Select English works of John Wyclif; edited from original mss. by Thomas Arnold.
Wycliffe, John, d. 1384., Arnold, Thomas, ed. 1823-1900.
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COMMUNE SANCTORUM.

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[THE sermons which follow, on the gospels of the office of the Commune Sanctorum, are thirty-one in number. The order of the feasts, and the gospels themselves, appear to have been taken by the writer from the Sarum missal. Every separate office in|cluded in that missal is dealt with by the writer of the sermons except those for 'Many Virgins' and 'Holy Women not Virgins;' and for this omission there is an obvious reason, viz. that the gospels for those offices are the same as those for 'One Virgin not Martyr,' and 'One Virgin and Martyr,' and had therefore already formed the subjects of sermons. With one exception, all the gospels correspond with those in the Sarum missal. This exception is in the office for 'One Apostle.' Two gospels for this office are treated of by the writer, Hoc est praeceptum, (John XV. 12) and Haec mando vobis, (John XV. 17). The latter one of these gospels alone is given in the Sarum missal. But the Hoc est praeceptum is the gospel for the 'Vigil of an Apostle' in the present Roman missal.

Although of course there is a general agreement, the office of the Commune Sanctorum in the Sarum missal differs considerably from that of the present Roman missal. In one direction it is fuller, in another not so full. It is fuller, in that it has a greater number of distinct offices or masses, there being twenty-nine in the Sarum, and only twenty-four (including that for the anni|versary of the Dedication of a Church) in the Roman. It is less full, because, though it has more offices for several of the feasts, certain festivals are not represented in it at all, e.g. those of 'One Martyr not a Bishop,' and of a 'Martyr not Virgin.'

Out of the thirty-one gospels treated of by the writer, twenty|one are also found in the Commune Sanctorum of the Roman missal, and ten are different.]

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HERE BIGYNNEÞ ÞE COMOUN SANCTORUM, ÞE SECUNDE PART OF ÞIS BOOK.

ÞE GOSPEL IN VIGIL OF APOSTLE.

[SERMON LV.]

Ego sum vitis vera.
—JOON XV. [I.]

As comune þing is betere and bifore oþer þingis, so þis gospel þat is red in comun story shulden men knowe sum what, and speciali preestis, for it is a foul þing þat prestis speken as pies, and knowun not her owne vois more þan doumbe beestis, and speciali whanne þei reden bileve of holi Chirche, for þes men ben to ferre to preche þis to þe peple. Þis gospel of Joon telliþ a parable of Crist, bi which he tauȝte his disciplis for to dwelle in him, and for to love him, for ellis þei ben nouȝt. Crist seiþ þus: I am a verri vyne and my Fadir is tylyer of þis vyneȝerde. For Crist bi hise twoo kyndis is a good herde; as anentis his godhede, he is þe same tilier wiþ his Fadir, and as anentis his manhede he is heed of holi Chirche. And for þis seiþ Crist þat, ech braunche þat is in him, and beriþ not fruyt, his Fadir shal take awey, for keper of a vyneȝerde falliþ þus to clense it, and algatis kepe þe vynes þat þei beren grapis. And, for alle þe Fadir dedis doiþ also þe Sone, þerfore seiþ Crist þat ech braunche of þe Chirche þat beriþ fruyt, his Fadir shal purge þat it bere more fruyt; and so doiþ Crist, for he sendiþ water of wisdom to hise braunchis, and herof comeþ grapis to preche to Page  166 þe peple and gladen hem in Goddis lawe. Sum men ben braunchis of þis vyne, þat dwellen in holy Chirche, and ȝit þei ben not þerof, al if þei lyve of þis vyne, and ben siche þat gaderen gredili Cristis patrimonye, as dymes and offringis and rentis, þat þei seien weren ȝovun to Crist; and wiþ þis þei done not þer office to quykene oþer branchis; and þes ben moost noious branchis þat ben plauntid in þis vyne, for þei maken most oþer men to rote and drye and falle fro þis vyne in to þe fier of helle. For no men ben of holi Chirche, al if þei ben þer|inne, but þese men þat beren fruyt and han love wiþouten eende.

After seiþ Crist to his disciplis, Now ȝe ben clene for þat word þat Y seide to ȝou, Dwelle ȝe in me and Y dwelle in ȝou. Boþe goode men and ivel moten be on sum manere in Crist, siþ he is God þat susteyneþ al þing; but men shulden be in him bi grace and take moisture of his lore, and so profite to oþer braunchis þat growen in þis vyne, and þus þei shulden take moisture of lore of þis tree, or ellis þei ben not of þis tree, al if her kynde be susteyned in it, but þei growen in kynde to make of a fier in helle. And þis vyne dwelliþ not in a man as for his membre, but if he helpe þis man to make here a good ende, and die in charitee to God and to his Chirche. And so, al if ech man shulde hope þat he be lyme of holi Chirche, neþeles he shulde suppose þis bineþe bileve and wiþ a drede, but if God tellde him specialy what eende þat he shal have. And þis triacle haþ God ordeyned aȝens preestis and ypocritis, þat þei shulden not disceyve þe puple, bostinge þat þei ben of holi Chirche, for, be þei popis, be þei bishopis, or oþer preestis more or lasse, þei bosten and hewen above her heed, if þei ben proud of þis title. And herfore God, þat loveþ þat ech man shulde be meke, hidiþ þis point from ech man þat he woot wole not holde mekenesse. And to conferme þis mekenesse, seiþ Crist after in þis gospel, As a sioun mai not bere fruyt but if it stonde stable in þe vyne, so no Cristene man mai bere fruyte but if he be dwellinge in Crist. And herfore seiþ Crist bi Matheu, þat a good tree mai not make yvel fruyte ne an yvel tree good fruyt, al if mennis jugement faile in þis, for þese þat God woot þat shal be saved, al if þei synnen for a tyme, neþeles her synful lyf shal turne to hem to fruyt of hevene. And so þese men þat shal be Page  167 dampned, al if þei done good for a tyme, ȝit þei han an yvel maner þat quenchiþ þe goode þat þei done. And so it is unknowun to men who dwelliþ þus in God; but ech man shal do good, supposinge þat he dwelliþ in God. And herfore rehersiþ Crist, as he haþ seid to his apostlis, I am a vyne, and ȝe þe braunchis, and so þat man þat dwelliþ in me and I in him, he beriþ moche fruyte, and upon þis shulden ȝe þenken, for ȝe moun do nouȝt wiþouten me. And so shulden we lerne þat vynes ben trees þat profiten not to mennis work but in beryng of her fruyt. So shulden preestis in þis worlde shapen her lyf to Cristis Chirche, not to be enheritid here, ne to be riche, ne to fiȝte, but to teche Cristis lore boþe in her lyf and in her word. And þus shulde ech man do, but sum more and sum lesse.

And aftir seiþ Crist, as here is seid, þat who þat dwelliþ not in him shal be sent out, as a kitt braunche, and so he shal drye and siþ be cast in to þe fier, and þere he brenneþ wiþouten ende in þe fier þat evere shal laste. For fendis of helle shulen gadere him boþe in bodi and in soule, and witnesse aȝens him how he servede hem aȝens God. And over þis bihetiþ Crist þis privylege to his braunchis, þat if þei dwellen in him and hise wordis dwellen in hem, bi brynginge*. [So rightly E; A includes the words in the italics.] forþ of hevenly fruyte, whatevere þei wolen þei shulen axe and it shal be done to hem. Þese hiȝe wordis þat Crist seiþ here, tellen witt hid to men. For many þenken þat summe ben fulli lymes of þe fend, and ȝit þei enden holi men and comen to hevene for her good lyf; and summe ben now holi men, as ancris*. [ankeris, E.] heremytes and freris, and efte þei ben apostataas and dien enemyes of Crist. Al þis is hid þing, for if siche men semen to do yvel, and summe siche semen to do good, as ben many ypocritis, neþeles þe ende is hid of which þei shulden take her name. And so God hidiþ þe qualite of siche workes of men here, for men shulden not dampne hem ne preise hem to liȝtli. And þus men maken hem over wise in jugement of holi Chirche, and in demynge of mennis lyf, þat þis goiþ to hevene and þis to helle, for God haþ kept to him þe knowinge of an ende, þat makiþ al. Þou maist knowe þat þis man is oþer a bishop or in sich office, Page  168 but wheþer he shal wende to hevene, God haþ hid þe knowinge fro þee; and siþ after þat he is man of holi Chirche or a lyme of þe fend, it is wel seid þou maist not see þis point of þi bileve, which ben lymes of holi Chirche, but þou shalt trowe þe general. And so þat þing þat þou trowist here, þou seest not here wiþ þi iȝen, but þou trowist it above hope, and bilevest it bineþ science. And þus þese wordis þat Crist seiþ shulden move men to lyve wel, and be meke, and leve pride of hiȝenesse of her staat. And wolde God þat men lerneden þis lessoun þat clepen hem men of holi Chirche, and bi colour of þis fendis synne spoilen men þat be undir hem; and in þis raveyn þei shewen wel, þat þei ben not of holi Chirche.

ÞE GOSPEL IN ÞE DAI OF APOSTLE.

[SERMON LVI.]

Hoc est preceptum meum.
—JOHN xv. [12.].

ÞIS gospel techiþ Cristis apostlis, and in hem al Cristis Chirche, how þei shulden holde charite ech man to oþer. Crist seiþ, Þis is my comandement, þat ȝe love togidere, after þat forme þat Y have loved ȝou. More love þan þis haþ no man, þan þat he put his lyfe for love of hise frendis. And þus, as fisik*. [phisic, E.] techiþ, þei shal þenke on a man þat is fulli hool wiþynne and wiþoute, and bi mesure of such a man þei shulden mesure mennis helþe; and whanne men axen, where is he þat is on þis wise hool, þei seien, þere is noon siche, but siche oon þei ymagynen; and after mesure of þis helþe þei heelen him þat þei delen wiþ. But blessid be oure science, and auctour þerof, for we seien þat þere is a love in þe heed of þe Chirche þat is moost in dede of alle loves þat mai be, and after þis love shulden alle oþer be mesurid. But, for fisik shameþ to sette sich a mesure þat þei knowen not, ne witen not where*. [wheþer, E.] it be, herfore þei seien þat þer ben two helþis, oon to riȝtwisnesse and anoþer Page  169 to weiȝte. Þe firste helþe shulde stonde in a mannis membris, and in his compleccioun, in humouris, and in elementis, which in suche acord ben knettid to gider, þat noon of þese mai be contrarie to anoþer; and siþ no man is siik but*. [om. A; perperam.] bi sich con|trarite, þis man þat þei speken of mai nevere more be siik. But hoolnesse of weiȝte mai falle to a man; and þat is nevere more wiþouten greet sykenesse, al ȝif it be hid by governynge of fisike. He is hool in weiȝte þat haþ of ech element as moche as he mai worche, wiþ dedes þat fallen to men, and on þis wise moun þei maken men hool. But blessid be oure mesure, þat Crist puttiþ in charite, for þat is moost rial and ground of al oþer; and no man mai be saaf but if he knowe þis mesure, and þis mesure helpe him to gendre in him charite; and þus shulden men in dede practise in þis science, for veyn speche þerof pro|fitiþ not, but harmeþ. Þis love was shewid in Crist, whanne he putte his lyf for love of his breþeren, and brouȝte summe out of helle, and savede oþer þerfro; and herfore seiþ Crist, for practisinge of þis love and ensaumple þerof, þat þei shulden love togidere as he haþ loved hem*. [So E; no italics in A.]; and þanne þei ben al hool.

And herfore moten we nedis lerne þe bileve of þe passioun of Crist, and of his deþ suwynge, siþ after forme of þis love we shulden love togidere; and wantinge of þis love is cause of ech synne and of ech harm þat falliþ in þe Chirche; and þerfore men shulden enforce hem more to lerne þis love. And her|fore traveilide Poul in techinge of charite, and telde sixteen condiciouns, þat shulden folowe it. And as many men seien þat þei ben hool in bodi, many men seien þat þei ben in charite, and loven God over al þing, and her neiȝbore as hem silf, but ȝit þei gabben opynli, as her lyf shewiþ. Þis lore þat Cristis scole axiþ loveþ none gabbingis, but þat þei do in dede as her mouþ confessiþ. And, for Crist haþ teeld þat þis hiȝe charite techiþ a man to putte his lyf for love of hise frendis, and þis love is oonli in persone of Crist, he telliþ how hise apostlis and oþer men ben hise frendis. Ȝe ben þanne, seiþ Crist, frendis of me þat han þis love, if ȝe done sadli þe þingis þat I bidde ȝou. And so it is of oþer men þat doen as þese apostlis, for þei ben Page  170 mesure after Crist to oþer men þat suen hem. And certeyn þei ben not frendis to Crist þat han not þis love, but oonli þei þat han þis love; and siþ þis frenship axiþ þat boþe frendis loven togidir, and þat þe love be shewid in dede, as philosophris seien, if we ben frendis to Crist, it is þus in dede bitwixe him and us.

And Crist seiþ efte þis word of love, Now shal Y not clepe ȝou servauntis, for þe servaunt woot not in þat*. [in þat seems to mean, quâ servant.]what his lord doiþ. And þus men seien comounly þat þer ben two manere of servauntis, servaunt of condicioun, and servaunt of mynysterie. And servaunt of mynysterie may ben on two maneris. Sum men be oonli servauntis of greet service outward, and sum ben servauntis of þes two, boþe of privy counceilis and to do siche service. And on þis wise þe apostlis weren servauntis of Jesus Crist, as þey graunten comounly in bigynnynge of her epistlis; but on þe former manere weren not apostlis now servauntis, for Crist tauȝte hem his privyte and lymytide hem to worþi werkes. And þus spekiþ Crist here; and herfore wolde not þe aungel take worshipe of Joon, as seiþ þe book of pryvytees, but þe angel seiþ to him þat he was his servaunt, and hise breþeren boþe, siþ Crist was man in hevene, and he hadde ordeyned so hiȝe place for hise apostlis, and telden*. [teelde, E.] hem privytees unknowun to angels. And bi þis equivocacioun moun men liȝtli acorden to Cristis lawe; for, as clerkes witen wel ynowȝ, contradiccioun is not oonly in wordis. And þus seiþ Crist, þat he seiþ hise apostlis to be hise frendis from henneforþ, for alle, he seiþ, þat Y have herd of my Fadir I have maad knowun unto ȝou. And þis is soþ, siþ Cristis apostlis knewen comunly þe book of lyf, and weren in lernynge of þis book, til þat þei knewen aboven aungels; and apostlis wisten þanne truþis þat weren hid from aungels. And cheef cause of þis frendship stondiþ in Crist and not in hem, for þei chesiden not Crist her maistir, but he chees hem unto þis office, and ȝaf to hem vertue for to do al þe service þat he shope hem to.

Crist ordeynede þree þingis to be fillid bi hise apostlis, first þat þei shulden go forth in to þe world and preche his gospel, Page  171 and þat þis shulde be fruytous to þus converte so myche peple, and siþ þat þis fruyt dwelle, boþe in þis worlde and in þe toþer. And þes þree ben grete myraclis amonge alle þo þat Crist dide, for it passiþ mannis work to make fruyt þus to laste in heven. Men moun worche bi mannis craft figuris and hid qualitees; but þis is more wiþouten mesure, þus to fordo synne, and bringe in blis; and þus seiþ Robert Grosthed*. [I cannot find this passage in the Opuscula of Grossetete printed in the Appendix to Brown's Fasci|culus; it is probably in one or other of his many writings which exist at present only in manuscript.] þat þis craft passiþ alkemmye*. [alkemye, E.], for it makiþ soulis hoole, þat ben betere þan sunne or moone.

And þes þingis myȝten not ben do*. [done, E.] but bi special helpe of God; and þus telliþ Crist to his apostlis, þat what evere þei axen his Fadir in his name, he shal ȝyve to hem, for þe love of him. And bi þis was shewide þe frendship bitwixe Crist and hise apostlis, and here moun we knowe treuþe*. [þe treuþe, E.] þat is nedeful for þis gospel, how þes men ben frendis to Crist þat shulen be saved bi his vertue. And, as it semeþ, oonli þes men weren saved bi Cristis deþ, and oonli for þes men Crist putte his lyf and bouȝte hem; but wel Y woot þat Crist ȝaf ynowȝ to save moo men, if þei wolden take his medicine and ablen hem to vertue of it. And here we moun not putte foli to marchaundiȝe þat Crist made, siþ savynge of his Chirche is betere þan was lyf þat Crist lefte, for þis deþ was a meene to betere lyf; and al was Cristis. And þus Crist was not peirid by his deþ, but sum wey beterid, siþ he loste not*. [no, E.] substaunce, but gat o betere habitude. But leve we þis, and speke of love, þat it profite to þe peple; for siþ þer is no rewme, ne state of men, ne persone here, þat he ne failiþ in holdinge of þis love of Crist,—for ellis shulden men not þus synne,—alle we failen in þis love þat Crist haþ beden to his Chirche; for siþ every man in erþe is neiȝbore to ech oþer, how shewe we in our lyf ful love to alle þes neiȝboris?

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ÞE GOSPEL ON ÞE DAY OF OON APOSTLE.

[SERMON LVII.]

Haec mando vobis.
—JOHN xv. [17.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ sharpli, as Crist doiþ ofte bi Joon, how men shulden love togidere and putte awei þe lettingis, for þe bigyn|nynge and þe eendinge of Goddis lawe is love. Crist bigynneþ þus and comandeþ hise disciplis; Þese þingis I bidde to ȝou þat ȝe love togidere. No þing is more beden of God þan þis love, and þerfor, what man leveþ it, he despisiþ God; but al were for to know þe craft of þis love, for it is oon to love a þing, and to wille good to þat þing. Ech þing shulde be loved after þat it is good, and so God shulde be moost loved, and betere men more þan worse men. And we shulden for Goddis love love yvel men and yvel comunes, and for his love be bisie to ȝyve hem mater to be betere, and as myche as in us is, to do good to ech man, sum to make betere and sum to make lesse yvel; but oo firstnesse of love shulde we have to us silf, and to oure fadir and oure modir, savynge ordre of Goddis lawe. Þe firste lettinge of þis love þat Crist telliþ here, is hate of þis world to men þat kepen þis love, for þe world is so blyndid þat it clepiþ hate, love, and love it clepiþ hate, for it erriþ in bileve. Al oure love shulde stonde in þe love of God, to kepe his lawe and move oþere to kepe it; but many, for defaulte of feiþ, holden þis a fooly*. [foly, E.], for gooddis of þis world fallen not to siche men.

And herfore seiþ Crist, If þe world hate you, ȝe shulden wele wite þat it hatide me bifore; and þis worþinesse of Crist þat suffride þus for man, shulde move trewe men in God to suffre for Crist. If þou grutche aȝens poverte, and coveite worldeli worshipe, wite þou þat Crist bifore was porer þan þou, siþ he hadde not bi his manhede place to reste his heed ynne. If þou grutchist þat þi sugetis wolen not ȝyve þee goodis, þenke how Cristis sugettis wolden neiþer ȝyve him mete ne herberwe; and ȝit herfore he curside hem not, but dide hem moche good. And if þou grutche þat þe world doiþ þee ony Page  173 injurie, and þou profitist to þe world aȝen in love and meke|nesse; þenke how Crist bifore þee profitide þus more to þe worlde; and ȝit Crist suffride more wronge of hise sugettis þan þou maist. And þus if þou woldist þenke on Crist, how he suffride for love of man, it were þe beste ensample þat þou shuldist have to suffre, and to cese þi grutching; for, as Austyn seiþ*. [The reference is probably to the treatise De Urbis Excidio, the con|cluding chapter of which especially, in a strain of eloquent and tender reproof, exhorts the Christian people of Rome, just after the sack of the city by the Goths, not to repine on account of their terrible sufferings, remembering the unapproachable circumstances of the passion of their Redeemer.], no man in þis world mai synne but levyng þat Crist tauȝte, or grutche aȝens þing þat he suffride.

And for þis, seiþ Crist after, If ȝe weren of þe world, þe worlde wolde love þat is his; for þis lawe lastiþ in good and yvel, þat o man loveþ lyk to hym, ȝhe, if þei shulen be dampned for þis, as o synful loveþ anoþer for þe likenesse of her synne; and ȝit þei shulen boþe in helle suffre harm for þis likenesse. And þus it is no kynne*. [kyn, E.] wounder if lymes of þe fend haten lymes of Crist, for þei ben so myche con|trarie here, and after þe dai of dome; and þis meveþ many men to hate þes newe religiouse, for þis newe dyversite quenchiþ love and makiþ hate. Ȝhe, ȝit þei han sum fendis manere, þat þei haten her owne breþeren, and turmenten hem, for þei holden wiþ Goddis lawe aȝens heris*. [heres, E.]*. [aȝens beris; i.e. against theirs,—the friars' law.]; and certis þei loven to litil oþirs, but feynen, to spoile hem of her goodis. And þus seiþ Crist to hise disciplis þat, for þei ben not of þis world, but he haþ chosen hem of þis world, herfor þe world hatiþ hem. And if þou lernest of þe world to hate þus, þi love is quenchid, but if þou hatist bi Cristis lawe men of þis world for þis synne, and wiþdrawist hem fro þe world, þanne þou lovest þese men in God. For þe world is takun here, for men over|comen bi þe world, þat loven more worldeli þingis þan Goddis lawe, or good of vertues. And of þis world seiþ Crist, þat it hatiþ hise disciplis.

And, for þis lore passith oþer in profit and in holynesse, þerfore biddiþ Crist hem to þenke on his word þat he haþ seidPage  174here to hem, for þanne þei overcomen þis world; and herfore seiþ Joon evangelist, Breþeren, what man is he þat over|comeþ þe world? Certis noon, but if he trowe þat Jesus is Goddis Sone. If we holden þis ground in feiþ þat Crist is verri God and man, and over þis trowe wel his lyf, and alle hise wordis þat he seiþ, we shal overcomun þis world and alle þe helpers of þe fend. For, as Crist seiþ soþeli, þer is no servaunt more þan his lord is; and so Crist is more boþe in vertue and in worþinesse þan ony oþer man mai be; and siþ Crist suffride þus and tauȝte Cristene men þis lore, what man shulde we trowe or sue in oure lyf but Crist? And neiþer þe world ne þe fend mai in þis harme a man; and so confortiþ Crist hise membris bi two knyttingis of treuþe, If men of þis world have pursued Crist, þane þei shulen pursue hise membris; and if þei han kept hise wordis, þei shulen kepe hise disciplis wordis. And þis is liȝt for to knowe; for al þat shal be moot nedis be; for it is more hard to fendis to pursue þe persone of Crist þan to pursue hise membris, and þus þe liȝter wolen þei do. But oo confort lieþ here, þat as Crist convertide summe þat weren men of þe world, so shulen hise disciplis do. And þus þei shulen not worche in veyn to kepe his lawe as he biddiþ, for ech man þat shal worche mote have an hope of sum good ende, for dispeire of sich an ende wolde lette a man for to worche.

But þe blyndenesse of þe worlde þat turmentiþ Crist wiþ hise lymes, is unknowinge in bileve*. [The words þat—bileve are excluded from the Italics in E.], þat þei knowe not Cristis Fadir. For if þei knewe wel Cristis Fadir, þanne after þei shulden knowe his Sone, and þat þese two ben o God; but who wolde stryve aȝens þis God? And so defaute of bileve, and uncunnynge þat men have, gendren al yvel dedes; and þus ech synner is a fool; and if men knewen Goddis power and his witt in þes two persones, how he mai not forȝete synne to punishe it whanne it is tyme, þanne shulden men dreden to synne, for knowinge of þes two persones. But þis feiþ is oþer weie in wakyng*. [The words þat—bileve are excluded from the Italics in E.] or in slepynge. But Crist reproveþ þis unbileve, and seiþ, if he hadde not comen and spoke not þus wiþ hem, þis synne shulde not þei have hadde. For siþ Crist moste nedis have come in his manhede as he cam,*. [oþer awey in wantyng, E.]Page  175 and alle þe dedes þat he dide, have do to men as he dide to hem, þis greet synne shulde not have be, of unkynde untreuþe of Jewes. For þis was gret unkyndnesse, to þis manere trete þere broþer, þat algatis mekeli dide so grete kyndness aȝen; and it was an opyn untreuþe, to þis manere hate her God; but now þese Jewes han noon excusinge of þis synne. And herfore seiþ Crist þus, þat what man þat hatiþ him, he hatiþ also his Fadir, for þei ben boþe oo þing. And, for in ech kynde of þingis is oon first, þat mesuriþ alle oþere þat ben in þat kynde, þerfore in maner of synnes moote be oon first of alle oþer synnes, and marke alle þe oþer, and þat is þe synne of preestis aȝens Jesus Crist. And herfore seiþ Crist þat, if he hadde not do werkes in hem, þat noon oþer man dide, þei hadden not hadde þis synne, but now þei siȝen þis feiþ, and ȝit þei hatiden boþe me and my Fadir. But þis synne was not done wiþouten grete cause, siþ God suffriþ noo synne wiþouten avauntage þat it doiþ. And so was verified þe writinge in her owne lawe, þat þe Jewes hadden wilfulli Crist in hate.

ON DAI OF OON EVANGELIST.

[SERMON LVIII.]

Designavit Dominus Jesus.
—LUC. x. [1.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist sente lesse disciplis to preche to þe peple, and ordeyne for þe apostlis; and þes wordis helpen moche for prechinge of simple preestis, for grete apostlis figuren bishopis, and lesse disciplis lesse preestis. But þese disciplis weren two and seventy in noumbre; and so many, as men seien, weren langagis aftir making of Babiloyne*. [This very precise calculation appears to be taken from the De Civitate Dei of St. Augustine, who, (Lib. xvi. cap. 3-9), reckoning the posterity of Shem at 27, that of Ham at 31, and that of Japhet at 15, (Gen. x.) considers that the human race, after the flood, was divided into 73, or rather, as he undertakes to prove by a particular argument, into 72 nations. Till the building of the tower of Babel, these nations had all one common language; but after the dispersion which followed as a penal infliction upon that event, there came to be as many languages as there were nations.]; and alle Cristis Page  176 disciplis traveiliden to bringe to oon men of þe Chirche, so þat þer shulde be oon heerde and oon flok. Þis noumbre of Cristis disciplis sente he, two and two bifore his face, into ech place þat he was to come to, for to preche and to teche, as weren citees and comune places. And here moun Cristene men se þe falshede of þese freris, how þei letten symple prestis to preche þe gospel to þe folk. For as þei feynen falsely, noon of Cristis disciplis hadde leve to preche til þat Petir hadde ȝovun him leve, and bi þis same skile, noo preest shulde preche to þe peple, but if he hadde leve of þe bishop or leve of þe pope. Þis gospel telliþ þe falsnesse of þes freris lesynge, for Crist sente þese disciplis to preche comunly to þe peple, wiþouten lettre or axinge of leve of Seint Petir; and as Petir shulde not graunte þis leve in Cristis presence, so preestis in Cristis pre|sence have leve of Crist, whanne þei ben preestis, to preche treuli þe gospel. And if þei prechen þus treuli þe gospel as Crist biddiþ hem, Crist is amyddis hem, and þe peple þat þei techen. And alȝif prelatis shulden examyne prestis þat prechen þus, neþeles it were more nede to examyne þes freris, þat feynen hem to be preestis, for þei comen in of worse ground, and ben more suspect of heresie.

Lord! what resoun shulde dryve herto, to lette trewe preestis to preche þe gospel freeli, wiþouten ony let, or ony fablis or flaterynge, and ȝyve leve to þese freris to preche fablis and heresies, and aftirward to spoile þe peple, and selle hem her false sermouns. Certis þe peple shulde not suffre siche falshede of Antecrist. Also Poul, Cristis apostle, techiþ in bokes of oure bileve, how God wolde þat he prechide to þe peple wiþouten sich axing; for fro þe tyme þat he was convertid, þree ȝeer after, he preechide fast, and axide noo leve of Petir herto, for he hadde leve of Jesus Crist. Siche novelries of pseudo freris shulden prelatis and alle men aȝen stonden, lest her falshede growide more and largerly*. [largerely, E.] envenymede þe Chirche. Þus shulden preestis preche þe peple freeli Cristis gospel, and leve freris fablis and her begginge, for þanne þei preche wiþ Cristis leve; and herof shulden prelatis be feyn, siþ þei synnen moche on Page  177 oþer sidis, but if þei ben Antecristis preestis and shapen to quenche Cristis lawe. But þe peple comunli trowide in Crist and lovede him, and þus þei obeschen*. [So E; A has oblishen.] to þis tyme, boþe to Crist and his lawe.

And Crist shewide þe cause and þe nede of þis prechinge, for he seide, Ripe corn is moche, and fewe workmen aboute it. But for þis work is medeful, and Crist sovereynli performyde it, þerfore he techiþ his disciplis, to preie þe lord of þis ripe corn to sende hise workmen þerto. And here Crist techiþ opinli þat men shulden not bie þis office, ne take no mede of þe peple to traveile þus in Cristis name, for þanne þei puttiden upon Crist þat he sillide prechyng of his word, and ȝaf leve to do symonye; and boþe þes ben blasfemyes. But Crist stiride his men to go, and telliþ*. [So E; A has telle.] hem þe peril bifore, but he moveþ hem privyly for greet mede to traveile þus; Go ȝe, seiþ Crist, for Y sende ȝou as lambren among wolves. And so we have mande|ment of Crist, and autorite to go, and foorme of þis perilous goinge, þat makiþ it more medeful. But Crist ȝyveþ his prechours*. [preciouse, E.] foorme how þei shal lyve in þis work; Nyle ȝe, he seiþ, bere sachil ne scrippe, ne hosis, ne shoon, ne greete men bi þe weie, ne do þing þat shulde lette þis work. If ony siche helpe to þis work, Crist wolde not þat þei leften it. And þus seiþ Crist þat, In to what hous ȝe entren, ȝe shal first seie, Pees be to þis hous; and if þere be child of pees, ȝoure pees shal reste upon him, and ellis it shal turne aȝen to ȝou, and so ȝoure work shal not be idil. But if ypocritis worchen here, al ȝif þei seien sich wordis, þe housis and þe peple ben worse, þat þese false men comen among; for Crist doiþ þese vertues, in whos name þese prechours speken, and if þei ben þe fendis lymes, comunly þei moven to synne. But Crist wolde not þat hise workmen wenten aboute wiþouten fruyt, and þerfore he biddiþ hem dwelle in þe same hous upon resoun; but þei shulden be not idil þere, ne curious in mete and drynke, but þe peple shulde gladly fede hem, and þei shulden homly take þat þei founden, and þei shulden take no newe reule bi which þe peple were chargid. And neiþer part shulde grutche here to do þus as Crist techiþ, Page  178 for it shulde turne wiþoute charge to mede of boþe partis; and good lyf of sich workmen shulden move þe peple to do hem good, and devocioun of þe peple should preie hem to take her goodis. But gredynesse and avarice letten here þes two partis; and al if boþe þes synnes letten moche fro Cristis work, neþeles coveitise of preestis is more perilous in þis caas; for avarice of þe peple mai be helpid on many maners, oþer to turne to oþer peple, or to traveile as Poul dide, or to suffre wilfulli hunger, and þrist if it falle; but coveitise of wickide preestis blemyshiþ hem and þe peple, for comunly þei shapen her wordis aftir þe ende þat þei coveiten.

And here þenken many men þat siche prechours shulden be war þat þey come not wiþ myche peple ne many hors to preche þus, but be paied of comun diete, and þerwiþ redi to traveile, for þei shulden be noo cause of synne, neþer of hem ne of þe peple. And here it semeþ to many men þat þese newe ordris of freris shulden eiþer leve her mul|titude, or traveile wiþ her hondis, and if þei diden boþe þes two discretely, it were þe betere. Ne take þei not of Cristis lyf to traveile not, as Crist did not, for neiþer þey can ne moun be occupied ellis as Crist was; but raþer þei shulden take of Poul and oþer apostlis for to traveile, and leve her newe tradiciouns, as Petir dide, wiþ oþer apostlis, and profitiden more þan þes men done. We shulden þenke how Petir lyvede whanne Cornelious sente after him, how symply he was fed and herborid, and how he answeride; but now freris reversen Petir and mul|tiplien newe lawes*. [So E; lawyes, A.] and persones of þeir ordris, havynge more þan Petir hadde. And herwiþ þei seien to men þat þei passen bishopis and popis, and certis þei seien here þe soþe, if þei menen passinge in synne, for unleveful excesse is passinge to þes freris. And so as þei varien in abitis, so þei ben speckid in her ordris, for as þe sect of Sarasynes*. [Sarascenes, E.], þei han sum good and sum yvele.

Page  179

IN DAI OF OON MARTIR.

[SERMON LIX.]

Nisi granum frumenti.
—JOHN xii. [24.]

ÞIS gospel moveþ men bi wordis of Crist to martirdom. And first Crist spekiþ þus bi symylitude in kynde. But if þe corn of whete fallinge in erþe be deed, ellis it dwelliþ aloone wiþoute fruyt, þat springiþ þerof, and if it be deed in erþe, moche fruyt springiþ þerof; and thus it is of Cristis lyf, that licneþ him to whete corn. It is knowun þing in kynde, and in sentence þat clerkis tellen, þat þe whete corn whan it is sowun and wel hilid wiþ erþe, it takiþ not a newe foorme, but if þe elde passe awei; and siþ it lyvede sum tyme, it must nedis þanne be deed. And if þis corn be þus deed, it bringiþ forþ myche fruyte, for it growiþ bi vertue of hevene first to gras and after to corn, and of oo corn comeþ an eere, and in oo eere ben many cornes. So it is in holi Chirche of Crist, and corn þat comeþ of him. Crist is bi sum proprete oo wheet corn among alle, and Crist mote nedis die, and after growe in hise apostlis, and bi hem growiþ Crist in myche multitude of corn. And how ever clerkes speken þat þe same vertue is in þe seed þat is after in þe fruyt, and passiþ from o fruyt to anoþer, we bileven þat in gendrure of holi Chirche it is þus;—þe vertue of þe firste corn, þat is Crist, of whom comeþ þe Chirche, dwelliþ in ech corn þat comeþ in part of þis Chirche. But þis vertue is not an accident wiþouten a suget, siþ þis suget is þe secounde persone of God, þat is in ech lyme of þe Chirche, and bringiþ wiþ him a grace þat clerkes clepen predestynynge. And so, al ȝif Crist was bifore his man|hed hed of þis Chirche, neþeles bi his manhede þis corn hadde newe purginge and colour.

After þis mysty speche, knyttiþ Crist anoþer word which semeþ woundirful in heerynge of many men. He þat loveþ hys lyf, seiþ Crist, he shal lese it, and aȝen, he þat hatiþ his lyf in þis world, he kepiþ it to lyf wiþouten eende. A man is Page  180 seid to love his lyf, þat loveþ it more þan oþer þing; and he is said to hate his lyf, þat puttiþ oþer love bifore it; for þe first is a passinge love, and þe toþer a maner of hate; and bi þis manere of speche many gospellis moun be knowun, for it is a suynge þing to love a þing and to hate it þus. But in þe þridde word of þis gospel spekiþ Crist more speciali, how þes wordis longen to him, as to ground of good religioun. First Crist seiþ, If ony man serve to Crist, sue he him; and here he techiþ þat no man mai mynystre to Crist, but if he sue him; and þus moun we se how feyntli we serve to Crist, for now we leven þe weie of Crist and bowun*. [bowen, E.] bi a wrong weie, and now we gone ever abak to synne þat we han first done. And so fewe men or noon suen Crist wiþouten defaute, for we speken of suynge in vertues, and not of suynge of bodili weie. And þis suynge stondiþ most in ordynal love of man, and herfore spekiþ þe gospel of love, and of hate next bifore.

But over þis, Crist seiþ þat, Where he is, his mynystre shal be, and þis is seid suyngli to þe word þat is seid bifore; for it semeþ of þat word þat it is hard to serve Crist, and her|fore telliþ Crist þe meede þat men shulden have þat serven him; for he þat may not lye bihetiþ þat his servaunt shal be þere, boþe in blis and in place, where Christ is wiþouten eende. And siþ Crist is in hevene and in blis bi boþe hise kyndis, þis biheest shulde move men to sue Crist, al ȝif it be hard, for þe mede of þis suynge passiþ gretli þe traveile herfore; for Crist mai not rewarde men but if he ȝeve hem over her traveil; as he mai not ȝyve a þing, but ȝif he ȝyve it graciousely; for as he is al grace, so he mediþ and ponishiþ bi grace. But þe laste word here shulde move a trewe man to serve Crist, for he seiþ, If ony man serve me, my Fadir shal worshipe him. And þis worship mai not be, but if it make þis man Goddis sone, and so eir*. [heyr, E.] of God, and ȝyve him goodis of all his rewme; and þanne he is maad worshipful, as we maken worship unto kyngis. And so alle eiris of Crist ben moche more þan erþeli kyngis.

In þis shorte gospel ben doutis, boþe of conscience and Page  181 of oþer. First philosophris douten, where seed leesiþ his forme, whanne it is maad a newe þing, as þe gospel spekiþ here; and sum men þenken nay, for siþe þe same quantite or qualite, or vertue, þat was first in seed, leveþ aftir in þe fruyte, as a child is ofte lyk to his fadir or to his modir, or ellis to his eelde fadir, aftir þat þe vertue lastiþ,—and siþ alle þese ben accidentis, þat mai not dwelle wiþouten suget,—it semeþ þat þe same bodi is first seed and after fruyte, and þus it mai ofte change fro seed to fruyte and aȝen. Here many, clepid filosophris, glaveren dyversely; but in þis mater Goddis lawe spekiþ þus, as diden eelde clerkis, þat þe sub|staunce of a bodi is bifore þat it be seed, and now fruyte and now seed, and now quyk and now deed. And þus many formes moun be togidere in oo þing, and speciali whanne þe partis of þat þing ben medlid togidere; and þus þe substaunce of a bodi is now of oo kynde and now of anoþer. And so boþe þese accidentis, qualite and quantite, moun dwelle in þe same substaunce, al if it be chaungid in kindis, and þus þis same þing þat is now a whete corn shal be deed and turne to gras, and after to many cornes. But variance in wordis in þis mater falliþ to clerkes, and shewinge of equivocacioun*. [So E; A has equyvacioun.], þe which is more redi in Latyn; but it is ynow to us to putte, þat þe same substance is now quyk and now deed, and now seed and now fruyte; and so þat substaunce þat is now a whete corn mut nedis die bifore þat it be maad gras, and siþ be maad an hool eer. And þus spekiþ holi writt and no man can disproven it. Errour of freris in þis mater is not here to reherce, for it is ynowȝ to telle how þei erren in bileve.

The secounde doute in þis mater is of suynge of Crist. It semeþ þat no man sueþ him but if he be martrid as was Crist, and siþ no man mai be saved but if he sue Crist in lyf, it semeþ þat no man shal be saved but if he be martrid. Here men seien truli, þat þere ben two martirdoms, martirdome in bodi and martirdome in wille. Martirdome in bodi nediþ not ech man to have, for many men ben seintis þat dien confessours. Generali to speke, þat man is Page  182 a martir þat is killid in charite and þus goiþ to hevene, be he killid of just men or ellis of þe fendis lymes. Þis secounde manere of martirdom shulde ech man have, siþ ech man shulde more love his soule þan his bodi, and algatis he shulde more love God and his lawe; and who evere loveþ þus, is redi to suffre deþ of his bodi for love of his God. And fewe seintis, or noon, ben here on lyve þat ne þei maken hem martirs for þe love of God; for to chastise her fleishe þey shorten her lyf. But Y speke not here of martirdom of glotouns, for þei shorten her lyf for love of her fleish, and taken to myche fode, wherfore þei dien sunner; but þe firste men fasten for love of her God, and to have pees of her fleish þat ellis wolde be wantoun. But siþ men knowun not evenly þe mesure þat wolde lengþe her lyf, þes men ben not mensleeris, for bi sich chesinge of þe betere, þei lesen wysely þe worse; and so done bi Goddis heeste þes bodily martris. And þus men shulden not folili slee hem silf, neþer in fastinge ne in etinge ne in cause defending, but stonde for truþe if her deeþ sue, willinge to maynteyne truþe, and mekeli to suffre deeþ, but not folily desire it.

OF OON MARTIR.

[SERMON LX.]

Si quis vult venire post me.
—MATT. xvi. [24.]

ÞIS gospel techiþ as þe former doiþ, how a man shulde ordeyne him for to suffre martirdom. First seiþ Crist þat, who ever wole come after him, he mut denye him silf and take his crosse and sue Crist. Þat man denyeþ him silf þat loveþ him silf lasse þan he loveþ his God or lawe of his God. For þis principle of love moten men suppose, whanne þer ben two þingis put in a mannis chois, and he mut nede leve þe toon for takinge of þe toþer. Þat þing þat he leveþ, he loveþ þanne þe lesse, and þis clepiþ Crist denyynge of þat þing, and in anoþer place, hate of his lyf; and þus shulden alle men renounsen her Page  183 goodis, for goodis moven men to love hem in ordre, and if men tellen to þese goodis þat her love passe*. [passiþ, E.] resoun, þanne þei tellen aȝen*. ['telle aȝen' is meant as the literal rendering of 're-nuntiare.'] her answere to þes goodis. But þis synne is in men and not in goodis, and þis tellinge aȝen is renounsinge of hem; as if a man be temptid to love an erþeli þing more þan his God, for fals undirstondinge bi which he can not weye þe riȝt weiȝte of love, þanne he forsakiþ his God, for love of þis erþeli þing. And if he staunche þis love, and seie to þis þing þat he wole not love it so myche, for þe love of God, þanne he renounsiþ to it, þat here he wole forsake it. Þe secounde word þat Crist seiþ, þat men shulden take her crosse, biddiþ þat men shulden make hem redi to suffre for Goddis love; for þe crosse bitokeneþ passioun in Goddis lawe, and þis purpos is nedeful Cristen men to have. And þe þridde word þat Crist techiþ here, þat whanne a man haþ þes two he shulde sue Crist, ech man shulde have in mynde and do it in dede; for he sueþ Crist, þat moveþ himsilf to holde Goddis heestis; for þis weie wente Crist and failide in no tyme to do his Fadris wille. And þis word answeriþ to þe Holi Goost, as two wordis bifore menen þe Fadir and þe Sone, for þe name of God þat is al myȝti answeriþ bi proprete to þe firste persone, and man shal denye himsilf for þis name; and so whanne we preien to God in oure Pater noster, we seien first to þe Fadir, Halowid be þi name. Þe crosse bitokeneþ þe persone of Crist, for he was done on þe crosse for love of mankynde, and shape him evermore to suffre bi comun counceil. And here aȝen þis Trinite synnen many men; as, he þat bi mannis lawe is clepid to an office, in which he mai not kepe him silf in charite, and answeriþ for þis name and takiþ on him þis office, þis man synneþ aȝens Goddis name, and denyeþ not him silf for love of God.

But after Crist ȝyveþ a reule to kepe þes þree þingis, and seiþ, Who so wole make his lyf saaf, mut nedis lesen it, lyvynge in þis world, but he þat lesiþ his lyf for þe love of Crist shal fynde it, in þe toþer world. Þat man lesiþ his lyf, þat puttiþ it Page  184 bihinde and þe love of God bifore, whanne þe caas comeþ, and so it is al oon a man for to lese his lyf and denye himsilf, or ellis to hate himsilf; and who þat leesiþ not his lyf here on þis manere, he failiþ in charite and in þe firste mandement. But siþ a mannis lyf is ordeyned of God evermore to be, it is not lost to God, but he, for whom þis lyf is lost, kepiþ it wele and ȝyveþ it him in blis in þe toþer world. And who wolde not chaffre þus wiþ his owne lyf? Clerkis witen wele how a mannis soule and a mannis lyfe ben boþe oon in a manere, for lyf is þe firste acte þat comeþ of a mannis soule, and of siche actis taken þingis names, as clerkis clepen angels undirstondingis*. [Or 'intelligences;' a translation of the Latin intelligentiae.]. And þus spekiþ þe gospel of a mannis lyf, and Crist provede bi resoun þat men shulden chaffare þus, For what profitiþ it to a man, if he wynne al þis world, if he suffre þerbi peiringe of his soule; or what chaunginge shal a man ȝyve for his soule. Siþ a mannis soule is persone of þis man, he shulde ȝyve al his catel for savynge of þis soule; and siþ a mannis bodi is worse þan his soule, ech man shulde more love his soule þan his bodi. And so he shulde hate his bodi for love of þis soule, and speciali siþ sich chaffare shulde turne him to betere. And ground of þis speche stondiþ in þis bileve, For Crist is to come fro hevene in his glorie at þe dai of doome wiþ hise aungelis to juge ech man, and þanne shal he ȝyve to ech man after hise workes. And siþ þis lore*. [So both A and E; but the sense evidently requires love.] of Crist deserveþ hevene blis, he is a greet fool þat wole not chaffare here. Defaute of bileve lettiþ algatis þis chaffare.

And for þis sentence is hard for to trowe, þerfore telliþ Crist of his glorifiyng, how he shal shewe him here glorious in his bodi, so þat bi þis shewyng here in þis lyf, þei ben more stablid in þis to trowe in Crist. Soþeli, seiþ Crist, Y seie to ȝou, þere be sum of men þat stonden here, þat shulen not taaste deþ, til þei seen me comyng in my rewme in blis of my bodi. And for þis was done in þe kynde of Cristis bodi, þerfore he clepiþ him here sone of a man; and þis was done in dede, as Matheu telliþ after, for Petir, Johun, and James Page  185 weren here wiþ Crist, and his face shynede as sunne, and Moises and Helye apperiden to him. And þus Crist cam in his rewme, or þese disciplis weren dede; and þis was a greet skile to move hem to trowe in Crist, and to traveile bisily to gete sich a blisse, for sich a bodili lyf were wel chaungid for þis lyf. And herefore seid Petir, It is good to us to be here and þerefore make we here þree tabernaclis. And þus who so trowiþ wele bi love of þe gospel, he shal trowe to Cristis lore and lyve þerafter. Ne drede we þes sophists þat Crist seide here fals, whanne he seide þat he cam here in his*. [So E; A has þis.] rewme, for as part of þe Chirche is treuli clepid þe Chirche, so part of Cristis rewme is treuli clepid his rewme. And siþ many aungels comen wiþ þes þree men, and Crist cam to þes apostlis in dowers*. [doweris, E.] of his bodi, it was soþeli seid þat he cam here in his rewme. For men here þat shulen be saaf as weren Cristis apostlis, ben clepid his rewme in þe Pater noster; whi not þes seintis in which Crist cam here?

IN DAI OF O MARTIR.

[SERMON LXI.]

Qui vos audit, me audit.
—LUC. x. [16.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a lore of Crist, how he tauȝte his disciplis, to holde hem in mekenesse, and to flee veyn glorie, þat is a fendis synne. Þe gospel telliþ how lasse disciplis, þat weren two and seventy, comen aȝen to Crist wiþ joie, and seiden, as þe gospel telliþ after, and we shulen reherce. Crist ȝyveþ autorite first to hise disciplis, and spekiþ to hise membris as þes þat shulen be saved, and seiþ; He þat heeriþ ȝou, in þat he heeriþ me and he þat dispisiþ ȝou, in þat he dispisiþ me; for whanne a messanger spekiþ in name of a man, he þat heeriþ him or dispisiþ him þus, heeriþ or dispisiþ him in whos name he spekiþ. And bi þis cause shulden men worshipe prechours, Page  186 and dispisen hem*. [So E; om. A.] þat prechen fablis or lesingis, for þei comen in þe fendis name, as her work shewiþ. And þus if prechours holden hem prechinge in Cristis name, þei han ful autorite more þan prelatis moun ȝyve hem; and if a man preche aȝens Cristis biddinge, as in falshede, or for begginge, or for worldeli wyn|nynge, þe autorite þat he haþ comeþ of þe fend, for þe fend is his maistir, in whos name he prechiþ, and þis is þe autour þat lettiþ prechinge to profite. But Crist telliþ over, how hard it is to dispise him, for, who ever dispisiþ Crist, dispisiþ him þat sente Crist, and so he dispisiþ þe Fadir and al þe Trinite. And þus telliþ Luke þat after þis autorite ȝyven to Cristis disciplis, two and seventi turneden aȝen, and hadden unskilful joie, and seiden to Crist; Lord, ȝhe, þe fendis ben suget to us in þe name of þee. But Crist shewide þat he was God, and answeride to þes dis|ciplis, not to þe wordis þat þei spaken, but to þe caas þat þei weren inne, and it is propre to God to wite þus synne of þe soule.

Crist seiþ to þes disciplis þat he saiȝ Saþanas fallinge fro hevene, as þe þunder floon falliþ fro þe cloude. It is knowun to clerkes of þree þingis in þe þundir, þe liȝtning and þe noise and þe þundir stoon. Þe liȝtninge is first in brekinge of cloudis, as if two stoones on a nyȝt weren knockid togider, and þis noise is maad of þis hard hurtling; but liȝt is more swift þan heeryng in perseyvyng, as sowne comeþ softe, but liȝt comeþ soone; and þis is cause whi þat liȝt is perseyved bifore soun, and þus comeþ mannis liȝt bifore mannis heering. But þe þridde propirte þat falliþ sum tyme in þundir is as it were a whirlewynd led aboute among cloudis, and comynge to þe erþe and doinge þere woundris; and þes men þat knowen þe worchinge of þe elementis, how manere of saltis and poudir fleeþ fier, and worchiþ woundir bi craft in mevynge of cur|rauntis, woundren lesse of þis þundir floon. Sum tyme, it cleveþ grete okes in sundir, and sum tyme it meveþ grete stones fro her place; sum tyme it moltiþ þe swerd in þe sheþe, and ȝit þe sheþe is al hool, and many oþere woundirs; and al þis is maad bi a sutil mater þat is moved fro þe cloudis bi Page  187 kynde of þe elementis. And þus seiþ Crist, þat Saþanas bi pryde, and kynde of Goddis justice, fel sudenili fro hevene, and in þis fallinge he dide woundris, more þan þis þundir floon, and he was stinkynge wiþ synne, as þis blast stinkiþ sum tyme. And þis fal of þe fend sai Crist bi his Godhede; and al þis was of pride, þat God myȝte not suffre more, þat ne þe*. [om. E.] angel in hevene was dryvun þus in to helle. How myche shulden men drede pryde, þat God wole þus punishe, and have no vein glorie þat þei ben Cristis aungels, and don woundris in his name in casting out of fendis! And to be war wiþ þis pride spekiþ Crist þus þese wordis, for Crist knewe wel her pryde þat þei hadden in her hertis, and to remove þis pride spak Crist to her hertis.

For as it is ofte seid, þer ben foure passiouns in a mannis soule, in which stondiþ synne or mede after þei ben reulid. And þes foure ben þes, joie and sorewe, hope and drede of þingis þat shulen come. Summe han joie of sich manere hiȝenesse, and summe han joie of synne or richesse of þe world, and sum men han sorewe of oþer mennis welfare or lesinge of worldeli goodis, for þei loven hem to myche, and sum men han hope of welfare of þis world, and dreden of fallinge þerfro; but men shulden have sorewe for her synne and oþer mennis. And þus Crist wepte þries, and ever more for synne, for synne is worse þan ony peyne mai be; and siþ þe worsnesse of þing is matere of sorewe, man shulde have more sorewe for synne þan for ony oþer þing, and more joie of hevenli blis þan ony worldeli welfare or hiȝynge of mannis staat, were it nevere so myche. And herfore seiþ Crist, Lo, I have ȝovun ȝou power to defoule upon neddris*. [adderis, E.], for many seintis, as Margarete*. [St. Margaret, whose legend makes her a native of Antioch in the fourth or fifth century, was so popular a saint in England from the eleventh century, that no less than 238 parish churches are said to be dedicated in her honour. According to the more popular version of her story here alluded to, the foul fiend, in the form of a dragon, visited her in the prison into which the per|secuting governor of Antioch had thrown her, and swallowed her up; but immediately burst asunder, so that the holy virgin came forth un|hurt. A good general account of her may be found in Mrs. Jameson's Sacred and Legendary Art. See also Seinte Marherete The Meiden ant Martyr (a version of the legend in old English prose of the thirteenth century), among the publications of the Early English Text Society.], hadde power of God to defoule þe fendis þat weren Page  188 in forme of dragouns, and sette her feet upon hem, and heeld hem aȝens her wille. And þis was grete peyne to þes proude fendis; and sich manere of power hadde Cristis disciplis upon fendis, for þei castiden hem out of placis þat þei wolden dwelle inne, and made hem to dwelle in placis þat þei wolden not dwelle inne, and sich subjeccioun is noious to proude spiritis. But Crist badde his disciplis, joie not þus for suche power. And þus, to speke goostli, þis power to defoule eddris, and to defoule scorpiouns, is power to overcome þe fendis whanne þei tempten men to synne bi stingginge of her venym; and her|fore seiþ Crist, þat he haþ ȝovun hem power upon al power of her enemye and he shal not noie hem. But neþeles, joie ȝe not in þis þing to vein glorie, þat spiritis ben suget to ȝou*. [This passage is rightly marked as a quotation in E, but not in A.], for þis mai falle to dampned men, as many men moun reise þe fend, and make him worche woundris, and ȝit in alle þes dedis þei moun be fendis as he is; for bi vertue of Crist þes fendis ben þus suget, and þes names han vertue to make þe fend drede kindeli. But Crist techiþ hise disciplis to joie more of þis, þat her names ben writun in hevene, for to come to blisse. Of þis shulde þei have more joie, and holde hem in mekenes. And Crist telliþ not þis to men as he dide to þes disciplis, but if he kepe hem in vertues and bringe hem to hevene, for ellis Crist tauȝte hem to joie of þingis þat weren fals. And þus it semeþ þat þese disciplis weren confermyd in manere, and ȝit God leet hem falle, to teche his Chirche to flee pride; and þus Crist leet Petir falle ofte, after þat he was apostle, and þat, to teche prelatis after, to joie not to myche of her staat, for sich boost is fendis synne, þat stynkiþ foule bifore God, and it is maad in feyned power to loose men and bynde. Men shulden loke þat þei weren certeyn þat God wolde worche þus wiþ hem, bifore þei spaken of þis power, and of þe dedis of þat to men, and þanne wiþ grete mekenes, to moven men to þanke God; for liynge in sich a caas smatchide a myche more synne, þan was in þes disciplis þat Crist reprevyde so sharpli. For þei seiden Page  189 soþ and herieden God, and in þes boþe failen prelatis, for þei for pride feynen falseli and coveitise of wordeli goodis, to do þing þat þei moun not do; and þis is a greet synne, for it were synne to a pore man to defoule a kingis cloþis, moche more synne were it to men to putte falsehede upon treuþe. For þis is a foul blasfemye, þat is a foul synne of alle oþere; as, if a man putte on God falshede þat he myȝte not have, he dis|piside in þis his God more þan þe fende durste ever do. It is no drede alle þes popis þat seien þat þey graunten sich pardons, seien opinly ynowȝ þat God grauntiþ hem bifore, and if God knowe hem unworþi to have siche pardon of him, þes popis blasfemen in God more þan evere þe Apostlis dursten. And þus shulden prelatis be war to graunt no þing in þe name of God but if þei weren sikir bifore þat Goddis justice grauntide it, and þis myȝte þei not knowe but if þei hadden revelacioun; and if oure prelatis abiden ever sich revelacioun, þey shulden disseyve fewe men or noon in grauntinge of suche pardons; but as Petir held his pees in grauntinge of siche þingis, so shulden þei holden þer pees, siþ þei ben lasse worþ þan Petir, and þe comun peple shulde not trowe hem in siche casis.

IN DAI OF OON MARTIR.

[SERMON LXII.]

Si quis venit ad me.
—LUC. xiiii. [26.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ men how þei shulen dispose hem to be dis|ciplis of Crist, and certis ellis þei shulen not come to hevene; for be he knyȝt, be he clerk, but if he be Cristis disciple þenke he not to come to hevene; and so it were good to lerne þis lore. Crist seiþ at þe bigynnynge, If ony man come to him and hate not þes seven þingis, he mai not be Cristis disciple, and so he mai not be saved, for ech man þat sueþ Crist is disciple of Crist; and þus knyȝttis in Cristis tyme weren his privy disciplis, as Joseph of Armaþie, and centurio also, and Nichodeme, and oþer moo, as þe gospel telliþ us. First mut a man hate hisPage  190fadir and siþ hate his modir; þe þridde tyme mut a man hate his wyf and þe fourþe tyme hise children; þe fifþe tyme he shulde hate his breþeren and þe sixte tyme his sisters; þe sevente tyme moost of alle he moste hate his owne lyf. First men shulden wite here what were to hate in þis gospel, for Crist moveþ algatis to love, and no tyme to envye; but here it is seid bifore þat þis hating is denying, and þis is, lovynge in ordre as þe þing shulde be loved. And so þes sevene þingis shulden be loved, but lasse þan Crist or his lawe; and þus puttinge bihinde of love, is hating þat Crist spekiþ of.

But ȝit sophistris replien here and seien þat many men comen to Crist þat han not þes sevene þingis, and no man hatiþ but þing þat is. But here men moten lerne to speke to þat witt þat Goddis lawe spekiþ. Here fewe men or noon comen to ordre of Crist, but if þei have fadir and modir oþer next or fer. Sum men have fadir and modir þat geten hem into þis world, and sum men han eldris bifore þat gaten sich fadirs and modirs, and alle þes ben clepid fadir in Goddis lawe þat is trewe. Adam and Eve hadde noon sich fadris, but þei hadden erþe and erþeli þing, and þes myȝten be clepid here modirs, and her fadir was mannis kynde; and as þei mosten nede be saved, so God was her fadir. And siþ ech word þat Crist seiþ is trewe to his entent, and he seiþ þat who evere doiþ þe wille of his Fadir in hevene, he is his broþer and his sister, and his modir also, no man wantiþ here þes frendis, al if þei wanten sich for a tyme; and if mennis eldris ben dede, þanne þei han suche for sum tyme*. [a tyme, E.]. And mannis fleishe is his wyf, and her workes ben hise children; and so ech haþ such a wyf, and sich children of his wyf; and so siche sevene þingis ben long|inge to ech man, and alle þes sevene shulden men love lasse þan þei loven Crist her God. And þis is þe reule of Crist, þat passiþ alle þes newe ordris, and who evere loveþ not Crist more þan alle þes sevene wantiþ charite, and brekiþ alle Goddis hestis. And þis is veyn religioun, and so, as we seiden bifore, who ever beriþ not his crosse and comeþ in lyvynge after Crist, Page  191mai not wiþ þis be his disciple. And þis is liȝt for to prove, for man shulde hate his own lyf, and so suffre for Cristis sake, and ellis he brekiþ Cristis ordre; and þes newe religiouse moten nedis breke þis reule of Crist, for þei loven more þes newe ordris þan þei done reule of þe gospel. And þus þei feynen ofte tyme to stonde wiþ lawe of þe gospel; and if men axen whi þei done so, þei seien þat ellis here ordre were loste, but God cursiþ alle sich ordris þat neden men to hate her God.

And to printe þis in mennis hertis Crist telliþ two hard parablis. First he seiþ, þat, Ech of hem þat wolde make an*. [a, E.]nedeful tour, shulde sitte first and acounte dispensis nedeful herefore þat he have to make þis tour, lest he faile aftirward whanne he haþ sett þe foundement, and alle men þat seen þis bigynen for to scorne him; and seien, þis man bigan to bilde but he myȝte not make an ende. Þis tour is ful nedeful to ech man þat shal be saved. Þis toure is gedringe of vertues, and þe ground is mekenesse, grounded in Crist, þat is mene persone of God; and as no þing mai be lower þan is the myddil of þe world, so no man mai meker be þan is Crist, þat is þis ground. And siþ þis tour mute reche to hevene, men moten nedis take þis ground; and herfore seiþ Poul, þat no man mai sette oþer ground þan is sett, þe which ground is Jesus Crist, for no man is meke but in his vertue. Þe hiȝest part of þis tour is briteysing*. [britasyng, E.] of charite þat lastiþ into hevene, for charite falliþ not doun, but lastiþ boþe in þis worlde and after þe dai of dome. Oþer vertues put in ordre maken þe myddil of þis tour; and þus we shulde avise us what staat or religioun were most acordinge to þis makinge, and reste þerinne, and make þis toure. And bileve techiþ us þat þe staat of Cristis sect is moost certein and nedeful to men, þat wolen arere þis tour, for no man mai arere it, but if he be of Cristis ordre. And þus boþe aungels good and yvel scornen men þat kepen þis ground, and after wenden fro Cristis ordre, to newe ordris þat ben worse, for bi þis weye mai no man eende*. [for eende, E reads wende but ȝif he have.] þe laste bretais*. [britayse, E.] of þis tour. Þis tour is algatis sure to men þat putten hem wel upon þis ground, and holden hem wel þeron, and reulen hem bi þe firste reule, þat þei baggen not þerfro; Page  192 for none enemyes mai anoie þat man þat bildiþ þus his tour, for þe fend and oþer enemyes moun not meve aȝens þis ground. And þus a man in þis tour drediþ not arwis ne dartis, but arwis of Goddis Word overcomen enemyes þat ben wiþoute. Traveil þat men hav in vertues, ben dispensis to make þis toure, and suyng after Cristis lyf, as many gospels techen bifore, is þe hiȝinge of þis toure, and growinge into charite. And þus shulde ech man chese his staat, and do þe traveil þat falliþ to vertues, and algatis reule his wal*. [walle, E.] after Crist and his lawe; and if he have endeles lastinge here, he mai not faile of þis makinge.

But, for it falliþ to a werriour sum tyme to go*. [So E; goene, A.] out and fiȝte, þe secounde parable of Crist telliþ of þis fiȝtinge, and seiþ: What king shulde wende to do batel aȝens anoþer kyng, þat he ne wolde sitte bifore and þenke wiseli, wheþer he myȝte wiþ ten þousynd fiȝte wiþ him þat cam aȝens him wiþ twenti þousand; ellis whilis he lediþ afer his oost, þe lesse kyng preieþ him of pees. Dyvers men undirstonden þis text to dyvers wittis bineþe bileve, but we weren wont to telle it þat ech man shulde be a kynge and governe þe rewme of his soule bi keping of ten comandementis; and good keping of þes ten þousynd is ynowȝ to ech man. Þe toþer kyng wiþ twenti þousend, is comunli seide þe fend, for Joob seiþ þat he is kyng upon alle children of pride, and he doubliþ ten þousynd of werriours aȝens Crist; for he passiþ fro unyte, as doiþ þe noumbre of two, and aȝens ech comandement he haþ cautil of double entent. And if þese ten þousynd ben alle þo þat helpen Goddis part, and þes twenti þousynd alle þo þat loven doublenesse to helpe þe fend, it semeþ not aȝens Goddis witt, siþ his wordis ben plentenouse. If þis first king wexe coward and traitour to his God, and love richesse of þe world and worldeli frendship of men, and lustis of his bodi, and pees fro pursueris here, he sendiþ message to þis fend, and many tokenes of cowardise, and preieþ him of his pees, and he wole serve unto him; and þus failen many men from hardy|nesse in Goddis cause and bicomen þe fendis servauntis, for þei seien þe world axiþ þis, and so, þat þat her enemye axiþ, þei graunten to him cowardli. Page  193

Oþer wittis of þese wordis for shortnesse we leven here. But Crist seiþ in þe ende oo word of greet hardynesse; Þus ech of ȝou þat renounsiþ not to alle þingis þat he haþ, mai not be my disciple. For þanne he telliþ aȝen to þe fend, to þe world, and to his fleish, þat his hiȝeste charite is stabli sett in God, and he loveþ noon oþer þingis but in ordre of þis love; and þus þe world, þat haþ lest*. [lost, E.] colour, is overcome bi Goddis clerk, and þe fend, wiþ mannis fleishe, ben also overcomun wiþ þis word*. [world, E.]. For if a man have no desire ne no lust regnynge in him, þat ne he telliþ þe same tale how he moost loveþ his God, alle his enemes ben discumfitid bi þe first þousynd of his oost. And here men seien soþeli þat men renounsen on many maneres; as Crist wiþ hise apostlis forsoke þis world wiþ lastinge havynge, for he hadde no more of þis world but as him nedide to his lyf; and þus shulden preestis do, þat entren in to Cristis ordre, for ellis goode and yvele wole seorne hem of her folie. But ech man þat shal be saved, renounsiþ alle þese worldeli goodis, whan he leveþ alle hem bihynde to love more God and his lawe. But þis is þe fouleste synne þat falliþ here to ony preest, to love more þese newe ordres þan to love Cristis lawe. Bi þis þe fend overcomeþ manye wiþ þe dart of ypocrisie, whanne he makiþ hise servauntis, þat ben oblishid to serve him, to seme holi to þe peple, and seme hooli to lyve so. And herfore Crist lyvede comun lyf, and hise apostlis after him, and weren not weddid wiþ þese newe signes, as now þes ypocritis ben. And herfore Crist, to purge his Chirche, distriede þes þree sectis, Phariseis, Saduceis, and Essees also, but þe fend bi his cautel haþ brouȝt inne now oþer þree, as monkes, chanouns, and freris, and many braunchis of hem. And sich fals religioun, bi þe lawe of Antecrist, is bitwixe prelatis now and preestis þat ben her sugettis, but reule of Cristis lawe wolde*. [So E; wolden, A.] þat alle men shulden renounsen to hem obedience or oþer service but as þei shulden obeishe to Crist.

Page  194

ÞE GOSPEL ON FEESTE OF OON MARTIR.

[SERMON LXIII.]

Nihil opertum quod non reveletur.
—MATT. x. [26.]

ÞIS gospel confortiþ martirs, and telliþ hid syne þat is in þes newe ordris, biside þe ordre of Crist. Crist seiþ þat, nouȝt is hilid, þat ne it shal be shewid and no þing is so pryvy, þat ne it shal be knowun. Þes wordis ben of bileve, for alle þingis ben knowun of God, and þat myrrour shewiþ forþ þe moost pryvy þing in þis world; and at þe dai of dome, whanne bokis shulen ben opin, þe whiche bokis ben mennis soulis, and conscience of hem, þanne shulen boþe gode and yvele knowe mennis þouȝtis and her werkes. And herfore shulden alle men hardeli stonde bi treuþe, and speciali bi Goddis lawe, for þerinne liyþ no shame; and herfore biddiþ Crist þat, þat he haþ seid in derknes, þei shulden seie eft in liȝt, more comounli and more clereli, boþe in lyf and in word. And þis reule of Cristis ordre shulden men kepe, but algatis preestis, and to þis entent biddiþ Crist þat þat þei have herd in her eere, þei shulden preche opinli upon platrowes of housis, for þus shulde þe comunte of men betere undirstonde; and þus wole Crist, þat alle þingis þat God spekiþ to eeres of soule, shulden þese heereris speke forþ, and drede no worldeli muk in housis. And þanne men prechen aboven hilingis, lyvynge comun lyf as briddis, and taken noon heede to worldeli goodis þat ben closid wiþinne housis. But, for sich prechinge axiþ hardynesse and martirdom, þerfore Crist con|fortiþ hise to drede not sleynge of bodi; Nyle ȝe, seiþ Crist, drede þese men þat sleen þe bodi, and mai not after slee þe soule, ne lette God to quyke þat þing þat þei killen, and to make þat betere; but raþere drede him þat haþ power to leese boþe þe bodi and soule into helle for evermore, for to dwelle þere in peyne. Ne ben not two sparowis sold for þe leste moneie in chaffar|inge,—for, as Luk telliþ, fyve ben sold for two ferþingis,—and ȝit God ordeyneþ for alle þes foulis. And siþ þes foulis ben Page  195 litil of prys and uncerteyn in þeir mevynge, and ȝit God or|deyneþ for hem whanne ever þei liȝten upon þe erþe, more God shulde ordeyne for ech man, þat haþ a soule to Goddis ymage; and speciali for such men þat serven truli to her God more þan ony foul may, for þei ben not able to serve þus. And siþ God ordeyneþ þus for foulis, oþer men moten graunten God unwise, or moche more he shulde ordeyne for men, þat ben hise trewe servauntis. And þis resoun þat Crist makiþ moveþ trewe men þat han witt, to be hardi in Goddis cause, and for him to suffre martirdom; and no man can avoide þat oþer men shulden þus suffre, or ellis be untrewe to God, as ben þes heretikes. And þus seiþ Crist of Goddis wisdom, þat alle þe heeris of hise disciplis ben noumbrid to Goddis knowinge, and noon of hem mai fulli perishe; and siþ þes heeris of mennes heedis ben leste worþi of ony part of man, and noon of þese mai perishe þus, how shulden betere partis perishe? And þus ben martirs confortid to putte her bodies for Goddis lawe, for no part of her bodi mai þus perishe to harme of hem; and myche more soulis of siche men, and alle vertues of her soule, mai not perishe fro hem, for þe soule mai not be quenchid. And nedli after þe soule moten sue þe vertues þerof, as aftir a mannis bodi suen quantite and figure; and no drede, as God wole ordeyne, whanne he restoriþ a mannis bodi, noumbre and quantite and figure þat is moost acordinge to þis bodi, moche more God ordeyneþ to the soule vertues þat it shulde have.

And trewe we not to foolis here þat seien þat þis ben accidentis which God mai putte bi hem silf, and freeli take þes fro men, so þat neiþer in bodi ne in soule man hadde ony siche acci|dentis; as who seide, men moun be, al if þei hangen not on God, for siche a dependence of men is accident unto hem. Þese foolis moten lerne predicamentis and ten kyndis of þingis, and þanne þei moun se her foli, and folie of heresie þat groundiþ hem. And of þis concludiþ Crist treuli to hise apostlis, þat þei shulden not wille to drede, siþ þei ben betere þan many sparewis; and oure bileve techiþ us þat God kepiþ þingis after her valu, for if ony þing be betere, God makiþ it to be betere.

And so Crist spekiþ here a word þat shulde move men to Page  196 stonde wiþ him; Ech man þat shal knowelich*. [knowleche, E.]me bifore men bi boþe my kyndis, I shal knoweliche þat man bifore my Fadir, to þat mannis worshipe. Here we shulen undirstonde, þat confessioun, þat Crist nameþ here, is not rownynge in preestis eere, to telle him synne þat we han done, but it is grauntinge of treuþe, þe which is apertly seid, wiþ redines to suffre þerfore, what ever man denyeþ it. And so þat man confessiþ Crist þat grauntiþ þat he is God and man, and al þing þat wole sue herof; and þese ben ful many truþis, for al þe gospel þat Crist seiþ, such a man mut confesse, and al þat sueþ of þe gospel, and þis dis|plesiþ to sinful men. And certis a man confessiþ not Crist, þat he is boþe God and man, but if he confesse of Crist þat he may no weie synne, ne gabbe, ne bere fals witnesse of no word þat Crist haþ seid. And so ech word of Goddis lawe is trewe, siþ Crist witnessiþ it, and ech treuþe þat is þerinne; and so ech prest confessiþ Crist bifore men, þat tellen*. [telliþ, E.] to hem þat Crist is boþe God and man; and þus Crist seiþ and mai not lie. Certis if a man seie þus, and faile not for cowardise to telle Goddis lawe to men þat synnen, he puttiþ him wel to martirdome; and every sich man, seiþ Crist, he shal confesse to his Fadir. And þanne Crist wole confesse þis man to be trewe in Goddis cause, and worþi to have mede after worþinesse of his traveile, and to be crownyd wiþouten eende in hevene bifore þis greet lord, þat falliþ not to ȝyve such servauntis but if he ȝyve hem blisse of hevene; for gretnesse of siche a lord rewardiþ not lesse his knyȝtis. O Lord, if a man þat traveiliþ in werre wiþ a capteyne, wolde telle myche*. [That is, 'would esteem it a great gain.'] þat þis capteyne wroot of him to his kyng and seide þat he were a good werriour, and worþili and hardili traveilide in þe kingis cause, and herefore þis erþeli kyng shulde have him and hise comendid; how mouche more were it worþ þat þe persone of Jesus Crist comendide bi his owne word a trewe servaunt unto God, and telde þat God shulde þenke on him and ȝyve him blisse wiþouten ende! And as confessioun of treuþe is to be loved of Goddis knyȝtis, so con|fessioun of cowardise is to drede of men in erþe; and þus Page  197 defaute of bileve lettiþ men to traveile in Goddis cause. But wordis of þis gospel ben yvel undirstonden of manye, þat, bi logik þat þei han, graunten þat alle þe heeres of seintis be knowen wel of God, but God woot not how many þei ben, for noon heeris ben þes alle, siþ þanne þei weren wiþouten noumbre, and ech greet þing in erþe were maad of partis indevysible. And siche errours þat men han in logik and in kyndeli science, bryngen men yn, as heretikes, to graunte after many fals þingis. Soþ it is þat God knowiþ alle þe partis of a man, and how many þes partis ben, for þei ben fewe to Goddis witt; and so ech þing þat God contynneþ*. [conteyneþ, E.] is maad of partis indyvysible, and o gretter þing haþ mo siche. But þis is hid to mennis knowyng, but after þei shal wite it wel, whanne God shal shew it hem in hevene.

OF O MARTIR AND BISHOP.

[SERMON LXIV.]

Circuibat Jesus civitates.
—MATHEW ix. [35.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of þe office þat shulde falle to Cristis disciplis. And so it telliþ how prestis shulde now, boþe more and lasse, occupie hem in þe Church in servise of God. And first, Jesus dide in dede þe lore þat he tauȝte. Þe gospel seiþ how, Jesus wente aboute in þe cuntre, boþ to more places and lesse, as citees and castellis, to teche us to profete generali to men, and not to lette to preche to a peple for þei be few, and oure fame shulde be litil, for we shulden traveile for God, of whom we shulde hope oure þank. Castels ben undirstonden litil touns, but wallid, as Jerusalem is clepid a cite bi Mathew; and sich grete castels ben clepid citees. And no drede Crist wente to smale uplondishe touns, as to Bethfage and to Cana in Galile; for Crist went to þese places, where he wiste to do Page  198 good and he traveilide not for wynnynge of moneie; for he was not smyttid wiþ pryde ne wiþ coveityse. He cheese him places to teche in þe peple þat were moost able, as synagogis among Jewis. For synagogis weren among hem as churchis ben among us; and Crist was not lettid þanne bi feyned juris|diccioun, to preche among þe folk, al if he wraþþide þe prelatis; for þis use in iurisdiccioun was not ȝit brouȝt in by cautel of þe fend, as it now is, to lette trewe prechinge. Crist prechide not fables, but þe Gospel of God, þat was good tiþingis of þe kyngdom of hevene. And Crist was not occupied al oonli in þis prechinge, but in heeling of syke men, and men þat were in languishe. For two men hav nede of bodili heele. Sum men hav sykenesse or hurtinge in her bodi þat men moun see at iȝe, and þis is clepid sykenesse. Sum men have languishe, and þat on two maneris; as sum men ben syke wiþinneforþ, but þis sykenesse is hid to men, as men þat ben in fevers or oþer syke|nesse of herte; and sum men ben syke bi sorewe of herte, and of discounfort of þingis þat fallen hem. And þese men were in languishe, and ofte weren heelid by Crist; and if we hav not virtue to hele þese two sykenessis, ȝit we moun have wille to do þat is in us, and conforte and preie for men þat we delen wiþ.

And Crist ceeside not here to do good to men, but he ordeynede hise disciplis many, to traveile among men, þat þe people weren not alle traveilid in heering of oo man. For, as þe gospel telliþ, Crist saie þe peple traveilid in þis, and hadde mercy on hem, for þei weren traveilid and ligginge as sheep wiþ|outen heerde; and þanne he seide to hise disciplis, Þere is myche ripe corn and fewe workmen þereaboute, and þerfore preie ȝe God to move his prechours, boþ in bodi and in soule, to traveile among þe puple, as gospelleris shulden. Crist bade hem wende forþ and preche to þe peple þat þe kyngdom of hevene shal come, al if hem þenke þat it dwelle longe; for many peplis shal turne to God fro þeir synful lyf, and afterward come to hevene whanne þat þei be dede. Ȝhe, þe dai of dome comeþ ful fast, siþ no tyme mai come faster þan þis dai comeþ. For, as clerkis seien, tyme passiþ as swiftly as ony tyme mai passe, or come into þis world. Page  199

And herfore Crist ȝiveþ power to hise disciplis of þis office, to heele speciali foure manere of siikenessis. First, he ȝyveþ hem power to heele men wiþynne forþ; but þe moste power in þis was of her wordis, þat Crist wrouȝte wiþ hem, and heelide þe peple in soule; and, for Crist wolde not þat his power were idil, þerefore he biddiþ hem heele siike men. After he biddiþ þese disciplis reise up dede men; þat mai be undir|stondun upon two maneres. For þese disciplis hadden power to reise up dede men in bodi, and to quykene bi Goddis grace dede men in soul; and þis virtue is more, siþ þe soule is betere þan þe bodi. Þe þridde tyme Crist ȝyveþ hem power to hele mesele men; and boþ siche syknessis and ordres of hem shulde be more to charge in soule of a man, þan þei shulde be of a mannis bodi. Meselrie is comunli figure of heresie, or of ony oþer synne þat fouleþ men wiþoutenforþ, for þus done bodili meselis to men þat dwelle among hem; and herfore in þe eelde lawe shoulden meselis stond afer. And al if many synnes de|foulen men biside hem, neþeles heresies done myche harme. And þerfore men shulde bisili distrie sich heresies; as a greet heresie is, in dowinge of þe Church wiþ lordship of þe world, as it is now dowid. And breeþ of þis heresie fouliþ many clerkes, for it is seied in oþer placis þat Goddis lawe forbediþ sich lord|ship to clerkes, for alle þei shulden lyve in mekenesse and povertie. And to distroie þis heresie shulden lordis traveilen bisili, for þis myȝten þei do liȝtly and leve fulli to draw awei her owne goodis, by which þei harmen clerkes. For it were inowȝ to us to have offringis and dymes, siþ Crist and hise apostlis holden hem paied on lesse. Þe fourþe and þe laste dede þat Crist bad hise disciplis do was, to caste out fendis þat dwelliden in men. And as God ȝaf hem power to cast hem out bodili, so he ȝaf hem power to caste hem out of þe soul, whanne he ȝaf virtue to his wordis to converte þe peple, and of a soule þat first was nest of þe fend, to make a nest of God, to dwelle by grace and by virtues.

And after þes foure vertues Crist telleþ hem a maner þat þei shulen algatis kepe in worchinge of Goddis work. For Crist seiþ þus: Ȝe token of God freely, and þerfore ȝyve freeli youre traveile to þe peple; and þanne shal it be medeful, Page  200 and ellis is it symonye. And here is begginge of prechours forfendid of God, siþ it is an hid sillinge*. [sellyng, E.] of prechinge of Goddis word. And for it is a privy synne, covered wiþ ypocrisie, þis synne is the more and foulir before God; and herfore techeþ Poul, to be siker of þis syne, þat preestis shulden be paied wiþ mete and wiþ hilinge. It is leefful us to take þese two, þat ben nedeful*. [leveful, E.] to þis service of God, and þere wiseli ceesse. But freris and preestis þat gadren hem tresure, and maken riche churchis and housis wiþ oþer gere, and algatis fynden a peple superflue and charginge, passyn Goddis lawe bi a cursid ground, for Seint Poul biddiþ þat he þat traveiliþ not, shulde not ete by colour of þis office. And preisynge of preier þat is now brouȝt in, is a foule synne among many preestis.

And Christ telliþ after how hise disciplis shulen bere hem among yvel peple þat þei traveilen among, and so moun þei liȝtlyer dele wiþ good peple. Christ seiþ, I send ȝou as sheep among wolves, and þerfore loke ye be prudent as neddris*. [eddres, E.], and symple as dowves, for warnesse of þes two is ynowȝ to ȝou to dwelle among men. And it is comunli seid þat wolves be beestis of raveyne, and yvele for to daunte fro spoilinge of meke beestis; and whanne þei bigynen to ȝoule, þei turnen her snowte to hevene ward. And so pseudo-clerkes, for her greet covertise, spuylen symple men as wolves doone sheepe; and Crist clepiþ trewe men in God sheep for many enchesouns; and as þe wolf wiþ ȝoulinge makiþ sheep to flokke for drede, so prelatis bi cursinges maken men to gadere hem and ȝyve þese prelatis goodis þat þei wolen have. And ȝit þei hav anoþer cautel þat þese ypocritis usen: þei seien þat þei wolen ȝyven suffragies goostli to menis soulis þat passen al þis worldis good; and to coloure al þis ypocrisie þei turnen her snowte to hevene, and seien þat God haþ ȝovun hem power to ȝyve pardone as þei wolen. And here þei ȝoulen comunli, and blasfemen in God, and where Crist biddiþ hem be sheep dwellinge amonge wolves, oure prelatis, by þe fendis lore, ben turned to þe contrarie, whan þei stranglen and killen men and Page  201 spoilen hem of her goodis*. [The bearing of this passage on the authorship and date of these sermons has been already discussed in the Introduction.]. And occupiyng þat Crist bad hise prestis traveile inne is put al bihynde, and fendis service is putt before; and þus flokkis of sheep ben maid of lewyde men, and flokkis of wolves ben maid of preestis.

But Crist biddiþ hise disciplis be prudent as eddris. An eddre haþ þis witt; whanne charmeris come to take him, þe toon of hise eeris he clappiþ to þe erþe, and wiþ þe eende of his tail he stoppiþ þe toþer. And so Goddis children, whanne þei be temptid to synne, þei þenken mekeli how freel þei ben maid of þe erþe, and wiþ greet þouȝt of her deþ, þat shal come, þei witen not whanne, and drede of her jugement lest þei ben demyd to helle, þei stoppen her oþer eere and kepen hem wel fro synne. And þus þei hav prudence, þat God haþ ȝovun to serpentis. And symplenesse of douves stondeþ in þis; þei hav no clawis to fiȝte as oþer foulis, but whanne þei ben assailid of foulis of raveyne, þei tristen not to her owne strengþe, but fallen on stones, and þese haukis dreden þanne to smyte at hem, lest þei frushen*. [flusche, E.] her owne brest at þe hard stoone. So Cristis disciplis knowen mekeli her freelti, and liȝten on þe corner stoon, þat is Jesus Crist; and þanne fendis of helle dreden hem to swippen*. [assayle, E.] at*. [om. E.] hem, lest þei harmen hem silf at þe stoone of hurtinge. And þus Cristis disciplis ben goostli dowves. But þis lore is forȝete*. [forȝetun, E.], and þe fendis lore take*. [taken, E.].

IN FEESTIS OF MANY MARTIRIS.

[SERMON LXV.]

Elevatis Jesus oculis.
—LUKE vi. [20.]

ÞIS gospel telleþ foure confortis of martiris, in whiche þei shulden have joie for pursuynge of Crist. Þe gospel telliþ how, Jesus lifte up hise iȝen on hise disciplis, and seide þus; Page  202Blessid be pore men in spirit, for ȝe, þat þus be pore men, han þus certeinli þe kyngdome of hevene. Þis poverte is a virtue þat men shulden first sue Crist inne, and it is hard for to use, and þerfore telleþ Crist þus þe meede. And þese men þat hav þis virtue, as weren Cristis apostlis, hadden here þe rewme of hevene, for þei hadden here Crist; and Crist, heed of þis rewme, is ofte tymes clepid þis rewme; for he is þe moste jewel of al þis rewme, in which ech part of þis rewme is many weies con|teyned. And þus he mai by many causis be clepid al þis rewme. In þat he is God, he is ende of al þing, and in him we lyven, we moven, and we ben; and for him, as ende, we done alle our dedis. For in virtue of him al his Chirche worcheþ, and by þis moun men se wher men ben lymes of Holy Churche; for þanne þei ben groundid in his lyf, and his worchinge. And if þei ben in stait or werkes ungroundid*. [þat ben not groundid, E.] in Cristis lyf, it is licly to men þat þei ben Antichristis disciplis; for Crist seiþ and mai not lye, þat, Who is not wiþ me, he is aȝens me; and so he is wiþ Anticrist. And so if stait of þese freris be not groundid in Crist, and þei gabben many maneres upon þe lyf of Crist, as in begginge, and asoilinge, and oþer feyned lesyngis; þanne it is a tokene þat þei ben not of holy Chirche, but Saþanas children whos dedis þei done. For if þei ben more bisie aboute worldeli goodis, þan þei ben of dedis þat vertu techiþ to do, þanne þei ben wiþ Mammon, and he lediþ hem. For worldeli goodis, þe which Crist clepid Mammona of wickidnesse, ben moost souȝt of sich men. And so þis fend lediþ hem, and siþ uneven departinge of suche worldeli goodis makiþ dissencioun, ȝhe, þe mooste þat here is, it semeþ þat sich freris ben cause of þis dissencioun. But þei have goodis in comun unevenly departid; ȝhe, more þan hem nedide ech man to have ynowȝ; and þus þis nest of Mammon genderiþ many strives, and ȝit þe fend techiþ hem to seie þat þei have nouȝt, but ben more pore in spirit þan weren Crist and hise apostlis. But certis þis is not poverte of which Crist spekiþ here, siþ Crist spekeþ here of poverte in spirit, to mekeli holde men in havynge of wordli goodis, as moche as nediþ to sus|teyne Page  203 her office. And he þat forsakeþ þus for þe love of Crist worldeli richesse, and fame þat comeþ to þe world for havynge of siche goodis, is a pore man in spirit, as Crist spekiþ here. For þanne he synneþ not in havynge of goodis for to make feestis, ne to make riche housis, ne noo costli ornamentis þat fallen to men, but it is inowȝ to him to hav foode and hilinge. And al his bisynesse is to helpe Cristis Chirche, and he dis|seyveþ not men in multitude of coventis, but lokiþ how fewe prestis moun profite to Cristis Chirche, and how he mai holde þe office þat Crist haþ bedun in his lawe; for his desire stondeþ in þe kyngdome of hevene. And þus ben vertues knyttid oon wiþ anoþer, and algatis in preestis, þat hiȝer suen Crist. And, for suche poverte bringiþ ofte tymes in hunger, þerfor in þe secounde blyss seiþ Crist*. [So E; A includes 'seiþ Crist' in the italics.], þat þei ben blessid now. And it is no drede Crist spekiþ of sich hunger þat is vertuousli take*. [taken, E.], after þe Trinite; for a þeef mai hunger aȝens his wille in prisoun, and a werriour mai hunger for an yvel ende; but loke who haþ power to robbe mennis goodis, and ȝit he spareþ upon resouns, for þe love of God, and þat man hungriþ as Crist spekiþ here. And þus alle þese comunes of þes newe religiouse, þat*. [So in E; om. A.] wasten Goddis goodis, for fame of þe world, or love of her belye, synnen aȝens þis virtue; and þei shulden hungre now to deþ, as done þese martirs, or þei wastiden þus þese pore mennis goodis. And if þei han greet wille to do þis for Goddis sake, þei han now a maner of blis, delitinge in Goddis lawe; and it is no drede þes men shulen be fillid, whanne þei shulen have full joie in pleyn filling of Goddis wille. For after þe day of dome noþing shall displese hem, for þei shulen wel wite þat God ordeyneþ al þings þanne, riȝt as it shulde be, by resoun of Goddis wille. And þis ordenaunce is so faire and so plesinge to seintis, þat þei shulden be fulfillid in wille of her soule, and þat shal be inowȝ to hem to boþe her kyndis. For þanne þei shulen have no hunger of þing þat þei desiren, for þei shulen be fulfillid in bodi and in soule, and þus trowen seintis þat hungre endiþ here.

Þe þridde blisse is seid to þe same entent. Blessid be ȝe þatPage  204wepen now, for ȝe shulen leiȝe. It is knowen þat whoso lastiþ fulli in Goddis lawe he mut nedis wepe here, for enemyes to Crist; for suche Goddis proctours shulen be pursued, for re|prevyng of synners þat ben Goddis enemyes, and he is a coward aȝens God þat spekiþ not boldly aȝens synne. And herfore Joon Baptist and Cristis apostlis token ensaumple of Crist to þus repreve synne; and þus þei wepten for pursuyte, and algatis for synne, siþ Crist in all hise þre wepingis wepte for oþer mennis synne. For he loveþ nowȝt wel Crist and his Modir þat sorowiþ not for her injurie, and despite þat is done to him. And sich men of charite shall leiȝe at ȝe dai of dome, for Salomon seiþ, þe Churche shall leiȝe in þe last dai; and sich gostli gladness is clepid here leiȝyng*. [leyȝinge, E.], for bodili leiȝyng is fer fro þis purpos. And of þese þree pursuyngis þat comen to þe Chirche, þe firste is leste of alle, þe secound is myddil, and þe þridde is moost; and þus it is of þe*. [om. E.] þree rewardis.

Þe fourþ word þat Crist seiþ conteyneþ þre pursuingis; ȝe shulen be blessid, seiþ Crist, whanne men shulen hate ȝou, and whanne þei shulen departe ȝou, and after repreve ȝou. Cristis servantis on many maneris ben departid here. Worldeli men fleen hem, and leven hem by hemsilf; þei ben cursid of Anti|crist, and put out of chirchis, and þei ben partid in prisouns fro oþer men of þe world. And in alle þes statis þei suffren re|proves, and if þei ben certeyn, bi lore of her bileve, þat þei suffren in all þis fro cause of her God, þei moun be blessid and joiful for hope of þe ende, as a syk man gladli wole suffre peyne whanne he hopiþ þerbi to come aftir to hele. And joie þat seintis shulen have whanne þei suffren þus is a manere of blisse þat þei han here, for it is more joie þan all þese worldli lustis. And, as Crist telliþ, þese þat stonden in Cristis cause, han her names cast out as cursid men and heretikes, for her enemyes ben so blynde, and so depe in her synne, þat þei clepen good, yvel, and yvel, good. But woo be to suche. And Crist biddiþ his servantis to joie þat dai in her herte, and shewe a glad countynaunce, to men þat ben about hem, for certis her mede is moche in þe blisse of hevene. And þis word coun|fortiþ Page  205 symple men, þat been clepid eretikes, and enemyes to þe Chirch, for þei tellen Goddis lawe; for þei ben somynned and reprovyd many weies, and after put in prison, and brend*. [brent, E.] or kild as worse þan þeves*. [See note on p. 201.]. And maistris of þis pursuyng ben preestis more and less, and moost pryvy freris wiþ lesingis þat þei feynen, as Crist was pursued wiþ Caiphas and oþer preestis, but privyli wiþ Pharisees þat weren hise falsseste*. [falseest, E.] enemyes. And þis gospel is confort to alle þat ben þus pursued.

But certis as tradiciouns maid biside Goddis lawe, of preestis and of scribis and of Phariseis, blyndiden hem in Goddis lawe and made it dispisid, so it is now of Goddis lawe by newe mennis lawis, as decretals and decres. And þe Sixte, wiþ Clementyns

* The compilation of the Sixth Book of the Decretals was made by order of Boniface VIII, and promulgated by him in 1297. It is entitled Sextus, or the Sixth, as following and being supplementary to the five books of Decretals published by Gregory IX, in 1234, (on which see Milman's Latin Christianity, vi. 163):—

Gregorii noni post libros quinque, vocatur Sextus; nomen habens ordinis a numero.

The Clementines were first pub|lished by Clement V at the Council of Vienne in 1312; they were after|wards given out in a fully digested form by John XXII in 1316. They treat of various points of canon law and church discipline, and are sup|plementary to the Sextus.

, done myche harm to Goddis lawe, and enfeblen bileve. And þus done þese newe reulis of þese þree ordris, as þei harmen rewmes and cuntreis þat þei dwellen inne. But remedie agens þis is used of many men, to dispise all þese lawis whanne þei ben aleggid, and seien unto men þat aleggen hem, þat falsehede is more suspect for witnesse of siche lawis, siþ Goddis lawe telliþ al truþe þat is nedeful to men. In þis laste pursuyng of our modyr, þat is greet and perilous, haþ Anticrist moche part aȝens Jesus Crist, and feyneþ bi ipocrisie þat he haþ þe riȝt part. And defaute of bileve is ground of all þis errour.

Page  206

ÞE GOSPE[L] OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXVI.]

Cum persequentur vos in una civitate.
—MATH. x. [23.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a medicine of Crist, how hise martirs shulen do in tyme of her pursuynge. Crist biddiþ hise disciplis to flee from her enemyes; for vertuous pacience and sich manere cowardice ben armes to Cristene men to overcome her enemyes. For hope of our victorie is in Jesus Crist, and þerfor we trustyn in him þat he doeþ þe dedis. And so*. [So E; A reads for, which gives neither sense nor syntax.] Crist and Anticrist striven togidere, and oon seiþ þat he haþ þe just part and þe hooli; and þe toþer reversiþ him and seiþ þat he haþ Cristis part. And as anentis Cristis lawe þat men shulden grounde hem inne, Anticrist haþ foundun þis cautel, to seie þat it is myche fals. And if men seien þat Goddis lawe mut nedis be soþ to Goddis entent, þei graunten þat þis is soþ, but þe entent lieþ in hem. So, as princes of prestis, and Phariseis joyned wiþ hem, wolen interprete Goddis lawe, aff hem shal it be taken; and so her exposicioun is more in auctorite þan is text of Goddis lawe; for by þe firste, men shulen be demyd. And by þe cautel of þe fend þese ben maid myȝti to þe world, and by ȝiftis þat þei ȝyven to seculer men, and to sum clerkis, þei hav many comunes wiþ hem, and of all manere of men, and crien þat þus seiþ holi Churche, to which we shulden algatis trowe, and do worshipe to it, and reve it nouȝt but ȝyve it more. And þus is Cristis cause feld doun for a tyme, but ȝit þere ben many men stondinge þerewiþ, as þei doren. And þis reule han many men to juge wel in þis mater; if a man lyve riȝt lyf boþe to God and to man, and have for him text of Goddis lawe, and witt þat sowneþ to charite, and symplenesse in lyvynge, wiþ forsakinge of worldeli liif, it is tokene þat þis man haþ þe riȝt part of Jesus Crist. For Anticrist drawiþ evere to pryde and Page  207 to coveitise; and herbi moun men knowe what man holdiþ wiþ Anticrist. But beware with ypocrisie, for þat bigiliþ many men to trowe þat men ben Cristis children, alȝif þei ben þe fendis lymes. And so bi loore þat Crist techiþ men shulden trowe to sich mennis workes more þan to her wordis, for þei speken ofte in striif, and Poul seiþ þat he and hise breþeren have noon custum to speke þus.

Þe first biddinge þat Crist biddiþ here stondiþ in þese wordis, þat we shulen kepe. And whanne many enemyes shulen pursue you fro oon citee, þat ȝe have dwelt inne, fle ȝe into anoþer; but ever wiþ discrecioun, for if þis were ever kept no men nedide to be martris, for þei myȝt fle fro toun to toun, and nevere countre wiþ her enemyes; and þus Crist wiþ hise disciplis hadde do agens his owne lore. And here men studien wiþ rulis, whanne þei shulden flee þus, and whanne þei shulden stonde and suffre. In boþe þese tauȝte Crist, and it is no doute to men þat ofte it profitiþ on boþe sidis to fleen from oo toun to anoþer, for bi þis fleinge ofte tymes hav boþe þe partis space to turne to Crist and profite, more þan þei shulden to suffre deþ, abidinge in oo place. And here Y can*. [kan, E.] not grounde of God, þat we shulden fle oure enemyes, riȝt whanne þei folowen us and seen us in mennys presence, for þis were yvel cowardice, to feere men þat saien þis fliȝt; but Crist spekiþ here, as we þinkiþ, of hid removynge before. And þus Crist fledde ofte tymes, and hidde him among þe peple. And if þou axe whanne men shulden flee, and whanne stonde in Goddis cause, certis sum tyme men ben constreyned to come, and to answere for Crist; and so, if we lyven good lyf and lette not þe love of Crist, he shal teche us for to flee and to answere as we shulden.

But algatis be we war þat we confesse not falsehede, and denye not Cristis lawe, for no cais þat mai falle. If we undirstonden not þe witt, graunte we þe forme of þe wordis, and confesse we þe truþe of hem, al if we witen not which it is. And þus faile we not God in liif, and he wole not faile us in loore; for þus he biholiþ þat we shal have in Page  208 sich hour what we shulden speke. But here it is good to us, if we ben in myche pees, to knowe and love Goddis lawe, for bi þis we moun betir lyve, and wite how we shulen answere men whanne we ben opposid of fendis. But ȝit men miȝten replie here þat Cristis lore were not ynowȝ, for men myȝten liȝtli take a citee where alle weren enemyes and noon trewe men. But lyve we wel, and Crist wole teche to what a citee we shulen go; and herfore seiþ Crist after, Soþli, I seie to ȝou, ȝe shulen not ende þe citees of Israele til þat mannis sone come, at þe laste dai of Jugement. A flok of treue men is citee of Israele, for þese men seen God, and ben redi to helpe hise lymes, whanne þei be þus pursued, and suffre Cristis disciplis to tra|veile, and lette Anticristis bi her power; and such flokkis shulen not faile, boþe to worche and to helpe. And in þe dai of dome it shal be no nede to axe help, for þanne shal Cristis baner be rerid, and alle hise enemyes shulen lurke.

And herfore seiþ Crist after, Þer is no disciple aboue his maistir ne servant aboue his Lord. But þus was Crist himsilf pursued, and þis forme kepte Crist, in fleyinge and in answerynge. And it is ynowȝ to þe disciple þat he be as his maistir, and to servaunt þat he be as his Lord. In þis þing and bi þis weie shulden Cristis servauntis kepe mekenesse and hope in God, and wite wel bi her bileve þat þei moun not do wiþouten him. And herfore seiþ Crist; If þei clepiden þe good Lord Belzabub, moche more þei shulden dorre*. [dore, E; meaning dare.]mysseie þe servantis of þe Lord. And oþer pur|suytis and bodili deþ shulen sue aftir, siþ Crist hadde hem, and þerfore Crist telliþ ofte, how hise shal be sikir of þese. And þerfore Cristis armure is good to ech to Cristen man to hav, for it noieþ not hevely, neþer in pees ne in werre, and it makiþ Cristen men hardi aȝens þe fend and alle hise lymes. And her|fore seiþ Crist to hise; Þerfore drede ȝe hem not; for we have betere ground þan þei, and more helpe þan þei have; but oure helpe is spiritual, hid to þis world and for*. [fro, E.] þe toþer. And þis lore is nedeful now in þis world, for Anticrist; for he haþ turned hise clerkes to coveitise and worldli love, and so blindid þe peple and derkid þe lawe of Crist, þat hise servantis ben Page  209 þikke, and fewe ben on Cristis side. And algatis þei dispisen þat men shulden knowe Cristis liif, for bi his liif and his loore shulde help rise on his side, and prestis shulden shame of her lyves, and speciali þes hiȝe prestis, for þei reversen Crist boþe in word and dede. And herfore oo greet Bishop of Engelond, as men seien, is yvel paied þat Goddis lawe is writun in Englis, to lewide men; and he pursueþ a preest, for he writiþ to*. [om. E.] men*. [om. E.] þis Englishe, and somoniþ him and traveiliþ him, þat it is hard to him to rowte*. [route, E.]. And þus he pursueþ anoþer preest bi þe helpe of Phariseis, for he prechide Cristis gospel freeli wiþouten fablis. O*. [So in E; A has oo.] men þat ben on Cristis half, helpe ȝe now aȝens Anticrist! for þe perilous tyme is comen þat Crist and Poul telden bifore. Butt oo confort is of knyȝttis, þat þei savoren myche þe gospel and han wille to rede in Englishe þe gospel of Cristis liif. For aftirward, if God wole, þis lord|ship shal be taken from preestis; and so þe staaff þat makiþ hem hardi aȝens Crist and his lawe. For þree sectis fiȝten here, aȝens Cristene mennis secte. Þe firste is þe pope and cardinals, bi fals lawe þat þei han made; þe secounde is emperours*. [So E; emperour, A.] bishopis, whiche dispisen*. [dispensen, E.] Cristis lawe; þe þridde is þes Pha|risees, possessioners and beggeris. Alle þes þree, Goddis enemyes, traveilen in ypocrisie, and in worldli coveitise, and idilnesse in Goddis lawe. Crist helpe his Chirche from þese fendis, for þei fiȝten perilously.

ÞE GOSPEL OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXVII.]

Ponite in cordibus vestris.
—LUC. xxi*. [So in E; xix. A, perperam.]. [14.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ, as oþer bifore, how Crist helpiþ his martris, whan þe fend and hise lymis pursuen hem for Cristis lawe. For Christ suffride for þis lawe al þe peyne þat he suffride, and hise martris aftir him suffriden for þis same law. Crist tauȝte Page  210 opinli his lawe to þe peple, and þe hiȝe preestis of þe temple, wiþ Scribis and Phariseis, þouȝten þat þis was aȝens hem; and þus þei weren aȝens him; and speciali, for Cristis wordis weren aȝens þese þre mennis pride, and aȝens her coveitise, in which þei disseyveden þe peple, but not bi so opyn blasfemye as prelatis use to daie. For þei seien, þat þei han power of Crist to assoile alle men þat helpen in her cause, for to gete þis worldli worshipe, to assoile men of peyne and synne*. [See page 136, note.], boþe in þis world and in þe toþir, and so whanne þei dien, flee to hevene wiþouten peyne. And þus durst not þe fend feyne for þe tyme þat Crist was here; and siche blynde leden blynde men, and maken falle boþe in þe lake. And þus þis is a perilous tyme, for many men ben dryvun to helle, and þat is more perilouse þan ony deeþ þat þe*. [So in E; om. A.] bodi haþ here, and þe peril is þus more for feynynge of ypocrisie; and we moun not see þis peril, ne fele it in þis liif. And many witnessis ben aȝens þis, and seien þat it is fals; but, as þei seien, we han þe fals part, and þei han þe goode religion. And so þis is more perilous þan sectis de|partid fro Crist, as Jewis or Sarasines, or oþer heþene men; for þese worchen bi ypocrisie and ben myȝti heretikes, and medlid among trewe men, and þus her fiȝting is feller.

But neþeles Crist supposiþ þat hise disciplis shulden sue him, and lyven wel after his lawe, and þei shulen be sure ynowȝ, for þanne God shal fiȝte for hem aȝens enemyes of Crist. And herfore bigynniþ Crist and biddiþ hem, putte in þeir hertis, not to þenke bifore wiþ bisinesse, how þei shulen answere to her enemyes, for Crist shal answere þanne for hem, and ȝyve hem þanne mouþ and witt, to which alle her adversaries moun not aȝenstonde ne aȝenseie. And siþ þei ben not þo þat speken, but þe Holi Goost spekiþ in hem, it is soþ þat God himself shal answere for his part. It is seid ofte tymes, þat maner of speche of Goddis lawe is to denye þe instrument, and to graunte þe principal, and þus seiþ Crist þat þei speken not but þe Hooli Goost in hem. But Crist prophecieþ of betraying þat hise shal hav: Ȝe shulen be betrayed, he seiþ, of your owne eldris, Page  211of ȝoure breþeren, and ȝoure cosyns, and ȝoure owne frendis. Þis lettre was verified of martiris of Crist, for alle þes foure con|sentiden to deþ of þese martiris, for þei þouȝten obeishe to God in killinge of Cristene men. And as Cristis lawe seiþ þat sevene þingis shulden be hatid for Crist, as fadir and modir, wyves and children, breþeren and sistren, and mennis owne liif, so feynede þe fend þat þese foure frendis shal be hatid of man, for þe love of Anticrist. And þus many fadris killiden her owne children, for þei confessiden Crist; and þus, as we sup|posen, þe Jewis diden. And to speken generali of Anticristis scole, þese popis ben fadris, and her churches ben modirs, þese bishopis ben breþeren, and oþer prelatis ben cosyns; seculer men for muk ben to þese prelatis, frendis, and alle þese be|traien Cristene men to turment, and putten hem to deeþ for holdinge of Cristis lawe. And þis is more perilous for her fals feyning, for þei seien þat her Chirche mai no weie faile þat haþ lastid so longe in truþe and in holinesse. And þus as Crist was pursued and kild of þese foure folk, so bi cautels of Anticrist ben men kild to dai. And ȝit þe pope is clepid holyeste fadir, and þe bishopis hise breþeren, and abbotis his cosyns, and seculers ben frendis þat helpen to þis pursuyte; and þese foure goostli frendis ben most perilous. And Crist telliþ hise disciplis how þei shulen be hatid of alle worldli men, for þe name of him; and þus ben men hatid now bi lesengis of freris, for þei holdin þe gospel and lawis of Crist. But Crist comforteþ hise and telleþ hem þat no part of her bodi shal perishe at þe daie of dome; so þat an heere of her*. [om. E.]heed shal not þanne perishe. And armer to fiȝte wiþ in Criste*. [Cristen, E.] men is pacience, for wiþ þis fouȝte Crist, and alle hise gloriouse lymes; and in þis pacience bihetiþ Crist to hise, þat þei shulen hav her soulis in pees, as Crist hadde his soule.

And here moven many men, siþ Cristis lawe is opyn, and his part is knowun good, and Anticristis wickid, and many devoute men holden wiþ Crist, what moveþ Cristene men to move hem not to fiȝtinge? For siþ þe fend haþ but þree partis for his side, Cristene men myȝte soone meve to fle þes þree partis. Page  212 For popis and bishopis and prestis of her sort, and þese new religiouse, possessioneris and beggeris, and seculer men þat ben disseyved wiþ hem, ben þe moste enemyes to Crist and his lawe. Whi wolen not holi seculers risen aȝens þese þree, siþ þei moven seculers to fiȝte aȝens her enemyes? Here men þenken þat Cristene men shulden algatis loven pees, and not procure to fiȝte; for Crist is a pesible kyng, and he seiþ in his gospel þat in oure greet pacience we shulen have oure victorie; and Crist shal fiȝte for us. But many men þenken þat seculer men shulden helpe here, not to fiȝte bodili aȝens Cristis enemyes, but wiþdrawe her conceil and consent fro þes þree folk; and þis dede were sure before God and man.

And siþ þese false freris camen last into þe Churche, it semeþ þat at hem shulden men begynne to practise, for þei semen leste groundid or rotid in malice, al if her malice be sharpest, as fevere of a daie. Þe rote of possessioners semeþ harder to overcome, for þei ben rotid in richessis and frendship of þe world; but liȝtli miȝten trewe men discomfite þese freris, not but wiþdraw her defence and consente to hem; and þese fendis shulden faile, as þei began wiþouten ground. And here moun men liȝtli se wheþer seculers ben trewe men, for þei confessen communli þat þei loven Crist moost, and wolen stonde bi his lawe, and also bi his ordenaunce, for to suffre deþ, but þei failen in þes wordis. Hem nediþ neþer to fiȝte ne dispende ne traveile, but consent not wiþ þes fendis, ne defende hem aȝens Crist, and þei shulden soone be destryed among hemsilf. Wel Y woot þat begging holdiþ hem up, and oþer lesingis upon Crist and his Churche. Comune not wiþ hem, ne ȝyve hem noon almesse, bifoore þei hav declarid þese*. [þe, E.] gabbingis aȝens bileve, and liȝtli shulde be an ende of þese false prophetis. Her preieris, and her massis, and oþer false signes, ben signes þat þei chaffaren wiþ disseyvynge þe peple. But dwelle we in þis bileve, and tell hem boldli þat þei witen never*. [not, E.] wher þei ben fendis; and if þese ypocritis ben fendis, her preiris doiþ harm, ȝhe, boþ to hemsilf and to oþer men; and no man þat hadde witt shulde chaffare wiþ her preiris. And herfore biddiþ Crist Page  213 flee from false prophetis þat come in cloþing of sheep, but þei ben wolves wiþ men, and her comyng is moost to ravyshe bi ypocrisie.

As anentis her massis, a man þat hadde Cristis hert shulde seie hem soþeli, þat he wolde not truste þerynne, but if þei purgiden hem of heresie, of which þei ben suspect. It was taken as bileve, longe bifore þat freris cam ynne, þat þe sacrid ost þat men seen at iȝe is verrili Goddis bodi, bi vertue of hise wordis. Freris seien þat þis is fals, but it is an accident wiþouten ony suget, and þei gilen þe peple. If a man charge Goddis lawe more þan fals in name of sich lyeris in þe world, þat doiþ myche harm. Comune he not wiþ hem, ne ȝyve hem no goodis, before he have asaied wheþer þei ben here heretikes; and seie he, þat Crist takiþ not service of man but if he ȝyve betere aȝen, and þus shulden prestis done; and herfore, but if þe frere bringe under his comune seel, what is þe sacrid oost, þei wolen not comune wiþ him. For, as Seint Joon seiþ, who|ever gretiþ an heretike shal hav of his synne, what man ever he be. And þus, if a trewe man love more Crist þan þe worldis fame, he mai liȝtli wiþ worship avoide sich fals freris. And certis þis dede were unsuspect boþe to God and man. For if þei hav a riȝt bileve, þei shulden telle it for charite, and if her bileve were fals, þei shulden wille þat it were dis|troied. And algatis þei witen wel, þat þei varien in bileve fro þe gospel and comun peple, and many weies disseyve men. For þei tellen not what is þat, but þat þis is Goddis bodi. But þese idiotis shulen wite, þat boþe þere and everywhere is betere þing þan Goddis bodi, for þe holi Trinitie is in ech place. And so men axen what is þat, þat þe prest sacriþ, and aftur brekiþ, and þat men worshipen as Goddis bodi, but not accident wiþouten suget. And þus defaute of riȝt bileve, practisid among þes freris, shulden dampne hem as heretikes, and take hem in her owne falshede.

And so, bi alle oþer signes þat þei feynen in religioun, aspie how þes freris camen inne, and by whos auctorite; for if þei camen not in bi Crist, þat is dore of his Churche, þei ben þeves and heretikes, and stien up by þe roof. And þis proof were not costli, ne chargious, ne shameful; and Page  214 for levyng of siche proofe synnen men ful grevousely boþe aȝens Crist and his Churche, ȝhe, aȝens freris þat men þenken þei helpen. And þis shulden alle men do in dede, and stire oþer men þerto, sum bi love, sum bi drede; and þus shulden oure bileve be shewid, and rotyn heresie, hid now, shulde come to proof wiþ false lesingis. And here moun men wel assaie wheþer clerkes and knyȝtis wiþ her comunes love God as þei confessen, and doren stonde bi his lawe; for he þat is necligent in so litil þing for to do, wolde soon be necligent in harder þing of more charge.

ÞE GOSPEL OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXVIII.]

Descendens Jesus de monte.
—LUC. vi. [17.]

ÞIS Gospel telliþ, as we hav seid, how þe peple lovede Crist, and how Crist ȝafe hem loore þat was betir þan al þis world. And so Crist, as a good knyȝt, stood now in hil, and now in pleyn, now in water, and now in erþe, to telle þat he was Lord of alle. But here he stood in the pleyn feld, for þer men miȝten betere heere him; and þus he techiþ, þat he loveþ all men þat holden his lawe, be þei clerkis, be þei kniȝtis, or laborers þat maynteynen tilþe. And þus Crist cam doun of þe hill, and stood in a feldi place, and to him cam dyverse folkis, as sum men þat weren hise disciplis, and a great multitude of oþer folk fro fyve places. Sum men camen fro fer countrees of þe lond of Jude, and sum camen fro Jerusalem, and sum camen fro þe see, and sum men fro þe lond of Tire, and sum fro þe lond of Sidon.

And men seien comunli þat men sueden Crist for fyve causis. Sum men camen to sue Crist, to lerne of him Goddis lawe; and þus sueden þe apostlis Crist þat speciali sueden him, and oþer trewe men, bi riȝt entent to be informed in Goddis lawe, and speciali at þis tyme; for now ȝaf Crist his lawe, and so he ordeynede many folk to here alweie þis newe lawe. Þe secounde cause þat men sueden Crist for, was to be heelid of Page  215 Crist. For alle manere of sykenessis of men he helid wiþouten hire; and so seiþ þe gospel here þat many folkis camen to Crist, to heere him, and to be helid of syknesse þat þei were inne. Þe þridde cause whi folk sueden him was for to se wondris of Crist, as men traveilen in fer weie to se pleies*. [for to see pleyes, E.] in þe world; and more woundris þan Crist dide was not seen bifore ne aftir. Þe fourþe cause whi sum folk cam to Crist was cumpanye, þat oþer men cam to Crist, oþer for oo cause or for oþer. And þus þei camen to se Crist for sum cause þat here is seid. Þe fifte cause, and þe worste, þat sum men camen to here Crist was to take him in wordis, as ofte tymes camen hise enemyes, as Pharisees and oþer servauntis of hiȝe preestis of þe temple.

And þus seiþ þe gospel here;—þat men travelid of þe fendis weren heelid, and al þe peple covetide to touche Crist, for vertue wente out of him, and helide alle men. And Crist cast up hise iȝen in hise disciplis, and seide foure wordis, as it is told bifore in þe firste sermoun of martirs*. [See Sermon LXV, p. 201.]. First seiþ Crist, Blessid be þe*. [ȝe, E.]pore men, for ȝoure is þe kyngdom of God; and comunli such men þat ben pore of goodis here, ben also pore in soule, as seiþ þe gospel of Matheu. For sum men ben proude in her herte of fair chirchis and hiȝe steplis, and sum of faire ȝate housis, and sum men of hiȝe kycchynes*. [kychynes, E.]; and so if pryde were fulli layd doun, few or noon wolden hav sich housis. And if all þe good were weied þat comeþ of sich costli þing, it were but pure fantasie, and worldli pryde þat comeþ þerof. And if we þenken how Crist was pore, more þan ony of us mai be, we shulden not bolue for richesse of þe world, for no good þat comeþ þerof. And so we shulen understonde þese þree wordis þat come after;—Blessid be ȝe þat hungren now, for ȝe shulen aftir be fillid. Blessid be ȝe þat wepen now, for ȝe shulen leiȝe aftir; and blessid shulen ȝe be whanne þat men shulen hate ȝou, and whanne þei departen ȝou fro Cristene men þat þei loven, and whanne þei shulen reprove ȝou, and caste out ȝour name as ivel, for ȝe holden wiþ Cristis lawe, al if it displese to þe world. In þat dai joiePage  216ȝe wiþine, and make ȝe glad countynaunce wiþouten, for lo ȝoure neede is moche in hevene; and by þis weie ȝe deserven it.

As it is seid bifore, God haþ many enemyes þat feynen bi her professioun þat þei ben pore as was Crist, and ȝit þei han worldi goodis, boþ meblis and unmeblis, and þei disturblen Cristis ordre, and contreis þat þei dwellen ynne, as monkis and chanouns wiþ her degrees, and oþer possessioneris. Crist techeþ hem to be pore for love of him, but wilfulli; and þei crepen ynne to be riche, bi falsenesse of ipocrisie; and þus ben lordis and rewmes poorid, to whos stait shulde*. [So E; shulden, A.] richesse falle; and ȝit boþ prelatis and lordis and oþer folk ben so blyndid, þat þei holden up þis fendis cause and cursen trewe men þat letten it. And it is oon to do þus, and to curse Cristene men, for þei holden on Cristis side aȝens þe fend, and his helpe; for he haþ so blyndid men bi unbileve of Goddis lawe, þat dedis þat ben aȝens it ben holden good and nedeful: as twelve lawis ben aleggid how God ordeyneþ clerkes to lyve, and confirmede hem bi his Sone, and bi liif of hise apostlis, and ȝit men seien þei ben acursid, þat traveilen to kepe þese lawis. But as þei feynen, þei han prelatis, and þe hiȝeste is þe pope; and but if men have leve of hem no man shulde take þes goodis aweie. And heron ben lawis ordeyned and cursingis wiþouten nombre, and lordis ben undermyned wiþ sutiltees of the fend; and but if God send a gretter*. [grete, E.] grace, þis heresie wole not be amendid, but if some conquest come, or þe laste dai of dome.

Bi many causis moveþ the fend to holde þis cause aȝens aȝens Crist, for herbi he haþ foundun pley in clerkis, knyȝtis, and in comunes; for clerkis herbi ben proude and worldli, and leve þe office þat God haþ bedun clerkis do to profite of his churche. For herbi clerkis ben oþer lewid or occupied aboute þe world, so þat prechynge and techinge ben aweie for þe more part; and þes prelatis above seen þat bi þe same skile þei shulden wante her worldli richesse, as wantide boþ Crist and Petir, and herfore for to flee þis eende þei maken meenes in weie bifore. And siþ averise*. [averice, E.] drieþ more, þes Page  217 prelatis ben þus coveitous, and seculer lordis boþe, for lordship is taken fro hem. And þus þe pore comuns bien*. [byen, E.] þe trespas of Goddis lawe, but not so myche as þes two oþer; for þei bien it more in helle. Þe fend traveileþ bisili to holde þis nest aȝens Crist, and ypocrisie of preestis is þe beste mene þat he haþ; and þus officeris of Cristis hous ben so turned in her service, þat if*. [ȝif, E.] Peter were now alyve, and saie how preestis weren occupied, he wolde seie þei weren not prestis of Crist, but proctours of Anticrist. But, for þe fend drediþ him þat Cristene men shulden knowe þis wille, to*. [and, E.] fordo þis fendis falsehede, and turne aȝen to Cristis lawe, and algatis þat Cristis preestis shulden lyv in povertie as he dide, he haþ cast anoþer weie to preise preiyinge of sich preestis, and telle þat it is more worþ þan al þe lordship of þis world boþe to lordis and to her eldris, and specialy at mydnyȝt, as þese religiouse preien. But here men speken aȝen þe fend, and seien he blyndiþ here but foolis, for men wilen þat God loveþ more just liif þan siche preier, and it is a fendis folie to chaunge office of Cristis servauntis. Crist haþ ordeyned hise preestis boþe to teche and preche hise gospel, and not for to preie þus, and to be hid in sich closettis; and þus a liif of oo just man, þat held wel Goddis lawe, were worthi many such preieris as now ben procurid folily. And if þe fend alegge þe Psalm, þat Daviþ*. [Davyt, E.] roos at mydnyȝt to confesse to his God; whi shulden not we now do so? But here we axen þe fendis clerk, siþ Crist dwellide at nyȝt in his preier, and in þe dai tauȝte þe peple, and dide hise workes privyly for to flee ypocrisie, why shulden not preestis now do þus? and siþ þe same Psalm seiþ, Lord how Y have loved þi lawe, al þe dai it is my þouȝt, whi shulde we not holde þis more? siþ it is moche betere þan to rise at mydnyȝt. And if Baal preest feynen þat þanne God mai here wele, and þanne lordis of þe worldlyven in lustes in hers bedde, and good it is þat God be sued ech hour of sum men; wite þei wele þat God lokiþ betere to goode dedis þan to sich preieris. But neþeles devoute men þat be disposed to preie þanne, God forbede þat þei shulden be lettid; but make we Page  218 no general reule to undispose men on þe dai, whanne þei shulden do workes of liȝt. Wel I woot þat þeves usen to worche on nyȝt and slepe on þe dai, and so usen þese neue þeves þat comen in abov þe dore; for Crist koude have tauȝt þis preier if it hadde more plesid him, as he koude hav tauȝte to preie, and lefte to preche his gospel to men. And siþ sich religiouse moun not preie God for hemsilf to come to hevene, for þei shulen be dampned, how moche wole God here sich fendis preier for oþer men! However þe fend seiþ here, þe office þat Crist haþ ordeyned of hise servantis in his hous is þe beste of alle oþer.

ÞE GOSPEL ON FEESTE OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXIX.]

Cum audieritis proelia.
—LUC. xxi. [9.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ to Cristis martris, what peril shal falle on his house boþ bifore and aftir here, er*. [or, E.] þe dai of dome come. And þus shulden martris be confortid bi witt and ordenance of Crist, and suffre wiþ good wille, riȝt as þis Lord haþ ordeyned; for certis he ordeyneþ for þe beste, to his worship and to his Churche.

First spekiþ Crist to hise disciplis; and biddiþ hem, þat þei shulden not be adred, whanne þei shulden here batels and contekes wiþ men*. [wiþynne, E.]; for þes þingis moten nedis be, but ȝit is not anoon ende. And þanne Crist seide to hem of sevene perils þat shulden come. Þe first peril of þese sevene is, þat oo folk shulden rise aȝens anoþer, as Cristene men fiȝten wiþ Sarasynes, and oo secte wiþ anoþer; and þus boþe eldir men and ȝonger hatiden divisioun in þe peple, for suche divisioun is cause of bateilis and strives among men; ne it is not oo peple, but for oonhede of lord and lawes. And þus alle Cristene men shulden holde of Crist and his Page  219 lawe, and obeisshe to hise bailies, in as myche as Crist biddiþ obeishe to hem.

The secounde harm þat shal come to Cristis Chirche for synne of men, is, þat oo rewme shal rise aȝens anoþer for wantinge of charite, and cause hereof shall be defaute of keping of Cristis ordenaunce. For Crist ordeynede his Chirche to stonde in sich an evene mesure, þat ech part shulde profite to oþer, and noon reverse oþer in liif; as partis of mannis bodi þat is hoole fiȝten not togidir, but raþer oon helpiþ anoþer, and kepiþ it fro many harmis. And þus partyng of lordships among preestis must nedis make fiȝtinge: and so sectis þat soutren þe peple oþer weie þan Crist ordeynede, as þese newe religiouse, moten disturble helþe of rewmes.

Þe þridde peril þat Crist telliþ here, is grete erþe-denes*. [erþedones, E.]bi places; for as þe erþ-denes, as clerkis seien, comeþ of wyndis closid wiþinne þe erþe, so wyndis closid in proude preestis, and oþer men of þe world, ben figurid by erþe|dene. And þei distrien countreis and citees, for prelatis more and lesse here bosten more þan Goddis lawe techiþ, and þese wyndis be algatis closid wiþinne þe boundis of Goddis lawe, for þei ben evene as grete as Goddis lawe wole suffren hem. And as it wole close hem or ponishen*. [punysche, E.] hem, so it is; and whanne þei ben aventid, bi conquest or oþer manere, Goddis lawe lymyteþ how þes wyndis shulen passe aweie.

Þe fourþe and þe fifþe peril, shal be pestilencis and hun|gris, for as distempour of þe eir shal sle men and unable þe erþe, so distempour of wyndis of pride shal lette preching of Cristis word, and þanne comeþ pestilence of soule worse þan pestilence of bodi, as hungre of Goddis lawe is worse þan bodili hungre. And siþ hevene worchiþ in erþe, after þat erþe is disposid, þere mut come into erþe pestilence and hungre. Pestilence shal come of distempour of elementis, and of oþer medlid bodies þat ben unkyndeli temprid; for þe fumes of þese blowun wiþ þe wyndis, and drawun in to man, Page  220 distemperen his bodi, and maken hise humours and alle hise lymes to wante her kyndeli tempour; and þus comeþ pestilence, boþe to man and beste. And siþ corn and oþer fruytis ben nurished by þis eir, and þis is so distemperid bi causes þat ben bifore seid, þe blewinge*. [blowyng, E.] of þes fruytis mut faile for þis same cause, and so hungre mut come for defaute of sich fruyte. But Crist spekiþ more here of spiritual veniaunce þat is more to drede þan bodili peynes.

And so þe sixte and þe sevenþe perils þat Crist telliþ ben, feringis fro hevene and oþer grete signes; and as þes muten come bi kynde for variance of þe erþe, so mut oo synne bifore bringe in anoþer synne, and þus shal Goddis veniaunce*. [vengeaunce, E.] be varied after þes synnes. As it is distempour, þat erþeli men shal calengen here to be evene wiþ Crist, and do more þingis þan he wole do,—so after siche signes moten come to men peyneful wondris, as it is an hidouse þing þat men contrarien to Crist boþe in word and in dede, and, ledinge of oþer peple, seien þat þei moun do wiþ þis as myche as þe manhede of Crist, and wiþ þis senden out signes to witnesse þis blasfemye. Þese ben more hidous signes þan bodili comynge fro hevene. But Crist telliþ to hise disciplis þat bifore alle þes sevene, þe ferventeste enemyes*. [þe moste enemy, E.]to Crist shal caste hondis upon hem, and pursue hem, and ȝyve hem in to hondis of false preestis; and þei shulen putte hem in to feyned holdis, and punishe hem many weies, and after þei shulen drawe hem to kyngis and to justices, þat ben myȝti in þis world. And þus for Crist shulen þei be ponished; and liche to þis falliþ now by ponishing of Anticrist. But Crist seiþ to hise disciplis þat it shal falle in to hem into witnesse, þat þei ben on þe trewe side, þat þei shulen have clere answere, to which alle her adversaries shal not moun*. [mowe, E.]aȝenstonde; and þis shal be Goddis loore comynge to hem so privyli. And Crist seiþ as he dide bifore how he shal ȝyve hem alle þis wisdom, to þe witt þat is seid bifore.

And here men noten comunli how prelatis weren disposid by Crist to take of him wisdom, to cunne reule his Churche; and so oþer Cristis bileve faileþ, or prelatis be undisposid now to take Page  221 wisdom of Crist to reule his Churche wel. And siþ a prelat mai not do, but if he hav keies of þe Churche, þe which ben power and science to dispence Goddis tresour, it semeþ þat prelatis now failen in boþe þes. For bi mannis traveile þei hav not passingli geten þis witt, siþ þei hav ben occupied in þe world, and ben simple of lettrure of Cristis lawe, and of inspiringe bi Goddis grace. It semeþ þat siche prelatis ben ful fer to take of God suche liȝtnynge of Goddis cunnynge, fer þei ben ful of worldeli witt in worldeli occupacioun, and herbi unclene in þouȝt, to take siche wisdom of God. And dedis of þes men, wiþ fruytis of her liif, shewen þat þei ben not ful cunnynge in wisdom of Goddis lawe, and so þei ben untrewe dispenders of tresour þat þei feynen of God. And siþ a wastour of worldeli goodis shulde be blamyd of God and man, how myche a wastour of betere goodis is more for to blame; and moche more if a prelate feyne by ypocrisie þat he haþ power and witt, ȝovun of God to reule his Chirche, and doiþ al amys*. [So in E, A has almys.] in þis, and sueþ not God ne his lawe. Certis, syche an ypocrite addiþ first a lesinge, and bi his feyned traitorie he lediþ amys Cristis sheep; and if wastinge of Goddis goodis be worse, þat þe goodis be betere, þis is worse wiþouten mesure þan wastinge of erþeli goodis. And ȝit men þat shulden be martris ben so smytun wiþ cowardise, þat þei deren not speke a word for riȝt bileve in þis matere; but þei constreynen men as bestis to bileve a fals|hede, þat þis prelate haþ power and witt of God to do þus. And whoever denyeþ þis he cursiþ hem, and pursueþ hem.

First þei begynnen wiþ þis:—þat he is hede of holi Chirche; and of þis þei bringen forþ more, þat God mut comune wiþ him his tresour; and where God haþ ordeyned to hide, wheþer men shal be saved or dampned, þese ypocritis seien þei witen wel þat þei ben heed of hooli Chirche, and þanne þei shulen be saif, and wite of Goddis privytees, which man he wole have saif, and how longe þis shal be in peyne. And so he woot*. [wote, E.] bi Goddis lore whanne þe dai of dome shal be, for he mai not for shame graunte pardon after þe dai of dome; for after þis daie ben but two places in which pardone mai be feyned, and in ne|þer Page  222 moun suche prelatis pardoun profite to men þat þer ben. And whanne þei graunten many þousynd wynter of such pardone, oþer þei witen, þat þis tyme shal be bifore þis dai, or ellis þis pardoun shal serve of nouȝt. Sich ben many blasfeme lesingis feyned of popis and oþer prelatis; and whoso reversiþ hem in Crist he mai be martir if he dair; and betir cause of martirdom fynde we noon to Goddis servauntis. For as meynteyning of bileve is a cause of martirdome, so mayntenyng of þing not bileve shulde be reversid of Cristen men, for ellis miȝte al bileve be changid, eeld*. [olde, E.] put out, and newe brouȝt inne. For þei seien þis is bileve, þat þis is heed of holi Chirche, and what þing þat he feyneþ is performed of Crist. And more perilous heresie was never feyned of þe fend.

ON DAI OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXX.]

Attendite a fermento Pharisaeorum.
—LUC. xii. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ, as oþer hav don, how men shulen be confortid bi Crist, and stonde in his feiþ to deþ, for good þat shal come þerof. Fle ȝe, seiþ Crist, fro þe synne of Pharisees, þat is ypocrisie. For among oþer synnes þat þe comuns be blyndid bi, þis is oon of þe moste þat rengneþ*. [regneþ, E.] in prestis, boþe among prelatis and al maner religious. For as Crist likiþ moost in good werk and wilful, so þe fend likiþ moost in yvel werk and wilful. For as þe first mut nede be good, so þe toþer mut nede be yvel. And so men seien þat ypocrisie is fals feyninge of holynesse, and falliþ whanne evere a man feyneþ þat he haþ spiritual good of God, and he haþ not þis good, but synne for his fals feyninge. And al if many spiritual goodis ben feyned of ypocritis, neþeles holynesse and witt ben feyned more comunli; and bi þese two ben folk disseyved, in þing þat touchiþ soulis helþe. And, for þis Page  223 þing mai not be seen, and power of God is feyned to prelatis, þerfore þis synne is more hid, and more privyly disseyveþ þe peple. And so þe fend cast a long tyme to marre men in bileve, and bi þis errour bringe aftir*. [om. E.] inne more synnes to blynde þe peple.

And siþ Crist is holi treuþe, and ypocrisie is fals feyning, it semeþ þat þis ypocrisie is moost synne aȝens Crist. And so as lordis weren bifore tormentours of þe fend, so þes prestis and Pharisees ben tormentours of Anticrist, and more falseli disseyven þe peple, and more turmenten Cristis ser|vantis. And herfore Crist biddiþ fle þis synne of Pharisees. Crist biddiþ attende his lawe, þat is, bisili to perceyve it; and he biddiþ attende from false prophetes; and þat telliþ two þingis, þat is, to perceyve Goddis lawe, and flee from falshede feyned þerof. For we supposen þat in Goddis law is al treuþe þat is needful, and if þis feyned þing of ypocritis were nedeful to Cristene men, he wolde telle þat, as he doiþ oþer, but now he leveþ þat ypocritis seien. And, for ypocritis ben cautellous for to take men in wordis, þerfore Crist biddiþ flee hem, and calliþ her synne sour dowȝ*. [douȝ, E.]; and riȝt as sour dowȝ shendiþ þe dowȝ þat it to longe dwelliþ wiþ, so synne of þese Pharisees shendiþ men þat consenten to it. And wisdom of water þat is feyned, stablid to hem bi longe tyme, confermeþ þis synne to men, and makeþ hem bileve amys*. [The meaning seems to be:—as 'sour douȝ,' or leaven, is made from a mixture of pure flour with water, and, if left too long with fresh dough, spoils it,—so the doctrine of the hypocrites, being compounded, partly of Christian truth, partly of an unsound philosophy of their own invention ('wisdom of water þat is feyned'), if it has established itself firmly and for a long time in men's minds, makes them 'bileve amys.']; and herfore biddiþ Poul to clense out þis old synne þat þei be new springinge of flour, as þei ben clene in þe newe lawe. Crist ordeynede in his law alle hise children to be free, and flee rites*. [riȝtis, E.] of Pharisees þat cumbren þe folk before. Loke we þat þis be not knodyn*. [knoden, E.] wiþ us, but holde we us in þe whete flour, þat tauȝte us fulli Goddis lawe, and þe weie to come to hevene. Cunne we wel Goddis lawe, and loke wher Fariseis grounden hem in it; and if þei done not, flee we her sentence as heresie or fendis glewe*. [gleu, E.]. And, for we shulden Page  224 examyne it bi þe flour of Goddis lawe, þerfore Crist biddiþ flee fro it whanne we witen þat it is ungroundid. And so men hav tauȝt comunli þat men shulden not holde al gold þat shyneþ as gold, for many þingis ben fourboshid ful falseli. And so, but if Goddis lawe telle a feiþ, trowe it not, but fle it as falshede, and dispise þe techeris of it. And on þis wise spekiþ Crist to fle þis synne of Pharises, for it is not ynowȝ men to be spoiled þus of her goodis; but worse it is to be spoilid of bileve and oþer vertues. And if þis synne be now hid in soulis of ypo|critis, neþeles it shal be knowun at þe laste jugement of Crist; for he seiþ, þat nowȝt is hilid þat ne it shal be shewid þanne, and noþing is privy now þat ne it shal be knowun þanne. Alle false castis and her ententis, shulen be knowun þanne to þe world; and so riȝt truþis of Cristis disciplis shulen be seid þanne in liȝt, al if þei doren not seien hem now opinli unto þe world.

And for sich cowardise in synne, þat many servantis speken in drede, Crist seiþ to his disciplis, þat what þei hav seid in derknessis shal be seid þanne in liȝt, and þat þei rowned*. [han rownyd, E.]in erre*. [eren, E.]in beddis, shal be prechid upon housis. And þus, as Crist haþ seid bifore, he hirtiþ*. [hertiþ, E.] and confortiþ hise frendis, to be not aferd of þese men þat mai oonli slee her bodi, and hav no more to ponishe hem, neiþer in bodi ne in soule. For deed bodi feeliþ noo soore, and þe soule goiþ whidir is Goddis wille; for enemyes moun not cacche þe soule and ponishe it, as þe bodi. And þus seiþ Crist, þat he shal shewe hem what lord þei shulen drede. Drede þe Lord of bodi and soule, þat after he haþ slawe*. [slowen, E.]þe bodi, haþ power to sende boþe þe bodi and þe soule in to helle. So, seiþ Crist, Y seie to ȝou, drede ȝe þis Lord þat haþ þis powir. Ne ben not fyve sparewis sold for a weiȝte of two ferþingis; and oon of hem so lytil of priis is not*. [So in E; in A, the word, after being written, has been cancelled.]forȝeten to fore ȝoure*. [oure, E.]Fadir? Moche more God wole þenke upon hise owne childre here, þat tellen opynli his treuþe, and susteynen his lawe to men. And for surete of þis feiþ, Crist seiþ, as he seide bifore, þat Þe heeris of ȝoure heed alle ben noumbrid unto God; and þerfore Crist biddiþ hem not drede, for þei ben betere þan many sparewis.Page  225And þus I seie to you, seiþ Crist, þat ech man þat confessiþ me bifore men, ȝhe, if he die, I shal confesse him bifore Goddis aungelis, how he was trewe servant to God.

And here men douten comunli of bileve of Cristene men; it semeþ þat þe pope mai ordeyne lawe even wiþ Goddis lawe, siþ he ponishiþ more for his lawe, þan he ponishiþ for Goddis lawe, and oþer he doeþ wrong in þis, or his lawe is betere þan þe firste. But who dar seie þat he doiþ wrong in such ponish|inge for lawis? Also þe pope mai ordeyne sum lawe, as done Princis of þis worlde; but whi mai he not make as many as him likiþ to profite to þe Chirche?—what ert þou þat settist a mark þat he mai make þese, and no moo? For bi þis same skill he was longe siþen at his mesure, and þus shulden*. [schulde, E.] him faile power now to reule þe Chirche bi his lawe. Also, ellis we diden amys in singinge, and in service seiynge, and so in al þat we doen, siþ we taken þis of þe pope; and þus in lower prelat moten we graunten siche power, for ellis failide obe|dience, and alle þes ordris þat ben newe. Here men seien þat popis and bishopis and oþer men mai make lawis, so þat þei acorden wiþ Goddis lawe, and sumwise ben in Goddis lawe, for þus þei techen Goddis lawe more opinli þan it was tauȝt bifore. But, for boþe errour and pride suen ofte tymes to þis dede, þerfore seintis after Crist helden hem paied on Cristis lawis; for if þei weren executid, þei weren sufficient and ynowȝ. But newe turnyng of Anticrist to newe office in þe Chirche, mut nede bringe in newe lawis, and putte Cristis lawe abak; and þus seiþ þe Psalm of Anticrist, þat God shal putte a maker of lawe, and reule hem after her coveitise biside þe lawe þat Crist haþ ordeyned.

And þis mai ben opynli seen in benefices departid to men, and newe ordris þat now ben maad, to greet chargis of Cristis Chirche. But folk shulde knowe þat þei ben men, and holden hem paied of Cristis boundis; for if þei ben reulid by resoun, Cristis lawe is best, and ynowȝ, and oþer lawis men shulden not take, but as braunchis of Goddis lawe. And herfore biddiþ bileve to men, neþer adde to, ne draw fro; Page  226 and if þei done, God cursiþ hem, and in þis cursing hav many men ben depid bi long tyme. And þus is ordenance of Crist put abak, and newe brouȝt inne. Ne it falliþ not to us to justifie þes newe officis, ne to defende þat þei ben leueful, alle þe dedis þat prelatis done; for it is ynowȝ to us to cunne and declare Goddis lawe, and shewe þat it were ynowȝ, if oþer lawis weren aweie; and so amende by Goddis lawe þe ordris þat weren maad by Crist, and not for synne of þes ordris to bringe in newe ordris to hem. For alle moten lyve on þe peple

* alle moten lyve on þe peple.] There was a growing feeling in England towards the end of the fourteenth century, that the monastic and mendicant fraternities were becoming so numerous as to form a serious bur|den on the industry of the country. Besides direct statements to that effect, such as the passage in the text, and others that might be ga|thered from the Vision of Piers Plow|man, there is an exquisite piece of irony in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which really says the same thing, though in such forms as became the tender and tolerant genius of the large-minded poet. In the prologue to her tale, the Wife of Bath, after saying that England was once 'ful|filled of faerie,' adds,—

I speke of many hundred yeres ago;
But now can no man see non elves mo;
For now the grete charitee and prayeres
Of limitoures and other holy freres,
That serchen every land and every streme,
As thikke as motes in the sunne-beme,
Blissing halles, chambres, kichenes, and boures,
Citees and burghes, castles high and toures,
Thropes and bernes, shepenes and dairies,
This makith that ther ben no faeries:
For ther as wont to walken was an elf,
Ther walketh now the limitour himself,
In undermeles and in morweninges,
And sayth his matines and his holy thinges,
As he goth in his limitatioun.
; and þe secounde ben þe worse, siþ betere were bi Cristis lawe to amende men of his ordre, þan to putte more unstable ordris, and algatis worse to þe Chirche. But litil errour bringiþ inne more, and at þe laste goiþ al doun; and herfore boundis of Cristis ordenaunce shulde be holde of alle men. And it falliþ not to us to assoile þese fresshe resouns, þat þus þe Chirche doiþ amys in many þingis þat it defendiþ.

IN DAI OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXXI.]

Sedente Jesu super montem Olyveti.
—MATTHEW xxiv. [3.]

IN þis gospel telliþ Crist how hise membris shulen be pur|sued, and what perils þei shal be inne for holdinge wiþ him and his lawe. Þe gospel telliþ first, how Jesus sat on þe MountePage  227of Olyvete, and he wiþ hise disciplis spaken of þe makinge of þe temple, and how al þis shulde be distried, and how þe dai of dome shulde come, and of many þingis þat shulden be, as þe gospel telliþ bifore.

And þus telliþ þis gospel, how Cristis disciplis comen privyli; and axiden him of þese þingis, and what tyme þei shulden falle, and bi what signes men shulden wite þat Crist shulde come to þe jugement. For bi þis myȝten þei knowe whanne þis world shulde be eendid. But Jesus answeride and seide to hem þingis þat weren betere for hem to cunne; and bi þis answere moun we se how curiouste of science or un|skilful coveitise of cunnynge, is to dampne. For riȝt as coveitise of man is yvel sett for erþeli goodis, so coveitise of cunnynge, þat profitiþ not to come to blisse. For man mai disuse cunnynge to his harm, as Poul seiþ, but if men coveiten to plese God and profite in charite. And in suche comune desiris mai not a man synne; but, as comun þing is ofte soþe, whanne þe singuler is fals, so it falliþ ofte tyme of comun witt and comune wille. And þus techiþ Crist here men, to knowe treuþe for her profit.

And þis is a comun synne among men now on lyve, for þei tellen more priis bi lawe, civile or canoun, to cunne hem or oþer jappis*. [japis, E.], þan to cunne Goddis lawe; and for sich wrong cunnyng comeþ harm to many men. And many prelatis, for coveitise setten her wille on sich cunnyng, for þei ben out of bileve, and coveiten more worldli muk þan Goddis worship, or hevenli bliss. And þis is a grevous synne, boþe among prelatis and comuns, for þis synne makiþ hem rude and unable to Goddis lawe, and unable in wille and maneres to lyve wel as Godd*. [God, E.] biddiþ. And herfore seien sum men, þat þe pope and his lawe ben cursid for sum part, for þei loven not Cristis lawe, but avaunsen and loven men þat holde wiþ his rotun lawe. For as men loven Jesus Crist, so shulden men love his lawe. But Poul seiþ, If ony man love not Crist, cursid be he; and þis cursinge is more þan any oþer prelatis cursinge. And for þis cursing seien sum men þat Page  228 þe pope is more ypocrite, for he makiþ him Cristis felowe, and seiþ he is 'moost holi fadir.' But Crist wole þat þis fole wite not wheþer he be a fend or not; and þis is moost ypocrisie, and moost aȝens skile. For what cause shulde meve þe pope to make him clepid moost blessid fadir, siþ neþer truþe ne leve of God moveþ þat he is ouȝt blessid? But to morewe, whanne he is deed, ceessiþ þis ypocritis name, for he hiriþ his name, and þe hire goeþ wiþ his deþ; neþeles, if he were blessid, he shulde be more blessid after his deþ. Alle þe ypocritis in Cristis tyme dursten not speke so greet blasfemye, and of þis ypocrisie ben many oþer falshedis coloured.

But Crist seiþ to hise disciplis, þat þei shulden loke þat noon dis|ceyveden hem; and speciali in bileve for þis knowing is more nedeful, and þis peril shulde be beter fled for þe word þat Crist seiþ aftir: Many shulen come in my name, and seie þat, I am Crist, for ȝe shulen heere batels and opynyons of batels. For now in tyme of oure popis ben many opynyouns of batels, siþ ech lond haþ opynyoun to fiȝt for his pope; and pseudo clerkes and freris seien þat preestis shulden fiȝten sounest. And sich disseit was not herd siþ þe tyme þat Crist was born, and certeinli it haþ ben gaderid of eelde synne of many popis. Crist is a comune name to preestis þat ben anointid of God, but Crist takun by himsilf bitokeneþ oon passinge oþer, as þe pope passiþ oþere preestis, boþe in witt and power, and algatis in holynesse, as he makiþ men to seie. But Crist seiþ þat such Cristis shulen disseyven many men; and no prophecie is soþer, ne more to note of trewe men, siþ þis disseit of Anti|crist is moost perilous of oþer.

But Crist confortiþ hise disciplis, and biddiþ hem loke þat þei be not troublid; for þese þing moten be, but not ȝit is þe eende. For of þis rote of striif, shal folk fiȝte aȝens folk, as Sarasynis aȝens Latyns, þat clepen hem Cristene men; and rewme shal fiȝte aȝens rewme, as we seen now at iȝe. And pride of þis cursid rote is cause of þis fiȝtinge, for if þe empire were hool, and lordshipes of oþer rewmes, so þat þei weren not cursidli partid among clerkes,—þanne wolde God move seculers to lyve in pees, as he haþ bedun hem. But siþ God seiþ in his lawe, þat hise preestis shulden Page  229 not be lordis, þe pope and hise holden þis lordship aȝens þe law and wille of God, and more opinli myȝte no fend aȝen|tonde God and his ordenance. But Joob axiþ, who ever aȝen|stood God, and hadde pees in him silf? And of þes harmes comen aftir pestilencis and hungris, as it is seid, and alle þes bigynyngis of sorewis, þat shal be boþe here and in helle. Þanne shulen þei put ȝou to turmente, and oþer þat wolen stonde wiþ truþe. And after þei shulen slee ȝou, and ȝe shulen be in hate to alle folk for my name. And herfore haþ þe fend ordeyned to sende currours of hise lesingis to diverse rewmes and men, and move hem by hise tiþingis; and þus ben rewmes troublid, and men sclaundrid and disseyved. And herfore seiþ Crist, þat þanne many shulen be sclaundrid, and shal bitraie hem togidir; and oon shal hate anoþer, and many pseudo profetis shulen rise and shulen disceyve manye. And þis semeþ to many men to be seid of false freris. And, for wickednesse shal be plentenous boþe bifore and þanne, þe charite of many men shal þanne wexe cold; but he þat lastiþ to þe eende shal be saif bi God.

And here it semeþ to many men, þat Crist spak of þis tyme, in which þes two popis fiȝten þus togidir; for siþ Crist is al witti, and loveþ wel his Chirche, and telliþ in Apocalips of many lesse perils, whi shulde he not tell of þis þat is so perilous? And clerkis hav a rule, þat a word seid bi himsilf shulde be understonden for þe more famous. Wel Y woot þat many preestis hav comen in Cristis name, and ech seide þat, I am Crist, but noon oþer as þe pope; and her|fore seiþ Crist in þe same chapiter, þat þere shal be þanne greet tribulacioun, what maner was never fro þe begynynge of þe world to now, and shal not be after. For bodili turment is now ful greet, whanne oo pope sendiþ bishopis and many men to sle many men, wymen, and children, and for þe toþer pope comen many aȝens hem; and cause of þis fiȝtinge is a fendis cause, for no man of erþe woot wheþer of þes popis be a fend to be dampnyd in helle, or ellis þei boþe. And bileve techiþ us þat Crist reprovide Petir, for he wolde save his liif, þat was beter þan þes boþe, and made him put up his swerd, and suffride pacientli, whanne he miȝte wiþ a word have vencusid Page  230 hem alle. And Crist techiþ bi word þe maner of a good herde, how he puttiþ his owne liif for his sheep; and so of bileve he is Anticrist þat puttiþ many þousynd lyves for his owne foule liif. And however Anticrist speke here, it is opynli Cristis lawe þat men shulden not fiȝte þus, ne for sich a cause; for ȝif þe pope shal be dampned, as God woot wheþer þei boþ shal, þanne men fiȝten for falshede in cause of a fend; and sich a cause was never herd so opynli aȝens treuþe.

But gretter tribulacioun is in dampnynge of soulis, which ben in false bileve of þes ypocritis; for boþe sitten in Goddis temple and seien þei ben Cristis vikeris and hav more power þan even Crist hadde. For Crist had no power to graunte sich asoiling, and lyve on siche maner, as þes popis done. And so in many pointis þes popis feynen falseli þat þei passen in power oure Lord Jesus Crist. But Crist biddiþ his children to trowe not here neþer þe ferþer ne þe nerrer, but reste in oolde bileve. And not oonli where men fiȝten is þis persecucion, but in fer cuntreis bitwixe contrarie parties. And so, if men tellen Goddis lawe opinli in þis matter, how men shulden not fiȝte þus, but reste in old bileve, þe fend haþ many proctours to pursue siche men; and so, siþ consente is evene wiþ þe dede, þe more part of men is partener in þis dede. Many oþere wordis seiþ Crist in þis chapitre which mai be applied to þis tribulacion; but oo word of confort telliþ Crist here, þat þe daies shal be abreggid of þis fel pursuynge, for men þat ben chosen unto blisse of hevene. Oþer men þat have tyme to expowne þis chapitle*. [capitle, E.], and ben tauȝte of God, and meved for to telle it, and speciali ȝif þei seen þe dede acorde wiþ þe speche, mai telle more of Cristis wordis here. But holde we us in bileve, of which we ben certein.

Page  231

ÞE GOSPEL OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXXII.]

Nolite arbitrari.
—MATT. x. [34.]

ÞIS gospel techiþ men how þei shal riȝtfulli love God, and makiþ martirs hardi to suffre for Cristis sake. And, for many ben cowardis to suffre in Cristis cause, and seien þat it is wisdom to lyve here in pees, and entermete not*. [entermete men not, E.] of þingis þat wolen greve men, þerfore biddiþ Crist his children not to juge þat he cam to sende sich pees here in erþe. He cam not to sende sich pees but swerd. Þis swerd semeþ to many men not material swerd, or bodili fiȝtinge, þat Crist techiþ here, but wise wordis boþe of repreef*. [reproue, E.] and pacience, and suffringe for truþe, ȝif þat deeþ falle; for comunli in holy writt is swerd clepid word. And þis is a swerd sharpe on boþe sidis, boþe to kerve awey synne, and to nurishe virtues, for sich a swerd of wordis kerveþ and departiþ, and so plantiþ love, and puttiþ out cowardise. And for witt of þis gospel shulden men first undirstonde, þat boþ pees and discord is on two maneres. First is veri pees bitwixe God and man; þe secounde is acord bitwixe man and his enemye. As, if þe fend and þi fleish and þe world acorde togidir, sich acord is clepid pees, al ȝif it be aȝens God; and þus on two maneres is taken striif or discord. Þis secounde is clepid pees, likyng to þe fleish, and ȝit it is to a man venymous discord. And of þis pees spekiþ Crist, þat he cam not to sende it, but discord and fiȝting aȝens sich pees. And þus seiþ Crist þat he cam to parte a man aȝens his fadir. For he techiþ how a soule shulde more love God þan ouȝte ellis; and so love þat man shulde hav to God shulde passe love and lawe of kinde, for al siche kyndeli love shulde serve to þe love of God. And so Crist cam to parte þe douȝter aȝens her modir; and þat he doiþ whanne fleishli wille holdiþ wiþ God aȝens þe fleish, as Page  232 þei þat taken worldli fode ever in resoun, to serve God, and not to lustli fede þe fleish, for likyng þat is þerinne. Þe þridde tyme seiþ Crist, he cam to departe þe housebondis broþer aȝens his wyves sister; and þat is done whan love of manhede of Crist puttiþ awei fleishli workis. And þus not oonli fleishli fadir but goostli fadir shulde be left, whanne þei ben aȝens God, for þat love shulde be kyng. Ȝhe, ȝif þi pope or þi bishop or þi persoun bidde þee do þat God biddiþ þee not do, leve hem þanne and holde wiþ God. And we mai not seie to þes, þat þei mai not erre, ne be aȝens mannis soule, siþ þei ben put to reule it;—certis so ben many þingis put bi kynde to helpe and reule, and ȝit yvel custom of mannis enemy mai turne hem to anoie þe soule, much more þes þree fadris*. [Namely, a man's pope, bishop, and parish priest.] þat ben more strange fro*. [to, E.] man. And þus seiþ Crist, þat mannis enemyes ben his owne homely; for more enemyes haþ no man þan is lust þat sueþ his fleishe, and moche more þes þree fadris, þat shulden helpe man to hele of soule. For ech þing þat lettiþ þis hele, and bringiþ in siknes of soule, is enemy to þis man, ȝhe, more þan he þat sleeþ his bodi.

And to shewe þat al þis reule stondiþ in skilful love of God, seiþ Crist moreover, þat whoso loveþ his fadir or modir more þan Crist, he is not worþi of him, for he is not worþi to have Crist in hevene, boþe God and broþer. And so bi reule þat Crist ȝyveþ here, boþe fleishli fadir and modir shulde be lesse loved þan Crist, and if þei stireden aȝens Crist þei shulden be left, and dispisid, and moche more þes oþer fadirs þat ben more strange to men. As, ȝif þi pope or þi bishop or þi persoun bidde þee fiȝte or ȝyve him of þi goodis aȝens þe resoun þat Crist haþ ȝovun, dispise hem utterli, and holde þe reule þat Crist techiþ; and ever flee þis heresie, þat þes fadirs mai not erre here. And to þis witt seiþ Crist after, þat he þat loveþ his sone or douȝter more þan Crist, is not worþi of him; and þis is soþ of fleishli children and of workes þat þe soule doiþ; for summe ben workes of þe soule, and summe workes of þe fleishe. And ofte tymes in boþe þes erriþ a man fro þe reule of treuþ, as ofte tymes is a mannis soule occupied to Page  233 lerne and teche worldli lawis; and God biddiþ þat his law shulde be tauȝt bifore þese. And þes men loven more her sones, þan þei loven Jesus Crist;—for it is oon to love him, and in dede to love his lawe; and so whoso loveþ better goode gobetis, or lustli*. [lusty, E.] workes þan he loveþ dedis of Crist, he loveþ more his owne douȝter þan he loveþ þis holi abbot. And þus, he brekiþ his ordre for defaute of skilful love.

And, for þis love is shewid in dede, and speciali in mannis suffringe, þerfore seiþ Crist afterward, þat he þat takiþ not his crosse, and sueþ him, is not worþi of him. It is seid ofte tymes bifore, þat þis cros þat Crist spekiþ of is redynesse of mannis wille to suffre for Cristis sake, boþe to dispise alle erþeli þingis þat stretchiþ doun to þe erþe, þat is þe stok of þis crosse, and to dispise alle frendshipis boþe of kyn and of þe worlde,—and þes ben clepid two armis of þis crosse. And þanne mannis love lokiþ freeli to hise Jesu above him; and defaute of þis cros bringiþ men alle maner of synne. And þis is cause whi men now ben not martirs as þei weren wont; for a man shulde weie*. [weyȝe, E.] þis love, and loke þat he hadde þis crosse, and suede Crist in wille and dede, redi to suffre for his sake: — but what clerk wole not now leeve þe treuþe of Goddis lawe, ouþer for love of his fleish, or for love of þe world. And cause of þis defaute in love is scatering of mannis love; for men loven cloutid ordris, and þat lettiþ moche love of Crist; and sum men loven worldli worschippis, and worldly*. [So E; A om. worschippis and worldly.] lordshipis þat bringen hem inne; and sum men loven worldli goodis, boþe for worshipis*. [worschip, E.] of þe world and for lustis of her fleish. And sich shenden Cristis ordre. And herfore Crist forbede his preestis siche lordshipis, and siche goodis, for he woolde þat her love were hooli gaderid in him. And ech man, boþ knyȝt and clerk, shulde be bisi to kepe þis lawe, and make oþer to kepen it; or ellis þei loven not Jesus Crist. And what man þat haþ þis cros, and seeþ Cristis lawe reversid, shulde putte him forþ for love of Crist, and fiȝte wiþ swerd of wise wordis, and telle to men, as Joon Baptist, þat it is not leveful to lyve þus? And siþ ech Page  234 man shulde fiȝte þus wiþ him þat doiþ aȝens Goddis lawe, sich a synner wolde þenke anoon þat he moste do oon of þes two; or to sle siche a man, þat meveþ þus aȝens his wille, or ellis to amenden his lyf, as it is tauȝt bi Cristis lawe. And þus shulden sum men ben martris, and sum mennis lyf be amendid. But charite of manye is woxen cold, and þat makiþ þe Chirche bareyne; for litil fruyt growiþ in wynter, for coldnesse þat is þanne.

And þus seiþ Crist afterward, þat, Who þat haþ founden his liif shal lese it, and he þat leseþ his lyf for me, shal after|warde fynde it in blis. Þis sentence seiþ Crist ofte to meve hise martiris to sue him, for no man myȝte lerne here better chaffare or merchandise. For lese þi liif here for God in þe tyme þat is now present, and þou shalt trowe to fynde þy liif aftirward in blisse of hevene. And bileve mot grounden þis dede; for, as Poul seiþ, bi þis wrouȝten martiris. And þus failen now in men, feiþ, hope, and charite. And, for men shulden not forsake to holden þis reule þat Crist ȝeveþ here, for drede of worldli sustynance, þat þe world shulde faile hem, herfore seiþ Crist to hise disciplis, þat, who ever resseyveþ hem resseyveþ him and his Fadir þat haþ sent him, and who resseyveþ a prophete in þe name of a profete shal resseyve mede of a profete. And so it is of oþer vertues. And he þat resseyveþ a just man, in þe name of þe first juste man, he shal take mede of þis juste man; and who ever ȝeve oo of þe leste of þes in name of disciple of Crist, ȝhe, a drauȝt of cold water, soþeli Crist seiþ to us, þat he shal not lese his mede. And þis vertue of Cristis wordis shulde meve men to helpe goode preestis, and to ȝyve hem of worldeli þingis, to done her office þat Crist biddiþ; for Crist mai not faile in wordis ne in dedis þat he haþ ordeyned. For ouþer defaute is in þe prestis, or her peyne is profitable; as sum maken a newe reule to charge þe peple in noumbre and spensis. And þes men moten nedis falle*. [fayle, E.] in peyne of her former synne; and þus cam in begginge and lying and failing of trewe preching. And to þes men shulden noon ȝyve goodis in name of Crist, as he biddiþ here, for þei reversen Crist as his enemyes, and traveilen not in name of him.

Page  235

ÞE GOSPEL OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXXIII.]

Egressus Jesus de Templo.
—MATT. xxiv. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ, as oþer bifore, how men shulden lyve in þis world, and suffre persecucioun þat mut nedis falle here. Þe story telliþ, þat Jesu wente out of þe temple, and his disciplis camen after him, to shewe him þe makyng of þe temple; for it was fallinge to his wordis þat he hadde seid bifore to þe peple, to wite, what Crist felide of þis makyng of þe temple. But Crist answeride and seid to hem; Se ȝe alle þes. Soþeli, Y seie to ȝou þat here shal not be a stoon lefte upon anoþer undistryed. And þis þing was fulfillid, wiþinne fifty ȝeer after, for þe secunde and forty yeer after þat Crist was steied to hevene cam two princis of Rome, Titus and Vaspasian, and ensegiden þe citee, whan it was ful of men at þe feste of Paske, as Crist tolde bifore bi Luke. And þis oost envyrounede þis citee on ech side, and lettide þe peple to go out, and slewe þe folk, and at þe laste toke þe cite; and þanne was þe temple distroied, and al þe citee was turnid, so þat þe mount of Calvarie was sette fer wiþinne þe citee, whan it was bifore wiþouten. And so was not a stoon left upon anoþer undistroied, for all þe citee and þe temple weren turned to make newe citee. And bi þes wordis men taken þat Crist tolde litil by þe temple, or ony siche workes of crafte þat passen þe state of innocence; for clene liif wiþouten siche is beter to Crist þan siche churchis. Alle siche profiten not, but in as moche as þei helpen þe peple to heere Goddis word, and betere þere to preie God; and þis is comunli betere don in þe eire under hevene, but ofte tyme, in reyny wedir, chirchis don good on halidai. And þus curiouste of foolis is ungroundid by Goddis lawe. And whanne Crist sat on þe hill of Olyvete, þe disciplis comen and axiden Crist, to telle hem whanne þis shulde be, and whanne shulden be þe daie of dome. But Crist tolde hem of sounere perils, þat was betere hem to knowe, and lefte þis þing hid to hem, as it is told bifore. Page  236

And so men seien þat þree þingis wole God have hid to men. God wole þat tyme of deþ be comunli unknowun to men, and whanne þe daie of dome shal be. For men shulden ever more wake, and kepe hem from peril of synne, siþ þei witen never whanne God hall come; so þat whanne he come he fynde hem redi to take þe jugement of God. For ser|vauntis shulden biden þe Lord, and not þe Lord abide hise servauntis; but whanne ful tyme is comen to God, þanne falliþ him to make amende. And siþ God wole þat his tyme be hid, þei synnen gretli þat traveilen here to knowe þis tyme, and leven oþer þing þat God wole þat men knowen and done; and þus, as it is seid bifore, popis ben gretli to blame þat menen þat þei shulden knowe þis dai, bi fool*. [foole, E.] graunting þat þei graunten*. [No indulgence could conceivably be of any avail, except in the inter|val between death and the day of judgment; the writer means there|fore, that by granting indulgences for specified terms of years, the popes did in effect assert the pos|session of a knowledge respecting the time of the day of judgment which Scripture expressly denies to all men.]. Þe þridde þing þat God wole have hid to men is privyte of his ordenance, wheþer God have ordeyned to save þes men, or ellis to dampne hem for her synne. And cause of þis is as bifore, for men shulden ever be redi to God, and ever serve þis Lord in drede, lest he dampne men at þe laste. And þus many men synnen in God aȝens his firste comandement, þat wolen not rise out of her synne, but dwelle þerinne, and chese*. [chesen hem, E.] a tyme; for Crist seiþ to false men þat he is Lord, ȝhe of tyme.

And þus seiþ Crist, þat of þat daie no man knoweþ in þis liif, but aloonli þe Fadir of Hevene*. [So E; no italics in A.], and two oþer persones of þe Fadir; for þing proprid to þe Godhede is þus aproprid to þe Fadir. And herbi it is not denyed to þe two Persones aftir. But ȝif it acorde to þe Fadir, in as moche as He is God, it mut nedis acorde to þe Sone, and also to þe Hooli Goost, siþ þei ben þe same God. But it falliþ not þus to aungels, ne to ony oþer creature, for in þat þat þei ben, þei ben divers from her God. And þus, whan þe Fadir haþ ony þing in þat þat he is God, þe Sone and þe Holi Goost hav comunli þis same þing, siþ it is comune and propre to hem for to be þe same God. And Page  237 þus þe general undirstonding of þe laste dai of dome shulde be knowe unto men, and special knowinge shulde be hid, and whanne and how it shal be. And þerfore Cristen men ben apaied in knowing of Goddis lawe, for þat is ynowȝ to hem, and þerafter þei shulden lyve. And ȝif þei ben idil from þis knowinge, God wole axe ful streite acountis. So ȝif a lord al witty as God ȝaf a man al þat he hadde, in noumbre and mesure and in weiȝte, to serve þis lord after þes goodis, þis lord wolde seie to þis servant, þat axide more þan were ȝnowȝ: Servant, holdist þou me a fool? how usist þou þat þat þou hast? ne have Y not ȝove þee ȝnowȝ of cunynge nedeful to þee? And moche cuninge hast þou hid, and puttist it not in werk; and þou shuldist wite þat þee were better to worche after þis cuninge þan for to have newe cunninge, and þus to be idil wiþ þis. God is þis lord þat mesuriþ man bi cuninge þat he ȝyveþ to him, and wole þat man worche after þis cuninge; and þus shal man occupie him, and not aboute newe cunnynge, and leve þe work þat he shulde do. And þus synnede*. [synneden, E.] oure firste fadris, bi byheste þat þe fend hiȝte hem, þat þei shulden not die to ete þus, but be as Goddis, knowing good and yvel; and þus synneþ ech man þat is slow in Goddis service, for he leeveþ to putte in work þe witt þat God haþ ȝovun him, and languishiþ after a newe cunninge þat comeþ of his idilnesse; and þis is a sin|ful ende, þat mote nede bring in peyne. And so we synnen com|unli here bi þe firste synne of þe fend, and aȝens þe witt of God, as ȝif we wolden be al cunnynge. Þenke what witt þou hast of God, in which þou art now ydil, and putt wiseli þat witt in work, and holde þee paied of Goddis grace; for ellis þou takist þis grace in veyn, and runnest in dett aȝens þi God.

And þis is a comune synne in prelatis, boþe more and lasse; for God haþ ȝovun hem witt in mesure, how þei shulden profite to his Chirche, and þei disusen ofte þis tresour, and languishen after witt as fendis; for þe presumen and tempten God, and graunten pardoun for longe tyme, and þei witen never where God haþ ordeyned þat þis pardon mai stonde bi him. And þus if men wolden wel examyne dedis ungroundid in holi writt, þei Page  238 shulden shame of þes dedis, how þei ben aȝens God. Trowe we not, þat Petre wiste how he shulde spende Goddis tresour, and how he shulde after, wiþ Goddis goodis, do profite unto his Chirche? Who dar putt on Petre þis synne, þat he was necligent in þis, þat he sparide Goddis tresour, þe which popis profiten wiseli now? And þis shulden alle men, but algatis prelatis, overse her astait and her liif, wheþer it be acordinge to Goddis lawe or after customes of þe fend, and contynue þing wel don, and mende þat is amys. And siche a rekenyng shulde a man make ech dai wiþ him silf, for þis is a comun word þat many seintis have in mouþ;—ech tyme þat God haþ ȝovun þee, God' wole axe ful sharpli how þou hast dispendid it; wel in his service, or amys. And þis rekenyng shulde ech man drede, but speciali þes hiȝe preestis; for her office is more perilous, and more medeful ȝif it be wel. Þerfore is nede hem to wite what dedis þat þei shulden do, and algatis faile not in her work, for peril þat wole come þerof; siþ synne of hem turneþ to harm of many sheep þat þei shulden kepe.

And however þat men feynen her office, it is toold in Cristis lawe, how þei shulden be occupied in þre officis of sheepherdis. Þei shulden wiseli lede her sheep in sound pasture of Goddis lawe, and þe sheep þat weren scabbid heelen, and stablen in good liif, and algatis putte her liif to save her sheep aȝens wolves. And þes herdis shulden flee sich tyme, in which þeeves sleen þe sheep, and coveiten more þe wole of hem, and þe donge, wiþ oþer goodis, þan þei coveiten her soule helþe; for þis is a wolvis entent, and ȝif þei taken þus þe office of herde, þei ben wolves at þe bigynynge. And so þis tyme is wasted to hem, in which þei traveilen, for her hie stait, or for coveitise of richesse or ony oþer þing oþer þan Goddis worship, or oþer þan profite of her sheep bi þe reulis of Goddis lawe. And þus if þei hiden Goddis lawe, and hiȝen her owne lawe for þis eende, þei lesen her tyme to þer dampnynge, and to harmyng of her sheep. Sich þing shulden þes herdis þenken; for þei moten nedis reken wiþ God, siþ tyme is a preciouse tresour, þat God ȝeveþ to dispende wel. And tyme shal comen whanne we dien, þat we hadden lever to have a dai þan al þe worship or richesse þat hav fallen us in þis world. And þanne our jugement shall Page  239 be hool, and wille a þing after þat it is good. Siche oversiȝt of oure lyf, and speciali of hiȝe prelatis, helpiþ þis Chirche, and makiþ hem to drede God and serve him*. [serven him wel, E.].

OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXXIV.]

Dicebat Jesus turbis*. [So in E; A has turbas.]Judeorum.
—LUC. xi. [29.]

Þis gospel telliþ what prelatis shulden do, and whereof þei shal be reproved. And þis wole bringe in martirdom, boþe in o man and in anoþer. And þus is told of martirdom þe begynnynge and þe ende. Crist spake here to princis of prestis and to þe comuns of Jewis, for in boþe þes was þe kynrede which slowȝ þes martirs. Þer ben two kynredis þat Crist spekiþ ofte of, þe kynrede of Goddis children, and kynrede of fendis children; and at þe bigynnynge of þis world bigan þes two kynredis. Þe firste kynrede of martirs bigan in a man at Abel; þe secounde kynrede toke bigynnynge at Cayn; and þes two kynredis shal not faile bifore þe dai of dome come. Þe laste seint þat shal lyve here shal be of þe firste kynrede, and þe laste þat shal be dampned shal be of þe toþer kynrede; and þes kynredis ben scatirid among many folke, ne þei gone not bi lyne of blood, but bi medling*. [For bi medling E reads ben medlid.] bi lynes of kynde. But þe firste kynrede hadde bigynnynge bifore þe toþer, for it bigan at Adam, siþ Adam is saved. Þe toþer began at Adames sone, þat slowȝ þe firste martir. But, for Adam was not martir, þus slayn for Goddis love, and martirs ben þe moste and beste þat ben in þis kynrede, þerfore it is marked to begynne at Abel; for þe toþer kynrede was sum maner cause of þis forþer. And, as many men supposen, aboute þe daie of dome shal þis firste longe lyve here, whanne þe toþer shal be aweie; for bi vertue of Crist, þat is begynnynge and endinge, shal men þikke turne to him, and leeve þe fend wiþ hise workes. Page  240

But leve we now þis mater, and sue we þe storie of þe gospel. Crist grette þis kynrede and seide; Woo be to ȝou þat maken þe graves of prophetis, and ȝoure fadris killiden hem. Certis ȝe beren witnesse þat ȝe consenten to her workes; for al ȝif þei killiden hem and ȝe maken faire her sepulcris, neþeles ȝe wolen kille Crist, þat is heed of martiris. And bi þis polishing, ȝe tellen ȝour ipo|crisie, bi which ȝe florishen ȝoure synne in killinge of martiris; for, as Crist seiþ to þis kyn, þei demen in þis to obeishe to God. And Caiphas þat ȝaf ȝou conceil seide, it helpiþ o man to die*. [þat o man dye, E.] for þe folk; but al if þese wordis weren soþ, ȝit þis ypocrite seide hem falseli; and so þis kynrede bi her ypocrisie telde how þei wolden kille Crist. And þus seiþ Crist here; Ȝoure fadris killiden þes prophetis, and ȝe bilden her sepulcris, as who seide, we wolen amende; but as Crist seiþ bi Matheu, þei þenken þei wolen fille þe mesure of þat þat her fadirs bigan, in killinge of þe heed of prophetis. And herfore telliþ Crist to hem, how þe wisdom of God seide of þis kyn; I shal sende to hem pro|phetis and apostlis, and of þese shal þei boþe pursue and kille. Þe Jewis killiden not alle þe apostlis, for Joon was not þus killid, but þei killiden James, and pursueden oþer in oþer contreis: so þat þe blood of alle prophetis, fro þe begynnynge of þe world, be souȝt of þis kynrede, siþ þis haþ done hem alle to deþ, fro þe blood of juste Abel unto þe blood of Zacharie, which þis kynrede killiden, bitwixe þe auter and þe temple. It is no nede to trete which was þis Zacharie*. ['There has been much dispute who this Zacharias was. From the time of Origen, who relates that the father of John the Baptist was killed in the temple, many of the Greek Fathers have maintained that this is the person to whom our Lord alludes; but there can be little or no doubt that the allusion is to Za|charias, the son of Jehoiada (2 Chron. xxiv. 20, 21).' Smith's Bib. Dict. Article 'Zacharias.'], and which Barachie was his fadir, and whanne þis martirdom was done; for siþ o per|sone haþ mony names, and Crist takiþ sum tyme þe witt of þe name, it is noo drede þat ne Crist seiþ soþ here, as nediþ us to knowe it. And, for þese prestis shulden printe betir þes wordis in her soulis, þerfore Crist rehersiþ to hem, and seiþ on þis maner; Ȝhe, I seie to ȝou, þis blood shal be souȝte of þis kynrede. For alȝif þis kynrede hadde two divers Page  241 partis:—þe firste slew martiris from Abel unto þis Zacharie, þe secunde slouȝ martiris fro Zacharie to þe laste;—neþeles boþe alle þes killeris and martiris þat ben killid maken two kyn|redis, and ech helpeþ oþer. For as seintis taken part and helpe of oþer seintis, so shrewis taken part and harm of her felowis.

And Crist gretiþ hem after, for þo þat holden hem wise men, and seiþ; Woo be to ȝou, wise men of þe lawe, þat token aweie þe keie of cunnynge, and ȝe entriden not inne; and oþer men þat entriden ȝe have forfendid. And here streyneþ þe pope, what þing is þis keie; and he wole algatis have þat it is not cunnyng, for often tymes mony oþer þan popis han moch more cunnyng, and ȝit han not þes keies. And herfore he feyneþ þat þes keies ben poweris, boþ upon clerkis and eke upon seculers;—power of jurisdiccion, and power to assoile and bynde. But many men þenken here þat þei shulden more trowe to Crist þan to many Pope Joonis*. [Popis Jons, E.], for he is suspect here. Crist clepiþ þis cunnyng here, þe keie of cunnyng, and alle þe fendis in helle shulden not move*. [So E; mowe, A.] to denye Crist. Þes feyned poweris mai not be proved ne perceyved in dede; and þerfore ben þei feynid, and by cautelis of ypocritis is þe folk bigilid. And þus trewe men seien here, þat þer ben two keies: þe firste is keie of cunnynge, and þe toþer keie of power. Þese keies hadden Peter and many oþer apostlis; but Peter hadde pre|rogatif bifore hise oþer breþeren. Þis cunnyng was not speculatif, of gemetrie, ne oþer sciencis, but practik, put in dede, how men shulde lyve by Goddis lawe. And after þis science cam power to bynde and unbinde; and to whom God grauntiþ þe first he grauntiþ þe secounde. And oonhede of þes keies was not oonli ȝovun to Peter, siþ hevene was open to oþer folk in cuntreis þat Peter cam not inne, bi keies þat Crist ȝaf to oþer apostlis. And so þese feynede keies ben keies of helle, ȝif þei open helle gatis to children of pride; and ȝif þis pope hav cunnynge to þis work, he is maister of þes keies. For God wole ȝeve cunnyng to teche his weie to hevene to whom ever him likiþ; and he is Petris viker, alȝif neiþer fendis ne cardinalis putten him in his trone. Page  242

Whanne Crist seide þese treuþis unto þes hie prestis, Phariseis and men of lawe stoden gretli aȝens him, and stoppiden his mouþ wiþ many false wordis, and lettiden Crist to speke more, as a man þat spak blasfemye. And herfore þes lawyeris, for þes wordis of Crist, layen in awayte more to do Crist to þe deþ. And God wote where þe court wolde þus shape for men, þat seiden sharpli to hem þis sentence of þe gospel; and if þei done, þei ben þanne of þe secounde kynrede. For þis kynrede lepiþ from oo folk to anoþer; for it is now among Jewis and now among heþen men, and now comeþ aȝen, as þe fend hopiþ victorie, and failing of Goddis lawe, and growinge of mannis lawe. For noþing is beter post to likyng of þe fend. And siþ þis kynrede is now moost among prestis, as it was in Cristis tyme, trewe men shulden speke to hem sharpli as Crist dide. For þe fend haþ hem moost helperis in þis cause, and makeris of martiris bi pursuynge and sleynge. And ȝif þei senden men to hevene, þat is on wrong maner; but þei senden men evene to helle, as to her owne hous, for þei have exilid Goddis lawe, bi which þei shulden worche, and brouȝt in þe fendis lawe bi which þei rengnen.

And after seiþ Crist, how þes lawyeris aspieden how þei myȝten take ouȝt of Cristis mouþ for to accuse him, and so do him to deeþ; and þus þese ypocritis feyneden to fulfille her law. And þus it is to daie of þes hiȝe prestis; for þei hav newe lawis maad biside Goddis lawe to dampne men to deþ as open heretikes. And to do þis dede þei counseiliden not wiþ Goddis lawe, but wiþ foundun*. [founden, E.] heresies þat hemsilf holden, þat þei mai not synne ne erre in siche jugementis. But þei jugen for heretikes al maner of sich men þat seien þat þei shulden sue Crist, and leeve her worldli liif. Ȝif þei leven Cristis liif, and ȝeven hem þus to lordship, þei ben þe fendis children and open Anticristis; for þei mai not be Cristis children, but ȝif þei suen him, and holden hem in his boundis, and go not out by newe lawes, and speciali holde hem in mekeness and poverte. And here we mai assaie where þei doren be martiris.

Page  243

IN FEESTIS OF MANY MARTRIS.

[SERMON LXXV.]

Egrediente Jesu de Templo.
—MARK xiii. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ, as oþer bifore*. [See Sermon LXXIII.], how Crist mesuride his disciplis, boþe in wit and wille, to suffre for his love. Þis gospel telliþ, as oþer bifore, how Jesus wente out of þe temple, and oon of his disciplis seide to him; Maister, loke what stoones and makingis ben of þis grete temple. And Jesus answeride and seide to him:—Seest þou þese grete bildingis. Þer shal not be a stoon lefte upon a stoon, þat ne it shal be distried. And whanne Crist satt upon þe Mounte of Olyves, aȝen þe temple, his disciplis axiden him, þes foure bi hem silf, Peter and Joon and James and Andrew:—Telle þou us whanne þes þingis shal be don, and what tokene shal be, whanne alle þes shal bigynne to have an ende. And Jesus answeringe, bigan to seie to hem; See ȝe first þat no man disseyve ȝou; for many shal come in my name, and seie þat Y am he þat governeþ holi Chirche, and þei shal disseyve many. But whanne ȝe shal here bateilis, and opynyons of batels, drede ȝe not, but be ȝe sadde in bileve.

Moo opynyons of batels, herden we never; for men wiþ þe oo pope seien þat it is needful to fiȝte wiþ men þat holden wiþ þat oþer, and þei wiþ þe toþer pope have contrarious opynyons. And ȝit men wiþ oure pope hav þis opynyoun; þat prelatis and prestis shulden fiȝte aȝens þe toþer pope, and men þat holdiþ wiþ him, but if þei converte hem. Sum of us have þis opyn|youn; þat preestis shulden not fiȝte, but move men bi resoun and Goddis lawe to treuþe, and preie mekeli for men þat þei do after Goddis wille; and þat it is not bileve þat oþer þis, or þis, be Pope; for ȝif he shal not be saif, he is noo part of holi Chirche. And so þis is no cause to Cristen men to fiȝte inne; but raþer shulde boþe þes popis go mekeli to þe emperour, and renounse al her lordship þat þei have of seculers; and siþ Page  244 lyve a pore liif as Peter and Poul diden, and algatis move no men, ne counseille hem, for to fiȝte þus. And in þis opynyoun resten many meke prestis. In*. [So E; om. A.] oþer pointis of þis mater ben an hundred opynyouns among clerkes, and lewide men, and alle ben of bateiles.

And after, seiþ Crist, þat alle þes moten ben, but ȝit is noo eende, to make þe dai of dome. Folk shal rise aȝens folk, as Sarasins aȝens Latyns; rewme aȝens rewme, as Inglond*. [Englonde, E.] aȝens Franche*. [Fraunce, E.]; and erþe-dene*. [erþedone, E.]shal be, bi placis, and hungris, as men hav feelid*. [This passage might be expected to supply the means of fixing the date of the composition of these sermons, but I have not found it so. In Professor Rogers' valuable History of Agriculture and Prices in England (i. 217), I find it stated that in the fourteenth century, 'the following are years of famine, the average price of wheat having risen above 10s. the quarter:—1315, 1318, 1321, 1351, 1369.' Again,—'It rose above 9s. in 1294 and 1370:' 'above 8s. in 1293, 1314, 1350, 1363, 1367, 1374, 1390.' In the years 1381-1386, with|in which these sermons must have been composed if Wyclif was their author, the price of wheat was re|markably low. These statistics refer to the southern and midland coun|ties, and are thoroughly reliable. Either then, if Wyclif wrote the ser|mon, the reference must have been to a time of scarcity as far back as 1374; or, if we suppose the scarcity of 1390 to be pointed at, Wyclif was not the author of the sermon.]. Þes ben bigynnynge of sorewis; and þerfore loke wel ȝou silf, for þei shall bitraie ȝou in her coun|ceilis, and in her sinagogis shal ȝe be betyn; and bifore kyngis and justices shal ȝe stonde, for me, in witnes to hem. And in alle folk moot first be prechid þe gospel. And þis ordeynede Crist of his grete wisdom; for bifore þei hadden killid þes hooli apostlis, þer was no maner of folk, Grekis ne Latyns, ne bar|bares, þat ne þei hadden þe gospel of Crist prechid unto hem. And whan þei shal lede ȝou, and bitraie ȝou to jugis, þenke ȝe not bifore bisili, what ȝe shal speke; but what shal be ȝovun ȝou in þat hour, speke ȝe þat, for þat seiþ God. For ȝe ben not spekinge, but þe Holi Goost, siþ ȝe ben hise instrumentis, and he spekiþ first;—O*. [one, E.]broþer shal bitraie his broþer in to his deþ, and þe fadir shal bitraie his sone, and þe sones shal rise aȝens her fadris, and do hem to deeþ. And ȝe shal be in hate to alle men for my name; but he þat lastiþ to þe eende he shal be saf.

Þe lettre of þis gospel is told bifore, and so it is ynowȝ here Page  245 to telle pleyne storie. Here men moven liȝtli, siþ Crist tolde alle þes perils, it semeþ þat þei mut nedis be; but who myȝte þanne lette hem? Here men seien comunli, þat al þing mut nedis be, and ȝit men moten nedis aȝensstonde many of þes; and so þei moten nedis have mede of siche aȝenstondinge. For as we moten nedis preie for þingis þat nedis moten be, as shewen þree þe firste axingis of þe Pater noster; so we moten nedis enforse aȝens þingis þat nedis moten be. And of sich enforsinge mote nedis come mede; for ellis shulden no men lette yvel to come; and mede in aȝenstonding, and conseillinge to goode, weren al aweye bi þis lewide resoun. And, for alle þes ben false, and many oþer þat suen, enforse we aȝens yvel, and preie we for goode, alȝif God have ordeyned þat þei moten nedis come. And, for men shulden do þus, þerfore haþ God ordeyned, þat comynge of many sich þingis ben unknowen to men.

But here men douten over þis, of ordre of þis help to þe Chirche; but here seien Cristene men, þat no man shulde doute to helpe þe Chirche, but alle men shulden help it here, ech man on his maner; siþ God telliþ us bi his lawe þat þis is his wille. Seculer lordis shulden helpe here principali, for many causis. Oon, for God haþ ȝovun hem swerd for to helpe his Chirche bi strengþe, and strengþe wiþ mennis drede is nede|ful to do þis dede. Also lordis of þis worlde ben þo, to whiche þis harm is don, who shulde stonde more for þis cause, þan lordis þat hav lost þis lordship. Also, þat man þat haþ synned shulde algatis make aseeþ; but þe generacion of lordis bi folie brouȝt in þis wrong, and herfore it falliþ to hem to make aseeþ for þis synne. And þus shulde knyȝtis knowe, how þei shulden stonde for Goddis cause, and not al oonli kille men in mennis cause, as boucheris. Þei shulden have shame how þei ben hardi in cause of þe world and of þe fend, but in þe cause of God þei ben boþ cowardis and foolis. And neþeles þis lord doiþ worship and profite to knyȝttis þat serven him, and þei mai not denye þis, þat ne for blyndenesse and cowardise holdiþ þe fend aȝens God þis lordship þat þei shulden have.

But over þis, men have doute what ordre men shulden have, and where men shulden begynne to worche, in iust restoringe of Page  246 þes goodis. But here men seien, siþ þis wrong is brood sprad in Cristendom, and Goddis oost shulde be myȝti to do þis dede aȝens þe fend, in many placis shulden men worche on þis weie to helpen her modir. But siþ þe nest and heed hereof is at Rome, where it bigan, it semeþ to many men þat at Rome shulde þis riȝtting bigynne; and so shulde þis heed be stoppid to feyne censuris aȝens God, and fere foolis bi cursingis for þei fulfillen Goddis lawe; and wiþ þis boþe lordis and comuns mai lette freris to harmen þe Chirche. And þus were Goddis word soþ whanne he spekiþ to þe fend, and seiþ, a woman shal disquatte*. [disquate, E.] his heed. And Marie helpe*. [helpe Marie, E.] þe Chirche þat it be so. For ȝif richesse and worldli lordship weren taken aweie from prelatis and preestis, moche of þe fendis pride were abatid in þes clerkes; and Goddis name were not dispisid ech dai as it is now, but his lawe shulde be betere holde, and Anticristis jugementis shulde ceesse.

But ȝit men douten wheþer þei shulden fiȝten in þis cause aȝens her enemyes;—speciali, siþ Crist movede two princis of Rome for to fiȝte, Titus and Vaspasian, þat distroieden Jerusalem. Here men þenken, þat Cristene men shulden not fiȝte but if Crist bad hem; for Crist seide þat his yoke is softe and his charge liȝt to bere. And so neiþer bodili swerd neþer oþer armes, ne fiȝtinge shulde be here usid of Cristene men; ne oþer lawe but Goddis lawe, and lordis drede, and manassing to clerkis þat wolden aȝenstonde. And to bindinge and prisoninge of hem shulde alle maner of men helpe; but bi Goddis grace þis shulde not falle, siþ clerkis shulde helpe here in Goddis cause, and feyn*. [fayn, E.] to be dischargid of erþeli goodis, þat þei beren now. And þanne þei shulden go liȝt to hevene, and drawe þe world after hem; þer þei doppen now to helle, and drawen many men wiþ hem. Freris shulden help in þis cause, siþ þei ben groundid in poverte, and þei have but temporal goodis*. [As opposed to lands or lordships.], þe which ben knytt to her hertis. And shortly alle maner of men, ȝhe, prestis boþe more and lesse, shulden helpe here in Goddis cause, for love þat þei shulden love her modir. Page  247 But now þei clepen good, yvel, and harm, profit, and bond|age, fredom; but þanne shulden þei wel witen how al þat helpiþ to hevene is good, and al þat shulde be by Goddis lawe were free and helpli*. [helpiþ, E.] to þis eende.

And þus þe lord preisiþ his baili, for he forȝaf to his tenaunte fifty barels of oile. And so þis ȝifte was riȝtful, siþ þis lord is God himsilf; and þis tenaunte is kynde of clerkis, for þei shulden ȝeve devocioun, and be paied of litil corn*. [Does this mean,—the clergy should be content to retain for themselves 'litil corn,' or temporal riches, just as the debtor in the parable retained only twenty for his own profit out of the hundred mea|sures of wheat that he had to render to his lord, but they should rejoice in being permitted to keep an abun|dant measure (fifty out of a hundred barrels) of 'oile,' or devotion? See Serm. LXXXV.]. For, as Poul techiþ, þei shulden holde hem paied wiþ bodili fode and hileyng. And þus shulden preestis preche to lordis, to holde hem paied of worldli goodis, and sette her wille in hevenli goodis, which wille shulde make hem liȝt to hevene. But þe fend haþ stranglid þese houndis wiþ talwe*. [talow, E.], þat þei mai not berke. And þus siþ seculer men shulden be moo þan prestis shulden be, and prestis shulden have, by titil of almesse, her sustenance of þe peple, wiþ|drawing of her service aȝen shulde move to wiþdraw þes goodis. And whoever aȝenstondiþ þis sentence is unlawful aȝens God.

And so men shulden graunte in dede to obeishe to þe pope, as þe peple obeishide to Petre, and as Goddis lawe wole axe; but it were to myche to pass þis, for þanne men obeishiden to þe fend, siþ Goddis lawe shulde be reule, and teche how God wole þat men obeishe. And siþ þe freris accusen þe court, in matter of þe sacrid oost, and saien þat it techiþ þat þis oost is not Goddis bodi, but accident wiþouten suget þat alle men knowen not, men shulden axe þis treuþe of þis court wiþ good grounding*. [The general drift of this re|markable passage seems to be as follows. The friars,—after the synod of 1382, which had been promoted, and indeed ordered, by 'the Court,' or, as we should say now, by the Government,—and after the sending down of letters patent into all the counties (see Lewis, p. 106), ap|pointing inquisitors, who would be in many or most instances friars, to search out heretical writings and their fautors,—might well say that the Court taught their doctrine con|cerning the Eucharist, and condemned that of Wyclif. This is called by the writer, accusing the Court of teaching the said doctrine; because, as he goes on to say, Christ and many of the saints unmistakably taught his doctrine. He proceeds to suggest, apparently in the hope of setting himself right with the Court by appealing to its self-interest, that the existing hierarchy was terribly burdensome both to Court and na|tion, and that to 'stoppe first fruytis,' and other ecclesiastical exactions, would be greatly to the advantage of the state. The advice was not acted upon till the year 1534.]. And ȝif þis court faile in þis, þei failen in Page  248 moost þat þei shulden do; for þei shulden teche men bileve þe which is ground of Cristis ordre. But Crist seiþ wiþ many seintis, þat þis oost is Goddis bodi, al if it be breed in his kynde, as Poul techiþ ofte tymes. Þus shulden rewmes stoppe first fruytes, and avaunsing of Cardinalis, wiþ oþer spoilingis of þis court, bi þe which rewmes and peplis ben chargid. And ȝif men seie þat rewmes mai not defenden hem fro sich spoil|ing, certis þanne þei ben to feble to defende hem from oþer enemyes; and ȝif cowardise lette hem, bi feynynge of Anticrist, þanne þei ben to unstable for defaute of bileve. For neþer God ne man mai noie, and moche more alle fendis of helle, but ȝif þe law of Holi Writt accuse men*. [hem, E.] aȝens God.

ÞE GOSPEL OF OON CONFESSOR AND BISHOP.

[SERMON LXXVI.]

Vigilate, quia nescitis qua hora.
—MATT. xxiv. [42.]

ÞESE gospellis ben passid þat fallen to þes martiris, and now comen gospelis þat fallen to confessouris. And so þis gospel techiþ a wisdom of Crist, how men þat have cure shulden kepe þer sheep; and þis lore perteyneþ to moo þan to preestis, but þei shulden kepe passingli þe lore þat Crist techiþ here. Crist biddiþ first þat hise servantis wake, for þei witen never whanne þe Lord is to come. And it is knowen to men þat Crist spekiþ here of wakinge fro synne, for þat is þe best wakynge, and þis beste Lord spekiþ of beste þing; for as creaturis tellen a man his God, so þingis of kynde tellen men how þei shulden serve God. It is knowen to clerkis þat man haþ fyve wittis, and stopping of þese wittis bringiþ in sleep to man; and þanne man is half Page  249 deed, and unable for to worche or to defende himsilf aȝens enemys þat wolen harmyn*. [harmen, E.] him. Þese wittis ben clepid siȝte and heering, smelling and taist, wiþ groping; and alle þes shulden be fed wiþ God, þat mai never faile fro mannis witt. But stopping of love wiþ worldli þingis lettiþ mannis heed to perceyve God; and so, as clerkis seien, þes fyve wittis comen of a vertue wiþinne in þe heed, and ȝif a man bi sleep be lettid in þis virtue, ouþer bi fumes, or drunkenes, or oþer cause, þes fyve wittis ben stoppid and wanten her worching. And letting of þese fyve wittis is clepid mannis sleep. But al þat man haþ is ȝovun to him of God, for to serve his God, ouþer worching or suffring; and ȝif he leve þis service, þanne he slepiþ goostli. And wit wiþinne in mannis heed, þat is God himself, mut move his out-wittis to worche as þei shulden; and so al þat lettiþ man to be moved þus of God bringiþ in sleep of synne, and lettiþ him to wake. And so erþeli fumes comyng fro þe stomak ben grete cause of þis sleep, and lettiþ*. [om. E.] helping of God; for God dwelliþ not wiþ man bisi aboute erþeli þingis. But worching of a mannis soule aboute siche þingis makiþ worldli fumes lette*. [and lettiþ, E.] a mannis resoun to knowe hevenli goodis, and wake wiþ hise wittis; for sich a man loveþ more goodis of þis world þanne he loveþ his God, for on hem his wille is more sett.

And þerfore clepiþ Poul þese averouse men, serveris of maw|mettis, and brekeris of Goddis heestis; and alle wittis of sich men slepen fro Goddis service. We shulden wake to resoun, and knowe þat our siȝte is ȝovun us of God, to serven him and oure soules; and ȝif we failen hereof, for synne þat we ben inne, we misusen oure siȝte, and slepen wiþ it. Siȝte is ȝovun to man as hiest out-witt, for to sue his profite, and flee þing þat harmeþ him; and þingis þat ben bifore him, þe which he shulde do, shulde a man wel knowe, and take to him þe profitable. And þus, as Crist techiþ, men synnen in siȝte of wymmen, for he þat seeþ a woman for to coveite her, he haþ in þat done lecherie in his herte. For, as Crist techiþ, þe rote of a man's synne is wiþinne in his herte bifore þat it be in dede, and herfore men shulden flee cause þat þus bringiþ synne to mannis herte. Þe Page  250 synne of siȝt is not þus oonli in lecherie of fleish, but it is also in coveitise of worldli goodis; as whanne þou seest erþeli þing, and coveitist to hav it, aȝens þe wille of þi God, þou synnest þanne in þi siȝte. And þus seiþ Seint Joon, þat in coveitise of iȝen is understonden al coveitise of oþer wittis aȝens resoun. Ne a man synneþ not in siȝt, al oonli on þes two maneres, but whanne he is idil in his siȝt, and aspieþ not his profit; as sum men loken to veyn plaies, and many siȝtis of worldli þingis, þe which profiten not to her soule, but raþer doiþ hem harm. And siȝt is þe first witt stoppid whanne a man slepiþ. Soþeli we shulden ever loke upon God, as we mai here seen him bi mirrour, in a derknes of þingis þat he haþ maad; ȝhe, boþe niȝt and dai, slepinge and wakinge, shulde we þus þenke on God and his lawe.

Þe secounde uttir witt is heeringe of man, þat is brouȝt many weies in to sleping of synne. For God haþ ȝovun us þis virtue for to heeren him, and so to heeren pees and charite þat he spekiþ in us; but men ben now redi to heeren of unpees, batailis, and strives, and chidingis of neiȝboris; and cause of sich heeringe is assent to siche þingis, for litil worldli wynning and lesyng of pees. And bi sich heeringe men mai knowe whos children þei ben. We shulden witen þat heeryng was graunted to man for to cunne his bileve, as Seint Poul seiþ; and so bileve is of heering, and heering is by Cristis word. And for þis, Crist wole þat men preche þe gospel; and for þis haþ kynde ordeyned þat heering shulde be in a sercle, bifore men, and bihinde men, and on*. [So E; oon, A.] ech side of men, as bileve is of treuþis, bifore us, and bihinde us. And to oure bileve shulde we shape oure heering. And þis is o defaute þat men have in heeringe, þat þei wolen gladli heere fablis, and falsehedis, and slaundris of her neiȝbouris, al ȝif þei knowen hem false. But al ȝif sich telleris ben moche for to blame, neþeles sich heereris ben hatid of God. For kynde haþ ȝovun to men to heeren voicis in þe eire, and not in erþe bineþen us, where voices comen not; in tokne þat we shulden ȝyve oure wittis to trowe þing þat mai be in eire, þat is aboven us, which Page  251 þing profitiþ to oure soule. And if we heeren sich falsenes þat we wite profitiþ not, we shulden not heeren but wiþ peyne, and trowe not þerto, and algatis fle sich men þat tellen sich talis; for God haþ ȝovun us heeringe to heeren his workes, þat ben moo and sutiler þan þis witt wole suffise to.

And herfore þe gospel telliþ how Crist dide a miracle, and heelide a deef man and domb upon þis manere: Crist toke him aside fro þe comune peple, and putte his fyngris in his eeris, and wiþ his spitting touchide his tonge, and ȝaf him þanne vertue to heeren and to speke. God here techiþ man for to fle fablis þat ben in comune peple, and take hede to him. Þe sutil workes of God ben hise smale fyngris, þat men shulden heer and trowe, and þerwiþ fede þer wittis, and wiþ sich savery treuþis occupien her speechis. And þus mai we þenke how we ben deffe and dumbe; but we shulden wiþ þes two wittis wake to oure God, for he wole have rekenynge, boþe in oure deþ and at þe daie of dome, how we have dispendid vertues þat he haþ ȝovun us.

And siþ we witen not whanne þis rekenynge shal falle, it is a greet wisdom to wake aȝens þis tyme; and herfore seiþ Crist, Þis þing wite we wel, þat ȝif þe hosebonde wiste whanne þe þeef were to come, certis he wolde wake, and suffre him not to myne his hous*. [In the first Wycliffite version—'suffre not his hous to be undirmynyd.'] Þis þeef is þe fend, joyned to man, to tempte him, and to harme him al þat he can, and speciali in tyme þat þis man shulde die; for if he take þeefli virtues fro þis man in hour of hise deeþ, he doiþ þise þefte moost. And ȝif he have maistrie to sle siche a man, he chesiþ sich a tyme whanne he is moost unredi; and þanne he is ful bisie to bringe in þe worste synne, for þanne his ful victorie is endid in þat man. And here men douten comunli, what hour men shal dien, wheþer God shal take hem in her beste tyme. But here we shal wite, þat alle þo þat shal be saif waken in hour of her deþ, and over comen þe fend, and suffren him not þanne to undirmyne her hous. And so þes men dien, whanne þei ben moost ripe. But ȝif þe fend lede hem þanne as his owne servantis, and þei shal be dampned, he waitiþ him a tyme whanne he trowiþ best Page  252 to overcome þes men; and so þes men dien in her worste tyme, for in tyme þat þei have þe synne þat evermore shal laste. And þat is þe worste yvel, þat God mai suffre to be; for God mote nedis punishe þis synne in helle wiþouten ende. And for þis peril of þis þeef shulden men waken warli; but, for þis harm of þis þeef is not but bi Goddis jugement, þerfore seiþ Crist to warn alle men; And þerfore be ȝe redi, for in þat hour þat ȝe hopen not Crist is to come. For, as it is ofte seid, deeþ is þe þridde þing*. [See p. 236.] þat God wole have unknowun to man, for he shulde ever be redi.

And, for ech man shulde gouerne alle his wittis, and make hem serve to hise profit, as a man doiþ his meyne, þerfore seiþ Crist þus: Who, trowest þou, is a trewe servant, þat þe Lord haþ put to be upon his meynè, þat he ȝyve hem mete in good tyme to ete? Þis Lord is God himsilf, and we ben hise servantis; þis meynè of þis Lord ben alle oure wittis, which we ȝeven mete for to serve God, whanne we leden hem bi resoun to profite to oure soule. Blessid be þat servant, þat whanne his Lord is comen, he haþ foundun him doinge so unto þis meynè; soþeli Y seie to ȝou, þat he shal putte him upon alle hise goodis, and make him his eire. Þat man þat doiþ þus shal come to hevene, and þere shal he be Cristis eire, and ful lord of Cristis heritage; and þis lordshipe shal serven to alle Cristis children.

ÞE GOSPEL OF OON CONFESSOUR AND BISHOP.

[SERMON LXXVII.]

Homo quidam peregre proficiscens.
—MATT. xxv. [14.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a parable þat Crist tauȝte his disciplis, and, in hem, alle Cristene men, how þei shulden chaffare here. And þis parable telliþ þe resoun whi men shulden wiseli chaf|fare þus:—A man, seiþ Crist, goinge a pilgrimage, clepide hise servantis, and ȝaf hem his goodis. And oon he ȝaf fyve besauntis, Page  253and two to anoþer, and to anoþer von, ech on after his owne virtue. And whanne he hadde delid þus, he wente anoon his pilgrimage. And of þes þree servantis, þe first, þat hadde fyve besauntis, wente and wrouȝte in hem, and gat oþer fyve; þe secounde, þat hadde two besauntis, wan oþer two; but he þat took oon, wente and dalf*. [dalve it, E.]in þe erþe, and hidde þe monie of his lord wiþouten encreese. And after long tyme cam þe lord of þese servantis and rekenede wiþ hem. And þe firste, þat hadde fyve besauntis, cam to þe lord and offride him oþer fyve, and seide; Lord þou ȝavest me fyve be|sauntis, lo I have geten over*. [om. E.]oþer fyve. And his lord seide to him; Wel be þe, good servaunt and trewe; for þou was trewe of litil, upon many þingis Y shal putte þee; entre in to þe joie of þi lord. Þe secounde cam nyȝe þat hadde two besauntis, and seide; Lord þou ȝavest me two besauntis, lo, oþer two have Y wonne ouer. And his lord seide to him; Wel be þee, good ser|vaunt and trewe; for þou was trewe of fewe þingis, Y shall putte þee upon many þingis; entre into joie of þi lord.

Þis o man þat wente þus in þilgrimage is comunli seid, oure Lord Jesus Crist, for he is o man among alle oþere. His wend|inge on pilgrimage is taken on two maners; comunli it is takun for his steyng in to hevene, for dwellinge in hevene is strange to mannis fleish. Þe secounde maner of pilgrimage of þis o man is clepid dwellinge in þis world bi manheed of Crist; for þis was strange pilgrimage to Cristis Godhede. And algatis in þis pilgrimage clepide Crist hise servantis, and ȝaf hem his goodis to profite wiþal. But þese þre manere goodis ȝovun to þes þree servantis, is comunli understonden upon two maneres, as doctouris varien in þese two pilgrimagis. For as a man is two þingis, þe spirit and þe bodi, so Crist is two kyndis, þe Godhede and þe manhede. As anentis his Godhede, his waundringe here, is pilgrimage; and as anentis his man|hede, his steynge to hevene is pilgrimage. And he clepide hise servantis bi a long cleping, fro þe bigynnynge of þe world to þe laste dai, but at þis dai of dome he makiþ a ful rekenyng. And siþ Cristis Godhede is everywhere, he mai wel clepe þese servantis, and ȝyve hem his goodis, siþ þei have nouȝt but of Page  254 God. It semeþ þat Gregory meneþ þus þes þree partingis of þes goodis*. [S. Greg. In Evang. Homil. ix.: 'Quinque ergo talentis donum quin|que sensuum, id est exteriorum scientia exprimitur. Duobus vero, intellectus et operatio designatur. Unius autem talenti nomine, intel|lectus tantummodo designatur.']. Sum men have of God her fyve outwittis wiþ her purtenaunce; and þes ben þe firste men þat have þese fyve besauntis. Þe secounde men wiþ two besauntis, ben siche trewe men þat passen not in þese wittis, but have good undir|stonding, and þerwiþ riȝtful workes. After þis understondinge, þe þridde servant is wickid men wiþ sutil undirstonding, gaderid of her wittis wiþouten and wiþinne-forþ; but þei failen juste workes answeringe to þese wittis. And þes men delven her wittis in undirstondinge of þis worlde, and profiten not to heveneward, ne to þe Chirche, ne to hem silf.

Þe secounde undirstondinge of þis parable of Crist is more sutil and traveilous, and acording wiþ þe text, as boþe þes un|dirstondingis may be aplied to þe text. Þese fyve besauntis of þe firste man ben fyve maner of goodis þat God ȝeveþ to sum men, þat he wole have saved. Goodis of grace ben þe firste, þat Austin telliþ moche bi*. [It would be idle to seek to il|lustrate the statement in the text by passages from the works of the great doctor of grace, seeing that hardly a treatise of any length came from his marvellous pen in which the doctrine of the necessity of pre|venient grace in order to good works is not more or less enforced.], and fallen to sich men þat lyven to Goddis worship and to profite of her soulis; for þei have ever goodis of grace in all oþer þat þei have. Goodis of kynde ben goodis of vertues, boþe bodili and goostli, bi which a man worchiþ to disserve þe blisse of hevene. Þe þridde ben goodis of fortune þe which God ȝyveþ to men, to serven him and to wynne hem blisse, bi wise delyng of þes goodis; and þus weren Job and Abraham riche, wiþ seintis of þe newe lawe. Þe fourþe manere of goodis þat God ȝeveþ here to men, ben goodis of good fame, þat God grauntiþ in þis world; for sum men have alle þes þree goodis and þerwiþ a good fame, þat þei serven wel to God, and to profit of his Chirche. Þe fifte goodis, ben sparkelis of glorie, þat sum men have here in þis world; þe which ben joie of hevenli blisse þat þei hopen fulli to have, and blisse*. [blessen, E.] hem on Page  255 sum manere*. [De Lyra's explanation does not differ much from this. He inter|prets the five talents to mean, the goods of nature, those of grace, those of knowledge, those of power, and those of wealth. Bibl. Sac. vol. v.], þe while þei lyven here on erþe. Þes men ben þe firste servant, þat profitiþ in þes fyve besauntis. Þe secounde servaunt wiþ two besauntis is undirstonden alle siche men þat have in plentee goodis of kynde and goodis of grace, and worchen wiþ hem. Þe þridde servant wiþ o besaunt is undir|stonden alle sich men þat have in plente goodis of kynde, and profiten not wiþ þes goodis, for worldli occupacions letten to disserve hem blisse. And þes men delven in þe erþe, and hiden þe goodis þat God haþ ȝovun hem. And to þes þree men, and no moo, partiþ God here hise goodis. Þese two firste worchen wiþ God wiþ witt and wille þat þei have, and turnen al her lyvynge here to worship of God, and profite to his Chirche; and herfore þei maken hem worþi to take fulle goodis at þe dai of dome. And so doublyng of her workes is merite þat þei have added, bi which God makiþ hem able for to have þe blisse of hevene; and alle þese goodis þat men have here ben but litil to hevenli goodis, for þere men shal have fulli alle þe goodis of hevene and erþe.

And God shal grete his trewe servantis þus at þe daie of dome, whanne he shal seie; Come ȝee þat ben blessid, my Fadris children, and take ȝe now þe rewme of hevene, þat was maad redi to ȝou fro þe bigynnynge of þe world. For ever God is making redi þe blis þat hise seintis shal have; and alle þe goodis þat we have here ben now but fewe and litil, to regarde of þe goodis þat we shal have in hevenli blis. For ȝif man shal come to þis joie, he shal have al þat he wole, and as fulli as he wole, and on what manere þat he wole; but here we languishen for oþer havyng þat us falliþ to have in hevene.

And here men seien þat goodis of fortune ben þe leste of þes fyve, siþ a man wolde skilfulli ȝyve alle þes goodis for his helþe, and heelþe of bodi is good of kinde wiþ oþer partis þat man haþ. And siþ a man shulde chaffare here, and lese all þes goodis of kynde for to wynne him goodis of grace, goodis of grace ben algatis beter. And siþ mannis Page  256 fame, þat is his name writun in þe book of liif, is betere þanne alle þes oþer, and þerof man shulde more joie, þese fourþe goodis ben betere þan þe goodis told bifore. And siþ a man travailiþ here for to gete þe fifte*. [fyveþe, E.] good, it moot nedis be beter þan þei, siþ it is eende of alle bifore. And in travaile aboute þese goodis, and algatis in priis*. [pris, E.] of hem, stondiþ al þe mede in þis liif, and al unþank of peyne of helle; for now þis worlde haþ blindid men aȝens her witt and her resoun, þat goodis of fortune, þat ben lest, ben moost told bi of þes fyve. And for þes, and worldli name, men fiȝten and traveilen hugeli; but al if þes ben goode in kynde, neþeles havynge of hem profitiþ not to man here, but for vertues and goodis of blisse. And ofte it falliþ, þat þis havyng þat philosophris tellen leest bi, harmeþ to man in oþer goodis, for unskilful love of hem; and so in love of mannis soule, wiseli weyed as it shulde be, stondiþ al þe mede of man, þat he haþ here in erþe. Loke þat he love moost his God, siþ he is þe beste þing þat mai be, and siþ, he love*. [So E; A has loveþ.] him silf, and aungelis wiþ*. [and, E.] neiȝboris, as þei ben goode. But in þis love, man shal have ordre; as kynde haþ tauȝte him for to love first himsilf, and oþer in kynde after þat þei ben nere to him. And in anoþer ordre of love, betere and ferþere, shal man love more; but þis craft of good love is turned now up so doun, for þis world and worldli goodis passen now in weiȝte of love. And herfore þes worldli men chaffaren aboute worldli goodis, and her traveile wiþ þer bisynesse techen þat þei loven moost þes goodis. And certis þei failen in craft of love, and comen not to þe goode of blisse; and bi þis cause haþ Crist ordeyned his prestis to be not worldli, but to lyve in povert of þis world, and in peyne of her bodi. For þus dide Crist wiþ hise disciplis, and tauȝte us to sue him. And bi þis cause men supposen þat many prelatis of þis Chirche hiden Goddis tresour in þe erþe, to her owne dampnacion; and so at þe daie of dome, God shal not seie, Wel be þee, but God shal seie, austernli; Of þi mouþ Y juge þee, for þou shuldest have þis cunnynge, and lyve þerafter bi þy state*. [So E; A reads, love þerafter bi þe state, which is nonsense.]. And þus diden þes confessouris, and so þei camen to joie of hevene; Page  257 and þus þese martiris of þese werres, siþ þei ben þe fendis ser|vantis, ben in martirdom of helle þat shal lasten wiþouten ende. And her techeris more and lesse ben not confessouris of Crist but confessouris of þe fend, whos lawe þei holden and techen.

ÞE GOSPEL OF O CONFESSOR AND BISHOP.

[SERMON LXXVIII.]

Homo quidam nobilis abiit in regionem.
—LUC. xix. [12.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how men shulden lyve, as þe nexte bifore dide in a lyche parable, and knyttiþ þerto many treuþis. And it mai falle ful wel þat Crist in dyvers tymes seide dyvers parablis, þe which weren of liche sentencis. Crist seiþ þat, o noble man wente out into a fer contre for to take to him a rewme, and turne aȝen, whan he hadde do. Doctouris seien comunli þat þis nobleman is Crist, þat wente out of þe God|hede, and bicam man heere in erþe, for to gete him a rewme of þe Churche of trewe men. But Crist lefte not to be God, al if he made his manhede wiþouten; and þus he styede aȝen to hevene, whanne he hadde made þis marchandiȝe*. [marchaundise, E.]. And þis is a noble man, as þis regioun is ferre; for nobler man þan is Crist mai noon be in þis world, siþ speciali God is his Fadir, and his modir is wiþouten synne, and þis child is God and man. But where mai be a nobler man? And as moche as Crist made him lasse, as fer fro Godhede is þis regioun. And here taken many men, how Crist þat is þis noble man was porest man here in erþe, and suffride for us many peynes. And noblei of oure prelatis shulde not lette hem to be pore, siþ þei ben sinful wiþ her eldris, and mai not come to Cristis noblei. And siþ al þat Crist suffride here, he suffride for love of his lawe, he loveþ to litil Crist or his lawe þat grutchiþ aȝens þis poverte. And false glosis seid in þis mater maken prestis synne more grevous, for it is a moche synne a preest to seie Page  258 þat he is Cristis viker, and by auctorite of Crist reuliþ fulli his liif, and ȝit he gabbiþ upon Crist and bi blasfemye bigiliþ þe peple.

Þis noble man clepide ten servantis, þat ben alle þe kynde of men, and ȝaf hem ten besauntis, þat weren delid among hem; and bad hem chaffare wiþ þis moneie til þat he come aȝen. Þes ten besauntis ben alle þe goodis þat Crist ȝaf here to man|kynde, and her chaffaryng wiþ þes is her profitable worching; and Crist at þe dai of dome wole axe rekenyng of alle þes. It is no charge to us now to wite how moche þis moneie is, for moneie changiþ ofte in priis, after þat þe prince wole ordeyne. Þe citisenis of þis noble man weren hiȝe prestis of þe temple, wiþ scribis and Phariseis; and al þis peple hatide Crist and senten message after him, now bi prestis, now bi dekenes, now bi knyȝtis of Heroude, and ever to take Crist in wordis to fynde hem cause to dampne him. And, for þei myȝten not bi her lawe, þei feyneden many gabbingis. And ever þei meneden and seiden in dede, þat þei wolden not þat Crist rengnede on hem; and neþeles Crist is hiȝest king and regneþ upon al þis world. And cause of þis rebellioun was þe lore of Cristis lawe, for he tauȝt poverte and mekenesse, and lore to bringe men to hevene; and al þis displeside hem, for þei weren þe fendis children. And þus have cardinalis pursued þe pope*. [pursued the Pope. This seems to be an allusion to the rejection of Urban after his election by the majority of the Cardinals in 1378. The 'persecution of their prelates by subjects' may possibly refer to the rising of the Commons in 1381 and the murder of Archbishop Sud|bury.], and many sugettis her prelatis, and many prelatis pursuen trewe men þat grutchen aȝens her lordship; and alle þes seien in dede þat þei wolen not þat Crist rengne over hem. And for þer message is fals, and failiþ þe ground of truþe, þerfore seiþ God þat þei senden*. [senten, E.] a message bihinde him, for þis*. [and for þis, A; E om. and.] is feyned vanite, for to putte treuþe bihinde*. [om. E.]. But it is maad, longe after at tyme of þe dai of dome, þat Crist cam aȝen, whanne he had gaderid al his rewme, for þanne shal holi Chirche be hool, and ever dwelle wiþ her kyng. And for hool cumyng of þis rewme we preien in our Pater nosters. Page  259

Whanne þis kyng shal come aȝen for to juge alle maner men, he shal bidde clepe hise servantis, to whom he ȝaf bifore his moneie, þat þei shewen how þei hadde chaffarid wiþ goodis, þat þei hadde take*. [taken, E.] of God*. [So E; A wrongly includes the words wiþ—God in the italics.]. Þe juste servant come and seide; Lord, þi besaunt haþ geten ten. And þe kyng seide to him, Wel be þee, goode servaunte; for þou was*. [wast, E.]trewe in litil, þou shalt ben havynge power upon ten citees. Þes ten citees ben alle þe goodis þat seintis shal have in hevene. And þe toþer servaunt cam, and seide; Lord, þi besant haþ maad fyve. And þe kyng seide to him, And be þou upon fyve citees. And þe þridde wickede servant came, and seide to þe lord; Sire, lo here þi besaunt, put aȝen in a sudarie. For Y drede þee herfore, þat þou art austerne*. [an austerne, E.]man þat takist þing þat þou puttist not, and repest þat þou hast not sowun. Þe king seiþ to him, Of þi owne mouþ Y juge þee, wickide servaunt. Þou seiest, þou wistist þat Y was an austerne man, taking þing þat Y putte not þere, and reping þat Y have not sowun; and whi ȝavest þou not my moneie to þe table, to be occurid*. [to be ocurid, E, and excludes rightly from the italics; A includes.], and Y shulde have axid after my moneie, wiþ oker þerof.

Þer ben sum men þat lyven here in swete and bisynesse, and casten hem not for to profiten wiþ goodis þat God haþ lent hem for to wynne þe blisse of hevene, as God haþ bodyn hem to do. And þes ben þe þridde servant þat shewiþ Goddis moneie in a cloiþ; for goodis of kynde shal man bringe to Goddis dome, mawgrey*. [magrey, E.] his. And his liif in þis world is money wlappid in sweting cloiþ. But God jugiþ sich men of her owne conscience, siþ ech man shulde wite, þat God, over goodis þat he ȝyveþ, axiþ profite of mennis workes; but to men, and noon to him. And so, siþ God puttiþ in chaffare þing to profite bi mennis traveile, men shulden traveile fast þerwiþ for to profite to hem silf; and so God repiþ many þingis þat he sue*. [sewe, E.] not bi him silve, for he helpiþ man to worche, and al þe profit he ȝeveþ to man. And þus seiþ Austin*. [S. Aug. Enarratio In Psalm. XXXVI. 'Attende quid facit foe|nerator. Minus vult dare certe, et plus accipere: hoc fac et tu; da modica, accipe magna. Vide quam late crescat foenus tuum. Da tem|poralia, accipe aeterna: da terram, accipe coelum. Et cui dabo, forte dicis? Ipse Dominus procedit quem foeneres, qui tibi jubebat ne foenerares.'] þat Goddis oker is leueful and gracious, for God Page  260 okuriþ not wiþ man, but ȝif God make þe encrees; and al þe vantage of þis okir, God kepiþ to man and not to him. And so man ȝyveþ Goddis moneie for to drawe at þe table, whanne he puttiþ Goddis ȝyftis to wynne him þe blisse of hevene; and þanne þis kyng haþ encrees to his worship, and mannis profite.

And so seiþ Jesus Crist to aungels þat stonden biside; Take þis besaunt fro þis þef, and ȝyve it him þat haþ ten besauntis. And þes seintis seiden to Crist, Lord, he haþ ten besauntis. For evry þing seiþ himsilf, and ech þing seiþ oþer to God; and þus telliþ Cristis jugement to men, þat Crist wole not bigile. For soþe Y seie to ȝou; to ech þat haþ shal it be ȝovun, and bi þis ȝifte shal he have plente; but from him þat haþ not, þat þat he haþ shal be taken awey. For þis is trewe sentence of seintis, þat just men þat han hevene, han alle worldli þingis bi resoun of her Lord: and so alle unjuste men, þat God ȝyveþ helle for her service, have not justli, al ȝif þei semen to have moche. And ȝif þou axe who shal take aweie goodis fro þese uniuste men, siþ þei ben comunli myȝte, and no man dar take fro hem; Crist an|sweriþ here and mai not gabbe, þis just man to whom God ȝeveþ hevene takiþ fro þis uniuste man þat þat him semeþ to have; and not bi his owne autorite, ne bi strengþe of him silf, but bi autorite of God, and bi vertue of his lawe. And al ȝif worldli men semen to have myche goodis, ȝit þis is a false havynge, for it is unjuste to God; and siþ God is chief lord, þat jugiþ men þus to have and þus to wante bi his lawe, no man shulde aȝen-seie þis. And uniust occupacion, clepid havynge to þis world, is soþeli noon havynge, but holding of oþer mennis goodis*. [This favourite opinion of Wyc|lif's, that mortal sin invalidates the right to hold property or lordship, both as regards laymen and as re|gards ecclesiastics, is set forth at large in his De Dominio Civili and other treatises. Among the twenty|four propositions condemned by the Synod of 1382 (Lewis, p. 108), was the assertion 'that a civil lord is no lord, a bishop no bishop, a prelate no prelate, whilst he is in mortal sin.']. And sum men þat shal be saif, al if þei semen now pore, neþeles þei have now hevene, and alle goodis of þis world: but þis havyng is now hid, and ȝit unknowen to men, for Goddis riȝt is not ȝit put in possessioun. Þis trewe sentence of seintis is now Page  261 scorned bi mannis lawe; neþeles seintis have now alle þing þat þei wolen have. And as philosophris seien, havyng is on many maneres. And herfore þis gospel seiþ þat unjust man haþ not sich þing, and þe gospel of Mathew seiþ þat him semeþ to have it; for if man robbe oþer mannis goodis, and waste hem at his wille, neþeles he haþ hem not, but occupieþ þingis þat ben not his.

But Crist spekiþ at þe dai of dome of false prestis, þat weren his enemyes, to angelis and seintis in hevene; þat þei shulden bringe hem bifore hem, and sle hem in his presence, for þei shal be dampned by Goddis jugement. And þis dampn|yng to helle is a manere of sleying more noyous þan bodili sleying. And seintis shal here juge wiþ God. And þe storie of þe gospel telliþ, how Crist, whanne he hadde seid þes wordis, wente bifore oþer men and stieden*. [styȝede, E.] into Jerusalem. And þis bitokeneþ þat þis sentence, al if it be scorned here in erþe, ȝit it is kept saf in hevene, and is above mannis power.

OF OON CONFESSOR AND BISHOP.

[SERMON LXXIX.]

Videte, et vigilate, et orate.
—MARK xiii. [33.]

ÞIS gospel gaderiþ shortli þe sentence bifore seid, and telliþ how men shal wake, and speciali bishopis. First Crist biddiþ þree þingis þat*. [So E; A has þan.] hav hem in ordre; first, he biddiþ þat we shal see, and after þat we shal wake, and þe þridde tyme þat we shal preie, to contynue þes two. Þe firste is needful to prelatis; for riȝt as þe witt of siȝt shewiþ a man moost wakinge among oþer wittis, so siȝt of Goddis lawe makiþ a man moost wake to God. For þis lawe is bileve, þat man shulde moost stodie inne. Crist biddiþ þat man shulde see, not vanitees of þe world, ne unstable mannis lawe, for boþe þes siȝtis don harm to men, but lawe of Crist þat is book of liif, and Goddis word, Jesus Page  262 Crist. And so here we ben bodun to eendyn oure firste witt at God. For þe secounde witt, seiþ David, þat he shal heere what God spekiþ in him; for he is certeyn of bileve þat God spekiþ pees to his peple. And so ȝif bullis bidden werre, to kille men for unknowun cause, it is oþer not Goddis bidding, or þe folk is þe fendis peple. Of þe þridde witt seiþ Poul, þat he and his felowis ben good smel of Crist to God, for þei suen Crist in lyvynge. Of þe fourþe witt seiþ þe Psalme; Taste ȝe and understonde, how þat þe Lord is swete, and oþer worldli þingis ben bittere; for al ȝif þei semen swete first, þe laste of hem is bittere as wormod. For þe fifte witt, seiþ Crist; Take my ȝoke upon ȝou, and lerne of me þes two lessouns, þat Y am mylde and meke of hert; for my ȝoke is swete and softe, and my charge is liȝt ynowȝ, siþ it drawiþ men upward, and puttiþ not down to helle. And so shulde we wake wel, and reste þes fyve wittis in God; for if a man have al bileve þat Goddis lawe techiþ ouwher*. [owȝwbere, E.], but ȝif he wake in charite, al siȝt of þis man is nouȝt. And þerfore biddiþ þe secound word þat we shulen algatis wake to God. And, for we mai not laste in þis, but ȝif God contynue his grace, þerfore þe þridde word biddiþ þat for þis grace we shulden preie. But, for þe secounde word of wakinge is ful nedeful here to men, and wakinge is loosing of wittis, to perseyve þings present, and it is told of siȝt and heering*. [See Sermon LXXVI.], of oþer þree wittis were to speke.

And first of smelling of a man, more spiritual þan oþer two, as þe nose is more hiȝer in þe heed þan is þe tunge. It is speche of holi writt, þat name þat man haþ in þis lyf to þe jugement of God is smeling of þat man; and so sum men ben good smelling and sum men stinking to God. And þus seiþ Poul, for he was certeyn þat þei sueden Crist in lyvynge, þat þei weren a good odour of Crist to God for her liif; for as we shulden be mem|bris of Crist, so we shulden be odours of Crist. And so we shulden sue Crist here in al oure manere of lyvynge; and ȝif we lyven a contrarie lyf, and go fro Crist spirituali, we ben stink|ing bifore God bi synne and ypocrisie, for þat synne stinkiþ Page  263 moost bifore God of alle oþer. And so, ȝif þat hiȝe prelatis taken þe fame of good name, and gon fro þe weie of Crist, no man stynkiþ more þan þei. And herfore ofte God heeriþ not þe preier of þe comune peple, for þe liif of her prelate is so stinking bifore God. And þus spekiþ Goddis lawe, þat God smellide brent tiþes, for devocioun of hem þat offriden smellide wel unto God; and þus preieþ David þat his preier stretche to God as incense. But stinke unto men, as Goddis children stonke to Pharao, is not moche for to flee, but stinkinge to Goddis jugement; and þus wake we in þis witt þat al oure liif smelle wel to God, for alle þat slepyn in synne ben stynkinge bifore God.

Þe secounde witt of þes þree, is tastinge of mannis tonge; and bi mannis speche mai we wite who tastiþ of Goddis sweetnesse, for þat man haþ delite to speke of God and his lawe. And oþer men ben in feveris, and tasten not of Goddis word, but it semeþ bitter to hem, for her tast is turned amys; and þes moten be goostli heelid, as þei heelen men of feveris. And deedli signe of sich syk men is þat hem wantiþ appetit of Goddis word, þat shulde be her food and lyf, as Goddis lawe techiþ. And herfore techiþ Seint Petre, þat ȝif ony man speke, loke þat he speke Goddis wordis; and bi þis tokene he is hool. Here mai we see how mannis lawis hav distemperid kynde of men, and turned hem into swyn þat þei savere not Goddis word.

Þe þridde witt is felynge, þat is everywhere in þe bodi, boþe above and beneþe, for it is so nedeful; and herfore haþ kynde ordeyned his instrument bi al þe bodi, al ȝif it take roote of þe herte, in which is jugement of taist. And it is ful nedeful to fede mennis bodi in mesure, for þe bodi serveþ to þe soule, and is horse to it in many goode workes. And þus all þes þree wittis ben more fleishli þan þes oþer two, and moven man unevenli to glotonye and lecherie; and herfore þe fend temptiþ algatis bi þis þridde witt, as he temptide Adam and Eve to ete of þing þat God forbad. And ȝif we þenken on þat state, and how we shulden ever sue God, and how exces and defaute in þe feding of oure fleish, whanne it passiþ good resoun, smacchiþ synne aȝens God, it is ful hard in þis liif to kepe Page  264 us fro synne of taist; but as his instrument is everywhere as a nett in mannis bodi, so þe fend haþ many wilis, to make man slepe bi þis witt. And neþeles þis wakiþ last, among oþer wittis of man. And so þe fend, bi þis witt, bringiþ deeþ of oþer wittis, and makiþ a man falle fro God in dedeli synne, and fele not, al ȝif his wittis semen opyn to jugement of oþer men. And þis is þe fallinge yvel, in which mennis iȝen ben sum tym opyn, and ȝit þei mai no more see, þan an ymage þat haþ noo witt. For her nerves of charite, bi which þei shulden love God moost, failen in her herte, and þere þei shulde moove her lymes to serve God. And þus we shulde wake to God in þre wittis of our soule.

Þe resoun þat Crist telliþ whi we shulden wake þus is told bifore bi Mathew, how we witen never whanne þe Lord comeþ. For ȝe witen never, seiþ Crist, whanne is tyme for to wake; as a man þat wente in pilgrimage lefte his house, and ȝaf power to his servantis of ech work of his hous, and bad his porter wake wele. Þis man þat wente in pilgrimage is Jesus Crist, boþe God and man, and lefte þe goodis of his Chirche in mannis hondis after him. And so alle þe goodis of þis world haþ he put in mennes hondis, but speciali in prelatis hondis; whom he biddiþ kepe his Chirche, and speciali soulis, þat þei shulden kepe and teche hem bi Goddis lawe. And siþ Cristis Chirche is men þat shal after be saf in hevene, and þes men hav here al þis world, and moche more þis grete prelatis, þes shulden kepe alle Goddis workes, and algatis wake in charite. For þei shulden be fisheris to God, and open and shette þe dore of hevene bi þe keies þat God haþ ȝovun, oonli to profite to þe Chirche. And þus it semeþ to manye þat no man shulde take prelacie ne cure of soulis but in greet drede, lest þei weren unable to God and sich men þat shulden be dampned; and þe sheep shulden be savyd. For þanne her care of prelacie doiþ hem moche harm of soule, algatis ȝif þei taken sich cure for wynnynge or worldli worship; for God ȝyveþ men cure ynouȝ, and speciali unto his prestis, to whiche he ȝyveþ power and wit to govern his Chirche after his lawe; whereto shulde men take more care, siþ þis is hard and mouche ynowȝ. Þus Petre and oþer apostlis token care of Page  265 Cristis Chirche, and not bi chesing of man and jurisdiccioun þat is now usid.

But it is drede now þat prestis kepen dritt and vanite, and to þis is her entent; and herto þei shapen lawis. For þe lawe þat Crist haþ ȝovun, and þe chesinge þat he haþ chosen, were ynowȝ to governe his Chirche wiþouten lawis now maad. And office for to preche þe gospel, wiþ few oþer sacramentis, weren service liȝt and ynowȝ to siche preestis for to kepe; and þis diden Petre and Poule and oþer apostlis everychon. Þei stryven not for mannis choise, ne for juris|diccioun, for ȝit was not þe Churche dowid, for to take þes worldli goodis, but for to take mede of Crist for good kepinge of his Chirche. And not al oonli siche preestis have keping of Cristis Chirche, but kingis and princis of þis world, as Ysidere beriþ witnesse*. [I am again indebted to the kind|ness of Professor Stubbs for point|ing out to me the curious passage to which the text probably refers. It is in the Sententiae of Isidore, Bishop of Seville, lib. iii. cap. li, and is so interesting in itself, that I quote it at some length:—'Principes seculi nonnunquam intra Ecclesiam po|testatis adeptae culmina tenent: ut per eandem potestatem disciplinam Ecclesiasticam muniant. Ceterum in|tra Ecclesiam potestates necessariae non essent, nisi ut, quod non prae|valet sacerdos efficere per doctrinae sermonem, potestas hoc imperet per disciplinae terrorem. Saepe per reg|num terrenum celeste regnum pro|ficit, ut qui intra Ecclesiam positi contra fidem et disciplinam Ecclesiae agunt, rigore principum conteran|tur; ipsamque disciplinam quam Ec|clesiae humilitas exercere non prae|valet, cervicibus superborum potestas principalis imponat; et ut venera|tionem mereatur, virtute potestatis impertiat. — Cognoscant principes saeculi Deo debere se rationem red|dere propter Ecclesiam, quam a Christo tuendam suscipiunt. Nam, sive augeatur pax et disciplina Ec|clesiae per fideles principes, sive sol|vatur; ille ab eis rationem exiget, qui eorum potestati suam Ecclesiam credidit.]. And so ech man þat God ȝyveþ power and witt for to knowe his wille, shulden, after her power and witt, profite to Cristis Churche; for God wole þis streitli at domes dai of alle siche men. For God haþ ȝovun þese men siche power to serve God þus in erþe; and to profite to her modir holi Churche þat þei shulde helpe. And þis bond is streite ynowȝ, al ȝif man made noon oþer bond, for þis bindiþ ech man to profite to his modir. What nede is it to make newe bondis, þe which done more harm þan good, and man can neiþer kytte ne loose, but if God telle hem speciali.

And herfore biddiþ Crist men wake, and speciali for þis Page  266 cause:—for þei witen not whanne þe lord of þis house shal come, in tyme of mennis deþ, ne in tyme of his laste dome. And þanne he shal speke in þis cause moost sharpli of alle oþer. For þis cause he chargiþ moost; siþ he loveþ more his Chirche þan ony persone þerof, and bad alle to worshipe þis modir boþe in þe olde lawe and in þe newe. And, for God shal come privyli to þes two jugementis at un|knowinge of men, þerfore he is seid to come on þe nyȝt. A nyȝt is partid in foure houres; as evenynge and mydnyȝt, cockis crow|inge and morewnynge; and alle þes houres ben unknowun. For if we departe our lif to our deþ in foure houris, or tyme to þe laste dome in four houris, evene to hemsilf, we witen never how nyȝ or ferre is þe comynge of þis Lord. And algatis, ȝif we wole be saved, we moten waken fro synne, so þat we be not foundun þanne on deed sleep. For þe trumpe shal waken us, ouþer to blisse or to peyne. And þis Lord shal dampne alle þo þat he shal þanne fynde sleping; for ech man þat shal be saved shal be clene at þe dai of dome. And þus Crist spekiþ generali, to printe þis love in alle mennis hertis; þat þing þat Y seie to ȝou, Y seie to alle,—wake ȝe.

ÞE GOSPEL OF OON CONFESSOR AND DOCTOUR.

[SERMON LXXX.]

Vos estis*. [So E; Vos qui estis, A.]sal terre.
—MATT. v. [13.]

ÞIS gospel is seid of Crist, as it semeþ to many men, to alle þo þat he ȝyveþ witt to profite to his Churche. But it is seid speciali to bishopis, and to confessouris, and to techeris of Goddis lawe, for to alle þes God ȝyveþ salt. And Crist telliþ to alle siche what office þat þei shal have, and whanne þei faile in her office, and what wise þei shal be punished. First seiþ Crist to þes servantis: ȝe ben salt of þe erþe. And ȝif þe salt vanishe awey, in what þing shal þe erþe be saltid? Þis salt is not worþ after but to be casten out and be defoulid of men, þat shulden Page  267 take hede to þis salt. Þis salt of þe erþe ben techeris þe whiche bi þe lawe of Crist speken sharpli to men, and tellen hem þer defautis. Þis þei done to erþeli men whanne God rubbiþ þy hem his lawe. We shal first wite þe kynde of salt, and siþ what properties it haþ. And bi þis mai we wite where men þat comen as apostlis done þe office of her stat, or ellis þei failen of her office. Clerkis seien þat salt is maad of gravel and of water, wiþ hete of þe sonne or of fier, and maad hard wiþ blast of þe wynd. And by Aristotlis reule it is dissolved bi þe contrarie*. [ [gap: 1] . Categ. 6, 18; compare Topi|cokum, ii. 7, 4.]. And so cold þing and moist dissolvyþ salt, siþ hote þing and drie makiþ it hard. Þes disciplis ben made salt, þat sum tyme weren unstable as gravel, bi þe water of bap|tem, and hete of charite, and wynd of þe Holi Goost, to savore men as salt doiþ. And þes ben maad whittere þan snow fro þe blaknes of her synne. And kynde of water saddid in hem bitokeneþ þe stable witt of God. And þus, for Goddis lawe commandiþ in offringe to be devocion and hete of charite, þerwiþ Goddis lawe biddiþ, in figure of þis, in ech offringe to be salt offrid. And þus shulden doctours teche þe peple how þei shulden lyv to God, and how þei shulden do here almes. For ȝif coveitouse men rubben to hem, þei ben not salt but cold water.

Many propirteis ben of salt, and to telle few here is ynowȝ. O propirte of salt is þat it makiþ fleish drie and kepiþ it fro rotting and fro stinkinge and fro wormes. So prestis, bi Goddis wordis, shulden have hem to fleishli men. Þei shulden drie hem from lecherie, and kepe hem from yvel conscience, and fro stynking of synne, and þanne þei hav þe kynde of salt. And þus salt makiþ mete savory, and salt makiþ þe erþe bareyne, and salt heliþ fleishli woundis whanne it is stoppid in hem. Bi þes þre propirtees of salt shulden doctours worchen in fleishli men, and avoide hem fro ivel workis, and make hem bareyne fro fleishli dedis. And þei shulden savore Goddis wordis, and declare hem bi resoun, and pronounce hem to þe peple, as þes wordis wolden plese to hem. And þus depe woundis in man þat weren groundid Page  268 in old synne shulden be heelid bi virtue of God. And þanne men kepten þe kynde of salt, and failing in ony of þes wolde make failinge in oure salt.

And þus mai men wite wher bishopis or oþer prechours to þe peple failen in þis kynde of salt, or ellis done treuli her office. Crist techiþ þat ȝif þei faillen þei shal be cast out, and defoulid of men, and to þes two ben þei worþi. And þis shal be at þe last dome, whanne þese false men shal be cast out into þe fier of helle and to be defoulid of many men. But, as many þenken, sich men shulden be punishid here, and be put out of her office and be defoulid of oþer men. Þus þe wise kyng Salomon tretede þe hiȝe preest of his fadir. For siþ lordis shulden reule Cristis Chirche, and þes don so moche harm þerto, a greet charite were it in lordis to put doun þes Goddis enemyes, and bi forme of Goddis lawe to maken hem serve in her office. And þis is oon þe moste defaute þat rengneþ now in þe Chirche. Þese prelatis þat shulden be salt and make Goddis lawe savory — for, as Seint Poul techiþ, oure word shulde be savorid wiþ salt—þei ben now fresh brotel*. [britil, E.] and stinkinge, and turnid al fro þe kynde of salt, and wiþ stinkinge wordis and lawe þei maken Goddis lawe unsavery. And goodis put in preestis possessioun is rote of al þis synne; for þei wolden ellis be stable as salt and savoren her word and stonde þerbi, and suffre for Goddis lawe deþ, and distrie þe fendis lawe. But now þei ben fresh as foolis and wanten witt and charite. And herfore þe charite of many wexiþ cold, as Crist haþ told.

Þe secound word of þis gospel seiþ to þes Cristis disciplis: ȝe ben liȝt of þe world. And foure propirtees ben in liȝt, þat shulden acorde to þese techeris; and þanne Crist seiþ soþ of hem as he dide of his apostlis. Þe first propirte of liȝt stondiþ in þis þing, þat among bodili qualitees liȝt is more spiritual. Þe secounde propirte of liȝt stondiþ in þis þing, þat among bodili formes liȝt is moost general, for it bringiþ forþ alle þing þat groweþ here in erþe. Þe þridde propirte of liȝt stondiþ in þis, þat in al his worchinge it worchiþ bi ordre; for Page  269 reule of þe*. [om. E.] hiȝe kynd lediþ liȝt ever. Þe fourþ propirte of liȝt stondiþ in þis, þat among oþer qualitees it confortiþ more man; for a man kyndeli hidousiþ derknesse and is gladid bi liȝt as oure witt telliþ. As anentis þe firste propirte prelatis shulde be spiritual, and holden hem paied of litil bodili goodis; for so dide Crist and Baptist and oþer apostlis; but now þei axen worldli fare in fode and aray. As anentis þe secounde pro|pirtee, prelatis shulden be comun and profite to alle men, and acorde wiþ hem in goode, and be to alle alle þingis, as Seint Poul was. For he shulde grutche aȝens nouȝt but þat þat smacchiþ synne. After þe þridde propirte prelatis shulden worche wiseli, now prechinge, now preiynge, now wel lyvynge. And what liif ever þei lyveden shulde*. [So E; shulden, A.] profite to þe Chirche, and wher þei myȝten more profite, more þei shulden worche. After þe fourþe propirte a prelat shulde ȝyve confort to lyve after Crist, and fle derkenes of synne, and nevere speke of peyne but for þis entent, to make men fle synne and ȝyve hem to virtues. And al þe lif of prelatis shulde sowne counfort to þe peple. And shortli, noþing falliþ to þe reule of preestis þat it ne is ensamplid in propirtees of liȝt. Liȝt worchiþ redili, and boþe in fair and in foule, and takiþ not but beyng of þe place to which it profitiþ. And þus shulde prestis be liȝt of þis world, and gendre witt and charite among men þat þei delen wiþ.

Þe þridde tyme lickeneþ Crist his clerkes to a cite, and seiþ, þat it may not be hid whanne it is sett on a hill. Prelatis shulde be a citee and take fleying of þe contre whanne þei ben pur|sued of her goostli enemyes. Liȝt and al maner of fode shulde þis cite hav, þat ȝif it failide in þe contre þere shulden men fynde it. Al maner of marchaundise shulde it have to selle, and store þe contre wiþouten ony charging; for goostli þing encresiþ whanne it is more usid. And so as Ysaye techiþ, þei shulden not chaffere wiþ moneie; but as þei token freeli of God so shulden þei ȝyve freeli. This cite shulde be sett upon an hill, þe which hil is Jesus Crist, þat is hied over oþer hillis as Ysay telliþ. For Crist is fondement and hill and dore bi many resouns. And no man shulde take þis state but in virtu of Crist, lest he be a smoky hill, wyndi, and of yvel wedris. Page  270

Þe fourþe liknesse of Crist is of a liȝt lanterne þat men putte on a candelsticke in a derk hous, þat men þat comen in see soone liȝt. And, for sich prelatis ben not liȝt in kynde, þerfore þei ben likned of Crist to a lanterne; and wyndis of þis world shulden not quenche her liȝt. Þe candilsticke þat þei ben inne shulde be Cristis lawe. And so, ȝif a prelate implie him wiþ seculer nedis, he crepiþ undir a bushel and failiþ of his liȝtyng. Þis hous is holi Chirche, to which prelatis shulde profite wiþouten envie for taking of her liȝt. And herfore biddiþ Crist to his disciplis, þat her liȝt shal shyne in presence of men, þat þei see her goode workes, and so þanke God of hevene. And here mai we see how dowing of þe Chirche is not tauȝt of Crist, but evene þe contrarie of it. For bi þis prestis ben hid under þe bushel, and þe peple seeþ not þer postlis workes, but workes of þe world. And þei glorifie not God bi hem, but preisen þe emperour. And wise men holden him a fool, for he derkide þus þe Chirche. And, for men myȝten seien þat Crist cam to unbinde þe lawe, and so office of his preestis shulden chaunge fro þe olde lawe, as Anticristis prestis serven now to þe world,— herfore seiþ Crist, þat men shulden not gesse þat he cam to louse þe lawe, but for to fulfille it. And so as preestis in þe olde lawe weren bisee aboute her bestis, so prestis in Cristis lawe shulden be more spiritual, and liȝtne folk bi þe gospel, and bicome profetis. But þe fend haþ turned þis work al to worldli liif, alȝif disciplis of þis worlde shulden have here her blisse. And for filling of þis law Crist seiþ þus: Soþeli, Y seie to ȝou, til þat hevene and erþe passe aweie, an i ne a title shal not passe fro þe lawe bifore alle þingis ben doone. And þis word of Crist is aȝens lawe of Anticrist, for Crist spekiþ here of þe old lawe of God, and wole þat, as longe tyme as hevene goiþ aboute, and peple dwelliþ here in erþe by chaunging of men, þe leste mandement of God, [is]*. [om. E; rightly.] undirstonden bi leste lettre*. [Yōdh, or iōta, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet.], ne þe leste counseil, or þe witt of ceremonie, shall not passe fro Goddis lawe til þe dai of dome come. For alȝif Anticrist have brouȝt a lawe þat lettiþ þe use*. [So E; uss, A.] of Goddis lawe, ȝit þe treuþe Page  271 of Goddis lawe and þe dette to usen it lastiþ evermore and bindiþ men ful harde. And it is not liȝt to unbinde oon of Goddis heestis; for Crist bihetiþ here; Þat who ever doiþ þus he shal be clepid leste in þis Chirche wanderinge, siþ þe Chirche above jugiþ him in þis Chirche and not of þe Chirche, but to be dampned in helle. And þis cleping of þe Chirche above mut nedelingis stonde; but defending and teching of þe lawe of God makiþ a man clepid of him grete in þe blisse of hevene.

OF OON CONFESSOUR AND ABBOT.

[SERMON LXXXI.]

Nemo accendit lucernam.
—LUC. xi. [33.]

ÞIS gospel techiþ how ech confessour shulde kepe him, and speciali abotis and þes newe religiouse. But, as it semeþ to juste men, Crist telliþ litil bi þes ordris, but telliþ ech man of his Chirche how he*. [So E; we, A.] shal profite þerto, and how he shal kepe himself in state of salvacioun. First spekiþ Crist in figuratife speche, and seiþ þat, no man liȝtiþ a lanterne in derknesse, and puttiþ it in oon of þes two infamous*. [famous, E] places; neþer in hid place*. [placis, E.]ne undir a bushel. Ech man shulde be a lanterne liȝtid of God. Þe bodi of þis lanterne is mannis bodi; þe hornes of þis lan|terne ben spiritis in man, and þe remanent of his bodi, as fleish and boon, ben oþer tres*. [trees, E.] in which þis horn is picchid. Þe liȝt in þis lanterne is mannis soule, and liȝtnynge wiþinneforþ is witt þat God ȝeveþ man. Þat man puttiþ his lanterne in hidd place or undir a bushel, þat lyveþ in worldli bisynes and not profiteþ to þe Chirche. For God haþ ȝovun him soule and witt, to liȝt men here in erþe þat ben in derknes of synne, as ech man shulde liȝte to oþere; for ech man haþ sum knowing þat failiþ to anoþer man; and so ech man shulde be lanterne to liȝtne sum men of Goddis hous; and herfore ȝeveþ God Page  272 þis liȝt to liȝte sum men in þis world. And þanne þe liȝt failiþ in þis lanterne whanne þe man is deed in bodi. And ȝif he be deed in good workes þis lanterne is deed in a man. But riȝt as lanterne wantiþ of himsilf liȝt to shyne wiþinne or wiþout, so mannis bodi wantiþ of himsilf liȝt of liif and of witt.

And so God biddiþ þis lanterne to be put on hye on a candil|sticke to ȝeve men liȝt in Goddis hous, and algatis to liȝt þis hous. And so þis candilsticke may be state þat God approveþ to þis ende, as sevene candilstickis of gold ben sevene statis of bishopis. And, as many men þenken, alle þes newe religious ben hid bi mannis ordenaunce to bere liȝt to Cristis Chirche; for ȝif a man be closid in a cloistre, what profitiþ he, bi Cristis orde|nance, to make liȝt to his broþer þat feliþ not of his profit? And þus closing of þes cloistres, or hiȝe housis, þat men hav foundun, is biside Cristis lawe, foundun of prince of þis erþe. And so alle þes ben yvel hid fro profit of holi Chirche.

And þus spekiþ Crist generali to Cristen men, and seiþ, Þe lanterne of þi bodi is þin iȝe. And þat is on double manere; for sum men hav a simple iȝe, and þat eiȝe liȝtiþ al þe bodi; and ȝif þin eye be wayward, ȝhe, þi bodi shal be derk. Here is þe lanterne clepid, þe liȝt þat shulde be in þis lanterne; for þis liȝt is þe ende wherfore God haþ maad þis lanterne. And ȝif þis liȝt be of riȝt entent þanne is þin iȝe simple; as men þat wolen profite to Cristis Chirche, after Goddis lawe, hav a riȝt eiȝe and a simple, even after Goddis wille. And so a simple þing is seid wiþouten folding fro þis riȝt. And þe liȝt of charite shyneþ in siche a lanterne; for as Poul seiþ:—Charite sekiþ not his owne wynnyng, but how it myȝte best profite to many men of þe Chirche. But he haþ a blynd eyȝe turned aweyward from God þat sekiþ more his owne wynnyng þan profit of Cristis Chirche; and in þis angle of þis eiȝe is derknesse fro charite. And þes men wanten liȝt of God, þat shulden shyne riȝtli bi hem. And but ȝif Goddis grace worche bi hem, þei ben derke as to merite. And so seiþ Crist, þat simple iȝe makiþ al þe bodi shynyng, and iȝe þat is turned amys makiþ þe bodi al derk. And þe bodi may be clepid þe multitude of mannis workes, or mannis liif, þat is medeful or sinful bi sich ententis; for bi þes man haþ charite or wantiþ charite in his workes. And herby Page  273 mannis lyf is medeful or dampnable bi Goddis lawe. And þus þe charite of Crist stretchiþ riȝtli wiþouten angle, to profit of Cristis Chirche, and not to profit of him silf. And þus Poul souȝte many mennis profit, and not his owne worldli wyn|nyng; for sich entent is algatis derk, and liȝt of God goiþ not þerby.

And herfore biddiþ Crist to us þat we shulde see þat liȝt in us be not derknesse, bi yvel entent; for þanne it is an yvel liȝt. No man is here in erþe þat ne God ȝeveþ him sum liȝt: as sum knowing and sum entent in coveiting of sum good. And ȝif þis liȝt be riȝtful, wiþouten angle of crokidnesse, þanne Goddis grace shyneþ wiþ him, and ellis his liȝt is derknesse; for sich crokidnesse bringiþ aȝen derknesse of mannis liif. And so, ȝif al þi bodi be al shynynge, havynge noo part of derknesse, it shal be shynyng al, and it shal liȝtne þee as a lanterne of shynyng. Þes wordis semen superflu and seid of Crist wiþouten witt. But it is aȝens bileve to trowe þus of Cristis wordis; and þer|fore we shal undirstonde þat þer ben two goodnessis in workes; goodnesse in kynde of workes, and goodnesse in vertues. Þe firste mai be wiþouten þe secounde, but þe secounde is þe betere; as ȝif a man bi ypocrisie ȝyve good to nedi men, þan his ȝyvyng is good and his work is ful of liȝt; but it haþ oonli liȝt of kynde and not liȝt of vertues. And þis techiþ Crist us: þat ȝif al þe bodi of oure workes be shynyng bi liȝt in kynde, and hav noo part of derknesse, neiþer in kynde ne in vertues, þanne it shal be al liȝt bi double liȝt of kynde and vertues. And þis secounde liȝt of vertues men shulden moche telle bi, and fle derknes in vertues, al ȝif þei have liȝt in kinde. For God lokiþ to þis secounde liȝt, and blessiþ men in hevene þer|fore; and for þe first liȝt of kynde a man mai be depe dampned in helle: as ȝif þou bi ypocrisie do good to þi neiȝbore, and die in þis ypocrisie, þou shalt be depe dampned in helle; and for þis good þat þou didist þou shalt be dampned wiþouten ende. And ȝif þou ponishe a man of þe Chirche, for double love þat þou hast, boþe to þe Chirche and to þis man, al if þou erre in þis man, supposing þat he be yvel, and he be good to siȝt of God, and God excusiþ þi ignoraunce for derkness hid to þee; ȝit þou maist be saif in hevene for þis yvel werk in his Page  274 kynde, and goodnesse þat it haþ in vertues*. ['In kynde,' that is, objectively, the persecution of an innocent man is an evil work; but 'in vertues,' or subjectively, and by virtue of your pure intention, it may be a good work, and may help to make you 'saif in hevene.']. And þerfore loke to þis godenesse. And þus seiþ Crist: þat ȝif þi workes ben alle ful of liȝt of kynde, and þei have noo derkness of vertues, þanne þei shal be algatis liȝt, and liȝten þee as lanterne of shynyng. And þus þou shuldist riȝte þi iȝe, and alȝatis from derknes of vertues. And ȝif þou have þes two liȝtis, it makiþ more shynyng to þee. But algatis have þis secounde liȝt; for wiþouten it is noȝt medeful. And herfore seiþ Crist here, þat þis bodi of þi workes shal liȝte þee as a lanterne of shynyng bi Goddis grace. And þus, ȝif we studien wel, þes wordis of Crist, þat semen unsavery, and rehersid wiþouten witt, ben ful of witt þat men shulde knowe; siþ mannis entente shulde be reulid bi riȝtnes of his vertues, and man shulde also be bisie to done his workes good in kynde. But riȝtnes of þis oþer entent is algatis nedeful to man, siþ mannis entent moot nedis be reulid bi þe lawe of God, þat he do bi charite alle hise workes þat he doiþ. And so blyndenesse of þe first liȝt takiþ man in excusing; but blyndnesse of þe secounde liȝt mai no way be excusid. But boþe þes blyndenessis shulden be fled; siþ þe firste bringiþ in þe toþer.

And blyndenes of þes newe ordris makiþ many men to be dampned; siþ þe state of preestis þat Crist ordeyned was liȝt and esi for to knowe, but þe fend marieþ*. [marriþ, E.] manye wiþ newe statis þat he brouȝt inne; and he mooveþ hem to speke aȝens þe lore þat Crist haþ tauȝt. And, for þes derke wordis of Crist maken many men to muse, men seken divers weies to undir|stonde Cristis wordis:—as sum men seien þat Crist techiþ here, þat ȝif alle workes of þi liif be, at þi deþ, shynynge by grace, þei shal be shynyng after in hevene, and liȝte þee as a lanterne of briȝtnes; for men shal after be briȝt in hevene, moche more þanne we wenyn*. [wenen, E.] here. How ever Crist undirstood, we bileve þes wordis ben soþ, and ful of resoun and witt, and knowun to hem þat he wole shewe it.

Page  275

ÞE GOSPEL ON FEESTIS OF MANY CONFESSOURS.

[SERMON LXXXII.]

Sint lumbi vestri praecincti.
—LUC. xii. [35.]

ÞIS gospel techiþ alle men how þat þei shulden lyve to Crist, but speciali prelatis, þat shulden be liȝt to þe peple. And so, for confessours kepten þis lore in her liif bifore oþer men, þer|fore þe Chirche rediþ þis gospel whanne men seien of con|fessouris. First Crist biddiþ to his disciplis, þat her lendis be girdid bifore, and lanternes brennynge in her hondis, as þei shulden bide her Lord whanne he comeþ aȝen fro bridalis. Þes lendis þat Crist spekiþ of ben þe fleishli kynde joyned wiþ þe soule. And þes lendis helpen þe spirit upon two maneres; and for þes two maneris þei ben clepid lendis. Þis fleish serveþ to þe soule, suffringe as it shulde suffre, and doinge as it shulde do, whanne it is tauȝt wel of þe soule. And þus seiþ Poul*. [Compare Hebrews vii. 10, Gal. iii. 17. The writer of the sermon appears to have misunderstood the first of these passages.], þat Crist was in Abrahams lendis. And so Crist techiþ here chastite, as Gregory seiþ*. [S. Greg. Homilia xiii. 'Lumbos enim praecingimus, cum carnis lux|uriam per continentiam coarctamus.'];—but not oonli chastite but alle fleishli vertues. Þes lendis ben girded bifore, whanne man, by discrescioun, drawiþ from his fleish þe norishment þerof; or chastiseþ it, on oþer manere, bifore it falle in synne. Brenn|ynge lanternes ben medeful workes þat men have in her vertue, bi whiche þei shulden worche; and, for þes workes comen boþe of bodi and of soule, þerfore þei ben clepid of Crist two lanternes, and þei ben in oure hondis whanne we worchen wiþ hem. For it is not ynowȝ to kepe us fro synnes, but if we worken gode workes bi þes two lanternes.

But for þes bridalis, we shal wite þat þei ben taken on many maneres; first for þe weddingis þat Crist is joyned wiþ þe soule; after for þe dwellinge þat Crist dwelliþ wiþ þe soule; Page  276 and þe þridde for þe goostli fode þat soulis ben fed wiþ Crist in blisse. And so þei ben þree weddingis þat Crist is weddid here; first whanne he toke mankynde, and made it oo persone wiþ him; after whanne he takiþ his Chirche, and makiþ it oo spouse wiþ him; þe þridde wedding is particuler, whanne Crist takiþ oo soule to him. And so Crist is seid to turne aȝen fro bridalis on two maneris. First, whanne a man is deed þat Crist haþ ordeyned to come to blisse, Crist turneþ aȝen to his soule from dwelling wiþ þe Chirche in hevene. But Crist leveþ not þis Chirche, but on new manere dwelliþ wiþ þis soule. But þanne he must have dwelt bifore, or ellis þis soule cam not bi þis state. And so we shulden be liche to men þat abiden þe comynge of Crist, in tyme of deþ, or þe dai of dome. And þis abiding shulde alle men marke, for þis comyng is uncertein, and þis tyme is perilous; siþ þis drauȝt mot be wel drawen ȝif oure liif shal ouȝte profite. And so to þes comyngis of Crist shulde ech man make him redi; siþ Crist shal come and knocke at doris, and entre to hem þat ben wakinge, and redi to resseyve Crist wiþouten sleping in synne. And þis openyng shal be doon anoon, as liȝtnyng of sonne*. [sunne, E.] is in þe eir. And so Crist knockiþ at oure doris whanne he techiþ us signes of deþ, or signe of þe dai of dome; but þe laste knockyng is sudeyne. Ȝif a man be redi bifore to dwellen wiþ Crist wiþ|outen ende, þanne he openeþ to Crist, siþ þis openyng is redy|nesse. And þus seiþ Crist ful soþli, þat þes servauntis ben blessid whiche, whanne þe Lord comeþ, he findeþ þus wakinge. Soþeli, Y seie to ȝou, þat þis Lord shal girde him, and make hem sitte to mete, and passe and mynystre to hem. Þe sitting to mete of seintis, is confermyng of hem in blisse; þe passing of þis Lord bi hem is his shewing to oon and oþer. And al ȝif þis shewing be togidere, ȝit her taking is divers; and her diversite is signefied bi þis passing of Crist. Þis service is liȝt to Crist, for it is but Cristis shewing of his Godhede, and his manhede, in which seintis shal be fed.

And ȝif þis Lord come in þe secounde vigile, and eke in þe þridde, and fynde sich redynesse in þes servantis, ful blessid ben þes servantis, siþ þei anoon ben blessid of God. Þes þre vigiles þat Crist telliþ Page  277 of here, ben þre wakingis fro synne, and algatis fro þe laste synne þat is þe worste yvel þat mai be; and so we preien in þe Pater noster God to delyvere us fro þis yvel. Þes vigiles ben clepid þre, for þe Holy Trinite, for þouȝt of resoun of him, shulde make men to wake wel. And so ech tyme þat man lyveþ here is departid in þree parties, and tyme to þe dai of dome is also de|partid in þree; and, for þe quantite of þes þree is uncertein to man, þerfore he shulde ever wake, and þanne he wakiþ þes þree vigilis. Þe first þree haþ ech seint, bifore þe soule go fro þe bodi; þe toþer þre haþ þe Chirche, bifore þe dai of dome come. And so unknowing of þes tymes, and knowinge how men shulden ever wake, profitiþ unto Goddis children, as done alle þingis. As Poul seiþ*. [The passage referred to is not in any of the Pauline epistles, but in 1 Pet. i. 17.], bi þat þat we knowun not þe quantite of þes þre tymes, shulden we ever more be in drede and ever wake out of synne.

And þis lore techiþ Crist in a parable to his children. Þis þing he seiþ, wite we*. [ȝe, E.]wel þat ȝif þe housebonde wiste what tyme þe*. [So E; om. A.]þeef wolde come, and stele his goodis, he wolde wake warli, and suffre not þis þeef þus to breken his hous, and spoylen him. It is touchid bifore*. [See Sermon LXXVI, p. 251.] how þis þeef is þe fend, þat doiþ al his diligence to tempte man whanne he shal die. For ech man and a fend ben couplid togider in a liste and fiȝten boþe niȝt and dai, and algatis whanne þe fend hopiþ to overcome. And so whanne þe nyȝt of synne blindiþ men to knowun hemsilf, þanne is tyme to þe fend to fiȝte fastist*. [fast, E.] wiþ his make; for riȝt as nestis in a sunne beem ben wel per|ceyved wiþ filþe of man, so synnes ben wel perceyved of a man þat is in grace. Þis þeef worchiþ ever bi disseitis, and fiȝtiþ bleþeliest*. [So E; blelyerst, A.] on nyȝtis; and in tyme of mannis deþ he enforsiþ moost to overcome, for þis victorie shal ever laste, on wheþer side þat it falle. Þis housebondis hous is his bodi, þat his soule is kept ynne; and undirmynyng of þis hous mai be don on two maneres. First, whanne þe fend supposiþ þat a man shal die here, he gaderiþ togidere mannis spiritis, and temptiþ him to mony synnes, as to ire and lecherie, and algatis to dis|peire. Page  278 But blesse we us wiþ þe Trinite, and þenken on him in þis cais; and aȝens þe firste synne þenke we mekeli on Goddis power, how God is stronger þan þe fend, and wiþouten him mai we nouȝt do. And sich þouȝt of þe Fadir of Hevene shulde overcome þe fend in hour of deþ. Aȝens þe secounde synne of þe fend we shulden þenke on God þe Sone, how kyndeli he is spouse to us, and bouȝte us wiþ his precious blood, and how he mai not parte fro us, but ȝif oure unkynde|nesse be in cause; how fair and good a spouse is Crist, and how foul is þe fend; and bi sich þouȝtis Crist wolde ȝeve vertue to men to overcome þe fend, whanne he temptiþ man in hour of deþ to þenke on lecherie. Aȝens dispeir we shulden þenke on goodnesse of þe Holy Goost, how oure good God may not leeve us, but ȝif oure folie be in cause; and ȝif we hav synned nevere so moche, and nevere so longe have leien in synne, axe we God mercy in oure þouȝte, and have we sorewe for þis synne, and God is redi to forȝeve it, how ever þat preestis failen. —For þe fend may be awey fro mannis soule, but not God; and þe mercy of God is more þan is envie of þe fend, and goodnesse of God is more þan is hate of þe fend. What shulde move men to dispeire, siþ þei may so liȝtli be saif?

And noþing is more in mannis power þan is þouȝt of his soule, but we mote have alone drede to oure God in þis hour; siþ we witen þat olde synne may be so hard þanne in oure soule, þat we shal not be þanne in power to aȝenstonde tempting of þe fend. For as a ȝerde mai growe so greet, and be so stiff in his strengþe, þat men shal not wriþe it, þouȝ þei wolde never so fayn, so synne may growe in man, and be so strong in tyme of deþ, þat riȝtwisnes of God wole lette man to obeie þanne þus to God. Þis drede of God shulde we have, and algatis in hour of deþ; and þis is a good defence aȝens þe fend and dis|peir. But þis mote be alone drede, and hope in þe love of God; how þat God haþ more love þan þe fend haþ envye; for Goddis love is wiþouten ende, but þis envie is foul and feble; and þis envie mai not do but in vertue of Goddis love; for love þat God loveþ riȝtwisnesse makiþ overcomyng in þis hour. Lord! siþ good God ȝeveþ us strengþe to love him, and to hope in him, and þe fend mai not lette to þenke on þis ȝifte of God, Page  279 what man shulde dispeire of God, in our*. [houre, E.] þat God departiþ þe soule? God suffriþ þe fend to have power to haste a man to his deþ, but gode God wole nevere suffre þat ne man mai freli þenke on him; and ȝif þis power be for barrid*. [forbarrid, E.], synne of man is þe cause, and resouns of þe fend ben blindid in þis matere. Þe fend puttiþ to us grete synnes þat we have done in work and þouȝt, and for gretenesse of þes synnes Goddis riȝtwisnes haþ hardid us. But þis foole shal wel wite how þat we wolen answere here. We graunte mekeli þat we have synned in þouȝt, and word, and in dede; but we wite þat Goddis grace is moche more þan al oure synne. And þis fool knowiþ not how þat God haþ mekid us now, for we felen þe grace of God, how we hopen in his goodnesse, and sorowen for oure synne. And þis þe fend knowiþ not, but ȝit þe fend argueþ þus: algatis sum man mote be dampned; but who shulde be dampned, but þou, þat þus hast ben unkynde to God? Here we answeren to þe fool, þat he takiþ a þing þat is soþ, but how can þis fend prove þat Goddis riȝt wole have me dampned? siþ Y have hope in my soule, þat is hid to þe fend. And wel Y woot þe fend knowiþ not þis pryvy ordenaunce of God, as he knewe not his owne dampnyng, how God shope it to blis of seintis. But ȝit þe fend argueþ þat alle þingis þat shal come mut nedis come bi þe ordenance of God, and þus þe fend mote have of me a glorious victorie. But here we answere to þis fend, and graunte him þat he takiþ; and so he mut nedis be dampned for folie þat he is inne; for he travailiþ bisili to have victorie of us, but ȝit we hopen þat he shal faile, bi sparclis of grace þat we felen. And wel we witen as bileve, ȝif þe fend overcome us, it shal not be glorious to him, but more to his dampnacioun; for ever þe more harm þat he doiþ, ever þe worse shal he be punishid. And so men þat shal be dampned wiþ him shal be ever peyne|ful to him, for he shal ever forþinken þat he dide so myche yvel. And so þe fend, concludid in insolible, shal ever forþinke and like togidere. What man þat knowiþ þis foolis castis shulde be overcomen wiþ þis fend, siþ oure good God is so nyȝe, and his mercy is so greet, and folie of þis proude fend in bostinge of þingis þat he knowiþ not is so stynkinge bifore God, and so knowun to Goddis children?

Page  280

ÞE GOSPEL ON FEESTIS OF MANY CONFESSOURS.

[SERMON LXXXIII.]

Misit Jesus duodecim discipulos.
—MATT. x. [5.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how preestis shulden traveile in Goddis cause, and how kynde þat þei shulden be boþe to God and to þe peple. For wordis seid to Cristis disciplis shulden teche us preestis how we shulden do, siþ we shulden be vikeris of hem; and ellis Crist bindiþ us bi no lore. And þus a prest dampneþ himsilf þat seiþ þat Crist spekiþ not here to him; for he seiþ in a maner þat he is þe fendis child. And for his unkyndnes Crist wolde not bidde him do Goddis work, but do as yvel as he mai; and Crist þerafter shal dampne him; and þis man beriþ upon him mater of his dispeiring. And þis shulde moove prestis alle to fille þe wordis þat Crist bad; for if þei dispisen þes wordis, þei mai dispeire as fendis children. And þus boþe bishopis and freris beren her dispeir wiþ hem, and þis will not be shaken of, but ȝif þei leven her olde synne, and suen þe love of Crist þat he techiþ in þis gospel.

Þis gospel telliþ how, Jesus sente hise twelve disciplis, and comandide hem: Go ȝe not out aȝens my bidding in to weie of heþene men, and entre ȝe not into citees, þe which ben of Sama|ritans. Þese wordis moten be wel undirstondun to þe witt þat God spekiþ hem; for Crist himsilve wente ofte tymes to Gentilis and Samaritans; and he biddiþ at his departing þat þei shulden teche alle folk; and þus þes Gentile folk weren turned, many moo þan weren of Jewis. And herfore seien holi men þat Crist tauȝte ordre in preching, how men shulde first go to her kyn, and first moove hem to turne to God; and ȝif God telde hem unablite*. [þe inablite, E.] of her kyn, þei shulden speke to oþer. And to þis entente dide Crist, and tauȝte hise apostlis to do. And so men seien comunli þat Crist here forbed goinge Page  281 in to þe weie of Gentile folk; but he forbed not to go to hem; but Crist biddiþ raþer go to þe sheep þat perischiden*. [So E; perichiden, A.]of þe hous of Israel. And it semeþ þat þes sheep þen þo men þat shal be saif; for all þes ben of Goddis hous, and men þat seen God in hevene. And alle þes weren in point to perishe bifore Cristis treuþe was teld to hem. To þes folk shulden men preche; for Cristis word wole florishe in hem, and mede and worship is in hevene to men þat prechen to þis peple. Crist bad hem go and preche þis:—þat þe kingdom of hevene shulde neiȝe. And þis is soþ; for Crist shal come to his laste jugement, and rekene sharpli wiþ hise, boþ wiþ servauntis good and yvele. And Crist is ofte clepid in þe gospel þe kingedom of hevene, for he is heed. And þis bileve, among oþer, shulde meve men to turne to Crist. For love of þis gode Lord and drede of his ponish|inge shulde be two sporis to Cristene men for to drawe in Cristis ȝok; but wanting of bileve makiþ many men dolle*. [dul, E.] in þis.

And fyve maneres enjoyneþ Crist to his prechours for to kepe. First, þat þei shal hele sike men, oþer of bodili sykenesse, or þerwiþ of goostli sekenesse. Boþe þes hadde Cristis apostlis, but we have unneþe þe toon; for we have greet grace of God ȝif we heele men fro synne. And we failen in þis craft whanne we bosten of oure power, and leven Cristis lore, or*. [oþer, E.] to lyve or to preche. Þe secound manere þat we shulden have shulde be, to reisen up deed men; and þis mai be on two maneris. As it was seid of þe firste, algatis we shulden traveile to reise up men deed bi synne; for þis is more þan þe firste, and eende wher|fore þe firste is good. And ȝif we don oure diligence þat God haþ ȝovun us power to, we mai liȝtli do þes two; for synne is þicke sowen in londe. Þe þridde cure þat we shulden do, we shulden hele leprouse men. And siþ lepre is heresie, a synne bi þe whiche men ben defoulid, we have power to do þis wondir, ȝif we worchen after oure power; and oo lepre left unheelid mai enblemisshe many folk. And þus we shulden be diligent to worche þis wondir in þe Chirche; for o leprous mai foule a flok, and a flok mai foule a more*. [A tainted flock may taint a whole moor.]. Þe fourþe work þat Page  282 preestis shulden do shulde be, þat þei shulden caste out fendis. And þis we done on betere manere ȝif we casten out synnes fro men; for ech synne haþ a fend, þat goiþ whanne þis synne goiþ. But þe fend on two maneres is in diverse men. In sum men he is to tempte hem, al if he be not in her soule: In sum men he is incorporate, as in men þat have synne; and in þes soulis þe fend dwelliþ, as who shulde dwelle in his house. Þe fifte manere þat prestis shulden have shulde be þankful*. [That is, gratuitous.] traveilinge; for ȝif þei wolen have þank of God, þei shulden here fle symonie, and neiþer sille her preching ne oþer workes þat þei done. And þis forgeten many men, boþe more prestis and lesse; for popis wolen have þe firste fruytis for benefices þat þei ȝyven, and bishopis an hundrid shillingis for halewynge of oo Chirche*. [This, if ever really exacted, must have been an excessive charge. Ori|ginally, the bishop was to receive nothing for consecrating a church; but by degrees the custom crept in of allowing a reasonable 'procura|tion,' not for the consecration itself, but for the expenses of travelling, lodging, &c., which it entailed on the bishop. The amount of this procuration varied, says Gibson, in different dioceses. He had collected scarcely any information on the sub|ject, beyond the single fact that in the time of Archbishop Warham (circa 1530) the sum of £10 was paid for the consecration of three churches in the diocese of Bath and Wells, or at the rate of £3 6s. 8d. for each consecration. (Codex, Tit. ix, cap. I.)]; and lordis wolen have longe service for o Chirche þat þei ȝyven, and þis is worþ ȝeer bi ȝeer moche rente or moche moneie. And howevere we speken, God woot wel how þis chaffaringe is maad, pryvyli or apertli; for God knowiþ al kyn þingis, and God biddiþ us do þes dedis and hope noȝte here for hem; for ȝif we hopen to be here re|wardid oure hope perishiþ to have blisse.

And wiþ þis synne ben freris bleckid þat shapen to preche wynnyng here; and herfore þei prechen þe peple fablis and falshede to plesen hem. And in tokene of þis chaffare, þei beggen after þat þei have prechid; as who seiþ, ȝyve me þi moneie, þat Y am worþi bi my preching. And þis chaffare is sellinge of preching, however þat it be florishid. Soþeli preestis mai medefulli, after þer sermouns, ete wiþ folk; but not calenge for her sermouns, neiþer bi dette ne bi custome. And herfore seien many preestis, þat no men þat have cure shal lyve but on Goddis part, as on dymes and on offringis; and so bi clene Page  283 titil of almes shulden þei have goodis þat þei have. For þus lyvede Crist, hiȝest pope. What art þou þat wole not lyve þus? wolt þou be gretter þan Crist þat is Lord of al þis world? Also þis manere is more meedeful to men þat shulden fynde þes preestis, and more meke and lesse worldli to prestis þat shulden be susteyned. And so it is on boþ sidis more vertuous*. [So E; vertues, A.] þan þes rentis now. And þanne God, wiþouten doute, biddiþ þat þis manere be kept. Who drediþ*. ['who drediþ' means 'who can doubt:' compare the expression, so constantly occurring in these ser|mons,—'it is no drede.'] þat ne it is more mede man to ȝeve wel his charite þan to ȝyven his worldeli dette which he oweþ bi worldli lawe? And who drediþ þat ne it is more meke to be paied on Goddis part þan to calenge bi worldis titil more þan Goddis lawe axiþ? For þis were neer to Poulis reule, þat preestis shulden be paied of foode and hiliyng wiþ|outen more worldli richesse; and þanne our titil myȝte be groundid; and oþer is feyned of þe fend. Also men myȝten bi conscience ȝyve good men, and take fro truauntis*. [tirauntis, E.] betere þan þei now done. And so þis were Goddis wille, bi what resoun shulde he have dymes and offringis of þe peple þat lyveþ in lustis and in ydilnes, and profitiþ not to þis peple? Certis þis were a fendis lawe, to ȝyve Goddis part to sich men. And so comunes weren excludid of false ȝyvynge to alyens; as to popis, and cardinals, and siche Antecristis disciplis. Þei weren also excusid of ȝifte to persouns þat ben lordis clerkis, þat lyven unclerkliche; and þei weren excludid wel of þes Chirches þat ben aproprid to ȝyve Goddis part to men which ben of þe fendis covent*. [That is, parishes, the tithes of which were impropriated to monas|tic communities, which then served the cures from their abbey or priory.]. And cursinge noieþ not to man, but ȝif he lyve aȝens resoun. Freris wolen have anoþer titil, and plete and fiȝte for siche goodis; but þis is Goddis lawe, however þe fend termyne. And þus curatis shulden not selle no kyn service þat þei done; but do freeli, and taken aȝen almes þat men wolen ȝyve hem; and never more curse, ne plete for sich almes of þe peple, but flee sich lawis þat techen þis, as þei weren lawis of Anticrist. And þus preestis shulden lyve clenli bi Goddis lawe, as þei diden first. And þus men shulden Page  284 wiþdrawen her hond fro freris þat beggen whanne þei have prechid; for þei ben coupable bi consente þat ȝeven hem on þis manere. For al þis chaunging shulde be free, þat man shulde do bi Goddis titil.

And þus seiþ þe gospel here, Siþ we token freeli of God we shulden freeli ȝyve to men, for hope of more mede in hevene. But here þe peple shulde be tauȝt how þei shulden freeli ȝyve þingis þat ben nedeful to preestis, for tyme þat þei shulden serve hem; for þus ȝeveþ God to his servauntis þing nedeful to his service, and man ȝeveþ to his bodi þing nedeful to serve him. And herfore Poul seiþ it is litil ȝif we taken þing nedeful to us. But first, er*. [or, E.] men done symony, þei shulden travaile wiþ her hondis, or go to anoþer peple, or raþer sterve in her bodi. But þis wolde falle late or never, but ȝif oure synne be in cause. And þus men þenken þat prestis mai take almes of her parishis, and go to scole, and gadere hem lore to teche hem efte þe wey to hevene; but þis is fer fro dwelling of lordis*. [wiþ lordis, E; which seems the better reading.], or from oþer unhoneste liif, or from wendinge to Rome to gete a fattere benefice. Myche þing shulden men knowe here þat is hid bi þe fend, and lettiþ service of Cristis Chirche þat he ordeynede to be done.

ÞE GOSPEL ON FEESTIS OF OON VIRGYN AND MARTIR.

[SERMON LXXXIV.]

Simile est regnum caelorum thesauro.
—MATT. xiii. [44.]

ÞIS gospel, in þre parablis, spekiþ of virgines; and here men reden it, whanne þei seien of a virgyn þat was virgin and martir, as was þe heed of virginis. Þese þree parablis ben þe laste of sevene þat Crist seide togidere in þe gospel of Mathew. For God spake ofte in parablis; as David propheciede of him, and seiþ, in Cristis persone, Y shal opene my mouþ in parablis and shal speke in proposiciouns þat weren beyng and hidd at Page  285 þe bigynnynge of þe world. Parablis on good manere tellen many faire treuþis; and þus, for many causis, Crist spake ofte in parablis.

Þe first parable of þes þree is seid þus of Crist; Þe rewme of hevene is like to tresour hid in þe feld, þe which, whanne a man findiþ, hidiþ*. [So both A and E. The Wycliffite versions render, 'whiche a man þat findiþ hidiþ.'], and for joie þerof goiþ and selliþ al þat he haþ, and goiþ and bieþ þat feld. Þe rewme of hevene is ofte taken for heed of þis rewme, þat is Jesus Crist, for he is in manere al þis rewme, siþ Crist is in manere ech part of himsilf. And so þe rewme of hevene, of which Crist spekiþ here, is Goddis word, oure Lord Jesus Crist. Þis feld is undirstonden þe feiþ of Holi Writt, and Goddis word is hid everywhere in þis feld; for every part of Holi Writt telliþ Goddis word,—þe olde law in figure, and þe gospel expressly. Man findiþ þis tresour, whanne he takiþ þe feiþ of Goddis Sone of hevene, þat is ȝit hid; for bileve is a þing hid to men þat bileven, siþ bileve is a þing þat men kyndeli seen not. And so siȝte of bileve, þat is an hid siȝte, is ofte tymes clepid no siȝte, but treuþe. He hidiþ þis tresour founden in þis feld þat kepiþ Holi Writt in forme of her wordis, and kepiþ þe witt of it in his soule; for no man shulde presume to amende Holi Writt, but kepe it in þe fourme þat God himsilf haþ ȝovun it. He goiþ for joie and silliþ alle his goodis to bigge þis feld, and after to traveile þerinnne. He haþ first joie of þis foundun tresour, for man haþ moche joie of his riȝt bileve. He silliþ al þat he haþ, þat renounsiþ al his erþeli goodis, and ȝeveþ him to þouȝt and studie of Hooli Writt. And þus he biggiþ þis feld for erþeli sub|staunce, as prestis, þat wolen be pore for to be Cristis disciplis, and occupien her wittis in wordis of þe gospel. And alȝif þis be wisdom to jugement of God, it is holden foli to men of þe world; but jugement of God mai no wey faile, and jugement of þe world is algatis fals and failinge. And so þis chaffare of þis feeld is wiys*. [wise, E.] and profitable; for rotis of bileve hid in þis feld springen out into erbis and wel-smellinge flouris. And þis susteyneþ þe Chirche here, and bringiþ it to blis; and oþer worldli profitees ben nouȝt to þis profite. And þus shulden Page  286 bishopis and prelatis chaffaren, and studie in Holi Writt, and leeve worldli richesses, and þanne þei miȝten be doctours and disciplis of Crist.

Þe secounde parable of Crist is seid in þes wordis; Eft soone þe rewme of hevene is liche to a man marchaund þat souȝte good margaritees, and whanne he hadde foundun oon presciouse margarite, he wente out and selde al þat he hadde, and bouȝte þis margarite. Þe rewme of hevene is clepid here þe Chirche, waundringe after Crist; for Crist, heed of al þe Chirche, bigan þe newe Testament; and fadirs of þis lawe, wiþ vertues of Crist, mai be clepid here þe kyngdom of hevene. Þis man þat chaffareþ here is clepid ech man þat comiþ to Goddis lawe and lyveþ þerafter. Þes margaritees ben treuþis foundun in Goddis law: Þis o margarite is Goddis word, treuþe of alle treuþis, oure Lord Jesus Crist, and þe same tresour þat was bifore foundun. Clerkis seien þat margarites ben prescious stones foundun in þe see wiþinne shellefishe; and þei ben on two maneres: sum hoolid*. [holide, E.] and sum hool. And margaritis ben a cordial medecine, and þei maken faire mennis atire, and conforten mennis hertis. Þis oo margarite is oure Lord Jesus Crist, foundun in tribulacioun of see of þis world; and oþer margarites ben lymes of Crist, foundun in shellis of smale se*. [see, E.] fishes. Þe manheed of Crist is a margarite þat worshipiþ his Chirche and confortiþ mennis hertis. Þe shelle of þis fishe is bodi of Crist, þat was stable and stef*. [stiffe, E.] in all his temptaciouns. And he wiþ his martiris weren hoolid margarites. And so Crist, bi his two kyndis, is o margarite, holid and unholid; for Cristis Godheed miȝte not be hoolid; but his manheed was hoolid, as shewen his fyve woundis. And to bigge þis margarite many seintis han traveiled in þe state of grace, and bicamen ful herty; for þis medecine of margarites haþ con|fortid alle martiris, and made hem herty for to die for þe love of treuþe. Confessouris and virgynes ben maad faire bi þis mar|garite, and ech state of men þat shal be saaf in hevene. Alle þes men sellen her goodis, as we have seid bifore, and bien þis margarite wiþouten any chaunging. For, as Ysay seiþ, sich Page  287 men bien, wiþouten silver and wiþout chaunging, boþ wyn and mylk. For men þat chaffaren wiþ God and bien hem hevene lesen not þat þei ȝyven, but hav alle þingis betere þat*. [þan, E.] þei hadden bifore, and bi a stabler titel.

Þe þridde parable þat Crist telliþ is told in þes wordis: Eft soone þe rewme of hevene is liche to a net sent in to þe see, and gaderinge in him alle maner of fishe; þe which net, whanne it was fillid, þei þat ledden it out, [and]*. [The construction requires the omission of the conjunction, which however is found both in A and E. The earlier Wycliffite version renders, 'men ledynge out, and sit|tynge bysidis þe brynke, chesiden, &c.']sitting bi þe brinke, chesiden good fishes in to her vessilis, and senten out yvel fishes. So shal it be in eendinge of þis world; angels shal wende out and shal departe yvel men fro juste men, and shal sende yvel men in to þe chymeney of fier; þer shal be wepinge and gnashing of teþ*. [teeþ, E.]. And after Crist axiþ hem where þei undirstonden alle þes þingis, and þei seiden, ȝhe. And Crist seide to hem, Þerfore, ech tauȝt writere in þe rewme of hevene is liche to an housebonde man þat bringiþ forþ of his tresour boþe newe þingis and olde.

Þis rewme of hevene is þis fiȝtinge Chirche, sent into þe see of þis world. And þis Chirche haþ lawis knyttide togidere; and in þe myddis þerof is Crist, a blessid worm*. [The 'worm' must signify here the bait that is put in the net to attract the fish.], þat alle men coveiten kyndeli. And so alle maner of men ben gaderid into Cristis Chirche; but on two maners ben men in þis Chirche. Sum men ben in þis Chirche, and eke of þis Chirche; and þes men mai not wende out of þis nette. And oþer men ben oonli in þis Chirche and not of þis Chirche, and þes men wenden out; and in figure herof, Petre fisshide twyes; firste bifore Cristis deþ, and þanne his net was broken; and eft after Cristis deþ, and toke many grete fishes; and alȝif þei weren so many, þe net was not broken. For alle þes men þat God haþ ordeyned to hevene, mai not wend out of þe nett þat is of Goddis lawis, siþ þei moten holde hem in þe bondis of þe ten comandementis. And so Crist takiþ in his Chirche two manere of juste men. Sum men þat he ordeyneþ ever to be in blisse, and þes mai not Page  288 be dampned for strengþe of Goddis ordenaunce. And sum men ben in Cristis Chirche juste for a tyme, þat fallen fro Cristis Chirche for her owne folie, siþ þei breken Goddis heestis, and lasten ever þus unkynde. But þes fishes gon not but wilfulli out of Goddis net. But þis net is nevere ful bifore þat men ben in þe Chirche, as many as God wole have saved, wiþ oþer þat he wole have dampned. Aungels of hevene ben þo þat sitten on þe banke and drawun þis nett in þe see of þis world, and bringen hem to Crist at þe daie of doom. And so þis fishinge lastiþ in tyme of boþe lawis; but þes angels de|parten yvel men fro juste men; and bringen juste men to hevene, and senden yvel men to helle. And þus dwellingis in hevene for dyverse holi men ben diverse vesselis into which þei ben takun. And þe chemyney of fier is þe fier of helle; for alle sich manere of fier, glowing of þikke mater, shal be closid in helle at þe daie of dome. And how þis shal be fillid þe gospel telliþ after. Þe weping þat shal be in helle is sorewe þat dampned men shal have; and gnashing of her teeþ is harm of her lesing; and þis is more peyne þan þe firste is.

Alle þes þingis undirstonden Cristis disciplis; for oure good maistre tauȝte hem more speciali. And herfore ech bishop and ech curate in þe Chirche shulde cunne þis lessoun, to teche it to þe peple. For at þe dai of dome þes uncunnynge prelatis þat can not þis lore shal be unknowun for to come to blisse; and þerfore we shulden ouþer denye for to be prelatis, or, ȝif we ben prelatis, we shulden cunne Goddis lawe, and preche it to þe peple, ȝif we wolen come to hevene. And þus seiþ Crist of sich goode prelatis, þat herfore ech writere, tauȝt þus of God, is liche to an housebonde man þat ordeyneþ for his hous; siþ a prelate shulde more ordeyne for goostli fode þan an housebonde shulde ordeyne for bodili fode to his folk. And as þis ordeyning is betere, for þe soule passiþ þe bodi, so þis defaute of goostli foode is more dampnable bifore God. And þes prelatis ben not writeris þat ben tauȝt of God, for neiþer þei ben writun in þe book of liif, neiþer þei can write vertues in mannis soule. And so þes doumbe men ben not writeris in þe rewme of hevene, but raþer doumbe foolis in þe rewme of helle; for as þe fend is a king, so he haþ a rewme; Page  289 and alle men þat shal be dampned mai be clepid þe rewme of helle. And þes ben rewme of þe fend, siþ he is þer alþer-kyng. But, as a good housebonde serveþ his meynè wiþ olde fruyte and wiþ newe, þat ben of two ȝeris, so a good prelate, þat shulde teche his peple, shulde cunne two Goddis lawis, and how þei acorden togider, and teche his peple, and knowe two weies*. [and teche his puple two weyes, E.], to go þe weye of hevene, and flee þe weie of helle, and cast out now þe ritis of þe olde lawe. But mandementis of þe olde lawe ben evermore newe; and, in tokene herof, a bishop haþ a mytre þat haþ two hornes, oon behinde and anoþer bifore; and þes two hornes bitokenen þat þei cunnen two Goddis lawis; and ȝif þei tokene falsly, he is a fals prelate, and an horned devyl to be dampned in helle.

OF A VIRGYN AND NOT MARTIR.

[SERMON LXXXV.]

Simile est regnum coelorum decem virginibus.
—MATT. XXV. [I.]

ÞIS laste sermoun of þe Comoun is red in two manere of festis:—in feste of o virgine, not martir, and in festis of many virgins;—and it telliþ þe state of þe Chirche, boþe now, and at þe daie of dome; and speciali bi þis part þat shulde quyke þe toþer half. For, riȝt as a man is maad boþe of bodi and of soule, so þis Chirche shulde be maad of actyves and con|templatyves. And, for þis spiritual part shulde be more worþi þan þe toþer, as þe soule is betere þan þe bodi, þerfore it haþ name of al þe Chirche. Crist seiþ þus at þe bigynnynge:—Þe rewme of hevene is like to ten virginis, þe which token her lampis, and wente*. [wenten, E.]out aȝens þe spouse and his wyf; but fyve of hem were foolis, and fyve of hem weren ware. But þe fyve foolis token her lampis, but þei token not oile wiþ hem: þes oþer fyve war virginis token oile in her vesselis wiþ her lampis.

Þis rewme of hevene is þis Chirche: þes ten virginis ben þei Page  290 þat ben spiritual, as ben prestis, and religious, and many oþer in þe Chirche; for as þe soule shulde quykene þe bodi, so þes shulden quykene þe actyve part. But þes ten virginis ben partid in two, in fyve foolis and fyve wise. Alle þei ben vir|gyns herfore, for þei ben chast of bodi, and kepen hem from outward synnes þat mai be knowun to siȝte of men. And boþe þes partis ben in fyve; for þe wise shal be in hevene evere in a sercle of blisse, as fyve is noumbre in a sercle*. [Fyve is noumbre in a sercle. On the mysterious virtues and signifi|cance supposed by the ancients to reside in the number five, the reader may, if he cares to do so, consult the treatise in Plutarch's Moralia, [gap: 1] , and Sir Thomas Browne's Garden of Cyrus. The relation of five to the circle, and also to the sphere, is arrived at in two or three ways. Plutarch as|cribes to Plato the opinion that if there are more worlds than the one which we inhabit, there must be five, neither more nor less; and that, even if there be only one, that one may be considered as compounded out of five subordinate worlds,—the four elements, and the sky, or fifth essence, 'to which alone,' he says, 'amongst all bodies, the property of revolving in a circle naturally appertains.' The apparent revolution of the celestial sphere round the earth is evidently intended. Again, Sir Thomas Browne, in noticing the singular frequency of the quinary arrangement in nature, observes (it is a thing indeed which many have observed independently) upon the very large number of flowers which have five petals, as if that was the simplest and most fundamental division of a circle into sectors. 'Five-leaved flowers are commonly disposed circularly about the stylus, according to the higher geometry of nature, dividing a circle by five radii, which concur not to make diameters, as in quadrilateral and sexangular intersections.' (Garden of Cyrus, p. 526, ed. Bohn.) The next para|graph begins,—'Now the number of five is remarkable in every circle,' but as I cannot understand the rea|soning which follows, I forbear to quote it In a curious statement quoted by the editor of Browne from Mr. Colebrooke, it is clearly shown that the simplest distribution of groups of objects round a central and interior group is a quinary ar|rangement, while at the same time, when the groups come to be mul|tiplied indefinitely, it is necessarily spheroidal. The reader will remem|ber also the quinary grouping of animals by Mr. Macleay, once so famous, and the remarkable vindi|cation of the theory in the Vestiges of the Natural History of the Creation.]; and þe toþer fyve foolis shal be dampned in helle wiþouten eende. And as a sercle haþ noon eende, so shal not peyne of þes ypocritis. And þus telliþ Crist fair, how boþe þes partis ben fyve. Þis oile is riȝt devocioun*. [See p. 247, note A.], þat alle þes virgyns shulden have. Þes vesselis of þe virginis ben þe poweris of her soulis; for riȝt as a vessel holdiþ oile, so þe power of þe soule shulde holde riȝt devocioun in alle þe workes þat man doiþ. And riȝt as oile makiþ þe bodi soft, and ever more fletiþ above, so Page  291 devocioun of men makiþ hem soft in her traveile, and makiþ hem ever more liȝt to bisie hem for hevenli blisse. Þes lampis ben goode workes in kynde, þat boþ þes partis of virgins done; but þes lampis brennen not ne shynen bifore God, but ȝif þei have riȝt devocioun in þe workes þat þei done. And as oile haþ moche of þe eir and of þe fier, wel medlid wiþ water, so men of riȝt devocioun han mouche of hevenli þouȝtis, and also myche of charite. And her tribulacioun semeþ litil, and herbi ben þei liȝt and glad to go þis litil wey. And þus Crist, heed of þe Chirche, was glad here to renne his*. [þis, E.] wey; for he hadde greet desire to suffre peyne for mannis kynde. And so of his oile shulden we take part in goinge of oure traveilous weie. Þes fyve foolis hadden lampis, but þei hadden noon oile wiþ hem; for many men in þis lyf, boþe oon and oþer, don myche good; but hem wantiþ riȝt devocioun, bi which þei shulden go liȝt to hevene. For al oure traveile here in erþe shulde be don for þis ende; to meete wiþ Crist and his Chirche riȝtli at þe dai of dome. And þe Chirche þat comeþ from hevene wiþ Crist at þe dai of dome is clepid þe wif of Jesus Crist; for þei ben weddid ever togidere.

It were for to telle here how devocioun wantiþ in clerkis; as popis taken þer stat here for a foule devocioun, to be wor|shipid in þis world and have moche of worldli lordshipe. And so done þes cardinalis and þes bishopis also. Curatis taken benefices for þe same cause, but lesse; and preestis taken her ordris for devocioun of ten mark

* for devocioun of ten mark.] This sounds like a phrase in common use at the time, as if one were to say now that a curate took orders for his £100 a year. The passage is of some importance, as showing that, in spite of the efforts both of the court and the bishops to keep down the salaries of priests, the average rate of pay to a working priest, (the passage has nothing to do with the parsons of livings,) in the reign of Richard II, was ten marks, or £6 13s. 4d. per annum. It may be as well to take this opportunity of putting together a few particulars respecting the salaries of non-bene|ficed clerks in England between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries.

A constitution of Stephen Lang|ton, dated in 1222, thus regulates the pay of vicars perpetual:—

'Statuimus, ut vicario perpetuo ad minus reditus quinque Marcarum as|signentur, qui scilicet pro quinque Marcis solet dari ad Firmam; nisi forte in illis partibus Walliae sit....' where the parish is too poor to afford so high a stipend.

Five marks then were esteemed a competent salary in the early part of the reign of Henry III. Nearly a century and a half later the standard had varied but very little. In a con|stitution of 1362 Archbishop Islep ordains that a priest simply cele|brating 'annals,' or masses by the year, for the repose of departed souls, shall be satisfied with five marks a year, but that if he have also cure of souls, he shall receive six marks. Following up this con|stitution, the act of 36 Edw. III (1363) prohibits under penalties any layman from paying more than five marks a year to a priest residing in his house, and having no cure of souls.

The next fifty years witness a rapid change in the value of money. Archbishop Sudbury orders that the stipends which Islep had fixed at five and six marks, shall for the same duties, 'on account of the changed times,' be raised to seven and eight marks respectively. But these were doubtless the minimum rates, and in practice more was usually given. There is even distinct evidence that ten marks was a customary rate of salary for a priest to ask. The act of 2 Henry V (1414), after reciting the act of Edw. III previously men|tioned and setting forth that the priests 'which now be' will not serve but for twelve marks, or ten marks by year at the least, to the great damage of the king's liege people, enacts that seven and eight marks shall be the legal salaries, unless by special license of the or|dinary; nine marks not to be ex|ceeded even in that case.

But the changing times soon ren|dered this statute ineffectual, if it was not ineffectual from the outset. A constitution of Archbishop Chi|chely, dated in 1415, ordains that all through the province of Canter|bury the stipends of needy vicars shall be augmented as a general rule to at least twelve marks a year, if the parish revenues equal that amount.

The above particulars are found in Gibson's Codex Furis Ecclesiastici Anglicani, pp. 748, 755, 938-9.

In the province of York the rates appear to have been lower. From the Testamenta Eboracensia, published by the Surtees Society (vol. ii, p. 118) it appears that at York, in the middle of the fifteenth century, the customary payment in respect of a single mass was fourpence Thus in a will dated in 1446 we find—'Lego ad quinde|cim missas pro animâ meâ in ecclesia Sti Nicholai apud Novum Castrum super Tinam Vs.' And the ordinary annual payment at the same period, to a priest celebrating masses for the repose of souls, was in York|shire seven marks.

In preparing this note I have been greatly assisted by Professor Stubbs.

; religious possessioneris Page  292 for devocioun of her bely; and many freris taken her stait to lyve lustli in þis world, for ellis þei shulden be laborers, and lyve hard lyf in lewid stait. And so devocioun of clerkis, fro þe firste to þe laste, is studie of avarice, and no trewe devo|cioun; and so freris, in her statis, wanten riȝt devocioun; for þei taken not her degres, neiþer in scole, ne in office, for riȝt devocioun to renne þe weie þat Crist haþ tauȝt. And þei wolen not be confessours,—speciali of lordis and ladies,—for þe devocioun þat þei have for to make her soulis clene, but for devocioun of worldli likyng, þat þei taken wiþ þes folk, (for þus þei ben exempt from cloistre and from risyng at mydnyȝt, and fro fastinge in her fraitour*. [freytor, E.]*. [Fraitour, or freytour, is a cor|ruption of refectorium, in old French, refreitor. It means the dining-hall of a monastery. In later times the word was further corrupted to Frater|house. Thus Davies, in his Ancient Rites and Monuments of the Church of Durham (1672), says, 'In the south alley of the cloisters is a fair large hall, called the Frater-House, finely wainscoted on the north and south sides, as also on the west.' See Hal|liwell's Glossary. Bénoit, in his Chronicle of the Dukes of Nor|mandy, l. 10998, writes,—'Cloistre i fist faire e dormor, Celier, quisine, e refreitor.'], and oþer workes of obedience,) and Page  293 lustis, þat þei have wiþ ladies, oþer þan þei shulden have at hom. And þus þes laste folk semen virginis; but þei ben foule putis. And assaie her wordis and her lyves, and þanne þou maist betre wite. Defaute in*. [of, E.] oile of*. [in, E.] oþer beggers þat ben walkinge in þis world mai men see þat take hede, and of oþer pore men boþe, as trowauntis can feynen hem sike and defourme hem in bodi; and þis is foul ypocrisie and no riȝt devocioun. So it is to drede to many þat ben pore and lyven chast, þat þei shal, at þe dai of dome, wante oile in her lampis.

But whanne þis spouse made dwelling, alle þes virgines napten and slepten. Bi which wordis God undirstondiþ many faire wittis. And goode napping of þes fyve wyse virginis is short deþ þat þei have here to tyme of þe dai of dome. For þis deþ is clepid slepinge; but þes foolis slepen ever bi slepe of ever|lasting synne. And so þes ten al togidir slepten and nap|piden on þis manere; but foolis slepten þis longe sleep, a part here and a part in helle. And þus dwelling of þis spouse is abidinge to þe dai of dome. Certis at mydniȝt was maad a crie: Lo! þe spouse comeþ, go ȝe out aȝens him. Þanne risen up alle þe virgyns, and maden þer lampis fair. And þes foole virginis seiden to þes wise virgyns; Ȝyve ȝe to us of ȝoure oile, for oure lampis ben quenchid. And þes wise virgyns answeriden and seiden, Lest it suffice not to us and to ȝou, go ȝe raþer to hem þat sellen oile, and bie ȝe oile to ȝou silf. And while þei wenten to bie oile, þe spouse cam. And þes virgyns þat weren redi entriden*. [So E; entride, A.]in wiþ þe spouse'; and anoon þe ȝate was shut.

Þis myddil of þe nyȝt is þe tyme þat Crist shal come to þe laste dome. For certein enchesoun þis tyme is nyȝt; for it is derk and unknowun to men whanne it shal be, and wheþer þei shal go þanne to hevene or to helle. And it is þe myddel for þis en|chesoun. It is after þe derknesse, þat goiþ bifore þis jugement, Page  294 and bifore þe derknes þat ever shal be in helle. Þis crie is warn|ynge of aungels, þat shal be to þis daie, þat Poul clepid þe laste trompe, and sum, Gabrielis horn. Þanne shal it be seid in sen|tence: Lo, now comeþ þe spouse of holi Chirche; go ȝe aȝens him. And þis bidding of God shal not be aȝenseid. And þus men þat shal be savyd and dampned, shal rise aȝens þis daie of dome, and make hem redi to answere of dedis þat þei have done. And þanne her conscience shal be open of alle þe lyves þat þei have led. And þus shal þes foolis wite þat hem failide devocioun, and herfore þei shal be dampned, but ȝif þei can excuse hem. Þe axing of þes foolis of men þat shal be saif, is a privy wishinge of þes founed virgyns, þat þei taken part of devocioun of seintis; and wel mai þes be foolis þat þanne have siche desiris. But þes men þat now dremen an ac|cident wiþouten suget mai falle aborde wiþ þese foolis, and axe þis as possible. Þe answere of þes wise virginis telliþ treuþe to þes foolis, how devocioun þat þei have sufficiþ not for hem boþe; and þerfore shulden þei go to seintis, þat sellen in weye devocioun. But þat tyme is passid now; and so moten nedis þei dispeire. And in tyme þat þei þenken þus, how þei shulden have lyved riȝtfulli, and have had devocioun in good workes þat þei diden, comeþ Crist to þe dome, and takiþ to heven just men. Alle þes þingis have ordre of kynde, al if þei hav not ordre of tyme. At þe laste comen þes founed virgyns, and seien to Crist in þis wise: Lord, Lord, opene to us. And Crist an|sweriþ unto hem: Soþeli, I seie to ȝou, I knowe ȝou not: Goiþ forþ ȝour weie. And þerfore, wake ȝe, seiþ Crist, for ȝe knowun not þe daie, ne þe hour. Þis comyng of þes fool virgins, after þat seintis ben in blisse, is grutchinge of her conscience aȝens Goddis jugement; and criyng of openyng of Crist is languish|ing to come to hevene. But answere þat Crist ȝeveþ aȝen, is stabling of her peyne in helle; for þei shal þanne be certein þat her double peyne in helle moot nedis be, bi Cristis juge|ment, for her wickid lyving here. And so her double criyng þanne is her unfamous conscience; for þanne hem shal wante fame, boþe of þis world and of þe toþer. And þus, as Crist concludiþ ofte, alle manere of men shulde wake, siþ þei knowen not þe daie of dome, ne hour in which þei shal be deed.