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674 [674]

K. Henry. 4. The Sermon of R. Wimbeldon, preached at Paules Crosse.

dation neyther vpon the scripture, nor yet vpon reason: simple men ought to bid them farewell. Also, that when all the Apostles fayth failed them in the time of the lords passion, fayth then rested in the blessed virgine: muche more myghte that proude priest of Rome wyth all hys rabble, easily erre in the fayth, and yet is the Christian faith preserued whole and safe, in the faithfull members of Christ, whiche are his true churche: But the pope and all his rablement, cannot proue that they be any part of this church. MarginaliaThe pope and his cardinalls no part of the true churchAlso, that the pope withall his fautors, may as welbe deceaued by a lyeng spirite, as was Achab and all his Prophetes: & that one true Prophete, as was Micheas, may haue the veritie shewed vnto him contra auxilium. Also, that all good christians ought to cast frō thē the Popes lawes, saying: Let vs breake their bandes in sūder, and let vs cast from our neckes, those heuy yokes of theirs. MarginaliaThe Canon lawe full of heresies.Also, that where these prelates do burne one good boke, for one errour perhaps contayned in þe same: they ought to burne all the bookes of the Canon law, for the manifold heresies contained in them. ¶ And thus much out of a certaine old written boke in parchmēt borowed once of I. B. which boke conteinyng diuers auncient recordes of the vniuersitie, semed to haue belong somtimes, to the librarie of the sayd vniuersitie: bearing the yeare of the compilyng therof. 1396. Whiche computation if it be true, then was it written of him, or that he recanted before Thomas Arundell Archbishop, at Saltwood, where he was imprisoned.  

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Wimbledon's sermon

Thomas Wimbledon's Paul's Cross sermon, preached in 1387 or 1388, was circulated widely in manuscript in the late Middle Ages. Its apocalyptic tenor and impassioned call for clerical reform caught the imagination of English evangel-icals, anxious to find evidence of the True Church before Luther. These evangelicals believed that Wimbledon's sermon - and it is important to remember that they did not know that Wimbledon was the author - was a Lollard work. The sermon was first printed by an evangelical, John Maylor, sometime around 1541. (For evangelical interest in this sermon and its early printing history, see Alexandra Walsham, 'Inventing the Lollard Past: The Afterlife of a Medieval Sermon in Early Modern England', Journal of Ecclesiastical History 58 [2007], pp. 628-655). There were five editions of the sermon printed before Foxe's 1563 edition. In his first edition, however, Foxe reprinted the first edition of the sermon. This can be seen in the fact that - most unusually - reprinted most of the marginal notes, as well as the text, of this edition. However, Foxe made a careless error: he reprinted the title page of the work, but where the title page stated that the sermon was preached in MCCCLXXXVII, Foxe stated that it was preached in 1388. In the 1563 edition, Foxe tentatively speculated that the sermon was authored by John Wiclif. While working in the records of Archbishop William Courtenay between the 1563 and 1570 edition, Foxe discovered 'an old worne copy' of the work and learned that it had been written by Richard Wimbledon. Foxe printed his discovery in the 1570 edition, replacing the sixteenth century version he had reprinted in 1563. He also identified Wimbledon as the author. Interestingly, as Alexandra Walsham has observed, although Foxe knew that the sermon was preached around 1388, he printed it just after the account of William Thorpe, thereby subtly associating Wimbledon's sermon with persecution and martyrdom. The 1570 version of the sermon, and its placement, were repeated in all subsequent editions of Foxe.

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Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

Wherunto I thought also to annexe, a certaine godly and most frutefull Sermon, of like antiquitie, preached at Paules crosse much about the same time, which was in the yere of our Lord. 1388. by a certaine learned clerke, as I finde in one olde monument, named R. Wimbeldon. Albeit, among the auncient registers and recordes belongyng to the Archbishop of Canterburye: I haue an olde worne copye of the sayd Sermon, written in very old English, and almost halfe consumed with age: purporting þe sayd autor hereof bearing also the foresayd name. The true copy of whiche Sermon, in his owne speache wherin it was first spoken and preached at the crosse, on the sonday of quinquagesima, and after exhibited to the Archbishop of Cāterbury (beyng then as it semeth William Courtney) here foloweth.

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¶ A Sermon no lesse godly then learned, preached at Paules Crosse on the sonday of Quinquagesima. an 1389. by R, Wimbeldon.
Redde rationem villicationis tuæ. Luce. xvi.

MarginaliaMath. xx.
The sermō of R. Wimbeldon.
MY dere frēds, ye shullen vnderstond: that Christ autor and doctour of trueth, in his booke of the Gosppel (likening the kingdome of heuen to an housholder) sayth on this maner. Like is the kyngdom of heuen to an housholding mā, that went out first on the morow to hyre workemen into his vyne. Also, about the thyrd, sixt, nyenth and enleuente houres he went out, and foūd men stonding idel. And said to thē. Go ye into myn vine yerde, and that right is, I wille geue you. Whan the day was agoo, he clepid his stuward and high to geue eche man a peny.

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MarginaliaThe calling of God is diuers.The spirituall vnderstōdyng of this housholder, is our lord Iesu Christ that is hed of the houshold of holy church. And thus clepith mē in diuerce houres of þe day, that is in diuerce agees of the world. As in tyme of law of kinde, he cleped by enspiryng Abel, Ennok, Noe, and Abraham. In tyme of the old law, Moses, Dauid, Isay, and Ieremy. And in tyme of grace, Apostles, Martyrs, and Confessours and Virgines. Also he cleped men in diuers agees, some on childhode, as Iohn Baptist: some on state of wexing, as Iohn the Euangelist: some in state of manhoode, as Peter and Andrew: and some on old agee as Gamaliel, and Ioseph of Arimathie. And all these he clepeth to trauaile on his vyne, that is the church, and that on diuers maner. For right as ye seeth, that in tillyng of þe material vyne ther ben diuers laboures, for som kutten awey the voyde braūches, some maken forkis and railes to beren vp the vyne, and some diggen away the olde earth fro the rote, and leyn there fatter. And all this offices ben so necessary to the vine, that if any of them faile, it shal harme greatly, other destroy the vyne: For but if the vyne be kutte, she shall waxe wilde, but if she by rayled she shall be ouergo with thistels and wedis. And but if the rote be fatted with donge, shee for feblenes shuld waxe barayne.

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But so in the churche beth nedefull thes thre offices, priesthood,knythode, and laborers. To priesthode it falleth, to kut away þe void braunches of sinnes with the swerde of her tong. To knyghthode it falleth to letten wronges, and thefftes to ben done, & to maintayne Goddis law, and them that ben techers therof, and also to kepe the londe from enemies of other londes. And to laboureres it falleth, to trauail bodelych. & with ther sore swete, getē out of þe earth bodilich lifelode for hem, & other parties. And these states beth also nedefull to the churche, þt none may well ben without other, for if priesthod lacked, þe people for default of knowing of Gods lawe should waxe wild in vices & deyen gostely. And if þe knithod laked, & mē to rulyn the puple by law and hardinesse, theues and enemies shulden so encres þt no man shuld liue in peace. And if the labbeers wer nought, both knightes & priestes must bycome acre men and herdis: and els, they shuld for defaute of bodily sustenance deye. And therfore sayth clerk Auicenne, þt euery vnreasonable best if he haue that kynd hath ordeined for hym: as kinde hath ordeined: he is suffisaunce to lyue by him selfe wtout any helpe of other of the same kynd. As if there were but one hors other one shepe in þe world, if he had grasse and corne as kynd hath ordeyned for such bestes: he shuld lyue well I now. But if there ne were but O mā in þe world, though he had all that good that is there in it, for default he shuld deye or his lyfe shuld be wors than if he were nought, & the cause is this for thing that kinde ordeineth for a mans sustenaunce, without other arrayeng than it hoth of kind, accordeth nought to him As though a mā haue corne as it cometh frō the earth, yet it is no mete according to him, vnto it be by mās craft, chaūged into bred: and though he haue flesh other fish, yet while it is rawe as kynde ordeyned it, till it be by mans trauaile sodyen, tosted, or baken, it cordit not to mans lifelode. And right so, wolle þt the shep bereth mot by mannis diuers craftis & trauailes be chaunged or it be able to cloth any man: and certis O man by him selfe, shuld neuer do all these laboures. And therfore saith this clerke, it is nede that some be acre men, some bakers, some makers of cloth, and some marchaunts to fetche that, that on londe fetteth from an other there it is plentie.

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And certis this shuld bee a cause why, euery state shuld loue other. And men of o craft shuld not dispise ne hate men of none other craft, sith they be so nedefull euerich to other. And oft thelke craftes that be most vnhonest, might worst ben forbore: and o thyng I dare well say that he that is neither trauailyng in this world, on studieng, on prayers, on preaching, for helpe of the people as it falleth to priests, neyther ruling the people, mainteinyng ne defending fro enemyes as it falleth to knights, neyder traueling on the earth, in diuerse craftes, as it falleth to labourers: Whan the day of rekening commeth that is, the end of thys life, ryght as he liued here withoutē traualle, so he shall there lacke the reward of the penye, that is, the indles ioye of heauē. And as he was here liuing after none state ne order, so he shall be put than in that place that no order is in, but euerlasting horror and sorow, that is in hell. Herfore, eueriche man se to what state God hath cleped him, and dwell he therin by trauaile accordyng to his degree. Thou þt art a laborer or a crafty mā, do this truelly. If thou art a seruaunt or a bond mā, be suget and lowe in drede of displeasing of thy Lord: If thou art a marchaunt, disceyue nought thy brother in chafferyng. MarginaliaIoh. x.
ii. Cor. vij
i. Pet. ij.

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If thou art a knight or a Lord, defend the poore man and needy fro handes that wyll harme them. If thou art a Iustice or a Iudge, go not on the right hand by fauour, neyther on the left hand, to punish any man for hate. Marginaliai. Thes. iiij.
Prou. viij.
ij. Tim. iiij.
If thou art a priest, vndernime, praye, repreue, in all maner patience and doctrine. Vndernime tho that ben negligent, pray for thylke þt bene obedient, reproue tho that ben vnobedient to God. So euery man trauayle in hys degree. For whā the euen is come, that is, the end of thys worlde: than euerye man shall take reward, good or euyll, after that he hath trauayled here.

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The wordes that I haue taken to make of my sermon, be thus muche to say: Yelde reconyng of thy bayly. Christ autour of pitye and louer of the saluatiō of hys people, in the proces of this gospell enfourmeth euery man what is hys baylye, by maner of a parable of a bayly that he speaketh of, to aray hym to answer of the goodes that God hath taken hym, when the day of straight reconing shall be come, that is the day of dome. And so I at thys tyme thorowe the helpe of God, folowing hym that is so great a maister of autoritie, because that I know nothyng that should more drawe away mans vnreasonable loue fro the passing ioy of thys world, then the mynde of the dreadfull reconing. As much as suffice, I shall shewe you how ye shall dispose you to auoide then the vengeance of God, when ther shalbe time of so straight doome, that we shall geue reconing of euery idle word that we haue ispokē. MarginaliaNota.For than it shal be sayd to vs, and we shall not flee it: Yelde reconyng of thy baylye.

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But for other proces of this fyrst party of this sermon, ye shall wete: that there shall be three baylifes that shall bee cleped to thys straight reconing. Twaine to answer for them selfe and for other, that bene priestes that haue cure of mens soules, and temporall that haue gouernayle of people: and the thirde baylyf shall acount onely for himselfe, and that is euerye Christen man, of that he hath receyued of God. MarginaliaThre questiōs. The first, Seconde. Third.And euery of these shall aunswer to these questions: To the fyrst question, how hast thou entred? The secōd, how hast thou ruled: And to the third, how hast thou lyued? And if thou canst well assoyle these three questions, was ther none earthly lord that euer so wel rewarded his seruant without comparison as thy Lorde God shall rewarde thee, that is wyth blysse, and ioye, and lyfe that euer shall last. But on that other syde, and thou wylt not be recheles of thyne own welfare, and take none heede of thys reconing: If that daye take thee sodainly, so that thou passe hence in deadly sinne (as thou wotst neuer what shal fall thee) all þe toungs that euer were, or euer shall be, mow not tell the sorrowe and wo that thou shalt euer be in, and suffer. Therfore, the desire of so great ioy, and the dread of so great payne, thoughe loue ne dread of God were not in thyne hart: yet should that make thee afeard to sinne, for to thinke that thou shalt geue reconing of thy bayly. Therefore as I say to thee, the fyrst question that shall be proposed to the first

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bayly
Ll.iii.
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