Volume. XXXIV, No. 33
Sunday, 16 February 2020

John Wyclif (Part 3)

Wyclif had fully counted the cost, and weighed the consequences of his actions.  He knew that his life would be endangered.  He says, for instance, in “Trialogus,”We have no need to go among the heathen in order to die a martyr’s death. We have only to preach persistently the law of Christ in the hearing of Caesar’s [Pope’s] prelates, and instantly we shall have a flourishing martyrdom, if we hold out in faith and patience”.[1]

  • Through the efforts of Wyclif’s “poor preachers” and others, the Scriptures were circulated and their pages opened to the delighted view of many thousands of fellow countrymen. These “poor priest” or “Lollards” lived in poverty and preached the Gospel to the people. They carried the torch of the English Bible from the 14th to the 16th Through their incessant labours, the people were led to see that the Church of Rome had corrupted the faith once delivered unto the saints, and they cast off the superstitions of their forefathers.
  • In the last two years of his life, Wyclif devoted himself to writing. Ann Hudson of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford has identified 132 writings of Wyclif, some 82 in Latin and the remainder in English.  Many of these works were found in Bohemia. 
  • In 1401, Jerome of Prague returned home from Oxford, bearing with him a painting which he hung in his rooms showing Wyclif as the Prince of Philosophers, and also a copy of ‘Triologus’ written out with his own hand. ‘Young men.’ Said he, ‘who do not study the works of Wyclif will never find true knowledge.’  Soon afterwards John Huss, Jerome’s fellow reformer and martyr, translated the treatise into Czech with striking results in Bohemia.  Over a century later Martin Luther possessed a copy written about 1400.
  • The last large work attempted by Wyclif was his “Opus Evangelicum” on the “Sermon on the Mount”.
  • Come with me in your sanctified imagination to the little Rectory at Lutterworth as the Master writes his last pages in a silence broken only by the scratching of a quill pen and the fall of ashes in the hearth. The lofty brow careworn by study and suffering, the left leg shrunken and lame, the trembling active eager hand, the whole figure broken prematurely by misfortune, yet indomitable, following the lone dictates of conscience to the end.
  • His final work, was divided into two parts, of which the last two were entitled “de Antichristo” and were in fact never completed, for the copyist signed his manuscript in Latin “the Author’s life finished with this work.”
  • The first two books were devoted to quotations, homilies and comments on the “Beatitudes” taken from the Fathers, notably from the Wyclif’s favourites, Augustine and Grosseteste. In the sections under “Antichrist” he attacked hypocrisy beginning with the Bishop of Rome and so down through the various blind guides of the Church, repeating with clarity and power Christ’s denunciation ‘Woe unto you, Pharisees, hypocrites!
  • Like Luther at the Diet of Worms, he remained unshaken, declaring that ‘if there were a hundred Popes, and every Friar a Cardinal, their opinions on matters of faith, were only to be accepted in so far as they agreed with Scripture.2
  • He asserted the total sufficiency and authority of ‘God’s Law,’ as he called the Bible, to meet every contingency. So much so that when John Huss came to copy this treatise he called it ‘de sufficientia Legis Dei.’
  • Wyclif ended by declaring that he was willing to be taught the truth according to Scripture, but otherwise he was willing to face death as a martyr and so pass to bliss. In deep humility he confessed, ‘I am ignorant of much because of the loftiness of the subject, but in the Fatherland I shall see clearly the views about which now I only stammer.3
  • In answer to the interrogation of Archbishop Arundel, William Thorpe, a brave Lollard , described Wyclif as “the most virtuous and godly wise man that I heard of or knew.”4

John Wyclif spent his last days at Lutterworth in much weakness.  His indefatigable energy, a distinguishing feature of his character, had gradually worn out the material tabernacle of his body.  His personal character was unimpeachable, for even his enemies have not uttered a syllable against his personal character.


  • At the close of his life, he virtually had to be carried into his pulpit. Thorpe referred to Wyclif’s “emaciated frame, spare and well nigh destitute of strength”.5 He had had a stroke in 1382 from which he was lame, and together with severe rheumatism from which he sought relief by mustard plasters, it is clear he suffered greatly, especially as pain of mind from his God-given task overwhelmed him in distress.



[1]Trialogus,” lib. Iii., c.15, p.181

2 Lupton, p.158

3 Lupton, p.158

4 Lupton, p.80

5 Lupton, p.165


                                                                To be continued………………………….


More Lively Hope



  • Missions Team members thank Hopefuls for their prayers, encouragement & monetary support for their recent missions work in Batam & Phnom Penh.
  • Combined Ladies’ & Seniors’ Visitation on Sat, 29 Feb at 10:30 am. Please contact Dn Boong Atijatuporn or Sis Sally Law for details.
  • Easter Family Bible Camp registration forms available in the Foyer. Early Bird Special ends 15 Mar. Final registration 29 Mar. Please submit forms & payment to Sisters Jasmine Tanuwijaya or Sherilyn Wong.
  • Basic Bible Knowledge (Eng) class will start in March. Those looking for baptism or membership transfer are required to complete the class. Please contact Dn Kevin Low for details.
  • Serving Roster (Apr-Jun) – Please send your availability to hopebpcrosterer@gmail.com by Sun, 1 Mar.
  • Lunch Duty: Today: Next week: VFG.


Looking Ahead

  • Easter Family Bible Camp, 10 – 13 Apr.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence.
  • Church visitors & activities in the past week.
  • Journey mercies: Rev & Mrs Willy Ng & family (Adl); others who have travelled.



  • Healing: Rev George van Buuren; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); and others afflicted with sicknesses.
  • Missions – Bro Jose Mangco & family; House of Hope (Cebu).
  • Novel Coronavirus – those inflicted & affected.
  • Journey mercies: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (Perth); Rev & Mrs Willy Ng, Bro Noel Ng (S’pore); international students (Adl); others who are travelling.




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