But to telle þe þridde persone, in pointis of bileve, Crist telliþ to Nichodeme, As Moyses heied þe addre in desert to hele þe puple by lokynge on him, so mut mannis sone be hyed in þe cros, þat ech man þat trowiþ in him, perishe not in helle, but have lyf wiþouten eende, þat is blisse of hevene. Here mut we knowe þe storye of þe olde lawe hou þe puple was hirt by stynging of addres, and Moses preied God to telle him sum medecyne; and God bade him take an addre of bras, and hong hym hye on a tree to þe puple to loke on, and he þat lokid on þis addre shulde be helid of þis yvel. And al þis was figure of hanging of Crist, for Crist was in forme of addris of venym, but he hadde no venym in his owene persone, as þe addre of bras hadde no venym in him. But as riȝt lokynge on þis addre of bras savyde þe puple fro venym of serpentis, so riȝt lokynge bi ful bileve in Crist saveþ his puple fro synne of þe fendis. And þe fende was þe first addre þat ever noyed man, and Crist was hongid in tre, as þis addre hongide in tree. But it were to wite over, hou þis story perteyneþ to þe Holy Goost, siþ al þis was done in Crist; but we shal wel wite þat ech of þes þre persones is in ech oþer, as ech bitokeneþ oþer. And siþ þat Crist seiþ þat no man haþ more love þan for to put his lyf for his frendis, þis blesside hanginge of Crist in þe crosse is þat hye charite þat God lovede man inne, and þis charite is þe Holy Goost; and þus was Nichodeme tauȝt þe feiþ of þe Trinite, and in þis feiþ many oþer articlis, and þus is þis gospel approprid to þis feste. Page  162

Þere ben many witnessis and resouns to þe Trinite, but þis manere of lore is more plentenouse and more profitable to men; and herfore Crist seiþ it þus; and þus eche man shulde reule al his lyfe after þis holy Trinite, for ellis he must faile. Loke first þat he be groundid in stable bigynning, and siþ þat he procede in gracious mene, and siþ þat he ende in ful|nesse of charite, and þan his lyfe is ensaumplid aftir þe Trinite.