Preaching in the Age of Chaucer

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5. Another anonymous sermon on the same gospel

speech has three purposes:

  • make Creator's great deed known publicly
  • restrain his neighbor, from sin
  • reveal his own sin (42)
"He once was curious to test a woman's weakness and seduced his mother with alluring words to consent to the carnal act. Then, compelled by remorse, since he had sinned through his words, he swore off using words forever and bound himself to perpetual silence. This shows that he was sorry to have spoken, but never to have been silent. Therefore, beloved, when we loosen the bridle of silence and engage outwardly in speech, let us speak, not what might harm another person or in any way disturb him or draw or move him to something dishonest or sinful, but what may be to the praise and honor of our Creator and to the salvation of our neighbor." (44-5)
"It is fitting that people who must correct others in their vices and sins should themselves be unbound and free from them." (47)

cites Matthew 16:19; discusses Lollards; cites Augustine

  • speaking confession is good; can't just be contrite in heart

10. Good Friday

different Mass on Good Friday; Eucharist not celebrated

"riht" -- the Devil's "riht" -- see Wenzel 100, 108; Marx 105

Christ tempted by the devil with gluttony, then pride, then avarice (100-101)

when we sin, "we bind [Christ] to the column through avarice and greed, and we spit on him through uncleanness and lechery" (104)

  • i.e. our sins bind Christ

Christ's human nature said only a single drop of blood should be spilled; "but Divinity replied: 'Even if all humankind can be saved through the shedding of a single dorp of your blood, yet, so that I may gain man's love and that he may be more strongly bound to me, you shall shed all your blod and die.'" (112)

binding of Isaac like binding of Christ: 97, 113

Christ condemned to death by all three laws (115) -- connection with "riht"; is justice he should die

"Teh parchmenton which this testament is written was his most chaste body, which was drawn on the cross like parchment on a stretching frame. The ink with which it was written was his precious blood. The quills were the lance and nails. Five large seals hung on this testament, namely, his five wounds. This testament was not closed up but is wholly open. And as soon as it was written, it was probated." (115)

14. First Sunday after Trinity (John Wyclif)

each person is "bound to beg" before God for grace;

however "the obligation to beg" as a mendicant or friar "is absolutely detestable, both because such begging is often a matter of guilt both to the beggars and in view of the poor people who are being thus robbed, and because of the truants for whom such begging is done. Thus, that rule of an order by which a brother is bound to beg in this fashion forever is blind." (159)

24. Enclosure of a Nun

"This is symbolized by their cord, which is tied in the bend of their body and shows that a woman of holy religion must in obedience bend before her superior. This cord also has five knots that pertain to true obedience. The first is patience without grumbling, the second reverence without groveling, the third fear without displeasure, the fourth love without flattery, and the fifthe good will without deception. Whatever sister is thus bound in her mind with this cord and its knots will no doubt be fully obedient." (295)