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Nicol. de

coll. l.

CHAP. Clergy of that age, which he notes to be the consequence

of those provisions, or expectative graces, which the Pope

had now assumed to himself the grant of, viz. “ that they Clemangis de corrupto

“ who were thus promoted, came not from the UniversiEcclesiæ

“ties, or from school, but from the plough and servile Statu, p. 8.

arts; that they understood Latin no more than they did
“ Arabic, nay they could not read; and which is a shame
“ to relate, were not able to distinguish A from B.” To
the same purpose in another place; “ what signifies it,"
says he, “ to say any thing of letters and learning, when
“ we see almost all Priests without any knowledge of ei-
"ther things or words, nay scarce able to read even by

“ spelling?" We need not therefore be surprised at what Dr. Wiclif's Dr. Wiclif tells us, that the Freres supplied for the BiLife, p. 41.

shops the office of preaching, and, that the Bishops sent
others to preach that tellen leasings, fables, and chronicles,
and robben the people by false beggings, and dare not tell
them their great sins and c avoutrie, for fear of lesen
winning or friendship. A specimen of the Friars preach-
ing is given us by our poet Chaucer as follows:

The Sompnour's Tale.

And so bifell that on a day this Frere
Had preched in a chirche in his manere,
And specially abovin every thing
Excitid the pepill in his preching
To trentalls, and to geve for Goddis sake
Wherewith men mightin holie housis make,
There as divine servise is honourid,
Not there as it is wastid and devourid :
Ne there it nedith not for to be geve,
As to Possessioners that may els leve,
Thonkid be God, in wele and haboundaunce.
Trentalls, quoth he, deliverith fro penaunce

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c Eche Christin Priest to prechin owe,

Fr God above they ben ysende, God's worde to al folke for to showe, And sinful man for to amend.

Chaucer's Plowman's Tale.



Ther frendis soulis as well olde as yonge,
If so that they ben hastily ysonge,
Not for to holde a preest jolie and gay,
(He singith not but o messe in a day,)
Deliverith out, quoth he, anon the soules,
Full hard it is with fleshe-hoke, or with * oules
To ben yclawid, or to brenne or bake,
Now spede you hastily for Cristis sake.

And whan this Frere had said al his entent,
With Qui cum Patre forth


he went.
Whan folk in chirche had geve him what hem lest,
He went his



14. Thus did the Friars supply for the Bishops the office of preaching, in so false and sophistical a manner, that the Church was deceived instead of being edified by it. Their business was, instead of instructing the people out of God's word, and exhorting them to yield obedience to it, to persuade them to give them their money to build fine and stately houses with, and to increase their wealth. For this purpose, they did all they could to put the people out of conceit with the other religious Orders, and the Bishops and Parish Priests, representing them as proud Pierres the and lazy, and no objects of their charity, because they had Plowman's enough already; and on the contrary, magnifying themselves as the only ones who honoured divine service, and did not waste and devour what was given for the support of it, and who were so intent on doing their duty, that without any delay they sung the thirty masses for their friends souls, and thereby effectually delivered them from their pains and torments.

15. Our Bishop by no means approved of this way of preaching; and is said therefore to have called those who preached in this manner pulpit-bawlers, in a letter which he wrote to one of these Friars. To this perhaps he refers, William when he explains the word preach to be used by him in its most famous signification ; as if his meaning was, that Bishops were not obliged to preach as the Friars preached,




CHAP. who were the noted preachers of that time, making their

sermons to consist of a parcel of fabulous legends and sto-
ries. Accordingly we are assured that it was his lord-
ship’s opinion, that “ Bishops are obliged to preach by
“ aptly speaking, and declaring the truths of divine Scrip-
66 ture.” But be this as it will, it was certainly our Bi-
shop's design to vindicate his brethren, the Bishops, from
the clamours raised against them on account of their not
preaching constantly, as they were obliged to do who had
a cure of souls. This they were represented as d thinking

beneath them, and a blemish to their dignity. But our Tho. Gas- Bishop shewed, that the office of a Bishop was to superTheol.p. i. intend or e oversee those who are obliged to preach, and MS. p. 317. perform the other offices of a cure of souls, and not to do

them always himself. By which his Lordship seems to have meant, that there were many cases in which a Bishop was to be excused from preaching; as multiplicity of business, want of health, or any other lawful impediment, as attendance in Parliament, &c. which disabled him from doing it himself; in which cases he might depute this power of preaching to such priests to whom he committed the cure of souls; or might choose out fitting persons to assist him in the ministry of the word, and to preach in his stead, in such parts of his diocese, where he could not be

personally present to instruct the people himself. For Ibid. p. 382. our Bishop allows, that although Bishops ought not to be

hindered by preaching from the better work of their or-
dinary cure, which ought to be done by them, and cannot
ordinarily be done by any one else, as requiring more

d Jam illud egregium et præclarissimum prædicandi officium, solis quondam pastoribus attributum, eisque maxime debitum, ita apud eos viluit, ut nihil magis in dignum, aut magis suæ dignitati erubescendum existiment. Nicol. de Clemangis de corrupt. Eccles. Stat. c. 14.

e In an ancient ordinal given us by Morinus, the offices of Priests and Bishops are thus distinguished. Sacerdotem oportet offerre et benedicere, præesse, prædicare, et baptizare. Episcopum oportet judicare, interpretari et consecrare, consummare, ordinare, offerre et baptizare. Morinus de Ordinationibus, p. ii. So that it seems, when this ordinal was drawn, viz, about the year 900, preaching was reckoned no part of the episcopal office.






knowledge than inferior curates commonly have; yet every CHAP. Bishop was obliged to preach the truths of holy Scripture, and pertinently to utter and explain them; and accordingly he not only took care that such preaching should be in his diocese, but often preached himself. This Gascoigne Hist. of the

Council of represents as what people wondered at, saying, that Bi- Trent, by F. shop now preaches publicly, as if he did not use to do Paul, Dict.

His Lordship distinguished betwixt preaching and teaching. Preaching, he said, was a * serious declara- * Morosa “ tion, plain or artificial, of a truth or truths, without any tio. Morosa “ proof of it or them, by sufficient evidence or evidences; is perhaps “ whereas teaching is a proving of a truth, i. e. teaching from mora,

lowor plain, 6s is a manifestation, or public declaration of the sufficient a moor or “ evidence or evidences of some certain truths, when there

are evidences of it. By evidences, he said, he under“ stood the more noted mediums or arguments, whether “ they were a priori or a posteriori. By which, he said, “ it appeared, that to teach is nothing else than an act by “ which a man produces the knowledge of a truth in him“ self or another, by the fundamentals and principles of “ that knowledge: and that it is plain, that by no other “ mean than this now mentioned, does any one produce “the knowledge of a truth which was before unknown. 66 To teach therefore is such a sort of act as is now said. 66 And therefore if it shall happen that any preacher begin “ and continue his sermon in declarations, and moreover “ grounds and proves any truth declared by him, by its foundation, or by something that is a sufficient evidence “ of it, he in this respect exceeds the bounds of preaching, 56 and enters on the office of a teacher, and becomes a teacher, and makes a mixture of his work, blending true preaching and teaching together. By which, the Bishop s observed, two points might plainly enough be proved. “ 1. That preaching is not the most perfect act that may “ be done in relation to the souls of Christians by their “ Curates. 2. That to teach is an act more perfect than “ to preach; because that knowledge is more perfect by “ which any thing is known to be true by fundamental

F. Paul's Hist. of the


CHAP. “ evidences, than is the knowledge by which the same

“ thing is known without them, by the sole declaration
“ of a man without any such evidences.” By this, I sup-
pose, our Bishop proved his sixth conclusion, that a more
expedient work of labour may be employed on the souls
of men, than is that of preaching.

16. In the fifth of these conclusions, which our Bishop
is said to have maintained at this time in his sermon at
St. Paul's, his Lordship defends the non-residence of the
Bishops on their dioceses. Of this we find very great com-
plaints made at this time, as has been hinted already.

There were two opinions of the obligation of Bishops' re-
Council of sidence, which had their several fautors. Some thought it

was by the law of God, and argued thus: “ That bishop-
“rics are founded by Christ, as ministries and works, and

so require a personal action or labour, which a man that
“ is absent cannot perform; that Christ, describing the
“ qualities of a good shepherd, saith, that he giveth his

life for the flock, knoweth the sheep by their names, and walketh before them, and feedeth them.On the other hand, the Canonists and Italian Prelates contended, that “the obligation of a Bishop to residence was by the eccle“ siastical law; alleging, that anciently never any non“ resident Bishop was reprehended as a transgressor of “ the law of God, but of the canons only; and, that the “ Church had ever held, that the Pope might dispense “ with the residence of Bishops on their dioceses.” This last seems to have been the prevailing opinion, as what was most agreeable to the corrupt inclinations and carnal affections of mankind. Accordingly, we are assured by

the writers of these times, that it was a common thing for Of Prelates, those who were promoted to f bishoprics to enjoy them MS. cap. v.

many years, without so much as going to their sees, or
seeing their churches, or visiting their dioceses. Dr.

f Multi ex eis qui pastorali apice potiuntur, perque annosa tempora positi sunt, nunquam civitates suas intraverunt, suas ecclesias viderunt, sua loca vel dioceses visitaverunt, nunquam pecorum suorum vultus agnoverunt, vocem audierunt, &c. Nicol. Clemangis de corrupto Ecclesiæ Statu, c. 17.


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