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was conditioned on its righteous use; the rich man is God's steward, and his rights as steward revert if he does not use his riches for the common weal.
It is interesting to remember that Chaucer was Wyclif's contemporary. He pictures as powerfully as does Wyclif himself the corruptions in the Church against which Wyclif rose to do battle. Many have believed that Chaucer was a Wyclifite and that the picture of the Parson, in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, if not indeed a portrait of Wyclif himself, is one of the company of "Poor Priests" that Wyclif organized to preach "God's Law" through England. The young people should read this description of the good Parson in Chaucer. The careful student will read the essay, Chaucer a Wickliffite, by H. Simon, in the collection of Essays on Chaucer published by the Chaucer Society, part iii. "By the side of the repulsive characters of the friars and clergy and their officials," says Mr. Simon, "the Parson of the Prologue appears like a bright figure of sublime beauty. Nobody, perhaps, has read this delicate yet pithy picture without emotion; hundreds of times the Parson has been quoted as the ideal of Christian charity and humility, evangelical piety, unselfish resignation to the high calling of a pastor. It cannot be that Chaucer unintentionally produced this bright image with so dark a background. Involuntarily it occurs to us, as to former critics, that a Wicliffite, perhaps the great reformer himself, sat for the picture; and the more we look at it, the more striking becomes the likeness. This observation is not new; to say nothing of English critics, Pauli says that the likeness of the Parson has decidedly Lollardish traces, and Lechler expressly declares it to be Wicliffe's portrait, though he says, at the same time, that it is not only doubtful but improbable that Chaucer should have sympathized with, or really appreciated, Wicliffe's great ideas of and efforts for reform. Both scholars, however, principally refer to the description in the General Prologue; but the Parson is mentioned also in the Shipman's prologue and in that to the Parson's Tale; and it is exactly in the latter two that we find the most striking proofs of his unquestionably Wicliffite character."
Wyclif's translation of the Bible was the first general or important English translation. The young people are asked to compare the portion printed first here (Matthew, chaps. v, vi, vii) with the same in the common version. Tyndall's translation of the New Testament appeared in 1526; Coverdale's version of the whole Bible in 1535; Matthew's Bible in 1537; the Great Bible, usually called Cranmer's, in 1539; the Geneva Bible in 1557; the Bishops' Bible in 1568; the Douay Bible in 1610; the King James version in 1610.
Wyclif, the great pioneer of the Reformation, died on the last dav of the year 1384, which is the fourteenth century date that the young people are asked to remember. The year of his birth, according to Leland, was
1324 just four hundred years before the birth of Kant (b. 1724), the great pioneer of modern thought. William of Wykeham was born in the same year as Wyclif. Chaucer was born a few years later, 1340, and died in 1400, the year that Guttenberg, the inventor of printing, was born. The year of Chaucer's birth was the year before Petrarch was crowned with the laurel wreath in the Capitol at Rome. Rienzi," the last of the tribunes," was a personal friend of Petrarch, who supported him when he became tribune, in 1347. This was the year after Edward III and the Black Prince won the battle of Crecy, and just after Wyclif had begun his Oxford life. It will be remembered that Edward instituted the Order of the Garter soon after the battle of Crecy. The battle of Agincourt came thirty years after Wyclif's death, in the same year, 1415, that Huss, the great preacher of Wyclif's doctrines in Bohemia, was burnt at Constance. Jerome of Prague suffered the next year after Huss - both Jerome and Huss having been born in Wyclif's lifetime. Thomas à Kempis was born four years before Wyclif died. Tauler, the German mystic, died while Wyclif was teaching at Oxford. Wyclif's lifetime was the time of Jacob and Philip van Artevelde at Ghent, the time when the universities of Prague and Cracow were founded, when the Kremlin was founded at Moscow and the Bastile at Paris, the time of the terrible plague, the "Black Death," in Europe, the time of the first appearance of Halley's comet, the time of Douglas and Percy (Hotspur) and of Timur (Tamerlane), the time of the rising of the peasantry (the Facquerie) in France. The revolt of the English peasantry under Wat the Tyler and Jack Straw occurred three years before Wyclif's death. Arnold of Winkelried fell at Sempach two years after Wyclif's death; and Joan of Arc was born about the time that Wyclif's remains, thirty years after his death, were dug up, burnt and thrown into the Swift. When Joan was burnt at Rouen, we are near the time of the birth of Columbus.
Since the above notes were written to accompany this leaflet, as first prepared in connection with the Old South lectures for young people on "The Story of the Centuries," in 1888, considerable important Wyclif literature has appeared in England. Several volumes have been added to the Latin edition of his works. Lewis Sergeant's" John Wyclif, Last of the Schoolmen and First of the English Reformers" is a critical and admirable biography; and George M. Trevelyan's "England in the Age of Wycliffe" is a careful and important social study. F. D. Matthews's contributions to the Wyclif literature are of high value. The thorough article on Wyclif in the Dictionary of National Biography is by Rev. Hastings Rashdall. Attention is called to the Old South Leaflet (No. 57) upon the English Bible, with specimens of the different translations and historical notes upon them. There is a complete critical edition of Wyclif's Bible in four volumes, published at Oxford in 1850, edited by Forshall and Madden, with a valuable historical introduction. [1902.]
THE DIRECTORS OF THE OLD SOUTH WORK, Old South Meeting-house, Boston, Mass.