But an English Bible as a whole did not exist; and if to-day it is the commonest and cheapest book in all the land, it is to John Wyclif in the first place that we owe it.
John Wyclif was born, it is thought, about 1324 in a little Yorkshire village.
While Wyclif grew to be a man, England had fallen on troublous times.
John of Gaunt made up his mind to resist this claim, and John Wyclif, who had already begun to preach against the power of the Pope, helped him.
Wyclif was fearless, and he obeyed the Archbishop's command.
"At which words the Duke, disdaining not a little, answered the Bishop and said that he would keep such mastery there though he said 'Nay.'"* Thus, after much struggling, Wyclif and his companions arrived at the chapel.
But soon after this no fewer than five Bulls, or letters from the Pope, were sent against Wyclif. In one the University of Oxford was ordered to imprison him; in others Wyclif was ordered to appear before the Pope; in still another the English bishops were ordered to arrest him and try him themselves.
At length, however, Wyclif was once more brought before a court of bishops in London.
Wyclif now began to preach more boldly than before.
Wyclif trusted that they would do all the good that the old friars had done, and that they would be kept from falling into the evil ways of the later friars.
Wyclif, however, cared no longer for the great, he trusted no more in them.
To his life's end Wyclif went on teaching and writing, although many attempts were made to silence him.