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Tracts and treatises of John de Wycliffe : with selections and translations from his manuscripts, and Latin works online

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Mandatis. u. De Statu Innocentle. " m. iv. v. De Dominio.* vi. De
Veritate Scripture. '^ vii. De Ecclesia. vin. De Officio Eegis.
Lx. De Postate Pap^. x. De Simonia. '^ xi. De Apostasla. xii. De
Blasphema.



The following are the titles of extinct works, or different names given
to some of the preceding treatises. They are found in the lists pubhshed

» Biographia Wiclefiania, sive elenchus multorum ejus operum cum eorum initiis, uiide CataJogi
Balei et Tanneri non parum supplevi et perfice possint. Inter alia disco, tractatus varies, qui nunc
separatiin feruntur, partes esse SummcE Theologic^e nostri. — Verum id esse, vel horuni librorum
initia comprobant Cod. Ssec. XV. Denis, Cat. Lat. Theol. MSS. in Bib. Pal. Vind. 391. xii. In
C. C. College, Oxford, is a manuscript intitled — Quaedam abstracta ex Summa, doctoris Anglici,
Wiclefi. MS. 1 16. Baber. 46. See XXXII. in this series.

' See No. XXX. of this series. There are two copies of the De Dominio in the Imperial Library.
Forty-four opinions in the part of this treatise intitled De Dominio Civili, were condemned.
MS. Twini, A. 220.

<■ See No. LXIII. of the preceding series.

'' Thirty-four opinions in this tract were censured. MS. Twini, A. 217.



CATALOGUE OF MANUSCRIPTS.



103



by Bale, Tanner, and snbsequent wTiters, with no other description

than is here given : and they appear to have l^een, for the most part,

treatises or tracts on grammar, philosophy, and a variety of scholastic
questions.

LXX. I. QUESTIONES LOGICALES.
n. LOGICA DE SINGULIS.

m. LoGICA DE AGGREGATIS.

IV. De propositionibus TEMPORALIS us. Sequiturjam ultimo deproposit.

V. De insolubilibus.

VI. De exclusivis exceptivis. Secundarie superius est promissum.

VII. De causalibus. Pertractandum venit de causalihus.
vin. De coMPARATivis. Consequens est ad dicta superad.

IX. De conditionalibus. Primo supponitur omnem hypotheti.

X. De disjunctivis. Tertio sequitur de disjunctivis.

XI. De copulativis et relativis. Sequitur de copulativis pertract.
xn. Grajimatic^ tropi.

xm. Metaphysica vulgaris.

XIV. De uotverso reali,

XV. Metaphysica novella.

XVI. De summa intellectualium.

XVII. De forms idealibus.
xvm. De spiritu quolibet.

XXI. De speciebus hypotheticis.

XX. De esse INTELLIGIBILI CREATURiE.

. XXI. De esse suo prolixco.

xxn. De arte sophistica.

XXIII. De una communis generis essentia.

XXIV. De essentia accidentium.

XXV. De temporis ampliatione.

XXVI. De physica naturali.
xxvn. De intentio physica.

xxvm. De materia et forma. Cum materia et forma sint iini.

XXIX. De materia celestium.

XXX. De raritate et densitate. Videthr ex tertio sequi quod nihil.

XXXI. De mota locali. Sequitur de localibus pertract.

xxxn. De velocitate motus localis. Tarn ultimo restat videre quid.

xxxm. De centro infiniti.



The pieces thus described appear to have been treatises, or, more
probably, short tracts, or detached parts of treatises, on'grammar, logic,
and philosophy, embracing, as before intimated, such topics as are found
in the first and second books of the Trialogus. The titles which follow



10-1 THE WRITINGS OF WYCLIFFE IN MANUSCRIPT.

denote works more strictly theological, and some of them no doubt i

exhibited many of the distinctive opinions of the Reformer. *

XXXrV. DiALOGUS DE FRATRIBUS.

XXXV. Johannes a rure contra fratres. Ego Johannes a rure
Deum verum precor.

XXXVI. De charitate fraterna. Premum cum qiiolibet homine qui.

XXXVII. D^MONUJI ^STUS EN SUB VERT AND A RELIGIONE. Ut omnipotens

Dens homines disponit.

xxxvm. De Diabolo millenario. Cum consummati fuerint mille anni.

XXXIX. De peeverso Antichristi dogmate. Cum purl concionatores
doceant Dei verbum.

XL. Defensio CONTRA iMPios. EvangelH predicotionem lites suscipere.

XLi. Contra P. Stokes."

xLn. Responsio ad Argumenta Monachi de Salley.

XLin. Contra Monachum Dunelmensem.*

xLiv. De imTATE Christi.

XLV. De unico salutis Agno.

XLVi. Christus alius non expectandus.

XLvn. De humanitate Christl

xLViu. De defectione a Christo.

XLix. De fide et pehfidia.

L. De fide sacra:>ientorum.

Li. De fide evangelii.

Ln. Constitutiones ecclesle.

LIU. De censuris ecclesi^. Quantum ad excommunicationem attigit.

liv. De bacerdotio Levitico.

LV. De sacerdotio Christl

lvi. De statuendis pastoribus ad plebem.

Lvn. Speculum cleri per dialogum. Sed adhuc arquitur si querus sic.

Lvin. De non saginandis sacerdotibus. Cavete qui sacerdotes ad
honestatem.

Lix. De jhnistrorum conjugio. Fuit in diebus Herodes sacerdos.

Lx. Cogendi sacerdotes ad honestatem, Apertam eruditionem in
Dei lege.

LXI. De RITIBUS sacramentorum.

LXU. De quiddite hosti^ consecrati^.

Lxni. De QuiNTUPLici Evangelic.

LXIV. DETERinNATIONES QU^DAM.

" Stokes was a Carmelite friar. He was commanded by the Archbishop of Canterbury to publish
at Oxford the condemnation which had been pronounced against the opinions of Wycliffe and
his disciples by the court assembled in the Preaching Friars.

» This monk was named Ughtred Bolton, and had written several tracts against Wyclitfe.



CATALOGUE OF MANUSCRIPTS.



105



Lxv. De Trinitate. Superest investigare de distinctione.
Lxvi. De excommunicatis absolvendis. Quoniam sub poena ex-

commiinicationis .

LXVII. DiSTINCTIONES RERUM THEOLOGICARUM.

Lxviii. De fonte errorem.

Lxix. De falsatoribus leg^ divtn^. Postquam interpretes subdoli
legem.

Lxx. De bimortalitate anim^e.

Lxxi, Ceremoniarum chronicon.

Lxxii. De cessatione legalium. Redeiindo autem ad propositum de.

Lxxm. De dilectione. In quolihet homine peccatore.

LXXrV. CONCORDANTI^ DOCTORUM.

Lxxv. De contrarietate duorum DoinNORUM. Sicut est imiis, verus
et summus.

Lxxvi. De lege divina. Ut de legibus loqiiar Cliristianorum.

Lxxvn. De necessitate futurorum.

Lxxvm. De operibus spiritualibus. Quia parcecianos spiritualihm.

Lxxix. De operibus corporalibus. Si certus esset homo quod in.

Lxxx. De ordine Christiano.

Lxxxi. De ordinaria laicorusi.

Lxxxn. De ordine sacerdotali.

Lxxxra. De purgatorio piorum.

LXXXIV. POSITIONES VARLE.

LXXXV. RePLICATIONES et POSITIONES.

. Lxxxvi. De pr^scito ad beatitudinem.

Lxxxvn. De quaternario doctorum.

Lxxxvin. De religiosis prfvatis. Omnes Christiani in spiritus fervore.

Lxxxix. De studio lectionis. Malum est in eis perseverare ea.

xc. De servitute civili. Oum secundum philosophos sit relativorum.

xci. Theologi^ Placita.

xcn. De virtute orandi. Ut sabbatizatio nostra sit Deo acceptabilis.

xcm. Contra monachum de S. Albano.

xcrv. De compositione hominis. Tria enovent me ad tractandum.

xcv. De homine jusero.

xcvi. Scholia Scripturarum.

XCVH. GlOSS^E SCRIPTURARUIVI.

xcvm. Glossy vulgares.

xcix. Glossy manuales.

c. Glossa novella.

CI. CojniENTARii vulgares." Stobat Johannes, et ex discipidis.



Quia presbyterorum ordo instituitur.
Dona eis, Domine requiem semper.



' " It is probable that the six preceding titles are various descriptions of the same work." —
Baber. 48.



106



THE WRITINGS OF WYCLIFFE IN MANUSCRIPT.



cn. Lectiones in Dantalem.

cm. De dotatione ecclesle, and De dotatione C^sareA, are

different titles oj the same icork, beginning — Utnim clems dehiierit
dotationem.

crv. De Antichristo et membris. Quemadmodmn Dominus Jesus

ordinavit.

cv. Iterum de Antichristo. Nota quod Antichristus 4 co77i.

cvi. Speculum milit.\ntis Ecclesle. Cum identitas mater sit

fastidii.

cvn.
religionem,

cvin.

CLX.

ex.

officium sit.

CXI.

cxn.
cxm.
cxiv.
cxv.
cxvi.
cxvn.
quodlibet.
cxvni.

CXLX.

shnplices.

cxx.
fratres.

cxxi.

cxxn.
salutare.

cxxm.

cxxrv.

cxxv.

cxx VI.

cxxvn.

cxxvm.

cxxix.

cxxx.

cxxxi.



De perfectione evangelica. Primo fratres dicunt suam

De officio pastorali. Cum duplex debeat esse officium.

De Sbionl\ sacerdotlii. Heu magni sacerdotes in tenebris."

Super penitentius enjungendis. Pro eo quod curatorum

De divite apud Marcum. Cum egressus esset in viam salvator.

De REJnssiONE fraterna. Si autetn peccaverit in te frater.

De tribus sagittis. Quisquis mente tenere cupit quid.

De ecclesia catholica. Sunt sacerdotes qui certis rationibus.

De mandatis Divtots. Pi'cemissa sententia de Domino.

CoNCiONES DE MORTE. Beati qui in Domino moriuntur.

De peccatis fugiendis. Dum fides nos doceat malum

De ablatis restituendis. Quceritur V utrum omnium errum.
De seductione seviplicium. Septem sunt quibus decipiuntur

De ocio et mendacitate. A manuum labor e excusantur

In symbolum fedei. Gertum estfidem esse omnium virtutum.
Super salutatione angelica. Solent homines Christissaram

Ad smPLiCES sacerdotes. Videtur meritorium bonos coloi^e.

Ad quinque questiones. Quidamfidelis in Domino qucerit.

Supplementum Trialogi.

De trusto amoris vinculo.

Contra concilium terre motus.

De solutions Satan.^.

De spiritu quolibet.

Omnis plantatio.

Si quis sitit.



" These words are the commencement of the piece entitled "The Last Age of the Church,"
of which mention will be made elsewhere.



CATALOGUE OF MAxNUSCRinS.



107



cxxxu. Dk confessione Latinorum.

cxxxin. De CnRisTiANORTOi Baptismo.

cxxxiv. De clavis regni Dei.

cxxxv. De clavium potestate.

CXXXVI. De HOfflNE MISERO.

cxxxvn. Contra cruciatum Pap^.

cxxxvm. De legibus et veneno.

CXXXIX. COLLECTIONES CONTRA DOMINICANOS.

cxL. Eesponsiones ARGUMENTORUM.

cxLi. Ad rationes Kynxngham.

cxLii. Contra Bynhajiusi jionachum.

cxLin. Replicationes et positiones.

CXLIV. De BULLIS PiVPALIBUS.

cxLv. De veritate et mendacio.

cxLvr. De prevaricatione preceptorum.

CXLVH. DiALOGORUM SUORUM.

cxLvm. De vera innocentia.

cxLix, De VII. DONis Spiritus Sancti.

CL. De versatiis pseudo cleri.

CLi. Of Wedlock.

CLE. The Life of the Virgin Mary.



BOOK 11.



SECTION I.

BEING SOME ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST^ SECOND, AND THIRD BOOKS
OF THE TRIALOGUS.

The work of oiir Reformer which bears the name of the Trialogus, is
so called because it consists of a series of coUoquies between three
speakers. The names of these speakers are Alithia, Pseudis, and
Pheonesis — or Truth, Falsehood, and Wisdom. The opinions and rea-
sonings of Alithia, accordingly, are to be regarded as those of Truth ;
those of Pseudis as being the contrary of truth ; while- in the person of
Phronesis, Wycliffe himself speaks ; and in setting forth his judgment on
the points at issue, he generally assigns such reasons for his opinions as
tend to expose the sophistry of Pseudis, and to sustain the views of
Alithia.

Many of the opinions discussed are not of a nature to interest a mo-
dern reader, and the debates relating to such opinions are valuable chiefly
as they serve to illustrate the history of theological speculations. In many
instances, also, the method of the argumentation is not more to our taste
than the matter of it. It was one of the pecuharities of the scholastic
process of reasoning, that in attempting to establish any doctrine, fuU
expression should be given to every conceivable form of objection
against it ; and though it often happened from this cause, that the dis-
putant raised the spirit of the doubter, without being well able to lay it
again, the practice itself served to whet the faculties, and to bring them
to their office with the greatest degree of circumspection and force.
Thus in the Trialogus, the language of Pseudis gives expression to the
captious and sceptical spirit of the middle age on the great questions
relating to philosophy, morals, and theology ; while the speeches of
Alithia and Phronesis, embody the sounder views of those times on
such subjects, and along with the opinions generally received, come
those bolder utterances which distinguish the writings of Wycliffe as
those of a Reformer.



THE TRIALOGUS. 109

But the argument is conducted, especially in the earlier part of the
treatise, and as relating to its more obscure topics, in the prescribed
scholastic form, the method of reasoning, and the technical expressions
frequently recurring in it, being such as have no place even in the most
scientific treatises in our own age." In one respect, indeed, the works
of the ancient schoolmen bear a strong resemblance to our later litera-
ture, inasmuch as there is very little in the speculations of the modern
sceptic which may not be found in the writings of those middle-age
churchmen. In some instances the polemic may have secretly sympa-
thised with the freedom of thought which he affected to condemn ; but
in general, the atheist, the infidel, and the heretic, were imaginary foes,
conjured up that the militant ecclesiastic might indulge, as in a species
of tournament, in such displays of his skill as shovild secure to him the
honours of a victory.

That there should have been men during the middle age disposed to
bestow a laborious attention on such a system of dialectics, is not sur-
prising ; but WycliiFe was a man of earnest piety, of an impassioned
temperament, and with a mind eminently practical, was intent through
life on bringing about great practical reforms. Nevertheless, if we may
credit the testimony of enemies in his favour, even that of the most
bitter among them, we must believe that no man of his age was more
deeply learned, or more thoroughly skilled in the science of the school-
men. According to Knyghton, a contemporary and an adversary, —
" As a theologian, he was the most eminent in his day ; as a philoso-
pher, second to none; and as a schoolman, incomparable. He made it
his great aim, Avith learned subtlety, and by the profundity of his own
genius, to surpass the genius of other men." * Instances, indeed, are not
wanting, in which the speculative and the practical, the abstract and the



" The following passage is the first in the treatise, and may be taken as a specimen of the obscurity
■which attaches very generally to the metaphysical portion of the work — an obscurity which renders
it impossible that a literal translation should convey to a modern reader any intelligible meaning.

" Alithia. Licet dixit insipiens in corde suo, non est Deus, tamen videtur supponendum,
omnium hominum Deum esse, quia aliter tibi nemo negaret aliquid, vel aliquam veritatem esse,
cum negando illud statim concederet ejus oppositum. Quia si aliquid est, illiui vel est finituni vel
infinitum, sive sic, vel illud, vel causa illius, est Deus, cum supponitur omne quod est prima causa
non causatum ab alio, esse Deum. Et extendo hoc nomen aliquid ad omne eus, vel per se, vel
aggregatum, vel aftirmativam, aut negativam, vel possibilem veritatem.

" PsEUDis. Praecipui Logici multipliciter sic instarent, non claudit contradictionem formalem,
nuUem eus esse, cum ex nulla negativa sequatur formaliter atlirmativa, non ergo sequitur pro
primo loco Deum esse, quia tunc sequeretur formaliter, si nihil est aliquid est. Item stat verita-
tem esse cum hoc, quod non sit aliquid, cum Veritas potest est qucd nihil sit, et tunc non est aliquid.
Et tertio possibile est esse processum in infinitum in caussalibus, non ergo sequitur, si causa est,
tunc prima causa est, cum in ordine causarum homo posset procedere infinite. Sicut enim diviso
lumine in suas partes proportionales caussatur a secunda, et sic in infinitum, et sic etiam in infinitis
casibus, quibus oportet procedere infinite."

* " Doctor in theologia eminentissimus in diebus jllis. In philosophia nuUi reputabatur secun-
dus : in scholasticis disciplinis incomi>arabilis. Hie maxime nitebatur aliorum ingenia subtilitate
scientia et profunditate ingenli sui transcendere." — Knyghton, p. 2644.



10 THE TRIALOGUS.

impassioned, have been united in strong proportions in the same men.
In Pascal, that purely intellectual concentration which is so necessary
to success in the exact sciences, was combined with the imagination of
the poet, and with the feeling of the saint. But opposites of this nature
meet in something like equal apportionments in the weak, much more
frequently than in the strong : and among the reformers it is in the
genius of Calvin that we see, in this respect, the nearest reflection of
the mind of WyclifTe.

The first and second books of the Trialogus, are the least extended,
and the least valuable. The third and fourth books embrace more than
three-fourths of the whole treatise, and abound in matter more or
less interesting to every sincere Protestant.



BOOK I.

The first book is wholly occupied with arguments to prove the being
of a God, and with other speculations relating to the Divine perfections,
and to the mysteries of the Divine nature. The first chapter is designed
to show that " God is the first cause of all things ;" the second exhibits
him as taking necessary precedence of all things ; and in the third he is
set forth as the great reality, whose nature is such, that our thoughts
can never rise to the conception of any higher excellence. The fourth
chapter is intended to demonstrate that " God is, whatever it is better
to be than not to be ;" and this conclusion being established, all the
Divine perfections are deduced from it, inasmuch as it is manifestly
better that the Divine nature should be just, wise, omnipotent, and the
like, than that it should be devoid of such perfections. In the sixth
chapter it is maintained that the reasoning which is thus satisfactory a.s
leading to sound conclusions in regard to the Divine perfections, is no
less so as serving to show " the Lord of all to be a Trinity :" and in the
remaining chapters of this book, an attempt is made to demonstrate the
doctrine of the Trinity from the light of nature, and to exhibit the old
philosophical doctrine concerning " ideas," as in harmony with the pre-
vailing notions of the schoolmen in respect to the manner of the Divine
existence.

In this preliminary portion of the work, we find none of the opinions
peculiar to Wycliffc, as a reformer, except that in two instances he



BOOK THE FIRST, 111

censures the conduct of some men in making an undue use of the
authority of tradition ; and the following passage on the sufficiency and
excellence of the Scriptures, may be regarded as of the same complexion.
" It is plain, that all error in the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, by
which weak men do so falsify and debase them, proceeds from ignorance of
grammar and logic. And unless Go shall assist us in respect to the
understanding of these rudiments of faith, the faith of the Scriptures
will be too little estimated. The opinion, that if there be any truth, it
is in the Scripture, which is often inculcated by Augustine, is manifestly
just. Nothing, indeed, is to be named as subtle in grammar, in logic,
or in any other science, but the same may be found in more excellence
in Scripture.""

The most curious portion of the metaphysical speculation found in
this book, consists in the attempt made in some sense to explain, as well
as to prove, the doctrine of the Trinity, by natural reason. Psuedis
accounts it "great presumption" in any man to pretend that such
articles of faith may be demonstrated by the light of nature. Phronesis
maintains that the diiferent opinion of Alithia on that subject is not
liable to such a charge ; and having spoken at some length on the
subordination of the light of natiu-e to the light of faith, and on the
agreement of the one with the other, he reminds Psuedis of the doctrine
of Plato in respect to a trinity of some kind in the Divine nature, and
then endeavours to show, not only that the doctrine of Plato is according
to reason, but to show also, and on strictly metaphysical grounds, why
the Divine Trinity is described as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In pursuance of this argviment it is said, that the "potentia" of the
Divine nature, in the sense in which that term is used by the speaker,
is God the Father ; the " notitia," or power of self-knowledge in the
Divine nature, is God the Son; and the "quietatio" — the repose — the
calm rest of the Divine essence, is God the Holy Spirit. Care is taken
to explain the purely metaphysical sense in which the term person is
used in relation to such a subject ; but to the above properties of the
Divine existence that name is applied, and these three persons are
described as being co-eternal and co-equal. These refinements are
pushed so far, that in the sense of " causation" or procession, but not in
the sense of "divinity," God is said to be "the cause of God;" not,
however, in any such sense but that it is still true that " these three
persons are one first cause, as they are one God, and not three causes,
as they are not three Gods."

In another place, the mind of man is viewed as consisting eminently
in " memory, reason, and ^vi]l ;" and these are not only regarded as a

« Chap viii. 23.



112 THE TRIALOGUS.

kind of trinity in man, but as a species of revelation in man concerning
the Trinity in the Divine nature. To the modern metaphysician,
reasoning of this nature "will appear as singularly open to objection, and
many of the objections to which it is exposed were strongly iirged
agamst it even in those times ; but such is the potency of circumstances
and fashion, even in respect to such matters, that this method of treating
theological subjects long retained its hold upon the learned, and is only
partially superseded even in our own day.



BOOK II.

As the discussions in the first book relate principally to the existence
and perfections of the Divine nature, those in the second book extend
our thoughts from the Deity to his works, and relate both to the origin
of the world, and to the constitution of created things generally. In
thus passing from the Creator to the created, the elements of nature, the
powers of the human mind, and the relation of the human spirit to the
body, and to the material world — the natui-e, the gradations, the fall,
and the wars of the angels, and the foreknowledge and predestination of
the Almighty as affecting the condition of his Avorks^, all come under
review. In this book, in common ^vith the one preceding, we find none
of the distinctive doctrines of the Reformer ; but there is a much
greater portion of matter in this part of the treatise, which may be
translated so as to be intelligible to a modern reader, and Avhich to many
such readers may not be uninteresting. This, however, is more than
can be said of the contents of the first seven chapters, which consist of
observations and reasonings concerning the office of the senses, the
powers of the human intellect, and the history and properties of the
material universe. But the following is a translation of the eighth
chapter, " On the immortality of the soul as deduced from reason."

" Alithia. Pray tell me, brother, whether the immortality of the soul,
a doctrine you so often assume, may be deduced from reason.

" Phronesis. On this point, Ave neither of us entertain any doubt but
that the soul of man is truly immortal ; and consequently, since that soul
is identical with the individual man, it follows that the individual in
this case Avill ever remain immortal. And this Avas the reason Avhy
the apostles underwent death with such courage and boldness, well



BOOK THE SECOND. 113

knowing, as they did, that the imprisonment and burden of the flesh
was an irksome restraint and oppression to them, and rejoicing that
they had met their death in a just cause.

" But philosophers assign many reasons whereby to establish this
opinion. In the first place, we learn on the authority of Aristotle, and
in fact from common experience, that a certain energy in the mind of
man is immortal. But no energy or operation can be more permanent
than that which is its subject — that is, the mind, or soul, and therefore
we must grant that the soul is immoi-tal. Aristotle gives weight to his
assumption on this point, by adducing in its favour the intellect of man,
which, so far from being enfeebled, is rather invigorated by the weakness
of the body, for there is an increase of keenness in the speculative
intellect of the old, even when every corporeal faculty has failed them.
This perceptive faculty must have a foundation of some sort to rest
upon, of a nature not to require such an instrument as the body, and
we must therefore rank the human intellect above all the animal
faculties aforesaid. For in those faculties animals surpass man, as
saith the poet, who shows it from experience, 'the boar excels us in
hearing, the spider in touch, the vulture in scent, the lynx in sight,
the ape in the sense of tasting.' And thus is it with the five organic
interior faculties aforesaid. For since man does not surpass animals
in power of body, or in any merely animal sense, we are shut up to
the conclusion that he excels them in the operation of his intellect.



Online LibraryJohn WycliffeTracts and treatises of John de Wycliffe : with selections and translations from his manuscripts, and Latin works → online text (page 23 of 45)