From Here to Forever


Chapter 5—The Light Breaks in England

God had not suffered His Word to be wholly destroyed. In different countries of Europe men were moved by the Spirit of God to search for truth as for hid treasures. Providentially guided to the Holy Scriptures, they were willing to accept light at any cost to themselves. Though they did not see all things clearly, they were enabled to perceive many long-buried truths. HF 51.1

The time had come for the Scriptures to be given to the people in their native tongue. The world had passed its midnight. In many lands appeared tokens of the coming dawn. HF 51.2

In the fourteenth century the “morning star of the Reformation” arose in England. John Wycliffe was noted at college for his fervent piety as well as his sound scholarship. Educated in scholastic philosophy, the canons of the church, and civil law, he was prepared to engage in the great struggle for civil and religious liberty. He had acquired the intellectual discipline of the schools, and he understood the tactics of the schoolmen. The extent and thoroughness of his knowledge commanded the respect of both friends and foes. His enemies were prevented from casting contempt upon the cause of reform by exposing the ignorance or weakness of its supporter. HF 51.3

While Wycliffe was still at college, he entered upon the study of the Scriptures. Heretofore Wycliffe had felt a great want, which neither his scholastic studies nor the teaching of the church could satisfy. In the Word of God he found that which he had sought in vain. Here he saw Christ set forth as the only advocate for man. He determined to proclaim the truths he had discovered. HF 51.4

Wycliffe did not, at the opening of his work, set himself in opposition to Rome. But the more clearly he discerned the errors of the papacy, the more earnestly he presented the teaching of the Bible. He saw that Rome had forsaken the Word of God for human tradition. He fearlessly accused the priesthood of having banished the Scriptures, and demanded that the Bible be restored to the people and that its authority be again established in the church. He was an able and eloquent preacher, and his daily life was a demonstration of the truths he preached. His knowledge of the Scriptures, the purity of his life, and his courage and integrity won general esteem. Many saw the iniquity in the Roman Church. They hailed with unconcealed joy the truths brought to view by Wycliffe. But the papal leaders were filled with rage; this Reformer was gaining an influence greater than their own. HF 52.1