¶The remedy ayenst the troubles of temptacyons.


[...]Here after foloweth foure proufytable thynges to haue in mynde whiche hath be taken out of ye thyrde chapiter of a deuoute treatyse and a fourme of lyuinge that the dyscrete & vertuous Richard hampole wrote to a deuoute & an holy persone for grete loue.

THe fyrst mesure of thy lyf whiche is so shorte that vnnethes it is ony thynge / for we lyue here but in a poynte that is the leest thynge yt may be. And for to saye sothe our lyfe is lesse than a poynte yf we sholde ly­ken it to the lyfe euerlastynge. An other thynge is the vncertaynte of our endynge for we wote not whan we shall dye nor how we shall dye nor whether we shall goo whan we be deed. And the wyll of god is that it be to vs vncertayne / for he wylleth that we be alwaye redy to dye / the thyrde is yt we shall answere before the ryght wyse Iuge of all the tyme yt we haue ben here how we haue lyued what our occupacyon hath be / and what good we myght haue done whan we haue ben ydle. Therfore ye prophete sayd / he hath called the tyme ayenst me that is for euery day he hath lente vs here to spende in good vse as in penaūce and in goddes seruyce. And yf we waste it in erthly loue and vanytees full greuously must we be demed and punysshed. Therfore it is one of the moost sorowes yt may be to vs but yf we enforce vs to the contrary / & set our herte to the loue of god. And doo good to all that we may in ye shorte whyle that our tyme lasteth For eche tyme yt we thynke not of god we may coūte it as loste. The fourth is that we thynke how moche [Page] the Ioye is that they shall haue whiche contynueth in the loue of god to theyr endynge / for they shall be bretherne & felowes with aūgelles seynge the kynge of Ioye in his beauty and shynynge maieste the whiche shall be to them aboue all the delytes that ony cre­ature may thynke. Than to remembre the grete and intollerable sorowe payne & turmentes whiche they shal haue that loueth not god aboue all thynge as we may se in this worlde many of that dysposycyon whiche set all theyr pleasure in lust and lykynge of this lyf / as in pryde / couetyse / and other synnes / they shall brenne in the fyre of helle with the deuyll whome they serued as longe as god is in heuen with his ser­uauntes that lasteth euer.

¶Here foloweth and enseweth a souerayne notable sentence to comforte a persone that is in temptacyon.

OUr mercyfull lorde god cryst Ihesu chastyseth his chyldren and suffreth them to be tempted for many proufytable causes to theyr soules helth / & therfore sholde noo man nor woman be heuy or sory for ony temptacyon. For as saynt Iames the appostle techeth vs we sholde haue very greate Ioye whan we be tempted with dyuers temptacyons / for as the golde is pured and purged by the fyre / and a knyght in batayle is proued good: ryght so is a man by tem­ptacyon proued for good / but yf he suffre hymselfe to be ouercome / that is to saye but he consent therto by delyberacyon. For sothely whan a man is sharpely tempted he may than haue hope of grace vertue / and [Page] it is necessary for a man moche to be troubled with temptacyons / for euery vertue is proued by his con­trarye. Our enemy the fende is besy daye and nyght to tary and trauayle good men and women with dy­uers temptacyons in doubtes of the fayth and dredes of saluacyon and other many moo in dyuers maners and specyally now in these dayes he is full besy to de­ceyue many soules / and therfore wysely rule you to withstande his vyolent sterynges of temptacyon / & for all that take ye noo dredes of his assawtes / ne ha­ue ye ony doubte of his erroures ne dyspytes nor of his false leasynges or fantasyes or ony maner of tra­uayle of that foule fende whether ye here hym se hym or thynke of hym take noo hede therof / for all be ma­ters of grete mede and noo synne in noo wyse be they neuer soo troublous or full of anguysshes whyles it cometh of the malyce of the fende or of euyll dyspo­sycyon of mannes nature or compleccyon. And ther­fore all suche trauayle men ought not to charge but suffre mekely and abyde pacyently tyll god doo reme­dy therto. And for as moche as they be maters of gre­te mede none ought to stryue there agaynst / nor mer­uayle of them ne seke the cause nor thynke by what skyll he is soo trauaylled / for the more that a man la­boureth in sechynge and thynkynge of suche anguys­shes the more depely he falleth in to errours / and therfore in as moche as mannes thought is often vayne and dyuers and none ende hath: it ought not to be forced or be taken hede of / ne a man sholde not angre hymselfe therwith ne blame ne impute it to his owne defaute that he is so troubled / for suche trauaylles ben [Page] paynefull but not synfull in soo moche as they be gre­tely agaynst his wyll. Saynt Augustyne sayth that euery synne lyeth in wylfull wyll. And what that is agaynst mannes wyll is noo synne. And the holy doctour ysodore de summo bono sayth that the fende tempteth a man noo more than god gyueth hym leue / therfore let vs haue alway a good wyll to wyll well and doo well / and god wyll kepe vs and gyue vs the vyctory / & so the fende shall be confoūded / fayth & hope is groūde of all perfeccyon and rote of all vertue / and therfore our olde enemy the fende is full besy with all his sleyghtes to drawe the soule downe therfro. And it happeth somtyme that the fende tempteth and tra­uaylleth a ryght wyse soule so sharpely that it is ouer­layde with care and dryuen to dyspayre / and yet all that tyme though the soule perceyue it not it dwelleth styll in the drede and loue of god / and all that trauayle is to theyr grete mede afore god / for our lorde of his endles mercy arrecteth not to ye soule that synne whiche hymselfe suffreth the fende to werke in the soule without the consente or wyll of the sayd selfe soule. But whan we wylfully doo ayenst the wyll of god with delyberacyon than we cōmytte synne actually But whan we be drawen with wycked vyolence or vyle thoughtes & turmented with dyspayre ayenst our wyll thorugh the fendes vyolent temptynge we suffre payne but we do no synne / & yet the sely soules knowlege is hydde by that turment.

¶The seconde chapytre.

[Page] [...]Ut yet ryght often the temptynge of the fende that maketh the soule to erre in fayth and foule fantasye & in dyspayre: semeth to the selfe soule grete synne / but it is not soo. For all holy doctours sayth that fayth and hope be vertues of mannes wyll / wherfore who so wolde ryght wysly byleue in this lyf: he is in ryght byleue before god / and lyke wyse who so wol­de here trustly hope he is in trusty hope before god / though he be neuer so moche troubled with ferefull thoughtes. The appostle saynt Poule sayth that in a mannes byleue is wylfull byleue of ryght wysnes. Of the whiche wordes sayth the glose that all onely in mannes wyll whiche may not be cōstrayned lyeth bothe mede and gylte / that is to saye: a man afore god hath neuer mede ne gylte for no dede but onely of the dedes that be done wylfully / but somtyme mannes thought and womans be soo troubled and ouerlayde that they knowe not theyr owne wyll / & yet though it soo be they ought not to care. For good dedes she­weth alwaye good wyll / and euyll dedes euyll wyll wherfore a man that dooth in dede the seruyce of god that man hath a good wyll to god / though his trauaylous herte deme the contrarye. Also there sholde noo creature deme his euen crysten for ony doubtfull fan­tasyes / but yf they haue a very open knowlege of that thynge whiche they sholde deme hym for. Than it is euyll and vnreasonable for ony creature to deme his owne soule in that plyght that he sholde be par­ted from god for ony doubtfull fantasye.

¶The thyrde chapytre.

[Page] ANd than yf it so be ye haue consented & fallen to synne by ony temptacions / than be sory and crye god mercy therof. And yet be ye not dyscomforted but thynke well on the grete mercy of god how he for gaue Dauid his grete synnes. Peter & Magdalene and not onely them / but also all those that haue ben or now be or shall be contryte for theyr synnes / & meke them lowly and crye our lorde mercy. And therfore syster flee to hym that all mercy is in / and aske mercy & ye shall haue it with forgyuenes of all your synnes and meke you lowly / & take the sacramentes of holy chirche / & than ye ought to byleue faythfully that your synnes be forgyuen / and that ye be receyued in to the grace of god. For god sayth hymselfe by his prophete Ezechie: that whan a synfull man soroweth for his synnes he wyll neuer haue mynde therof / & yf a man perceyue in his herte no very sorowe / and though he thynke whan he byddeth his bedes or cryeth to god for mercy that he dooth all ayenst herte: yet therfore sholde he not deme hymselfe graceles / for who so wolde haue very sorowe for his synnes or wold crye god mercy for them or in his herte wold crye for mercy: he cryeth god mercy truly / for as I haue sayd before / god taketh hede to mannes wyll & not to his trauayllous fantasyes / it is good that a man take noo hede of suche fantasyes or sterynges that cometh in suche maner. For god hydeth from them the knowleges of suche fantasyes for many causes vnto the proufyte of theyr soules / wherfore suche passyons be not synfull / but rather mater of grace and of grete meryte. And soo good syster thynke ye alwaye / and yf it be soo that [Page] temptacyon cease not but were alwaye more & more be not afrayed but saye somtyme amonge in the wor­shyp of god and in the spyte of the fende your crede and knowlege your byleue and hope and thynke on the wordes of saynt Poule that sayth. Knowlege of mouth is done to the helpe of soules / and they shall not be deceyued by the fendes whyles that with a good auysement bothe in worde and wyll withstandeth hym strongly. For there was neuer man decey­ued of the fende but by consent of his owne wyll / & that with suche a wyll as the herte consented with thesame / for other fantastycall troublous wylles put­teth not awaye man from god.

¶The fourth chapytre.

ANd therfore sholde noo man care nor be heuy that he is so troubled more than an other. Syster alwaye whan I speke of a man in this wrytynge take it bothe for man and woman / for so it is ment in all suche wrytynges / for all is mankynde / and ferther more as touchynge your troubles thynke in all your dyseases what troubles goddes seruauntes hath suf­fred and what paynes and turmentes they haue had here in this worlde in many sondry maners and ye shall fynde cause to suffre. Leo the pope sayth / it hap­peth somtyme that good and ryght wyse soules be styred sharpely by the fende / & somtyme by theyr owne compleccyon to angers troubles dredes & suche other taryenges that it semeth to them theyr lyf a turment in so moche that somtyme for very drede the begyn to dyspayre bothe in lyfe of body and soule / thynkynge [Page] they be forsaken of god / whiche dooth it but to assaye and proue his chosen chyldren and frendes by suche temptacyons. For as I afore haue sayd at the begyn­nynge of this wrytyng in lyke maner as fyre purgeth golde and as a knyghte is proued good and hardy by batayle: ryght so temptacyons and troubles purgeth a ryght wyse soule / this is proued well by Toby / for the aungell Raphaell sayd this to hym. Toby for as moche as thou arte ryghtfull to god it is nedefull that temptacyon sholde preue thy wyll / and well it is knowen that sykenes falleth to a man after the dysposy­cyon of his compleccyon. So lyke wyse temptacyon as Leo the pope sayth. The fende our ghostly enemy aspyeth in euery man what wyse he is dysposed by his compleccyon / and by that disposicyon he tempteth hym. For there as he fyndeth a man full of malencoly he tempteth hym moost with ghoostly temptacyons of Ire. But they that wyll attende to withstande it for the loue of god they must shape them to pacyence & saye with Iob. Sythen we haue receyued of god so grete benefaytes why sholde we not receyue and suffre dyseases. And thynke on the grete anguysshes sorowes and dyseases that our lorde Ihesu cryste suf­fred hymselfe here in erth. And also suffred his blyssed moder to haue the same. And thynke that to suffre dysease pacyently is the waye to heuen warde. And that ye may not in this frayle worlde be so free as an aun­gell that is confermed by grace / but whyle your body and soule be togyder in this lyf they must receyue troubles as well as eases. And thynke not that god hath forsaken you: but mekely abyde the comforte of hym [Page] and without doubte whan it nedeth ye shal not fayle therof. But some men whan they haue drede of saluacyon or be tempted to dyspayre by vysyons or ghostly sterynges of theyr owne frayltye / they wene anone that they haue synned in the synne of the holy ghoost / and than the fende putteth in them that they may ne­uer be saued nor forgyuen of theyr trespaces. Thus speketh the fende wtin them. So ferynge synne good creatures that they wene to goo out of theyr myndes / But they that ben thus tempted answere the fende thus agayne that he is false and a lyer as his nature is to be. For the synne of the holy ghoost as clerkes sayth is infynyte without repentaunce. And that is whan a man wylfully by delyberacyon wyll neuer repente nor aske god mercy ne forgyuenes of his synnes / nor wyll be tourned / but wylfully departeth hym from the goodnes of god / and in his wretchednes abydeth wylfully with full consent of wyll / he that doth thus synneth in the holy ghoost whiche may not be forgy­uen here nor elles where / for he wyll not trust in the goodnes of the holy ghoost nor aske forgyuenes of his synnes. And therfore he that wyll noo mercy aske noo mercy shall haue / for his synnes be infynyte without repentaunce. But thoughe a man or a woman haue or fele all these vycyous sterynges and as many moo as ony herte can thynke ayenst theyr owne free wyll and whan reason cometh to them they be sory therof & flee alwaye hastely to the mercy of god: it is to them but a preuynge or a clensynge of theyr synnes though they be neuer soo ofte in the nyght and the daye now vp now downe as wrestelers be / & thoughe ye haue [Page] ony tyme fall in ony synne ghoostly or flesshely & layne therin wylfully by delyberacyon and full content of herte: ye than ought to be sory and aske god forgyue­nes with as grete contrycyon as god wyll gyue you grace / and than thynke fully the goodnes of the holy ghoost surmounteth all synnes that euer was done or euer shall be done / though a man had synned in them all / as well in dede as thought he beynge truly con­tryte & confessed mekynge hymselfe lowly to almyghty god and to his sacramentes of holy chyrche / doubte ye not he so askynge mercy shall haue full forgyuenes of all his synnes / for the mercy of god is so grete that it passeth all his werkes. And therfore thoughe ye somtyme here by spekynge or elles of wrytynge or re­dynge in bokes sharpe wordes and harde sentences: yet comforte your selfe and thynke well that all su­che harde wordes be sayd and wryten to chastyse the synners and to withdrawe them from euyll / and al­so to pourge and pure goddes specyall louers as the metall is in the fyre afore rehersed / and in them god wyll make his hous. And wete it well many wor­des that seme full harde be ment full tenderly whan they be well vnderstonde / and though some wordes be ment ryght hardely as the playne texte sheweth / yet sholde ye not take them to you warde / but com­forte your selfe and thynke that all those harde senten­ces shall be fulfylled in Iewes and sarasyns / for the crysten people that wyll be contryte & trust in goddes mercy or haue a wyl so for to do: they shal escape all perylles / so yt they shall not perysshe / but be saued / where as the Iewes & sarasyns in theyr perylles shal vtterly [Page] perysshe to pardycyon / for they haue not the strength of Baptym ne the precyous oyntement of crystes pas­syon / that sholde gyue to theyr soules lyf and helth. Of this they haue example & a grete fygure in holy wryte that where as Moyses ledde the chyldren of Israell ouer the reed see whiche were goddes people. Moy­ses wente before them and smote the water with his rodde and therwith the water parted & the chyldren of Israell wente ouer in suertye. And they of egypte that folowed perysshed & were drowned. By Moy­ses I vnderstonde our lorde Ihesu cryste / and by the yerde or rodde that departed ye water I vnderstonde his holy passyon / and by the chyldren of Israell that were not perysshed all crysten people / for ryght so our lorde Ihesu cryst came from his faders bosome to the see of trybulacyons & temptacyons to be our guyde & leder / he gooth before vs with his precyous passyon & smyteth awaye the perylles of our troublous temptacyons / so that we shall not perysshe / but it shall brynge vs to suertye of euerlastynge lyf / and therfore gyue we to hym thankynges louynges & infynyte praysynges as the chyldren of Israell dyde / for thoughe a crysten man were neuer soo synfull thynkynge hymselfe yt he stode in the sentences of the hardest wordes that be wryten: yet sholde he trust faythfully in the mercy of god / for and he wyll forsake his synnes & tourne hym to good and vertuous lyf: he shall haue grace and for­gyuenes / and the harde sharpe wordes of dampna­cyon sholde tourne hym to mercy and saluacyon. For thus sayth our lord god in holy wryte by his prophete Ieremye / though I make grete thretes I shall repent [Page] me of my wordes yf my people wyll repent them of theyr synnes. O beholde the grete goodnes of our lor­de / and how pyte alwaye constrayneth hym to mercy worshyp and thankes be euer to his goodnes / he is so benygne and mercyfull to them that be repentaunt that he frely wyll chaunge his sentences from sharpe vengeaunce to forgyuenes / & of the paynes that they be worthy to suffre / gyue them alygeaunce or lyghter payne to suffre. He sayth also by the prophete I saye I shall forgyue the synnes of euery man that with very true contrycyon wyll drawe hym to good and vertuous lyfe. And this grete mercy shewed our lorde openly vpon the Cyte of Niniue / and also by kynge Ezechie / therfore lette noo man dyspayre but alwaye trust fully to goddes mercy that so well can redresse our myscheues and tourne all our woo to wele / and our sorowe to Ioye. O thou gloryous myghtyfull god that thus meruayllously werketh in thy creatu­res it is to se that thy mercy is large and brode whi­che maketh the to chaunge thy sentence that before was bothe thy wyll and worde / blessyd be thou good lorde in all thy vertues for thou canst / may / and wyll tourne and chaunge all our infyrmytees to our moost proufyte yf we wyll not flee from the / but tourne to thy goodnes and aske mercy. But for all this thy gre­te goodnes / god forbede that ony man sholde be the more bolder to synne or wylfully and wyttyngly by delyberacyon sholde presume to falle to synne vpon trust of thy mercy. And therfore our lorde is so mer­cyfull I surely trust that euery true courteys soule wyl be the more lothe to offende his goodnes / and as for [Page] you that be tempted ayenst your wyll / and wyll not for all the worlde dysplease god wylfully: but that ye be thus begyled and encombred by the fende with many paynefull thoughtes / be ye not afrayde of the fende nor of his ferefull assawtes / for he is full sore dyscomforted whan that he seeth a man or a woman whiche he soo tempteth is not aferde of hym. Som­tyme the fende cometh and tempteth a soule fyersly lyke a dragon / and somtyme he assaylleth hym lyke a rampynge lyon / but and yf a creature strengthynge hymselfe saddely in the passyon of almyghty god / and arme hym with that holy passyon / a thousande suche fendes how someuer that they come shall haue noo more power ouer hym thenne hath as many flyes or gnattes. And therfore strength you all in god and be not abasshed. Soo to strength and arme you in hym though ye be synfull / for he sayth hymselfe in the gos­pell he came for synners. And in an other place of the gospell he saythe that he came for mercy and not for noo vengeaunce / and to be our shelde and strength and so lette vs humbly with a meke herte take hym And yf ye fele ony dredes by ymagynacyon or tem­ptacyon or for wordes that ye haue herde or redde in bookes by the whiche ye doubte of saluacyon / than thynke on the wordes that cryste hymselfe taught to a man that doubted / sayenge and askynge of our lor­de who sholde be saued / for he thoughte it was to harde to hymselfe for to esche we all the poyntes that ledde man to pardycyon. And our lorde badde hym for to saye Credo in deum patrem omnipotentem creatorem celi et terre. Et in iesum christū filium cius. [Page] Byleue sayd our lorde Ihesu that god the fader is al­myghty and that no thynge to hym is impossyble but that he may forgyue all synnes and redresse all wron­ges and brynge the soules to his blysse and thynke ferthermore that his myght and power may do all that his wysdome can / and his goodnes wyl / and therfore truste fully that by his goodnes he wyll saue you and brynge you to euerlastynge Ioye whan he seeth best tyme / for he hath bought you full dere with his precy­ous blode and paynefull deth. And I dare sauely saye that there is none so synfull a caytyf whiche is cryste­ned or wolde be crystened this daye on the erthe all thoughe he were in the syght of god dampnable and in the syght of all creatures also: ye and yet were Iu­ged to be dampned by all scrypture and he wolde for sake his synne and be contryte and aske god forgyue­nes he sholde haue mercy and forgyuenes of hym / & yf it were so that he stode in that case or had a good mynde to stonde so in the tyme of deth he sholde be sa­ued / the myght & mercy of god is so grete that it sur­mounteth all his lawes Iugementes and scryptures And so our lorde Ihesus sheweth vs by an example in the gospell of a woman that was founde in aduou­try and by Moyses lawe whiche was ordeyned by god yt she sholde be stoned to the deth. But the myght and the wysdome of that blessyd lorde god was soo gretely shewed to the pharyzens whiche accused her that they so largely perceyued theyr synnes that they myght not for shame deme her but stale awaye out of the temple. And our lorde Ihesu wolde not deme her but of his gracyous mercy forgaue her all her synnes [Page] And therfore be a man or woman neuer soo synfull and that they fele neuer soo many bodely and ghostly synnes alwaye rysynge and sterynge within them / they sholde neuer the rather dyspayre of the mercy of god / ne be dyscomforted. For there as moche synne is / there is shewed moche mercy and grace / and the goodnes of god is knowen by the forgyuenes of the synne whan a body turneth hym there from and is very contryte / but god forbede as I sayd before that ony crea­ture be the more recheles or bolde to synne wylfully / for in so moche the mercy of god is so large we ought to be the more besy and dylygent to loue and prayse hym. Almyghty god werketh lyke a leche / for a leche suffreth somtyme the deed flesshe to growe on hym that he hath in cure / but afterwarde he taketh away the same and maketh the quycke flesshe to growe / and soo he heleth the pacyent. Ryght soo dooth our lorde Ihesu cryste maker of heuen and erth suffreth somtyme a man or a woman to fall in deedly synne: but afterwarde of his grete mercy and pyte he put­teth to his hande of grace / for they that were deedly wounded thorough synne he heleth them and was­sheth away theyr synnes with the water of his well of mercy / & maketh in them quycke vertues to growe wherby he gyueth to theym euerlastynge lyfe. Our lorde god is also lyke a gardyner for a gardyner suf­freth somtyme wycked wedes to growe in his gar­dyn / and whan the erth thorugh moysture of rayne wexeth tender he taketh & pulleth awaye the wedes bothe rote & rynde. So in lyke wyse dooth our lorde Ihesu cryst he suffreth somtyme in his gardyn whiche [Page] is mannes soule wycked dedes of synne to growe / but whan the herte of man wexeth tender by meke­nes and moysture of contrycyon he than taketh away all the synnes bothe rote and rynde and planteth and setteth in his gardyn herbes and fruytes of good ver­tues / and watreth them with the dewe of his bles­syd goodnes / wherby the soule of man shall come to euerlastynge Ioye and reste. Now than sythen our lorde god is so good so pyteous and soo mercyfull to synners that wylfully offendeth hym by cōmyttynge of horryble synnes / moche more he is mercyfull and hath pyte and compassyon of a soule / that thorughe trouble and temptacyons falleth to synne / for almyghty god suffreth often tymes the soule of man for to be tempted and vexed in withstandynge temptacyons / wherof it deserueth the more meryte. And therfore be ye not doubtefull nor heuy for it shall neuertourne you to peryll ne daunger but to grete proufyte. For therby ye shall wynne the crowne of glorye and the palme of vyctorye whiche shall be gyuen to you for withstandynge of suche temptacyons / & to the fende it shall tourne to shame and confusyon / and though it semeth to you somtyme that ye fele dyscorde bytwene god and you be not therfore recreaunt ne dyscom­forted. For almyghty god sayth by his prophete I saye A lytell whyle I haue forsaken and hydde my face from the: but I shall call the to me agayne by my ma­folde mercyes whiche euer shall endure.

¶The fyfte chapytre.

[Page] ANd therfore grutche not agaynst the wyll of god ne meruayle not of these temptacyons / for the more that a man or a woman be tempted in this maner or in ony other agaynst theyr wyll and they withstande it that is to saye not wyllyngly consen­tynge therto but mekely suffreth the same: the more they shall encreace in vertues to the proufyte of theyr soules in the syght of god thoughe it be hydde from them / for perauenture whan ye be sharpely tempted ye thynke ye be to dull and neglygent in ghoostly ex­cercyse thorughe wyckednes of your spyryte that is sore trauayled and vexed / wherby ye thynke that ye haue a wyll consented to suche temptacyons as ye be tempted with / but it is not so / for ye shall vnderstonde that euery man and woman hath two wylles a good wyll and an euyll / the euyll wyll cometh of sensua­lyte the whiche is euer inclynynge downwarde to synne / and the good wyll cometh of grace whiche al­waye styreth the soule vp warde to all goodnes / and therfore whan reason cometh to you ye haue alwaye a good wyll to do well / & as myscontent with all euyl thoughtes & sterynges that ye fele and putteth your wyll onely to the wyll of god / though ye thrugh su­che wycked thoughtes & sterynges by vyolence and sharpnes be enclyned to sensualyte yet ye do it not ne consent therto but it is the sensualyte that dooth it in you / and your good wyll abydeth in you styll vnbro­ken though the cloudes of euyll thoughtes stoppeth your syght from the felynge of your good wyll as ye may se by ensample of the mone / for the mone shyneth alwaye in her dewe place as well whan we se her [Page] as whan we se her not. But oftentymes the cloudes shadoweth and putteth from vs the syght thereof / and so in lyke wyse it fareth by your good wyll whiche standeth alwaye vnbroken in you by the grace of al­myghty god though ye fele it not thrugh trauayllous thoughtes whiche taketh awaye the syghte of your knowlege. Therfore ye good chyldren that sharpely be vexed with suche temptacyons & tribulacions comforte your selfe in your benygne & mercyfull fader that sayth to you by his ꝓphete in holy wryte / my chyldren though ye go in ye fyre drede ye not / for ye flambe therof shall not trouble you. As who sayth ye that be crysten people wyllyngly to do well though ye goo in to the fyre of trybulacyons & temptacyons drede you not for it shall tourne you to no peryll / but thorugh my good­nes & the merytes of my passyon it shall tourne you to grete proufyte & comforte of your soule / the maner of all these temptacōns & ye remedyes of ye same sheweth our sauyour Ihū cryst to his apostle saynt Peter as it appereth in ye gospel where he sayth thus / Peter sathanas asketh & desyreth to syfte the as men syfte whete / wherby it appereth well yt the fende hath no myght ne power to attēpte ye seruaūtes of almyghty god but by his suffraūce / & that was euydently knowen by the temptacyons of Iob whome the fende besyfted and tempted / for ye more yt whete is syfted & cast from syde to syde the more clene it is. Ryght so the more yt a man or a woman be tempted with the fende ayenst theyr wyll / the more clene they be afore god / wherfore it appereth playnly yt almyghty god suffreth not his seruaūtes to be tēpted but for theyr grete wele & profyte [Page] yf they purpose them selfe myghtely to withstande the fendes temptacyon / whiche no man may withstande without the helpe of god. Therfore of his helpe he maketh vs sure lyke as he sayd to peter / these wordes I haue prayed for the that thy fayth fayle the not / and therfore that man whiche pacyently is redy to suffre all troubles and dyseases for the loue of his maker al­myghty Ihesu not takynge hede of all the fendes mo­cyons and temptacyons: that man thrugh the myght and grace of cryst bereth downe and ouercometh the fende / wherby he may be called a vaynquyssher or o­uercomer. And to suche men may be sayd thus / thou that arte thus tourned to almyghty god by the vertue of pacyence / but yf thou helpe to counseyle & conferme thy bretherne. And teche them to suffre as the grace of god hath taught the: or elles thou arte vnkynde. For Salamon sayth that one brother well counseylled & confermed by an other is a myghty Cyte ayenst the fende / and therfore they that be sharpely trauaylled and tempted whan they haue had the good counseyle of theyr brother: they ought to take comforte to them sayenge with Dauid whiche sayth. O my soule why arte thou so vnstedfast thus to assayle and trouble me trust onely to almyghty god that is full of benygnyte and mercy whome I onely confesse and knowlege to serue be I neuer so sore trauaylled ne troubled. And to suche men thus vexed with thoughtes mocyons & sterynges is behouefull to take the counseyle and te­chynge of the wyse and dyscrete persones fleynge vt­terly theyr owne wylde fantasyes whiche often ty­mes gretely troubleth them. And in eschewynge of [Page] suche temptacyons and troubles they must gyue them selfe to good & vertuous occupacyons / as to redynge and sayenge the seruyce of almyghty god / and doynge other vertuous dedes / and euer amonge prayenge to almyghty god they may haue strength in theyr sou­les to resyste suche mocyons and temptacyons. And though they fynde in them selfe noo maner of swete­nes ne sauour in goddes seruyce: yet they ought not to be heuy therfore yf theyr wyll and mynde be to ful­fyll the same. For as holy wryte sayth euery good wyl is accepted for the dede. Saynt Barnarde sayth that somtyme god withdraweth deuocyon from prayer to make the prayer more medefull / for he wyll be ser­ued somtyme in bytternes and somtyme in swetenes whiche bothe two we muste mekely receyue. And therfore Arystotle sayth that with the more dyffyculte and trauayle vertuous ben goten: the more they proufyte and encrease in the soule. It was no maystry for saynt Peter whan he sawe almyghty god on the hyll of blysse to saye / lorde it is good for vs to dwell here / But afterwarde whan he sawe hym amonges his enemyes cruelly turmented a womans worde fered and put hym in suche drede that he forsoke and de­nyed his mayster. But whan thorugh the myght of the holy ghoost he was reconsyled and confermed a­gayne: than was there no turment in erth that kinge or prynce put vnto hym coude fere hym. Ryght so yf a man be in perfyte rest and quyetnes of herte / it is no maystry for hym to serue god. But it is a maystry to hym that is in trauayle and out of quyetnes of herte to serue hym / therfore that creature that is tempted or [Page] vexed in the seruyce of almyghty god and is in wyll to withstande the sayd temptacyons tyll he after be strengthed and comforted by the holy ghost the fende shall neuer haue power to fere ne put hym in drede / for though it be longe or he fele comforte yet let not hym drede / for our mercyfull sauyour knoweth what tyme comforte is moost nedefull to hym than he fay­leth not to gyue it hym. For somtyme the felynge of swetnes is withdrawen from man or elles he sholde wexe proude and presumtuous or neglygent and re­cheles in vertuous lyuynge / and therfore it is with­drawen for the best to the helth of his soule / wherfore hardnes and sharpenes sente to a creature is full proufytable to the soule: as saynt Austyn sayth in techynge vs of the maner of almyghty god that whan a man is feble and newly tourned to hym he gyueth hym peas and swetnes to the entent to stablysshe hym in his lawe and loue / But whan he is stablysshed and sadly grounded in his loue: than suffreth he hym to be vexed and trauaylled for two reasons / one is to proue hym and to crowne hym the hyer in the blysse of heuen. An other is to pourge hym of his synnes in this worlde that in noo wyse he be from hym in the euerlastynge worlde.

¶The syxte chapytre.

ANd for as moche as many men can not nor wyll not in tyme of temptacion se or perceyue it but haue a dredefulnes and a sorynes in themselfe by sterynge of theyr compleccyon therfore to all suche [Page] men thre thynges be nedefull & necessarye. The fyrst is that they be not moche alone. The seconde is that they thynke ne study to depely in ony one thynge / but fully ordre them by some dyscrete persone as afore I sayd / and thoughe it come in theyr mynde that they sholde be in Ieopardye or peryll vtterly to be lost: they sholde take no hede of suche sterynges or thoughtes / for it neuer may tourne them to daunger of theyr sou­les. Almyghty god sayth in the gospell / yf the entent of a mannes purpose be good the dede is good. The thyrde remedye is this / that for as moche as the fende laboureth to make a man dredefull and sorye / a man agayne ought to the honour of god and confusyon of the fende to strength hymselfe and be mery though it be ayenst his herte / and drede noo thynge the fendes malyce. For the lesse gladnes that he feleth in hymselfe the more meryte he shall haue whan he so enforceth hymselfe to be mery to the honour of god / and in spyte of his ghoostly enemy the deuyll. For as holy wryte sayth the holy appostles wente awaye mery & gladde whan the Iues enemyes of god had shamefully be­ten them. Also a man ought to be gladde for thre cau­ses whan the fende tempteth and turmenteth hym. The fyrst is that he is troubled by the enemy of god. The seconde is by suche temptacyons and turmentes the fende sheweth playnly that he is his enemye and euery man ought to be gladde that goddes enemy is his enemy. And the thyrde is that by suche turmen­tes a man is not onely released of the paynes in pur­gatorye but also it maketh hym to wyn̄e euerlastynge blysse. Our lorde Ihesu sayth in the gospell / blessyd [Page] be they that suffreth persecucyon for ryght wysnes for they shall haue the kyngdome of heuen.

¶The seuenth chapytre.

ALso it is to vnderstonde that our olde enemy the fende is ofte tymes aboute to begyle mannes soule in dyuers and many maners / somtyme he styreth man vnder colour of goodnes to deceyue hym whan he is well dysposed and specyally in thre thyn­ges whiche I wyll speke of. One is that though a creature be it man or woman be neuer so well ne soo ofte shryuen / yet the fende maketh them byleue they are not well shryuen / and that he dooth to brynge the soule in heuynes / and so anoyeth & troubleth the poore soule that he maketh hym to forgete what he wolde saye / & therby maketh hym out of rest tyll he be newly shryuen agayne. But this doth he not for that he wolde that ony were often and well shryuen: but fully to lette and trouble hym / and to make hym byleue that he were blynded by synne and out of grace / wherfore he myght not make hymselfe clene. The seconde whyle and colour that the fende maketh to withdrawe goodnes is that whan a man or a woman by deuout sterynges of thoughtes haue felynges of contempla­cyon and medytacyon as perauenture some solytarye persones hath: and he maketh them to thynke that to holde & kepe that medytacyons is to theyr moost proufyte to thentent they sholde leue theyr dyuyne seruyce that they be bounde to / and bryngeth them in suche a combraunce that they wote not whyche waye is [Page] best to them to take / and all this he dooth vtterly to deceyue them and cause them to be vnquyet to doo ony of theym bothe. The thyrde crafte or wyle that he tempteth with is whan a man or a woman gyueth them to honest dysporte to strength them selfe ayenst his false wyles to the comforte of theyr owne soule / than wyll the fende cause theym to haue a conscyence therof / and putteth in to theyr myndes that all suche dysportes is but synne and vanyte. And many tymes bryngeth in to theyr myndes agayne the synnes that they before had done and were confessed of. And all that dooth he to brynge them in to heuynes and dys­comforte to thentent he myght brynge theym to dys­payre. Neuertheles there be good remedyes in these temptacyons for as vnto the last where the fende putteth them in a fere whan they dyspose them to honest dysporte. And also whan they be neuer so clene shry­uen alwaye putteth them in a doubte that they haue not shryuen them well: or elles that there is yet some synne in theym that they perceyue not: but for all these fantasyes they oughte to take noo fere nor thought: but verayly thynke that it is by suggestyon of theyr ghostly enemy that wolde lette theym from rest and peas of theyr soules / and though it be so somtyme that by the meane of suche fantasyes and troubles they forgete some thynge of theyr charge whiche they ought for to haue sayd: lette hym than be confessed yf he may and yf he may not conuenyently and lyghtly haue his confessour: than lette hym haue a full wyll and pur­pose to be confessed as soone as he can possyble. And in the meane tyme crye god mercy / and with a con­tryte [Page] herte aske forgyuenes for his synnes / and than trust fully it is forgyuen hym / for a man is not soo redy to aske forgyuenes and mercy: but our mercyfull lorde of his grete goodnes is moche more redy to forgyue theym. And as to the seconde temptacyon wherby the fende wolde lette a man from his dyuyne seruyce that he is bounde vnto vtterly temptynge hym to leue it: than ought he to be the more dylygent deuoutly & reuerently with good aduysement to saye it / & yf it be so he say alone his seruyce he may whan good thoughtes come or that it wyll please god with swetenes or some hye vysytacyon of the holy ghoost to vysyte and touche hym / than shall it be but well done for to stynte of his seruyce / & attende to that medytacyon for a tyme and after to saye forth / soo that his seruyce that he is bounde vnto be not lefte vnsayd or vndone / and in thus doynge it shall be but lytell lettynge to his ser­uyce / and he shall fynde grete comforte and ease therin For though it lette hym for the tyme: it shall well fur­ther hym to the quyckenes of his soule an other tyme. The thyrde temptacyon is this whan a man in due tyme gyueth hymselfe to honest company & dysporte for the strength and comforte of his soule / and the fen­de putteth in his mynde his synnes to fore done. And that he synneth in vayne spendynge the tyme: for all suche temptacōns gyue ye no charge for it is the ghostly enemy that so tempteth and troubleth you. For ne­uertheles ye may be sure that all thynge whiche is truly grounded in god pleaseth his goodnes & no thynge offendeth hym / wherfore all goddes seruauntes must grounde them fastely in god / and do by the coūseyle of [Page] holy chyrche / and yf they soo doo they shall neuer be deceyued / and therfore a man that hath ben sore trou­bled wel done it is to take hym to dysporte in dyspyte of the fende / and put awaye all other fantasyes / and at tyme conuenyent to aske god mercy of his offences and to praye vnto hym for grace.

¶The eyght chapytre.

ALso the fende is full besy to meue men & wo­men to tender conscience / and to brynge them in suche erroures and maketh them wene somtyme whan they do euyll they do noo synne. And somtyme that is well done they thynke it synne and maketh a venyall synne as greuous as a deedly. And somtyme also the fende encombreth them so gretely that what soeuer they do or loue vndone they be so sore bytten in conscyence that they can no whyle togyder haue ony rest in them selfe. And all this the cruell enemy dooth by the meane of puttynge them in a false drede and blynde conscyence that he bryngeth them to / but the remedy of these and all other temptacyons is to be go­uerned by theyr confessour or some other dyscrete per­sone / and fully put them to theyr rule as afore is sayd and no thynge folowe theyr owne blynde conscyence For yf they folowe theyr owne conscyence it were a grete pryde / in that he wolde holde his owne wytte better than the true counseyle of holy chyrche. For a man that so wyll doo must nedes fall in grete errours and in to the fendes handes. And yf suche an errour of cōscyence made to you by your ghostly enemy make [Page] you thynke that other men fele not that ye fele. And for that cause they can not gyue you good counseyle or remedye. And therfore ye nedes must folowe youre owne fantasyes: yet for all this charge not your herte therwith / but put away all suche errours of cōscyence as fast as they come to mynde / and let them not tarye ne sinke in your soule. And yf ony persone wyll saye that they may not ne can not put theym awaye they saye not truly / for who so is in very wyll to doo away ony suche false suggestyon tofore god it is put awaye though they haue in them neuer soo false demynges / and therfore haue ye neuer so many of them ayenst the wyll of his conscyence: he nedeth not to drede them For out of doubte almyghty god wyll comforte hym or he dye / and the lenger tyme that he suffreth suche vexacyon and trouble the more is he thankefull in the syght of god.

¶The nynth chapytre.

ALso though the fende put in you ony thought of dyspayre or make you to thynke that in the houre of deth ye shall haue suche euyll thoughtes and greuous sterynges / and that ye than shall be but lost: yet for all that byleue hym noo thynge / but answere that ye haue fully put your truste in god / and therfore for all his temptacions by the grete power of almyghty god and merytes of his passyon thynke verayly it shall be to you noo peryll of soule / but tourne to the shame [Page] and confusyon of your ghostly enemye / and yf ony creature man or woman speke to you sharpe or dys­comfortable wordes take it mekely and pacyently & thynke that perauenture it is done by the temptacyon of the fende to trouble and lette you / or that it is a cha­stysynge of god for some worde or dede that ye haue done contrarye to his wyll / for our lorde god dooth lyke a kynde moder / for a louynge moder that is wyse and well taught her selfe she wolde that her chyldren were vertuously and well nortured / and yf she may knowe ony of theym with a defaute she wyll gyue theym a knocke on the heed / and yf the defaute be mo­re she wyll gyue hym a buffet on the cheke / and yf he doo a grete faute she wyll sharpely lasshe hym with a rodde / and thus dooth god that is our louynge fa­der from whome all vertue and goodnes cometh he wyll that his specyall chosen chyldren be vertuously and well taught in theyr soules / and yf they doo a de­faute he wyll knocke them on theyr hedes with some wordes of dyscomforte and dyspleasure / and yf they doo a greter faute he wyll gyue them a buffet with grete sharpenes in sondry maners after the dyuerse condycyon of the defautes / and yf they doo a moche greter trespas than he chastyseth theym moche more sharpely. And all this our blessyd lord doth for the specyall loue he hath vnto vs / for as he sayth hymselfe / them that he loueth / them he chastyseth. Now truly and we toke good hede of these wordes we wolde be gladder of his chastysynge than of all this worldes cherysshynge / and yf we so dyde / all dysease and trou­ble sholde tourne vs to comforte and Ioye / but it is [Page] full harde thus to doo in the tyme of sharpe heuynes whan a soule standeth naked from all ghoostly and bodely comforte to take and fynde Ioye in dysease / al be it they that be in suche inwarde dures they must seke in all wayes how they may comforte themselfe in god / and thynke and trust fully that god sente ne­uer suche chastysynge but that he wolde in longe ty­me or in shorte sende comforte wherby they sholde be brought out of these heuynes. For the prophete sayth many be the trybulacyons of ryght wysmen / and all suche god shall delyuer / and though ye fele somtymes sterynges of desyres of suche vnkyndly euyll though­tes comforte you euer in the goodnes of god / and in the paynefull passyon that his manhode suffreth for you / for the fende tempteth many of the seruauntes of god to dysperacyon and drede of saluacyon / as well worldely men as other ghoostly lyuers / puttynge in worldely mennes myndes the greuousnesse of theyr synnes / and to the ghoostly lyuers he putteth drede & strayte conscyence in many more sondry wyses than I can tell / and full gracyously god hathe comforted theym and brought theym out of theyr errours / and now I am styred and moued for to tell you of one of them whiche was a squyer that hyght Iohn̄ holmes A narracyon. This squyer that I haue named had ben a grete synfull man / and soo at the last thorugh the beholdynge of his grete synnes. And by the tem­ptacyon of the fende he fell in to dyspayre soo depely and greuously that he had nygh loste his mynde. And thus he was troubled forty dayes that he myght ney­ther slepe ne ete but wasted awaye and was in the [Page] poynte to destroye hymselfe / but that blessyd gracy­ous lorde that is soo full of mercy and pyte wolde not haue hym loste. And vpon a day as he walked in a wood alone an aungell came to hym in fourme of a man and saluted the squyer full goodly / and talked with hym in full curteys maner / sayenge vnto hym man thou semest to haue grete heuynes and sorowe / tell me I praye the / the cause of thy dysease. Nay sayd the squyer it is not to be tolde to the. yes hardely sayd the aungell / thou wotest not how well I may helpe and remoue thy dysease. For a man beynge in dys­comforte sholde alwaye dyscouer his heuynes to some creature that myght ease hym / for thorugh good counseyle he myght recouer comforte and hele / or in some wyse haue remedye. The squyer answered the aun­gell agayne and sayd that he wyste well he neyther coude ne myght helpe hym. And therfore he wolde not tell it to hym. This sady squyer wenynge alway that this aungell had ben an erthly man / and dredde that yf he had tolde it vnto hym he sholde haue sayd some worde that sholde vtterly haue greued hym more. And whan the aungell sawe he wolde by no way tell it vnto hym / he sayd vnto the squyer in this wyse. Now sythe thou wylte not tell me thy greue I shall tell it the. Thou arte sayd the aungell in dyspayre of thy saluacyon but trust me faythfully thou shalte be saued / for the mercy of god is so grete that it passeth all his werkes / and surmounteth all synnes. It is sothe sayd the squyer I wote wel that god is mercyfull but he is also ryghtfull and his ryghtwysnes must nedes punysshe synne. And therfore I drede his ryghtfull [Page] Iugementes. The aungell spake vnto hym agayne and tolde hym many grete examples how gracyous and mercyfull our lorde god is to synners. But the squyer of whome we spake was so depely fallen in dyspayre that he coude take no comforte of ony thinge that he coude saye. Than the aungell spake agayne to hym in this maner. O sayd he that thou arte harde of byleue / but wylte thou haue an open shewynge that thou shalte be saued. Than sayd he to ye squyer I haue here thre dyce that I wyll throwe / and thou shalte throwe them also / & who that hath moost of the dyce sykerly shall be saued. A sayd the squyer how myght I in this throwynge of the dyce be certayne of my saluacyon / & helde it but a Iape / that not withstandynge the aūgell threwe the dyce and he had on euery of the dyce vpwarde the nombre of syxe. And he than bad the squyer throwe the dyce. O than sayd the squyer certaynly that dare I not doo / for I wote well though I caste / more than thou hast caste sholde I not cast ne haue / and yf I had lesse than sholde I fall in ferther dyscomforte / but so specyally the aungell desyred and spake that at the last the squyer threwe the dyce / and in throwynge by the gracyous myght and power of god euery dyce deuyded in two / & on euery dyce was the nombre of syxe / and so he had the double that the aungell had / and as he was meruaylynge therupon the aungell vanysshed out of his syght / wherfore he thought veryly than it was an aūgell sente from god to brynge hym out of his sorowe / and than he toke moche comforte and Ioye in the grete mercy & good­nes of god in suche maner that all his dredes and so­rowes [Page] were clene departed / and he became a vertu­ous man and the very seruaunt of god / and lyued blessydly. And whan he sholde departe from this worlde he deuysed there sholde be a stone layde vpon hym / with these wordes wryten aboute it that foloweth Here lyeth Iohn̄ holmes that of the mercy of god may saye alargys. I knewe a worshypfull persone that was in the same abbey here in englonde where as he lyeth that redde the same wordes afore sayd wryten on his tombe. Now than sythen our mercyfull lorde god sent thus his gracyous comforte to this man that was a worldly synfull man & receyued hym to grace and brought hym out of dyspayre. There sholde noo man be dyscomforted nor dyspayre of ony temptacy­ons / for hardely god wyll cōforte hym whan he seeth his tyme / and thoughe he sende not a man comforte shortely it shall be to his more mede / & therfore thynke alwaye whan ye thynke of ony temptacyons bodely or ghostly that ye stande in the blessynges of all holy chyrche / for holy wryte sayth blessyd be they that suf­freth temptacyons. For whan they be well proued they shall haue the crowne of lyf the whiche almyghty god hath promysed to them that loue hym.

¶The tenth chapytre.

O ye chyldren of holy chyrche that hath forsaken the worlde for the helth of your soules & pryn­cypally to please god: comforte you in hym whome [Page] ye haue chosen to loue and serue / for he wyll be to you full free and large as ye may se by example of Peter in the gospell where as he asked our lorde Ihesu cryst what rewarde he sholde haue that had forsaken all thynge to folowe hym. And our lorde answered hym and sayd that he sholde Iuge with hym the twelue trybes of kynredes of Israell at the daye of dome / and ferthermore our lorde sayd also vnto him that not onely one or two or some / but he sayd all tho that forsake for his loue kynne / frendes / possessyons / or ony erthly goodes: they shall haue in this lyfe an hondred folde more / and after blesse withouten ende. Therfore sy­ster cast awaye all suche false dredes that wolde trouble and lette you from loue and hope of our mercyfull lorde god for no thynge pleaseth soo moche the fende as to se the soules withdrawe from the loue of god. And therfore he besyeth hymselfe full sore daye and nyght to lette and trouble loue and peas in mannes soule / and on the other syde noo thynge confoundeth nor dyscomforteth hym so moche as whan he seeth a man sette all his desyre to haue the loue of god. Alas though ye fele not that feruent loue of god shall ye by your Imagynacyon fall in dyscomforte and heuynes of herte / & thynke your selfe lost? nay / nay / put awaye all suche dyscomfortable heuynes & thynke well it co­meth of your enemy the fende / & euer haue a good wyl to loue and please god / and prynte well these wordes in your herte that a good wyll is excepte as for a dede in the syght of god / and comforte you alwaye in the name of Ihesu / for Ihesu is as moche to saye as a sa­uyour / & therfore thynke well euer therupon / & bere [Page] it in your mynde with his passyon / and also his other grete vertues / for no thynge shall so soone put awaye all dredefull temptacyons & fantasyes as the remem­braunce of this name Ihesu / his bytter passyon and gloryous vertues. These thre be shelde and spere / ar­mure / & strength to dryue downe the fendes power be he neuer so fyersly set to tempte man or woman / & specyally to thynke on his grete vertues how god the fader in hymselfe hath all dyuyne nature & in whome is all myght and power and to whome is all thynge possyble and no thynge impossyble to hym. And god the sonne is all wysdome that all thynge may make and gouerne / and god the holy ghoost is all loue and bounte that in a moment of tyme all synnes may for­gyue. I saye not to you thre goddes but thre persones and one god / in whome is all blysse and glory / he is so fayre and bryght shynynge that all the aungelles meruayle of his beaute / his gloryous blessydfull beaute & presence fedeth and fulfylleth all the courte of heuen with suche myrthe and melody that is euerlastynge. In hym is all benygnyte kepynge vs from venge­aunce and in hym is all grace and gentylnes / curtesy / fredome / and largenes / pyte / mercy / and forgyuenes / Ioye / swetenes / and endles helth / our socour he is in all trybulacyons whan we call vpon hym / our com­forte / our strength / our helpe / and our soules helth. I wys syster this is our spouse / whome ye desyre to loue and please / the gretenes of his vertues / ne the multytude of his Ioyes whiche spredeth to all them that be in the courte of heuen: noo herte can thynke nor tonge tell / for the blessydnes of his presence can [Page] can neyther be sayd nor wryten. Ioye ye ther [...]ore in our lorde cryst Ihesu cryst / for he hath bought you full dere to brynge you to that blysse / and therfore saye to hym. O holy god in whome is all goodnes whose pyte and mercy made the to descende from the hygh tro­ne downe in to this wretched worlde the valay of woo and wepynge / and here to take our nature / and in that nature thou suffrest payne and passyon with cruell sharpe deth to brynge our soules to thy kyng­dome. Therfore mercyfull lorde forgyue me all my synnes that I haue done / thought / and sayd. Gloryous trinite sende me clennes of herte / purete of soule / re­store me with thy holy vertues / strength me with thy myght / that I alway may withstande the fende and all euyll temptacyons. O good lorde cōforte me with thy holy ghoost and fulfyll me with perfyte grace and charyte: that I may from hens forth lyue vertuously. And loue the with all my herte / with all my myght and with all my soule / so that I neuer offende the but euer to folowe thy pleasures in wyll / worde / thought and dede / now graunte me this good lorde that arte infynyte / whiche eternally shall endure. And now good syster yf ye doo thus I hope it shall do you grete ease. And thoughe ye fynde noo maner of comforte swetnes nor deuocyon whan ye wolde / be not ther­fore dyscomforted / but suffre it mekely / for ryght ma­ny there be that stryue with themselfe as though they wolde haue swete deuocyon by maystry. And I saye you for trouth so wyll it not be had / but by mekenes moche sooner it may be goten. And that is as thus that a man holde and thynke hymselfe vnworthy to [Page] haue ony swetnes or comforte & offre hymselfe lowly to the wyll of god and put his wyll fully to the wyll and mercy of that blessyd lorde / for a man sholde not desyre to haue that swetnes & deuocyon for his owne comforte and pleasaunce: but purely and onely enten­dynge to please god and to folowe his wyll / and than it suffyseth vnto vs whether we haue it or noo / some also weneth that and they haue not suche swetnes & deuocyon that they be out of grace / but certaynly some there be that in them selfe feleth noo swetnes nor de­uocyon that be in more grace then the other that feleth it / for they haue many comfortes / and better it were mekenes without felynge than felynge without mekenes. Therfore syster suffre mekely and pacyently what euer falleth vnto you / & euer haue a good wyll to do that may be moost pleasynge to god / and whan ony dyscomforte cometh by temptacyon or ymagyna­cyon of your enemy haue the wordes in your mynde that ofte is sayd in this wrytynge before whiche is that a good wyll shall be excepted for a dede / for and ye desyre to be vertuous and to loue and please god it is excepted as for dede before our lorde god / yf you so folowe it with your myght and power / as whan reason cometh to you with a desyrefull wyll to lyue and doo well / and yf ye ony tyme fele comforte & swetnes and after fele these temptacyons as ye dyde before / yet be ye not dyscomforted therfore ne thynke therupon. Say not alas it is comen agayne it wyll neuer away from me. And by the meane of your owne ymagyna­cyon fall agayne in dyscomforte / doo not soo / but com­forte you in god / & be gladde that the fende hath enuy [Page] vnto you / for whyle the lyfe is in the body he wyll al­waye trouble and tary the seruaūtes of god / he is so fully sette ayenst them with al malyce to dysease and dyscomforte theym in all the dyuerse maners that he can or may. Saynt Augustyne sayth ye in many ma­ner wayes temptacyons be hadde by the whiche the serpent adder enemye to all mankynde tourmenteth mannes soule. And saynt Gregorye sayth that there is noo thynge in the worlde whiche we ought to be soo syker of god as whan we gaue these tourmentes and troubles. And yf a man saye that bodely turmen­tes be medeful and not ghoostly turmentes he sayth not ryght / for doubtles the ghoostly tourmentes be more greuous and paynefull that come ayenst man­nes wyll than be bodyly tourmentes / and soo moche more be they nedefull / and therfore many men doo dyshonour to god that sayth with full aduysement that the fende in this world may more turment than god may gyue meryte / wherfore truly there is no thȳ ge more medefull charytable nor more godly than for to strength and comforte the soule that the fende soo troubleth / for who so comforteth them that be dysso­late and in sorowe the lorde of comforte Ihesu cryste our lorde and god wyll comforte them without ende in the blysse of heuen / the whiche lorde thorugh the myght and meryte of his paynefull passyon and pre­cyous blode hath put downe ye power of ye fondes / & hath graūted to crysten soules the vyctory ouer them to the worstyp of all the hole trynyte / fader / sone / and holy ghoost that lyueth & reyneth withouten ende. Amen.

[Page]¶Here endeth ye remedy ayenst the troubles of temptacyons.

¶Here begynneth a deuoute medytacyō in sayenge deuoutly ye psalter of our lady wt dyuers ensamples.


THe gloryous mayster Iohn̄ of the moūte in his moryall telleth / whiche also I foūde in ye boke of frere Thomas of the temple. In the tyme ye moost blessyd Domynyck the noble fader and leder moost famouse of ye ordre of prechers / pre­ched throughout the worlde in many regyons and exhorted incessaūtly ye people to the laude: and prayse of ye blessyd marye vyrgyn vndefyled / & to her angelyke cōfraternyte. It fortuned [Page] hym to preche at Rome in the audyence of the grete prelates of the worlde and shewed by fygures and examples this blessyd vyrgyn to be saluted moost spe­cyally by her psalter. All they meruaylled of thafflu­ence of his wordes. They were astonyed at the grete wonders. To whome he sayd. O faythfull and true lordes and other true louers of the fayth: here this synguler holsome sayenge to you all / that ye may veryly knowe those thynges whiche I haue spoken to be true. Take the psalter of this blessyd vyrgyne / and in sayenge it: call deuoutely vnto your remembraunce the passyon of cryste. Thus I shewe vnto you that ye shall haue in experyence the spyryte of god bothe in sayenge and in forgyuynge. Truely soo greate a flambe may not stonde in ony place without makyn­ge hote. Neyther soo grete lyghte without gyuynge lyght / nor soo godly a medycyne without the vertue of makynge hole. What sholde I saye more / all the people gaue audyence and in maner astonyed: they meruaylled of his godly wordes / many persones not onely of the comyn people / but also of grete prelates of the chyrche as reuerende cardynalles and many honourable bysshoppes toke vpon them to saye this psalter of our lady / to thentent they myght gete some gra­ce of almyghty god. A meruayllous thynge. The cyte beynge in trouble / dyuerse multyplycacyon of prayers was amonges the people in euery state or degre. For truly thou myght se bothe mornynge / euenynge / and at myddaye men and women euery where berynge the psalter of our lady. Cardynalles whiche be na­med [Page] the pyllers of the worlde and bysshoppes sha­med not to bere in theyr handes & at theyr gyrdelles these soo grete tokens of the godhede and of our fayth veryly to be byleued. Truely by the myracles of our lady shewed by saynt Domynyck they doubted not but in excercysynge of this psalter goddes helpe to be redy at all tymes. What more. All that dyde assaye this psalter perceyued some knowlege of the pyte of god. And amonges all I shall shewe this wonder or myracle onely folowynge. At Rome was a certayne mysdysposed woman of her body moost famouse a­boue all other lyke dysposed / in beaute / eloquence / ap­parayle / and worldly gladnes / whiche fortuned gra­cyously to haue the psalter of our lady by thaduyse of holy saynt Domynyk / whiche she hydde vnder her kyrtell and sayd it many tymes on the daye. But alas she neuertheles vsed the vnlawfull flesshely pleasure and vnclennes of her body aboue all other / more men resorted to her than to ony other woman of suche vayne dysposycyon. This woman named fayre Kathe­ryne for the incomperable beaute of her body conty­nued in her mysselyuynge / and ones on the day at the leest she dyde vysyte the chyrche sayenge the psalter of our lady / and thus was her medytacyon and thought The fyrst fyfty she sayd for the infancye of cryst in the whiche he bare all his passyon to come / and yf it were not at that tyme in execucyon / neuertheles it was in his entent and mynde. The seconde fyfty she sayd for crystes passyon exhybyte and done royally lyke as he suffred in his manhode. The thyrde fyfty she sayd for [Page] the passyon of cryste as it was in his godhede / not by­cause the godhede as the godhede myght suffre / but bycause this infynyte godhede loued so moche the na­ture of man / that yf it had ben mortall it sholde haue suffred deth. Therfore bycause the eternall wysdome of god in hymselfe myght not dye for vs / he toke vpon hym our manhode / whiche his wyll was sholde suf­fre passyon & dye for all mankynde. And as this fayre Katheryne thus contynued in prayenge / it happened on a season as she wente aboute Rome wandrynge after her olde maner / a meruayllous fayre man mette her & sayd. Heyle Katheryne / why stondest thou here / hast thou noo dwellynge place. To whome she an­swered sayenge. Syr I haue a dwellynge place and euery thynge in it ordred to the best and goodlyest maner. To whome he sayd. This nyghte wyll I soupe with the. She answered I graunt with all myne herte / and what soeuer thou wylte haue I shall gladly prepare. Thus goynge hande in hande they came vnto her hous where as were many wenches of lyke dysposycyon. Souper was prepared and this vnknowen geste sate with fayre Katheryne / the one dranke to the other. But euery thynge that this straūge geste touched were it drynke or other thynge lyke / anone turned in to blody colour wt a meruayllous excellent smell & swete sauour. She meruaylynge sayd to hym Syr what arte thou / eyther it is not well wt me elles thou arte very meruaylous / for euery thinge that thou [Page] touchest is anone made of blody colour. And he an­swered sayenge / knowest thou not that a crysten man neyther eteth nor drynketh but that is dyed or colou­red with the blode of cryste. Thus this woman was meruayllously abasshed of this straunger / soo moche that she fered for to touche hym. Notwithstondynge she sayd. Syr I well perceyue by your countenaunce that ye be a man of grete reuerēce. I beseche you who be ye / and from whens come ye. To whome he sayd whan we be togyder in thy chaumbre / I shall shewe the all thyn askynges. And thus lefte in doubte of the mater? she made redy the chaumbre. This woman Katheryne wente fyrst to bedde / & desyred the straun­ger to come to bedde to her. A wonderful thynge and suche one as in maner neuer was herde of ony crea­ture. Sodeynly this straunger chaunged hymselfe in to the shappe of a lytell chylde / bare vpon his heed a crowne of thorne / vpon his sholder a crosse / and to­kens of his passyon with innumerable woundes vp on all his body / and sayd vnto Katheryne. O Kathe­ryne now leue thy folysshenes. Beholde / now thou seest the passyon of Cryste veryly as it was in his in­fancye for the whiche thou sayd the fyrst fyfty of thy psalter I shewe vnto the / that from the fyrste houre of my concepcyon vnto my deth I bare contynually this payne in myne herte / whiche for thy sake was soo grete that yf euery lytell pece or stone of grauell [Page] in ye see were a chylde and euery one of them had as moche payne as euer suffred al the men in the worlde at theyr deth: yet all they togyder suffre not so grete payne as I suffred for the. This woman was sore abasshed seynge and herynge this wonder. And a­none agayne he was tourned in to the lykenes of a man euen after the same fourme whiche he had the tyme of his passyon royall. And sayde Doughter be­holde now thou seest how grete paynes I suffered for the / whiche dooth excede all the paynes of helle / for my power of suffrynge is of god and not of man. And my passyon was so grete that yf it had ben de­uyded amonge all creatures of the worlde / they shol­de all haue dyed or ben dystroyed. After this seynge he chaūged hymselfe in to the clerenes of the sonne / notwithstandynge the tokens of his passyon remay­nynge also gloryously he apered / in all his woundes were sene al and infynyte creatures of the worlde for compassyon of the same and he sayd vnto her.



BEholde / take hede / now thou seest what I suf­fred ī my godhede for thyn helth / syth all thynges be in me and I in euery thynge / in all these I se the / I loue the / & in them all I am redy to suffre eternally the payne for thy soules helth whiche thou seest for my loue is infynyte (after saynt Dyonyse) and all thynges in me be infynyte as the same Dyonyse she­weth. [Page] Therfore knowe the mekenes of god / and call to mynde the threfolde passyon of cryste / for the whi­che thou sayd thryse fyfty Aues / and fyftene Pater no­sters. And here after amende thy selfe / that as thou were before the example of all malyce and vnclene lyuynge / soo now from this tyme forwarde lyue in su­che maner that thou may be to all other a myrrour of purete and clennes. I do not appere to the for thy me­rytes but onely for an example of penaunce / and by­cause thy brethren and systers of myn vndefyled mo­ders fraternyte haue prayed for the / that by thy con­uersacyon many sholde be conuerted and be the chyl­dren of god / lyke as before innumerable were made the chyldren of the deuyll by thy wyckednes. what more. This vysyon vanysshed awaye. It was also vnfayned / for the woman afterwarde felte in her handes and fete the sorowe of crystes passyon / and in o­ther partes of her body. Therfore she rose from synne & toke her to penaūce / and on the morowe after made her confessyon to saynt Domynyk / to whome he en­ioyned in penaunce to saye the psalter of the blessyd vyrgyn Marye as she was wonte to doo and to be one of her fraternyte / whyche she had not before in dede / but onely in purpose and entent / as it is afore sayd / where it is to be noted how moche this sayd fraternyte is worth to them whiche haue it in dede / syth it was soo grete valure to this woman hauynge it but in purpose / whyles that she prayed deuoutely vnto this vyrgyn Marye / the same blessyd lady ap­pered to her with saynt Katheryne sayenge to her. [Page] Doughter beholde / take hede / thou hast synned mo­che: therfore thou must suffre grete penaunce for this cause / take in penaunce euery daye thre dyscyplynes or thre correccyons / wherof euery one shall be of .lv. strokes whiche make a penytēcyall psalter. She sayd also / it shall not alwaye nede to haue a rodde / but prycke the with thy nayles / or pynche thy flesshe in euery place. Thou mayst at all tymes doo this penaunce a­yenst euery wycked temptacyon and for to obteyne all goodnes / and this is a royall preuy penaunce and naturall. It may be called the quene of all penaunces. This woman herde all these wordes and fulfylled them in dede. And as she was thus dayly penytent: vpon a tyme saynt Domynyk auaūced by the power of god sawe in the nyght a wonderfull thynge to all the worlde. He perceyued that from the hous of this same Katheryne yssued out .lv. flodes from the mem­bres of a lytell chylde / whiche flodes descended to hell in whose comynge the soules there to be purged were gretely comforted. O how grete and Ioyfull noyses made they than: how many blessynges gaue they vnto this sayd Katheryne: veryly the erth sounded agay­ne to theyr voyces for Ioye. There were soules de­lyuered / comforted / made hole & excluded from theyr paynes by the medytacyon that Katheryne had of crystes passyon in his chyldehode. She was alwaye a­boute to applye it to the comforte of all true crysten soules departed out of this worlde. O meruaylous thyn­ge. After this saynt Domynyk sawe a man entre in to Katheryns chaumbre / & from .v. fountaynes of his [Page] body yssewed out .lv. woundes whiche nourysshed and watred all the chyrche mylytante / and also this present worlde / trees and plantes dyde burgyn / byr­des and fysshes were quyckened / true crysten people were bathed in those flodes. O how grete swetenes was there and how grete worldly gladnes. All creatures blessyd this woman Katheryne and prayed for her to almyghty god maker of all thynges. And these two meruaylles were shewed for the fyrst fyfty and the seconde. And where as this penytent Katheryne began the thyrde fyfty of her psalter. Saynt Domy­nyk sawe a meruaylous grete gyaunt clerer than the lyght / of whome yssewed out fyue fountaynes / of the fyue fountaynes sprange fyfty flodes whiche neyther descended to therth / nor to hell / but meruayllously as­cended togyder vnto heuen. And by them all heuenly paradyse was watred. Theyr swetenes was so grete that the aungelles and holy sayntes dyde drynke of theym / gyuynge grete thankes to almyghty god. whan saynt Domynyck sawe all these meruaylles as Thomas of the temple wryteth: he meruaylled gretly why they sholde be shewed and done in the hous of so grete a synner. To whome marye the vyrgyn ap­pered and sayd. O my frende Domynyk why doost thou meruayle in suche causes? Knowest thou not I am a frende to all synners and that the mekenes of god is in me? It was my wyll to shewe these vysy­ons to the of this my doughter that thou sholde pre­che them to the worlde / for this entent that no crysten persone be theyr synnes neuer so grete sholde dyspayre in ony condycyon / but alwaye trust in god and his [Page] mercy / and namely they that wyll flee vnder my pro­teccyon with this woman Katheryne the holy vyr­gyn and martyr saynt Katheryne socoured her very moche whiche alwaye she loued and serued with so­me prayer from her yonge aege / for the congruence of the name. More ouer the blessyd moder of god sayd. O Domynyk thou haste sene these meruaylles. Here now and preche that I soo holy and meke shall saye. Shewe that I haue purchased of my sone to all su­che as sayth my psalter and are of my fraternyte / they shall haue the same excellence whiche the sayd Kathe­ryne hath / & though they can not se it in this worlde lyke wyse as men can not se god / his aungelles / the deuylles neyther theyr merytes and vertues in this lyfe. Also they can not se the vertue of a precyous stone nor of the sterres: therfore the knowlege of heuenly thynges must be moche ferther from them. Notwith stōdynge they shall beholde this excellence after theyr deth. Therfore Domynyk be of good comforte / pre­che my psalter and my fraternyte / for vnto all suche as hath them I haue purchased not onely to se this ex­cellence but also to haue it eternally in possessyon. what sholde I saye more. Saynt Domynyck gaue thankes to almyghty god for his grete mercy. And this Katheryne made herselfe a recluse / she dystrybu­ted her goodes to the poore people / whiche afterwar­de was of so grete holynes that many very holy per­sones came vnto her bycause of her godly reuelacy­ons. To whome appered our lorde Ihesu .C. dayes & fyfty before her departynge out of this lyfe shewynge the tyme of her deth / whiche afterwarde departed [Page] out of this lyfe very holy. Thre holy vyrgyns one na­med Iohanne / an other Martha / the thyrde Lucya sawe her soule departe from the body bryghter than the sonne / bytwene the armes of her spouse cryst. Her sepulture is in the chyrche of saynt Iohn̄ lateranence. All crysten people by this take hede of how grete vertue the psalter of our lady is with the remembraunce of crystes passyon / it is alwaye in strength bothe in lyf and at the houre of deth. Therfore let vs prayse and laude our lorde Ihesu and Marye his moder in theyr psalter / to thentent we may deserue to haue the Ioyes of heuen / here by grace / & after this lyfe by glorye.

[...]Here endeth a deuoute medytacyon in sayenge de­uoutly the psalter of our lady with dyuers ensamples.

Enprynted at London in Fletestrete at the sygne of the sonne. By wynkynde worde. Anno domini. M. CCCCC.viii. the fourth daye of February.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.