Since the Introduction to the first volume was written, evidence, not hitherto noticed, has come to light, which identifies Wyclif as the author of this entire collection of Sermons beyond any reasonable doubt. This evidence consists of two distinct references made by Thomas Walden in his Doctrinale to passages, one of which will be found at p. 78, the other at p. 364, of the first volume of this work. Walden, a Carmelite friar, confessor to Henry V, and a man of great ability, died in the year 1430; his evidence, therefore, is very nearly contemporary. In ch. 86 of Book II. of the Doctrinale, he charges Wyclif with having multiplied his iniquity, 'concedens consequenter Spiritum Sanctum columbam, sicut septem spicae fuerant septem anni, et sacer panis est veraciter corpus Christi, immo et quodlibet esse, esse Deum.' The reader who will refer to Sermon XXX of vol. i. p. 78 will see that this is a plain description (though not quite a fair one, for the explanatory matter added by the preacher is omitted,) of Wyclif's commentary on the descent of the dove at the baptism of Christ.

Again, in ch. 66 of Book III. of the Doctrinale, Walden says, after declaring that he could with difficulty be persuaded that the Wycliffites had derived their doctrine of clerical celibacy from their master -- 'Tarde igitur mihi venit ad manus, quod in vulgari dicat in sermone evangelii natalis festi beati Joannis Baptistae Witcleff. Hic possum, inquit, dubitare et tractare de statu et vitâ sacerdotum, qualiter sunt dotati et innupti contra auctoritatem divinam. Nam inhibuit Christus dotem, tam in se quam in apostolis, et approbavit nuptias apostolorum pluriumque aliorum.' This is an accurate translation of a passage which the reader will find at the top of p. 364 in the first volume.

Two sections of the Sermons, published in this edition, those on the Sunday Gospels, and those on the Gospels for the Proprium Sanctorum, are thus identified with Wyclif on the authority of Thomas of Walden. But as the entire collection is found in the best and oldest MSS., and is internally connected together in various ways, the authenticity of the whole is raised to the highest degree of probability.

The present volume contains the remaining two sections of the Sermons, those on the Ferial Gospels, and those on the Sunday Epistles. To these are subjoined two polemical tracts, the Vae Octuplex and the Of Mynystris in the Chirche, which accompany the Sermons in all the best MSS., and seem to have been regarded as intrinsically a part of the collection. The miscellaneous works, properly so called, are reserved for the third volume.

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Additional Info

  • Publication Date: January 26, 2019
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 449 Pages
  • File Size: 2,889 KB

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