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are difficulties in the story, as he tells it, but in many points a reader of the 'Acta' will find it harmonize with known authorities and supplement them. With thus much on its value we leave this information in the hands of our readers.

Art. V.-JOHN WYCLIF. 1. John Wiclif's Polemical Works in Latin. Edited by R.

BUDDENSIEG. (London, 1883.) 2. Joannis Wiclif De Compositione Hominis. Edited by

RUDOLF BEER. (London, 1884.) 3. Joannis Wycliffe Tractatus de Civili Dominio liber Primus.

Edited by R. L. POOLE. (London, 1885.) 4. Johannis Wyclif Tractatus de Ecclesia. Edited by Dr.

JOHANN LOSERTH. (London, 1886.) 5. Johannis Wycliffe Dialogus sive Speculum Ecclesia Militaris.

Edited by A. W. POLLARD. (London, 1886.) 6. Johannis Wyclif Tractatus de Benedicta Incarnatione.

tione Edited by E. HARRIS. (London, 1886.) 7. Johannis Wyclif Tractatus de Officio Regis. Edited by

A. W. POLLARD and C. SAYLE. (London, 1887.) 8. Johannis Wyclif Sermones. Edited by Dr. JOHANN

LOSERTH. (London, 1887.) 9. Johannis Wyclif Tractatus de Apostasia. Edited by

MICHAEL H. DZIEWICKI. (London, 1889.) 10. J. Wyclyff ; sa Vie, ses (Euvres, sa Doctrine. Par V.

VATTIER. (Angers, 1886.) II. Hus und Wiclif. Von J. LOSERTH. (Prague, 1884.) 12. John Wycliffe. By G. V. LECHLER. Translated with

Notes by Dr. PETER LORIMER. (London, 1884.)

*The world,' says Taylor, in Philip Van Artevelde, 'knows nothing of its greatest men.' Up to 1880 the remark held conspicuously true of Wyclif,' and even now many interesting details of his life remain unknown. The date of his birth is uncertain ; the first forty years of his youth and manhood

1 Dr. Rudolf Buddensieg of Dresden says that the word is spelt in fifty different ways (Letter to Christian World, June 26, 1884). The choice practically lies between four different forms: (1) Wycliffe, the name of the village from which he takes his name ; (2) Wycliff, as Pope Urban spells the name ; (3) Wiclif, as he is called in the Royal Commission of July 26, 1374, and by German students; (4) Wyclif, as Dr. Shirley (Fasc. Zizaniorum) spells it, and the majority of English scholars.

are a blank; it is only of the last two decades of his career that any certain record exists. Too eager in the pursuit of truth to measure the steps of his own progress, he left behind him no personal memorials. His friends were intimidated into forgetting him, and political events of absorbing interest hurried his name into premature oblivion. From those Protestant Reformers who inherited his labours he received scanty recognition. His denial of consubstantiation gained him the hostility of Luther,' who attacks him as 'spitzigen Wickliffe. Even Melanchthon says of him 'planè furebat.

Wyclif's memory therefore fell into the hands of enemies. For two centuries all that was known of him was transmitted by hostile chroniclers, such as Walsingham. The temper in which the latter records Wyclif's death illustrates his attitude towards the Reformer :

On the Feast of the Passion of St. Thomas of Canterbury, John Wyclif-that weapon of the Devil, that enemy of the Church, that sower of confusion among unlearned people, that idol of heresy, that mirror of hypocrisy, that father of schism, that son of hatred, that coiner of lies--being seized by the dreadful judgment of God, was struck with palsy, and in that state continued to live till St. Sylvester's Day, when he breathed out his malicious spirit into the abodes of darkness.'2 In 1412 Archbishop Arundel wrote to Pope John XXIII. asking him to order the bones of the heresiarch, ‘a most wretched and pestilent person of damnable memory, a son of the old serpent, and a precursor and child of Antichrist,'3 to be dug up, and cast upon a dung-heap, or into the fire. In 1415 the Council of Constance“ reiterated the request, and, forty-three years after Wyclif's death, Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, caused the body to be exhumed, burned to ashes, and cast into the brook Swist.

Hostility so inveterate was not likely to spare the memory of Wyclif. To his intellectual greatness, indeed, his enemies bear ungrudging testimony. Knighton speaks of him as *Doctor in Theologiâ eminentissimus in diebus illis. In Philosophiâ nulli reputabatur secundus, in scholasticis disciplinis incomparabilis.' Less directly his opponents also witness to the purity of his moral character. Men never indulge in vague abuse, if they can allege definite breaches of the Deca

i Giesler, Church History, div. iv. ch. viii.
2 Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. Riley, ii. 119.
3 Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 350.
4 Labbe, Concilia, xii. 49.
Historia Anglicana Scriptores (ed. Twysden), iii. col. 2644.

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logue. With the exception of a reference in Gascoigne, which is introduced for the sake of a pun, no accusation was ever made against the strictness of his life. In England his intellectual reputation scarcely outlived his generation. To this speedy oblivion other causes contributed besides the extravagances of his so-called supporters, the suppression of Lollardy, the decay of the Universities, the Wars of the Roses, and the divergent direction of the subsequent Reformation. Wyclif wrote before the invention of the printing press, so that copies of his works were multiplied with difficulty, and strong efforts were made by the rulers of the Church to destroy those that existed. His English works, which naturally were best known in this country, were not only written in a language still unformed, but were, in power and elaboration, distinctly inferior to his Latin writings. His version of the Bible was made from the Vulgate, and after the Renaissance era was superseded by our incomparable translation from the Hebrew or Greek originals. Even in his Latin works he asserted his intellectual power in spite, rather than by the aid, of his style and method. He wrote when the learned world was ceasing to think in the classical language, and his style is barbarcus even as compared with that of Occam. He wrote also at a time when the scholastic method was debased, and when logic was an impediment, not a help, to thought. The delay of three centuries, which has elapsed in the publication of his English works, is not therefore surprising. Nor is it strange that some of his Latin writings remain even now unprinted.?

Abroad, Wyclif's reputation and influence were more lasting. They are evidenced by the veneration which was paid to a portion of his tombstone that was worshipped at Prague as a relic ; by the attempts which were made to destroy his works; and by the number of MSS. which are still to be found in foreign libraries-at Paris, Prague, Florence, Olmutz,

Gascoigne, Loci (ed. Rogers), p. 141, says that Wyclif was ' nequam vita' (wicked in life) 'memoriæ ter damnatæ.' Against this may be placed the decree of the University of Oxford, though its genuineness is disputed (Wilkins, Concil. iii. 302).

? The publication of Wyclif's English works began with The Wicket, first printed at Nuremberg in 1546. It was reprinted at Oxford in 1612. The publication of Wyclif's English works was completed by (a) Select Eng. lish Works of John Wyclif, edited by Thomas Arnold (Oxford, 1869-71); (6) The English Works of Wyclif hitherto unprinted, edited by Matthew (Early English Text Society, London, 1886). The publication of Wyclifs Latin works began with the Trialogus at Basel in 1525. The Wyclif Society has published since 1882 the volumes named at the head of this article.



Bautzen, Stockholm, and, above all, at Vienna. They are demonstrated still more clearly by the career of Hus. Without Wyclif, says Dr. Loserth, there would have been no Hus. The Bohemian Reformer's opinions are derived from the English master, and from him Hus's writings are, in many cases, verbally copied. The De Ecclesia of Hus, which profoundly impressed his contemporaries, and which Peter d'Ailly? compares to the Koran as a foe to the Roman system, is a meagre abridgment of Wyclif's greater work of the same title. If, conjectures Milton in the Areopagitica, Wyclif had not been suppressed as a schismatic or innovator, perhaps neither the Bohemian Huss and Jerome-no, nor even the name of Luther or Calvin—had ever been known; the glory of reforming all our neighbours had been completely ours.'

It is with reason that Dr. Lechler, incomparably the best of Wyclif's biographers, has said Wyclif is the centre of the whole pre-Reformation history.' Seven years ago the quincentenary of Wyclif's death was celebrated, as 'the morning star of the Reformation,' with much vaguc enthusiasm. At such a time to express rejoicing that the Reformation was carried out under different auspices, might have seemed ungenerous. Now, however, it is possible to acknowledge the great debt that England owes to Wyclif, and, at the same time, to point out the incalculable losses which the Anglican Church would have sustained if his views had prevailed in the sixteenth century.

Wyclif's life' falls into three broad divisions: (1) as a student; (2) as a politician ; (3) as a reformer. The date of his birth has been disputed, and as to the date of his doctorate Dr. Lechler differs from Professor Shirley. Without entering into the chronological arguments, it may be said that the student period covers the years 1320-1366; the political period extends from 1366 to 1378; the reforming period includes the last six years of his life, 1378-84. In these three periods Wyclif is respectively the Schoolman, the ecclesiastical Politician, and the ecclesiastical Reformer.

Wyclif was born between 1319 and 1324 at Wycliffe-onTees near old Richmond in Yorkshire. Of his parentage and early education nothing is known. The date at which ho entered Oxford, the College, if any, to which he belonged, are alike uncertain. His identity is frequently confused. The first certain date in his career is 1361, when he was made Master of Balliol. In May of the same year Magister Joannes de Wycliffe' appears in the Register of Bishop John 1 Hus und Wiclif, 1884.

2 Gersonii Opera, ii. 901.


de Bokingham' as instituted to the living of Fylingham in the county and diocese of Lincoln. On receiving this preferment, he resigned the Mastership of Balliol, though he did not leave Oxford. From 1363 onwards he rented rooms at the newly founded College of Queens.

In the student period of Wyclif's life, the only important point is the character of the education which he received.

Wyclif entered Oxford at a time when the reputation of Grosseteste, the Lincolnensis of mediæval writers, of Adam Marsh and of Roger Bacon (d. 1292), had raised its fame to the highest point. Duns Scotus, who died at thirty-four, leaving behind him thirteen closely printed folio volumes, is an example of the feverish activity of thought which then made Oxford the centre of a philosophic ferment. Greek was practically unknown, and Latin was the only organ of scientific discussion. The conflict of thought was like a meeting of the waters. From one direction flowed the stream of Arabian commentators on Aristotle and their Franciscan supporters ; from another the broad river of the great Dominicans, Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, who attempted to reconcile Christian and Aristotelian philosophy; from another the torrent of Roger Bacon, who attacked the comparative futility of all studies except languages and mathematics, and asserted that logic was not a science but an art, and the instrument and handmaiden of sciences; and finally the impetuous rush of Duns Scotus, reinforced by the Byzantine thinkers, who re-established in more than her former pride of place the supremacy of Logic as the ars artium and scientia scientiarum. Out of this shock of the waters arose the Realism of Duns Scotus and the ultra-Nominalism of Occam. How Wyclif was affected by this philosophic ferment will be shown hereafter, when his opinions are examined.

It was in these stirring times that Wyclif became a student at Oxford. At home or in the town he had passed through the rudimentary education in reading, writing, grammar, and arithmetic, which was a preliminary to the Seven Liberal Arts. Four

years he spent in the Trivium, traversing 'the ocean' of Priscian and Donatus the Grammarian, studying the rules and figures of Rhetoric in the commentaries of Boethius and others on the Topica of Cicero, or of Aristotle, mastering alike the new and the old Logic, and the Summula Logicales of

Christopher Wordsworth, John Wiclif, his Doctrines and Work, 1884.

Up to the thirteenth century Aristotle was only known as a logician.


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