Wycliffe, Lincoln and Hate

Have you ever hated anyone? Throughout my formative years my mother didn’t like us to use the word “hate” so we settled for “strong dislike.” Instead of saying “I hate you” we were supposed to use “I have a strong dislike for you.” Doesn’t pack the same punch, does it?

I can tell you these rules for speaking did NOT apply in the cotton field! Hate speech between family members abounded! My Dad, almost laughing with what seemed to be cruel taunting at the time, would say “you hate me don’t you?” When my answer was a resounding “YES!!” He would laugh and say, “well good, that means I’m doing my job!” It was nothing short of completely infuriating…which was his objective, I am certain of it!

In our defense, you try chopping cotton for hours, days, weeks, months on end in 120+ degrees and let me know how much love is felt and spoken…

Daniel Hannan has written a very compelling book about Freedom. It is truly fabulous! He is also a very dynamic speaker. If you get a chance to read or listen to him – do it!! It will not be wasted time!

In this book he writes wonderfully about Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech on November 19, 1863. Quoting Lincoln Hannan writes on page 32 “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Hannan explains that “of the people, for the people and by the people” was not Lincoln’s original idea but was borrowed from John Wycliffe. Wycliffe’s words, according to Hannan, first appeared in 1384, proof that truth and freedom are eternal concepts! Hannan writes that the words came from the prologue of what is “probably the earliest translation of the Holy Scriptures into the English Language.” (Hannan, 34.)

Hannan writes that the prologue stated “This Bible is for the government of the people, for the people and by the people.” Powerful, isn’t it? And, fitting that Lincoln would borrow these words. James 1:25 tells us that God’s law is “the perfect law of liberty” (KJV).

Interestingly, according to Hannan, the church hated Wycliffe. No brotherly love to be found there – AT ALL! Wycliffe believed and professed that people should read the scriptures for themselves rather than just trusting their local priest to tell them what the scriptures said. Rebelliously, he thought the church was too wealthy and was no longer resembling the example of Jesus.

Powerfully, Hannan writes “The Holy See considered him [Wycliffe] such an abominable heretic that, forty-four years after he had died, his bones were dug up, ground to powder, and cast into a river.” (Hannan, 33-34.)

Now – THAT is some serious hate! And, what were they hating? FREEDOM. LIBERTY. PERSONAL EDUCATION AND CHOICE. Contrast that to today. What is it people are hating?? FREEDOM. LIBERTY. PERSONAL EDUCATION AND CHOICE.

The lessons of history apply today! Let’s not let those lessons be lost! AND – read Hannan’s book! It reads very fast! It is never boring! Its message is soooo important RIGHT NOW to each of us!!

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