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ANSWER OF WYCLIFFE TO RICHARD THE SECOND, AS TOUCHING THE RIGHT AND TITLE OF THE KING AND THE POPE. a - 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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ANSWER OF WYCLIFFE TO RICHARD THE SECOND,
In relation to the following document, Fox, the martyrologist,a writes:—
“It was demanded, whether the kingdom of England may lawfully, in case of necessity, for its own defence, detain and keep back the treasure of the kingdom, that it be not carried away to foreign and strange nations, the pope himself demanding and requiring the same, under pain of censure, and by virtue of obedience.”
Wycliffe thus answers:—
Setting apart the minds of learned men, and what might be said in the matter, either by the canon law, or by the law of England, or the civil law; it resteth now only to persuade and prove the affirmative part of this doubt, by the principles of Christ’s law. And first I prove it thus:—
Every natural body hath power given of God to resist against its contrary, and to preserve itself in due estate, as philosophers know very well. Insomuch, that bodies without life are endued with such kind of power (as it is evident) unto whom hardness is given, to resist those things that would break them, and coldness, to withstand the heat that dissolveth them. Forasmuch then, as the kingdom of England (after the manner and phrase of the Scriptures) ought to be one body, and the clergy with the commonalty the members thereof, it seemeth that the same kingdom hath such power given it of God; and so much the more apparently, by how much the same body is more precious unto God, adorned with virtue and knowledge. Forsomuch then as there is no power given of God unto any creature, for any end or purpose, but that he may lawfully use the same to that end and purpose, it followeth that our kingdom may lawfully keep back and detain their treasure for the defence of itself, in what case soever necessity do require the same.
Secondly, the same is proved by the law of the Gospel; for the pope cannot challenge the treasure of this kingdom, but under the title of alms, and consequently under the pretence of the works of mercy, according to the rule of charity.
But in the case aforesaid the title of alms ought utterly to cease: ergo, the right and title of challenging the treasure of our realm shall cease also in the presupposed necessity. Forsomuch as all charity hath his beginning of himself, it were no work of charity, but of mere madness, to send away the treasures of the realm into foreign nations, whereby the realm itself may fall into ruin, under the pretence of such charity.
It appeareth also by this, that Christ the head of the church, whom all Christian priests ought to follow, lived by the alms of devout women, Luke vii. 8. He hungered and thirsted, he was a stranger, and many other miseries he sustained, not only in his members, but also in his own body, as the apostle witnesseth, 2 Cor. viii., “He was made poor for your sakes, that through his poverty you might be rich.” Whereby in the first endowing of the church, whatsoever he were of the clergy that had any temporal possessions, he had the same by form of a perpetual alms, as both writings and chronicles do witness.
Whereupon St. Bernard, declaring in his second book to Eugenius, that he could not challenge any secular dominion by right of succession, as being the vicar of St. Peter, writeth thus: “That if Saint John should speak unto the pope himself as St. Bernard doth unto Eugenius, were it to be thought that he would take it patiently? But let it be so, that you do challenge it unto you by some other ways or means; but truly by any right or title apostolical, you cannot so do; for how could he give unto you that which he had not himself? That which he had he gave you, that is to say, care over the church; but did he give you any lordship or rule? Hark what he saith: ‘Not bearing rule (saith he) as lords over the clergy, but behaving yourselves as examples to the flock.’ And because thou shalt not think it to be spoken only in humility, and not in verity, mark the word of the Lord himself in the Gospel: ‘The kings of the people do rule over them, but you shall not do so.’ ”
Here lordship and dominion is plainly forbidden to the apostles, and darest thou then usurp the same? If thou wilt be a lord, thou shalt lose thine apostleship: or if thou wilt be an apostle, thou shalt lose thy lordship: for truly thou shalt depart from the one of them. If thou wilt have both, thou shalt lose both, or else think thyself to be of that number, of whom God doth so greatly complain, saying, “They have reigned, but not through me; they are become princes, and I have not known it.” Now if it doth suffice thee to rule with the Lord, thou hast thy glory, but not with God. But if we will keep that which is forbidden us, let us hear what is said: “He that is the greatest amongst you (saith Christ) shall be made as the least; and he which is the highest, shall be as the minister;” and for example, he set a child in the midst of them.
So this then is the true form and institution of the apostles’ trade: lordship and rule is forbidden, ministration and service commanded.a
[a]Fox’s Acts and Monuments, i. 584.
[a]The reply of Wycliffe extends thus far, and does not end, as the use of a different type in Fox might lead one to suppose, with the preceding paragraph. Nor does the MS. end here. It is much more extended. Bodleran MSS. Fasciculus Zizaniorum.