60. GULIELMUS AND OTHER CHAMPIONS OF CHRIST
As ye have heard of the iniquity and raging pride of the popish church against their lawful emperor; so now shall ye hear (Christ willing) how God beginneth to resist and withstand the corruption of that whorish church, by stirring up certain faithful teachers in sundry countries; as in the country of Suevia about the time of this emperor, A.D. 1240, or near upon the same, where were many preachers, mentioned in the Chronicle of Urspergensis, and also in Crantzius, which preached freely against the pope. These preachers, (as Crantzius saith,) ringing the bells, and calling the barons in Hallis of Suevia, there preached that the pope was a heretic, and that his bishops and prelates were simoniacs and heretics; and that the inferior priests and prelates had no authority to bind and loose, but were all seducers. Item, that no pope, bishop, or priest could restrain men from their duty of serving and worshipping of God, and therefore such cities or countries as were then under the pope's curse might, notwithstanding, lawfully resort to the receiving of sacraments as well as before. Item, that friars, Dominic and Franciscan, did subvert the church with their preaching. And that the indulgence of the pope and his popelings was of no regard; but that remission which they did preach unto them, they preached it not from the pope, but as from the Lord. And thus much I thought here to recite, whereby it may appear how the resisting of the pope's usurped power and corrupt doctrine is no new thing in these days in the church of Christ, &c.
And not long after these aforesaid, rose up Arnoldus de Nova Villa, a Spaniard, and a man famously learned, and a great writer, A.D. 1250, whom the pope with his spiritualty condemned among heretics for holding and writing against the corrupt errors of the popish church. His teaching was, that Satan had seduced the world from the truth of Christ Jesus. Item, that the faith (which then Christian men were commonly taught) was such a faith as the devils had; meaning belike (as we now affirm) that the papists do teach only the historical faith, which is the faith historiæ, non fiduciæ. Item, that Christian people (meaning belike for the most part) are led by the pope unto hell. Item, that all cloisterers are void of charity, and damned; and that they all do falsify the doctrine of Christ. Item, that the divines do evil in mixing philosophy with divinity. Item, that masses are not to be celebrated; and that they ought not to sacrifice for the dead. Certain other opinions there be which the slanderous sects of monks and friars do attribute unto. him; but (as they are wont in all other to do) rather upon envious taking, than of any just cause given.
And as this Arnold was condemned, so also the same time Johannes Semeca, the gloss-writer of the pope's decrees, and provost of Halberstat, was excommunicated and deprived of his provostship, for resisting Pope Clement the Fourth, gathering certain exactions in Germany; and therefore he appealed from the pope to a general council, and had many great favourers on his side, till at last both the pope and he died.
Consequently in this order and number followeth the worthy and valiant champion of Christ and adversary of antichrist Gulielmus de S. Amore, a master of Paris, and chief ruler then of that university. This Gulielmus in his time had no small ado, writing against the friars, and their hypocrisy, but especially against the begging friars, both condemning their whole order, and also accusing them as those that did disturb, and trouble all the churches of Christ, by their preaching in churches against the will of the ordinaries and pastors, by their hearing of confessions, and executing the charges of curates and pastors in their churches. All the testimonies of Scripture that make against antichrist he applieth them against the clergy of prelates, and the pope's spiritualty. The same Gulielmus is thought to be the author of the book, which is attributed to the, school of Paris, and entitled De Periculis Ecclesiæ, where he proveth by nine and thirty arguments that friars be false apostles.
Moreover, he doth well expound this saying of Christ, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell away all thou hast, and come follow me; declaring there poverty to be enjoined us of Christ, not in such sort as standeth in outward action, when no need requireth; but inward affection of heart, when need shall require. As though the meaning and precept of our Lord were not, that we should cast away actually all that we have; but that, when the confession of the name of God and the glory of Christ shall so require, then we be ready to leave and relinquish what things soever for the sake of him, &c. As when he requireth in us, after the like phrase, hatred of father and mother, and of our own lives, he biddeth us not to dishonour father or mother, much less to hate them; but that then, when case shall require, we set all things behind the love of Christ. Many other worthy works he compiled, wherein albeit he uttered nothing but what was truth, yet notwithstanding he was by antichrist and his rabble condemned for a heretic, exiled, and his books burnt; whose heretical arguments, as they called them, that thou mayest better judge thereof, hereunder I thought good to place.
Against false prophets, with signs to know them by, these his words do follow. For because these seducers (saith he) name themselves to be apostles, and say that they are sent of God to preach, to absolve and dispense with the souls of men, by means of their ministry, read the saying of the apostle in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. xi., For such apostles are subtle and crafty workmen, disguising themselves to be like the apostles of Christ. Therefore we mean to show some certain infallible tokens and probable, by the which false apostles may be discerned from the true preachers and apostles of Christ.
The first sign or mark is, that such as be true preachers do not enter into simple women's houses laden with sin, and take them as it were captive, as many of the false preachers do; as in the Second Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, the third chapter, is manifest, saying, Of those sorts are they which enter into women's houses, &c. Therefore those preachers which come into women's houses, to the intent they may take them captive, be not true preachers, but false apostles.
The second sign and token is, that those that be true preachers do not deceive simple men with painted and flattering words, whereby they prefer their own trash and tradition, as all false prophets do, as in the last chapter to the Romans appeareth, saying, By their pleasant and sugared talk, and by their blessing and crossing, they deceive and beguile the hearts of innocent men and women. Glossary. Which gay, glorious words they extol and set forth their traditions, whereby they deceive simple men. Very greatly do they deceive the souls of simple men, which cause them to enter intotheir sect, which they term religion. And they which before led a naughty life, by reason of their ignorance or simplicity, after their entrance become subtle and false deceiving hypocrites, entering together with the rest into poor men's houses; yea, and oftentimes become worse than the others. Whereupon Matt. xxiii., Woe be unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! which go about, &c. Therefore they which do this are no true messengers, but false apostles.
The third sign is, that the true apostles, if they be reproved, suffer the same patiently, 2 Cor. xii., saying, The tokens of my apostleship are accomplished among you in all patience and sufferance, meaning that patience which pertaineth to the manners of the preachers. Therefore they which suffer not correction or punishment be no true apostles, but rather show themselves to be no Christians at all: 1 Cor. xii., No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Glossary. It is meet that Christians should be humbled, to the intent that they may suffer themselves to be reproved, and not to be holden up with yea and nay. And also such men do show themselves to be carnal, and not spiritual at all, although they feign themselves to be spiritual: Gal. iii., Therefore am I become an enemy unto you. Notwithstanding the Glossary saith, No carnal man will be reproved, although he err. Wherefore those preachers which suffer not correction seem not to be true apostles, but false prophets.
The fourth sign is, that true apostles commend not themselves: 2 Cor. iv., For we dare not join ourselves, nor yet compare ourselves, unto others, which commend and boast of many of their acts, when God alloweth none of them at all. Also true preachers, although they be indeed praiseworthy for their good deserts, in the consciences of men are they praiseworthy, and not to the outward show alone: 2 Cor. We commend ourselves (saith the apostle) to the consciences of all men. Then they do not commend themselves in comparison of others. Wherefore the Glossary saith upon the same place, Those that deserve no commendation but in comparison of others, do challenge to themselves other men's deserts and praise. Wherefore in the Second Epistle of St. Peter, the last chapter, it is said, Even as our well beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom that God hath given unto him, hath written unto you. Glossary. The chiefest of the apostles hath here forgotten his papal authority, and also his keys that were delivered unto him; for he is astonished as it were at the great wisdom given unto his brother Paul. For indeed it is the manner of the elect children of God, to be more in love with the virtues of other men than with their own. Wherefore in Phil. ii it is written, Let those that are superiors esteem of themselves in all humility. They therefore that do the contrary, saying that their state or doings be better than other men's, although they be preachers, yet are they no true apostles indeed, but false prophets.
The fifth sign is, that true apostles need no letters of commendation, nor yet desire to have themselves praised of men; as in 2 Cor. iii. the apostle saith, We need not the letters of commendation of any man, that is to say, of false prophets.
The sixth sign is, that true apostles do not preach unless they be sent, as in the 10th chapter to the Romans, How shall they preach unless they be sent? There be no true apostles but those that be sent; for they have no need of signs which are true witness-bearers; but those that be not sent and do preach are false prophets.
The seventh sign is, forasmuch as false prophets have their authority in their own names; wherefore, in the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, it is written, For we dare not boast of ourselves or make comparison; that is to say, with those that be false prophets, not taking their authority from God, but usurping the same, desirous to bear rule, claiming in their own name their authority. And therefore, although peradventure by presumption they say that they are sent of God, as all heretics will say; yet notwithstanding, unless they shall prove their sending either by spiritual prophecy, as John Baptist did, saying, I am the voice of a crier in the desert; as out of the prophet Isaiah in the 1st chapter of St. John's Gospel is alleged; or else by miracles, as Moses did, which turned his rod into a serpent, and again, from a serpent to a rod, as in Exod. vii.; they ought for to be excommunicated, till such time as they cease from preaching. Yet, notwithstanding, a miracle ought not to be a sufficient testimony of their sending, forasmuch as they be done oftentimes, and that of evil and wicked men: 1. q. 1. we may perceive towards the end. But miracles ought to be suspected, forasmuch as our Saviour saith, Matt. xxiii., Then shall false prophets arise, &c. Therefore they which do challenge authority in their own name, forasmuch as they have not their authority from God, they are not true apostles, but false. preachers.
The eighth sign is, that false prophets, pretending great wisdom and holiness to be in superstition, have named their own traditions to be religion, the which are rather to be counted sacrilege or church robbery, and do usurp unto themselves, for due deserts of other men, by boasting, and bragging among strange and unknown people. Wherefore the apostle, speaking of false prophets in Col. ii., saith, According to the precepts of men, which having a face of wisdom, consist in superstition, interlaced with humility; that is to say, mingled with feigned religion, that it might be called religion, when in very deed it is nothing else but sacrilege, because it is contrary to all authority, that is, contrary to God himself, that any man should desire to have government of a multitude without public commandment; as in Deut. xxiii., Thou hast entered into thy neighbour's vineyard, that is to say, into the church of another bishop. May a man warn and admonish others, or else correct that congregation which is not lawful for him to govern, nor yet to take so great a charge on him? No. And that it is not lawful to enter into another bishop's diocess, it is apparent, because it is not lawful for the archbishop so to do. To this effect appertaineth that which is read, 6. q. 3. And also it is written 9. q. 2. throughout. Therefore those preachers, which against God and his Divine Scriptures do call their own traditions religion, are not apostles, but false prophets.
The ninth sign is, by the authority which they have; for although they be no preachers of the gospel or ministers of the sacraments, yet they will live by the gospel, and not by the labour of their own hands, against the text in 2 Thess. iii., Neither have we eaten any man's bread for nought, or of free cost. Then those false prophets ought much more to live by their labour, which have not that authority which we ought to have; that is to say, to live by the gospel. And St. Augustine speaketh of this more expressly in his book De Opere Monachorum, by these words: Those our brethren do claim to themselves (very rashly, as me thinketh) that they have any such authority to live by the gospel. If they be preachers of the gospel, I grant that indeed they have such authority; if they be ministers of the altar, if they be disposers of the sacraments, they cannot well but take to themselves this authority, as also manifestly to challenge the same, if at the least they have not wherewithal to sustain this present life without labour of their hands. As though he would have said, If they be not such manner of men, then have they no authority to live by the gospel. Therefore those preachers which have no authority to live by the gospel, or else minister the sacraments, because they have no congregation whereby to take charge of souls, and yet for all that will needs live upon the gospel, they be no true apostles, but false prophets.
The tenth sign is, that false teachers rejoice more to be commended themselves, than that the word of God should have the commendation and praise. But they that are true preachers and apostles are far otherwise minded, as 2 Thess., Not seeking the praise of men, &c. And herein he toucheth those false prophets, which desire rather to be commended themselves, than that the word of God which they preach should have the commendation; but he is an apostle, which, not seeking the glory of this present world, but for the glory to come doth abase himself, to the intent that the preaching and word of God might be commended and exalted. They therefore which desire to have praise and to be commended of others, rather than that the word of God should have the praise, be no true apostles, but false prophets.
The eleventh sign is, that true apostles do preach only for God's cause, and for the health of souls, and for no temporal gain, as in 2 Cor. iv., saying, We preach not ourselves, &c. Our preaching tendeth not to our glory and gain, but only to the glory of Christ. But the preaching of Christ, by those that are false prophets, tendeth to the contrary. Whereupon in Phil. i. is said, Whether it be upon occasion given, or else for the verity's sake, let Christ be preached, &c. False prophets do preach the gospel upon some occasion, as either by seeking some commodity at the hands of men, or else because of getting goods, honour, or praise among men. Which notwithstanding that they be ready and willing, as it should seem, to bear and sustain injuries; yet they seek not so much the health of him to whom they preach, as in very deed they do their own commodity and gain. Whereupon 2 Cor. xii., Because I seek not the things that be yours, that is to say, not your treasure, as gold and silver, but only you yourselves. For otherwise it could by no means be gathered that they should understand him to speak or mean of their substance, because he more esteemeth them than their money, to the intent that they might understand his great goodwill towards them. Therefore these evil and naughty preachers, which preach for worldly gain or honour, or else for the praise and commendation of men, be no true apostles, but false prophets. But it may be asked, How shall men understand when these good fellows preach for their own vain-glory sake? It may be answered thus, When they preach before they be called, as in 2 Cor. xi., Whosoever boasteth, let him boast and rejoice in the Lord. Which thing he cannot by any means do that hath not his authority from God. For if any such prophet preach, he seeketh his own glory, and that may easily be perceived. Because he is not called of God, he hath no such authority of him, that is to say, of his church or congregation; as Heb.vii., No man taketh to himself any dignity, but he that is called of God, as Aaron was. He is called of God, that is, lawfully chosen of the congregation.
The twelfth sign or token of a false prophet is, because such prophets do counterfeit themselves to have greater care and love to men's souls than those that be their very governors and pastors have, although they have no charge at all of them; against whom the Glossary speaketh, and 1 Thess. ii., We are become meek and loving towards you, even as the nurse which giveth her child suck. A woman nurseth other men's children for wages, and not for love alone; but she giveth her own suck of very love, without respect of money. Therefore those preachers which feign themselves to have a greater love and affection to the souls of men, than they that have the charge over them, seem not to be true apostles. The apostles study not for eloquence, nor for the curious placing of their words, but false prophets do them both, as in 2 Cor. xi., If the simple and uneloquent man, &c. The apostles were not eloquent, but false prophets are full of curious eloquence. Also upon the same another Glossary: The Corinthians were led away from the gospel by over-nice eloquence; 2 Cor. vii., Let us show ourselves before all men as the ministers of God. The ministers of God do not flatter as false prophets do. And for this occasion those that be true apostles have not their abiding in princes' courts and noblemen's houses, knowing this saying of Christ in St. Matthew's Gospel, Behold, those that are clothed with silks dwell in kings' courts. And therefore true apostles are not conversant in princes' courts and noblemen's houses. Hard and strict life with the preaching of the gospel loveth not to come near princes' palaces and noblemen's houses. Oftentimes it cometh to pass that courtiers are found great flatterers; therefore those preachers that have their abode in princes' courts, or that in any other place do use to flatter, are no true apostles, but false prophets.
The thirteenth sign is, that true apostles or messengers do not circumvent or subtlely go about to deceive men, that they should give unto them their goods, either in their lifetime, or else at the time of their death, as in 2 Cor. vii., We have falsely deceived no man; by the subtle and deceitful getting away of your substance, as false prophets do, which get away from you those things that be yours under pretence of great friendship. Also Matthew xxiii., Woe be unto you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! which spoil widows' houses by your long prayers; which mean nothing else by your superstition, but that you may spoil and rob the people, as Luke xx., Which devour widows' houses by dissembling of your long prayer. The which make over-long prayers, to the intent they may seem more devout, and that they may get both money and great commendation of all such as be sick and troubled with the burden of their sins; whose prayers be turned into sin, which neither are profitable for themselves nor any other, but rather shall have for making those prayers greater damnation, forsomuch as by the same they deceive others; for by this, that they receive and take both gold and silver, it appeareth that they preach not for souls' health sake, but only for filthy lucre and gain sake: Matt. x., Be ye possessors neither of gold nor silver. If they then have these things, they cannot seem or be thought to preach for the health of the soul, but for lucre's sake. And so saith Jerome upon the prophet Malachi; Because some prophets took money, their prophecy became divination; that is to say, their prophecy appeared not to be prophecy, but divination, or enchantment; that is, that such prophecy proceedeth not from God, but from the devil. And this appeareth in 1. q. 1, having this beginning, Nunquam divinatio, &c. Therefore those preachers which circumvent and beguile men, to the intent that they should give them their goods, either in their lifetime or after their death, are not true apostles, but false prophets.
The fourteenth sign is, that false prophets, when any verity is preached, which for the most part they are not acquainted withal, or that toucheth them, then begin they to chafe and bark against the same. Whereupon the apostle in the 3rd chapter to the Philippians saith, Behold the dogs. Understand you that they are not dogs by nature, but by their usage and conditions, barking against the truth, which they were never acquainted with. And so he compareth them right well to dogs, because dogs follow rather custom than reason; so false apostles do keep the custom of the law, and do bite and bark against the truth, as though they were without the gift of reason. And also in the Second Epistle to Timothy, the 4th chapter, saying, They get them instructors according to their own desires. Which may teach them what things they themselves are willing to hear, because the truth seemeth nothing pleasant unto them. Therefore those preachers which bark against the late revealed truth, which toucheth them very near, and therefore cause the same to be hidden and kept under, are not true apostles, but false prophets.
The fifteenth sign is, that the true apostles do not enforce any to receive or hear them which be unwilling thereunto, but send them away rather, lest they should seem to seek after some earthly and transitory thing: Matt. x., Whosoever will not receive you, get you out of that city, and shake the dust from off your feet, &c., that you may thereby show that the desire of earthly things hath no power in you. Therefore those preachers which strive and wrestle, (as it were,) to the intent they would be received and heard, are no true apostles, forsomuch as the apostle saith, 1 Cor. xi., If any man appear among you to be over-contentious or full of strife, such custom have we none, nor yet the congregation of Christ.
The sixteenth sign is, that the apostles did not procure the indignation of those princes with whom they were esteemed and regarded against such persons as would not receive them and hear them, according as we read in the life of Simon and Jude, the apostles. The chief ruler, being very angry, commanded a very great fire to be made, that the bishops might be cast into the same, and all other which went about to defame the doctrine of the apostles of Christ. But the apostles fell down before the emperor, saying, We beseech you, sir, let not us be the authors or causes of this destruction or calamity; nor let us, which are sent to be the preservation of men, and to revive those that are dead through sin, be killers of those that be alive. Therefore those preachers which seek to stir up the displeasure of princes against them (whose favours now they enjoy) that will not receive and hear them, or rather whom they themselves hate, are no true apostles, but false prophets.
The seventeenth sign is, that the apostles of Christ have not only the knowledge of those things which God hath already done, but also of those things which he will hereafter do, as in Apoc. iii., The beasts were full of eyes both behind and before; obtaining the knowledge of those things which God had done, as also what he would do hereafter in the end of the world. Therefore those that say they know not the perils of the church in the later time which are prophesied before, or that they care not for them, or else, if they know them, they have not eyes behind and before, are no true apostles; therefore what time as they call themselves apostles they are false prophets.
The eighteenth sign is, that true apostles do not desire the riches and goods of them to whom they preach, whereby they are discerned from wolves, that is to say, from false prophets: Acts xx., I have desired no man's gold nor silver. By this are wolves discerned, for they desire such things. And again in the same place, For those things which I had need of, and these which were with me, these hands have ministered. This example also of labouring is a spectacle for bishops, whereby they are discerned from wolves. For such as ask or beg of those to whom they preach, or set any other to ask or beg in their names, do seem to commit simony, like Gehazi, of whom it is read in the Third Book of Kings, the 5th chapter, that he craved certain apparel of Naaman the Syrian, to whom his master Elisha had restored the benefit of health, notwithstanding he had gotten those garments unwitting to his master. But some man perhaps will say, Cannot the preacher ask money or money's worth of those to whom he preacheth? Or at the least, may not he beg? To this may be answered, If the preacher by authority preach and feed his flock as a true pastor with the food of God's word, he may take money or money's worth; but then it is not begging or craving, but it is by authority, as 2 Tim. ii., It is meet that the husbandman that tilleth the ground should first and afore others receive the commodity of his increase. He putteth the virtuous preacher out of doubt, not preaching for that intent to make merchandise of the gospel, and giveth him to understand, that it is lawful for him to take of them whom he feedeth as his flock, what things soever he hath need of, and doth it not in begging or craving, but by good authority. It is manifest that it cannot in any place of the Holy Scripture be found that the preacher ought to beg. But begging is forbidden of all the apostles of Christ, and is abhorred of Solomon, and St. Augustine, and reproved by divers other holy men. Therefore it is manifest that the true apostles do not desire the temporal goods of them to whom they preach, neither do they beg or crave the same. They, therefore, that require any thing of them to whom they preach, or else set any other man to ask for them, or in their names, do not seem to be true apostles, but false preachers.
The nineteenth sign is, that true apostles are patient in tribulation, neither do they render evil for good: Matt. x., Behold, I send you as sheep among wolves. They that occupy the place of preaching ought not to procure any evil toward their brethren, as the example of Christ teacheth, 1 Pet. ii., saying, Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again, but did submit himself to him that judgeth justly. They, therefore, that suffer not injury, but rather do wrong themselves, are not true apostles, but false apostles.
The twentieth sign is, that true apostles at their first coming are evil entertained, as the Lord saith, Matt. xxiv., Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake; but yet at the length such get the victory, according to that saying of John, 1 Epist. v., Every thing that is of God overcometh the world. They, therefore, that in the beginning rejoice and are well entertained, but in the end are rejected, seem not to be true apostles, but false.
The twenty-first sign is, that true preachers go not to preach unto those which have preachers appointed unto them, because they have not to rejoice of a company belonging to another man's charge, as Rom. xv., I have preached the gospel where Christ was not before preached, lest I should build upon another man's foundation, And St. Paul saith, 1 Cor. x., We are no boasters, nor busy in other men's matters; where another man had laid the foundation. Likewise in the same chapter; Not having pleasure to boast of other men's labours; that is to say, of those which be committed to the government of another man. Likewise Augustine saith, Honour ought to seek thee, and not thou honour. Also Chrysostom, Authority is in love with such a man as refuseth her, and yet abhorreth her not. They, therefore, that procure and have a desire to preach unto the people committed to another man's charge, which is an office of honour, especially in councils, synods, and great assemblies, also in kings' and princes' courts, and prelates' palaces, are not true apostles, but false teachers.
The twenty-second sign is, that true apostles, when they know themselves to do much good in the church and congregation of God, yet, notwithstanding, are not puffed up with pride: Ezek. O son of man, I have made thy face as an adamant stone. The adamant stone, when it draweth iron unto it, is not thereby either lifted up or altered. Likewise, a true preacher, when he draweth sinners unto him by his preaching, (whose hearts were as hard as iron,) is never the more lifted up or higher minded therefore. But as in Luke xviii., When ye have done all that ye can, and as well as ye can, yet say that you are unprofitable servants. Psal. cxv., Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but to thy name be given the glory. They, therefore, that do arrogantly boast themselves of the fruit and benefit that they have done in the church of God, saying, We have given light to the universal church, which was blind before our time, and we have put out the flame of sin in the church of God, (when perhaps they have more furthered hypocrisy than either truth or verity,) they are not true prophets, but false, of whom it is spoken in the Psalms, The mouth of them that speak proud things, &c.
The twenty-third sign is, that true apostles do not seek the favour of the world, nor yet how to please men, as Gal. i., If I should please men, that is to say, if I had a desire to please men, I should not be the servant of God. Whereupon to Timothy, 1 Epist. ii., Not as men-pleasers; seeking to please, because we have not the pleasing spirit. Therefore those preachers that seek the favour of the world, and do labour to this intent that they might please men, are not true apostles, but false.
The twenty-fourth sign is, that true apostles, when they have meat and drink, they are contented, neither do they desire over-dainty fare, according to the saying of Matthew, chap. x., Eating and drinking those things that are set before them. The gospel condemneth not altogether costly and delicate fare, yet it so alloweth the same, that if we have meat and drink, we ought not to grudge, but to be therewith contented. Therefore those preachers which, although that neither they be sent, nor have authority to preach, and yet are offended when they have not fine and delicate fare, are not true apostles, but false preachers.
The twenty-fifth sign is, that true apostles do love more the law of God than their own estimation amongst their neighbours, according to that in Prov. vii., Keep my law as the apple of thine eye, and bind the same upon thy fingers, and write the same in the table of thy heart. Whereupon, in Psal. cxix., The law of thy mouth is dearer unto me than thousands of gold and silver. Charity doth more love the law of God, than to desire of gold and silver a thousandfold. He, therefore, that seeth the gospel of Christ trodden under foot, which is the eternal glad tidings, to be taken away by that cursed one, and doth neglect and contemn the same, or else, peradventure, consenteth unto the same, to the outward appearance of the world, and yet, because he will keep his temporal dignity and estimation, refuseth to stir up strife and contention about the same, and so to be evil spoken of, seemeth not to be an apostle of Christ, but rather a false prophet, if he be a preacher.
The twenty-sixth sign is, that true apostles seek not after such fine lodgings and wealthy habitations, where they may have all things at their commandments; but rather such honest resting-places where they may have necessary things for themselves, with their good wills of whom they have it. And they take nothing of such whom they see to be so ready and liberal in giving, nor think that they do him more pleasure in receiving the gift, than the other do in giving them the same. According to that in Matt. x., saying, Into what city or town soever ye shall enter, inquire out those that be of good report in the same, and abide you with them so long as you tarry in the same city or town. Your host, with whom ye lodge, ought to be chosen by the good report of neighbours, lest your preaching be evil spoken of by reason of his infamy. Neither ought such men to run from house to house. Butwhom shall we call worthy of good report? Him who knoweth better to do other men good, than to receive a good turn of another. And this is he which giveth willingly for Christ's cause, and not in respect of any commodity. Also true apostles receive nothing of such men as lie weltering in their sins, but rather of those that are washed and cleansed from their sins; whereupon 2 Cor. vii., They have given themselves first to the Lord; because they now, amending their old errors and vicious manners, have vowed themselves unto the Lord, and afterward gave of that which they had to their brethren; for otherwise they ought not to have taken any thing of them, because gifts do blind the eyes: but those that give where there is no cause of reproof in their doings have just cause to give. Therefore those preachers that seek how to come by dainty fare, and do receive bribes and rewards of naughty men that have this world at will, to the intent that those preachers may cover and hide their faults, and get of others what they can by subtlety, which give indeed to remove the shameless importunity of the craver, or else for avoiding of present shame, rather than for any love they have to God, are not true apostles, but false prophets, according to that in 2 Cor. ix., The Lord doth love a willing giver. He that giveth for present shame, or else for that he may be free from the importunity of him that asketh, doth lose his substance and merit; wherefore he that hath respect to these things doth not seek the fruit and profit of the giver, but the gift itself; as the apostle to the Philippians, chap. iv., saith, Seek not the gift, but the fruit or benefit of the giver.
The twenty-seventh sign is, that true apostles do not endeavour themselves to seek and enjoy the fruit of other men's labours that they may be fed thereby, because that the belly is such men's god, according to that in 2 Thess. We have heard of some amongst you which walk inordinately, not labouring at all, but living delicately or idly; of other men's labours; and deserve they to be fed? The discipline of the Lord cannot away with that doing; for the belly is their god which provide to have more than necessary dishes of meat. Therefore those preachers which so do are no true apostles, but false.
The twenty-eighth sign is, that true apostles do not rejoice only of the miracles or other excellent works which the Lord doth by them; but they rejoice rather of the salvation which they look for from the Lord, than that by doing those miracles they desire any honour; according to that which is written in Luke x., saying, Rejoice ye not for that the spirits be subject unto you, but because your names are registered in heaven. They, therefore, that boast of their own miracles, or of any that belong unto them, for this cause, that they are saved by the doing of them, as many do say, seem not to be true apostles, but false.
The twenty-ninth sign is, that the true apostles do never seek their own glory in this life, but the glory of Christ; as in John vii., He that speaketh of himself doth seek his own glory, but he that seeketh the glory of him which sent him (that is, of whom he is sent) is a true apostle. Therefore those which seek the things that pertain to the glory of this world, of the which one is to be assistant to those that bear rule and authority, according to that saying of Boetius, De Consolatione, Those that do desire to be extolled, either they reign and bear rule themselves, or else do desire to be near about them that have such dominion. Another is, they desire to have the fame and victory of that which they have nothing at all deserved before God. Whereupon is written that saying of the apostle, in Gal. v., Let not us become desirous of vain-glory. To be desirous of vain-glory is to have victory without any merit or desert; and those, I say, that do such things, seem not to be true apostles, but false.
The thirtieth sign is, that true apostles care not for the solemnities of men, neither their salutations, nor feastings, nor any other benefit of theirs. They therefore which love and seek the company and fellowship of men, their feastings, and other their commodities, do not seem to be true apostles, but false.
The thirty-first sign is, that true apostles do not commonly resort to other men's tables, lest that they should for a meal's meat become flatterers, as in 2 Thess. iii., That we should give an example to follow us. He that cometh oftentimes to another man's table, being given to idleness, cannot choose to flatter him which feedeth him; but Christ's religion calleth men to liberty, and to no such bondage; they therefore that resort oftentimes, and that of their own minds, to other men's tables, (living idly,) are not true apostles, but false.
The thirty-second sign is, that true apostles do not hate their enemies, and such as hate them; which doctrine the Lord taught, Matt. v., saying, Love your enemies, do well to them which hate you; but false prophets do hurt and defame their neighbours, according as Jeremiah saith, chap. xiv., The prophets of Jerusalem have defiled the whole earth. They are not contented to hurt their neighbours only, but also whom they before this time have hated they defame and speak evil of in every place they come; therefore those preachers which hate them whom they think are their enemies, and do defame them, are not true apostles, but false preachers.
The thirty-third sign is, that false prophets, when they are examined and proved whether they be true apostles or liars, take that very grievously, and persecute all those that can prove them to be so, and also do stir up and provoke others to persecute the same men, which also join themselves together by secular power, even as certain false prophets did in the primitive church against the bishop of Ephesus, to whom the Lord said, Apoc. ii, I know, that is to say, I do allow, thy works and thy labour, that is, thy tribulation, because thou canst not away with those that be evil men; but that thou hast a desire to amend them, or else to expel them, and hast examined those which say that they are apostles, and are but liars, and also hast suffered this patiently. The evils which these false prophets, joined together by secular power, do bring in, are not the doings of true apostles, but false prophets.
The thirty-fourth sign is, that true apostles go not to preach to those which are converted already by other men, but rather do convert those which are not yet converted, lest that they should build upon another man's foundation, as St. Paul, Rom. xv., saith, I have laboured so, that from Jerusalem to Illyricus I have replenished the gospel in every place; that is, I have preached the same abundantly, in whom the great virtue of the Holy Ghost appeareth, because so many nations, that is, the Gentiles, have received the gospel by me preaching. But I have preached the gospel there where Christ was not preached before, lest I should build, upon another man's foundation. I should not preach to those that were converted by another man. Also 2 Cor. x., We are not such as boast and glory in other men's labours; where another man laid the foundation, for that should be to boast inordinately. Also in the same place, Not thinking to boast where another man hath government, but in those things which are put in experience. Of other preachers; because the apostle did preach to those to whom the gospel was never preached, that he might get praise by his own proper labour. Therefore those preachers which go not to that people which have need to be converted, but to those which are converted already, which have apostles of their own, that is to say, bishops and priests, and yet do boast over another man's flock, are not true apostles, but false prophets.
The thirty-fifth sign is, because true apostles, when they are sent, go to their own diocess, and not to another man's diocess, even as Paul, being sent, went to the Gentiles when he purposed to preach: Acts xiii., Separate Paul and Barnabas for the business which I have chosen them unto. According to the appointment and decree of James, Cephas, and John, went he forth to be a teacher unto the Gentiles. But those preachers that stand upon their feet, that is to say, those preachers which have but small worldly substance, for which cause they are more ready to go which way soever it shall please the Lord to send them, I say, the Lord hath sent them to preach, not to those which be sufficiently learned, but to those that are infidels, as we read in Ezek. ii., After that the spirit of the Lord set Ezekiel upon his feet, and he said unto him, O son of man, behold, I send thee to the nations which which have start back from their profession, which have gone from me; that is, to the Jewish heretics, and to those nations which sometime have been Christians, as the Egyptians, the Babylonians, and all those that observe the law of Mahomet. Therefore, if such go to those that are already instructed, having both apostles, bishops, and priests of their own, they go not into their own diocess, but into another man's diocess, and are not true apostles, but false preachers. And it is greatly to be feared, lest the church be in hazard and danger by such, unless they be thrust out of the same betime; even as Jonas, when he was sent to Nineveh of the Lord, which is interpreted large or wide, and leadeth to the hill, that is, to the infidels we spake of before: They go not to those infidels, according to the commandment of the Lord, but they turn another way, take their journey into Tarshish, which is interpreted, seeking after joy and pleasure; that is, they go unto those which receive them with joy and gladness, and do well provide for them, that is to say, to godly and devout Christians; and therefore it is to be feared, lest the ship in which they be (that is, the church) be in great peril, unless they be thrown forth. And therefore the apostle spake of such false prophets not without good cause, 2 Tim. And shun thou those; that is, such men as those be.
The thirty-sixth sign is, because true apostles do not boast, neither do they attribute unto themselves any other thing, but in that God hath wrought the same by them. Paul, Rom. xv., saith, I dare not say any thing but that which Christ hath wrought and accomplished by me; that is, I speak only those things which by me, that is, by my ministry, Christ hath wrought. They therefore that boast of many things, and do attribute much unto themselves which they never did, are not true apostles, but false prophets.
The thirty-seventh sign is, that true apostles do not apply themselves or lean at logical or philosophical reasons. Therefore those preachers which do endeavour themselves to such kind of reasons, are not true apostles, but false prophets.
The thirty-eighth sign is, that true apostles do not love carnally or after the flesh, but hate what thing soever doth resist them in the service of God; as Luke xiv., He that doth not hate his father and mother, his son, and sister, and also himself, he cannot be my disciple; that is, he that doth not hate whatsoever doth resist or let him in the service of God, is not worthy to be a disciple, neither can he abide in that office. Therefore forasmuch as true preachers are the true disciples of the Lord, it must needs follow that those preachers which do promote their nephews and kinsfolk, how unworthy soever they be, to ecclesiastical promotions and livings, contrary to the will of God, or do any other thing that letteth or hindereth them in the service of God, are not true apostles, but false prophets.
The thirty-ninth sign is, that true apostles do not hunt for the friendship of this world, for he that is the friend of this world is the enemy of God; therefore those preachers which purchase the friendship of this world are not true apostles, but false prophets. Therefore forasmuch as the Scripture is infallible, as in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, saying, Heaven and earth shall perish, but my words shall endure for ever; and the Holy Ghost which spake in the apostles cannot lie; for prophecy (for the most part) is not spoken by the will of man, but the holy men of God spake by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, as it is read in the First Epistle of Peter, the first chapter; it remaineth that all men which are bound to defend the church may rise up in the defence of the same, according unto that in the twenty-fourth chapter of Proverbs, Deliver those that are led to death, and cease thou not to rescue those which are drawn to destruction. Neither may he allege vain accusations, because it is said in the same place, If he say he is not able or strong enough, he that beholdeth the thoughts of men's hearts shall know it, &c. Whatsoever perisheth in the church of God for want of preachers, all that shall be demanded of them in the day of judgment; as Jacob confesseth to Laban, whose sheep he fed, Gen. xxxi., I did restore all the loss, and that which was stolen I made answer for. I will demand his blood at thy hands, Ezek. iii. This is said to the pastor or prelate. But if the other things which we have spoken of before could not move the prelates and cardinals, this at the least should move them; because that then the spiritual power, which doth consist for the most part in the exercise of preaching, in hearing confessions, and enjoining of penance, shall be taken away from them by little and little, for by piecemeal doth the wolf devour the poor and needy man; quest. 3. chap. 1. When the authority ecclesiastical therefore shall be quite taken from them, and disposed to others, such as either by their order or apostolical grant do challenge to have the same, then doubtless shall neither the jurisdiction of civil causes and pleadings, nor any authority that such prelates have yet remaining, neither yet the possessions of the temporal goods of the church, any longer remain amongst them. Shall such have the temporal goods of the church which minister not the spiritual treasure thereof? 1 Cor. ix., Know ye not that they which kill the sacrifice ought to eat of the sacrifice? and they that serve at the altar are partakers of the altar? For as the body without the soul cannot stand; so corporal things without spiritual things cannot continue, 1. q. 1, if any shall take away the same. Thus have you had the thirty-nine arguments, for the which both he, the said Gulielmus, was condemned and his books burned.
In the days of this Gulielmus there was a most detestable and blasphemous book set forth by the friars, which they called, The everlasting Gospel, or the Gospel of the Holy Ghost. In which book many abominable errors of the friars were contained, so that the gospel of Jesus Christ was utterly defaced, which, this book said, was not to be compared with this everlasting gospel, no more than the shell is to be compared with the kernel, than darkness to light, &c. Moreover, that the gospel of Christ shall be preached no longer but fifty years, and then this everlasting gospel should rule the church, &c. Item, that whatsoever was in the whole Bible was in the said gospel contained. At length this friars' gospel was accused to the pope, and so six persons chosen of the whole university to peruse and judge of the book; as Christianus Canonicus Balvacensis, Odo de Doaco, Nicolaus de Baro, Johannes de Sicca Villa Anglus, Johannes Belim a Gaul. Among whom this Gulielmus was one, who mightily impugned this pestiferous and devilish book. These six, after the perusing of the book, were sent up to Rome. The friars likewise sent their messengers withal, where they were refuted, and the errors of the book condemned; but so that the pope with the cardinals commanded the said book to be abolished and condemned not publicly, (tendering the estimation of the religious orders, as of his own most chief champions,) but that they should be burned in secret wise, and the books of the foresaid Gulielmus to be burned withal.
Besides other his books, two sermons we have of his yet remaining; one upon the Gospel of St. Luke, of the Pharisee and the publican, the other upon the Epistle read in the church on May-day; where, in the first he resembleth the Pharisees to our monks, and that he proveth by all the properties of the Pharisees described in the gospel. The publican he resembled to the laity, such as because the sooner they are reduced to acknowledge their sins, the more hope they have of mercy. The other, because they stand confident in their own righteousness, are therefore further from their justification. In the latter sermon he setteth forth and declareth what perils and dangers be like to fall upon the church by these religious orders of monks and friars.
Among the other besides of that age, which withstood the bishop of Rome and his antichristian errors, was one Lawrence, an Englishman, and master of Paris; another was Petrus Johannes, a Minorite. Of whom the foresaid Lawrence was about the year of our Lord 1260, who in his teaching, preaching, and writing did stoutly defend the part of the aforesaid Gulielmus and the rest of his side against the friars. Against the which friars he wrote two books; one in the defence of William aforementioned; the other upon this argument and title, To beware of false prophets, &c. Certain other things also he wrote, wherein by divers proofs and testimonies he argued and proved that antichrist was nor far off to come.
The other, Petrus Johannes, was about the year of our Lord 1290, which taught and maintained many things against the pope, proving that he was antichrist, and that the synagogue of Rome was great Babylon. He wrote upon Matthew, upon the Epistles, and upon the Apocalypse. Mention of this Petrus Johannes is made in Nicolaus Emeritus, in libr. Inquisitionum, &c. And he saith moreover, that Michael Cesenas (of whom, Christ willing, shall follow hereafter) took of him a great part of his opinions; and because the pope could not burn him alive, after his death he caused his bones to be taken up and burned.
To these, and with these above specified, is to be added Robertus Gallus, who being born of a right noble parentage, for devotion sake was made a Dominic friar, about the same year of our Lord above touched, A.D. 1290. This man, as appeareth by his writing, had divers and sundry visions, whereof part is annexed with the visions and prophecy of Hildegardis. His visions all tend against the spirituality of Rome, where in the first chapter he calleth plainly the pope an idol, which having eyes seeth not, neither lusteth to see the abominations of his people, nor the excessive enormity of their voluptuousness, but only to see to the heaping up of his own treasure; and having a mouth speaketh not, but saith, I have set good men over them (which is sufficient for me) to do them good, either by myself or by some other. And it followeth in the same chapter, Woe to that idol! woe to the mighty and proud! Who shall be equal in all the earth to that idol? He that exalted up his name in earth, saying, Who shall bring me under? Is not my house compared with the mighty potentates of the land? I am higher than dukes; knights on their horseback do service unto me; that which my fathers had not before me, that have I done to me. My house is strewed with silver; gold and pearl are the pavement of my palace, &c.
Again in the twelfth chapter, and also in the first, under the name of a serpent he painteth out the pope, whom he declareth to extol himself above measure, and to oppress the few that be godly, and to have many false prophets about him, which, neglecting the word and name of Christ, do preach and extol him only, obscuring the name of Christ. The Church of Rome and the pope he describeth in these words: I was praying (said he) on my knees, looking upward to heaven near to the altar of St. James in Paris, on the right side of the altar, and saw in the air before me the body of a certain high bishop all clothed in white silk, who, turning his back on the east, lift up his hand towards the west, as the priests are wont in their mass, turning to the people, but his head was not seen. And as I was considering advisedly, whether he had any head or no, I perceived a certain head in him all dry, lean, and withered, as though it had been a head of wood. And the Spirit of the Lord said to me, This signifieth the state of the Church of Rome.
Moreover, the same author in his visions, well describing the manner of the school sophisters and Sorbonists, addeth in this wise: Another day, as I was in like contemplation as before, I beheld in spirit, and, behold, I saw a man apparelled like to the other before, which went about having fine bread and excellent wine that hanged about him on both sides; and the same, having in his hand a long and a hard flintstone, was gnawing hungerly upon the same, as one being hungry is wont to bite upon a loaf of bread; out of which stone came two heads of two serpents, the Spirit of the Lord instructing me, and saying, This stone purporteth the frivolous, intricate, and curious questions, wherein the hungry do travail and labour, leaving the substantial food of their souls. And I asked what these two heads did mean. And he said, The name of the one is vain-glory, the name of the other is the marring and dissipating of religion.
Also concerning reformation of the church, this vision he declareth: It happened as I was (saith he) in the same city in the house of a certain nobleman,a Briton, and was there speaking with certain, I saw a cross of silver very bright, much like to the cross of the earl of Toulouse. But the twelve apples which did hang beside in the arms of the cross were very vile, like the apples which the sea is wont to cast up. And I said, What is this, Lord Jesus? And the Spirit answered me, This cross which thou seest is the church, which shall be clear and bright in pureness of life, and shall be heard and known all over through the shrill voice of the preaching of sincere verity. Then, being troubled with the apples, I asked what these apples so vile did signify. And he said, It is the humiliation of the church, &c.
This godly man did forewarn (as in a certain chronicle is declared) how God would punish the simony and avarice of the clergy with such a plague, that rivers should run with blood, &c. It is said that there is remaining a great volume of his visions which are not yet abroad, for these that be abroad are but a brief extract out of his visions and revelations.