Short Rules sent by Maister Richard Greenham to a Gentlevvoman troubled in minde, for her direction and consolation, also very necessary for euery Christian to be exercised withall: VVith directions for a Christian life.

  • 1 THose Temptations shall be laid to your charge, wherevnto you haue yeelded, &c. yeeld not therefore, but resist, as S. Iames biddeth.
  • 2 No motion shall hurt you, wherevnto you giue not consent in hart: You haue no sinne, which in heart you long to be freed from; you want no goodnesse which in heart you couet to haue, Rom. 7.
  • 3 Where sicknesse is at the highest, there is hope of di­minishing: so likewise in temptation.
  • 4 It is a great mercy of God to discerne a temptation in time of temptation.
  • 5 When you would doe any good, or receiue any good, offer vp your endeauours, actions, and meanes, in a Sacrifice to God in Christ, beseeching God to giue his holy Spirit to sanctifie his owne Sacrifice.
  • 6 If you haue receiued but a little release of temptation, giue thanks, and you shall haue more.
  • 7 It is a sinne as well to deny Gods gifts as to presume of them.
  • 8 Temptation smothered, as fire, burnes more inwardly.
  • 9 Be perswaded alwayes you are in the presence of God and his Christ, and frame your actions accordingly.
  • 10 Be more afraid of secret sinnes, then of open shame, lay this foundation sure, that there is mercy with Christ Iesus.
  • 11 Remember the former mercies you haue receiued, and thinke your present estate to be none other then the estate of Gods Children: if you be grieued, pray to God, if relieued, praise him: there is a vicissitude of griefe and comfort, as of light and darknesse.
  • 12 Beware of a discontented minde in any case: yea, be contented to haue your desires denyed you of God: and if your prayer be not heard of God, vexe not your selfe too much, neither vehemently couet, nor be grieued for any thing, sauing the hauing or losse of the fauour of God.
  • 13 Labour for meekenesse and patience, and be ready to kisse the rod, and to offer vp all to him of whom you haue receiued your selfe: for if you struggle, it will fare with you as with a Byrd in a Grin, the more she striueth, the faster she is. We must vse the word in troubles and temptations, as a sicke man doth his Meate, which though hee eate against his stomacke, & presently feeleth no benefit of it, yet we know by experience it doth him good, and himselfe afterwards shall perceiue it.
  • 14 The patient bearing of misery is an acceptable sacri­fice to God, for when the Goldsmith putteth a peece of gold into the fire to make better vse of it, it seemeth to the vnskil­full, that hee vtterly marreth it: So the children of God in affliction, seeme to the iudgement of the naturall man vn­done and brought to nothing: but spirituall things are spi­ritually discerned.
  • 15 Beleeue alwayes your estate to be the worke of God, and vary not therein: for your humiliation, your consolati­on, the glory of God, and the good of many others.
  • 16 Beware that you doe not often alter your iudgement of your estate; as saying, sometimes it is Gods worke, some­times melancholy, sometimes your weakenesse and simplici­ty, sometimes witchery, sometimes Sathan: for these diuers thoughts will much trouble you: you may thinke melan­choly to be an occasion, but no cause, and so of the rest. Therefore looke stedfastly to the hand of God, surely trusting on this, that he not onely knoweth thereof, but that whatso­euer is done directly, or indirectly, by meanes or immedi­ately; all is done and gouerned (by his diuine prouidence) for your good.
  • 17 Say not you cannot be helped, for that may hinder the worke of God. Say not if I were in such a place and such a place, I should doe well, for God is infinite, and therefore euery where, aswell where you are, as where you would be.
  • 18 Whereas in consideration of the falling away of many; excelling you both in the ages and graces of the new birth, you feare you shall not perseuer vnto the end: your meditati­on and collection is good, so long as it preserues you from the carelesnesse of the flesh, but it is euill when it should dis­solue the assurednesse of your faith: Indeed, so long as you looke vpon your selfe, you haue cause of feare, because you are vnable to prolong, as you are to begin new birth; but if you looke to God, you haue nothing but matter of faith, for that whom he once loueth he loueth for euer. Againe, as a man that swimmeth in the deepe waters is neuer in danger of drowning so long as his head continueth aboue the wa­ters: So though you swimme in deepe seas of dangerous temptations, yet are you sure and secure, because Christ Iesus your head is still aboue all troubles, and therefore is able to draw you his member to the shore of saluation, with­out all perill of perishing.
  • 19 Beleeue that God the Father doth gouerne your temp­tation, that the holy Ghost shall and doth assist you, that Ie­sus Christ was tempted to ouercome in you, that the Saints on earth, doe pray for you, euen those which neuer knew you, but doe pray for the tempted ones.
  • 20 None can iudge of the worke of the spirit, but by the light of the spirit, as none can iudge of the Sunne but by it selfe.
  • 21 Dispute not with God, least you be confounded, nor with Sathan, least you be ouercome.
  • 22 Be euer perswaded your punishment is farre beneath your sinne.
  • 23 In such multitudes of Gods mercies as you enioy, meruaile not you haue some Crosses: God sends blessings with crosses, least we should dispaire: likewise, crosses with blessings, least wee shoud presume.
  • 24 In any outward blessing which you see you cannot haue, beseech God you nay neuer be vexed for it.
  • 25 No shame, griefe, or sorrow, pleaseth the Lord, which goeth altogether seperated from a sweet perswasion of his fauour. Againe, our pleasing our selues in the assurance of pardon, is not acceptableto God, which altogether reiecteth the care of espying, bewa [...]ling and auoyding of sin: Where­fore let this be the barre [...]nd bond of your affection in these cases, so long as Christ goeth with you, so long as the mer­cies of God accompany you, so long as the grace of the spirit shineth vpon you, be dea [...]ng with your sins, and condemne them vnto death. Likewise, while you are tender of consci­ence, afraid of sin, reuerently perswaded to walke holily with your God, laugh at Sathans accusation, despise destructions, and set at naught the terrours of Hell. You neuer erre one way nor other, but by fayling of one or both these points: That is, either in your griefes, you are grieued without comfort, or in your ioyes, you reioyce without reuerence: whereby it fals out in the end, that as in vnnecessary griefes you can finde no spiritual pleasure, so in vnaduised ioyes you can finde no spi [...]tuall profit.
  • 26 It is the policie of Sathan to blinde and beset with a quiet possession of an vniust mirth, thereby to keepe them from the true sight of their sinnes, so to oppresse the sweet flocke of Christ with false and causlesse feares, thereby to keepe them from the glorious feeling of their [...]demption. Hee knoweth to his griefe, that ioy may be temporally in­terrupted, but not finally or eternally be denyed. Therefore he applyeth himselfe though he cannot extinguish it, yet to diminish your iust and royall right in your Christ: In regard whereof you stand guilty of not maintayning the Lords roy­altie giuen to the elect, if in the least measure you yeeld to these slauish feares of the aduersarie. This subtile Serpent is not ignorant that by these pensiue practises, he doth weare to a dulnes the edge of your praiers, & that he drawes from you with an vncomfortable tediousnesse, the fruits of your faith, and consequently by these meanes you are depriued of the fruit of a more comfortable seruice to your God. The weake ones fearing also by your example, the profession of Christ to be strict and comfortlesse.
  • 27 A straight course of Religion is somewhat an vncom­fortable companion, but blessed be that mortification which so farre estrangeth vs from the world, that it changeth vs to the similitude of Christ, to whom wee must be confirmed in sufferings, that we may be like him in glory. Suffer not your heart to be straight, narrow, and vncomfortable in heauenly things. This draweth away both the breath, blood, and life, of our godlinesse. The Lord keepe you from euill, the Lord satisfie you with gladnesse, the Lord giue you the spirit of Prayer, and heare your prayers, the Lord be your teacher, and your comfort. Oh pray, pray, pray: It is the best sacri­fice to God, and the most comfortable duty you can doe. I am not loath to put you in minde of these things, you haue many carefull for you in other things, oh pardon me if I be bould in this one thing, I trust I reioyce more in the good of your soule, then euer I should reioyce in the fruit of mine owne body. It would be a thousand deaths, yea a thousand hels vnto me, to see your soules miscarry. Oh let me be ac­cepted more then a ciuill friend, more then a friend of the world. Giue mee this benefit to be thought further then a friend of the flesh.

A Scoare of holesome Precepts, or Directions for a Christian life.

  • 1 ACcompt not of your selfe better then you are, for the more base you are in your owne conceit, the more glo­rious are ye in the sight of God; for God regardeth a lowly minde, as the poore Publican that did deny himselfe had more fauour in the sight of God, then the proud Pharisie, that boasted of himselfe.
  • 2 Speake not of God but with reuerence, knowing that we are not worthy to take his name in our mouth, much more we ought not to take it vainely.
  • 3 Hold fast to God, aswell in prosperitie, as in aduersitie; for in aduersitie we can come to God, but in prosperitie we forget our selues often: Also, if you be in aduersitie despaire not, but stick to God, & waight vpon him for deliuerance, & he wil send it when there is no hope of it, to the glory of his owne name, and for the good of his children; as Daniell from the Lyons.
  • 4 Buy and redeeme the time past with repentance; looke to the time present with diligence, and to the time to come with prouidence.
  • 5 Let not malice make you to reueale that which friend­ship bound you once for to conceale.
  • 6 In Praysing be discreet: In Saluting courteous: and in admonishing brotherly, not hastily and angerly.
  • 7 Reade something of Gods word daily, and doe not onely count it sufficient that you serue God truely your selfe, but also looke that all your charge and houshold doe the same truely.
  • 8 Whatsoeuer blessings yee craue of God, aske them in the name of Christ. For no man commeth to the Father but by mee, saith Christ, in Iohn 14.6.
  • 9 Whatsoeuer you take in hand to doe, before you doe it aske counsaile of God, whether it be lawfull to be done, and then doe it with peace of heart, if it be lawfull.
  • 10 Looke that Meate, Apparell, and Recreation, be need­full, lawfull, and moderate.
  • 11 Take heede of presumptuous sinnes, for though many presume that God is a God of mercy, yet though he be a God of mercy to the penitent, yet he will not shew mercy to them that doe presume of his mercy.
  • 12 Forsake the World, and flye to God; for it is vnpossible, that a man louing the World, should haue any comfort from God, for the loue of the World is enmity with God; besides keepe not any thing of the World to you, that may draw you from God; for God will not haue part of the Man, but the whole Man.
  • 13 Be alwayes armed against temptations, for those that be­long to Christ must looke for temptations alwayes: and thinke not if that ye haue ouercome any temptation, or trouble, once, or twice, or often, that then you are freed: for Christ was temp­ted often, so were the Apostles, they had one time peace, and then persecution, and then peace & after persecution, so alwaies an intercourse: and when they were in peace, they made ready to be armed for temptation, knowing that they should haue temptation: therefore this life is called a Christian warfare.
  • 14 Besides, if yee are tempted and tryed, it sheweth mani­festly that ye belong to God: for God scourgeth euery Sonne that hee receiueth: Besides, those that haue no temptation, or tryall, it sheweth manifestly they belong to the Diuell, for what neede hath hee to tempt them which hee hath already in bondage?
  • 15 Flye from all sinnes in generall, indeauour, and then God will accept your indeauours, though weake and imperfect, through the perfection of Christ; and sticke to no darling Sinnes: for the Diuell can as well hold a man in subiection by one sinne, as by all sinnes.
  • 16 Let the words that you speake proceede from the good spirit, & not from the flesh, for if they do, God abhorreth them.
  • 17 As God doth abound in mercy and goodnesse towards you, so be you enlarged to him in obedience.
  • 18 When yee are tempted at any time by the Diuell, or his Ministers, be sure to haue the word of God to answere him: for the Word is compared to a two edged sword, that doth not onely defend vs, but also offend our enemies.
  • 19 Christ he vsed scripture to repell the diuell, he could haue driuen the Diuell away with the breath of his nosthrils, but hee did answere him with Scripture, to shew vs exsample, that if we were tempted at any time, we should with scripture repell him. And that euery one may know them the better, they must read them often, vse conference, and marking the true meaning of the words, and conferring one place of Scripture with another and praying to God for to giue thee the blessing of vnderstanding it truely, and the like.
  • 20 Follow your Betters, obserue and marke the Wise, ac­company the honest, and loue the Godly.

Printed at London by T.S. for T.P. and are to be sould at the entring of the Exchange. 1612.

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