Obrazy na stronie

I would die. I pray and pray again that I may so die. Amen. Amen. Amen.” The immortal bard truly portrayed the good and holy, the enlightened and the bountiful, the exalted and ever memorable Archbishop de Rotherham :

How deep you were within the books of God,
To us, the speaker in His parliament,
To us, the imagined voice of God Himself !

Henry IV., Act IV., Scene II.

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How Lollardism and Puritanism Originated. OR the better understanding of the origin and progress

of Puritanism and Nonconformity, it is desirable to cast

a glance back to that first great English reformer, John Wycliffe, “the morning star of the reformation.” Yorkshire has the honour of his birth, he having been born at Hipswell, a mile from Richmond, in 1320. Educated at Balilol College, Oxford, he was, in 1374, presented by the Crown to the rectory of Lutterworth. Preaching frequently in London, he assailed the rich abbots and bishops, as well as the monks and friars, who were so largely given up, no less to luxurious, and gross living, than to superstitious practices.

The old poets have left us graphic, though by no means flattering pictures of those luxurious old abbots and freeand-easy friars :

“Full many a deinte hors hadde he in stable ;
And when he rode, men might his bridel here,
Gingeling in a whistling wind as clere
And eke as loud as doth the chapell bell-
And eke his face as it had been anoint,
He was a lord ful fat, and in good point.
A fat swan loved he best of any rost,

He was not pale as a far pined gost.' One of the most sarcastic critics of the monks and clergy wrote after the following scathing fashion, though, of course, there were good abbots and good monks, as well their opposites :

“ Worse than a monke there is no fende nor sprite in hell,

Nothing so covetuose nor more strange to be knowen,
For if you give him ought, he maie possesse it well,

But if you aske him ought, then nothinge is his owne."

Wycliffe's own views were thoroughly opposed to such an earthly-minded system, maintaining as he did that the church should hold no property, and the spiritual power should be kept entirely apart from the civil jurisdiction. He disputed, moreover, the ex-communication by the church as of no effect unless justified by the sin of him against whom it is directed, &c. His opponents—papal, episcopal, clerical did their utmost, as can easily be imagined, to bring down upon him the condemnation and punishment of the ecclesiastical courts. And no wonder, seeing that Wycliffe denied the infallibility of the Pope, and disputed the doctrine of transubstantiation in the Mass. Not content with opposing the superstitious claims of the papacy, he affirmed and proclaimed the main principle of the great Reformation under Luther, namely, that the New Testament or Gospel is a perfect rule of life and manners, and ought to be read by the people. To this end he translated the Book of Books into English, being assisted by a coadjutor as regards part of the Old Testament. Responding to St. Paul's question“How shall they hear without a preacher ?” he formed a body of itinerant preachers who went about giving religious instruction in the vernacular to the common people, as did the Master Himself. But for having powerful friends at Court, especially in John of Gaunt, our reformer and his popular advocates must have been suppressed by their ecclesiastical foes. Though certain of their tenets were condemned by the Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and some of the prominent adherents imprisoned, Wycliffe himself was never brought to judgment. He left a considerable following behind him, destined to increase with successive generations, first under the name of “Lollards," and afterwards under that later designation, “Puritans." He wrote near 200 volumes, all of which were collected and condemned by the Council of Constance to be burnt, together with his body, which was dug up from the peaceful God's acre of Lutterworth, forty-one years after his death on New Year's Eve, 1384.

Though no very great section of the community openly adhered to the system and name of Wycliffe in this country, yet the reforming and inspiring spirit of this modern prophet

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