Select English works of John Wyclif; edited from original mss. by Thomas Arnold.
Wycliffe, John, d. 1384., Arnold, Thomas, ed. 1823-1900.
Page  295


[BISHOP BALE, in the later edition of his Summarium, dated Basle, 1559, thus enters the following series of sermons for the Proprium Sanctorum on his list of Wyclif's works:—

In Evangelia festivalia, lib. I. 'Hoc Evangelium historicè narrat.'

The writer, whether Wyclif or not, composed the thirty-eight*. [By an error of the scribe these sermons are numbered as thirty|seven only in MS. Bodl. 788, the same number being assigned to ser|mons CIV and CV; and the mis|take is repeated in Dr. Shirley's Catalogue.] sermons which follow upon gospels which he took, partly from the Proprium de Tempore, partly from the Proprium Sanctorum or Sanctorale, of the Sarum Missal. The title 'Proprium Sanctorum' is not therefore strictly appropriate. Those on gospels taken from the 'Proper of the Season' are ten in number, and are numbered in the present edition LXXXIX to XCVII and CIV. The offices for the first nine of the festivals thus included in the writer's plan, stand all in close juxtaposition in the Sarum Missal, except that the office for St. Thomas of Canterbury (Thomas à Becket,) comes between those for the Holy Innocents and the Sixth Day after Christmas, and St. Sylvester precedes the Cir|cumcision. The omission of St. Thomas' feast by the writer is perhaps significant, and may be taken as the first premonitory symptom of the storm raised against the Archbishop's memory, and against the popular devotion to him, in the reign of Henry VIII.]



Stabat Johannes.
—JOHN i. [29.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ in storie, how Crist gederide his disciplis, and seiþ, þat Joon stood and two of Joones disciplis, and Joon biheld Jesus wandringe, and seide þus of him: Lo, þe lombe of God. Joon Baptist was bifore Crist to make þe weie redi to Page  296 him; and al his entent was to hiȝe Crist and his ordre. And þus whanne he clepide Crist þe lombe of God, he tolde þe innocence of Crist, and how he shulde die for man. And þis was figurid in sleying of þe Pask lombe. For as þe Pask lombe was offrid of oo ȝeer wiþouten wemm, so Crist was offrid at Pask to bie his Chirche, of þe firste preest; and þis preest is boþe God and man. And þus Crist is þe lomb of God; and as a lomb haþ no kyndeli gendrure, but it is clene wiþouten scabbe, so Crist was evermore a virgyn, and clene wiþouten ony synne. And two disciplis of Joon herden him speke, and sueden Jesus. And Jesus turnede aȝen and saw hem suyng him, and seide to hem: What seke ȝe? And þei seiden to Crist, Maistre, where dwellist þou? And Crist seide to hem, þat þei shulden come and see. Þei comen and sawen where Crist shulde dwelle, and dwelliden wiþ him þat dai; and it was as þe tenþe hour. And oon of þe two disciplis was Andreu, Symondis broþer, þat*. [So E; A has and.]herden þeir maistir Joon speke þus, and sueden Crist for good entent.

Soþli Joon Baptist hadde disciplis, to make hem redi to Cristis ordre. And þis priour grutchide not, but was fayne þat þei wenten to Crist; for he synneþ hugeli þat of two goodis chesiþ þe worse. And wolde God þat oure newe ordris wolden wel undirstonde þis storie. Þanne þei shulden preise Crist and his ordre, and be mekeli his disciplis, and make þer disciplis redi to come to Cristis ordre, and grutche not for þei wenten out fre from hem to Cristis ordre. For certis Baptistis ordre was betre þan ben alle þes newe ordris, and he grutchide not but was ful fayn þat þei ȝeden fro him to Crist. And so shulden alle þes privat patrons be fayn of þer disciplis whanne þei wenten fro þer ordre, and camen freli to Cristis ordre; for Cristis ordre is betere þan is hern, as we taken here of bileve. And þus alle þes synnen gretli, þat taken þis worse and leven þe betere. And it is a fendis envie, on þis manere to harme þer breþren, and algatis, for a pride bifore, to hie aȝen Crist þer rotun ordre. And ȝif þou seie þat þis skile wente forþ*. [forþe wente, E.], ȝif Crist were dwelling here in erþe, and gedride to him*. [hym, E.] disciplis as he Page  297 dide in Baptist tyme; but now Crist is went to hevene, and men gaderen to hem disciplis; certis þis feyned skile wolde distrie alle þes ordris. For þer patroun, as þei seien, is went to hevene, and dwelliþ wiþ Crist. And ȝif þer ordre dwelliþ aftir, muchil more shulde Cristis ordre, siþ Crist is ever wiþ his disciplis oþerwise þan þes patrouns mai. And where þou seiest þat þes ordris gederen disciplis unto Cristis ordre, certis þanne þei erren foulli, to cloute þus to Cristis reule; as, if men varieden þus fro þer reule, þei wolden seie þei broken þer ordre, siþ þes ordris acorden more togidere, þan ony of þes and Cristis*. [So E; A has Anticristis, which gives no sense.] ordre, þat is comoun to Cristyn men, and was bifore þes ordris bigan. Lord! siþ þes ordris wolden bere hevy þat men wenten to anoþer ordre, how shulden not Crist and hise bere hevy þat men wenten out of Cristis ordre? and moche more*. [So in E; om. A.] ȝif fendis lettiden to come aȝen freeli to Crist. Þis synne wole Crist juge, þat is weie, treuþe, and liif, how men letten to wenden his weie. And errour wole not excuse, siþ Poul wende he hadde do wel plesing God whanne he blas|femyde. Þis prisonyng in þes ordris, þat letten men to go freeli out of hem to Cristis ordre, is worse þan ony oþer sect, and liik to þe fendis ordre, þat lettiþ men to go from him. For fro Crist mai men go freeli unto þe fend; but þis condicioun of þe feend, foundun in þes*. [So E; A has þis.] newe ordris, is sprongen to popis and to kyngis boþe, þat consenten and helpen herto.

Þis Andreu fond first his broþer, þat is seid Symound, and seide to him: We han foundun Messi*. [Messy, E.], þe which is þe grete Crist. It was comun in þe olde lawe þat a greet profete shulde come of þe kynrede of Jewis, and bringe hem to ful freedom; and þis was clepid Messias, and Crist bi o witt. And Andrew ledde Petre to Jesus; and Jesus biheld Petre, and seide, þou art Symont, be sone of Johanna: Þou shalt be callid*. [clepid, E.]Petre, and be maad capteyn of apostlis, for vertues þat Y see in þee. On þe morewe wolde Crist go out into Galile, and fond Philip, and seide, Sue me. Þis Philip was of Beþsaida, þat was citee of Andreu and Petre. And Philip fond Nathanael, and seide to him on þis manere: Him þat Moises haþ writun in þe lawe andPage  298prophetis, we han founden, Jesus, Josepis sone, of Naȝareþ. And Nathanael seide to Philip, Of Naȝareþ mai sum good be? And Philip seide to Nathanael þat he shulde come and se Jesus. Jesus saw Nathanael comyng to him, and seide of him: Lo, verili, a man of Israel in whom is noo gile. And Nathanael seide to Crist: Wher|of hast þou knowe me? Jesus answeride and seide to him, Bifore þat Philip clepide þee, whanne þou was undir þe fige tree, Y saw þee. And here Crist techiþ his Godhed in a maner bi his speche þat he seiþ here. Nathanael was a wise man, and þerfor spak more sutilli. For as Poul seiþ, we speken wisdom among wise men. Crist telliþ here to Nathanael how he saw him undir þe fige tree. Þat mote be bi his Godhede; for bodili siȝt cam not þanne. And þus þat Crist knewe þe hert of Nathanael was bi his Godhede. And þus Crist telliþ, but privyly, whereof he knewe Nathanael,—for of his Godhede he knewe him, as Crist mente in hise wordis. And Nathanael answeride and seide to Crist: Maister, þou art Goddis sone, and þou art king of Israel. Jesus answeride and seide to him, For Y seide to þee þat Y saw þee undir þe fige tree, þou bilevest; þerfore þou shall se more þan þese. And Crist seide to þes men togider, Soþeli, I seie to ȝou, ȝe shal se hevene open, and aungels of God steynge up and comynge doun upon me, al if Y be, mannis sone.

In þis story mai we see many treuþis þat we shulden trowe. First, how proctours of Crist shulden gete disciplis to him bi skilful mevyng*. [movyng, E.] of Goddis lawe, þat þei miȝten freeli come to Crist, and not bi chaffaryng of erþeli þingis, as þese newe ordris chaffaren. Men þat comen to þes dowid ordris [and]*. [om. E; rightly.] bringen þer cloþing wiþ hem, boþe for her bedde and bak; for richesse lettiþ to ȝyve hem þese; and over þis þei moten bringe boþe a cuppe and spone to drynke and ete þeir potage; for on þes þingis is þer þouȝt. In þes ordris of þese beggaris þei have contrarie maner; for þei, al ful of disseit, not wiþouten gile as Naþanael, wiþ divers and litil ȝiftis, and false wordis, disseyven children. For þei abiden not to ful age, as weren Andrew, Peter, and Philip; but bifore men have discrecioun in þeir childhode þei ben þus begilid. And so þe first part of þes ordris telliþ Page  299 how þei shal ever be nedi, and þat oþer latter part telliþ how þei shal ever be bigilid; but on neiþer of þes maners chees Crist his disciplis; but þes men likli ben oblishid unto fendis—to þe fend þat is Mammon, and to þe fadir of lesingis. And boþe þes ben fendis, as ben alle þat shal be dampned. But here þes ordris fagen, and seien, we knowun not þes entrees, for þes ordris wiþ possessiouns bi þis cause taken men wiþ goodis, þat þe worlde shulde knowe þat þei take not beggers, but riche, as þei shal ever be. Þe freris seien, þei taken in children, for þei ben moost innocentis, and liȝt to norishe in Goddis lawe, as þei ben at þe bigynnyng. But neiþer of þes grounden hem in Goddis lawe bi þer dedes. Þe firste word of þe firste ordre techiþ how he partiþ wiþ þe toþer patroun, and þe toþer partiþ wiþ him in synne, as seintis parten in good. Soþli þes possessioners maken in þer professioun þat þei professen povert, chastite, and obedience to Crist, and at þe bigynnynge þei moten nedes professen þe contrarie. And in tokene of þe firste, þat þei han renounsid*. [So E; renounsiþ, A.] povert, and ben oblishid to worldli richesse, þei bringen her cuppe and her spone, in tokene þat to drynke and pulment þei ben oblishid bifore oþer; and boþe þes ben no povert to sue Crist, but þe contrarie. Þes freris, þat oblishen þer breþren bi falshed and oþer giles, maken þer pro|testacioun þat þei forsaken after treuþe; and in reule of þe fadir of lesingis þei wolen drawe to þe deþ dai. And ȝif disseit of ȝong men bi Goddis lawe shulde be dampned, muche more disseit of children þat wanten discrescioun, but han þer eldris for þer keperis; for þei wittis wanten kyndeli*. [That is, are naturally deficient.]. And siþ God seiþ in his lawe, þat whoso steliþ a man, he shal be kild bi Goddis lawe, it semeþ þat alle þes benperis shulden be kild of God by skile; for siþ þefte is taking of oþer mennis þingis, aȝens þe wille of þe lord, it semeþ þat þis takyng of children, þat freris shulden have bi noo lawe, is taking of oþer mennis þingis, for taking of fadirs þing and modirs. And þis tresour is moost presciouse and ful costli to þes fadirs. And where it be aȝens þeir wille, examine hem, and þei shal telle. And þes children comen in bi þefte, and þei ben þeves in al her lyf, to Page  300 caste how þei shal cleke to freris alle þe goodis þat þei mai geten, ouþer of þer frendis or of oþer, bi what menis þat þei can caste. And þes ordris folwen more to fendis þan don þe firste ordris of Mammon.

Over þis, men douten comunly, whi Crist chees not Na|thanael, siþ he was witty and good to be Cristis apostle. But here men seien comunli þat þer ben many chesingis of Crist. Crist chesiþ sum to his disciplis for to come afterward to blis. And þus men supposen þat Crist ches þis Nathanael; for Crist preiside him ful myche, and algatis of*. [in, E.] virtu of treuþe. And þus Crist haþ many disciplis þat ben hid, as Nathanael, as was Joseph and Nicodeme and oþer, til þe daie of dome; for ever Cristis ordre shal laste, and tellen here oþer þer defautes. But þis Nathanael was to wiis to be chosen Cristis apostle, for Crist wolde shewe bi miracle, bi rude*. [bustouse, E.] men to turne þe world. And þus he wolde make up of fisheris and oþer comunes his apostlis, and make hem passe in witt and wisdom alle oþer men of þis world.

But ȝit men douten comunli how Crist chees here þes þree apostlis, and toke hem*. [So E; om. A.] not anoon wiþ him, but lete hem wende into þe world and lyve comun lyf as laborers, as it was tauȝt in Petre and oþer. But here we trowen þat Crist dide þus to con|founde þes cloistreris; for Crist wiste wel þat þei shulden come and disseyve muche of þis world, and seie þat it falliþ not to hem to labore, ne dwelle out of þer cloistre, siþ þei passen oþer men in newe signes þat þei han founden. And to distrie þis ypocrisie dide autor of religioun þis:—he chees not þes dis|ciplis unto cloistre þat he dwelte inne, but into place removable, as was Moises tabernacle. And þis is better ordre here; siþ here we have noo citee dwellinge, but here we seken þe blisse of hevene. And þus wente Crist on þe morewe in to þe contre of Galile. But men seien comunli þat Crist clepide ofte his dis|ciplis: first, to be homely wiþ him, and leve sumwhat of worldli curis; after, whanne þei weren more ripe, to suen him boþe dai and niȝt, and siþ, after his resureccioun, to don þer hiȝe apostlis workes. And þus was Poul chosun to be apostle after þe Page  301 assencioun of Crist; and anoon he wente and prechide and dide as hiȝest apostle shulde do. And algatis we ben tauȝt bi Crist to flee prisonyng of men as þeves. But ȝif þei wolen dwelle wiþ Crist, þei shulden freeli do þer werkes, and avente hem in þis world, and be not weddid wiþ erþeli þingis. Soþ it is þat Crist sum tyme constreynede men, shewinge his Godhede; as Crist smot Poul doun, and turnede his herte to love of him. But he wolde þat his ordre stood in pacience, mekenesse, and charite, and speciali to turne þe world fro richessis and lustis of bodi: but þes newe religious reversen Crist in alle þes þingis.



Ambulans Jesus juxta mare Galilee.
—MATT. iv. [18.]

ÞIS gospel of Mathew telliþ how Crist clepide foure apostlis: Petre and Andrew, James and Joon, fro craft of þer fishing. And so seiþ Mathew þat Crist wandride bi þe water of Galile. Ebreus clepen ech water a see; and so ech ryver is a see. And þis ryver of Galile likide Crist ofte to wende*. [go, E.] biside it. Crist saw þes foure breþeren þat weren fisheris in þis water. First he saw Symound Petre, and Andreu þat was his broþer, putting þer nett into þe water; for þei weren fisheris. And he seide to hem, Come after me, and Y shal make ȝou to be maad fisheris of men. Crist spak ofte bi his manhede, and dide worship to his Fadir; as here Crist bad þes two disciplis þat þei shulden come after him, —neiþer go bifore him ne come aside in þer lyvyng,—but as þei sawen þer maistre lyve, so shulden þei sue him in þeir lyf. And herfore Crist reprovede Petre, as þe gospel telliþ after, and seide; Go bihinde me, Sathanas, for þou savorist not Goddis þingis. Crist clepide not þes two apostlis to his chaumbre to ete applis; but in þe comun feld, he clepide hem fro worldli traveil, and tolde hem Page  302 of a betere traveile, in which þei shulden take men. And þes two anoon leften þer nettis, and þer boot, and sueden Crist. Mathew telliþ not how fer þes apostlis sueden Crist; but oo þing we trowen as bileve,—þat no gospel contrarieþ to oþer, and no part of þe gospel is fals; but ech part acordiþ to oþer. We trowen also þat Jesus Crist mevede þes men, boþe wiþinne and wiþoute, and shewide his vertue in þer soulis, and made hem bowe to his bidding. But God forbede þat we shulden trowe, for men wolen not bowe to us, þat we shulden clepe hem worldli, contrarie to Cristis cleping, or ellis grounde a newe ordre, as we wolden passe Crist. For if we wolen holde Cristis ordre, we moten nedeli sue Crist. And þus it semeþ*. [Two leaves of the MS. E (Douce 321) are here wanting; the hiatus, beginning at this point, extends to the words 'muche in gloterie,' in|clusive, on p. 306. The text is therefore solely dependent on A, up to that point.] to many men þat patrouns of þes newe ordris gon bifore Crist, as Sathanas; and leeven and dispisen his ordre.

And Jesus goinge forþ þennes, saw oþere two breþeren, James and Joon, whiche weren Zebedees children; and wiþ þis fadir in þe boot, beetinge þer nettis to take fishe. And Crist clepide þes two breþeren; and þei anoon leften þer nettis, and þer fadir, and sueden him; for þes two disciplis weren meevyd of Crist, as oþer two, and it semeþ þei loveden more Crist, for þei leften more þer fadir; and þus þei weren worþi of Crist, siþ þei loveden him so muche. For Crist seiþ, whosoever loveþ ony man more þan him, he is not worþi of him, and so not worþi of hevenli blis. It is told ofte bifore of alle þes newe ordris, how þei ben not groundid in Crist, ne in ony dedis þat he dide. Þei done sumwhat þat is good, and many þingis amys; and so stondiþ þer cloutid reule, boþe in good and in yvel; and þus is Macometis lawe and conjourisons maad. And shortli, noon yvel is suffrid, but ȝif it be groundid in good.

But it were to wite over, wheþer þese chesingis þat preestis maken, and þis dowyng þat þei have, ben groundid in Goddis lawe. And trewe men witen wel þat boþe þes reversen Crist. As anentis þis chesing, foolis maken þis resoun. Crist chees him apostlis, and prelatis shulde sue Crist, and speciali popis Page  303 and bishopis; whi shulden not þei chese curatis? for ellis shulden officeris perishe, and, bi defaute of hem, Goddis hous. And þus þes two þingis wolen sue: þat oþer popis shulden not sue Crist, or ellis þei shulden chese prelatis, as þe popis lawe techiþ. Þe secounde þing þat sueþ here is foule inconvenient, þat þe pope, Cristis viker, þat haþ his Chirche for to kepe, shulde lete þe Chirche perishe for defaute of siche chesinge. And it is fittinge þat þe pope, þat haþ more witt and autorite, shulde ordeyne for þis chesing, siþ he is heed of holy Chirche. Here we shal suppose, first, þat we speken in þis mater, as if þe pope hadde not ȝit ordeyned lawis of sich eleccioun, but how Goddis lawe and resoun wolde teche for to worche here; and þanne many men þenken þat þis eleccioun shulde not be, siþ it mai not be groundid in resoun ne in Goddis lawe. And to þe resoun þat is maad for þe contrarie part, we shal suppose þat ech man, but algatis þe pope, shulde sue Crist. But ȝit, for dignite of Crist, men shulden ever putte him bifore, and ȝyve to Crist a worþines þat mai oonli acorde to him, for ellis Crist were not abbot over alle oþer men, and maister over alle hise breþeren, as he is boþe God and man. And þus ech oþer preest shulde mekeli sue Crist, and neiþer go evene wiþ Crist, ne bifore him, as dide Petre, and þerfore he was clepide Saþanas, and beden go bihynde Crist. And þus a perel in þe Chirche, þat Poul tauȝte for to come, is, þat Anticrist hiȝe him above Crist, boþe God and man. And þus we graunten þat Crist chese to him apostlis and oþer disciplis, oþerwise þan þe Pope of Rome mai or can chese him servauntis; siþ Crist was boþe God and man, and knewe alle þingis þat shulde be, and wiste fulli what was best, and wrouȝte ever wiþoute defaute. And þus seiþ þe gospel bifore, þat disciplis sawun where Crist shulde dwelle; for alle þingis þat Crist dide he shulde do so for þe beste. And þus ȝif Crist chees disciplis, þe pope shulde not þerfore chese þus; for þe pope mai not be evene wiþ Crist, in witt, ne in autorite; but he shulde sue Crist here as diden Cristis apostlis bifore. Goddis lawe telliþ, whanne þei chosen Mathi as þe twelfþe postle of Crist in þe stede of Scarioth, þei kepten þis ordre in þis eleccioun: þei chosen two, þe whiche þei wisten moost able to be apostle, and moo þei wolden have Page  304 chosen ȝif þei hadden knowe siche moo; but, for þei knewun not þe beter of Joseph and Mathi, þei putten it in Goddis juge|ment wheþer of þes two Crist wolde have; and preieden ful devouteli, siþ Crist knewe þe hertis of men, þat Crist shulde shewe wheþer of þes two he hadde chosen, bi casting of lottis. And siþ Petre and oþer apostlis weren in þis chesinge, and þei weren moo, and more witti, þan þe Pope of Rome, it semeþ þat he shulde after hem make his more elecciouns. Apostlis chosen preestis in contres þat þei wenten bi, and maden hem dwellinge curatis; and þei hadden myche goodis. But apostlis weren algatis pore men and overseeris; for þis poverte was perfeccioun þat felde more to hem. For Crist, her alþer maister, was moost pore man. But oþer fourme of chesinge can we not grounde in Goddis lawe. And siþ Crist, God and man, chees so fewe men in þis office, and þe pope chesiþ so many, wiþoute siȝt in Godhede, it semeþ þat he is hied over Crist, and so over al þat is seid God. For certis Crist myȝte not make al þes eleccions; siþ Crist ne myȝte not chese, but þat he saw þe Godhede chese. But popis chesyn, for moneie or for preier of princis, many men þat ben unable to bere haly water in chirchis*. ['men þat ben unable to bere haly water in chirchis.'] This may either mean laymen,—men who are not qualified to discharge even the hum|blest ecclesiastical function,—or, as I am more inclined to believe, clerks, so ignorant and incompetent as to be unfit even for the duty of an acolyte in carrying the Asper|sorium with holy water, for the priest to use in the ceremony of the Asperges. To bere is the expression, not to use, for the act of sprinkling could only be performed by a priest. See Ferraris' Bibliotheca, articles Aspersorium, Aqua Benedicta, Ordo.]. Lord! siþ Crist myȝte not do þis,—and þis þei taken for excellence,—how sich men hien hem not above Crist and al þat is God! for certeinli Crist myȝte not make siche elecciouns. Þes men suen not Crist, as diden Peter and oþer apostlis, but algatis gon bifore Crist. And so Crist clepide hem Saþanas; siþ Crist acceptiþ not persones, but takiþ ech man as he is worþi, sum men goode and sum men fendis, after þat þei suen Crist. And þus it semeþ to many men, ȝif þe Pope wolde be Cristis disciple, he shulde leeve þes elecciouns, or use hem as Petre dide. Wel Y woot þat Crist forsook to juge in temporal goodis; and þis jugement, evyl done, is myche worse to þe juge. And þus apostlis makinge preestis hadden Page  305 shewing of God; for ellis þei hadden do folili in þingis þat þei knewen not. And ȝif þe pope lefte þis þing for peril þat lieþ þerinne, holi Chirche shulde not perishe, but profite more þan it doiþ now. For þanne weren bishopis ful apostlis and pore men as þei weren first, and not chargious to þe peple, but doinge þingis þat felde to hem. And so, wiþouten sich signes, miȝte þe chirche be wel governed. And þus is þis resoun as|soilid þat was first maad for þe pope, þat he mot nede, for Cristis love, and for love of his Chirche, be þus occupied, for prelacie þat holi Chirche must nedis have. Certis þis is a false ground and mychel harm comeþ þerof. But whanne o blinde lediþ a blynde, þei fallen boþe in þe lake. And þus seien men, þat coveitise of worshipis and worldli goodis blinden prestis bi symonye, þat al þe chirche fariþ þe worse. And þus mai men see here. If þes prelatis wolden sue Crist, and putte his Chirche out of peril, þei shulden leve þis, as Crist dide. But boþe þis chesing of þe pope, and oþer þing þat bringiþ*. [That is, contributeth.] herto, is brouȝt in bi þe fend, and not bi Cristis autorite. For certis Crist miȝte not himsilf make þes elecciouns. But as þei seien, þe pope mai make a lewid man, for money, a greet bishop on his chirche; but þis is chirch of wickide men.

And þus alle þes popis lawes, biside þe lawis þat Crist made, and alle þe dedis þat he doiþ þat ben not groundid in Cristis liif, ben ful venym to þe chirche,—ȝif a man durste seie þus,—and popis lawis beren no strengþe aȝens men þat holden þis. Lord, what vertue is in þis lawe!—þat ȝif two han þe popis grace, at o tyme, in oo cuntre, where many benefices mai falle, he þat presentiþ first his grace, he shal be sped bifore þe toþer. It haþ fallen ofte tymes, and so mai it falle hereafter, þat two men have grace at oo tyme of oo collacioun, and þe more unable man, þat loveþ more worldli good, presentiþ first his grace to patrons,—for Scarioth slepiþ not,—and þanne, bi vertue of þis lawe, shal þis fend be putt bifore, and þis good man putt bihynde. But þis is yvel fruyt of lawe; and God myȝte not make þis lawe, for God myȝte not do amys. How mai ony viker of Crist sue Crist in doinge þus? But certis he goiþ bifore Page  306 Crist, or ellis on oþer side weie. What woot þe pope þe stat of contreis of many hundrid myle from him? And wordis of false coveitouse men shulden not in þis lede þe pope; but he shulde lyve as Crist haþ tauȝt, and not þus blyndeli lede þe Chirche. Of þis comen a þousand errours, þat siche prelatis fallen ynne. Þei seien þat þei mai not synne in þis state, as Crist myȝte not; for Crist haþ hiȝt to his Chirche, þat he shal never faile to it; and þus þe pope is God in erþe, and þe moste blessid fadir. Sich heresies ben sowen, þat a man þat lovede Crist, shulde, for to suffre deeþ, aȝens stonde þes heresies; for it were all oon to seie þus, and to putt Anticrist above Crist.

ON EIȜTEÞ DAY OF SEYNT ANDREU*. [There is an office for the octave of St. Andrew's Day in the Sarum missal, and from it the writer took the gospel here preached upon. The Roman missal has no office for the day.].


Postquam autem traditus est Johannes.
—MARK i. [14.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ, as oþer bifore, of chesing of Cristis Apostlis. And it semeþ þat Crist prechide first whanne Baptist was taken to prisoun. And ȝif Crist prechide privyli bifore Baptist was enprisound, þat was in anoþer manere; for Crist wolde ȝeve Baptiste his time. After þe tyme þat Joon was traied in to þe þrisoun of Eroude cam Jesus in to Galile, prechinge þe gospel of Goddis rewme; and seide, þat tyme is fulfillid, and þe rewme of God shal come. Matheu telliþ how Crist bigan to preche fro þe tyme þat Joon was taken, and toke þe same word for his teme þat Baptist toke whanne he prechide:—Do ȝe pen|aunce, for þe rewme of God shal come. It is knowen of Goddis lawe, how mannis kynde was exilid for synne of our firste fadir þat stood muche in gloterie*. [See note on p. 302.]; and so resoun of God axide þat comyng aȝen of þis rewme shulde be gete bi penaunce contrarie to gloterie. And herfore Crist, oure first fadir in Page  307 spiritual gendrure, tauȝte us for to do penaunce contrarie to Adam's lore; and Baptist, þat was Cristis spouse*. [St. Gregory (Homil. xx.), in commenting on the text, 'He that hath the bride is the bridegroom,' says, 'ac si [Johannes] diceret: ego sponsus non sum, sed amicus sponsi sum.' But our author, possibly from imperfectly remembering the pas|sage, calls John the Baptist the spouse of our Lord, a title of dignity which I cannot find was ever con|ferred upon him by any of the Fa|thers or Doctors of the Church.], tauȝte bifore þe same lessoun. And, for Goddis kingdom is to come, and not wiþouten sich penaunce, ech man þat wole have hevene shulde be aboute to do sich penance. And þus þe cause of Crist is pleyn to men þat wole undirstonde it. And þis forþinking is not ynowȝ, but ȝif trouþe be joyned þerwiþ. And herfore seiþ Markus*. [Markis, E.] Gospel:—Forþenke ȝe and trowe ȝe to þe gospel. Penaunce disposiþ a man to take byleeve over a beest, and þanne bileve ordeyneþ him to be groundid in oþer vertues.

And Jesus wendinge forþer biside þe see of Galile, saw Symount, and Andreu his broþer, castinge her nettis in to þe water; for þes two weren fisheris. And Jesus seide to hem, Come ȝe after me and Y shal make ȝou to be maad fisheris of men; for my Fadir shal make þis. And anoon þei leften þer nettis and sueden him, as his disciplis.

It is noo drede Crist movede þes men, bi his Godhede, in þer soule, and disposide hem to religioun fro þe tyme þat he ȝaf hem witt; for siche men wolde Crist have to grounden men in Goddis lawe. But here men douten comunli whi Crist lovede þus fisheris, and hunteris he lovede but litil, as Lameth and Esau. But here shulden we bileve þat Crist acceptiþ noo persones; but after þat he makiþ hem good, he loviþ hem more or lesse. And so fisheris weren betere men, and þerfore Crist lovede hem more. But ȝit stondiþ þe doute moved, whi Crist made not hunteris betere men þan fisheris, siþ it is more gentil craft. Here is no greet questioun; for God mai worche as he wole. But ȝit men seien here, þat fishing is þe porer craft, and more acording to men, and neer þe state of innocence; and þerfore Crist lovede it þe more. Soþeli men hunten in Lenten, and gentil men,—to have þer game, whanne þei have noon oþer Page  308 avauntage, alȝif þer travaile be bisie and muche. But not so comunli falliþ þis in fishing. And fishis ben ner þe elementis, and not so like to mannis fleish; and þerfore men holden an ordre to ete fishe and leve fleish; and þus fishe is neer to mete þat man shulde have in Paradise, and sleying of fishe is ferþer from sleying of men þan is sleying of erþeli beestis, which fleish heweris usen. And God wolde þat man hadde orrour of sleying of his broþer; but now men usen a newe craft*. [a newe craft. This seems to refer to the recent introduction of gunpowder, the invention or the re-discovery of a friar, Roger Bacon, into the art of war.] to slee men comunli, more þan þis craft was usid fro þe tyme þat God was born; and seien, þat preestis shulden usen þis craft betere and more meedefulli þan shulde seculer men, as preestis shulden be lordis over hem. And þis lore is tauȝt bi freris bi myche merit feyned þerto. But what men þei shulden kille, oþer þer breþeren or aliens, þei holden ȝit in þeir purs; alȝif þei prac|tisen on þer breþeren. But þis peple is wyde scaterid,—sum in Engelond, and sum wiþoute. And þes moo freris wiþouten seien þat men shulden moost kille English; and so lesse errour at bigynnynge growiþ to mykil and perilous.

But leve we þis doute here, and trete we of þe Chirche dowyng; for bi þis mo men travailen bi symonie. For many, bi þe fendis cast, loven to be hye prelatis, for lordship and richesse, more þan to quykene þe Chirche after þe poverte of Crist. And we supposen, as declarid bi twelve lawis of þe two testamentis, þat preestis and clerkis shulden be pore, as Crist was wiþ hise Apostlis. And in tokene of þis poverte, þes freris ben pore, as þei seien; and ȝit þei passen Scarioth in averice and worldli goodis. And herfore þes blasfemes seien þat beg|ging is medeful, and þat Crist tauȝte hem to begge. And þus þes traitours ben maad riche. Men have proved ofte tymes þat preestis shulden not þus be riche, ne þus be dowid in temporal lordship. Bi men of resoun, or of Goddis half, it is knowun þing ynowȝ þat sum tyme weren preestis pore, and þanne þei shulden, bi Cristis lawe, profite to þe Chirche after þer power; but dowing makiþ hem lesse of power, and þei profiten not more þan þei mai. And so bi þis dowyng þei ben more holden, and Page  309 lesse done. Þat þei ben more holden bi þis dowynge is liȝt to prove bi mannis lawe; for siche a rente or benefice mot axe sum reward aȝen, but no reward is more fittinge þan spiritual office of preestis. And þat dowyng makiþ hem lesse of power mai men shewe bi þis maner. Þei have no more of kyndeli witt þan preestis hadden bifore þe dowynge; and siþ þes wittis ben moche occupied about dowing and worldli þingis, þei have lesse witt to be occupied aboute God and hevenli þingis. And no man of witt haþ drede þat ne þe world and worldli þingis distracten a man fro God and his service in spiritual þingis. And so it semeþ þat prestis moten nede oþer seie þat þei weren ydil bifore þe dowing, or, bi dowing, þei ben more unablid for to serve God, and to profite to his Chirche, and helpe goostli to ony man. And here it semeþ þat þes prestis ben moche*. [om. E.] unholden to seculer lordis bi þe dowyng þat þei have take; for þei ben harmed so myche þerbi. And so folie on boþe partis bringiþ in harm in ech side; for no man doiþ aȝens God, but ȝif he have harm anoon. And it is knowun bi Goddis lawe þat traveile bi Cristis ordenance disposiþ a man to have grace, and to be more loved of Crist. And ȝif preestis lyveden as Crist ordeynede, þei shulden more encrese in vertues, and pro|fite more to hem and to þe Chirche þan þei done reversynge Crist. And no man þat witt haþ wole seie, þat Crist ȝeveþ preestis more grace, for þei ben unkynde to Crist and leven þe ordenance þat he ȝaf hem. And over þis, it is knowen, þat he þat loveþ his God more shulde more profite to Cristis Chirche, and betere love his neiȝbour. But bileve techiþ us þat God biddiþ men to love him of al þer herte, of al þer liif, of al þer mynde, and of al þer strengþe; so þat, after þe ȝiftes of God, a man is holden more to serve him. And so, siþ prestis shulden not be idil, but do good after þeir power, þei shulden profite to þe Chirche bifore dowyng, as þei myȝten. But bi double folie, brouȝt in boþe in clerkes and worldli lordis, prestis ben of lesse power, boþe to serve God and his Chirche. And noo drede God axiþ acountis of þis foltish chaffering.

But here þe fend techiþ his clerkis to seke after feyned an|sweris. Page  310 And þei seien, first, þat bi þis dowyng þei ben in quiet and in pees, and so þei serven God betere, as þei bi resoun ben more holden. And þus þei ben holden in scole to lerne philosophris lore, oþer weie þan þei shulden be, ȝif þis dowing wantide hem. Here Cristen men shulden wite þat þe fend medliþ soþfastnes wiþ falshede to bigile þe folk, and turne hem fro Cristis lore. Soþeli men lernen of gentil craft*. [gentil craft appears to mean what we call secular knowledge.] bi occasioun of dowing, but not so muche as done þese beggers; for fadir of lesingis mai more in hem. Cristene men shulde lerne Goddis lawe, and holden hem paied þerof; and in þis mesure, and in þis nombre, and in þis weiȝte, shulden þei lyven here, and abiden lore in hevene þat men shulden have over þis. For þis lore þat Crist tauȝte ys ynowȝ for þis liif. And ȝif men lyven after him, þei shal have lore as þei have nede; and þus þis dowing makiþ lore þat doiþ harm to Cristis Chirche, boþe lore of vanite, and þerto lore of mennis lawis. Crist ȝaf lore, þe which he lovede, þat he wolde teche Cristen men; and oþer lore, and more, over þis, wolde Crist þat were suspendid. But ȝit men replien, and seien, þat bi þis dowyng prestis ben many; and so, in multitude of clerkis, doiþ þis dowing muche profit; for clerkes wolden not be so many but ȝif þis dowyng were here. God techiþ trewe men to graunte þat dowyng and feyned begging makiþ to multiplie prestis more þan God himsilf haþ ordeyned; for God coude ordeyne noo kyn þing, but in mesure, noumbre and weiȝte. God wolde not þat alle weren preestis, ne alle knyȝtis, ne alle laboreris; but of alle þes þree partis, God wolde make his Chirche in mesure. And ȝif þou seist þat men faylen witt to ateyne*. [atteyne, E.] to Goddis noumbre, lyve men wel, and God wole teche how muchel shulde be noumbre of preestis. For defaute of Goddis lawe makiþ defaute in þis noumbre. Lerne men wel Goddis lawe, and it shal teche mesure in þis, if men prechen wel þis lawe, and hiden it not fro þe peple. Wel I rede in Goddis lawe, whanne God wolde have myche travaile in beryng of þe taber|nacle and sacrificis of many beestis, he wolde have, of twelve kynredis, but o kynrede of Levy, to serve his folk for preestis Page  311 and dekenes. And ȝit he wiþdrowȝ many of hem and unablide hem to serve God þus for sykenesse þat he sente hem. And to alle þes preestis and dekenes God lymitide but dymes and offringis. Lord! ȝif Cristene men wolden be paied of þe mesure of Goddis ordenance, and have þe twelfþe part of*. [om. E.] clerkis*. [That is, 'if but a twelfth part of the population, as was the case among the Jews, devoted themselves to the service of the altar.'], and ȝyve her dymes and offringis to hem and hyris*. [heris, E.] to lyve bi, ȝit it were now ynowȝ, siþ Apostlis wiþ lesse goodis profitiden more to Cristis Chirche. And þus wiþdrawe we kyngis clerkis and clerkis þat ben in lordis housis, and algatis þese religious þat ben to charge of Cristis Chirche; and passe we not þanne þe tenþe part, to dowe clerkis over oure God, and he wole teche us, bi riȝt liif, in what noumbre we shulden have clerkis.



Cum esset desponsata.
—MATT. i. [18.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of Cristis birþe, how his modir was pore womman, and seiþ; Whanne Joseph was weddid to Marie, þe which Marie was Jesus modir*. [So in E; A includes the whole clause, except the word Marie, in the quotation.], bifore þat þei shulden com togidere, she was founden of her housebonde, havynge of þe Holi Goost; for Joseph perseyved wel þat oure Ladi was wiþ childe. Here holy doctours seien þat Joseph was weddid wiþ Marie, and, bifore þei shulden go to bedde, Marie was gret of þe angel, and con|seyved, of þe Holi Goost, Jesus oure Savyour. Soþeli þe Holi Trinite made þis concepcioun; but siþ charite is proprid to þe Holi Goost, and moost charite was, þat God wolde make him|silf man, it is soþ þat Crist was conseyved of þe Holi Goost. And bi þis þe two oþer Persones ben not excludid, but includid. Crist was conseyved in oure Ladi of her clene blood wiþouten Page  312 man, and hadde anoon mannis forme, and growide in hir as oþer done. And þus Joseph, bi lyȝt touching, or ellis bi þe lore of God, perceyvide þat she was wiþ childe, and wolde not dis|seyve oure Ladi. And seintis selen þat Crist was conceyved after þis weddinge; for Crist wolde be conseyved in wedlok of his fadir and modir; and ellis myȝten þe Jewis forsake Crist as unlawful, and not þe greet bihiȝte prophete. And so Joseph shulde have oure Ladi more unsuspect, and more love Crist, and betere kepe him as his lawful sone, and serve him, and nurishe him. And so we ben more certified of maidenhed of oure Ladi; for Joseph, ȝif he wiste*. [hadde wiste, E.] hir have knowe man bifore, for repreef he wolde have told it. And, for Joseph was a just man and loved of God, God tolde him bi an angel þat he shulde not drede to take Marie to his wif. Ech word of þis gospel shulde be take bi his sentence. And so, siþ Joseph was a just man, God myȝte not faile to him, how he shulde do in þingis þat weren hid to him. It is seid comunli, bi processe of Lukes gospel, þat oure Ladi, fro þat she was grett of Gabriel, as Luk telliþ, wente to Elizabeth, and dwelte wiþ her a long tyme, and in al þis tyme Crist growide in her wombe. And whanne she cam hoom to Joseph, he myȝte betere knowe hir wiþ childe; but Joseph wiste, bi Goddis lawe, þat ȝif oure Ladi were corrupt in þis caas, she shulde be punishid; but he coude not prove þis, and so he wolde not defame oure Ladi, ne put hir up to mannis jugement; siþ he trowide þat oure Ladi myȝte conceyve þus bi þe Hooli Goost. Not þat þe seed of þe Holi Goost was put in to oure Ladi, but þat God, of hir blood, gedride in place of hir wombe; and wiþouten oþer seed, God formede þis bodi, and ȝaf it soule. And þus, bi þe aungel's lore, Joseph was afer enfourmed, and not of alle þingis togidre, but now a litel, and now a litil; and þus he shulde betere lyve bi feiþ, and hope, and charite; for bi whiles he shulde be confortid bi speche of þis aungel, al ȝif he apperide to Joseph for þe tyme þat Joseph slepte. And þis is a beter siȝt þan ben comune dreemes of men. And Joseph was clepid Daviþis sone, for he shulde þenke þat Crist was bihiȝt for to come of Daviþis kynde; and Page  313 so myȝte he muse, and þenke how Marie myȝte þus be wiþ childe. And he hadde noon occasioun to have Marie suspect, for þis tyme, and þes wordis of þe aungel, moveden Joseph to þis treuþe: for þat þat is born in her is of the Holi Goost. Wel he wiste þat ech man is maad of þe Holi Goost, but þis aungel mente sumwhat ellis; for ellis his speche hadde be veyn. And so Joseph undirstood þat Marie hadde conceyved bi myracle; and to þis witt he was disposid, but not to no*. [om. E.] more ȝit.

Þe aungel seide þat Marie shulde bere a child, and he shulde clepe his name Jesus, as Gabriel hadde seid bifore. And siþ Jesus is savyour, bi þis Joseph þouȝte more; and speciali, siþ þis aungel seide, þat þis Jesus shulde save his peple fro þer synnes. And þat is moche; for þanne he shulde boþe have a peple, and shulde save it fro synne, þat oonli God mai do. A man mai save fro bodili perilis, but oonli God mai save fro synne; and speciali fro þe laste synne, þat makiþ a man be dampned in helle.

Here men douten comounli, siþ alle men shulden sue Crist, how preestis shulde not have peple þat were suget to hem. And siþ þe peple shulde serve to prestis and do hem worldli wor|shipis, it semeþ þat for worship of God men shulden þus ȝyve hem rentis, and þus encreese hooli Chirche in devocioun of dowyng. Here we graunten, as we seiden next*. [See page 310.], þat ech man after Crist shulde sue him, ferþer or nerer, or ellis he comeþ never to hevene. And herfore Crist ledde comun lyf, neiþer to large ne to streit, þe which liif myȝte be ensaumple to alle men of þis world. But ȝit Baptist, ne ony oþer, myȝte not passe Crist in o vertue; for Cristis fasting was betere þan ony oþer fastyng myȝte be, and his passioun was more as his charite was gretter. But siþ Crist dide al þing so þat he myȝte not be amendid, he myȝte not take worldli lordship to þe worship of his Chirche, for, if he hadde, he hadde fuylide*. [So E; A has foilid.] his stait, and fordone him and his Chirche. And þis wisten apostlis wel, and dwelten þerfor in þer povert. And þus pore staat of men is liker to staat of innocence þan is rich worldli staat, seme it Page  314 nevere so glorious. And þus þe pope, takinge dowing, — were it Silvester or oþer,—foulide*. [So E; A has foilide.] þe Chirche and dide it harm oþer weie þan Crist myȝte do. And so it is not bileve þat ne þis pope synnede myche. But men supposen þat he hadde sorewe in his ende for þis synne; and so we supposen now, þat bi grace þat Crist ȝaf him, he is a seint now in hevene, as oþer men þat token þis dowyng. But oþer apostlis, bi oure bileve, passen in heven sich staat; for it is bineþe bileve þat þes popis ben in hevene, siþ bileve of holi writt seiþ not þat þei ben seintis. And so for blyndenes of þis world þei token to worship þat was shame. And Crist myȝte not have do þus, for Crist myȝte not have synned. And þus, where ypocritis seien þat þis dowing doiþ worship, it doiþ myche shame to men, ȝif riȝt bileve coude conceyve it. For shame of synne is þe moste þat ech man shulde eschewe, for it bringiþ to þe moste shame, þat shal be at þe daie of dome. Wel Y woot þat fendis lymes wolen argue aȝens þis sentence, and disprove oure wordis here; but jugement of þe firste treuþe, and his liif, wiþ his reule, techiþ us sumwhat here how þis is Goddis treuþe. And sich lordship of preestis, wiþ oþer synnes þat comen after, may dis|troie rewmes here, and do harm to al þe Chirche. For, siþ sich lordship is rote of batailis and divisiouns, it mai falle bi þis synne þat prestis taken fiȝting fro lordis; and so þes lordis shulden lyve as vikeris, and þes prestis shulden lyve as knyȝtis. And þus myȝte Cristis religioun be reversid for þe more part. And prelatis, boþe more and lesse, mai assente to þis sentence, and freris mai falle wiþ hem, and chide bi wordis þat it is soþ; as it falliþ in þis tyme þat prestis fiȝting is preisid, ȝhe, for a feyned cause, þat noon in þis world can grounde. And after þis synne mai falle, þat ladies ben taken privyly, and afterward apertli, fro þer hosebondis, bi preestis. And þis wey may fiȝting falle wiþinne rewmes and distrye hem; for preestis mai coveiten to myche of rewmes, and chef lordship of hem. God shilde us fro sich perils; for ȝif þei fallen in oure tyme, many helpers shulden þei have of Anticristis clerkis þat darken now. For Goddis lawe seiþ þus; þat þei ben cursid of him þat bowen Page  315 fro Goddis comandementis; and þis cursing is more to charge, for þis Lord mai not erre. And herfore alle men shulden defende Goddis lawe on þer manere; for litil errour in þis lawe wole growe to a greet harme.

Crist axiþ here mekenes and poverte, wiþ verri pees; and algatis in hise preestis þat ben hier in degree; and ever þe hiȝere þat þei ben, þe more þei shulde have of þes vertues. And ȝif þou seie, þat þes richessis ben goode, and Cristis prestis ben more worþi; whi shulde not þei have þes goodis passinge bifore oþer men? many sich blynde resouns ben maad bi Anticristis clerkis; as sum men arguen for þeves, þat þei ben more hardi men, whi shulden þei not have þe goodis þat þei robben fro oþer men? Speciali, siþ bi Goddis lawe alle þingis shulden be comune. But here men seien, þat þeves ben hardi but to do synful dedes, and þei ben þe moste cowardis in doinge of dedes of vertue. And as a corde is a good þing, and þe tree is a good þing, but ȝit þe hanging on þe galewis is harmful to þis þef; so worldli goodis ben good, but mysuse of hem is yvel. For God haþ put alle þingis in mesure, and passyng þerof is foul and yvel; as many creaturis ben good, and habitude of hem is yvel. And Goddis lawe techiþ þis ordre, and which of þis is better þan oþer. Certis, worldli richesse is good, but not so good as ben vertues; and cloþis of þe ordris ben good, but not so good as ordre in soule. Goddis lawe techiþ in what ordre hise servantis shulde use his goodis; and mesure of þis ordre is betere þan is havynge of þes goodis. And þus we graunten þat preestis shulden have peple þat were suget to hem, but first suget to Cristis lawe; and þus þei shulden have þis peple for þe traveile and þe service þat þei shulden do to þis peple. But Crist haþ in anoþer manere peple, and alle goodis of þis world; for he is boþe God and man, þat mai faile in noþing.

Page  316

ÞE GOSPELS OF ÞE FIRSTE MASSE AND ÞE SECUNDE ON CRISTEMASSE MORWENYNG BEN EX[POUNDED]*. [Restored conjecturally; the MS. (A) has only the letters e x, followed by the long stroke of a p.] IN OON SERMOUN TOGIDERE, AS IT SUEÞ.


Exiit edictum a Cesare Augusto.
—LUC. ii. [I.]

ÞIS dai men singen þree massis in worship of þe Trinite; but þe þridde and þe moste is of þe manhede of Crist, þe which is boþe God and man for þe love of mankynde. Þe gospil of þe firste masse, and of þe secounde also, tellen what þingis bifellen in þe birþe of þis child. Þe Emperour of Rome was þanne in his flouris, and in pees on ech side, as þis autour of pees ordeynede. Men seien þat þis emperour was clepid Octavian; and in þe two and fourtiþe ȝeer, whanne he was in moost pees, was Crist born, God and man, in þe lond undir þis emperour. Men seien also, þat þis Cesare was moost in generalte and larges, and pees of his lordship; for more generali þan oþer hadde he lordship of þis world. Of Julius he took þis name to be clepid Cesare; and August he was clepid, for he alargide*. ['Augustus,' as if from augeo.] þe empire. Þis emperour sente a co|mandement to al þe peple of his empire, to discryve alle his londis, þat was wel nyȝ al þis world. And he bigan at Sirie, for it was myddil of his empire. And so Syryne*. [Siryne, E.]*. [In the authorized version, 'Cyrenius governor of Syria.'], þat was þere cheef undur þe emperour, bigan to make þis discripcion, and gaderide tribute to þe emperour. And þus myȝte þe emperour wite what peple he hadde in his empire, and what þei myȝten helpe him in tyme of nede, in men and moneie. And þus he devidide þis rewme in þree partis, þat men shulden come in nyne ȝeer to Rome, and bringe tribute for her lond. But al þis is passid now; for þe pope and his covent haþ*. [ban, E.] so put doun þe em|perour*. [This is an interesting allusion to the enfeebled condition of the 'Holy Roman Empire' since the fall of the Hohenstanfen dynasty, which was truly brought about, as the writer says, by the popes and their adherents. The emperor at this time reigning, Wenzel or Wen|ceslas, whose sister, Anne of Bo|hemia, was married to our Richard II, was so utterly weak both in character and resources that the princes of the empire deposed him a few years later, and elected in his room his brother Sigismund.], Page  317 þat litil rewmes tellen liȝt by him. And so dukes, and eerlis, and lesse, wolen fiȝte wiþ him, and dispise him. And so wente alle of Jude, þat was ny Sirye, to make þer profession in her owne citee. Ech man hadde an heed toun þat was next to his dwelling, and þat was clepid his citee; and sum men clepen it cheping toun*. [That is, market town; as in Chipping Norton, Chipping Camp|den, Chippenham, &c.].

And Joseph wente fro Nazareth þat was a toun in Galile in to þe toun of Bedleem þat was sett in Judee. For boþ Joseph and oure Ladi weren þe hous of Daviþ; and þe cite of Beed|leem was Daviþis bi sum propirte, for Daviþ was borne in þat citee, as þe Book of Kingis telliþ. And so Joseph wente wiþ Marie, þat was his wyf, in to Bedelem, to make þis professioun þat þe emperour bad make. Þei brouȝten an oxe and an asse wiþ hem, as men seien, for þis enchesoun;—Marie was greet wiþ childe; þerfore she rood upon an asse; þe oxe þei brouȝten for to selle; for Jewis haten begging. And Bedleem was fillid of men bifore þei camen to þe toun; and so þei hadden noon herborwe, but dwelten in a comune stable, and þes two beestis wiþ hem, til tyme cam to use hem.

And it felle, while þei weren þere, oure Ladi bare hir child, þe which was hir firste child, for him she bar and noon oþer. And þis is maner of Goddis lawe, to clepe sich children first born,—not for oþer was born; bifore ne after Crist she bar noon oþer. And she wrapte Crist wiþ cloþis, and putte him in þe cratche, for she hadde no betere place to put him in al þe hous. And so, as men singen and trowen, Crist lai bifore an oxe and an asse. And breeþ of þes two beestis kepte him hoot in þis cold tyme.

And herdis weren in þe same contre, wakinge, and keping þe houris of þe niȝt upon þer flok. For þis was maner in Judee, whanne þe niȝt was lengest, to kepe þer sheep and wake þat Page  318 niȝt. And so men seien þat Crist was bore at þe myddil of þis nyȝt, for þe myddil persone in Trinite lovede myddil in many þingis. And lo, þe aungel of þe Lord stood bi þes heerdis, and clerenesse of God shynede aboute hem, and þei dredden bi greet drede. But þe aungel seide to hem, Wole ȝe not drede, for loo, Y telle ȝou a greet joie þat shal be to al þe peple. For þis daie is born to us a Savyour, þat is Crist þe Lord, in þe citee of Daviþ. And þis shal be tokene to ȝou: ye shal fynde þe child wlappid wiþ cloþis, and put in þe cratche, as Y shal telle ȝou. And sudeynli, þer was maad wiþ þis aungel a multitude of hevenli knyȝtis, heryinge God and seiynge; Glori be to God in hiȝeste hevenes, and pees be to men in erþe which ben of good wille.

Here mai we see how Crist lovede comun povert on many maners; for he chees to be herborid in comun place, wiþouten pryde, and wiþouten worldli helpe boþe of men and of wymmen, and he chees a pore cradil þat þe child was put inne. But he hadde, passinge oþer, a pryvylegie in many þingis; for he was born wiþouten peyne or sorewe of his fadir and modir. For as he brak not Maries cloister whanne þat she was maad wiþ childe, so he brak not his modirs wombe whanne he cam out of þis cloister. And so þes just folk bifore God weren betere þan myche worldli peple, kingis or lordis and ladies, and*. [om. E.] wiþ myche fare of þis world; for þis birþe was glorious, neer þe staat of innocence. Þe secounde confort of Cristis birþ was of þes many aungels; for þei weren betere þan many lordis, and her song was of greet confort. Ofte tyme, in þe olde law, apperiden aungels to men, but not in sich a multitude, ne in siche a joieful speche.

And whanne þe aungels wenten fro hem, þes herdis spaken to hem silf, Passe we into Bedleem, and se we þis word þat is maad, þat þe Lord haþ maad, and shewid to us. And þei came hastinge, and fond þes þree persones, Marie and Joseph, and þe ȝong child putt in þe cratche. And whanne þes heerdis sawen þis þing, þei knewen of þe word þat was seid to hem of þis child bi þe aungel. And alle þe men of þe contre þat herden þis, Page  319wondriden, and*. [Literally rendered from the Vul|gate,—'omnes qui audierant mirati sunt, et de iis quae dicta erant a pastoribus.']of þes þingis, þat weren seid of þe heerdemen to hem. But Marie kepte alle þes wordis, and bare hem to|gidere in her herte. And no drede she hadde greet confort, and undirstonding over oþere men. And þes heerdis turneden aȝen, glorifiynge and heryinge God in alle þingis þat þei herden and sawen, as it was seid to hem.

We supposen þat aungels ledden hem to þis place in Beed|leem, and confortiden hem many gatis, boþe in bodi and in soule. And þei wisten bi þes aungelis, and bi þe good will þat þei hadden, how þei shulden have pees in erþe; and her|fore þei herieden God. And so, ȝif we taken hede, Crist hadde company of þre. First, of his fadir and of his modir, þat weren boþe holi folk; after, of herdemen þat lyveden symple and holi lyf. And þes weren licli mo þan two, and nyȝ þe state of innocence; for God lovede Abel betere þan Cayn þat was his broþer. And þe first was an heerde, and þe toþer a tiliyng man; and tiliyng men have more of craft þan have heerdis in þer dedis. And as God lovede Jacobes sones, þat weren alle heerdemen, so he lovede þes heerdis þat camen for to visite Crist. And so þis nativite of Crist was more þan ony oþer, ȝhe, and more þan Adames makyng, whanne he cam into þis world; for oure Ladi and Joseph passiden Adam and Eve, and þe company of aungelis passiden frendis þat weren wiþ oure firste eldris; and þes heerdis þat camen to hem pas|siden Adams children. And algatis þe birþ of Crist passide*. [So E; passiden, A.] oþer dedis þat ever God dide; for it is more to make God man, þan to make þis world of nouȝt. It is maistrie to make a virgyn bere a child, and dwelle a virgyn, more þan to make Adam of erþe, or to make Eve of Adams ribbe; but it is wiþouten mesure more to make God to be a man. For here mennis wittis moten faile. But oon ensample haþ kynde ȝovun us: as þe spirit þat is mannis soule is þe same persone wiþ him, so þe secounde persone of God is þe same persone wiþ þis man. But diversite is greet here and þere, whoso wole loke. Leeve we þis and speke we of vertues. For þis child Page  320 is Goddis virtue, and wisdom of þe Fadir of hevene. But þis is bi his Godhede; and mo redelis*. [ridelis, E.] þan we can telle ben soþ of Crist bi his two kindis. And ȝif we taken good hede of him, Crist is þree kyndis, and o persone; for Crist is Godhede, and bodi, and soule, and ech oon of þes þree. And so, as sum men seien, Crist is sevene þingis, and ech of hem: for his spirit is þree þingis, and his bodi oþer þree þingis, and Crist is, over þis, his Godhede, but oonli oo persone of it. And so, as sevene is ful nombre of universite of þingis*. [The number seven, formed from the union of the triad, the 'perfect' number, with the tetractys, which Pythagoras venerated so profoundly, itself prime and masculine, marking the number of the planets, &c., &c., has been held sacred from the ear|liest times. See the article on 'Arithmetic' in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.], so Crist is ful rewme of hevene, and of þis world; for al þis world bi him is betirid, and as who made a newe world. For ech creature of þis world is beterid bi his birþ. For man is beterid siþ he is bouȝt and maad Goddis sone and his eire, and þerwiþ þe broþer of Crist, which is boþe God and man; angelis in hevene be beterid, siþ þei have more felouship, and sich felouship of seintis makiþ hem more glad togidere. And þus alle þe fendis in helle ben beterid aȝens þer wille; for þer cum|pany is maad lesse, and þei have harm of many felowis.

Al þis world bodili shulde serve to God and to man; and it wantide þis eende til þat Crist was maad man; for bifore, þis world fauȝte wiþ God and tormentide man, but fro þat þis pees was maad, God made þis world to serve man. And herfore aungelis in hevene, for Cristis incarnacioun, wolden not take kneling of Joon, but seiden, þat þei weren his servantis, and servantis of his breþeren; and þis þei fulfillid in dede. And so ech part of þis world shulde joie for þis nativite; but þe fendis maken sorewe, for old envie þat þei have. And for þei shulden make ioie, þei synnen in þis, and harmen hemsilf. And herfore Crist is clepid a pesible kyng in þe Chirche; for he made pees in al þis world, and lefte fiȝtinge for more pees. For man fiȝtiþ wiþ þre enemys, to have more blessid pees in hevene. And so, as many men seien, alle þingis comen for þe beste; for alle comen for Goddis ordenance, and so þei Page  321 comen for God himsilf; and so alle þingis þat comen fallen for þe beste þing þat mai be. Moreover to anoþer witt men seien, þat þis world is beterid bi everyþing þat falliþ þerinne, where þat it be good or yvel; so moche, þat þis world is betere for synne þat is punishid in helle; for it falliþ to oure Lord to have a prisoun and prisoneris, and do his merci to hem, and savore more his seintis in hevene. And herfore seiþ Gregori*. [A passage, not worded precisely as here stated, but with the same general meaning, may be found in Gregory's Commentary In Primum Regum, lib. iv. cap. I. But there is a passage in the Sarum missal, in the office for Holy Saturday, con|taining precisely the same thought; 'O certe necessarium Adae pecca|tum et nostrum, quod Christi morte deletum est! O felix culpa, quae talem ac tantum meruit habere redemptorem!'], þat it was a blesful synne þat Adam synnede and his kynde, for bi þis þe world is beterid; but þe ground of þis goodnesse stondiþ in grace of Jesus Crist.

But ȝit men mai muse how Crist is pesible kyng, siþ he seiþ, he cam not to sende pees in þe erþe but swerd, and þat bitokeneþ fiȝting and noo pees. Here men seien soþeli, þat þer ben two peesis, verri pees and fals pees, and þei ben ful dyvers. Verry pees is groundid in God, whanne God loveþ a man, and to þat pees sueþ pees wiþ alle creaturis; for to men þat þus loven God done alle þingis good. And þis pees stondiþ in pacience, and mekenes, and oþer vertues; and þus was Crist pesible kyng, and he and hise hadden pees here. Fals pees is groundid in reste wiþ oure enemys, whanne we assente to hem wiþouten aȝenstonding. And swerd aȝens sich pees cam Crist to sende into erþe; for þus fouȝte Poul aȝens his fleish, aȝens þe world and þe fend; and þus dide Crist, partinge fleishli frendis fro þe love of oþer, for þe more love þat þei shulden have to Crist þat is her God. Þis fals pees is cowardise, and enemyte of God; and auctor of þis pees is þe fend of helle. And Crist contrariede þis pees, wiþ synnes þat bringiþ it in, as ben pryde, envie and bateils, ydilnes, and oþer synnes. And where verry pees techiþ pacience, þis pees techiþ fiȝting, and blasfemeþ in God, as it wolde be his maistir. And to þis undirstonding was not Crist pesible kyng. And herfore þe prophete seiþ, þat in tyme of Crist, þei shulden welle þer swerdis to sharris*. [schares, E.], and þer Page  322 speris to sykelis. For of Crist seiþ anoþer prophete, þat Crist shulde do awei bateilis to þe ende of þe erþe, and instrumentis of bateilis, as bowe, and sheld, and swerd, and oþer engynes of batailis. Þus shulde it be; but þe fend reversiþ þis.



Ecce, ego mitto ad vos prophetas.
—MATT. xxiii. [34.]

ÞIS gospel is songen in worship of Seint Steven, þat was þe firste martir aftir Cristis assencioun; for he was oon of þe sevene dekenes chosen of þe apostlis, and stood styfli to his deeþ for bi|leve aȝens Jewis. And so bileve techiþ us þat he is an hooli martir. Crist seide þes wordis to two maner of folk, þat weren þe fendis capteyns in killing of martiris; and þes weren princis of preestis, and comunte of Jewis. Crist supposiþ in þis speche, þat he is boþe God and man; and so al tyme þat was, or shal be, is present to him. And he supposiþ also þat þer ben two kynredis; good kynrede, and yvel, of which ben man-sleris fro þe bigynyng of þe world to þe laste martir. And to þis kynrede shapiþ Crist his wordis:—Lo, I sende to ȝou prophetis, and wise men, and scribis; and al þis is for ȝour good, to teche ȝou Goddis lawe: and of hem shal ȝe kille, and do upon þe crosse, and of hem shal ȝe tormenten in ȝour synagogis. And here mai we see þe malis of þis kynrede, for a synagoge, as þei seien, is an holi place; and hereinne þei turmenten just men. And þe synne was*. [So E; is, A.] þe more, and blyndenesse of witt also, for þei wenden to do wel in þis. And so þei pursuen Cristene men fro cite to citee, þat shal veniaunce come on hem*. [The words And—hem are italicized in E.] at þe dai of jugement. And þus þei done her fadirs work, sleyinge martiris bi þer tyme, þat al just blood come on hem, pat is shed in erþe, fro þe blood of just Abel to þe blood of Zacarie, þat was Barachies sone, slayn of hem bitwixe þe temple and þe auter.Page  323

Þis is a blessid ende ordeyned bi Goddis lawe, for no synne mai be done, but ȝif justise be þerwiþ; and so, þis justise makiþ þe world more fair þan þis synne mai mak it foul. Muse we not of þis Zacarie, how he was Barachies sone and whanne he was kild, as þis gospel telliþ; for many men have many names, and algatis in þe olde lawe; and a man is a sone of a fadir longe bifore; and many þingis ben hid to us, how þei weren speciali done*. [See p. 240.]. And þus we taken þe word of Crist, and trowen it soþ as bileve, siþ ech word of þe gospel is trewe, siþ it is bileeve; siþ ech compleet resoun telliþ treuþe þat we shulde trowe, and ech part of þis resoun bitokeneþ þe same treuþe. Crist seiþ to þis folk:—Soþli, Y seie to ȝou, alle þes þingis shal come upon þis kynrede. Þes Jewis weren a part þerof, and so þis kynrede was þere, and herde þes wordis of Crist, for a part of it herde hem. Aftir, Crist declariþ þat þis malice was oonli in hem; for God was of good wille to do good to his kyn; but sum of hem wolde not take þis goodness of God. And þus seiþ Crist:—Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how ofte wolde Y gadere þi children, as an henne gaderiþ her chekenes undir hir wynges, and þou woldest not, but toke in veyn Goddis grace.

And here men douten comunli how Goddis wille was reversid, siþ þe Psalme seiþ:—þat al þat God wolde, he dide generali in hevene and in erþe. But here it semeþ þat Austin wolde seie on þis manere*. [See St. Augustine's, Enarratio in Psalmum cxxxiv. § 10.]:—þat Goddis wille mut nedis ever more be fulfillid; and so, as ofte as Crist wolde gadere children of Jerusaleem, as ofte weren þei gaderid undir his proteccioun; and whanne he wolde not gadere hem, her synne was in cause, and bi riȝt wisnesse of God, þei musten nedis be punishid; and so Goddis wille was fulfillid in punishing of hem. God wole sum þing uttirli, as þing þat he wole be; and þes þingis moten nedis be, siþ God is al myȝtti. And sum þing wole God upon condicioun; and telliþ men his wille, how, bi his lawe, men shal be punishid þat breken þis general wille in ony part þerof, þat is fulfillid in sum part. And so, siþ God biddiþ do þis þing, and ordeyneþ to punishe for þe trespas, God wole on þis maner þat þis dede be don. And so ever Goddis wille is ful|fillid, Page  324 ouþer in dede, or penaunce. Ȝif a man do meedfulli þat God biddiþ him do, Goddis wille is riȝtli fillid in dede, as God biddiþ; ȝif a man aȝenstondiþ God and doiþ aȝens his wille, ȝit Goddis wille is fillid asideli*. [sydely, E.] by punishinge of þis man. And God haþ ordeyned ever more siche wille to be fulfillid þus. And so, as men speken in Latyn*. [as men speken in Latyn. The reference in the text is probably to the great work of Archbishop Brad|wardine, the 'profound Doctor,' en|titled De Causa Dei contra Pelagium, in which the whole subject of free will and predestination was ex|haustively handled, and the popu|larity of which was very great. It appeared about the year 1340, and, as Sir Henry Savile says (pref. to edition of Bradwardine's De Causa Dei, 1618) was immediately on its publication 'tanto omnium docto|rum exceptus applausu, ut per omnes fere bibliothecas totius Europae de|scriberetur.' To this work Chaucer refers in the well-known passage in the Nun's Priest's tale, and repro|duces some of its subtle argumen|tation in the fourth book of Troylus and Cryseyde.], ȝif God biddiþ þee do þis dede, God wole þat þou do þis dede, al if þou doist it not; for þou art in dette to do þis dede, and in þat is Goddis wille endid. But God wole not þat þou doist þis dede, for God knowiþ not þis treuþe, but God wole þat þou do þis dede as God wole þat þou shuldist do þis*. [God does not will thee to do a particular act in obedience to his command, because he is ignorant of the truth (that thou wilt not do it); but God wills thee to do the act, in so far as he desires that thou shouldst obey his precepts, though thou in fact doest it not.]. And so Crist doubliþ þis citees name to telle defaute of þer unkyndenesse; how þei sleen Goddis prophetis, and stoone Goddis servauntis sent to hem, as was Stephen and many oþer, þe which al þis citee killide.

And after Crist telliþ þe veniaunce þat shal be taken for þis synne. Lo, ȝour hous shal be lefte to ȝou desert, for defaute of dwelleris. And þis þing cam after in dede, soone after þat Crist steiȝ to hevene. And so Christ seiþ to þis kinrede; Certis, I seie to ȝou, ȝe shal not se me fro henns, til þat ȝe seien, blessid be he þat is comen in þe Lordis name. Anoon þis kynrede diede fro Crist, and þanne þei wisten þat he was God, and how he cam to þer profit, al ȝif þei weren unkynde to him. And þis knowing was peyneful to þis kynrede þat shulde be dampned; and þis folk suffride þis pey ne bifore þat þei sawen Crist. For God is redi in peyne ȝyvynge as he is redi to ȝyve blisse; for his justise nediþ boþe to þe toon and to þe toþer.

Page  325



Dixit Jesus Petro.
—JOHN xxi. [15.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist ordeynede Joon to lyve and die, and how Crist wolde þat Joon cam to blisse wiþouten killing. Joon telliþ how Jesus seide to Petir þat he shulde sue him,—not oonli bi paas of feet,—but in suffringe deþ as dide Crist. And Peter knew þis witt of God, and wolde fayn wite how Joon shulde die. But Joon clepiþ himsilf bi þree names and leveþ his owne propre name. For þes wordis þat Joon telliþ here sounen to excellence of him; and þanne God wole þat men be pryvy, and ȝeve þe soþe to grace of God. And þus seiþ þis gospel of Joon, how Petir turnede him and saw Joon. And þe firste name of þes þree sowneþ in to Goddis grace, and is seid in þis maner: Peter, as he turnede him, saw þat disciple þat Jesus lovede, how he suede Christ, as Peter; but ȝit he wiste not of his deeþ. And þis souneþ to grace of Crist, þat he lovede þus Joon bifore; for more grace mai not God ȝyve þan sich love bifore disertis. Þe secounde name þat Joon clepiþ him, stondiþ in familiarite of Crist: how Joon restide on Shir Þursdaie*. [Scher Thursday, E.]*. [Shir Thursday is Maundy Thurs|day; 'so called,' says Nares in his Glossary, ed. 1859, 'from the custom of shearing or shaving the beard on that day.' He quotes from an old Homily,—'For that in old faders' days the people would on that day shere theyr hedes, and clyp theyr berdes, and pool theyr heedes, and so make them honest ayenst Easter day.']in þe soper on Cristis brest. Þis homlynesse was a greet grace, and meveþ men for to trowe þat þis Joon hadde witt of Crist. And al þis cam of grace of Crist. Þe þridde name þat Joon clepiþ himself, þat Peter shulde knowe bi resoun, is þis þat Joon seide to Crist, Lord, who is he þat shal traye þee? Þis word was seid on Shir Þursdai, whanne Crist was at his soper, for þanne tolde Crist, but comunli, þat oon of Page  326 hem shulde traye him; and Petir wolde wite which þat he were. For, as men seien, Petre wolde have fouȝte wiþ him. And Petre saw þat Joon was nyȝ Crist, and homly*. [homely, E.] wiþ him, and spake to Joon þat he shulde axe Crist which was he þat shul traye Crist, as Crist hadde seid. And al þis souneþ to Cristis worship, and to wisdoom of Crist. And þus Joon nempnede þis þridde name, and leeveþ to boste of himsilf.

Whanne Peter sawȝ þis disciple, þat was Joon Evangelist, he axide of Jesus what shal worþe of þis Joon. But Jesus an|sweride to Petir in wisdom and pacience, and seide: Y wole þat he dwelle þus til Y come*. [So in the Vulgate, 'Sic eum volo manere donec veniam. Quid ad te?']; what is þat to þee? sue þou me. And it is ynowȝ þee to cunne, and to do*. [do þat, E.] at þis tyme, and axe no more. Here mai we se, how Crist wolde þat neiþer Petre ne Joon wiste þanne Judas name, whom Crist wiste þanne to traye him. And so Crist shewide togidere boþ pacience and charite. But Crist shewide after lore more to note; how men shulden not bisien hem to knowe þingis unpertinent to þe helþe of þer soule. And þus seide Crist: What is þat to þee. And so þis word wente among þe apostlis, þat þis Joon shulde nevere die. And so wordis þat ben wel seid mai liȝtli be taken amys; siþ apostlis token amys þis word of Crist so pleinli seid. And þus Joon telliþ þis defaute, and seide, þat Jesus seide not þat Joon shulde nevere die; but Jesus seide in þis maner: But I wole þat Joon dwelle þus till þat Y come, what is þat to thee. And Cristis wordis myȝten be verified on þis maner, ȝif Joon were deed; þat Crist wolde þat Joon lyvede longe, wiþouten martirdom in bodi, til Crist cam in his owne persone, and warnede Joon to come to him and ete in hevene wiþ his breþeren in Cristis feste þat he hadde ordeyned. And þus telliþ þe storie of Joon, þat was longe after; as it bifel, Crist cam to Joon, and tolde him how he shulde come to his breþeren upon Sundai next after, and so Joon diede in his grave*. [This 'storie' is given at large in the Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine. 'Cum igitur esset Jo|hannes XCIX annorum, a passione Domini secundum Ysidorum anno LXVIII, apparuit ei Dominus cum discipulis suis dicens, Veni, dilecte mi, ad me, quod tempus est ut in mensa mea cum tuis fratribus epuleris. Surgens autem Johannes coepit ire. Cui Dominus, Dominica die ad me venies.' The legend goes on to describe how St. John caused his grave to be dug near the altar in his church at Ephesus, and laid him|self down in it; from which point the story evaporates, as it were, in a cloud of miracles, and makes no mention of his actual death. This, however, our author might have found in St. Augustine, who, in Tract CXXIV In Johann. Evang., says that it was related in an apo|cryphal writing that the apostle, after his grave had been dug, 'ibi se tanquam in lectulo collocasse statimque eum esse defunctum.']. Lord! siþ þes wordis Page  327 of Crist mai be wel þus undirstonden, what shulde meve ony man to take fals wite bi hem? After þese meke wordis of Joon, and comendinge of Goddis grace, telliþ Joon of himsilf: how he is þat disciple þat beriþ witnesse of þes þingis and wroot þes þingis in þis gospel; and we witen þat his witnesse is soþ. And sich a witnesse, unsuspect, shulde be trowid of trewe men and not be holden for fals, siþ it is oure bileve. Prove þou þat þis gospel is fals, and after dampne it if þou canst.



Angelus domini apparuit.
—MATT. ii. [13.]

Þe Lordis aungel apperide in sleep to Joseph, and seide: Rise, and take þe child and his modir, and flee into Egipt, and be þou þere til Y seie to þee; for it is to come þat Eroude seke þe child for to lese him and his felowis wiþ him. And Joseph roos up, and toke in þe nyȝt þe child and his modir, and fledde into Egipt. And Joseph was þere to þe deeþ of Heroude. And þis was done of Joseph, for to fulfille þat þat was seid by þe prophete, þat seide: Out of Egipt Y clepe my sone, seiþ God of Crist. And þanne Heroude sawȝ þat he was disseyved of þe kyngis, and was ful wroþ, and sente into Bedelem, and slowȝ al þe children þat weren in Bedelem, and in alle þe coostis biside, þat weren of two ȝeer and wiþinne, after þe tyme þat he souȝte out of þes kyngis, þat Crist shulde be of age. For as men seien comunli, þe same ȝeer þat Crist was born, Eroude wente to Rome and brente þes kyngis Page  328 ship

* brente þes kyngis ship. This sin|gular legend is not found, so far as I can discover, in any writer of earlier date than Petrus Comestor, (the Mangiadore of Dante, Paradiso, xii. 134), author of the Historia Scholastica, from whom De Lyra quotes it. Peter was a priest of Troyes in the twelfth century; the Historia is said to have been pro|duced in the year 1181. In the dedication, addressed to the arch|bishop of Sens, Peter declares that he had written the work at the urgent entreaty of many friends, in order to 'elucidate the too brief and obscure narrative of holy scripture.' Labbe, in his Scriptores Ecclesiastici, thus writes of him;—'Historiam Ecclesiasticam consarcinavit eamque glossis tum falsissimis tum insulsis|simis refercivit, quae tamen ita tum ubique obtinuit, ut ipsi scripturae sacrae nudae ac purae pene pre|ferretur.'

The story of the veracious Petrus is, that while Herod was on his way to Rome, whither he had been sum|moned by Augustus with reference to the quarrels between him and his sons, he stayed for a time at Tarsus in Cilicia, and burnt all the ships of the people of Tarsus, in revenge for their having provided the wise men with a ship to return home in. Whereby the prophecy in the forty|eighth Psalm was fulfilled, 'Thou shalt break the ships of Tarshish with an east wind,' Tarshish being of course identical with Tarsus!

, and dwelte þere aboute two ȝeer bifore he cam aȝen. And þerfore he slow alle þe children þat weren two ȝeer, for he dredde him of Christ þat he shulde take his kingdom; siþ þis alien*. [Herod was an alien and no Jew, being the son of Antipater the Idumaean.] was kyng bi þe graunt of Romayns, and he wiste not how Crist wolde do þat was bi kynde kyng. And þanne was fulfillid þat was seid bi Jeremye: A vois was herd in hiȝ, which vois was a wepinge and a greet weiling,—Rachel was weping for hir children and she wolde not be confortid, for þei weren not, quic þus.

Þis prophecie is undirstonden on many maneres of men. Sum men undirstonden it, þat Rachel wepte in spirit þat þei weren not hir children þat weren kild in Bedleem, but hir sistris children; for þei weren kild martiris. Oþer men undir|stonden by Rachel holi Chirche; and þes martiris weren hir children þat she wepte fore, not for þe martirdom þat was in hem, but for þe synne þat was done aȝens hem. And þe remenant of þe word is undirstonden*. [So E; A has undirstonding.] denyingli, þat þe Chirche wolde not be confortid of þis, þat her children weren dede. For she þouȝte it no disconfort by many enchesouns; oon, þat it mut nede be, as God himsilf haþ ordeyned,—and he ordeyneþ evere for þe beste, ȝif we coudyn perseyve it. How shulde we grutche aȝens God þat we trowen doiþ so wel? Also, we trowen Page  329 þat þes seintis weren take in þer best tyme, so þat many ben betere þan þei shulden have be unmartrid. Whi shulde þe Chirche sorowe for her grete goode? Many sich resouns ben maad, þat men shulden be pacient and confourme hem to Goddis wille, and enjoie of þe more goode. And þus men seien þat þe Chirche is worshipid bi martirs. Crist is heed of martiris, and oonli bi himsilf; but his membris ben martris upon þre maneres: sum in wille and dede,—and þus was Stephen martrid; and sum in wille, and not in dede,—and þus was Joon martrid; and sum men in dede and not in wille, and þus weren þes children martrid.

But men douten comunli how alle þes weren martris, siþ circumcisioun was þanne as nedeful as now is baptym. But licly many of hem weren kild bifore þe eiȝtþe dai, and, bifore þat, þei shulden not be circumcidid bi þe lawe. Here many men þenken þat þer ben many circumcisiouns, as þer ben many baptemys, as it is knowun comunli. And God is not so oblishid to sensible sacramentis þat ne he mai, wiþouten hem, ȝyve a man his grace. And as God ȝaf martiris grace, wiþouten baptym of water, bi baptym of þe Hooli Goost and bi water of Cristis side, so mai men suppose of circumcisioun; and so alle þes Innocentis weren circumcided in soule. Þus mai men suppose bineþe bileeve.

And many men supposen þis more þan of þes seintis þat now ben canonisid bi þe Court of Rome, for lordship, or money, or favour of partis; for þus may þe Court be blyndid in many sich canonisingis. Also, fals witnessis proven not bifore God; whi shulden we bileve þat þes witnessis seien soþ? also, many sich signes þat ben holden myraclis mai be done bi þe fend, and many moo þan þei; what evidence is of þes, þat þis soule is in hevene? Som soulis ben in hevene bi witnesse of holi writt, and þis witnes is more worþ þan a þousand courtis; and bileve of Cristen men is þat þes ben seintis. But men supposen bineþe bileve þat oþer men ben seintis, after evidence þat þei have, ouþer more or lesse: as sum men sup|posen, and sum leeven levefulli; and sum men trowen treuli, þat alle sich seintis profiten not to men but ȝif þei maken hem love Crist. So, ȝif men wolden betere love Crist wiþouten sich feestis, Page  330 it were beter to hem to wante sich seintis. But wiþ þis it is soþ, þat many ben seintis in hevene, as Laurence and Kateryne*. [At the early period (middle of the third, and early in the fourth century) at which these saints lived, no formal rules for canonization ex|isted. Yet St. Laurence is a strange instance to choose; for though he was not formally canonized, his feast was solemnly kept in the Roman church at least ever since the fifth century; and this was the more natural, because he was a native of Rome. See his life in Alban Butler (Aug. 10).], alȝif Rome canonise hem nevere. But siþ þes seintis ben not expressid in þe lawe of holi writt, men ben not holden to trowe it expressli þat þes ben seintis in hevene: for after þat treuþe is in holi writt shulden men trowe þis treuþe. And so, as it is ofte seid, holi writt conteyneþ al treuþe: sum treuþe expresli,—and þat shulden men þus trowe,—and sum treuþe pryvyli,—and þat shulden men trowe in comune. And God woot of þes festis, wheþer þe Chirche ben betere for hem; for if men loven more Crist and holden betere Goddis lawe bi þis multitude of festis, and bi þe seiyng of her houris, þanne it profitiþ to sich men to kepe sich þingis wel. And ȝif þes festis, wiþ þes ymages and þes houris, weren left of men, and þanne þei loveden betere Crist, and diden betere service þat he bad hem; þanne it profitide to sich men to leve siche serymonies. And it semeþ to many men, siþ Crist, wiþ alle hise apostlis, lefte alle siche þingis and lyvede betere in charite, and kepte betere þe bidding of God, so men myȝten now do. But men shulden not here diffyne, but ȝif God tolde it hem; for boþe sich doyng and sich lyvynge myȝte do, in caas, harm or good. But algatis men shulden seie, þat þei shulden not leve þe office þat Crist bad hem expresly for sich newe ordenaunce.

And it is knowun þat many harmes and many errours fallen bi þes festis; first, in þe purchasyng of canonisyng of seintis at Rome; after, in coveitouse occupiyng togedre moneie bi siche seintis; and algatis in mystrowyng þat men have of sich seintis. As sum men trowen þat Seint Thomas, Erchebishop of Cantirbirie, diede for dowyng of þe Chirche, and to defende goodis þerof. And it were more licli to men, and more acording to Goddis lawe, þat men shulden be seintis in hevene for to bringe holi Chirche to þe ordenance þat Crist Page  331 ordeynede; and þat was pore state of preestis. And herfore trowen many men, þat cause þat made Seint Thomas martir was, þat he spake aȝens wolves þat weren aboute to murþere lambren; and suffrede not, for defaute of preching, Goddis vyneȝerde passe to a wortȝerd. And þus bishopis and clerkis, wiþ kingis, holden stifli aȝens Thomas; and þus we redyn*. [reden, E.] of Seint Thomas, and trowen it betere, but lesse þan feiþ. And þus shulde we not stryve, as foolis, how hye þis Thomas is in hevene, and what seintis in hevene he passiþ; as done þes newe foundun ordris of her patrouns*. [as done þes newe foundun ordris of her patrouns. This looks like a re|ference to the famous Liber Con|formitatum of Bartholomew of Pisa; but if it be, this sermon was not written by Wyclif, for that work, according to Gieseler (Eccl. Hist. vol. iv. p. 155) was not written till 1385. In it is said, (I quote from Gieseler) that the brother Pacificus had seen in a vision many seats in heaven, 'inter quas vidit unam em|inentiorem aliis et prae omnibus gloriosius fulgentem, et ornatam omni lapide pretioso;' of which seat it was told him,—'haec sedes fuit Luciferi, et loco ejus sedebit humilis Franciscus.' It is, however, probable that the exaltation of their founder in Paradise was a favourite theme with Franciscan preachers in all countries, long before the ap|pearance of the Liber Conformita|tum.], for whom þei stryven how hie seintis þei ben in hevene. And ȝit þei can neiþer teche bi resoun ne bi bileve þat þei ben seintis in hevene, ne þat þei passe þe leste in hevene. But men mai trowe, whoso wole, þes fablis for which foolis stryven. God ȝyve us grace to love him, and kepe his lawe, and love it; for þat is betere to Cristene men, þan kepe þes festis of þes seintis. For ech preier to þese seintis moot be knytt wiþ helpe of God. For, if we loven Crist in his ordre betere for love of siche seintis, þanne þes festis profiten to us; but comunli þei done us harm. But al oure craft were for to knowe what we shulden take as bileve, and what þing we shulden suppose; and what þing forsaken as fals.

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Erat Joseph et Maria.
—LUC. ii. [33.]

To sum men it plesiþ for to telle þe talis þat þei fynden in seintis lyves, or wiþouten holi writt; and sich þing plesiþ ofte more þe peple. But we holden þis manere good,—to leeve sich wordis and triste in God, and telle sureli his lawe, and speciali his gospelis; for we trowen þat þei camen of Crist, and so God seiþ hem alle. And þes wordis, siþ þei ben Goddis, shulden be taken as bileve; and more wolen þei quykene men þan oþer wordis þat men knowen not. And þus þes festis of þes seintis han þis good biside oþer, þat man mai wel telle in hem þe understonding of þe gospel.

Þis gospel telliþ a treuþe to us, how Joseph and Marie, Cristis eldris, weren woundringe of þes þingis þat weren seid þanne of Crist; for alle þes wordis weren newe to hem, and seid of God, as we bileven. And as Austin seiþ on þe Psalm*. [I have not been able to verify this reference.]: Trowe it not, for Y seie so; but, ȝif Crist seie so, wo is him þat trowiþ it not. And as we shulden have bileve þat alle Cristis wordis moten nede be trewe, so we shulden have bileve þat þis sentence was seid of Crist; which sentence is told to us bi figuris and bi mannis writing. And þis is þe leste bileve þat we shulden have in al oure feiþ. And ȝif we ben disseyved in þis, oure owne synne is in cause. We shulden not trowe in þis ynke, ne in þe skynnes þat is clepid book*. [a boke, E.], but in þe sentence þat þei seien, which sentence is þe book of liif. For, al if þer ben many treuþis and dyverse resouns in þe gospel, neþeles ech of þes treuþis is þe substance of God himsilf.

Symeon was an oold man, and blessid Marie and Joseph; for he bilevede þat Jesus hir sone was togidere God and man, and so he trowide þat bi him Marie and Joseph coulden*. [schulden, E.] be saved. Page  333 Þis Symeon seide to Marie, þat he trowide was Goddis modir*. [So in E; A italicizes the words Goddis modir.]: Lo, þis child is putt here into falling doun and rysyng up of many folk þat ben in Israel, and into a signe to which it shal be aȝenseid, of wickide men; and þi soule, which is his, shall passe swerd of compassioun. For Marie suffride in herte wiþ Crist and hadde myche sorewe in þis world. For to sich folk wolde Crist ȝeue blisse, and þus þer blisse savouride more; for it is seid comunli þat man may not passe fro þis joie streiȝt unto þe joie of heven, for þanne hevenli joie savouride him not. And þus ech man of worldli lust, ȝif he shal after come to hevene, mote nedis have a litil space to purge him of his worldli lyf; and þanne shal blisse savoure him, whanne he is purgid þus fro þis world. And so Crist, wiþ his modir and alle hise apostlis, hadden here sorowe; and þus þei weren disposid here to take betere þe blisse of hevene. And it is no drede to clerkes þat ne þe spirit of oure Ladi, þe which is lyf of hir, and in which Crist was wlappid, was a spirit of Crist; as alle þingis moten nedis be hise. Lord! siþ sophistris graunten þat þis*. [Þe, E.] fadir of þe*. [Þis, E.] hound is myn, and ȝit he is not my fadir*. [On the fallacies arising from ambiguity of the middle term, see the chapter on Fallacies in Whately's Logic, §§ 8-12, and the collection of examples in the Appendix, Part II.], whi shulde we not graunte also þat oure Ladies soule is Cristis; and so myche more, as Cristis wille and hir wille was ever at oon? Þe eende whi oure Ladi suffride þus, was herfore ordeyned of God, for she shulde be more hooli, and more disserve to Cristene men, and beter printe Cristis dedes, and telle hem hise evaungelistis.

And þus many men tellen þis cause to dyvers ententis; þat oure Ladi shulde have sorewe, þat þouȝtis be shewid of many hertis. Sum men construen þis þus: þat oure Ladi, bi þis sorewe, lovede more tendirli mankynde, and made hem shewe her pryvy synnes. And so, bi þis merit of oure Ladi, þouȝtis of apostlis and oþer weren shewid of many hertis to God, bi confession; or ellis, þat þus oure Ladi þouȝte betere on dedes þat Crist dide, and shewide hem to Luke and oþer, to witnesse hem of many hertis. Page  334

And þer was an oold womman, Anna, þat was a prophete in þis tyme: she was douȝter of Fanuel, of þe kynrede of Aser. Þis Anna wente wel in her daies, and she lyvede sevene ȝeer wiþ hir hosebonde þat was weddid wiþ hir fro her maidenhod. And þis Anna was widewe unto foure score ȝeer and foure, þat wente not out of þe temple, but servede þerinne, boþe niȝt and dai, bi fastinge and devoute preieris. And þis Anna cam þe same tyme, and made hir confession to God, and spake of Crist, as*. [So E; A reads and.] of God and man, to alle oþer, þat camen to hir and weren in bileve, and abiden þe biyng aȝen of mankynde. Here men douten comunli how old þis Anna was, and wheþer þes foure score ȝeer and foure ben countid in hir two eeldis bifore, as in tyme of hir maidenhood, and in tyme of hir wedlok. But leve we þis witt to God, and wite we wel þat þis Anna was an old womman; and so Crist wolde have witnesse of ages and statis of folk. Crist wolde have witnes of old folk, as weren Anna and Symeoun; and he hadde witnesse of ȝong folk, as weren Innocentis martrid for him; and he hadde witnesse of myddil folk, as weren his fadir, and modir, and herdis. But comunli Crist hadde witnesse of just folk of good name.

And whanne þei hadden do alle þingis in þe temple, þat fel to be done bi Goddis lawe, þei turneden aȝen to Galile, to þe citee Nazareth. For, siþ Crist was circumcisid, and pore offringe was maad for him, þer was no more þere to do bi Crist, of so tendir age; but whanne he was of twelfe ȝeer, he cam aȝen wiþ his eldris and enfourmede þe doctours of þe temple, as þe gospel of Luk seiþ. And in þe meene while, þe child wexide and was confortid, ful of witt, and þe grace of God was wiþ him.

Page  335



Postquam consummati sunt.
—LUC. ii. [21.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of Cristis circumcisioun, þat was done on þe eiȝtiþe*. [eyȝtþe, E.] daie fro þat Crist was bore. And þis religioun bigan at Abraham þe patriark; and þis religioun was done in hem longe after þer eiȝtþe daies*. [þe eyȝt dayes, E.]*. [For (Gen. xvii. 10) Abraham was ninety years old, and Ishmael thirteen, when the rite was prac|tised on them, and on all the men of the houshold.]. But þis was kept speciali among þe Jewis; but now we kepen it not, but þing þat it figuriþ. Þe first book of Goddis lawe telliþ of Adam and Eve, how þei lyveden nakid in tyme of þer innocence. But fro þei hadden synned, þei wisten þat þei weren nakid, and þei founden in lymes of gendrure rebellioun to resoun; and þei shameden herof, and hiliden þes lymes, for man shameþ kyndeli of workes of synne. And þus God bad Abraham to þenke on þis synne, þat men shulden kitte awey þe skynne of þer ȝerde; and þis kitting awei is clepid circumcisioun. Many causes þer ben whi þis prophytid to Jewis; for, bi þis þei þouȝten betere on þe synne of Adam; bi þis þei fledden more þe foule synne of lecherie. And to þis synne weren þe Jewis ful redi; and her|fore swynys fleish was forfendid Jewis*. [Nicholas de Lyra (Biblia Sacra, in Levit. cap. xi.) explains that the flesh of the camel, the hare, the Hyrax Syriacus, or choerogryllus, (translated 'coney,') and the swine, was forbidden to the Jews, because by the first is mystically signified pride, by the second timidity, by the third avarice, and by the fourth fil|thiness,—vices which are respec|tively opposed to the four cardinal virtues, prudence, courage, justice, and chastity.]. And bi þis obedience þat Jewis maden to God, weren þei knowen from oþer men, whanne þei weren slayn in bataile. Siþ Crist myȝte not synne, and algatis in lecherie, Crist was circumcidid, to fulfille þe lawe, and to telle men aftir how he clensiþ þer hertis fro synnes þat þei han done, in dede, in word, and þouȝt. Page  336

And þis is þe first ernest*. [ernes, E.] þat Crist ȝaf for mannis kynde, and seide þat he wolde save it bi blood of þis Goddis lomb. Men seien þat Crist þries shed his blood for man: first, in cir|cumcision of þis tendir membre; þe secounde tyme, longe after, whanne Crist swette his blood whanne he praiede for man, and dredde to suffre deþ; þe þridde tyme, and moost, whanne þe blood of Cristis bodi was drawyn out in many maneris bi violence of turmentouris. Þe blood in his fleish was drawyn out bi scourging; þe blood in his veynes was drawyn out bi nailis; and þe blood of his herte, where Cristis liif was tresourid, was drawyn out bi persing of spere of a knyȝt. Lord! siþ Crist seiþ þat þe blood of just Abel shal be requyrid of Cayn, myche more þis blood of Crist. And siþ suffring bi charite is meritorie and helpyng, myche more þis suffringe of þe persone of Crist. And þus goostli circumcisioun was evermore nedeful; and it hadde vertue and ende in þe blood of Crist.

Þis gospel telliþ shortli of þis circumcisioun. Luk seiþ, Whanne eiȝte daies weren endid, þat þe child shulde be circumcidid, his name was clepid Jesus, þat was clepid of þe aungel bifore he shulde be conceyved in wombe. It is knowun to trewe men þat Crist was þries clepid þus; oones, whanne he was circumcidid, as we clepen children whanne þei ben baptizid*. [baptymed.]; þe toþer tyme, whanne Gabriel spak wiþ oure Ladi, and telde hir how she shulden conseyve Crist, and he shulde be clepid Jesus. Þe þridde tyme was Crist clepid Jesus in þe Trinite wiþinne; and þis was hiȝest cleping, and moost of vertu. For by*. [So E; bifore, A.] þe orde|nance of þis oþer han þer power; and bi þis seiþ Poul, þat in þe name of Jesus ech knee is bowid, of hevene, of erþe, and helle; and ech tunge confessiþ þat oure Lord Jesus Crist is in þe glorie of God his Fadir. And so þis word Jesus, seid of trewe men, is of gret vertu aȝens þe fendis. And, as sum men speken, þis name is often teld, sum tyme privyli, and sum tyme apertli, and it was ofte figurid bifore þat Crist was bore. Jesus is as myche to seie as Savyour. And so Joseph in Egipt was figure of oure Jesus. Josue, þat ledde Goddis folk, and Page  337 partide þe lond of biheste, figuride oure Jesus bi many pro|pirtees; and so dide Jesus Sidrakis sone; and Jesus Nanes*. [mannes, E.] sone*. [That is, Joshua the son of Nun.].

And, as men seien, in þis word 'Unneþe shal þe just man be saved,' is menyd þis word Jesus, whoso coude undirstonde it. For in þis word Vix ben but þree lettris, V, and I, and X. And V bitokeneþ fyve; I bitokeneþ Jesus; and X bitokeneþ Crist. And so þis resoun seiþ þat þe just man shal be saved bi þe V woundis of Jesus Crist oure Lord.



Defuncto Herode.
—MATT. ii. [19.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist cam from Egipt. For in tyme þat Crist was þere, þat is not made to us to knowe, was þe first Heroude deed, þat slouȝ þe children for Cristis sake. For in meke abiding sendiþ God remedy; and þus seiþ þe gospel þat, Whanne Heroude was deed, lo, þe aungel of oure Lord apperide to Joseph in sleep, and bad him ryse, and take þe child and his modir, and go into þe lond of Israel, for þei ben dede þat souȝten þe childis liif. It is seid bifore, þat God is good maistir, þat sendiþ siche messangers to conforte his disciplis, and telliþ but litil at oones, þat þei shulden not forȝete; but evere as þei han nede, þei shulden ben newe confortid. God woot al þing bifore þat it be done; and so he ordeynede his angel to come to Joseph in Egipt anoon, whanne Eroude was deed, to telle him þes tiþingis. And so Joseph dide noȝt but þat þat God tolde him. And ȝif Eve hadde do so, she hadde venquishid þe fend, and not hadde daliance wiþ him til þat she hadde ben disseyved.

And wite we wel, þat not oonli Heroude souȝte þe liif of Jesus, but many of his servauntis for love of him. And þus Page  338 lordis seien, we wolen þat it be so. Two maneres of sekyng þer ben of men: sum men seken men to do hem good and worship; and þus þre kingis souȝten oure Lord Jesus; and sum men seken a man to do him harm and dispit; and þus Heroude and his servantis souȝten Jesus Crist; and þei wolden have kilid Crist. And þus þei souȝten Cristis liif; for his spirit þei myȝten not dere; and his bodi þei tolden litil bi, but þei wolden not þat his spirit hadde quiked his bodi.

And Joseph roos and took þe child and his modir also, and cam in to þe lond of Israel; but warli, as þe aungel tauȝte him. And, whanne Joseph herde þat Archelaus, Heroudis sone, rengnede in Judee for his fadir, he dredde for him to go þidir. And Joseph was amoneschid in sleep bi angel how he shulde go; and wente into Galile. And Joseph cam and dwelte in a citee of þat contre, þat was clepid Nazareth; for to fulfille þe prophecie þat Jesus shulde be clepid of Nazareth. And so he was; for Pilat wroot upon his cros þis writing, as þe gospel telliþ; Jesus of Naza|reth, King of Jewes. And so, as Luk telliþ, oure Ladi was grett in þe citee of Nazareth, and þer she conceyvede Crist; and þus bi many resons was Crist clepid of Nazareth.

Beside lettre of þis gospel, mai men meeve*. [move, E.] doutis of scole; but me þinkiþ now, it is bettre to touche lore of vertues. We shal bileve þat al þe gospel, be it nevir so literal, techiþ what þing shal bifalle, and how þat men shal lyve. And so, as Crist in his ȝoungþe was pursued by many men to dispise him and slee him in his owne persone; so, unto þe dai of dome is he pursued in his membres, and algatis in Goddis cause, bi resoun of Goddis lawe. We shulden not presume, but hope, þat we ben membris of Crist; but wel we witen, ȝif men haten us and pursuen us for Cristis cause, þanne þei pursuen Crist in his membris, and haten þe cause of Crist. For betere cause myȝte not Crist have þan defending of his lawe; for þis cause made Crist be deed many weies bifore oþer; and Crist, for þe beste cause, suffride here martirdome. Studie wel Goddis lawe, and þe treuþe þat sueþ ofit, and defende it booldli,—boþe to preestis and to þe world,—and þou shalt have enemyes to Page  339 pursue þee to þe deþ. And as Crist was pursued boþe of preestis and knyȝttis, so þou shalt be pursued of þes twoo bi diverse resouns. Sum tyme knyȝttis ben chevetaynes, as it fel of þe eemperours, and sum tyme preestis ben maistris, as it was in Cristis tyme. And so it mai falle now, boþe of popis and bishopis. For ȝif men þenken Goddis lawe sharp*. [to scharp, E.], and to lette avauntage of þis world, men of þis world, bi þe fend, wolen haten hem þat puplisshen it. And so slouþe and cowardise ben cause of þis fals pees; and so wanting of þis pees is signe to many þat God loveþ hem. Ech word of þis gospel mai be told to þis entent; but it suffisiþ to have þe roote, and go liȝtli to oþer wittis. And muse we not how þis kingdom cam from Archilaus to Heroude; for if it hadde be profitable, God wolde have tolde it in his lawe. And so many treuþis profiten more while þei ben unknowen to men þan þei shulden profite knowyn; as Goddis lawe techiþ us.



Cum natus esset Jesus.
—MATT. ii. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ, how þre kyngis camen afer out of þe eest to do worship to Jesus Crist, as þei weren tauȝt bi Goddis lawe. And þus seiþ Mathew in þis gospel, þat whanne Jesus was born in Bedeleem of þe lond of Judee, for diversite of anoþer Bedeleem, in þe daies of Heroude þe Kyng. (And þis was þe first Heroude, more þan þe two after, and he was kyng of Judee bi þe eemperour of Rome; and he hadde it in pees, þat tyme þat Crist was bore. And þus seiþ þe testament of Ja|cob, whanne he tolde of Judas his sone: 'Þer shal not be taken aweie þe ceptre*. [septre, E.] fro Judas kynde, ne a duke þat shal come of him, til þat Crist come, þat is to be sent*. [So E; seint, A.]; and he shal be abiding of heþene men,' þat he shal turne. And þus it bifel Page  340 of Heroude, for þe tyme þat Crist was bore; for þanne regalie of þe Jewis was taken aweie, and ȝovun to Heroude.) And þes þre kingis weren wise men, and lyveden in worship after þer astat, and tauȝten her peple Goddis lawe and resoun, as þei hadden be þree men of hevene. And fro þe tyme of Balam, þat was profete of Moab, þer weren kingis in þat contre to aspie his prophecie. For he seide þat a sterre shulde springe of þe kynde of Jacob, and Gentil folk shulde loute þat child þat shulde be bore in tyme of þis sterre. And so, whanne þis sterre apperide on Cristemasse niȝt, or bifore, þes þree kingis ordeyneden hem to come and worshipe þis child. And so þei camen upon dromedis wiþinne þe þrittenþe daie; for her weie was ordeyned redi, wiþouten letting, how þei shulden come. And, for þei wisten þat þe Child was greet, þei camen to Jeru|salem, þat was þe heed citee of þe contre, and hopiden þat Crist was bore þere. And þere þei*. [So E; not italicized in A.]axiden opinli, Where is he þat is bore Kyng of Jewes, as Balaim tolde in his prophecie, for we sawen þe sterre of him in þe eest, þat haþ led us, and we ben comen wiþ ȝiftes to loute him, as we shulden. And whanne Heroude herde þes wordis, he was disturblid, bi many causis, and al þe citee of Jerusalem was disturblid wiþ him. He þouȝte þat so grete men wolden not come so fer þidir, but ȝif þei hadden wist bi certeyn tokenes þat a kyng of Jewes were bore; and þis kyng shulde reve him þe kyngdome þat he hadde. Men seien þat þis sterre was sich þat it was bineþe þe moone in þe overmeste*. [overmoste, E.] part of þe eir, and movede as God wolde þat it movede. And so þes þree kingis weren meved bi liȝt and leding of þis sterre; and so þei myȝten in litil tyme come to Jerusaleem.

And Heroude gedride alle princis of preestis þat weren in Jerusalem, and alle þe scribis of þe peple, to wite where Crist shulde be bore. And þei seiden to him, þat he shulde be bore, In Beedleem of Judee; for so was it writun bi þe prophete, þat seide þus, of þis toun:—And þou, Bedeleem, in þe lond of Juda, art not lest among þe princis of Juda; for of þee shal come out a duk þat shal reule my folk of Israel. Þanne Heroude madePage  341privyli clepe þese þree kingis, and lernede of hem þe tyme of þis sterre þat apperide to hem, and sente hem into Bedelem, and seide to hem, (but falseli):—Go ȝe, and axe bisili of þis child, þat is bore; and whanne ȝe hav foundun him, telle ȝe me aȝen, þat Y come and loute him. And whanne þei herden þe king þus speke, þei wenten out of Jerusaleem; and lo, þe sterre þat þei sawen in þe eest meevede bifore hem til þat place þat it stood, evene above where þe child Jesus was. And whanne þes kingis sawen þis sterre, þei hadden myche joie wiþal. And þei entriden in to þe hous, and foundun þe child, wiþ Marie his modir; and þei fel doun bifore þe child, and loutiden him, devouteli. And þei openeden þer tresouris, and offriden to him þree ȝiftis, gold and mirre and encense;— as þei weren tauȝte to trowe of Crist þat he was boþe king and preest, and shulde die for mankynde. And þei token answere in þer sleep, þat þei shulden not turne aȝen to Heroude; and so bi anoþer weie þei turneden aȝen to þer lond.

Bi þis gospel mai we lerne, how Crist coveitide honest poverte; for he was not bore in þe kingis citee, but in pore uplondish toun,—not in þe beste place of þe toun, but in a pore comune stable. And þes kyngis weren enfourmed bi tymes what alle þes þingis menten. And so we singen in þe chirche, þat þes þree ȝiftis of þe kingis weren ȝovun of ech of hem, and bi certeyn causis ordeyned of God. Bi þe gold þei miȝten bie þingis þat was nedeful for Crist, and bi þe mirre þei myȝten strengþe þe membris of Crist, and bi þe encence þei myȝten putte awey þe stynke of þe stable. And Crist ordeynede bi his lawe, þat he shulde not þus begge, but lyve in an honest poverte lik to þe state of innocence. And þat þe þre kingis camen so fer to bringe þes goodis unto Crist, bitokeneþ Cristis lordship þat he hadde wiþ his povert. But me þinkiþ þat þe witt is betere þat þe Chirche singiþ of þis; gold is Cristis regalie, in encence his presthode, and in myrre his sepulcre

* The writer no doubt refers to the following passage in the Se|quence used on the festival of the Epiphany (Sarum Missal):—

Huic Magi munera deferunt praeclara,
Aurum, simul thus cum myrrha;
Thure deum praedicant, auro regem magnum,
Hominem mortalem myrrha.
. And þus alle men shulden worshipe hem. Seculer lordis shulden wor|shipe Crist, and þat þis gold shulde teche hem; preestis also Page  342 shulden worshipe Crist, bi þe lore of þis encence; and alle comunes shulden worshipe Crist, for we ben alle dedli, and in tyme of oure deþ and aftirward we haue noon helpe but him. And þis shulden we do in liȝt; for we shulden worche discretli. And, as Gregory techiþ*. [St. Gregory, Homil. X. 'A re|gione nostra superbiendo, inobedi|endo, visibilia sequendo, cibum vetitum gustando, discessimus: sed ad eam necesse est, ut flendo, obe|diendo, visibilia contemnendo, atque appetitum carnis refrenando, redea|mus. Per aliam ergo viam ad re|gionem nostram regredimur; quo|niam qui a paradisi gaudiis per di|lectamenta discessimus, ad haec per lamenta revocamur.'], we shulden wenden fro þe fend al bi anoþer weie þan we camen into þis world. For bi synne we camen hidir, and contynneden here in synne; but we shal wende fro þe fend unto oure countre, þat is hevene, bi þe weie of vertuous*. [So in E; A has vertues.] liif, and þanne we suen þes þree kingis.



Ecce reliquimus*. [So in E; A has relinquimus.]omnia.
—MATT. xix. [27.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of þe meede þat Crist bihiȝte to his hie knyȝtis. Petre was of greet bileve, and hardi in axing, and axiþ þus Crist:—Lo, we hav forsaken alle þingis, and we hav sued þee; what mede shal be to us for þis suynge? Here men douten comunli, how Petre seide soþ; siþ men forsaken not but þing þat þei have hadde, and Petre was a fishere, and hadde but litil þing. Also þer ben many þingis þat Petre þouȝte nevere on; but how shulde he forsake þing þat nevere cam in his þouȝt? Also, Petre forsoke nevere þe Holi Trinite, ne þe manheede of Crist, þat ben many þingis. How approveþ Crist þes false wordis of Petre? Here it semeþ to many men þat Petre undirstood þus,—þat þei forsoken alle þingis*. [The words þat—þingis are om. in E.],—for alle þes worldli goodis; siþ þei helden þer bisynesse and þer wille fro þes goodis. And þis witt mente Crist, in his speche Page  343 aftir to Petre. And þus biddiþ Crist bi Luk and Joon to forsake and hate seven goodis. And þes wordis mai serve wel to þis undirstonding; and þis witt was soþ of Petre and oþer apostlis; siþ a manere of forsakyng is to leeve wille to siche goodis, and þei hadden not suyd Crist þus, but ȝif þei hadden left sich will. And it is liȝt to assoile objectis aȝens þis*. [It is easy to solve the objections raised against this text.]. To þe firste we seien, þat Peter, bifore he suyd Crist, hadde in his affeccioun al manere of sich þing; and þis desire he lefte, and so alle siche þingis. To þe secounde word we seien, þat þer ben many þouȝtis and many desiris to þingis, as special or general. Petre hadde general desire to al manere of siche þingis, and general forsakyng axiþ sum mede. And clerkis seien, þat special mai not be wiþouten general, and þis forsaking makiþ hem to have þes þingis þe which þei forsoken,—ȝhe, betere þan þei hadden bifore; as, ȝif a man forsake for Crist his fadir and modir, he haþ hem þanne betere þan whanne he lovede hem fleishli.

The þridde obiect þat here is maad goiþ not aȝens oure sentence. For ech man mai wel wite þat Petre þouȝte not to leve Crist, siþ Petre seiþ, next aftir, þat þei suen Crist; and þat is verri tokene þat þei forsaken not þus Crist, siþ þei forsaken al manere of erþeli þingis for Crist; and þis axiþ grete mede, siþ it is myche, and wilful; and mede bihiȝt to traveilours makiþ hem traveile betere. Oþer chartris he nediþ not but þe word of Crist; for wordis of þe firste treuþe passen alle oþer chartris.

Jesus seide to hem, to whom he spak þes wordis: Soþeli I seie to ȝou, þat ȝe þat þus hav suyd me, in þe laste making of men*. [So E; A excludes making of men from the italics.], whanne mannis sone shal sitte in sete of his majeste, ȝe shal sitte in twelve setes and juge twelve kynredis of Israel. Here shal we wite þat Crist spak not oonli to þes twelve, but generali to oþer seintis þat passingli suen Crist; for ȝif Crist bihiȝte þis to Scarioth, and lefte to ȝeve þis mede to Poul, what truþe were in Cristis wordis, or what mede to oþer men? It semeþ þat Crist undirstondiþ his sitting at þe dai of dome; for þis seete of juging is propre to him, boþe God and man; and þerfore it is Page  344 wel clepid, a seete of his majeste. Þis noumbre of twelve is noumbre of alle passinge seintis, þat nyȝ suen Crist in staat of apostlis, and algatis forsoken*. [forsaken, E.] þe world for the love of Crist. Þe noumbre of þes seintis shal be partid in twelve, and juge alle lesse seintis, which ben also partid in twelve. And alle þes ben Jacobis sones, and seen all clereli God. And þus seien men comunli þat þre manere of men shal come to Cristis jugement. Sum, passinge seintis þat sueden nyȝ Crist, as patriarkis, and Baptist, and oþer Cristis disciplis. And þes, for þei weren liȝt and ensample to oþer, shal juge oþer þat sueden hem to þer boþe*. [broþeres, E.] worship. And þis jugement shal not be but þis witnessinge of treuþe. Þe secounde part þat shal come to Cristis laste jugement shal be seintis þat shal sue þes grete seintis. And it is no contrariouste*. [contrarioste, E.] þat þes same seintis ben of þes boþe partis, bi dyverse resouns. Þe more part of men, in þe laste jugement, shal be men þat shal be dampned, and þis is a greet part. Of þes men seiþ þe Psalm, þat þei risen not up in jugement; þei shal be jugid of God, and of alle hise seintis, for to go to helle for her wickid liif. And þis mede, bihiȝt of Crist, passiþ alle þes worldli goodis. Blessid be þis duke of bataile, þat þus rewardiþ his knyȝtis; for þis is more confortable, and betere bi a þousand part, þan wages ȝovun in erþeli batailis of knyȝtis or of clerkis. Lord! siþ þis suyng for*. [of, E.] Crist is forsaking of worldli goodis, and profiting in poverte after þat Crist lyvede, how myche shulden we preestis drede þat we failen in þis!

And for þis myddil part þat shal come to þe jugement, bihotiþ Crist, þat ech þat forsakiþ for him ony of þes eiȝte þingis*. [So E; om. A.], shal have an hundred fold here in þis lyf, and, after, pesible possessioun of þe liif of blisse. Scorne we þes foolis þat seien, bi þes Cristis wordis, þat ech seint shal have here a hundrid wyves at þe laste, and so of oþer sevene þingis þat þe gospel rehersiþ. Here mark we alle þes eiȝte, which ben hous and breþeren, sistren, and fadir, and modir, wif or children, or feldis, wiþ oþer rentis. And marke we þe fruyt þat man haþ of worldli havyng of þes eiȝte, and, on þe oþer side, havyng þat just men have here; and Page  345 we shal wel undirstonde þat þis secounde havynge passiþ an hundrid fold þe first in fruyt and profit. And here we taken two þingis as Cristyn mennys bileve:—oon, þat sich men han al manere of þingis; anoþer, þat sich goostli havynge passiþ worldli havyng. And þanne mai we telle scorne by sich asse argumentis:—ȝif a man shal have here an hundred fold so good þing as is þis wif, þanne he shal have an hundrid wyves! Kepe we wordis of þe gospel, and witt of it þerwiþ, and alle þe fendis or false men mai not disprove a word þerof.



Postquam impleti sunt dies.
—LUC. ii. [22.]

IT is seid comunli, þat oure Ladi haþ fyve festis: Concep|cioun, Nativite, Annunciacioun, Purificacioun; þe fifte is As|sumpcioun, whanne oure Ladi was deed. Þe ferþe of þes festis is seid in þis gospel, and is clepid comunli þe feste of Candilmasse; for Jewis hadden a lawe,—and we kepen ȝit sumwhat þerof in purifiynge of wymmen,—þat a womman, after þat she was deliverid of a knave child, shulde, in sixe wokes after, come to þe temple and be purified þere, after þat þe law lymytide. And al ȝif oure Ladi nedede not to be þus purified, ȝit, bi counseil of God, she fulfillide þus þe lawe. For her sone seiþ after, I cam not to undo þe lawe, but to fulfille it; and so he made his modir do. And so telliþ Luke, þat, fro þe daies weren fulfillid of purifying of Marie, after þe lawe of Moises, þei brouȝten Jesus in to Jerusalem to sette him bifore God. For alȝif God be everywhere, ȝit we seien he is in chirchis on a special manere, as he is in juste soulis. And so þei offriden Crist to God; as þe law axide þat every male þat openeþ wommans bodi to his issue shal be halewid to þe Lord; and offride for him a certeyn þing,—as a peire of turturis or two briddis of dowves. For riche folk shulden offre for purifying of wymmen a ȝong lomb of o ȝeer, as Goddis Page  346 lawe telliþ; and it sufficide to pore folk to offre a peire of turturis, or two dowve briddis, for þe child þat was born. And so we mai not denye þat ne Crist and his eldris weren pore folk, for þei chosen þe secounde.

And þer was a man in Jerusalem þat was clepid Symeon; and þis was a just man, and hadde drede of Goddis lawe. And þis man abood conforting of Israel; and þe Holi Goost was in þis Symeon. And þis man hadde answere of þe Holi Goost þat he shulde not se deþ, but ȝif he saw first Crist. And he cam into þe temple bi leding of þe Holi Goost. And whanne þei brouȝten þe child Jesus, his eldris, into þe temple, þat þei shulden do after þe custom of þe*. [So E; om. A.]lawe for him, Symeon toke him in his armes, and blessid God, and seide: Now, Lord, þou levest þi servaunt after þi word in pees, for myn iȝen han seen Crist, þat is helþe to þe world. And he is þi owne Sone, þe same God þat þou art. And his helþe þou hast ordeyned bifore þe face of al manere peple, to be liȝt to shewing of folk, and glorie to þi folk of Israel.

To þis feeste of oure Ladi answeriþ þe fourþe vertue, þat is, hope of hevenli blisse. And it was fulli in hir; for, as bileve lastide in hir whanne it failide in apostlis, so she hopide ever more þat she shulde come to blisse of hevene. For siþ she trowide þat hir Sone shulde rise fro deeþ to lyve, and how and whanne he shulde rise, as God himsilf hadde tauȝt hir, how myȝte þis Ladi myshope þat ne she shulde come to hevene? In þis we shulden sue þis Ladi, and þenke ever on hevenli blisse, and traveile þerfore, niȝt and dai, in hope for to gete þis blisse; and what woo þat we have here, take it in ful pacience, for þe joie þat we hopen to gete in þe blisse of hevene. Lord! siþ a tiliyng man hopiþ ofte to have his fruyt, how moche more shulden we have hope to come to blisse of hevene. And þis hope is of þis kynde, þat it mote be con|tynuel, and ever more meritorie, to large a mannis blisse in heven. It makiþ a man mery and glad, and suffre al þat falliþ to him; for it is groundid in riȝt bileue þat God doiþ al for þe beste. No man failiþ þis hope*. [in þis hope, E.] but if he synne on oþer syde; and algatis but if he forȝete to þenke on hevenli blisse. Men Page  347 þat ben stoppid wiþ worldli þouȝtis, or wiþ lustis of her fleishe, failen to plese þis Ladi here, and folwe her in þer þouȝt; and þus þei maken not þe*. [þis, E.] Lord myche, ne hir spirit is glad in God. But þus dide oure Ladi Marie, as þe gospel telliþ of hir. And þus fewe men in þis liif wanten ernes of dispeire; for þei þat ben depid in synne, and þenken not but on þes worldli goodis, wanten hope of hevenli blisse, and þus þei growen in dispeire. And on þis shulden we prestis þenken; and algatis prestis of þe world, þat suen not Crist in poverte, but þenken how þei mai be riche here. And þis synne is more in coventis þat ben groundid in her goodis, and ever ben depid in þer synne for defaute of riȝt hope.



Venit Jesus in partes Cesarie*. [Cesaree, E.].
—MATT. xvi. [13.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Petre apostle passide in bileve oþer apostlis, for he was more sad and hardi to trowe of Crist þat he shulde. Matheu telliþ þat Jesus cam into þe contre þat siche a cite was inne sett*. [sett ynne, E.] þat was clepid Cesarie of Filip*. [Philip, E.]. And of two men it hadde þe name. Þis citee hadde þree names; first, it was clepid Lachis; and siþ it was clepid Dan, after þe kinrede of Dan; and after of Philip, Heroudis broþir, þat hadde þe fourþe part of þis rewme, it was clepid Cesarie of Philip, in worship of þe emperour and him*. [If the writer had consulted St. Jerome, he would have found (see Smith's Bible Dict.) that Dan and Cesarea-Philippi were two different places, standing about four miles apart, at two different sources of the Jordan. But perhaps his authority was F. Brocardus of Strasburg, a Dominican friar who visited the Holy Land in 1283, and whose de|scription of his journey is given in Canisius's Thesaurus, vol. iv. Bro|cardus similarly confounds the po|sition of Dan or Laish (he calls it Lesem), with that of Paneas or Cesarea-Philippi, to which he gives the additional appellation of Ba|lenas.]. And þis citee was divers Page  348 fro Cesarie of Palestine, in which dwelte Centurio*. [The writer seems to have mis|taken the 'Centurio' of the Vulgate (Acts X. I) for one of the names of Cornelius.]. But alle þes weren worldli names; and þes men, to gete þer name lastinge here, but not in hevene, leften sich dedis here in erþe, over þe state of innocence. And þus done þes newe ordris, in cloistris and in oþer housis, and þenken to myche on hir liif here, and to litil on hevenli liif. We shulden þenken on goode workes, to make men to forsake þis world, and þenken on Crist and on his liif; for sich þouȝtis wolen lasten wiþ us.

And þus axide Crist here, for greet witt þat was in him, among his disciplis, who he was, bi his manhede. For it is seid ofte tymes, þat on foure maneris is man brouȝt forþ. Þe fourþe manere, and propre to Crist, is, þat he cam of a virgine oonli. And so to make mede in apostlis, and to teche þe Chirche after, Crist brouȝte in þis questioun, and axide what men seide of him. As men hadden dyverse opynyouns of Baptist, what he was,—sum men seiden þat he was Heli, and sum men þat he was Christ, and sum men þat he was anoþer prophete, as techiþ Joones gospel,—so weren many opynyons of Crist. And herfore seiden Cristis apostlis bi oon witt, how dyverse men hadden here dyverse opynyons. For sum men seiden þat he was Baptist; as Heroude, and men of his opynyon, seiden þat Joon was risen to liif, and he hadde vertue to do miraclis, as þe dedis of Crist shewiden. Oþer men seiden of Crist þat he was old Heli, þe prophete; for Heli was taken up in a chare of fire, and aftir he apperide no more. Þe þridde men seiden, bi Cristis workis, þat he was Jeremye þe prophete, or anoþer grete prophete. Somme seiden oon and sum anoþer. But Crist axide his disciplis*. [apostlis, E.], whom þei seiden him to be. But Peter answeride gloriously, as a trewe man, for alle þe apostlis, and seide on þis maner, Þou art Crist, Sone of God lyvynge. Bi þat þat Petre clepid him Crist, he knowelichide þat he was þe greet prophete, þe which was bihiȝt bi Moises to þe folk in þe oold lawe. And so Petre knowelichide þe manheed of Crist. In þat þat Petre seide after, þat Crist was þe Sone of God lyvyng, he knowe|lichide Cristis Godhede fro þes fals Goddis. Imagis and Page  349 mawmetis ben falseli clepid Goddis, but þer is but oo lyvynge God, as þer is but oon þis Goddis Sone oonli.

And Crist answeringe seide unto Petre, Blessid art þou, Symount Barjona, for fleish and blood tolde þee not þis, but my Fadir þat is in hevene. Here we trowen, bi Cristis wordis, þat Petre moot needis be blessid; and so he hadde bileve wiþ charite ordeyned to blisse. And so, as Petre moste nedis synne, but he myȝte not synne deedli, so þe boot*. [buot, E.] of Petre, þat is holi Chirche, mote nedis suffre tribulacioun, but it mai not perishe. Petre is now clepid Symount, bi his propre name, and now clepid Barjona, or sone of Johanna, and now clepid Petre, as Crist clepid him here.

And þus Crist seiþ to him here, þat he is Petre, and upon þis stoone shal he grounden his Chirche. Þis corner stoone is Crist, of whom Petre haþ þis name; and on þis same stoone is hooli Chirche grounded. And þus Petre and ech man signifieþ þis stoon. And aftirward Crist telliþ þe strengþe of þe Chirche, and bihetiþ first to it, þat þe ȝatis of helle shal not have myȝt aȝens it. Cristis Chirche mai here be troublid bi þe fendis lymes, and þes lymes mai be clepid ȝatis of helle. For bi þes many fendis comen in and out, and þei ben ȝatis to many men to entre in to þe weie of helle. Þese ȝatis mai kille þe membris of Crist, but þei mai not harme hem, for Crist kepiþ her soule, and victorie of it is betere þan bodili deþ. And þes ȝatis in þis turmenting doen harm to hem silf, and profit to Cristis Chirche which þei weenen to distrye.

Þe secounde pryvylege of Petre stondiþ in þis; þat Crist shal ȝeve him þe keies of þe rewme of hevene. Þes two keies ben soþli seid witt and power, to teche men þe weie to hevene, and to opene hem þe ȝatis. And þes keies hadde Petre wiþ many oþer seintis, for alle men þat comen to hevene have þes keies of God. And so we shal not undirstonde þat þes ben keies of metal, þat oonli Petre beriþ, to opene hevene ȝatis to men; but þei ben lore and power, þat men have goostli of God. And so þis laste word seid is nede to be undirstonden wel, þat, What kyn þing þat Petre bindiþ upon erþe shal be bounden in hevene, Page  350and what kyn þing he unbindiþ upon erþe shal be unbounden in hevene. And þes wordis weren not oonli seid unto Petre, but comunli to þe apostlis, as þe gospel telliþ after, and, in persones of þe apostlis weren þei seid to prestis, and, as many men þenken, to alle Cristen men. For, if man have mercy on his soule, and unbinde it, or binde it, God bi his jugement in hevene jugiþ þe soule sich. For ech man þat shal be dampned is dampned for his owne gilt, and ech man þat shal be saved is saved bi his owne merit. And þus men seien comunli, þat wordis of Crist ben undirstonden, whanne þes keies erren not fro þe keies above. And so it were nede here to wite what is holi Chirche, and what ben þe keies of hevene, or whanne prestis bynden or unbynden. In þis þrefold disseit ben many men blindid; for as bi þe firste leesyng was mankynde lost, so bi þis secounde lesyng is þe Chirche disseyved. Þe first lesyng was of þe fend, whanne he reverside God, and seide to Adam and Eve þat þei shulden not die. Þe secunde lesyng is of þe fend, and of*. [So E; om. A.] Anticrist his viker; þe which lesing is poudrid wiþ ypocrisie. He seiþ þat he is next Crist bi manere of lyvyng, and so whatever he seiþ mote nede be soþ; and bi þis foule heresie is þe Chirche disseyved.



Confiteor tibi, Pater, Domine.
—MATT. xi. [25.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist answeride to feyned wordis of þe peple, and telde many hie treuþis to lore of his Chirche. And þes treuþis ben pertinent to chesyng of Mathi*. [Mathy, E.], for þis feste telliþ how Mathi was chosen in þe stede of Scarioth, aftir þat he hadde hanged himsilf. And so telliþ Matheu, how Jesus in þat tyme answeride to þe peple, and seide on þis manere:— I confesse to þee, Fadir, Lord of hevene and of erþe, þat hiddistPage  351þes treuþis fro worldli wise men and ware, and shewidest hem to meke men, and dispisid of þe world. And þe laste*. [So in E; leste, A.] cause herof is told þus of Crist: ȝhe, Fadir, þou didist þus, for þus it was liking to þee. We shal undirstonde here, þat not ech confes|sioun is rounyng in an eere of a mannis owne synne, but graunting of treuþe wiþ graunting of God. And þus spekiþ Crist, þat is of more auctorite þan alle þes popis þat ordeyneden confessioun of rounyng. And here mai we see how God is Cristis Fadir wiþouten ende, wiþinne, bifore þat he be Lord; but he is ever Lord of þis brode world; and þis world is understonden bi hevene and bi erþe. Þis treuþe þat Crist con|fessiþ, falling to þe apostlis, stondiþ in þis word; þat þei cowden many trewþis þat weren hid to olde*. [So E; A has holdun.] wise men and war of þe world, as weren Scribis and Fariseis, and oþer worldli men. And cause of þis dede of God is open to trewe men; for God wole shewe to men how al wisdom is of him, and he wole ȝeve it freeli to meke men þat he loveþ. So þat nouȝt likiþ to God but for certein enchesoun.

And þus, for Mathi was meke, God chees him apostle. For it is not leveful, for vertue of bileve, to denye þat God wrouȝte in castinge of þes lottis, and in alle dedis of þes apostlis, þe whiche chosen Mathi. And, as it is seid bifore*. [See p. 304.], þis chesing were ȝit betere, for mannis affeccioun is falsly varyed, and speciali whanne worldli wynnyng is knyttid to þe chesing. And ȝit men trowen þis heresie as if it were bileve, þat ȝif ony be chosen bi mannis lawe þanne he is treuli chosen. And ȝit boþe þe cheseris, and he þat is chosen, in þis displesen to God. And practik of þis heresie doiþ myche harm in chesing, as we mai see at eye in chesing of þes popis. Lyve þe cheseris a meke liif, and leeve þei to chese a worldli state, and kepe þei þe fourme of þis chesing, and þei shal chese wel. For, no drede, sich disturblyng cam never of chesing of þes popes, ȝif þei weren pore and meke, and lyveden as þe apostlis.

And, for disciplis of Crist shulden trowe to his speche, he telliþ what falliþ to him bi vertue of his Godhede. Crist seiþ*. [So in E; A gives the words 'Crist seiþ' as part of the quotation.], Page  352þat alle þingis ben ȝovun him of his Fadir, and no man knewe fulli Goddis Sone but his owne Fadir, and no man knewe þis Fadir but his Sone, and oþere men to whom he wolde shewe. Þe firste of þes þree wordis techiþ þat Crist is God, for ellis þe Fadir myȝte not ȝeve him alle þingis. For ȝif we undirstonden bi alle þingis, alle creaturis, ȝit þe Sone is bifore þat he have alle creaturis; and in þat beyng bifore he mote nede be God. And ȝif we undirstonden al þing wiþinne in God, þat Crist haþ al þis þing ȝovun of his Fadir, ȝit Crist moot nedis be God, ȝif þis gifte be trewe; for þanne Crist haþ þe Holi Goost, and propirtees of þre persones, and þe Fadir of hevene in a manere, þe which mai oonli acorde to God. And so, for þe first word is soþ, Crist mot nedis be God. And of þis wole it sue þat Crist is almyȝty, all witti, and al wilful, as þe Trinite is; for Crist is þe same God þe which is þe Trinite. Of þis wole sue þe toþer word after, þat no resonable þing knowiþ þe Sone at þe fulle but þe Fadir of hevene; for þei ben algatis evene. And after þis speche of þe Trinite, þe whiche is even in himsilf, shulde Crist speke of þis cunnyng, þe which is þe most þat mai be. Þe þridde word sueþ of þes: þat no man knowiþ þe Fadir but þe Sone, and þes men to which þis sone wole shewe þis knowing. Þe peple myȝte se at iȝe how þat Crist was verri man. And so Crist comeþ doun to mannis speche of knowing. Þe Sone, bi his Godhede, knowiþ evenli þe Fadir; and, bi þat þat he is man, he knowiþ as myche as man may knowe; and so his knowing moot be comuned to men after þat þei ben able. Þe Holi Goost is þe same kynde þat is þe Fadir and þe Sone, and þerfore Crist, supposing þis, leeveþ to speke of þis Goost.

And of þis may men gadere how men shulde trowe here Cristis wordis, siþ he is God þat mai not lye, ne faile to man in his lore. And, for Crist is boþe God and man, and haþ breþeren of his lesse kynde, þerfore he turneþ him to his breþeren and confortiþ hem in þer travaile. Come ȝe alle to me, seiþ Crist, þat travailen and ben chargid, and Y shall refete*. [refreesche, E.]ȝou. Take ȝe my ȝok upon ȝou, and lerne ȝe of me þis lessoun, Page  353þat Y am mylde and meke of herte, and sue ȝe ȝoure Fadir in þes two, and þanne, shal ȝe finde reste to ȝoure soulis, in ȝoure traveil. For my ȝok is swete, and my charge is liȝt. And þes wordis of Crist, to conforte religiouse men, ben betere þan alle þes newe reulis þat ben cloutid to Cristis wordis; for, in what staat þat þou be in Cristis religioun, lerne wel þe lessoun of myldenes and mekenes of Crist, how he kepte him in al his lyf, in what troublyng þat he was inne. And ȝif þou be on Goddis half, þou shalt lyve mekeli aftir Crist.



Missus est Angelus Gabriel a Deo.
—LUYK. i. [26.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ to þe Chirche how þe aungel grette oure Ladi, and how she, bi hir mekenesse, ablide hir to conseyve Crist. And þis þridde feste of oure Ladi is a wondir hiȝe feste, for in þis was Crist maad man, and Crist passiþ alle oþer seintis. And so men seien comunli, þat oure Ladi hadde fyve joies. Þe firste was at þis tyme whanne she conceyvede Crist bi mekenes. þe secounde was whanne she bare Crist wiþouten peyne at Criste|masse; þe þridde was whanne it was shewid to hir þat Crist was risen fro deeþ to lyve; þe ferþe was whanne she saw hir sone stie in to hevene; and þe fifþe joie was whanne she was deed and take to blisse. And to þes fyve joies ben answerynge fyve vertues þat we mai have; and ȝif we wolen worshipe þis Ladi, holde we þes vertues wel. Þes fyve vertues ben in þis ordre: mekenesse and chastite, bileve and hope, and charite; and ȝif we kepen hem we plesen God. And siþ Crist and his modir moten nedis be of oo wille, þus shal we plese to Marie, þe which is Goddis modir.

Luk telliþ how, Gabriel was sent fro God to grete Marie. And, for sum men ben clepid Gabriel, þerfore þe gospel specifieþ þat, þe aungel Gabriel was sent fro God to Nazareth, þat was, a citee of Galilee, in which citee oure Ladi dwelte. And þis maiden wasPage  354weddid to Joseph, þe which was of Daviþis hous, and name of þe virgyn was Marie. And wel she is clepid a virgyn so ofte in þis Gospel, for she was virgyne whanne she was weddid, and a virgyn after to her deþ. And a litil before þis wedding, þis aungel grette þis maiden þus; and so was Crist conseyved of hir in verri matrimonie of Joseph. It semeþ þat Ambrose, upon Luk, seiþ*. [S. Ambros. Comment. in Lucam, Lib. II, cap. I.], þat þei weren weddid bifore, and soone, bitwixe þat tyme and nyȝt, þe aungel cam and grette Marie þus. And algatis, on ech wey, oure Ladi was weddid in þe same hour, or nye þat hour þat she was greet*. [gret, E.]. Suppose we þat þis greting cam after, and neiþer wordis ne resoun semeþ to aȝen seie þis. Þis aungel cam in to þis maiden, and seide to hir on þis manere, Hail, ful of grace, God is wiþ þee; blessid be þou among wymmen. Þis angel clepide not now Marie bi hir propir name, þat she was clepid, for common uss*. [use, E.] wiþ lordis and ladies axiþ, þat comun servauntis of hem clepen hem not bi propre name, but bi name of excellence; as men þat speken of oure Kyng leeven to clepen him Kyng Richard, but seien þat þis is þe wille of þe Kyng, or þus þe Kyng biddiþ to do*. [This indication of date, which confines the composition of these sermons within the years 1378-1399, has been considered in the Intro|duction.]. And clouting of þis word Marie to þis gretinge of þe angel is not worþ ful myche pardone, but ȝif it be*. ['but ȝif it be' appears to be used here in the sense of 'much less.' But perhaps the sentence should be punctuated thus,—'myche pardone; but ȝif it be, two þousand ȝeer, as men seien, þe pope haþ grauntid,' &c.] two þousand ȝeer; as men seien þe pope haþ grauntid*. [I have searched the Bullarium (that of Cocquelines, Rome, 1739), which however is very meagre for the pontificate of Urban VI, and toiled through the numerous pro|clamations of indulgence of that pope, which are thickly strewn over the pages of Raynaldus, the con|tinuator of Baronius, but without finding anything to support the statement in the text. The usual indulgence granted to those who took up arms against the anti-pope was a plenary indulgence, on the same conditions and with the same privileges as were customary in the case of crusaders to the Holy Land.] for þe seiyng of an orisoun bitwixe þe sacryng and Agnus Dei. But many þenken þat þe Pater noster is þe bettere. And so it semeþ to many men þat God and þe pope varien, siþ God doiþ al þing upon resoun, and not but for certeyn causis. Page  355

Oure Ladi, whanne she herde þis greting, was troublid in þis word, and þouȝte, as a wise maiden, what manere shulde be þis greting. Þis troublinge in þis gretinge puttiþ no synne or blame in Marie, siþ Crist seiþ þat his soule is troublid, bifore his deþ. And þis angel seide to hir, Drede þe not, Marie, for þou hast foundun grace bifore þe Lord of alle Lordis. And here þis aungel, for confort, clepide Marie bi hir propre name, to telle þat he knewe hir wel, and eke þe Lord þat sente him. For whoever haþ founden grace of a lord is loved of him. Lo, þou shalt conseyve in wombe, and þou shalt bere a sone, and þou shalt clepe his name Jesus. And he þis*. ['He this' is the reading in this place of a single MS. (Bodl. 277) of the later Wycliffite version.]shal be greet, and he shal be clepid þe sone of þe hiȝeste Lord; and þe Lord God shal ȝeve him Daviþis seete, þe which Daviþ is his fadir; and he shal rengne in Jacobis*. [Jacobs, E.]hous wiþouten ende*. [So in E; om. A.]and of his rewme shal be noon ende. Bi þis mai men undirstonden þat Crist was king, as Daviþ was, but more spirituali, as his kyngdom was more spiritual. For ech worldli lordship mote nedis have an ende; and þus rengn|yng wiþouten eende in þe hous of Jacob, and þat of his rewme shal be noon eende, tellen how Crist rengneþ spirituali, and not contrarie to worldli lordis.

And Marie seide to þis angel, On what manere shal þis be, for I knowe no man fleishli? And þis angel answering seide to hir, Þe Hooli Goost shal come above in þee, and þe vertue of alþer hiȝeste Lord shal make umbre unto þee. Þe vertue of God makiþ umbre, whanne in a lowe place it lettiþ heete*. [þe hete, E.] of synne, as it fel in oure Ladi; for she was lower in kinde þan aungels, and she conseyvede wiþouten synne. And þerfore þat holi þing þat shal be born of þee shal be clepid Goddis Sone, singulerli bifore oþer. And lo, Eliȝabeth þi cosyn, and she haþ conseyved a sone in hir elde; and þis moneþ is þe sixte to him þat is clepid bareyne*. [to him that is clepid bareyne. Both A and E concur in this reading, and the expression a few lines be|low, 'Zacharie in reprefe was clepid bareyne,' leaves no doubt that it is correct. But it is not easy to understand why the writer adopted this most erroneous version of the original, or where he found any countenance for it. The very nu|merous MSS. of the two Wycliffite versions all read 'hir,' and the ren|dering of the Vulgate is 'illi quae vocatur sterilis.' Did the writer inadvertently read 'qui' for 'quae?']. Page  356 For Zakary, Baptist fadir, hadde geten Joon sixe moneþis bifore; and so bi a litil tyme Joon was man bifore Crist. But evene bi sixe moneþis was Joon born before Crist; for Crist was man, but not Joon, fro þe*. [So E; for tyme, A.] tyme þat he was conceyved. And Zacharie in repreef was clepid bareyne, wiþouten fruyte. For no word þat God seiþ shal be impossible to him; and so, siþ God wole have it þus, it mote algatis be so.

And Marie, as ful ripe in mekenesse, answeride þus to þe aungel: Lo, here þe handmaiden of God; Be it done to me after þi word. And, as men seien comunli, in þis tyme Marie con|seyvede Crist. For, as Eve, for þe tyme þat she was moost proud, loste mankynde, so Marie, for þe tyme þat she was most meke, won mankynde. And here, ȝif þou wilt plese Marie, or God hir sone, be algatis meke; for mekenes wole plese to Marie, siþ she woot it plesiþ to God. And herfore she seiþ in hir song: God bihelde þe mekenesse of his maiden, and certis, herfore, lo, alle kynredis shal seie þat I am blessid. And so, ȝif þou wilt plese oure Ladi, traveile þou to growe in mekenes. Also, siþ ech hie þing mote have a good and stable ground, and ȝif þou wilt come to hevene þou moost make a tour þidir, and so, if þou wilt come to hevene, stable þee in Cristis mekenesse. And so as þe sentre is lowest of alle þingis, so Crist is þe mekeste þat mai be. Also, þe lower þat a vessel is, þe more of licour wole it take; and so þe mekere þat a man is, þe more of grace wole he take. And so, ȝif þou wilt have grace of God, meke þee wele in þi soule; for mekenes meveþ to pacience, and to al oþer manere of vertues.

Page  357



Non turbetur*. [So in E; A has turbentur.]cor vestrum.
—JOHN xiv. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ, how Crist confortide his disciplis upon Shire Þursdaie, as he dide comunli in wordis þat he seide hem þanne. Joon telliþ in fyve capitlis wordis þat Crist spake after his soper; and, among oþer þingis, he tolde hem how he shulde be bitrayd, and how he shulde be after turmentid and deed, and how þei shulden have drede boþe wiþinne and wiþouten. And herfore he medlide wiþ al wise wordis of confort. Crist biddiþ first in þis Gospel, þat her herte be not troublid wiþinne, ne drede for perils wiþouten, for confort þat þei shal have of him. Ȝif þei ben sad in þis bileve, þat alle þes þingis moten nedis falle, and for þer betere afterward, boþe here and in hevene, þei shulden not be troublid wiþinne to leese ony vertue; for þanne þei shulden falle fro vertues, for good þat God made to hem. And, bi þis same resoun, þei shulden not drede of bodili peril; for al þis shulde turne hem to good bi þis same bileve. And, for to make hem siker of þis, Crist seiþ þis word, Ȝe trowen in God, and trowe ȝe in me. As who seiþ, ȝe moten nedis trowe in God, or ellis ȝou failiþ charite; and ȝe mai not trowe in God, but ȝif ȝe trowen in me, for Y am þe same God, þat is God þe Fadir. And so wordis þat Y telle ȝou moten nedis be soþ. Ȝif God telle us a þing, who of us wolde drede þerof, siþ we ben certyn of bileve þat God mai not disseyve us? And oonhede in Godhede, wiþ Trinite in persones, is ofte seid in þis gospel, and in oþer boþe. And þus bileve shulde be ground to conforte men in þis weie.

And men shulden not muse on þis, þat ne þer ben diverse meritis. For, as þer ben in ech man diverse degrees of bileve, so þer ben in Cristis apostlis diverse degrees of meritis. And Page  358 for to quiete hem in þis Crist seiþ to his apostlis, þat in þe hous of his Fadir ben many dwellingis; as who seiþ, Have ȝe sum degree of feiþ and hope and charite, and laste ȝe, creessyng þerinne to ȝour lyves eende, and ȝour place is ordeyned in hevene after þat ȝe ben worþe. What man shulde herfor lette to serve God wel, but raþer he shulde enforse him to encresse in Goddis service. And þes disciplis shulden truste in þis meene persone Crist; for, as he seiþ soþli, ȝif ony þing in hevenli blis were lesse, or defauty, he wolde have teld hem. And in proof of þis þing, he stieþ up in his tyme, to make hem a place redi þere, as he dide aftirward. And siþ he is boþe God and man, he woot wel how it is þere; and gabbing in sich a Lord were more synne þanne ever was.

And, for Crist mai not bigynne a þing but ȝif he make an eende þerof, þerfore he seiþ, þat ȝif he wende þus to hevene he shal come aȝen and take þes apostlis to him. And þis shal be verified at Cristis comyng at þe dai of dome, þat where Crist is evermore, boþe in stede and in blisse, þei ben þere wiþ him after þis dai wiþouten eende. And ȝe witen whidir Y go, and also ȝe knowe þe weie. And þus Crist certefiede hem þat þei witen þe ende, and þe weie how þei shulden come to blisse, over þat þe fadirs wisten in þe olde testament; and þus þei may truste in Crist as meene persone of God and man. But Thomas seid here to Crist, Sire, we witen nere whidir þou goist, and how mai we knowe þe weie? And Jesus seide to him: I am weie, truþe, and lyf. As ȝif he wolde meene to Crystene men: Knowe ȝe me, and love ȝe me, and ȝe knowe alle þes þingis. For Crist wole teche his disciplis bi litil and litil alle þes. And so þe liif þat Crist ledde here is þe weie to come to hevene; for but if we suen him in þis liif, we shal never come to blis. And þe trewe reule þat he ȝaf is treuþe, to teche men þat wolden ellis erre. And he is liif many weies to susteyne men yn þis traveile.

And so Crist seiþ soþli*. [So E; A includes the word in the quotation.], þat no man comeþ to þe Fadir but bi him; for his manhede is nedeful meene to make aseeþ for mannis synne, and his Godhede mote nedis meeve to come þis weie, so fer fro erþe. And muse we not of þe knowing þat Page  359 we moten have of þis Fadir. For Crist seiþ soþli, þat ȝif þei hadde knowen him, certis þei hadden knowe his Fadir. For whoso knowiþ Cristis Godhede, he woot how God seiþ al þing; for þis word of God is his Sone and Crist, þat we shulden knowe þus; and þanne he knowiþ him þat seiþ, þe which is God þe Fadir. And after ȝe shal knowe þe Fadir beter þan ȝe ȝit done; and ȝe have saien him, bi bileve þat bringiþ in þis knowing.

And, for þese wordis weren woundirful, þerfore Philip seide to Crist: Sire, shewe us þe Fadir, and it is ynowȝ to us. And Jesus seide to Philip þanne, So longe tyme I am wiþ ȝou, and ȝit ȝe knowen not me, Philip. Whoso seeþ me, he seeþ my Fadir; how seist þou, shewe us þe Fadir? Ne trowest not þou þat I am in þe Fadir, and þe Fadir is in me? þes wordis þat I speke, I speke hem not of mysilf: but, certis, þe Fadir þat dwelliþ in me is þat ilk þat doiþ þe werkes. Ne trowe ȝe not þat Y am in þe Fadir, and þe Fadir is in me? ellis, trowe ȝe my Godhede, for þe workes þat Y do. Soþeli, soþli, I seie to ȝou, þat man þat trowiþ in me shal do þe werkes þat Y do; and þe moste of hem*. ['Majora horum faciet;' Vulg.]shal he do, for I go to my Fadir, and my chirche, þat is my bodi, dwelliþ ȝit stille in erþe. And I shal not be idil in hevene, for whatever ȝe axen þe Fadir in my name, þat shal Y do.

Alle þes wordis þat Crist seiþ here axen sutil undirstond|ing, ȝhe, more þan we mai have while we lyven in þis liif. It is nedeful here to knowe, how þe Godhede of Crist is oþir in kynde þan his manhede, al if þei boþe ben oo persone. And þis Godhede is so sutil þat it is comune to þre persones. And so, whoso knowiþ þis Godhede in oon mote nedis knowe it in ech of hem; for þes þree persones ben not diverse, as þree men, or þree oþer substances, but ech of hem mai no|wher be, ne ouȝt do, wiþouten ech oþer. And þis mannis witt mote be clene þat shulde knowe wel þis matere.

Page  360

ÞE GOSPEL ON ASCENCIOUN DAY*. [This sermon is not found in MS. E (Douce 321).].


Recumbentibus undecem discipulis.
—MARK xvi. [14.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ in what form Crist toke his leve at his apostlis. Mark seiþ, þat enleven apostlis restiden after þat þei hadden eten, and Jesus apperide unto hem, and reproveden untreuþe of hem, and hardnes of þer herte, for þei trowiden not to hem þat sawen þat he was risen from deþ. And Crist seide to hem, Go ȝe into al þe world, and preche ȝe þe gospel unto alle maner of men. He þat shal trowe and be baptisid shal be saaf; and certis he þat shal not trowe shal be dampned. And þes signes shulen folowen hem þat shulen bileve in my name: Þei shulen caste out fendis, þei shulen speke wiþ newe tungis, þei shulen take awei addris, and ȝif þei drynken ony dedeli þing, it shal not noie hem; þei shulen putte þer hondis on syke men, and þes seke men shulen fare wel. And soþeli þe Lord Jesus, fro he hadde spoke þus wiþ hem, he was taken in to hevene and sittiþ on Goddis riȝt side. And þei wenten her weie, and prechiden everywhere, and þe Lord wrouȝte wiþ hem, and confermede her wordis wiþ þes signes suing.

Here men shulden note þes wordis, for ech of hem beriþ greet witt; first, how Crist toke leve at his disciplis fro þe tyme þat þei hadden eeten. He ȝaf þe sacrament to hem after þer mete comunli, and Crist spak wiþ hem comunli after þat þei hadden sumwhat eten. And no drede to Cristene men þat ne Crist dide þus for certeyn cause. O cause was herfore, þat men shulden eten in good mesure, þat þer wittis weren more sharp, and þei more able to serve God. And Crist wiste þat men shulden ordeyne reversingeli to Cristis dede, and herfore he ordeynede þus, to telle þat þe contrarie is leveful. And þis shulden þes men note þat proven þat þe ost is not breed; for Page  361 þanne, þei seien, man brake his fast, etinge þe oost whanne it is sacrid, and þanne he shulde not take aftirward Goddis blood þat is sacrid in þe chalis. Lord! whi witen not þes foolis þat þer accidentis maken men drunken whanne þei taken hem above resoun, as Poul witnessiþ? And witt proveþ where þis man be excusid of gloterie, for he is drunken of an accident. And siþ taking of þis þing in mesure was no synne in Cristis tyme, what vertue haþ mannis statute to make þis be synne more þan þanne? Þes founed wordis fordone Cristis fredom, and bileve þat men shulden have. Ȝif þis be no synne to God, it is no synne for to charge to eeten in mesure bifore þe masse, and after to synge and use.

Aftirward we shulden wite, how Christ reprovede unbileve and hardnes of apostlis hertis, þat weren bifore, and þanne weren taken awei, for þei hadden not sorewe ynowȝ for þese errours þat þei weren inne. And þei shulden note þe wordis of Crist þat he spak þat tyme to hem. And þis is anoþer note, how Crist bad hem þanne go and preche þe gospel freli to alle manere men. And wo be to hem þat letten þis, for jurisdic|cioun or oþer cause; as wo is to hem þat leven þis, and prechen dremys, fablis, and gabbingis. And it is not ynow to have nakid bileeve, but men moten have charite, þat shal fourme oþere vertues. And þis baptisiþ men wiþ baptym of þe Holi Goost.

But ȝit men douten of þes wordis þat Crist spekiþ aftir. It semeþ þat alle men þat bileven moten nede have þes fyve signes; and siþ noon of us haþ hem, noon of us haþ bileve. Here men seien comunli, þat seintis at þe first tyme hadden alle þes fyve signes betere þan we have now. But trewe men have in a manere alle þes signes now. For whanne þei de|lyveren hem of synnes, þei casten out fendis in þe name of Crist. And þei speken wiþ newe tunges, for alle þingis þat men done in grace be newe bi titil of grace. And Crist seiþ, in Apocalips*. [Is the reference to Apoc. xii. 9?], þei taken awei addris þat þei have of þer fleish; for þer will is awei to displese God bi þer lust. And dedli drynke, ȝif þei taken it, or oþer þing þat comeþ to hem, anoieþ Page  362 hem not, but bringiþ hem to blisse þat God haþ ordeyned to hem. And ȝif þei blessen men, or what þing þat þei done, Cristene men shulen be beterid, wheþer þei be saved or dampned. And so it semeþ þat þes men oonli trowen þus, þat God haþ ordeyned to blisse; for oþer men ben in greet synne and in greet unbileve, alȝif it be florishid for a tyme.

But men noten last here, how Crist sittiþ on þe riȝt side of his Fadir, siþ his Fadir is oonli Godhede, and haþ no figure as man haþ. And here men knowen as bileve þat Christ sittiþ not on þe bodili side of his Fadir in hevene, for his Fadir haþ noo sich side; but þe Fadir haþ sum men ordeyned to damp|nacioun, as ben fendis in helle and men þat shulen be dampned þere; and þes ben þe left side of þe Fadir, on which Crist shal not sitte. Sum men ben on þe riȝt side; as alle men þat shulen be saved, and ordeyned to come to blisse after Goddis firste ordenaunce. And þus Crist bi his manhede sittiþ on his Fadirs riȝt side, for no þing mai be nerre Godhede ne more blessid þan is Cristis manhede. And so he sittiþ on his Fadirs riȝt side on oþer manere þan ony oþer mai sitte.



Fuit in diebus Herodis.
—LUC. i. [5.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a playen*. [pleyn, E.] storie how þat Joon Baptist cam forþ. Luk telliþ, how þer was in daies of Heroude kyng of Jude o prest clepid Zacarie, of þe gendrure of þe preest Abia. And loot*. [So E; lo it, A.] fel to þes preestis to mynistre in þe eiȝtiþe woke. And Zacaryus wif was of Aarons douȝters, and hir name was Eliza|beth. And boþe þes two weren just bifore God, going forþ in alle Goddis mandementis and in alle justifiying of þe Lord wiþouten pleint. Fadirs of þe olde lawe weren myche chargid over men now; for þei kepten þes same ten mandementis, þat we kepen Page  363 in þe newe lawe, and over, ȝif þei wolden be juste, þei mosten kepe cerymonyes, and many lawis judicialis, þat us nediþ not now to kepe. And, for þes two kepten al þis wiþouten grete blame of God or man, þerfore Luk preisiþ Baptistis eldris in keping of þe olde lawe. But woo is to hem in tyme of grace, þat þus have chargid þe newe lawe, þat we have now more to kepe þan þei hadden in þe olde lawe. For*. [So E; And for, A, which leaves the construction incomplete.] þes men have distroyed freedom, and pervertid Cristis Chirche, and so, as myche as in hem is, þei have maad Crist unfree, and þis un|fredom is worse þan al þe richessis of þis world.

And þei hadden noo child ȝit, for þe womman was bareyne, and þei weren boþe olde, passid wel in tyme of her eelde. And it fel þat Zacarie dide his preestis office in þe temple, as it fel to his tyme, and custom þat þanne was. He wente herbi aloone to offre ensence in þe inner part of þe temple; and al þe peple was wiþouten preiynge in þe tyme of þis ensence. And oure Lordis aungel apperide to him stonding on þe riȝt side of þe auter. And þis preest Zacarie was disturblid, and dredde herfore. But þe aungel seide to him, Drede þee not, Zacarie, for þi preier is herd; and Elizabeth þi wyf shal bere to þee a child, and his name shal be clepid Joon, and joie and gladnes shal be to þee, and many shal enjoie in his birþe. He shal be greete bifore God, and wyn and sidir*. [sydre, E.]*. [Both Wycliffite versions render the siceram of the Vulgate in this place by sydir. Ducange identifies sicera (other forms of which are sisara, cicera, and cisara) with the French cidre, whence comes our 'cider.']he shal not drynke; and he shal be fild wiþ þe Holi Goost ȝit fro his modir wombe. And he shal turne many of þes children of Israel to þe Lord God of hem. And þis Joon shal go bifore Crist, in spirit and vertue of Helye; for Joon was Hely in figure, as Christ seiþ þat mai not lye. And þis Joon shal converte þe hertis of þe formere fadris in to þe love of þer sones, þat tellen hem þat Crist is comen; and men out of bileve Joon shal turne to prudence of juste men. For it was a greet prudence to trowe þe signes of Crist, þat he was þe prophete bihiȝt to þe fadirs of þe olde lawe. And so Baptist made redi to þe Lord a perfect folk in riȝt bileve. Page  364

Here mai men douten, and trete of þe staat and liif of prestis; how þei ben dowid and wyflees aȝens Goddis autorite; for Crist forfendid dowyng boþe in him and in hise apostlis, and approvede wedding in apostlis and many oþer. And þis is þe caste of þe fend, to kyndle fir in*. [and, E.] heerdis; for or þei moten boþe brenne, or þe kepere mote leeve his craft and traveile to kepe þis fir*. [The meaning appears to be:— it is a wile of Satan to promote the celibacy of the clergy, because thereby he kindles the fire of un|lawful passion ('melius nubere quam uri') in Christian pastors, who then either continue to burn with it (and so fall into sin), or have to leave their proper pastoral work in order to take such mea|sures as may keep this fire under control.]. And preestis shal not do boþe wel.



Elizabeth impletum est tempus pariendi.
—LUC. i. [57.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of þe forme þat Joon Baptist was born inne, and seiþ; To Elizabeth was tyme fulfillid to bere child. For þe Wise man seiþ þat alle þingis have þer tyme. And siþ al þing mote nedis come in tyme þat God haþ ordeyned it, muche more þe tyme of Joon, þat God ordeyned*. [So E; ordeyneþ, A.] so speciali. And þus Elizabeth bare þis child. And her neiȝboris and her cosyns herden þat she was delyverid, and helden þat God hadde maad his mercy greet wiþ þis olde wiif, and joiefulli þankide God wiþ hir. And it fel in þe eiȝtiþ daie, þei camen to circumcide þe child; and þei clepiden him Zacarie after his fadirs name. And his modir answeride and seide, Nay, but he shal be clepid Joon. And þei seiden to Elizabeth, þat no man was in hir kyn þat was clepid bi þis name; whi shulde he be clepid so? But þei bekeneden to his fadir, what he wolde þat he were clepid, and he axide a metal pointel*. [poyntel, E.], and wroot, and seide, Joon is his name.

And so miracle was wiþ Joon Baptist, boþe bifore his birþe and aftir; for, as men taken of þe gospel, Zacarie trowide not Page  365 to þis aungel, and þerfore bi þe wille of God he was doumbe til þis tyme, and here he recoveride his speche, and tolde what þe child shulde hatte*. [bote, E.]. For boþe his eldris helden in þer mynde how Gabriel wolde þat he hiȝte Joon. And herfore woundride folk al aboute. And anoon his mouþ was opened, and his tunge was unboundun, and he spak and blesside God for þe þing þat bifel þus. And drede was on alle her neiȝboris. And þes wordis weren publishid upon alle hiȝe coostis of Judee. And alle þat herden of þis þing puttiden in þeir herte and seiden, Who, trowist þou, shal þis child be? for þe hond of oure Lord was wiþ him. Sacarie was a famous man, wiþ Elizabeth his wyf, and many myraclis weren bifallen aboute þe birþe of þis Joon; and þus þe contre preiside him muche, for many causis þat weren in him. It was a miracle þat þe aungel telde him in so holi a place; it was miracle þat Sacary was dombe, for he wolde not trowe þis aungel; it was miracle þat so oold folk brouȝten forþ þis child in her olde daies; it was miracle þat his eeldris on þis manere namyde þe child; and al þe lyf þat Joon lyvede was ful of miraclis bifore and after.

And þus his fadir profeciede, bi filling of þe Holi Goost; Blessid be þe Lord God of Israel, for he haþ visited and maad þe biyng aȝen of his peple. And so Joones fadir and his modir and he himsilf weren maad prophetis. And here mai trewe preestis touche how þis world is blyndid bi foli, when it sueþ men as patrouns þat weren foolis and ful of synne, and leven Crist and Baptist þat weren bigyneris of oure ordir. And herof pleynede Crist in þe gospel, þat þei singen neiþer wiþ him ne wipen*. [wepen, E.] wiþ Baptist, but wiþ oþer foolis whos liif is biside bileve.

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Dixit Jesus Symoni*. [So E; Symony, A.]Petro.
—JOHN xxi. [15.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Petre and oþir preestis shulden love God, and travailen in his chirche. And, for þis love stondiþ in þe grace of God, þerfore Crist clepiþ Petre, Symount, Joones soone. For whoso prechiþ to þe peple and techiþ hem Goddis lawe, he is þat ilke in whom is Goddis grace; and juste eldris may disserve grace to þer children, as it is teld bifore of eldris of Joon Baptist. Crist in his laste speche wiþ Petre apostle axide him þries where*. [wheþer, E.] he lovede him; and his bileve is aweie, þat troweþ not*. [So E; the words þat troweþ not are om. in A.] þat Crist seide þus for to prynte his love in Petre, and his successouris.

And þus Christ axide first, Symount, Joones sone, lovest þou me more þan þese? And Petre seide to Crist: Ȝhe, Lord, þou wost þat Y love þee. Petre*. [So E; Petre is italicized in A.] was here curteys and temprid fro presump|cioun, for he seide not þat he lovede Crist betere þan any oþer apostle, but he seide, Crist wiste wele þat he lovede him. And here Petre confesside þat Crist knewe al þing. But Christ seide to Petre, in shewing of þis love, þat he shulde fede his lambren, bi þe lawe of Crist; as who seiþ, if þou love me, þou most do þis dede. Þe secounde tyme axide Christ where Symount Joones sone lovede him. And Petre seide to Crist, Ȝhe, Lord, þou wost þat I love þee. And Christ seide to Petre, to conferme þis word, þat he shulde fede his lambren, in lore of þer soule. For as mannis soule is betre þan is þe bodi of him, so feeding of his soule is betere þan is feding of his bodi. And siþ lambren of Crist ben oo bodi wiþ Crist, more love myȝte no man shewe þan þus for to fede his lambren. But ȝit Christ axide þe þridde tyme, where Symount Petre lovede him. And Petre hadde sorewe þat Christ axide þis þus ofte, and seide aȝen to Crist, Lord, þouPage  367woost alle þingis, þou wost þat I love þee. And Crist bad him shewe þis in dede, and fede his sheep, þat is more þan þes oþer, as sheep passen lambren.

No man þat is in bileve drediþ of þis gospel, þat ne Crist chargide þes wordis ech bi resoun; and so he tauȝte apostlis to feede his sheep in pasturis of holi writt, and not in roten pasturis, as ben fablis and lesingis and lawes of men. Þe pasture everemore grene wiþ treuþis þat nevere more failen, is þe lawe of holi writt, þat lastiþ in þe toþer world. But, for a good heerde shulde kepe his sheepe fro wolves, and defende hem fro scabbis and fro rendinge, þerfore Crist bad Petre þries þat he shulde kepe his sheepe. Crist tauȝte not to his heerde to reise up a croyserie and kille his sheep, wiþ his lambren, and spoilen hem of þeir goodis; but þis is lore of Anticrist, þat þe fend haþ now brouȝt in; and bi þis it is knowen þat þes ben not Petris vikeris.

And Crist techiþ Petre, and in him alle his vikeris, how it falliþ to him to do aȝen his firste will. Soþli, soþli, I seie to þee, whanne þou were ȝonge þou girdist þee, and wentist whidir þat þou woldist; but now, whanne þou wexist oolde, anoþer shal girde þee, and shal lede þee þe weie which þou wolt not, of þi silf. And þis word seide Crist for to telle to þe Chirche bi what deþ Petre shulde clarifie God. For Crist seiþ bifore, in þe gospel of Joon, þat þe moste propirte þat followiþ a good herde is, þat he putte his lyf for his sheep, for þus dide Crist, and wolde þat Petre þus suede him. And þe moste contrarie condicioun, þat sueþ Anticrist, is to putte his sheepis lyves for his cursid lordship.



Dixit Zacarias.
—LUK i. [18.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ þe middil of a storie of Seint Joon Baptist. Þe vigile of Baptist telliþ how Gabriel bihiȝte him, and þis Page  368 storie telliþ how Zacarie mistrowide. And so Luk telliþ, how Zacharie seide to þe aungel, Wherof shal Y wite þis, þat Y shal gete a child; for I am an oold man, and my wif is passid in eelde? Here þis Zacharie trowide not to þe aungel; but Marie trowide to þis aungel þat he seide her soþ, but she wolde be certefied more of þe manere. And þus sum men reden as two wordis þis axing, On what manere shal þis be, for I knowe not man. But þis Zacarie mistrowide, and maad þerto his evy|dence; and so boþe þes weren troublid, but Zacarie more, for þe troubling of hym refte him bileve. But Gabriel telde him, wherfore he shulde trowe. For I am Gabriel, þat stonde bifore God, and I am sent of him to telle þee þes good tiþingis; and siþ it is þus, I mote nedis seie soþ, for I mai not see but treuþe in þe book of liif, and an aungel þat is confermed mai not lye to a man. And lo, þou shalt be domb, and þou shalt not mowe*. ['mowe' is the lost infinitive of the verb 'may;' it is the English form corresponding to the German 'mögen.' It occurs in this place in both Wycliffite versions.]speke unto þe dai þat þes þingis be done; and þis penance shalt þou have, for þou trowedist not to my wordis, which shal be fild in þes tyme. And here mai we se, bi logik of þis aungel, how al þing mote nede be; for noþing mai ever be but þat þat*. [So E; om. A.] God haþ ordeyned to be in his tyme; for ellis hadde Gabriel seid fals, þat he myȝte not speke til þanne.

And þe peple abood Zacarie, and wondride þat he tariede in þe temple. And whanne he cam out, he myȝte not speke to þe peple; and þei wisten þat he hadde seen sum visioun in þe temple. And he was bekenynge to hem, and dwelte dombe for þe tyme. And whanne þe daies of his office weren fulfillid, he wente hoom to his hous, and þanne was Joon geten. And after þes daies conseyved Elizabeth his wiif; and she hid hir for shame fyve moneþis aftir. And she seide to hirsilf; For þus haþ oure Lord do to me, in þe daies þat he caste to take awey my reprofe among men. And þus cam Elizbeth hoom, whanne she feelide þat Joon was quike; and so he myȝte witnesse þe comyng of Crist in þe wombe of Marie, whanne she cam to Elizabeth. For Joon made þanne joie in manere of dansing in presence of Page  369 Crist, as þe gospel seiþ. And so trowe not to hem þat seien, þat it is six moneþis bifore þat þe soule*. [That is, the rational or human soul.] be couplid wiþ þe bodi, and bifore it haþ plantid soule*. [plauntis of soule, E.], and siþ soule of beeste*. [The writer appears to repudiate, with Aquinas, the doctrine which held that before the rational soul,—anima intellectiva,—in virtue of which man is man, was joined to the em|bryo, it had been animated suc|cessively by a vegetative and a sen|sitive soul, so as to be conformed to plants during the first, to animals during the second period of gesta|tion. In the treatise De Spirituali Creatione among the Quaest. Dispu|tatae, Aquinas writes (art. 4) 'Quidam vero dixerunt quod a principio inest anima vegetabilis, et illa eadem cum fuerit magis perfecta fit anima sen|sitiva, et tandem fit anima intellec|tiva.' But the Christian philosopher, holding out for the oneness and in|corruptibility of the human soul, will not admit this; he looks upon the embryonic changes as indicating successive stages of the one soul, but no more. 'Sic cum in embrione primo sit anima vegetativa tantum, cum perventum fuerit ad majorem perfectionem tollitur forma imper|fecta, et succedit forma perfectior, quae est anima vegetativa et sensi|tiva simul, et ultimo cedente, suc|cedit ultima forma completissima, quae est anima rationalis.' To these three elementary stages St. Augus|tine, in the De Quantitate Animae, adds four more, that of moral effort, in which the soul is seeking virtue, that of moral perfection and rest, that of spiritual effort or tendency towards God, and that of the soul's union with and rest in God.]; but as we bileven þe wordis of þe gospel, þat Baptist was glad in comyng of Crist, so we supposen þat he was on lyve a litil bifore þat Jesus was conseyved, but we musen not how muche, siþ it is Goddis privyte.

Of þis gospel mai we take, how it is grete synne to mys|trowe to holi writt, siþ God punishide Zacarie for he trowide not to his aungel; and more ben wordis of God þan wordis of þis aungel. And þus defaute in bileve is bifore alle oþer synnes, and siþ God seiþ al treuþe, no treuþe shulde be denyed; but summe may men doute, and sum trowen wiþ drede, for God seiþ þis treuþe, or ellis God seiþ it not. O how myche ben þei to blame þat seien þat Goddis lawe is fals, for mys|undirstonding of a fool or an heeretik! Certis, bi þe same skile þei myȝten seie þat God is fals, siþ God signifieþ to hem fals undirstonding, in peyne of þer former synne, bi which þei ben blindid, and þus God were þe falseste þing þat evere was in þis world. For þei seien þat falshede is no defaute in a þing, whi seien þei not þat God is fals for perfeccioun of God, siþ God meveþ fals men, for þer former falshede, to undirstonde Page  370 falsly? and þanne þei seien þat God is fals. And þus God shulde meve men falseli, whanne evere þey synnen*. [So E; he synneþ, A.], and þus he were a fals God in punishing of sinful men. For, siþ fals|hede in God is good, ȝeve we him ynowȝ þerof; for God mai not have a name, but ȝif he passe al oþer þing. Blessid be treuþe, þat made us passe alle sich fals fantasies, and wite þat alle creaturis ben trewe in þat þat þei ben of God.

ON TRANSLATION OF SEINT MARTIN*. [The feast of the translation of St. Martin's relics (July 5) is not in the Roman missal, the office for the day being of the octave of SS. Peter and Paul. The gospel which the Sarum use appropriated to this fes|tival is found in the Roman missal among the gospels for the Common of a Confessor not a Bishop.].


Nolite timere pusilus*. [pusillis, E; a clerical error for pusillus.]grex.
—[LUKE xii. 32.]

IN þis short gospel Crist confortid his servantis, and biddiþ hem not drede; for treuþe is strengere þan alle þer enemyes. Men shulden not drede but for synne and lesing of vertues, for peyne is just and of Goddis wille; whi shulden men drede or sorewe þerfor? And þus sinful men shulden have drede and hope togidere, of diverse þingis; as þei shulden have sorowe and joie togidere of dyverse þingis. And þus synne concludiþ men moost of al þing þat mai be; for it bringiþ man*. [om. E.] to fyve markis*. [bringiþ man to fyve markis. This seems to be a proverbial expression, used of a person who was brought to poverty, or into any desperate strait.] more noyousli þan oþer skilis. Crist seiþ here to hise apostlis, þat þei shulden not drede, al ȝif þei ben a litil flok. For to rekene þe firste treuþe, and alle þe aungels þat ben wiþ him, þe part of a just man is betere þan fals part of a þousaund; and þus biddiþ þe prophete his child, þat he shulde not drede him, for many moo ben wiþ hem þan wiþ þe contrarie part. Stonde a man in vertu and treuþe, and al þis world overcomeþ not him. For if þei over comen him Page  371 wiþ þis, þei overcomen God and his aungels; and þanne þei shulden make hym*. [So E; not make him, A.] not God, but betere þing shulde make þis.

But here men seien comunli, þat þer þen þre manere of dredis: kindeli drede, and drede of sones, and þerwiþ drede of servantis. Kindeli drede was in Crist, whanne he dredde to suffre deeþ. But þis drede cam ȝit of synne, for ellis no man shulde have suffrid peyne. And þus peyne is unkindeli, for to loke to bigynnyng þerof. Þe secounde drede haþ many degrees, after þat men ben betere wiþ God. Sum is bigynnyng drede, whanne men dreden to wraþþe God; and þis is bigyn|nyng to fle synne, and rote of alle mannis wisdom. Ȝit, whanne man drediþ more for to synne aȝens his God, and his tempting is overcomen þat shulde moove him to synne, þanne haþ he chast drede; but wel is him þat haþ þis drede. Þe þridde degree is best of alle, þat men clepen holi drede; and þis dwelliþ here in erþe, and evermore wiþ man in blis. And þis drede haþ no peyne, but unpower for to synne. And þus aungels have þis drede more þan ony oþer þing. But þe Godhede mai not drede, for it bi kynde mai not synne. Boþe þes dredis bringen not in synne. But þe þridde servant dredde. Whanne a*. [om. E.] man synneþ aȝens God, and mote nede be ponished of him, þis is oon*. [an, E.] unkindeli drede, as it is unkindeli to synne; and þis drede forfendiþ Crist in þes wordis þat he seiþ here. And þus men seien comunli, þat man shulde not drede to fiȝte ȝif his cause and manere be good, for noȝt but synne makiþ man coward. For ȝif man fiȝte wiþout cause, to be holden an herti man, he beriþ wiþ him þe synne of pride, þat makiþ him coward aȝens God. And þus þingis þat loven pees ben moost hardi, as þingis in hevene.

And Crist telliþ here a cause to make his disciplis hardi, þat þei shulden not drede þus: For it likide to þer Fadir to ȝeve hem þe rewme. Here mai we see many treuþis in þes wordis þat Crist seiþ. First, how þe Godhede of God is Fadir of alle þat he ȝeveþ blisse. Þe secounde treuþe in Cristis wordis is nede to ȝyve þis blisse. For, as þingis þat ben passid nedli moten have be passid, so al þat God ordeyneþ nedeli moten Page  372 have be ordeyned. And þe þridde treuþe of þes wordis is, þat Crist shewide to þes disciplis þat þei shulde come to blisse, for he telliþ þer Fadir likede so. Here may we gadere opun resoun þat Cristis children shulden not drede; for ȝif God ȝeve a betere þing, he ȝeveþ al þat sueþ þerof; as God mai not ȝeve a bodi, but ȝif he ȝeve quantite and figure. And so, siþ pees sueþ of þis blisse, God mote ȝeve pees whanne he ȝeveþ blisse. Also, siþ God is almyȝtti, alwitti, and al wilful, no þing þat is aȝens God mai overcome him þat is wiþ God; for siþ God seþ þis fiȝting*. [God is fiȝting, E.], or him failiþ power or wille, ȝif his ser|vaunt be overcomen in fiȝting for Goddis cause. And þus trewe men ben confortid to putte awei þis þridde drede; for be þei never so fewe or feble, þei bileven þat þei mai not be disconfitid. And þus þe cause þat Crist here telliþ makiþ his knyȝttis to be hardi.

And þus Crist confortid his apostlis, for to sue him in povert: He biddiþ hem sille þat þei have and ȝeve almes prudentli. For certis, among alle cowardisis, cowardise of richesse is þe moste. For many men þat have richessis dare neiþer seie a soþ, ne defende a soþ seid, for drede of leesing of þis richesse. And so men loven richesse more þan þei loven treuþe of þer God. And in þis cowardise ben freris and oþer ordris þat ben dowid. And unneþe ony riche man wantiþ clene þis cowardise. And þis is more þan cowardise of bodi, þat comeþ to man for drede of bodi; for a man shulde kindeli love more his bodi þan his goodis, siþ goodis of kynde ben mouche betere þan ben goodis of fortune. But Crist telliþ ofte to his martirs, þat þei mai not be his disciplis but ȝif þei loven more him þat is treuþe þan loven þer owne liif. And wiþ þis feiþ was Baptist armed, and oþer apostlis, wiþ Cristis martiris; for þei wisten wel þei myȝten not faile in victorie, to die þus. And þus, for richesse of þis world makiþ moost cowardise, Crist bad his knyȝttis be pore, and sille her possessiouns, and of þat priis ȝeve almes, or ellis of meeblis þat þei hadden. But wite wel, it is noon almes to make ypocritis more cowardis, or to ȝeve þes newe ordris þingis þat þei ben chargid bi, for þis is not work of almes*. [mercy, E.], but work of unmercy to men. Page  373

And þus Crist meeveþ to be pore bi resoun of surete. Make ȝe to ȝou sachelis þat wolen not waxe oold, but tresour þat, failiþ not in hevene, whidir þe þef comeþ not, ne þe mouȝþe distrieþ; for, certis, where is þi tresour, þer is þi herte, and þi wille. Tresour is clepid comunli, prescious þing þat man telliþ muche bi and hidiþ sumwhere. And so men þat shal be saved maken þer tresour in God; for þis tresour is of oþer kynde þan ben þes riche men, and it is prescious good, for it is good of grace. And siþ Crist is al þing þat seintis have nede of, þis tresour is more nedeful þan al þis erþeli tresour; for þeves mai not stele þis, as jewels or moneie, and mouȝtis mai not feble þis, as þei mai cloþis or jewelis. And so, siþ þis tresour is more prescious and more sikir, what man shulde not traveile moost for to have þis tresour? ȝif þou traveile treuli to have þe blis of hevene, þou hidist þis tresour where it mai not faile; for God shal be þi cloþing þat mai not wexe old, for he is charite; and he shal be þi peny þat mai never be rusty; and þeves mai not come to hevene, ne take of hevenes blis. Þis is eende of wisdoms, to traveile for sich a tresour. And drede we not þat ne man mai bi good liif wynne him God, þat is al maner of tresour, to make him blessid in hevene. For þis is kyndeli eende to which man is ordeyned; for man is ordeyned*. [So E; A om. the words for—ordeyned.] to blisse, and to laste ever more, and have wiþout defaute al þat hem nediþ.



Jussit Jesus discipulos assendere in naviclam*. [errors of the scribe for ascendere and naviculam.].
—MATT. xiv. [22.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a storie that ech man shulde wite, but speciali apostlis and vikeris of hem. Crist bad his disciplis stie into a bote, and go bifore him on þe water til þat he lefte þe peple. And Crist lefte þe puple and stiede in to þe hil, for to preie aloonePage  374 for staat of his Chirche. And so, whanne þe evenyng cam, he was þer aloone; for his disciplis were in þe water, and þe peple hadde left him. And þe boot, amydde þe water, was shaggid*. [schoggyd, E.]wiþ wawis, for þe wynd was contrarie to hem. And þe fourþe vigile of þe nyȝt, þat was nyȝ þe dai, Crist cam to his disciplis walkinge on þe water. And þe disciplis, seeyng him walking upon þe water, weren troublid among hemsilfe, and seiden it was a fantum*. [E om. the words and—fantum.]. And for drede þei crieden. And anoon Jesus spak to hem and seide to hem þus: Have ȝe trust, I am; drede ȝe not. And Petre answeride and seide, Lord, ȝif þou be Crist, comande me to come to þee upon þe waters. And Crist seide to Petre, Come. And Petre wente doun out of þe boot, and walkide*. [So E; walking, A.]on þe waters, for to come to Jesus. But Petre, seeyng þe wynd grete, dredde him of þe peril; and whanne he bigan to drenche, he criede and seide, Lord, mak me saaf. And anoon Crist held forþ his hond, and toke Petre, and seide to him, Þou of litil bileve, whi doutidist þou here? And whanne Crist steie in to þe boot, þe wynd cesside, and þei þat weren in þe boot camen and loutiden Crist, and seiden, Verrili þou art Goddis Sone.

Þis storie men tellen to þe secounde witt of Goddis word, and seien, þat þis boot traveilinge in þe water is þis Chirche here þat wandriþ to þe daie of dome. Þis wending of Crist to þe hill is his stying to hevene. Þere he preieþ aloone for man|kinde here; for alȝif oþer seintis preien þere in spirit, neþeles in bodi and soule preieþ Crist ȝit aloone. And whanne þe sunne wente doun, was Crist aloone preiyng þus. But he visitide his Chirche þe fourþe vigile of nyȝt, whanne he shewiþ perilis to his Chirche þat fallen to men here in erþe. But Crist goiþ upon þe water, for worldli soris*. [sores, E.] noien him not. And þis boot is troublid here, but it drenchiþ not uttirli. Petre is þe moste man þat sueþ Crist in his Chirche; and he wolde sue Crist here, but he failiþ in bileve. But he mai not be drenchid, for Crist wole have his Chirche saved. Crist comeþ into þis boot whanne he haþ alle þes men to hevene, and þanne ceessen alle þe tempestis þat men suffren here in erþe, and þei knowen verrili how þat Crist is Goddis Sone. Page  375

And þis witt applieþ þe pope, wiþ his cardinalis, to hem, and seien þat þei ben Cristis Chirche þat flooteriþ*. [floteþ, E.] þus in þis boot; and þei mai nevere be drenchid, al if þei fallen in many perilis. But þes men shulden wite, first, þat þei sue*. [sueden, E.] Crist in lyvyng in poverte and mekenesse, and in lore of þe gospel; for ellis þei gon not bifore Crist on þis water, to make redi to him, but ben raþer drenchid in þis water, and seken after worldli goodis; or ellis ben þe peple þat Crist leeveþ, þat disturblen him and hise. Bileve techiþ trewe men þat þis Chirche goiþ not bi kyn, but bi manere of suynge of Crist in perfit weie of vertues. But as preestis weren worse til þei weren at lowest degree, as preestis of þe olde lawe þat weren fordone in Cristis tyme, so mai þis court drede for liif contrarie unto Crist, leste þei ben þe worste men þat lyven here in þis Chirche. For ypocrisie makiþ hem not good, but more stynke bifore treuþe. And þei ben not porest here, making hem tresour in hevene, for al þer breeþ and þer liif is about worldli goodis; and þus þei lasten not in þis boot, but ben drenchid in þis see. And þus þei axen not Crist helpe, as dide Petre, whanne he sank; but al þer hope and desire is in þingis þat ben bineþe. For ȝif þei lyven con|trarie to Crist, in þis world ben no falser men. And neiþer kynrede ne place maken men Cristis vikeris, but suyng in weie of vertues, what manere men þat ever þei ben. Errour in sich wittis makiþ many dremeris to faile, for þei taken noon hede to good liif, but to fals opynyouns here.



Loquente Jesu ad turbas.
—MATT. xii. [46.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a storie þat touchiþ mouche witt, and telliþ how Cristis children ben knyttid here in charite. Matheu telliþ, how Jesus spake to þe peple; and lo, his modir and his breþerenPage  376stooden wiþouten to speke wiþ him. And sum men seien þat Cristis breþeren weren men of his kynrede. But his apostlis weren wiþ him, and herden him speke to þe peple, as þei weren in streitere place, and more hard to come to. And oon seide to Crist, Lo, þi modir and þi breþeren stonden wiþouten, sekyng þee. And Crist answeride to him þat tolde him þis, and axide who was his modir and his breþeren. And Crist stretching his honds to his disciplis seide þes wordis of witt: Lo, here my modir and my breþeren. For who ever doiþ þe wille of my Fadir þat is in hevene, he is my broþer, and my sistir, and my modir also.

Þes wordis of Crist ben scorned of gramariens and devynes. Gramariens and filosophris seien, þat Crist knewe not his gendris; and bastard dyvynes*. [So E; dyvenes, A.] seien algatis þat þes wordis of Crist ben false, and so no wordis of Crist bynden, but to þe witt þat gloseris tellen. But here we seien to þes trowauntis þat þei blaiberen*. [blaberen, E.] þus for defaute of witt. Leeve we þes heretikes as foolis, and seie we sum witt þat God haþ ȝovun us. Soþli, Crist techiþ here þe preciousite of his preching, þat man shulde not, for fleishli kyn, lette to teche Goddis word. And þes wordis seiþ Crist to him þat was aboute to lette his lore. And þus telliþ Crist a sutilte þat is of goostli breþeren in God; for, be it man or be it woman þat serveþ God treuli, he is on þes þree maneres knitt to Crist in sibberide*. [sybred, E.]. For dis|tinccioun of kynde is litil to telle bi in þis matere. First, he is Cristis broþer bi*. [to, E.] his soule, þat is his spirit; siþ, he is Cristis sistir bi his fleish, þat is worse; and after, he is Cristis modir bi þis hool kynde, made of hem two. For þis modir haþ conseyved Crist, and norisiþ Crist wiþinne hir; and þis is betere cosyn|nage and more sutil þan is of kynde. And make þes gramariens sorewe þat þei knowe not þes gendris, and so þes founed philo|sophris shulden sorowe of þer error, þat þei witen not of oo man þat he is ech of þes þree þingis; he is soule, he is bodi, he is man, maad of þes two. But to þe hool man is merit or demerit proprid. Leeve we here þese trowaunt doutis, and enforce us to lerne Cristis wordis, to preche hem to þe peple, and leeve þing þat is lesse worþ, and þanne fleishli cosynnage shulde not lette us to do þis.

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ÞE GOSPEL OF MAUDELEN DAI IS RED ON FRIDAI IN † QUARTER TENSE †*. [The MS. has two words here inexplicably contracted; but they evidently stand for 'Quatuor Tem|pora,' or, as it is called in Ireland, Quarter Tense; for the gospel read on St. Mary Magdalen's day (July 22) is the same as that for Ember Friday in September, on which there is a sermon (No. 112 of the Ferial Ser|mons) in the present collection.] IN SEPTEMBRE AMONG FERIALS ON SEYNT JAMES DAI.


Accessit ad Jesum.
—MATT. xx. [20.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how fleishli kyn procuriþ ofte harm to þe soule, and how a womman, Cristis aunte, Mary, James modir and Joones, þat was Sebedeus wiif, cam to Crist for þis enchesoun. But she cam wiþ þes children and loutide Crist, and axide him; for it is seid comunli þat wymmens preier is wel herd. Crist axide hir*. [So E; here, A.]what she wolde, and she seide to him, Comaunde þat þes two apostlis, þat ben my sones, and þi cosyns, sitte next þee in þi rewme, þe toon on þi riȝt side and þe toþer on þi left side. Crist knewe wel þis wommans witt, and how it cam of þes apostlis; for þei herden bifore of Crist, how þat he shulde have a rewme, and þei trowiden þat Crist shulde be an erþeli kyng in þis world; and þere þei wolden be nyȝ Crist, for cosynnage and traveile here. Crist spekinge to þes apostlis, and levynge to speke wiþ þeir modir, seide how þis cam of hem, and how men shulden have ordre in speeche, everemore speking þere where þei hopen moost to profite. Crist seide to þes apostlis, Ȝe witen not what ȝe shulden gladli axe; for þing þat profitiþ to mannis soule shulde he axe, and nouȝt ellis.

And, as Joon seiþ wiþ þe gildene*. [golden, E.] mouþ*. [St. Chrysostom, Homil. in Mattb. XXXV.], þis word of Crist liȝtiþ þe world, and dampneþ here many men, þat coveiten hyenesse of worldli stat. For many men bi weyward witt co|veiten here to be popis cardinalis or bishopis, or oþer worldli Page  378 dignite, not for hele of þeir soule, but to have here worldli wynnyng. And all þis dampneþ Crist here. For þis wille is venymous; and it falliþ ofte tyme þat sich havyng of worldli worship dampneþ men ever more in helle; and so it doiþ harm to þe soule. But ȝif men wolen be hye in hevene, þei moten lerne anoþer lessoun, to profite to þe Chirche þat þei mai, and to leeve worldli worship. And þis profit nediþ ofte to suffre anoies here in þis world, þat þese prelatis fleen algatis, for þei wolden here have þe contrarie. Þerfore Crist axide of þes disciplis a questioun pertinent herto, Mai ȝe two drynke, seiþ Crist, þe chalis þat I shal drynke? And wiþouten drede Crist undirstood bi þis chalis his passioun. And þes two disciplis myȝten not for shame denye to drynke of þis coppe. And þus þei grauntiden to Crist, þat þei myȝten drynke of his coppe; for it were al aȝens skile to coveite sich a prelacie, but ȝif men have þe ende þerof wherefore þei shulden coveite it. And siþ Crist is al wiys, and drinkiþ himsilf of þis coppe, what man shulde bi resoun forsake to drynke herof? For bi þis is þe soule fed, and disposid to come to blis, but bodili fode is for þe bodi, and makiþ wormes mete redi. And þus Crist grauntiþ þes apostlis þis betere drynke, and leeveþ þe toþer. But ȝit Crist, of his curtasie*. [curtesie, E.], interpretiþ þer wordis to goode; and doiþ worship to his Fadir bi trewe wordis, as he shulde. Supposing þat þei undirstonden sitting in þe rewme of hevene, Crist seiþ, þat it falliþ not to him to graunte hem sich sittinge, but sich sitting shal þo men have to whom it is ordeynid of his Fadir. Here grutchen Anticristis disciplis and seien, þat Crist seiþ here fals; for siþ Crist is þe same God þat is þe Fadir and þe Goost, whatever þe Fadir ȝeveþ or grauntiþ, þe same þing grauntiþ Crist. But here þese foolis moten undirstonde, þat Crist spekeþ ofte bi his manhede; for þe peple knewe his manhede, and undirstood it speciali. And þus, whanne Crist biheetiþ to hem þat him falliþ not to ȝeve hem þis, he undirstood þes wordis þus, þat he shulde not, bi his manhede principali, ȝeve þem þis; but he shulde ȝeve to hem þis, to which it is ordeyned of his Fadir. And so, ȝif þei disserven þis, he sikerid hem þat þei shulden have þis. Page  379

And þus spekiþ Ambrose*. [St. Ambrose, De Sacramentis, lib. iv. cap. 5: 'Antequam con|secretur, panis est; ubi autem verba Christi accesserint, corpus est Christi.' Wyclif in his Confessio (Fasciculi Zizaniorum, p. 127) quotes a passage from the same work, differ|ing slightly in words, but precisely to the same effect. The 'for it is not principali breed' is Wyclif's gloss upon the words of St. Am|brose.], saynge comun speche of Crist, þat þe sacrid oost is not breed, for it is not principali breed. And such error blindiþ many, in þe sacrament of þe auter, to seie þat it is an accident wiþouten suget, and no breed, as Ambrose seiþ. But þes foolis myȝten bettere seie þat neþer James ne Joon ben blessid for Crist seiþ þat him falliþ not to graunte hem ony degree of blisse. But þis is ful of eresie, as falshede in which it is groundid. And defaute of undir|stonding þat shulde be of Goddis lawe and of þis doctour, Ambrose, blyndiþ here þes eretikis.



Loquente Jesu ad turbas.
—LUC. xi. [27.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how it is more to heere Goddis word and kepe it, þan to bere Crist bodili and norishe him, as Mary dide. And so a litil storie is told in presing*. [preysyng, E.] of our Ladi; and after is knitt a blessid sentence bi distinccioun of Crist. Þe storie telliþ how Crist spak to þe peple of soule helþe. And a womman of þe puple hadde devocioun in his wordis, and burst out in an hyȝe vois, and seide on þis manere to Crist: Blessid be þe wombe þat bare þee, and þe tetis þat þou didist soke. And Crist answeride to þis womman, and tolde a more presciouse treuþe, and seide þat, but bi more resoun, blessid be þei þat heeren Goddis word and kepen it.

But we shal undirstonde here, þat on two maner is Goddis word herd,—first bodili, bi eeren of bodi, and eke goostli, bi eeren of soule. Þe firste heeringe is litil worþ, but in as mouche Page  380 as it helpiþ to þe toþer; siþ Scarioth herde Crist þus, and beestis and briddis myȝten also. On þe toþer manere heeriþ no man but ȝif he knowe sentence of Goddis word. And on þis wise seiþ þe Psalme*. [So E; Salm, A.] þat I shal heere what þe Lord God spekiþ in me; but wel Y woot þat he shal speke pees and love to his peple. And þus, on two maneris, may a man kepe Goddis word; first, to printe þe witt in his soule, and after to reule his liif þerbi. And þus shulde ech Cristen man heere and kepe þe word of God. But over þis kepyng shulde preestis kepe wiseli þe word of God, and shape hem for to preche it, for profit of þe Chirche; and þis is þe beste work þat ony man mai travaile here. And þus mai we liȝtli see how þis sentence of Crist is soþ; siþ no man mai come to blis but ȝif he heere and kepe Goddis word; but many men and wymmen ben saved þat baren not Crist bodili; ne oure Ladi myȝte not come to blisse, but ȝif she hadde herd and kepte þis word.

And herfore God ordeynede hir to be maistiresse to his apostlis, for she fel not fro þe feiþ, ne fro þe wordis of hir sone, but kepte hem wel in her herte, and caste wel what þei menten. And herfor it is no wondur ȝif she be more blessid þan oþer. Þe Chirche singiþ of oure Ladi þat she haþ distroied alle heresies*. ['Gaude Maria virgo, cunctas haereses sola interemisti.' Tract used in Masses of the B. V. M. from Christmas to Easter.], for she is special maistiresse to distroie þes heretikes. And siþ she is aftir þe dai of dome, whanne þei shal no more noie þe Chirche, it is soþ to þis entent þat she haþ distroied alle heresies.

And siþ she was occasioun of þe wordis þat Crist seide here, se we how þes wordis helpen men to distroie þes vices. A comune heresie þat now rengneþ in þe Chirche is lettris of fraternite, generali among þes ordris*. [See p. 67, note B.]. And herfor se we how þes lettris stonden wiþ Goddis lawe. Heryng and kepyng of Goddis word is betere þan þe birþe of Crist; þis birþe is betere þan þes lettris; and so heeryng and kepyng of Goddis word is algatis betere þan þes lettris. But Cristis word in no place techiþ þat men shulden have þes lettris; and þerfore Page  381 shulden men reste in þes wordis, and traveile not aboute þes lettris. For as ful and sufficiaunt is Cristis lawe as his man|hede; but his manhede is ynowȝ wiþouten oþer to come to hevene; and so his lawe is ynowȝ, to here his word and to kepe it, for to come to blisse of hevene, wiþouten ony sich lettris. And þis þing mai be confermed. For ȝif a man have a þousand of sich lettris, but ȝif he kepe Goddis word, he shal be dampned in helle. And ȝif he kepe wel Goddis word, wiþouten havyng of sich lettris, he shal be savyd in hevene, as oure bileve techiþ us. And so havyng of siche lettris is oþer impertinent to blis, or ellis it is harmful, letting men to come to blisse. Also bi siche lettris is not sibbirede*. [sibreden, E.] getun of Crist; but ȝif þei brouȝten a man to hevene, þei maden þat man Cristis broþir and sister and his modir, as þe gospel beriþ witnesse. For Crist seiþ, Whoever doiþ þe wille of his Fadir þat is in hevene, he is Cristis broþer, and his sister, and his modir. Also, ȝif sich lettris diden þis good to men, brennying or dstroiyng of hem shulden pryve þes men fro sich good, ouþer in bodi or in soule. And so, ȝif we hadden þes lettris brent, or eeten wiþ myis*. [mys, E.], or distroied, we shulden wante þe profite of þes lettris; ȝhe, ȝif we weren þanne betere wiþ God. Bi siche resouns þinken many men þat þes lettris mai do good for to covere mostard*. [mustard, E.] pottis, but not þus for to wynne men blis; siþ sich men þat graunten þes lettris wyten not wheþer þei ben fendis lymes, or þat her preier shal ouȝt availe to hem silf or to oþer. And þes resouns letten many to chaffre wiþ þeir preier. For preier of men mai profite to oþer, but not þus bi chaffaring; siþ parting of meritis of men hangiþ oonli in Goddis wille, and not in shewing of sich lettris, neiþer to God ne to man; siþ we oblishen not us bi hem to þing þat is not in oure power. And þus þis help is newe feyned to injurie of God, siþ it is propre to God to graunten sich help to whom he wole. And þes lettris helpen not þerto, but raþer letten, for blasfemye. And sich broþirheed of blasfemes shulden be fled, for fendis sibreden.

Page  382



Intravit Jesus in quoddam castellum.
—LUC. X. [38.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ a storie of Crist, how he tauȝte to his Chirche which is þe beste stat here. Luk seiþ, þat Jesus entride in to a castel, and a womman þat hiȝte Martha toke Crist in hir hous, to fede him and his apostlis. And manye men þinken here þat þis castil was a wallid toun, for ofte tymes þe gospel clepiþ sich wallid touns, castels. Men supposen over þis, þat þis Martha and hir sistir, and Lazarus þer broþir, hadden al þing in comune; and þis Martha was beste hous-wyf, and best coude ordeyne for hir hous; and þus she hadde speche to men bifore hir broþir and hir sistir. Þis sister was Marie Mawdeleyn, þat was a ful devout womman fro þe tyme þat she was purgid of Crist, and sett in þe weie of hevene. And so þis Marie Mawde|leyn, fro þe tyme þat Crist cam to hir hous, sat mekeli at Jesus feet, to heere Goddis wordis of him. For Jesus hadde þis maner, to speke ever Goddis wordis whanne he wiste þat þei shulden profite to ony peple þat herden hem. And so Crist prechide ofte, now at mete, and now at soper, and what time þat it was covenable ony peple to heere him. And so Martha fedde Crist bodili, but he fedde hir sistir goostli. And so he ȝaf þe beter for þe worse, as it falliþ God to ȝeve. Martha enforside her bisili to serve Crist and his disciplis, but Marie sat stille at Cristis feet to heere þe wordis þat he spake. And Martha stood bifore Crist, and playnede to him of hir sistir*. [So in E; A includes of hir sistir in the italics.]. Sir, she seiþ, takist þou noon heede þat þis Marie, þat is my sistir, haþ left me aloone to serve to þee, and to my gueestis? I preie þee, seie to hir, þat she rise and helpe me. And þus Crist, þat was taken for juge to acuse Mawdeleyn, was maad avocat of þis Marie; for he holdiþ ever for trewe part*. [þe trewe part, E.]. And þus many trewe men, boþe aprentis Page  383 and avocatis*. [aprentis and avocatis; that is, barristers practising in the common law courts, and pleaders belonging to the church courts. By the term Apprentitius (from the French ap|prendre, to learn), as applied to the legal profession, was originally meant, according to Ducange, a law-student merely,—one who fre|quented the courts and universities in order to gain legal knowledge. But at an early period it became, in England at least, a more honour|able appellation. In Fleta, the author of which wrote under Ed|ward I, the Apprentitius appears as the lowest kind of legal practitioner admitted to the king's courts;—'in curia autem regiâ sunt servientes, narratores, attornati, et apprenticii' (lib. II. cap. 37). In the reign of Edward II, the term seems to be used much in the same way as 'bar|rister' is now-a-days; thus the jurist, Andrew Horn (on whom see Selden's Dissertatio ad Fletam), dedicates his treatise Speculum Justitiarum (Justi|tiariorum?) to the 'Apprentitii ad barras.' Spelman (Glossarium in voce), says that the Apprentitius, after a course of legal training ex|tending over seven years, was per|mitted 'cancellos salutare,' i.e. to come up to the bar, and there to plead. He thus corresponded to the 'outer barrister' of modern times; and so completely is this the case, that Fortescue (quoted by Spelman), with Selden, Plowden, Sir Henry Finch, and Sir Edward Coke (quoted in Cowell's Interpre|ter), speak of Apprentitius as being only another name for barrister-at|law.], wolen no*. [not, E.] procure in a cause bifore þat þei heeren it, and þis cause to þer witt haþ þe part of riȝtwisnes; for ellis þei maden hemsilf avocatis aȝens treuþe wiþ þe fend. And aȝens þis foule synne shulden men speke upon resoun. For al ȝif Goddis lawe teche þat procuraturis shulden have hire, and jugis shulden have noon hire of men þat þei travailen fore, neþeles þis is mys-turned, for riȝt is turned to coveitise. Crist spak a meene weye, and tauȝte þe Chirche in þes wymmen, and spak in þes wordis: Martha, Martha, þou art bisie and troublid aboute ful many þingis; but certis, o þing is nedeful, and betere þanne þes many þingis: Marie haþ chosen þe beste part, þat shal not be taken from hir.

It is seid comunli, þat þes two wymmen ben two lyves, actif and contemplatif; þe first is Martha, and þe toþer Marie. And actif liif axiþ in mesure bisynesse aboute worldli þingis; and alȝif þis liif be good, þe toþer liif is moche better. And so, for men failen ofte in þis liif fro love of God, Crist doubliþ þis word Martha, for two passen fro unyte. Crist telliþ how actif liif mut nede be troublid for many þingis; but contemplatif liif stondiþ in oo þing, þat is, God, and haþ no bisynes aboute þingis of þis world. For as a man bisieþ him not how his shadewe shal passe þe water, so men þat ben contemplatif bisie Page  384 hem not aboute worldli goodis, but þei trusten and hopen in God þat alle þes þingis shal falle to hem. And oonli in swet|nesse of God þei bisien hem, and taken þe toþer in mekenes and in poverte, as Crist haþ tauȝt in word and dede.

But men supposen over þis, þat Crist approveþ here þree lyves. Þe first is good, as children lyven whanne þei ben cristened. Þe secound liif is þe betere; and þis is clepid actif liif, whanne men travailen for worldli goodis and kepen hem in riȝtwisnesse. And þis is hard, but it is possible; and alȝatis ȝif coveitise be left; for Crist techiþ bi Matheu þat men shulden not be besie aboute her fode and hilyng, but bisynesse shulde be for hevene, þat shulde be eende of mennis traveile. And exces of þes goodis lettiþ ofte tymes þis eende. Þe þridde liif is þe beste, as Crist seiþ þat mai not lye. And þis is sum|what here in erþe, but fulli in þe blisse of hevene. And here douten many men wheþir of þes two lyves is betere. But men þat biholden*. [holden, E.] bileve of Crist witen þat þis þridde liif is best; for Crist seiþ þus þat mai not lye, and chees to lyve ever þis liif. For, alȝif Crist dide erþeli workes, neþeles he dide on sich mesure þat his soule was ever fed in contemplacioun of God. And in þis many apes weenen to sue Crist here and þei slippen into þe fendis weies for defaute of Cristis lore.

Þree resouns ben comune þat þis þridde is þe beste liif. Oon, for Crist þe beste maistir seiþ þus, and mai not lye. Also, þis lif mote nedis laste in blis of hevene wiþouten ende; but þes oþer two lyves moten nedis be eendid here. And so þis liif þat makiþ men betere, and more lastiþ wiþ hem in joie, mote nede be betere þan þe toþer þat algatis moot be taken from man; and þis is þe resoun of Crist in þe laste word of þis gospel. Also, an eende þat kinde ordeyneþ to come to men, bi certeyn meenes, is alȝatis betere þan þes meenes, þat comen nevere but for þis eende; as, siþ mannis liif is eende of his eting and oþer dedis, þis liif is betere þan þis eting, or ellis kynde ordeyned amys. And so, siþ þes two firste lyves ben meenes to þis þridde liif, algatis þis þridde is þe beste, þat God ordeyned to ende þes two. And in no persone ne ony stat ben þes first*. [two first, E.] lyves for Page  385 to preise, but ȝif þei ben quykened bi þis þridde, þat shal laste evere perfitli.

And ȝif þe pope haþ maad a lawe contrarie to þis sentence, or ȝif an aungel come from hevene or from helle, reversing it, trowe not to þes aungels, but trowe to Crist þat seiþ þis sentence. And resouns aȝens Crist ben not worþi to be rehersid; as sum men seien, þat*. [So E; and, A.] ellis þe pope lyvede evere a synful liif, siþ he chesiþ þe worse and þe hardere for þe betere. But here we graunten to þes men þat þis is soþ whanne þei have proved þat þe pope leeveþ þe þridde liif for*. [or, E.] þe secounde. For þe Chirche shulde beter be governed ȝif alle preestis lyveden þis þridde lif; for þus it was in Cristis tyme, and in tyme of his apostlis.



Facta est contencio inter*. [In the Roman Missal this gospel is assigned to the feast of St. Apol|linaris (July 23); that for St. Bar|tholomew's day is taken from Luke vi. 12-19. The writer of these ser|mons, like the Prayer-book, follows the Sarum use.].
—LUK. xxii. [24.]

MEN seien þat Seint Bertolomew was nobleste of þe apostlis*. [Referring to this legend, Cave says, in his Antiq. Apostolicae,—'By some [St. Bartholomew] is thought to have been a Syrian of noble extract, and to have derived his pedigree from the Ptolomies of Egypt, upon no other ground, I believe, than the mere analogy and sound of the name.']: and herfore in þis daie is þis gospel red. Men seien þat Cristis apostlis streven for a good cause; for þei wolden have a captain aftir þat Crist was deed. But I can not excuse hem of a vein wille. But however it be of þis, þis gospel semeþ to teche us þat synne of prelatis now-a-daies passiþ þis presumpcioun. For apostles streven þanne, not who shulde be more to God, ne more to þe world, but, who shulde be holde more; for ellis miȝte strif be among hem which shulde be put bifore, and decisioun of þis myȝte oonys for ever ceesse þis discord. But Page  386 now, among oure prelatis, we moven not who shulde be holde more, but which is more, uttirli, boþe to God and to þe world. And here we synnen doubli, deniyng þat we knowun not, and reversing Cristis sentence of morenesse þat he spake of. But oure goode maistir, Crist, determynede þis discencioun; and seiþ þat þer is double gretnes among men here in erþe,— gretenesse among knyȝttis, and gretenesse among clerkis. Cristis disciplis shulden not coveite gretnes of knyȝttis, but gretenes of clerkes is morenesse of mekenesse and morenesse*. [So E; moresse, A.] in service, wiþouten ony booste.

And þus seiþ Crist, þat kyngis and gentilefolk have lordship of hem, and þo þat have power on hem ben clepid goode doeris. But ȝe shal not þus lyve, in noon of þes þre pointis. For worldli lordshipis shal not be among ȝou; ne power to prisoune shal be in oon upon oþir; ne ȝour goode dedis shal not stonde in ȝyvynge of worldli goodis; but he þat is more amonge ȝou be maad as ȝonger, and he þat goiþ bifore, be he as a servere. Þat is to seie, þe mekere of ȝou is more of ȝou, and oon shal go bifore anoþir, not for worldli worship, but to serve more mekeli to oþir of his felouship. And þis mai ȝe se, seiþ Crist, bi my lyf among ȝou: Wheþir holde ȝe more him þat settiþ, or him þat serveþ? Certein ȝe holde more him þat sittiþ at þe mete. But Crist is among hem as a good servere. On þe day bifore, Crist washide her feet and wipte hem wiþ a cloiþ, as þe gospel of Joon telliþ; and þanne he putte in dede soilyng of þis ques|tioun. And siþ apostlis ben þo ilke þat weren wiþ Crist whanne he was temptid, and Crist ordeynede siche meenes to aȝenstonde pryde, preestis shulden þenke on þis lore, and traveile aboute mekenes. And þis lyf is not wiþoute mede, bi witnesse of Crist. And herfore he ordeynede hem þe kingdom of hevene, as his Fadir ordeynede hym, for mekenesse þat Crist hadde. And þanne shal þei ete and drynke upon Cristis bord in his rewme; and þis is mede wiþouten eende, more þan ony worldly mede. For þanne shal þei sitte upon troones and juge kynredis of Israel; whiche kynredis ben seintis in hevene, þat shal knowe bi apostlis þat more mekenesse in þis world axiþ more hyenesse in hevene. Page  387

And wel were him þat coude þis lore, ȝif þe gospel tauȝte him no more. And reversing of þis lore now, bi dowyng of þis Chirche, haþ maad al newe preestis and oþer ordir fro Cristis Chirche*. [That is, — church-endowment, practised in defiance of the teaching of Christ, has separated the modern clergy, as well as the cloistered orders, from the true Church of Christ.]. For more worldli lordship axiþ þe more service to preestis, and lettiþ hem to be more servauntis, and more hie in Cristis rewme. And þus, whanne Crist biddiþ þat his preestis shulden not lyve þus, þat preest is now holden betere þat lyveþ more lordli. And þis pride of þe fend distrieþ myche of þe Chirche; and Y can see no more mede þan to distrie þis*. [þes, E.] preestis pride. Take awei þes brondis ȝif þou wole quenche þe fier.



Misit Herodes.
—MARK vi. [17.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ þe cause and forme whi þat Baptist was do to deþ, and seiþ, how þat Heroude þe kyng sente and held Joon Baptist, and bonde hym in prysoun for a womman, Herodias, which was wiif and weddid to Philip, Heroudis broþir. For Joon seide to þis Heroude, It is not leeveful to þee for to have þi broþeris wiif, while ȝe boþe ben on lyve. And herfore þis Herodias aspiede Joon many gatis, how he myȝte be do to deþ. But alȝif she wolde do þis, ȝit she myȝte not come þerto. Þe cause of envie to Joon was his tellinge of treuþe, þat shulde be profitable to Heroude and eke to þis wickide womman. And þis cause shulde glorifie martirdome of a man; for it touchiþ Goddis riȝt, and profit of þe yvel part, and charite of þe martir þat telliþ þis for Goddis sake. And beter cause haþ no man in suffringe of martirdome. Þis Heroude dredde Joon Baptist, forPage  388he wiste þat he was a just man, and þerto an hooly man, and kepte him more tenderli. For men have kyndely drede of God and of his lawe. And þerfore Heroude herde Joon, and aftir him dide many þingis, and herde Joon wiþ good wille, in þingis þat touchide conscience. And whan a covenable day fell to Heroude and þis wickide womman, Heroude, in þe daie þat he was born inne, made a feste to tribunes and to princis of þe temple, and to þe gretteste maistris þat dwelten in Galile. And þus many men þenken þat Heroude was an ypocrite; for he caste to slee þis Seint Joon, and florishide it wiþ falshede. And as men sup|posen, al þis cast cam first of þis false womman. For as wymmen, where þei ben goode, passen oþer creaturis, so, where þei ben turned to yvel, þei passen many oþer fendis.

And whanne þe douȝter of þis womman was entrid in to þe halle, and pleside to Heroude and his gestis bi tumbleris lepyng

* The [gap: 1] of the original is rendered in the Vulgate 'quum saltasset,' which the first Wycliffite version naturally translates, 'whanne the douȝter . . . . hadde lepte,' and the present writer understands of a tumbler or female acrobat. Such displays were common in the middle ages. Chaucer, in describing a fes|tive meeting (Romaunt of the Rose, near the beginning), speaks of 'sail|louris:'—

'There was many a tymbester,
And saillouris that I dar wel swere
Couthe her craft ful parfitly.
, þis kyng seide to þis wenche þat she shulde axe what she wolde. And he swore to þis wenche þat whatever she axide him he shulde ȝeve it to hir, if it were half his rewme. And bi þes wordis it semeþ þat þis fraude was cast bi þis womman and Heroude; or ellis he were to greet a fool, to ȝyve half his rewme for lepyng of a strumpet. And þis wenche wente forþ and axide at hir modir, what she shulde aske of þis kyng Heroude. And hir modir bad hir axe þe heed of Joon Baptist. And whanne þis wenche cam in anoon wiþ haste to þe kyng, she axide and seide, I wole anoon þat þou ȝeve me þe heed of Joon Baptist in a dishe. And þe kyng was sori; for his grete ooþ and for his gestis he wolde not make þis wenche sorowful, but sente for a man-sleere, and bad brynge to him þe heed of Joon Baptist. And he girde of his heed in prisoun, and brouȝte his heed in a dishe and ȝaf it to þis wenche, and she ȝaf it to hir modir. And whanne þis þing was herd, þe disciplis of Joon camen and token his bodi and putten it in a sepulcre.Page  389

What man wolde not suppose, þat ne al þis þing was done bi fraude of þis fals womman, for treuþe of Joon displeside hir? And doyng of Heroude was not wiþouten blame, for he shulde not swere þus to a ȝong strumpet; and ȝif þis fool hadde swore þus, he shulde not fulfille þis ooþ; for folie hepid upon folie greveþ God more. She axide þis heed in a dishe bi feyned addicioun, for so she myȝte more liȝtli brynge þis heed in to þe kyng, and wite more sikirli bi þe siȝte of many men þat it was Baptistis heed þat she hadde in þe dishe. And men þat sawun þis done shulden not rebelle aȝens þe kyng, for it was done in þe prisoun pryvyly fer from men.

And feyned treuþe of þe kyng semeþ to foolis to excuse þis deed, and so it semede no help*. [So in E, which has the word boote, crossed out, before help; A reads no but to venge.] to venge þe dede þat was done. And sich a cautil of þe fend is in many grete synnes. For men feynen bi ypocrisie þat þis þing moste nede be done, and goodnesse wiþ treuþe of hem excusiþ hem of þe dede. And, for wymmen ben of short witt, þei ben meenes to siche dedis. But folie and lustis of men ben often more to blame þan wymmen. As, ȝif wymmen knewun not Goddis lawe in dowyng of preestis, and it semeþ to wymmens witt boþe almes and merci, and þei meeven lordis herto,—as þes wymmen diden Eroude,—þis synne is in þes proctours, but more in þes lordis. And þus fendis wilis of freris aqueynten hem wiþ ladies, and þei ben meenes to lordis to have þat þes fendis axen. And þus is fiȝting brouȝt in, and Goddis lawe reversid. For who may denye þat ne lordis done aftir ladies, or þat freris conseilen wiþ ladies, or myche synne is now up bi workes of lordis? And knytte alle þes togidere, and freris ben ground þerof, more sutil and sinful þan þis lepynge strumpet. But unknowynge of Goddis lawe excusiþ hem not here, for þat shulden lordis trowe, and not þes fals meenes. For fendis and þer giles shulden be put bihinde God, and treuþis of Goddis lawe shulden be taken in worshipe.

Page  390



Liber generacionis.
—MATT. i. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ þe gendrure bi which Crist cam of Jewes. For he cam of his modir, and she and Joseph weren of oo kynne. Matheu*. [So E; Mathu, A.] was tauȝt of God to write þus þis booke, and in þre fourtenes to eende þus þis gendrure. He takiþ two bigynneris, Daviþ and Abraham; for to þes two was speciali Jesus Goddis Sone bihiȝt. Daviþ was putt bifore for worshipe and acordaunce, alȝif Abraham was bifore and brouȝte forþ holi kynredis. Abraham gat Isaac, and Isaac gat Jacob; Jacob gat Judas and his oþer breþeren, And þes þre patriarchis weren þree holi men. Of þes twelve Jacobis sones Judas was þe beste; neiþer þe firste, ne þe last, but cam of his first wyf. And of him tolde Jacob þat Crist shulde come. Judas gat Phares and Zaram of Thamar. Þis Phares and Zaram weren boþe getun togidere; and þis Thamar was not þe firste wyf of Judas. Phares gat Esrom, and Esrom gat Aram; Aram gat Amynadab, and Amynadab gat Nasoun; Naasoun gat Salomoun, and Salomoun gat Booz, of a womman þat was Raab*. [þat hiȝte Raab, E.], þe which was an alien, and helpide mouche Jewes; Booz gat Obeth of Ruth, þat was an alien; Obeþ gat Gesse, and Gesse gat Daviþ þe king. And in þis firste fourtene ben aliens and synful folk, for Crist wolde save aliens and oþer synful men. Daviþ þe laste of þes fourtene is clepid a kyng; for God made him kyng; and bifore þis Daviþ weren patriarkes and jugis, and no kyngis of Jewis, as Goddis lawe telliþ. Saul was þe firste kyng of Jewis bifore Daviþ, but he was a wickide man, and Crist cam not of him.

Daviþ gat Salomon of hir þat was Uryus*. [Uries, E.]wyf; Salomon gat Roboam, and Roboam gat Abias; Abias gat Asa, and Aza gatPage  391Josephat; Josephat gat Joram, and Joram gat Osias; Josias*. [Osias, E.]gat Joathan, and Joathan gat Achaz; Achaz gat Ezechie, and Ezechie gat Manassas; Manasses gat Amon, and Amon gat Jose; Jose*. [Josy, E.]gat Jeconie, and oþir breþeren whanne þei weren taken to Babiloyne, bi werre of þe kyng. Þis is þe toþir fourtene þat Matheu telliþ, and leeveþ here foure kyngis wiþouten liynge. For he þat bigetiþ a sone bigetiþ his sones sone; and so foure kingis weren left*. [The four kings left out are— Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, and Elia|kim. See the note on the subject in Dean Alford's Greek Testament.], soþli for greet cause.

And whanne þes kyngis weren ceessid of worship of þer kyngdom, but not of þer gendrure, Jeconie gat Salatiel; Salatiel gat Sorobabel; Sorobabel gat Abyut; Abyut gat Eliachym; Eliachym gat Azor; Azor gat Sadoc; Sadok gat Achym; Achym gat Elyut; Elyut gat Eliazar; Eliazar gat Mathan; Mathan gat Jacob, and Jacob gat Joseph, Maries housebonde; of which Marie is Jesus born, þe which is clepid Crist. And so, to counte Joseph Marie and Crist, is þis þridde fourtene fillid þat þe gospel spekiþ of. And alȝif we have not þis þridde gendrure in holi writt, ȝit we trowen þat it is soþ*. [So E; A has soiþ.] bi autorite of Mathew, as we trowun þe firste gendruris boþe bi autorite of Genesis. Mathew comeþ dounward in rekenynge of Cristis eldris, and Luk goiþ upward, rekenyng of more fadris. For it sufficide to Mathew to telle how Crist bicam man bi þes þree fourtenes, biginnynge at Abraham. But Luk, figure of preestis*. [Luk, figure of preestis. The figure of the calf in the Apocalypse (ch. iv.) was very early associated with St. Luke, who was thought to treat more fully than the other Evan|gelists of the priestly office of Christ. See Cave's Antiq. Apost., p. 169. In the Legenda Aurea, it is said, 'Lucas figuratur in vitulo, agens de Christi sacerdotio;' and it is shown at great length how this evangelist was 'recte ordinatus,' in relation to God, to his neighbour, to himself, and to his office of writing the gospel.], telliþ more diffuseli how man stieþ up to God, from Adam to þe Trinite. And variyng of names, wiþ leevyng of sum fadris, techiþ how Matheu and Luk varien not in sentence*. [Dean Alford (in his notes on Matt. i. and Luke iii.) thinks that no attempt to reconcile the two genealogies has succeeded, laying stress at the same time on the fact that both give the line of Joseph, not that of Mary.]. Page  392

And þis text moten preestis knowe, to undirstonde Goddis lawe, and to defende it from false men þat arguen aȝens it. For siþ it is our bileve, we trowun fulli þat it is soþ*. [So E; A has soiþ.]; and many helpis þer ben to undirstonde þis gendrure. For we may wite how Crist cam of aliens, and how þis comyng was figurid in oþir dedis þat Crist dide; as þe gospel of Luk telliþ how Crist cam to Jerusalem, boþe þourȝ Samarie and þe cuntre of Galile; and siþ Samarie was þanne in þe hondis of gentile men, and Galile was þanne in þe hondis of Jewis, þis comyng bitokeneþ þe gendrure of Crist, how he cam boþe of Jewis and gentil folk. And þis bitokeneþ over, how he wolde save hem boþe. Crist cam not evere of þe firste sone, but ofte of þe toþer sone; to teche us þe lore þat spiritual gendrure is figurid by Cristis comyng, and God telliþ more þerof þan of kyndeli gendrure. And þus ech word of þe gospel were lore to Cristene men, to travaile and to undirstonde þe privytees of God. And þus shulden preestis ȝyve hem to contemplacioun, and leve worldli occupacioun, wiþ vanytees of þe world. For wordis of Poul techen us þat what kyn þingis ben writun ben writun to oure lore, and to confort of us. And so bi suche confort we shal growe in hope.



Nunc judicium est mundi.
—JOHN xii. [31.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how þat Crist in al his liif was aȝens þe fend, and speciali in his passioun þat he suffride of so greet love. And þus seiþ Crist of greet witt; Now is jugement of þe world, now þe prince of þis world shal be cast out. —Here men undirstonden þe world, þo men þat lyven worldli, and mesuren hem not bi Cristis lawe, for to go þe weie to hevene. Al þe folk of þis soort is a world þat shal be dampned. Al þe liif þat Page  393 Crist lyvede here was a jugement of þis world, for it was an open mater to juge it at þe dai of dome. For no man may excuse þis, siþ God and man lyvede þus to teche men þe weye to hevene and fle þe falsnesse of þe fend, and ȝit man leveþ Cristis lore, and goiþ þe weie þat þe fend techiþ, þat ne þei leden*. [and þus þey leden, E.] a liif here to make hem dampned aftirward. And so dampnacioun is taken now for dampnyng executid. And now, for cause of þis dampnyng, as þis gospel spekiþ here, þis world þat þus shal be dampned haþ a capteyn, þat is þe fend, þe which is clepid kyng and prince; for he is kyng of alle þe children of pryde, and he is prince of þis world, for he lediþ his lymes þis weie. But Crist seiþ here þat þis prince shal be cast out bi him. For Crist overcam þis fend, and tauȝte anoþer good lore, how þat men shulden come to hevene, and leeve þe fendis weie þat he tauȝte. For alȝif þe fend have children þe whiche he bigiliþ þus, neþeles þe ground is Goddis, siþ þei have her*. [þe, E.] kynde of God. And so þe fend, in al his werkes, is a tirant and a þeef.

But here shal we undirstonde þat al þat God haþ ordeyned to peyne moten nedis be dampned in helle; but many, bigilid bi þe fend, weren ordeyned to turne to Crist; and þes weren ever ordeyned to blis, and nevere to be dampned in helle. And to þis entent spekiþ Crist in þe word þat comeþ aftir, þat ȝif he be hiȝed fro þe erþe, he shal drawe alle þingis to him silf. No doute Crist spekiþ here of his passioun of þe crosse; for þanne Crist is hiȝed fro þe erþe to many undirstondingis. And ȝif Crist semede þanne faile power to do ouȝt, ȝit he was þanne almyȝti, and his drawing was ful strong, for þanne he drowȝ bi his vertue alle men þat he shoop to blis. And so he drowȝ fro þe fend many þat he wenede to have, and so þes þat leeven undrawun wanten þe eende þat þei shulden have, and so þei ben clepid nouȝt oftetymes in holi writt. And þus spekiþ Crist here, þat þei ben alle þingis þat he drawiþ. Defaute is not in þis drawer whi þes fendis lymes ben not drawun, but defaute is in hem, þat þei fasten not on þis drawere, siþ noon is drawun but wilfulli, and he wantiþ good will; þei ben so slipre and so hard þat Goddis word takiþ not in hem. Page  394

Þis same gospel expowneþ to what entent Crist seide þes wordis. Certis Crist seide þis, to telle what deeþ he shulde die. But þe puple answeride to Crist, and seide þat þei have herd of þe lawe þat Crist dwelliþ wiþouten ende, and how seist þou þat mannis Sone mote be hiȝed? who is he þis mannis Sone, and how shulde he suffre þis deþ? But Jesus saw how þis peple un|dirstood sumwhat bileve, and þei failiden on oþer side of þingis þat þei shulden undirstonde. And þerfore seiþ Crist þus: Ȝit a litil liȝt is in ȝou. Walke ȝe while ȝe have liȝt, þat derknesse take ȝou not. It semeþ þat þis peple wiste how Crist tolde þat he shulde die upon þe crosse for mankynde, and þerbi drawe his children to him; but it semeþ þei wisten not now þat Crist was boþe God and man, and bi his soule he mai not die, as he dieþ not bi his Godhede; but whanne he is deed bi his fleish, his soule passiþ and drawiþ from helle. And þus Crist seiþ þei have a litil liȝt, for þei have but litil bileve. But þei shulden walken in þis bileve, and so come to more liȝt; for ȝif þei walkyn in derkenesse of unbileve, þei gone amys, siþ al þat is not of bileve mote algatis be synne. For Crist seiþ afterward, þat, He þat walkiþ in derknes, he woot not whidir he goiþ. And so it is in goostli walking; he þat wantiþ bileve of Crist woot not for þat tyme wheþer he goiþ to hevene or helle, for liȝt of feiþ wantiþ him.

And, for Crist is bileve, þe which þat men shulden trowe here and se aftir clerli in blisse whanne þei ben clene come to hevene, Þerfore, seiþ Crist aftirward, þe while ȝe have liȝt, bileve ȝe in liȝt, þat ȝe ben children of liȝt; þe which liȝt is God himsilf. Here mai we se, in bileve, how feiþ is nedeful for to have, and how fleishli lif here is contrarie to Cristis crosse, and how þat worldli liif is dirk and makiþ men go from God.

Page  395



Vidit Jesus publicanum*. [So E; Vidit Jhesus puplicanum, A.].
—LUC. v. [27.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Matheu was chosen, and how heretikes grutchiden herfore; for treuþe haþ evere adversaries, þat beren hevy þat it shulde shyne. Þe gospel telliþ þat Jesus saw a pup|lican þat hiȝte Levy. And þis Levy was Mathew*. [So E; Mathu, A.], as many men have diverse names,—as þis Mathew*. [So E; Mathu, A.], Petre, and Poul, varieden þer names whanne þei weren apostlis. And þis manere have þe popis, whanne þei ben newe maad popis. But God wolde þat þei changiden to vertues as dide apostlis of Crist. But sum men seien þei changen to synnes, for her chesyng is not of God; þei ben not clepid of Crist to mekenesse, but to pride and worldli liif. And þus al is ypocrisie, and no fruyt to þe Chirche þat þei done, in þis chesing bi ordenance of mannis lawe; and þis envenymeþ myche of þe Chirche bi process of tyme. Jesus siȝ þis Levy sitting at þe tol-boþe, and seide to him, Sue me. And wiþ þis word he ȝaf him vertue.

And here þe fend blyndiþ men whanne þei proven bi Goddis lawe þat þei shulden make siche chesing, for Crist clepide his apostlis. But certis an ape is not so blynd in knowing of diversite. It semeþ þat bi Goddis lawe men shulden purge first þe popis state, and algatis þat he were pore and witti, and willi*. [willy, E.] for to profite to þe Chirche after Goddis lawe; and þanne chese him, as Mathi*. [Mathi, i. e. Mathias, is the reading of E, and seems preferable; A has Mathu. Compare Sermon CI.] was chosen. And þis were sum similitude to sue here Crist and his apostlis. For wel Y woot þat alle þes cheseris witen not wher þei chesen a fend; as þei witen not wher þei lawe be evene aȝens Goddis wille*. [lawe, E.]. And þes two ben to dirke weies to lede alle Cristyndoom to hevene.

Þe storie telliþ how þat Mathew*. [So E; Mathu, A.]forsok al þat he hadde, andPage  396suede Jesus, boþe in place and in vertues. Þis Leevy made Crist a greet feeste in his hous, wiþ mouche folk; for, as þe gospel telliþ, þer was moche puple of puplicans, and of oþer men, his aqueintis, þat weren come to ete wiþ him. And Phariseis and scribis of hem grutchiden aȝens Crist, seiyng to his disciplis, Whi etin ȝe and drynken boþ wiþ puplicans and sinful men? Sich men ben puplicans þat traveilen aboute comune work, to gadere tollis and comyne rentis, to þe use of þe emperour. And þis travail dampneden Jewis, as traveile of sinful men; and for using of þis work þei dampnyden*. [So E; dampnen, A.] men þat comuneden wiþ hem. And Jesus answeryng seide to hem, Hool men have noo nede of leche, but seke men in þer bodi. And so, siþ Crist cam to heele men, and seþ þat sich men mai be hool, he moot bi resoun comune wiþ hem, and maken hem hool as he disposiþ. For Crist cam not to clepe just men, but sinful men to do penaunce.

Here mai we see þat it is good to sum men to comune wiþ sinful men; but þei moten be as Crist was, not to be worsid wiþ þes men. But whanne þei mai do hem good, it were synne to lette þis good. But þes scribis and Phariseis magnefieden þer owne stat, þat no man shulde take from hem, but encreese in worldli goodis. And þus seien now oure Phariseis, boþe religiouse and preestis. But Crist telliþ not bi þis sentence, for it is nest of coveitise. For stat þat Crist ȝaf to his apostlis is now to generali dispisid, þat men shulden be apaied wiþ foode and wiþ hiliyng to her bodi. And al mennis bisynesse shulde*. [So E; shul, A.] be sett to gete vertues to þe soule, for þanne þei seken þe rewme of God, and riȝtwisnesse of þis rewme. And wiþ þis God mai not faile of þes two þingis to mannis bodi; as Crist proveþ bi Matheus gospel, boþe bi foulis and bi lilies. For if men failen in foode or hilyng, þat is for her synne bifore. And þat is more for þer profit, ȝif þei ben wise and pacient; for a betere wey to hevene is algatis more profitable, and he is an overmyche fool þat wole have al his goodis here.

Page  397



Cum transiret Jesus.
—MATT. ix. [9.]

ÞIS gospel þat Mathew seiþ here is nyȝ al oon wiþ þe laste; but ȝit oo gospelere*. [gospeller, E.] expowneþ anoþer, and varieþ sumwhat to oure lore. Matheu*. [So E; Mathu, A.] telliþ, þat Jesus passinge saw a man þat was clepid Matheu*. [So E; Mathu, A.]. And þis he meneþ bi himsilf, for it sowneþ to Goddis worship and to repreef of himsilf. What worship shulde þis Mathew have, þat he sat in þe tol boþe, occupied wiþ þe worldli workes, and þus fer fro þe liif of Crist? Grace and mercy is in Crist þat he wolde clepe þus siche a man, boþe bi vois and bi wille, to leeve siche worldli workis, and to go riȝt þe weie to hevene in suynge þis good duke. Matheu leeveþ of his feeste, for it sowneþ to worldli fame, and telliþ how, Jesus eet in þe hous, and puplicans and many sinful wiþ him. And þis word sowneþ not to boost of Matheu*. [So E; Mathu, A.], but to mercy of Jesus Crist. But Fariseis of Cristis tyme hadden desdeyn of þis dede, and seide to Cristis disciplis, in repreef of him and hise, Whi etiþ your Maistir wiþ puplicans and sinful men, þat is unleeveful? For who shulde comune wiþ cursid men, lest þat he were foulid wiþ hem? And þis word wolde be liȝtli seid now of men þat we feynen cursid; for we holden a more synne to ete and drynke wiþ sich men þan us*. [þus, E.] to do a cursid dede þat were aȝens Goddis worship. For Phariseis coveiten þer owne wynnyng, and leeven þe worship of God. But Jesus herde þes blynde wordis, and seide to þes Pha|riseis, A leche is not nedeful unto men þat faren wel, but to syke men þat faren yvel; and so it is goostli. And Crist bad þese men go forþ and telle folk what it is, þat he wolde mercy and not sacrifice.

And who so cam þis dai in þe Chirche, and tolde þis ordre Page  398 wiþ þis*. [So E; þese, A.] sentence, preestis wolden clepe him eretike, and moven oþer men to holden him siche, for þei tellen more bi þer wynnyng þan bi treuþe of Goddis lawe. Ȝif þou wolt asaie þis now, preche opinli to þe peple þat God telliþ more bi workes of mercy, þe which ben in a mannis soule, þan bi offring, or by dymes, or oþer goodis ȝovun to freris, and þou shalt have enemyes anoon to bere heresie on þee. For þei holden as bileve þat ȝif þe ordre þat Crist ordeynede were holden streitli, as he bad, holi Chirche were distroied. But Crist seiþ þat he cam not to clepe just men from þer weie, but to clepe sinful men from þer errour þat þei ben inne. Here mai we wel witen þat Crist moveþ alle good men; sum yvel men Crist clepiþ from wrong weie þat þei ben inne; and sum good men Crist mooveþ to go gladlier her riȝt weie. And so Crist moveþ ever to good, and from errour þat men ben ynne.



Accesserunt discipuli ad Jesum.
—MATT. xviii. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist loveþ men þat dwellen in þis world. And we shulen take as bileeve þat Crist loveþ more vertuous men, whiche he haþ ordeynede to blisse, þan all þe men þat shal be dampned, for Crist loveþ ech þing aftir þat it is good. And þus seiþ þe storie of Matheu, how, Disciplis cam to Jesus and axiden him, who, he hopiþ, is more in þe rewme of hevene? Leeve we gramariens doutis*. [De Lyra mentions no such doubts, and it is difficult to realize the state of mind of that 'gramarien,' who should speculate on the possi|bility of 'quis putas' being one word. Both Wycliffite versions translate, 'Who, gessist thou.'] wher 'quis putas' be two wordis or oo word, and of what part, and what is þe witt þerof; for here us þinkiþ it is o word and þis is þe witt þerof; What is þi jugement, which man is more here; for hope of Crist, þat Page  399 mai not erre, is his riȝt jugement, and þis word wantiþ noumbre and persone and*. [as, E.] witt of wordis bi hemsilf.

And Jesus tauȝte his answere in dede, for it is profitable to men; siþ whomever Crist jugiþ more is more algatis, siþ juge|ment of þe world and of men failliþ ofte. Jesus toke a litil child, in quantite and in soule, for he was litil in bodi, and þerwiþ he was meke. Rekke we not who þis man was, ne trowe we not to mennis talis þat þis was Marcial, or Joon, or anoþer apostle*. [St. Jerome, in his commentary on this passage, is silent respecting the identity of the little child. But Petrus Comestor in the Historia Scholastica (cap. xc.), and Nicholas de Lyra, both give the tradition referred to in the text, namely, that this little child grew up to be a certain St. Marcialis, who was sent into Gaul by St. Peter, and preached the faith to the people of the Li|mousin.]; for ȝif Crist wolde þat we couden þis, he wolde have tolde þis in his gospel. But kepe we us in meke|nesse þat Crist wolde put us inne. For ignorance of þis doute doiþ noon harm to Cristen men, and knowyng þerof shulde do no good to geting of þe blisse of hevene. Crist toke þis litil man, and putte him in myddil of apostlis, and seide to hem, Soþli, but ȝif ȝe ben convertid, and be maad as litil children, ȝe shal not entre into þe rewme of hevenes, for ȝour pride. For, ever as a man is more meke, evere þe betere man he is. And so, as Crist is beste man, so is he þe mekeste man. And as nouȝt mai be lowere þan centre, so noon mai be mekere þan Crist. And it is oon to suppose þat þis is þe mekeste man and þat þis man is Crist, ouþer on o manere or oþer. Alle men of þe rewme of hevene drawun to þis centre, to make þis rewme. And þis centre holdiþ up al þing, and put*. [putteþ, E.] it in his degree. But þis centre is everywhere, and not only in oo point.

Þis word of Crist may wel be proved undirstonding sadnesse in vertues; for no man mai have ony vertue but ȝif he have mekenesse, ground of alle. And siþ no man mai come to hevene, but ȝif he be cloþid in vertues, it is open to trewe men þat no man mai come to hevene, but ȝif he have mekenes to grounde his toure up to hevene. And siþ bileve techiþ us þat holi Chirche is a bodi, and þis noble bodi is ordeyned of Crist, bi every part and joynture þerof, it semeþ to many men Page  400 þat alle þes newe ordris ben rotyn postumes, and tatered cloutis. Lord! siþ freris blamen wel tatring of mennis cloþis, how myche were it to blame tatring of þe Chirche cloutis. But þat þat þes newe ordris leeven in mannis siȝte, þei fulfillen in oure modir, þat is a betere persone. For alle þes ordris ben cloutid bi Cristis religioun wiþouten his autorite, and departid among hem silf. And it semeþ to many men þat þei ben þe charge*. [grete charge, E.] of þe chirche, and enpeiren Cristis ordre his lawe and his ordenaunce. And þus þenken many men þat þei shulden be suspect, bifore þat þei hadden groundid her liif in Cristis lawe. And many men have conscience to forþere þes ordris, in word and in dede, bifore þat þei ben tauȝte þat Crist approveþ þes ordris; for ellis þei reversiden Crist and weren wiþ Anticrist. And so alle þes novelries, þat ben not groundid in Cristis lawe, men supposen as heresies til þat þei ben tauȝte þe contrarie. And dymes, and offringis, and defending of þis persone þat doiþ aȝens Goddis lawe, semen bi lawe of conscience to be aȝens Goddis wille, and so shulden men leeven hem. But leeve we þis matere, and trowe to Cristis word, þat whoso mekiþ him, as þis ȝong man, he is þe more in þe rewme of hevenes. And whoso takiþ sich a litil oon in þe name of Crist, he takiþ Crist; at þe leste in his membre. For we supposen þat Crist preiseþ not þe fend in þis ȝong man. And whoso slaundriþ oon of þes litil þat trowen in me, it spediþ to him þat a mylne stoon be tied in his nekke, and þat he be dreint*. [dreynt, E.]in þe depenes of þe see. And, as Gregori seiþ*. [Commenting on this passage of St. Matthew in his Moralia (lib. vi. § 57) St. Gregory says that by the sea we must understand this world, —by the mill-stone, worldly busi|ness,—and that there are some who, forsaking the common life of the world, and betaking themselves to spiritual contemplation, not only go astray themselves, but mislead the little ones of Christ. 'Qui ergo unum de minimis scandalizat, melius illi fuerat, alligata collo mola asina|ria, in mare projici; quia nimirum perversae menti expeditius esse po|tuisset, ut occupata mundo terrena negotia ageret, quam per contem|plationis studia ad multorum per|niciem vacaret.'], it spediþ to þis man þat he have hevy worldis charge to depe him in worldli traveile; for þanne he shulde mekelier in caas be dampned in helle þan he now shulde. Woo be to þe world of sclaundris! For it is nedeful þat slaundris comen, but neþeles woo be þat man bi whom slaundre come.Page  401 Slandre is wrong dede, þat makiþ man falle in synne. And þis falliþ boþe in worldli men and oþer, and speciali in ypocritis of þes newe religiouns; for þei done woo to oþer*. [So E; her, A.] ordris, and jugement of oþir men for her ypocrisie makiþ many men be sclandrid. For novelries in oure lawe maken errours in juge|ment, and so þei harmen þe Chirche boþe in soule and bodi. Crist biddiþ aftirward, Ȝif þi hond or þi foot sclaundir þee, kitte it of, and caste it fro þee. Here men seien soþli, þat bi her bodili lymes ben undirstonden mennis workes and mennis affeccions; and þes ben kittid fro men whanne þe vertue of þeir soule wantiþ sich workes, and occasioun to do þus. It is beter to þee to be here feble or crokid, and, wiþ þis, come to hevenli liif, þan to have here þes lymes and after be sent to helle. Þis word is ful dredeful to men þat wolen here be greet, and have many servantis, or many of her ordre, and after, for parting of her synne, ben dampned to helle. And þus was Joon Baptiste wiþouten hondis or feete here*. [The words must not be taken literally, for no such astounding legend was even afloat concerning John the Baptist or his martyrdom, so far at least as I can discover,— but simply as meaning, 'in this sense John the Baptist, after he was thrown into prison, was helpless and re|sourceless, reaping thereby a greater reward in heaven.'], and so he was myȝty in hevene for his symple meeknesse. And to þis entent seiþ Crist, Ȝif þin iȝe sclaundre þee, pyke it out, and caste it fro þee. Bi þis iȝe we undirstonden yvel siȝte of a mannis eye; as leecherous and coveitous have ofte wickid iȝen. Caste awei þes wickide workis, and turne þee to medeful siȝte. And ȝif þou be a greet maistir, as bishop or erchedekene, and þou have a wickide servaunt þat turneþ þee to coveitise, putte him out of his office and remeeve him fer awey. It is betere to þee to come wiþ oon iȝe to þe liif, þan here have two iȝen and after be sent to þe fier of helle, as it is betere to men to lyve here a simple liif, and come after to hevene for mekenesse of þe herte, þan after myche myrþe here be dampned in helle.

Be ȝe war þat ȝe dispise not oon þat is litil here; for soþli I seie to ȝou, þat her aungels seen evere þe face of my Fadir which is in hevene. Alȝif men seien comunli þat ech man haþ two aungels, a good and an yvel, to do him good and traveile him, Page  402 neþeles men þat shal be saaf have algatis blessid angels which in al her worching seen evere God clereli, for God is everywhere, and seeþ syche gode werkis*. [So E; A reads seen wiþ siche workes, which makes no sense.]. And þis meeveþ many men to dispise not þes pore men*. [So E; om. A.] and of simple state here; for we witen not how God loveþ hem. And among evidence þat shulde meeve men to mekenes, bileve of þis gospel shulde meeve men to flee dispite. For ȝif a man were ayre aparant*. [heyr apparaunt, E.] of Englond or of France, many men wolden do him worship for þis worldli titil; myche more ȝif a man be eire of þe blisse of hevene. And apparaunce of þis heritage is more licli to trewe men, bi good lyf of men after þe lawe of Crist, þan apparaunce of worldli lordship bi dissence of heritage. And so wickid liif of men makiþ hem serve þe fendis children; as it is seid þat a bishop haþ a þousand iȝen to noie, but he haþ not half an iȝe to profit after Goddis lawe. And þus many men supposen þat þes ben blynde fendis children. For many men have molworpis*. [moldwarpis or mollis, E.] izen, þat þinken evere of worldli goodis, and þes ben no good lederis to teche men þe weie to hevene.



Respiciens Jesus in discipulos.
—JOHN xvii. [II.]*. [In the modern Roman missal this gospel belongs to the mass 'for the removal of Schism;' the gospel for All Hallows eve is taken from Luke vi. 17-23.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ how Crist preied for his apostlis upon þe Þursdai þat he shulde die on þe morewe. And so he medliþ many treuþis, boþe hiȝe and sutil. Joon seiþ þat, Jesus lokynge upon hise disciplis seide: Holi Fadir, kepe hem in þi name which þou hast ȝovun me, þat þei ben oon, as we two ben oon. And here it is seid comunli, þat ech oonhede is of sum fourme. And so þer ben foure oonhedis þat men speken of comunli. Page  403 Þe leste oonhede is in peple*. [þe puple, E.], þe which ben oon in kynde; and ȝif þei ben oon in vertues þan þei ben more oon. Þe secounde oonheede is of man; þat many partis of him ben knitt in oo soule and governed bi þe vertue of it. Leeve we oþer oonhedis of oþer bodies bi her fourmes. Þe þridde onhede is of þe Chirche and of her partis, oon in God; and þis is more woundirful þan ony man can her*. [here, E.] telle. Þe ferþe oonhede and þe moste, þat is rote of alle oþir, is oonhede of þe Trinite, in þe fourme of oo Godhede. And þus þree per|soones ben oon, and noon oþer mai þus be oon. Neþeles Crist preieþ þat hise apostlis ben oon, as þe Trinyte is oon; but not in þe same manere; but as þe Trinite is oon in oonhede of substaunce, so Cristis apostlis ben oon in þe same Godhede, and mai nevere after be severid, as þes þree per|soones mai nevere be severid. And þis is sum similitude, al ȝif it be fer fro God. And betere preier miȝte no man preie to God for synful men. Crist seiþ of his apostlis: Whanne he dwelte wiþ hem, he kepte hem in his Fadirs name, and noon of hem perishide but þe child of lesyng, þat moste nedis be lost, for he was a quyk fend, to fulfille Holi Writt. And here men douten comunli whi Crist chees Judas, siþ Crist wiste þat he shulde be dampned. But here we seien þat*. [Understand, after þat, the words 'Christ chose him.'] for helpe of þe Chirche þat Crist wiste þat he shulde do, and, as Crist himsilf seiþ here, to fulfille holi writt. And þe same questioun maist þou axe, whi God made men þat shulde be dampned, siþ þat God wiste of þese men al þat shulde befalle of hem? siþ God ordeyneþ good for hem, and good þat falliþ to his Chirche; for þei have levere þus to be dampned þan nevere to have be; but þei wolen not þis expresli, alȝif þei wolen þis pryvyli. And myche good cam of Judas, wherefore we shulde þanke God, and dampne þis traitour to Crist, and flee siche bi ensaumple of him. Lord! siþ Scarioth was ordeyned to be in Cristis religioun, þe which is þe beste þat mai be, and Crist suffride him to go out þerof, whi shulden not þes newe ordris suffre men to go from hem, and speciali whanne þei synnen Page  404 and men wolden go out for vertues? And many of þes newe ordris passen Scarioth in coveitise, and for averise of goodis þei ben traitours to treuþe.

Many þingis telliþ þe gospel of Crist and of Scarioth, þe which ben liȝt to men after, ȝif þei wolden take hem. Crist telliþ bifore of traiterie of Scarioth, and how he shal be dampned to helle, notwiþstonding his ordre. Crist seiþ aftirward, þat he comeþ to his Fadir, and spekiþ þes þingis to his disciplis, þat þei have his joie fulfillid in hem. And, as Crist myȝte not faile of þis, so þei myȝten not faile of þis ende. And alȝif Crist was evermore in wending to his Fadir,—for he myȝte not gon abak, ne erre in his weye bi synne,—neþeles, in tyme of his deþ, he wente out of þis worldli lyf. Crist ȝaf to his disciplis Goddis word for to preche, and þe world hatide hem, for þei ben not of þe world, as Crist is not of þis world; and þerfore weren þei goode prechours. He þat loveþ worldli goodis and worldli dwelling, as propre to him, is lettid to seie þe treuþe, as we mai se in þes ordris. Crist preieþ not to take hem ȝit out of þe world, but to kepe hem here fro þe greet yvel, and þat þei profite to þe Chirche in þe name of þe Trinite. Crist seiþ of hise apostlis, þat þei ben not of þe world as he is not of þe world. And þis men undirstonden þus; þis world is alle þo men þat ben dampned for love of þe world. And þanne þis word of Crist is open, for þei loven heven and litil þis world. For sich as is þis fadir and priour of þe ordre of Cristyn men, sich ben his children of his covent, and haten þe welþe of þis world. And bi þis mai men knowen which ben disciplis of Crist.

And Crist preieþ to þis ende, þat his Fadir stable hem in treuþe, and þanne he stabliþ hem in his word; for his word is þe firste treuþe. He biddiþ not stable hem in worldli wordis, as ben fablis and feyned lesingis, but in treuþe of Jesus Crist, which þei shulden trowe and teche. And, to conferme þis preier, Crist spekiþ to his Fadir, As þou sentist me in to þis world, so Y sente hem in*. [into, E.]þis world*. [So E; in A the words As—world are not italicized.]. Crist cam in to þis world to witnesse treuþe, and to liȝte þis world; and as Crist boþe God and man cam hidir to þis entent, so alle his disciplis Page  405 traveilen þus unto her deeþ. How shulde treuþe not kepe hem þat stonden þus to defenden treuþe? Crist, and Baptist, and oþer moo hadden not here reward for þis, but in hevene blis, hid fro men, for þe world is unworthi to take it. And trowe we not þat clepid miraclis þat ben maad at þe tumbis of seintis maken hem more blessid in hevene þan oþer þat done not here sich miraclis. And to conferme þis word of seintis, seiþ Crist of himsilf: For hem I conferme mysilf, þat þei ben confermed in truþe. Alle þe dedis þat Crist dide here weren so stabled in God, þat boþe þei and manere of hem moten nedis come as þei camen. And þes dedis of Cristis liif weren maad ensaumple to his disciplis, þat þei shulden sadli do Goddis workes, and take þerto ensaumple of Crist.

Crist ȝeveþ us after a confort and seiþ, He preieþ not oonli for hem, but for alle þat comen after and bileve in Crist bi her word. And þes wordis seid of Crist shulden quykene men þat ben dede, and, ȝif bileve stood in hem, make hem do as apostlis diden. For alle men þat shal be saf, riȝt to þe dai of dome, moten nedis in þis sue Crist, and ellis þei shal not make oo Chirche.

And þus seiþ Crist, þat his preier moot nedis make alle seintis oon; for o bodi, þat is holi Chirche, drawiþ*. [So E; þat drawiþ, A.] to Crist, as erþe to þe centre. For as it is seid bifore, holi Chirche moot nedis be oon, as þe Fadir is in þe Sone, and þe Sone is in þe Fadir; and so, bi stabilnes of Cristis membris, þat þe world trowe þat God sente him*. [So E; the clause is not italicized in A.]. And now prelatis traveilen to litil to maken men trowe þis bileve, for þei gon not in Cristis weie, neiþer bi word ne bi dede. And Crist seiþ of þes membris, þat he ȝaf hem þe clarite*. [charite, E; clerenesse in both Wycliffite versions.]þat his Fadir ȝaf hem; þat þei ben oon after oonhede of Persones; and so þis oonhede be þus maad,— þat Crist be in his lymes, as þe Fadir is in Crist. And so þei ben endid in oon, be fillid*. [and so þey ben in one, and þis endyng in one schal be fulfillyng, E.] in þe blisse of hevene, for þus shal þe Chirche wite how þe Fadir sente his Sone and lovede membris of þe Chirche, as he haþ loved Crist. Fadir, þo þat þou ȝavest me, Y wole þat þei be þere þat Y am, þat þei see my clarite*. [charite, E.]whichPage  406þou hast ȝovun me. And confermyng of þis preier is treuþe of þes wordis, þat þe Fadir lovede Crist bifore þe making of þe world. Juste Fadir, þis world haþ not knowun þee, but Y have knowun þee, and þes knewen þat þou sentist me. And Y have maad knowun þi name to hem, and I shal make it knowun, þat þe love þat þou hast loved me be in hem and Y in hem. And in þis hiȝe unite is endid þe blisse of þe Chirche.



Videns Jesus turbas ascendit.
—MATT. V. [I.]

ÞIS gospel telliþ of eiȝte blessis þat answeren to eiȝte vertues in þe weie, and bi þes shulden Cristyne men dispose hem to come to blis. Jesus seying þe puple stiede in to an hil, and whanne he was sett his disciplis camen to him. And he openede his mouþ and tauȝte hem and seide, Blessid be pore men in spirit, for hern is þe rewme of hevene. Ech word of þis gospel is of greet wisdoom. For it is ful notable þat Jesus saw þis peple able to be lerned, and hadde mercy on hem, and ȝaf hem so plentenously þes ȝiftis of goostli mercy, for þes ȝiftis ben betere þan ȝiftis of bodili mercy. Crist wente into an hil, and his disciplis wenten wiþ him, to teche þat þei shulden be nyȝ hevene þat shulde teche or lerne þis lore. And þus molde-worpis*. [mollis, E.] þat wroten þe erþe ben unable to þis loore. Sitting of Crist in þe hil bitokeneþ stabilnes in þis lessoun. And herfore seintis writen mouche of þis sermoun of oure Lord in þe hil, for auctorite of þe doctour, and many circumstanciis of him, makiþ þis lore notable to alle Cristene men aftir. For what man of bileve trowiþ þat Crist openede þus his mouþ, (and he is wisdom of þe Fadir and þe same God wiþ him, and as he openede his mouþ to speke, so he openede hertis of men to heere and undir|stonde þes wordis, and teche hem men þat camen aftir), þat ne Page  407 he wolde forse*. [bisyen, E.] him to knowe hem, boþe for worshipe and for profit?

Crist seiþ first, Blessid ben þo þat ben pore in spirit; and here Crist techiþ mekenesse, aȝens pride of worldli men. And here men seien soþli, þat Crist clepide povert in spirit, for bodili poverte is noȝt, but ȝif it have þis poverte. For boþe vertues and synnes ben first in þe spirit. And wanting of goodis standiþ wiþ a dampned man; as beggeris and þeves ben ofte porer þan Joob was; but poverte in spirit stondiþ in mekenes,—whanne a man knowiþ þe makere above, how he is riche wiþouten eende, and we ben pore beggeris,—and puttiþ hem*. [putten bym, E.] mekeli in þe ordenaunce of God. How þat God wole ordeyne for his servaunt ouþer do or suffre, he holdiþ him wel paied; siþ God is a ferour*. [ferrour, E.] and he is Goddis instrument, redi wher God wole make him hamer, or tongis, or a stiþie, to suffre howevere þat God wole. And certis noon comeþ to hevene but ȝif he be þus pliable; for a ferrour formeþ not his metal, but ȝif it wole be temperid, and þis vertue lastiþ boþe here and in hevene. And þerfore seiþ Crist, þat sich pore men have þe rewme of hevene. For þe blisse of hevene falliþ not to a creature but ȝif he be þus pore; as Crist, and aungels, and oþer blessid seintis have fulli þis poverte, and þerfore þei ben blessid. And no man myȝte here lerne more nedeful lessoun þan bigynne at þis poverte, and grounden him wel þerinne. And so shulden men note þe firste proude noumbre*. [The number 2 is probably meant by the 'firste proude noum|bre.' The Pythagoreans called it [gap: 1] among other things, and assigned to it various revolutionary attributes. But no author that I have consulted speaks of the num|ber 6 otherwise than as synonymous with perfection, as symbolizing ma|trimony, creation, and a hundred other excellent things. The num|ber 9 on the other hand was treated with great indignity; Peter Bungus says that it denotes the ruin of the angels, who fell through pride, and of whom there were nine orders, that it embraces all heretics, and charac|terizes infidels and idolaters, &c., &c. See the Denarius Pythagoricus of Meursius in Gronovius' Thesaurus, vol. IX, and the Numerorum Mys|teria of Petrus Bungus.], and aȝen ech part of it grounden hem in mekenesse. Sum men ben proud for holynesse þat þei feynen; and þes men ben ypocritis moost perilous of alle oþere. Sum men ben proud for cunnyng þat þei have; as þe laste frend of Joob seide, his beli was ful as Page  408 a toune fillid wiþ must þat wantide aventing. And þus seien wise men, þat Crist, in þe firste word, undirstondiþ bi spirit þe wynd þat a man haþ, for it falliþ to meke men to be wiþouten bostyng, for sich proude bostours hav to mouche of sich wynd. But ȝit oþer proude men bosten of bodili strengþe; and summe of beute of bodi, as Roboam and Absolon. Þe fifþe pride, and þe laste, is pride of worldli richesse,—as þe gospel telliþ of bosting of a proude man, how he wolde reste in his goodis and alarge his bernes. And as many ȝiftis as man haþ of God may he be proud of but oonli of vertues. And so sum men tellen sixe þe secound proude*. [So E; om. A.] noumbre*. [See note on preceding page.], how sum men ben proud for nobley of her kyn. But povert of spirit is medecine for alle sich. Bigynne here þis poverte and ende it in hevene. For ȝif þou be þus pore, þou dispisist þis world.

Þe secounde vertue in þis weie nedeful to us here, is myldenes in beryng, þat sueþ of þe firste; for whoever is pore in spirit is mylde to his neiȝbore, boþe in word and in dede, and not fel as a lioun. And as pride is quenchid bi poverte of spirit, so bi þes two vertues ben quenchid envie and ire. And Crist seiþ wiseli þat mede of þis vertue shal after be, havyng of þe lond of lyf. And þis is for to come, as þis myldenes is here; for in hevene mai no man be austerne to oþer. And alȝif sich myldenes makiþ men here lordis, neþeles bi þis lond Crist undirstondiþ þe lond of blisse. For alle þes eiȝte vertues have for her mede þe blisse of hevene by diverse resouns.

Þe þridde word of þis eiȝte is seid in þis maner: Blessid be þei þat weilen, for þei shal be confortid. Ȝif a man avise him how Goddis wille is reversid by synne þat rengneþ in þe world, in persones and comynetees, he shal have mater to morne, and litil to be glad. For, siþ ech man is holden to confourme his wille to Goddis, he is not on Goddis side þat is glad of sich synne. For alȝif God sorew not as men maken sorowe, neþeles, bi Goddis lawe, God is seid to be ireful, and algatis wiþ sovereyne joie God ordeyneþ for peyne; and þis is mater to morne to men þat ben in charite. And ȝif a man be glad for Page  409 sich synne, wiþ oþer men of his lond, for him þinkiþ þat hardynesse or worldli profite comeþ þerof, he assentiþ on two maners to þe synne of hem. And for sich assenting God poneshiþ juste men wiþ shrewis, boþe in pestilence and werris, and oþer comyne veniauncis. For fewe or noon ben in þe*. [om. E.] rewmes þat ne þei assenten þus, ouþer faillinge in helpe to distrye siche synnes, or faillinge in repreef of men þat synnen þus. But in blisse, where we shal see þat God doiþ al for þe beste, and men shal be confortid boþe of joie and peyne, men shal be fulli confortid for sich weiling here. And þis mooveþ many men to seien her Pater nosters, and preie in þe þrid*. [þridde, E.] word þat Goddis wille be done. And so of þe same þing men mornen and have joie. And so, ȝif we þenken of weiling of oure owne synne, and mournyng of oure neiȝboris synne þat we dwellen wiþ, and tariyng of oure blisse þat we shal have in hevene, we have litil mater for to lauȝhe, but raþer for to morne. For companies and castelis maken us not syker here.

Crist seiþ in þe ferþe word: Blessid be þei þat hungren and þirsten riȝtwisnesse, for þei shal be fullid in þe blisse of hevene. And as þe nexte, mornyng, lettiþ slouþe in Goddis service*. [servauntis, E.], so þis fourþe, hungring, lettiþ men fro coveitise. For ȝif we þenken on Goddis lawe, and speciali of preestis, how þei de|foulen Cristis ordenaunce, turnynge aȝen to synne of fleishe þe world and þe fend, a just man shulde hungre and þirste þe riȝtwisnesse of sich men. And more desire þat man shulde have to perfourme þis riȝtwisnesse can Y not see here, þan wille þat Cristis ordenaunce were fillid in mesure and noumbre and weiȝte þat Crist haþ ordeyned for his Chirche; and algatis in poverte of spirit þat his prestis*. [So E; þrest, A.] shulden have. For ȝif þe state of preestis be more worldli þan knyȝtis state, who drediþ þat ne pride wole sue, wiþ averice and lecherie, and leevyng of þe office þat Crist bad his preestis do? And so, in stede of heerdis þat shulden teche þe weie to hevene, þe Chirche is ful of wolves þat sinken and drawun men to helle. For Cristis ordenaunce was riȝtwise, and speciali of preestis poverte; alȝif newe sectis seien now þat Cristis ordenaunce were now ful of venym. Þis Page  410 shulden lordis þenken on, and traveilen to amende þis; for ellis þei shal not be fillid in hevene bi blisse of þe lymes of Crist. For whoso seiþ þat þei consenten not to þis synne, þat is rote of oþir, he disseyveþ þes lordis in lore þat schulde*. [So E; shulden, A.] be her soulis helþe. But alȝif sum men mornen, and crien of þis defaute in þe Chirche, ȝit þe fendis part is so strong þat grete and harde gobetis wolen laste to þe tyme of þe laste dome. And so we shal hungir here and after drynke softeli riȝtwisnesse. For after domes dai, we witen wel þat þe fendis part shal not be þus strong.

Þe fifþe word of Crist is þis: Blessid be merciful men, for þei shal sue*. [have, E.]mercy, þat shal be comyn to al þe Chirche. And here þe fend bindiþ men, and telliþ hem þat mercy axiþ ȝyving of riches and of worldli þingis þat mooven men to do aȝens God. Þese heretikes þenken not how Crist ponishiþ here his children, which he wole be pore here, to be riche after in hevene. And þis vertue serveþ aȝens al synne, but alȝatis aȝens averise.

Þe sixte word þat Crist seide stondiþ in þis forme: Blessid be men of clene herte, for þei shal see God. And þis vertue is bridil aȝens fleishli synnes, and alȝatis aȝens leccherie. For love of sich men, which ben as beestis, is fer from þe love of God. And alȝif men changen her willis after her eldis, neþeles þree willis ben here to oure purpos. Sum men have childis wille, þat feden her wittis wiþ sensible þingis and ȝaping*. [japing, E.]

* ȝaping or japing is trickery. Chaucer says of his Pardoner (Pro|logue to Canterbury Tales),—

'And thus with fained flattering and japes,
He made the persone and the peple his apes.'

And we read in Gower (Confessio Amantis, lib. II),—

'This Geta forth bejaped went,
And yet ne wist he what it ment.'
of childis gamen, as ȝif þei weren foolis, and after þis comen to mannis witt þat holdiþ al þis foli. But þei ȝyven hem to justing and sheeting*. [scheting, E.] and wrastling

* to justing, sheeting, and wrastling; in other words, to the favourite pastimes of the upper, the middle, and the lower class respectively. With regard to the first, it must be remembered that our author wrote but a few years after the death of Edward III, the reviver of the Round Table, and the founder of the order of the Garter, whose reign was the culminating period in England of the spirit of Chivalry. Justing was then, and continued to be for a century and a half after|wards, the favourite amusement of persons of condition. It was usually practised with 'arms of courtesy,' that is, headless lances, and blunted swords without points; but some|times, as when certain knights un|dertook to maintain the honour of their country in a foreign land, wea|pons à l'outrance were, though under regulations, employed, and most often with deadly effect. Chaucer gives us the whole order and regulation of a tournament in the Knight's Tale. (See Scott's Essay on Chivalry among his Miscellaneous Prose Works.)

Shooting with the bow was an out-door occupation which was well-nigh universal among the mid|dle and lower classes in the four|teenth and fifteenth centuries. The men exercised in shooting regularly, to keep their hands in as archers. Even ladies, as the illustrations of old MSS. shew, were much given to the use of the bow, both with the sharp-headed arrow in the pur|suit of deer, and with the blunt arrow in bird-bolting.

Wrestling was a popular amuse|ment with our forefathers as far back as the Saxon times; in the Middle Ages it is mentioned along with bull and bear baiting, putting the stone, throwing the bar, foot|ball, and the like. It does not ap|pear that they were sufficiently brutalized at that time to enjoy boxing. See Wright's Domestic Manners in England during the Mid|dle Ages.

; and þes suen ofte more foli þan doiþ Page  411 þe firste elde. In þe þridde eelde men have fleishli willis, and wille of worldli goodis to maynteyne hem longe. And þis lastiþ in worldeli men wel nyȝ to her eende. But sum men, after þes þre, have good wille or yvel, as men þat delitin hem in riȝtwisnes of God, or ellis in þe fendis synne, þat ben calendis*. [kalendis, E.] to þe toþer liif. And peril in þis liif is moost for to flee. For whanne fleishli likyngis passen from a man, ȝif he shulde be dampned, he haþ pride, envie, and ire, and coveitise of worldli goodis lastiþ ever wiþ him; and þis he beriþ in his soule aftir þat he be deed. And men of sich unclene hert ben leed*. [led, E.] in to tempting. And liif þat men shulde lede evere is begunne in þis eelde; and þus it were ful nedeful to lyve wel in þis laste elde. For as worldli lustis ben fer from aungels, so worldli desiris ben passid fro þis eelde. Lovynge of clenenesse and riȝtwisnesse for þis tyme shulde occupie mannis soule, as it doiþ in hevene: for ellis he haþ a fendis liif, and occupieþ him in þes foure,—in pride, envie, and ire, and coveitise, þat never is fillid.

Þe sevenþe vertue þat man haþ is for to make pees, or to procure pees, or ellis to preie for pees, or to lyve riȝtli for to procure men*. [riȝtwisly for to stire men, E.] to pees. And of þes pesible men, Crist seiþ, þat þei ben blessid, for þei shal be clepid aftir Goddis children. And meede of alle þes sixe is markid for to come, for eende of hem Page  412 alle is first in þe toþer world. But it is ful myche to be clepid þanne Goddis child; for þanne a man is eire of Crist, and so confermed in blis; for alle þes vertues ben not fulle, but ȝif blisse sue hem.

Þe eiȝtiþe word and þe laste þat Crist spekiþ in þis mater is seid, þat þei ben blessid þat suffren pursuyng for riȝt, for hern is þe rewme of hevene, as it is of þe first men. For he þat is pursuid to deþ for defence of riȝtwisnesse haþ here sum siȝt of blis, and sum telling of sikirnesse, and so he haþ here in eernes*. [ernes, E.] oþer wise blisse þan þes oþer; and as men seien comunli, þei passen to hevene wiþouten peyne. And, for þis is a nedeful vertue, and more hard þan þes oþer, þerfore mede of þis vertue is wel þus joyned to it. For certis, ȝif men wolden stifli stonde, and many togidir, for riȝtwisnesse, þe fendis part shulde be ful feble, and pees, wiþ welfare, shulde men have. And so it were ful nedeful to moove many to þis vertue. And siþ wanting of þis vertue bringiþ in contrarie synne, drede of cowardise hereof shulde meeve men to þis vertue. For many ben traitours to God, and proctours to þe fend,—ouþer privy or apert,—þat wolen not stonde for Goddis lawe. And þus Crist applieþ his wordis speciali to hise apostlis, and techiþ hem how pursuyng þat men dreden here moost, shulde be confortable to hem þat stonden for Cristis lawe. Blessid shal ȝe be, seiþ Crist, whanne þat men shal curse ȝou, and whanne men shal pursue ȝou, and shal seie al maner of yvel aȝens ȝou; lying, for me. Joie ȝee and be glad; for ȝour hire is mouche in hevenes. And þis word confortiþ men to stonde aȝens Anticrist, for he wole faste curse men and pursue hem as eretikis; but he is cursid þat leveþ herfore to telle Goddis lawe and his wille.