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L I F E
THE LEARNED AND RIGHT REVEREND
REYNOLD PECOCK, S.T. P.
LORD BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH, AND CHICHESTER,
IN THE REIGN OF KING HENRY VI.
FAITHFULLY COLLECTED FROM RECORDS AND MSS.
THE LIFE OF DR. JOHN WICLIF,
IN ORDER TO
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF THE
BY JOHN LEWIS, M. A.
MINISTER OF MEREGATE.
A NEW EDITION.
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
THE most learned and reverend Archbishop Usher ob-
cess, and claimed to us Protestants the first six hundred
years, as the most ancient, as well as the best part of « time. The other part, the perpetual succession, is,” he said, “ greater and more obscure, containing the space of “ nine hundred years ; in all which time, the Papists pre
tend, that either our Church was no where at all, or was Bellarm. de “ compelled to serve strange gods, to adore idols, and Notis Ec“ communicate with the sacrilegious.” This the Archbishop undertook to confute, and for that purpose wrote an historical explication of the most important question of the continual succession of the Christian Churches, especially in the Western parts, from the Apostles' times to that in which he lived. But they being times of danger and trouble, and his Grace being robbed in Wales of the MSS. which he had purchased for that purpose, he executed this good design no farther than the times of our famous Dr. John Wiclif. To continue this history therefore, I wrote the Life of Doctor Wiclif, and gave as particular an account as I could of his opinions. It was, I found, no difficult matter to do this, and to shew their opposi
cles. c. 5.
tion to those held then by the Papists; since Dr. Wiclif's works in print and written hand are still preserved, and to be found and read a in the English libraries.
« b John Wiclif was the most renowned man of that age, both for learning and piety, as appears by his “ works above mentioned. Whether he maintained the “ doctrine of the Waldenses or no, certain it is, that it “ received new lustre from his learning, and those who “ joined with him in defence of the truth in opposition to “ the Popish errors and superstitions. Of these he made
a very particular discussion, in which we meet with a
great knowledge of holy Scripture, and great skill in an“tiquity, whose authority he makes use of to confound “ the Romish novelties; we likewise discover there a
great strength in his way of reasoning, and an extraor“ dinary method in his consequences, so that he seems to “have fully penetrated the weakness of the Roman cause; “ there being scarcely any articles controverted between «the Church of Rome and the Protestants to be met “ with, which Dr. Wiclif has not touched and handled, Go and that with sufficient exactness too.”
It was with the same view, that I undertook to collect and write the following Life of Doctor Reynold Pecock, the learned Bishop of Chichester, à candid and moderate opposer of the Wiclifists; in doing which I have followed the Archbishop's example, who“ professed not to use his « own words, where he could have the use of the words “ of others; because that manner of writing seemed much “ more accommodated to the truth of the narrative, and “ the proof of the things which are told or related.” I
* A particular account of them, and where they are reposited, may be seen in the Life of Dr. Wiclif, chap. ix. p. 179, &c.
" In 1722, in the famous University of Oxford, lived one Thomas Hearne, who gave the following character of this great and venerable man; qui revera rebellis impiusque erat : and for proof of it recommended false and bitter Popish Jibels on that University, printed 1623, as a great rarity. Forduni Scotichronicon. See Advertisement before the Life of Dr. Wiclif, edit. 1723.