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for to go into the desert, and there he fasted forty daies and forty nights without bodily meat and drinke. And I beleeve that by and by after his fasting, when the manhood of Christ hungred, the fiend came to him, and tempted him in gluttonie, in vaineglorie, and in covetise: but in all those temptations, Christ concluded the fiend, and withstood him. And then without tarrying, Jesu began to preach, and to say unto the people, Do ye penance, for the realme of heaven is now at hand.
I beleeve that Christ in all his time here lived most holilie, and taught the will of his father most truely: and I beleeve that he suffered therefore most wrongfully, greatest repreefes and despisings.
And after this, when Christ would make an end here of this temporall life, I beleeve, that in the day next before that hee would suffer passion in the morne, in forme of bread and of wine, hee ordained the sacrament of his flesh and of his bloud, that is,
4 Concluded the fiend,] Thus Robert Longlande, in his "Vision of Pierce Ploughman," versifies a part of our Saviour's promises to the Apostles:
Though ye come before kinges, and clarkes of the lawe Be not abashed, for I shall be in your mouthes, And gyve you wytte and wyll, and conning to conclud Them all that agaynst you of Christendome disputen. We have two good instances of a like use of the same word in a very important passage in a letter of Sir Thomas More to his daughter Margaret Roper, respecting his refusing to swear to the king's supremacy and the succession.
"My Lord of Canterbury" (Cranmer) "taking hold upon that that I saide, that I condempned not the consciences of them that sware, said unto me, that it appeared well, that I did not take it for a very sure thing and a certaine, that I might not lawfullye swere it, but rather as a thing uncertain and doubtfull. But then (said my lord) you know for a certanty and a thynge without dout, that you be bounden to obey your soverain lorde your king. And therefore are ye bounden to leave off the dout of your unsure consciens in refusing the othe, and take the sure waye in obeying of your prince, and swere it. Now al was it so, that in mine own mind me thought my self not concluded, yet this argument semed me sodenly so suttle, and namely with such authorite comming out of so noble a prelates mouth, that I could againe aunswere nothing thereto, but only that I thought my self I might not well do so, because that in my consciens thys was one of the cases, in which I was bounden that I shoulde not obey my prince, syth that whatsoever other folke thought in the matter (whose consciens or learning I wold not condempne nor take uppon me to judge), yet in my consciens the truth semed on the tother side. And of trouth if that reason may conclude, then have we a readye way to avoide al purplexities."—Works, p. 1429.
his owne pretious bodie, and gave it to his apostles for to eate; commanding them, and by them all their after commers, that they should in this forme that hee shewed to them, use themselves, and teach and common forth to other men and women this most worshipful and holiest sacrament, in mindfulnesse of his holiest living, and of his most true preaching, and of his wilfull and patient suffering of the most painfull passion.
And I beleeve that this Christ our saviour, after that hee had ordained this most worthie sacrament of his owne pretious bodie, hee went forth wilfullie against his enemies, and hee suffered them most patiently to lay their hands most violently upon him, and to bind him, and to lead him forth as a theefe, and to scorne and buffet him, and all to blow or file him with their spittings. Over this, I beleeve, that Christ suffered most meekly and patiently his enemies for to ding out' with sharpe scourges the bloud that was betweene his skinne and his flesh: yea without
Teach and common forth.] Communicate. And the word, besides being used of any kind of intercourse in general, either in the sense of giving or receiving, was more particularly applied to the communication and to the participation of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. "In Actibus Apostolorum" (as Wickliffe tells us) "is seid thus, And Christen men weren dwelling in teching of apostles, and in communing of breking of bread; sith St. Paul seith the bread that we break is communing of Christ's body."-Lewis's History, p. 78. And Thorpe himself thus censures the temporizing Lollards. "But yet some mad fooles say (for to eschew slander), they will be shriven once in the yeere, and communed of their proper priests, though they knowe them defouled with slanderous vices."-Thorpe's Testament, printed in Fox's Acts, p. 500.
All to blow or file him.] There is some difficulty about the word blow in this passage. But I apprehend that it means to discolour (with an affinity to the word blue), to disfigure, &c. In the Vision of Pierce Ploughman, fol. 13, the noun adjective is used in the sense of black, or sordid, &c.
-fyre shal fal and brenne al to blo ashes
The houses and homes of hem that desireth
The other word file is the same with defile, to make vile. As in the Golden Legend, fol. 16. b. "The visage whiche was moost fayre of all other membres is fyled, bespytte, and hurte with the thornes of the Jewes." And in the same page, "The vysage which aungels desyre to se, the Jewes wyth theyr spyttyng have defyled; wyth theyr handes have smytten."
7 To ding out.] To ding is to beat or knock. Thus in the Vision of Pierce Ploughman, fol. 50. b.
"And Do-Wel shal ding him down, and distroi his might." See also fol. 77.
grudging Christ suffered the cruel Jewes to crowne him with most sharpe thornes, and to strike him with a reed. And after, Christ suffered wicked Jewes to draw him out upon the crosse, and for to naile him thereupon hand and foot. And so through his pitifull nailing, Christ shed out wilfullie for mans life, the bloud that was in his vaines. And then Christ gave wilfully his spirit into the hands or power of his father, and so, as he would, and when hee would, Christ died wilfullie for mans sake upon the And notwithstanding that Christ was wilfully, painefully, and most shamefully put to death, as to the world; there was left bloud and water in his heart, as before ordained, that hee would shed out this bloud and this water for mans salvation. And therefore he suffered the Jewes to make a blind knight to thrust him into the heart with a speare, and this the bloud and water that was in his heart, Christ would shed out for mans love and after this, I beleeve that Christ was taken down from the crosse and buried. And I beleeve that on the third day by the power of his godhead, Christ rose againe from death to life. And the fortie. day thereafter, I beleeve that Christ ascended up into heaven, and that he there sitteth on the right hand of the father almightie. And the fiftie day after his upgoing, he sent to his apostles the holy ghost, that he had promised them before and I beleeve that Christ shall come and judge all mankind, some to everlasting peace, and some to everlasting paines.
And as I beleeve in the father, and in the son, that they are one God almightie, so I beleeve in the holy ghost that hee is also with them the same God almightie.
And I beleeve an holy church, that is, all they that have ben, and that now are, and alwaies to the end of the world shall be, a people the which shall endevour them to know and to keepe the
8 To make a blind knight.] The soldier who pierced the side of Christ with his spear upon Mount Calvary, some of the old writers tell us, was physically blind, when he did the deed. The story is thus related in the Golden Legend, fol. 98. b. "Some saye that whan he smote our Lorde with the spere in the syde, the precyous blode avaled” (ran down) "by the shaft of the spere upon his handes; and of aventure with his handes he touched his eyen. And anone he that had be tofore blynde sawe anone clerely; wherefore he refused all chevaulry, and abode with the Apostles, of whom he was taught and chrystened," and so in process of time, he was canonised, and honoured with his place in the Calendar, under the name of St. Longius (Aóyxn). The story is told with circumstances even much more marvellous, in the Vision of Pierce Ploughman, fol. 98.
commandements of God, dreading over all
thing to offend God,
and I beleeve, that
and loving and seeking most to please him all they that have had, and yet have, and al they that yet shall have the foresaid vertues, surely standing in the beleefe of God, hoping stedfastly in his mercifull doings, continuing to their end in perfect charitie, wilfully, patientlie and gladly suffering persecutions, by the example of Christ chiefly and his apostles, all these have their names written in the booke of life.
Therefore I beleeve, that the gathering together of this people, living now here in this life, is the holy church of God, fighting here on earth against the fiend, the prosperitie of the world, and their fleshly lusts. Wherefore, seeing that all the gathering together of this church before said, and every part thereof, neither coveteth, nor willeth, nor loveth, nor seeketh any thing but to eschew the offence of God, and to doe his pleasing will: meekly, gladly, and wilfully, with all mine heart, I submit my selfe unto this holy church of Christ, to bee ever buxome and obedient' to the ordinance of it, and of every member thereof, after my knowledge and power, by the helpe of God. Therefore I knowledge now, and evermore shall, if God will, that with all my heart, and with all my might, I wil submit me only to the rule and governance of them, whom after my knowledge, I may perceive by the having and using of the beforesaid vertues, to be members of the holy church 10. Wherefore these articles of
9 Buxome and obedient.] "His epithet buxom health' (says Dr. Johnson, speaking of Mr. Gray's Ode on a distant prospect of Eton College, in his Life of that Poet) is not elegant; he seems not to understand the word.”— It is certain, whatever may be the signification of this epithet in modern usage, it was anciently applied in the sense of pliancy, meekness, and submission; as we see here, and shall find in other instances in the course of this work. Few of my readers will need to be reminded of that use of the word in the bride's engagements to her husband in the marriage service in the Salisbury and York Liturgies, before the reformation. Thus likewise the Ploughman of old makes his melancholy complaining of the infelicities of the marriage state in his times: "A man shall not find two wedded in a land, where the husband loves the wife, and the wife is buxum to the man, as they shoulden, after the law of marriage. But other the man loves not his wife, or the wife is not buxum to her man . . . And Lord, all this mischiefe is common among this people, for that they know not thy word." Complaint and Prayer of the Ploughman, in Fox's Acts, p. 374.
10 Holy church.] But surely this view of the subject is erroneous. The principle of allegiance he transfers from the system, the constitution, and the law, to the executive authority, the persons of those who are ministerially
beleefe and all other (both of the old law, and of the new, which after the commandment of God any man ought to beleeve) I beleeve verilie in my soule, as a sinfull deadly wretch of my cunning and power ought to beleeve; praying the Lord God for his holy name, for to increase my beleefe, and to helpe my unbeleefe.
And for because to the praising of Gods name, I desire above all things to bee a faithfull member of holy church, I make this protestation before you all foure that are now here present, coveting that all men and women that now be absent knew the same; that is, what thing soever before this time I have said or done, or what thing here I shall do or say, or at any time hereafter; I beleeve that all the old law and new law given and ordeined by counsell of the three persons of the Trinitie, were given and written to the salvation of mankind. And I beleeve, that these lawes are sufficient for mans salvation.
And I beleeve every article of these lawes, to the intent that these articles ordained and commanded of these three persons of the most blessed Trinitie are to be beleeved.
And therefore to the rule and the ordinance of these, Gods lawes, meekely, gladly and wilfullie, I submit me with all mine heart; that whosoever can or will by authoritie of Gods law, or by open reason', tell me that I have erred or now erre, or any time hereafter shall erre in any article of beleefe (from which
engaged in the conduct of it. Thorpe, as was not unfrequent with the Wickliffites, confounds the departments and offices of the visible and invisible churches.
1 God's law, or open reason.] This is agreeable to the doctrine of his master. "Men ought to desire to accept man's lawe and ordinances, only inasmuch as they ben grounded in holy Scripture, either good reason, and common profit of Christen people." Wickliffe in Lewis's Life, &c. p. 89. (1820.) Yet neither of them discarded in a proper sense (the same with that which is adopted in the Church of England), the authority of the church, and the weight and value of antiquity, and the ancient fathers. With respect to Thorpe, this is abundantly clear from the passage now immediately before us, and from several others, very precise and explicit, which will occur in the course of this examination. And Wickliffe says, "In multis extraneo " (I disagree with; am estranged from) "a modernis; sed cum multis sanctis antiquis, et specialiter Augustino, convenio.” Trialogus, p. 164. And still further; "This is not taught in holy writ, but is put against St. Austin and holy saints, and reason and wit." Lewis's Wickliffe, p. 80. 1723.-Also, "Intelligo autem dicta mea in ista materia, secundum logicam Scripturæ, necnon secundum logicam sanctorum doctorum, et decreti Romanæ ecclesiæ: quos suppono prudenter fuisse locutos." Ibid. p. 325.