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and the prelates, in denouncing the heresy—that it was tares, lolium, mixed with the wheat; or from the appellation given to a similar sect in Germany, headed, early in the same century, by one Lolhard.1 We now find Lollards and Lollardy made during many years the subject of strong complaints, as well by the clergy in their writings and sermons, as by their supporters in Parliament. Nevertheless, the Lollards persevered with the strenuous zeal which marks all new sects, and is proverbially stimulated rather than quelled by opposition. The opinions which they maintained even assumed a bolder form after Wycliffe's decease. They denied that there had been any Pope whose title to the office was valid, since Sylvester in the fourth century. All indulgences they utterly rejected as corruption; confession and absolution they regarded as sinful, and even impious; pilgrimages, the invocation of saints, the keeping of saints' days, the use of images in worship, they plainly treated as various forms of idolatry; all church dignities, from that of the Pope down to the deanery, they considered unlawful innovations upon the primitive simplicity and purity of the Gospel dispensation. Oaths of every kind they held to be sinful. They denied that the clergy could lawfully hold any property; and, what appears to have given more offence than all besides, they assumed the right of conferring holy orders, their priests, thus made, taking upon them every clerical function.1 Their numbers, thickly scattered over the country, in all probability prevented the prelates from exerting their full authority against them; but in one diocese they appear to have received a check, at least for a time. Spencer, Bishop of Norwich, famous for his crusade against the partisans of Clement, and for his cruel proceedings against the Flemish insurgents, to defeat whom he had led on a large force to rout and destruction, gave a public notice that he would punish with death any one who should presume to preach without regular ordination and licence.2
1 Of Lolhiird's opinions little or nothing is known. Some derive the name of Lollard from him; some from lallrn, to sing—as these sectaries used to sing in a low tone unlike the priest's chaunt. An order in the church, founded by Sixtus VI., in 1370, were called Lollhards, or Cellita?, and resembled the Swurs de la Chariti in later times. They do not appear to have been accused of heresy. The name, whatever be its origin, had certainly been used before Wycliffe's time.
The troubles of Richard's reign, and the sudden revolutions of party which took place, with the proscription of each faction in succession by its victorious adversaries, withdrew the attention of the government from the proceedings of the sect, and favoured its progress; but after the King had firmly established his authority by the sudden overthrow of his uncle Gloucester's influence, he took a decided part, when called on by the clergy, to repress the Lollards, whose conduct had become liable to the charge of violence, and even on one occasion to that of sedition. They placarded the churches in London with scurrilous attacks upon the priests, as men of lives the most immoral; they were encouraged in these pro1 T. Wals., 372. « Wharton's Ang. Sac, ii. 359. Note XVI.
ceedings by one Pateshull, a friar, who, havmg purchased the appointment of Pope's chaplain, gave up his place in the order he had belonged to, and bitterly assailed the fraternity; and, being favoured by some of the powerful barons, they presented a petition, which their patrons were expected to support, complaining of clerical abuses in unmeasured terms. The King hastened over from Ireland, where he then was; gave a gracious answer to the prelates, who threw themselves on his protection against the rude assaults of their adversaries; and his threat of severe punishment, indeed of instant death, held out to the Lollard grandees, proved so effectual, backed as it was by his well consolidated authority, that the petition was suffered to drop, nor did any partisan of the sect ground a proceeding upon it. He also issued two proclamations, or mandates, requiring the University of Oxford to expel all Lollards and other heretics,1 to seize and send away any persons who resisted, that he might deal with them according to law, and to examine by a synod of doctors the positions set forth in Wycliffe's "Trialogos," reporting their opinion upon the same.
The despotic and wholly illegal conduct which Richard had thus held in ecclesiastical matters he soon extended to every part of his administration; and the rest of his wicked, weak, and unhappy reign presented the usual appearances that mark the ac1 "All persons notoriously suspected of Lollardy and other heresy." —Rym., vii. 806.
tions of feeble but unprincipled men, in whom violence and timidity alternate with each other, when they do not, as so often happens, rule together with divided sway. It was a succession of acts for some years rash and cruel, for some months dastardly and mean; but neither when he was occupied with the destruction of his enemies, nor when, by a signal retribution, he was compelled to receive the law from them, had he any leisure to renew his attempts against the Lollards.
After Henry IV. had dethroned him, it was evidently a part of his policy to court the clergy by siding with them against their opponents, although his father, John of Gaunt, had been Wycliflfe's earliest protector, and he had himself formerly inclined to the new doctrines. But now the case was altered; and it is remarkable that even before he received the crown, and while the proceedings were all carried on in Richard's name, a proclamation, assented to by the House of Lords, was issued by Henry, in conjunction with his 21 March, partisan, the Primate, directing the seizure'
and imprisonment of all who should presume to preach against the mendicant friars.1 Yet the Lollards, against whose favourite topic of invective this ordinance was levelled, appear not to have been silenced by it. On the contrary, in the course of the next year, we find them launching out into abuse more bitter than ever, and propounding doctrines in 1 Rym. viii., 87.
more undisguised opposition to those of the church. Reformers addressing the fickle vulgar, ever enamoured of some exciting novelty, and regardless of the intrinsic value of any measure or any doctrine, are prone to stir up continually the zeal of their followers with fresh stimulants: so the Lol1402. lards added to the tenets undeniably sound which Wycliffe had preached, others that might seem exaggerated, some that were true, and some that were manifestly false. They denied the holiness of the seven sacraments, which he had always admitted; they deemed them to be mere dead symbols, and of no efficacy as used by the church; while, contrary to his tenets, they justly rejected altogether the doctrine of purgatory and of penance, confining the efficacy of penitence to sincere repentance and amendment of life, with faith in the promises. They were not satisfied with opposing the celibacy of the clergy, but must even require nuns and monks to marry, on pain of being damned, though they held marriage to be validly contracted by simple consent of the parties, without any intervention of the priest. They did not scruple to pronounce the church itself a synagogue of Satan, and ventured even to term the eucharist a watch-tower of Antichrist. Finally, after having, as we before saw, declared loudly against all saints' days and all holidays whatever, save the Lord's Day, they now struck that exception out of their creed, holding the Sabbath a mere Jewish ordinance, and that Christians are as