The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/Articles against Wickliff collected by William Woodford

Articles against Wickliff collected by William Woodford.

1. The bread remaineth in its own substance, after the consecration thereof upon the altar, and ceaseth not to be bread still.

2. As John was figuratively Elias, and not personally; so the bread is figuratively the body of Christ, and not naturally. And, without all doubt, this is a figurative speech, to say, “This is my body;” as to say, “This John is Ehas.”

3. In the decree, “Ergo Berengarius,” the court of Rome hath determined, that the sacrament of the holy Eucharist is naturally true bread.

4. They who do affirm that the infants of the faithful, departing without the sacrament of baptism, are not saved, be presumptuous and fools in so affirming.

5. The administration of the sacrament of confirmation is not only reserved to the bishops.

6. In the time of St. Paul, only two orders of clerks did suffice in the church, priests and deacons. Neither was there in the time of the apostles any distinction of popes, patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops ; but these the emperor’s pride did find out.

7. Such as in times past, either for covetousness of temporal lucre, or in hope of mutual succour by kindred, or for cause to excuse their lust (although they despaired of issue), were married, were coupled together not by true matrimony.

8. The causes of divorcement, either for spiritual consanguinity, or for affinity, be not founded on Scripture, but are only ordinances of men.

9. These words, “I will take thee to wife,” are rather to be taken in contract of matrimony, than these words, “I do take thee to wife.” And the contract with any party, by the words of the future tense, ought not to be frustrated for the contract with any party afterwards made by the words of the present time.

10. There be twelve disciples of Antichrist: popes, cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, archdeacons, officials, deans, monks, canons, friars, and pardoners.

11. In the Book of Numbers, chap, xviii., and in Ezekiel, chap, xliv., it is commanded simply, that neither the priests of Aaron, nor the Levites should have any part of inheritance with other tribes, but should live merely by tithes and oblations.

12. There is no greater heretic or Antichrist than that clerk who teacheth that it is lawful for priests and Levites, by the law of grace, to be endued with temporal possessions. And if there be any heretics, apostates, or blasphemers, these clerks be such.

13. It is not only lawful for the lords temporal to take away goods of fortune from the churchmen, sinning usually, but also they are bound so to do, under pain of eternal damnation.

14. He that is the more humble and more serviceable to the church, and more enamoured with the love of Christ, is, in the church militant, the greater, and, then, nearest vicar of Christ.

15. If corporal unction or anoyling were a sacrament, as now it is feigned to be, Christ and his apostles would not have left the ordinance thereof untouched.

16. Unto the true dominion secular, is required virtuous life of him that ruleth.

17. All things that happen do come absolutely of necessity.

18. Whatsoever the pope or his cardinals can deduce clearly out of the Scripture, that only is to be believed, or to be done at their monition; and whatsoever otherwise they do command, is to be condemned as heretical.
Besides this William Woodford aforementioned,[1] divers others there were who wrote against these articles of Wickliff aforesaid, maintaining the pope's part, as seemeth, for flattery, rather than following any just cause so to do, or showing forth any reason or learning in disproving the same. Notwithstanding, on the contrary part, some there were again both learned and godly, who, taking the part of Wickliff, without any flattery, defended the most of the said articles openly in schools and other places.

🞼[2]Thus you have the whole sum of Wickliff's articles, containing nis whole doctrine, described and set forth; albeit not as he hath uttered them, but as his froward adversaries have compiled and collected them out of his writings. Wherefore, if some of them seem hard or strange, I think it rather to be imputed to their evil will, than to his good meaning; as it might soon appear if his books had been now extant to testify of his doctrine. But this is certain; howsoever his articles were taken of the wicked and evil disposed, with all good men he was highly favoured, and had in such estimation for his profound knowledge and great learning, that also foreign nations were moved with his authority. Amongst all others the Bohemians had him in great reverence for the opinion of his singular learning, that John Huss, the greatest doer in the university of Prague, not only took profit of his doctrine, but also openly defended his articles. Insomuch that in his public disputation and solemn acts after the manner of schools, he took upon him the public defence of divers of the said articles; namely, upon the fourteenth, fifteenth, and seventeenth, with others more; whose disputation upon the same matter, if it shall not seem tedious to the reader to understand, it shall not seem grievous to me to declare; not only for the antiquity of the matter, but also for the utility of the same.🞼

  1. Tractat. frat. W. Woodford contra Trialogum Wicklevi.
  2. See edition 1563, p. 108. The reader's attention is particularly directed to this passage, as it accounts for the "hard and strange things," which are set forth in Wicklitf's articles. They seem, indeed, in some cases, to be isolated passages, extracted from his writings, or casual expressions falsely reported, to suit the malicious intentions of his enemies. It is needless to add, that the Romish church has never ceased to adduce these adulterated articles, as proofs of the dangerous doctrines of the reformer; and this, too, in such strong terms as would well nigh shake our confidence in the general soundness of Wickliff's views, were it not that we possess abundance of his other writings to refute this slander, and to confirm us in the opinion of his piety and sincerity. One of his greatest works was the translation of the New Testament into the vulgar tongue, of which the following is an extract:—"The New Testament, with the Lessons taken out of the Old Law, read in churches according to the use of Sarum; translated into English from the vulgar Latin, by John Wicklif, D.D. rector of Lutterworth. 1380. {{Luke (Bible)|Luke]] ii.—And scheperdis weren in the same cuntre, wakinge and kepinge watchis of the night on her flok. And lo the aungel of the lord stood bisidis hem, and the clerenesse of God schynede aboute hem; and thei dredden with grete drede. And the aungel seyde to hem, nyle ye drede, for lo Y preche to you a grete Joye that schal be to alle peeple. For a savyour is borun to day to you, that is Crist the Lord in the cytee of Davith. And this is a tokene to you, ye shulen fynde a younge child wlappid in clothis, and leyd in a cracche. And sodeinly ther was maad with the aungel a multitude of hevenly knyghthood, heryinge God and seiynge; Glorye be in higheste thingis to God, and in erthe pees be to men of good wille."—Ed.