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ADVERTISEMENT. - John Wyclife, Tracts and Treatises of John de Wycliffe 
Tracts and Treatises of John de Wycliffe, D.D. with Selections and Translations from his Manuscripts , and Latin Works. Edited for The Wycliffe Society, with an Introductory Memoir, by the Rev. Robert Vaughan, D.D. (London: Blackburn and Pardon, 1845).
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When it devolved on the Committee of the Wycliffe Society to decide on the subject of its first volume, they concluded that in effect that question was determined for them already by the illustrious name which the Society had adopted, and that they must commence the series with “The Tracts and Treatises of John de Wycliffe.”
They well knew that one of the corresponding members of the Society was, by his previous researches, more fully qualified to engage in the work of preparing such a volume, than probably any other writer in the kingdom: the Committee accordingly requested the Rev. Robert Vaughan, D.D., to undertake the task, and the present volume is the result. Its contents are divided into three parts: the first is biographical, containing facts and observations concerning the life of Wycliffe. The second part is analytical, supplying a critical account of the writings of Wycliffe that are still in manuscript, with numerous extracts, and also a notice of the Trialogus, with a translation from the original Latin of the more important chapters of that treatise; whilst the third part may be called bibliothecal, as it contains those tractates of the Reformer which have been already printed at different periods, and in various forms.
The first part therefore includes all that is known concerning the personal history of the Reformer, the result of a most laborious, extensive, and repeated examination of the extant writings of Wycliffe, and of all other materials which could be made available for the purpose.
Respecting the second part, Dr. Vaughan has thus written: “In the extracts presented in the first section of the first book, I have not retained every obsolete word, and in a few instances, an illegible or obscure sentence has been omitted; but those passages exhibit throughout, the substantial and idiomatic language of the Reformer, and cannot fail to make precisely that impression on the reader, which would be made by them if read from the original manuscript. It has not appeared to me necessary, or desirable, that I should affect greater accuracy in that portion of the work.
“The catalogue of the Reformer’s writings, in the next section, has been revised with much care, and will be found less imperfect than any one previously published. I speak of this catalogue as being only less imperfect than those which have preceded it, because no man acquainted with the subject can expect to see a perfect account of the writings of Wycliffe, distinguishing satisfactorily between the extant and the non-extant, and between the works certainly written by the Reformer, and those attributed to him on probable evidence only. In this connexion, the obscure and uncertain may be diminished, but can never be wholly removed. In the hope of giving more completeness to this section, I have re-examined many of the Wycliffe manuscripts within the last year.
“There are two editions of the Trialogus: one printed without the name of the place or of the printer, in 1525; the other printed at Frankfort, in 1753. The latter is a reprint from the former. In both, the errors of punctuation and typography are frequent, and the man who shall attempt any extended translation of the contents of that work, will be the least disposed to pass a hasty censure on this portion of my labour. That I have succeeded in giving the precise meaning of the author, in every instance, especially in the scholastic and metaphysical portions of his argument, is more than I dare promise myself; but I am satisfied that the reader may confide in the general accuracy of the translation, and that, judging of the doctrine taught in the Trialogus, from the chapters given in the volume, he will be safe from all material error. Some chapters and parts of chapters even in this fourth book have been omitted, but the translations are complete on the subjects to which they relate.”
In reference to the contents of the third part, it is only necessary to add, that the treatise “Against the order of Begging Friars,” and the next, intitled “A Complaint to the King and Parliament,” were printed in Oxford in 1608, and edited by Dr. James, from which impression they are now reprinted. The piece intitled, “The Wyckett,” is printed from the Norembergh edition of 1545; and the tract, “Why Poor Priests have no Benefices,” and the other fragments, are transcribed from the first edition of Lewis’s Life of Wycliffe, and Fox’s Acts and Monuments.
It may be expedient to state in conclusion, that while the present volume is, in its typographical and general character, a fair specimen of those that will succeed it, yet in a literary point of view, it must to a great extent be regarded as introductory and unique.
Nearly five centuries have passed away since Wycliffe flourished; and the spitefulness of rivals and the malignity of persecutors, the dim shadows of succeeding ages, the progress of the English language, and successive revolutions in the manners and maxims of society, have all combined to render the writings of the Reformer obscure, and to require the labours of an editor who would scrupulously examine and faithfully expound them. In succeeding volume, the reader will find, according to the original plan of the Wycliffe Society, more of the author, and less of the editor; but in the present, the prominence of the editor was unavoidable; and the reader will doubtless feel happy in the company of so competent and experienced a guide.
Robert Ashton. } Secretaries.
John Blackburn. }