The Lanthorn of Light.

Articles contained in an English Book, entitled, ‘The Lanthorn of Light”
printed and published by John Clayton (Claydon, or Clayborn)  in 1415.

The book was deemed heretical and burnt while John Clayton himself was declared a heretic by diktat of Henry Chichesley,
Archbishop of Canterbury. He was committed to the secular power for burning
at the stake. He was burnt in Smithfield, London.

The articles for which he was declared a heretic were:

I.  First, Upon the text of the gospel, how the enemy did sow the tare., there is said thus: That wicked Antichrist, the pope, hath sowed among the laws’ of Christ his popish and corrupt decrees, which are of no authority, strength, or value.                               

11. That the archbishops and bishops, speaking1 indifferently, are the seats of the beast Antichrist, when he sitteth in them, and reigneth above other people in the dark caves of errors and heresies.

III. That the bishops license, for a man to preach the word of God, is the the character of the beast, i. e. Antichrist; and therefore simple and faithful priests may preach when they will, against the prohibition of that Antichrist, and without license.

IV. That the court of Rome is the chief head of Antichrist, and the bishops be the body; and the new sects (that is, the monks, canon, and friars), brought in not by Christ, but damnably by the pope, be the venomous and pestiferous tail of Antichrist.

V.    That no reprobate is a member of the church, but only such as be elected and predestinated to salvation; seeing the church is no other thing but the congregation of faithful souls who do and will, keep their faith constantly, as well in deed as in word.

VI. That Christ did never plant private religions in the church, but, while he lived in this world, he did root them out.  By which it appeareth that private religions be unprofitable branches in the church, and to be rooted out

VII.  That the material churches should not be decked with gold, silver, and precious stones sumptuously; but the followers of the humility of Jesus Christ ought to worship their Lord God humbly, in mean and simple houses, and not in great buildings, as the churches be now-a-days.

VIII. That there be two chief causes of the persecution of the Christians: one is, the priests’ unlawful keeping of temporal and superfluous goods; the other is, the unsatiable begging of the friars, with their high buildings.

IX.    That alms be given neither virtuously nor lawfully, except it be given with these four conditions: first, unless it be given to the honour of God:secondly, unless it be given of goods justly gotten: thirdly, unless it be given to such a person as the giver thereof knoweth to be in charity; and fourthly, unless it be given to such as have need, and do not dissemble.

X.     That the often singing in the church is not founded on the Scripture, and therefore it is not lawful for priests to occupy themselves with singing in the church, but with the study of the law of Christ, and preaching his word.

XI.    That Judas did receive the body of Christ in bread, and his blood in wine; in which it doth plainly appear, that after consecration of bread and wine made, the same bread and wine that was before, doth truly remain on the altar.

XI!. That all ecclesiastical suffrages do profit all virtuous and godly persons indifferently.

XIII. That the pope’s and the bishops’ indulgences be unprofitable neither can they profit them to whom they be given by any means.

XIV.  That the laity is not bound to obey the prelates, whatsoever they command, unless the prelates do watch to give God a just account of the souls of them.

XV.  That images are not to be sought to by pilgrimages, neither is it lawful for Christians to bow their knees to them, neither to kiss them, nor to give them any manner of reverence.

Return to English Reformation, introduction.