¶A full deuoute and gostely treatyse of the Imy­tacyon and folowynge the blessed lyfe of our moste mercyfull Sauyour cryste: compyled in Laten by the right worshypful Doctor Mayster Iohn̄ Ger­son: and translate into Englisshe The yere of owre Lorde M. d. ii. By maister William Atkynson Doc­tor of diuinite: at ye speciall request & cōmaundemēt of the full excellent Pryncesse Margarete moder to oure souerayne lorde Kynge Henry the .vii. and Countesse of Rychemount and Derby.


¶Here begynneth the boke of Iohn̄ Gersō chaū ­celer of Paris ꝯteynīg y holy doctrine of crist how [...]e shulde folowe hym & ꝯtēpne all wordly vanites.

¶The first Chaptre.

WHo so folo with me saith crist our saui­our walketh nat ī derkenes: These be the wordes of iesucrist wherby we be exorted to folow his lore & doctrine if we will truely be lightned & auoided from all blīnes of ignoraūce of mynde. Let our full affeccion be to haue our study & meditacion ī y doc­trine & lyfe of iesucrist whiche excelleth the doctrine of all seyntes. And who so may haue the iey of theyr soule sequestrate in wordly thynges in this scriptu­re of our lorde may fynde swere manna spiritual fo­de of the soule. But there be many oft tymes herīge the worde of god that hath litell swetnes or deuoci­on therin for their inwarde affeccyons & desyres be rather of bodyly thynges than of gostly. Therfore if we wyll haue true & perfyte vnderstandynge of y wordes of god we must dylygently studye to con­forme our lyfe to hys preceptis. what auaylethe a man to haue subtyll reasons or argumentys of the Trinite? curious & subtyll reasons garnissed with elygance maketh nat a man holy: but obedyence and vertuous lyfe maketh a man dere to god. It is more expedyent to fele the inly compunccion of here than to know the diffinycion therof. If a man haue the knowledge of all scripture: also the seyiges of all philosophers withoute grace and charite auayleth nat. For all thynge that is in thys worlde is vanyte [Page] excepte the loue of god: & his seruyce or to this ende ordred. The moste excellent wysdome in any crea­ture is by comtempte of this mutable & transetorye worlde to promote them selfe to the worlde ꝑdura­ble. it is vanite to labour inordinatly for coruptible cyches: transetorious honours: false & flesshely delites: or to desire any inordinate plesure temporall yt shall brynge a man to perpetuall pryne. Howe vai­ne thynge is it to desire longe lyfe: & lytell to fors of a good lyfe to gyue hede to thynges present & to cō ­tempne thynges that be to come. Also to fixe our lo­ue on that whiche shortly vanessheth away: & to do no diligence to come thider / where be innumerable & perpetuall ioyes Haue mynde howe in this worl­de nother our iye is sufficyently satisfyed with seīge ne our eris with herynge & therfore studie we to wt ­drawe our herte fro the loue of thynges visible & fa­dynge & to applie it to the desires of goodes īuisible & perpetuall for them that folowe senssuall pleasure without restraynynge of reason theyspot their cō ­science & lese the grace of god.

¶ The seconde Chaptre of the humble knowe­lege of mannesselfe.

EVery man naturally desireth to haue know­lege. But what auaileth science withoute the drede of god a pore homely laborynge man dredīge god is more acceptable in his feythe / than a cury­ous Philosopher that labore the more to knowe the mo [...]ge of heuen than to order the mociōs of his bo­dy and soule to the plesure of god. He yt surely kno­weth [Page] & cōsidereth himselfe & vnderstādeth his owne wisdome hath lytell delite in the vayne laude of the worlde. If man had knowlege of all thynges in the worlde without charite what shulde it auayle hym in the syght of god that iugeth man after his dedes Refrayne thyn appetite of īordinate desire of cury­ous knowlege of those thynges that rather shal dis­ease thy soule & withdrawe it from the vnyte & cha­ryte of god / than excyte it therto. As wese many of this maner of / lerned men desire to be reputed and holden wyse in multiplyinge wordes which if they delyte the herynge / they refresshe & fede nat ye soule but litell. But a good life & pure cōsciēce refressheth the mynde & enduceth man to haue ferme cōfidence in god. The more knowlege that man hath: & wor­keth nat conformable: the more shalbe his peyne at the day of dome: & therfore exalte nat thy self of any craft or cunnynge. but rather fere that thou displea­se nat god ī abusion therof. Remēbre if thou knowe many thynges & excedest other in cunnīge yet con­sider that there be many mothynges that thou arte ignoraunt of / & many that be more wytty & excellēt & cunnīge than thou: If thou wylt ꝓfitably knowe & lerne: desire to be vnknowen: & of smale reputaci­on: This is the moste expedient and profitable les­son: the very knowlege & cōtempte of thyn owne sel­fe. It is a greate wisdome & ꝑfeccion to haue of thy selfe lytell confidēce: and estymate well of other. If thou seyst any persons openly synne or commytt a­ny greate cryme: yet thou shuldest nat iuge thyselfe [Page] better than them: for thou knowest nat howe longe thou shalt ꝑseuer in goodnes or fro the same crime we be all fraile and thou shulde Iuge no man more frayle than thy selfe.

¶ The .iii. Chaptre of the doctryne of truthe.

THat persone is happy whome truthe diligētly informeth nat by fygures or voyces fay­lynge but by inwarde inspiracion. Oure opinion / & vnderstandynge many tymes dsceyueth vs. what auayleth it vs for to labour bysely for the knowlege of those thynges / whyche shall nouther helpe vs yf we knowe theym: ne disauauntage vs if we therin be ignoraunt at the day of iugement. It ys greate foly to dispice thynges profytable / and necessary / & to labour for those thynges that be curious & dampnable. Blessed ys that persone whome god techeth for in hym be all good thynges that man may wyll or desyre. A good lorde: in thy gracious presencelet other doctours and all other creatures kepe silence & thou only speke to my soule: for the more man ys īoyned to hym in inwarde mekenes: the more he re­ceyueth of spirituall lyght of grace. wherby he kno­wethe many secrete mysteries hyd from other peo­ple The pure simple & stable mynde is nat ouer co­me or febled / for it referreth euery labour to the ho­nour of god & īforceth it selfe to cesse fro al other thī ­ges that be nat in the syght of god acceptable: who resisteth and letteth a man more than his owne sen­suall affeccion? we rede of many Emperours & cō ­querours [Page] / that conquered kyndoms and empyres and yet neuer ouercame ne subdued theymselfe / for that is one of the moste victorious conquest [...] / where man perfytely ouercometh hymselfe. Thys shulde be our daylye datayle to stryue with oure selfe / and the more vyctoryes the soule hath of the bodye the more stronge it ys: and more apte to encrese and to growe in grace. Euery perfeccyon in thys lyfe hath some perfeccion annxid to it. And there is no know­lege in thys worlde: but it is myxt with some derke­nesse of ignoraunce. The humble knowelege of thy selfe ys more sure wey to heuen / than the curious ī ­quisicion of ꝓfounde knowlege of thynges vn ꝓfy­table: the science of euery thīge well ordred is good but a clere conscience & a good lyfe is moche better. And there be diuers that study rather for excellence of cunnynge than good lyuynge: therfore they fall in errour & brynge for the litell frute or none. O wolde god they wolde indeuour themselfe as dylygently to auoyde vice & plant vertue in theyr sowles / as they be to moue curious questions & multiply suꝑ­fluꝰ langage: than there shulde nat be so moche oc­casion of sine shewed to the people ne so moche dys­solute lyuīge ī religion. At y day of iugemēt it shall nat be laide to our charge what we haue red or ler­ned or how pleasaūtly we haue lyued: but what we haue done & how religiously we haue lyued / where be now all y royal poetes with theyr crafty cōucied poemes & elegant oratours with their oraciōs gar­nisshed with eligancy: the philosophers with theyr [Page] pregnaunt reasons & sētences. Diuers of these ma­ner of clerkes we haue knowen in our dayes nowe theyr curiosite is passed and other mē occupie their prebendes & promocions that they possed: If they were here nowe ageyne I suppose they wolde ne­uer labour so bysily for curiosite in knowlege ne tē ­porall promocions. Nowe they had leuer thann all this worlde that theyr entēt had ben accordynge to the holy doctryne of scripture than the study had bē happy. O howe many in manere of euery state pe­risshith in this worlde by vayne glory that more desire to please prynces & prelates & other patrons for a temporall promocion than truly & in wardly to serue god for the promocions eternall. These desire rather by pompe & pryde to be great in the worlde: thā by mekenes & charite to be in fauoure with god / & therfore they vanissh ī their thaughtis & desires as the smoke that euer the more it ascēdeth the more yt fadeth & faileth That persone may be named great in grace that is incended wyth charite & is ꝑfytly o­bedient by humylyte contempnynge the inordinat desire of preemynens or of dignite. And he ys pru­dent that reputeth all worldely pleasures & goodes as vile dunge in comparison of the celestial goodis whiche we shall haue in the perfite possession of the loue of iesu crist. And y ꝑson is verely well thaught that euer inforceth hym selfe to forsake his own will and foloweth the wyll of god.

¶ The forthe Chaptre ys of credence in byleuynge.

[Page]IT is nat expedient ne wysdom to beleue eue­ry worde or inly mociō of our mynde: but we must consider that it is accordynge to the scripture of god & in no wyse contrary therto. But I lament for sorowe the lyght & frayle disposicion of the īper­fite people that be swifte to beleue & specially those thynges that be the hurt of theyr owne soules / and the det̄ment of theyr neyghboure. But the wyse / & perfyte men knowynge the fraylte of man more ꝓ­ne to euyll than to good be nat so lyght to beleue e­uery worde that they here. It is great wisdom and also discrescion to be sober in iugement & other de­lynge & nat to haue ouermoche confidence in our ꝓ­pre dedes ne to reherse other thynges lyghtly bele­ned & herde & euer to gyue hede to take councell of a wise & a well conscience man & euer gladder to be instructe of a nother than to folowe thy ꝓpre intency­on or mynde. A good lyfe maketh the to be reputed wise in the syght of god & to haue in many thynges experience. Euer the more meke & obedient a mā be to god the more wise & quyete shall he be.

¶ The .v. Chaptre is of ye redīge of holy scripture

The principall thynge yt we shall īquyre ī scip­ture is charite & nat elygance in speche & we shulde endeuour ourselfe to rede the scripture with as greate feruour of sprete as it was receyued first And wisdome wolde we shulde folowe those auto­res and bokes where we may haue most swete & ꝓ­fitable fedynge for owre sowle. The fame of sotell [Page] phylosophers the knowlege of poetes & reforike as asmoke or fume vanissheth awey: but the truthe of god abydeth withoute ende. And as our lorde spe­keth to vs without excepcion of persone most expe: diently to vs so we shall withoute any excepcion of feithfull ꝑsone or werke study / & rede those werkes that most we thinke shulde please god & to vs most ꝓfytable If thou wolde drawe the spirituall water of wisdome out of the well of scripture īcline ye ves­sel of thy soule by mekenes & confidence without desire of curiosite or name of excellence Inquyre dily­gently & quietly receyue the holy sentensis of seintis let nat the ꝓuerbes & holy wyse similytudes of blis­sed fad (er)s displese y for thei were nat spokē wtout cause

¶ The .vi. Chaptre of affeccōns īordynate

wHan someuer a man hath inordinate desyre to any thinge than he is made inqete in him selfe the proude mā and the couetouse be neuer qui­ete in theyr myndes. But a meke and a pore man in spyryte be conseruaunt in greate quyetnes of mīde That persone that ys nat mortyfyed perfytly is so­ne ouercome in lytell & vile temptacions & sone inclined to sensible pleasures. And if he shall withdrawe his mynde fro erthly thynges it is with great diffi­culte. And therfore they haue great heuynes ī herte & sone be miscōtent if they be resisted. And if they fo­lowe theyr sensuall appetite anone they be greued [...] wt rumours of cōsciēce in as moche as they haue fo­lowed the sensuall passiōs yt rather dispose to inqui­etnes of mynde thā rest in resistīge sensuall passiōs [Page] plesours we shall come to ꝑfyte rest & infolowynge them to great iniquietnes There may nat be cōtey­ned rest in the herte of man that gyueth hym selfe to execute his carnall desires or moche is conuersaunt with outwarde thynges but in the sowle that hathe most delyte to god & in inly godys of thy soule may be founde true reste.

¶ The .vii. chaptre of vanite & elaciō to be auoided

THat ꝑsone may be called vayne that putthe hys hope in any man or creature Tak it nat for no repreue to do seruice to other or to be reputed pore for the loue of Ihesu Cryste haue lytell confy­dence in thy selfe but that thy hole hope and trust be in god / Do that is in the to plese hys grace and god with hys gracious assistence shall be with the in thy wyll and dyrecte thy werkes: Haue neuer confidē ­ce in thyne owne runnynge ne in any worldly subtil­te of any lyuynge creature: but in the mercyfull grace of god that neuer suffreth creature fynally to be withoute comforte that hade thyr full confidence in hym and those that haue full affyaunce or hope in thyr selfe he maketh or suffreth to fall and so subdu­eth them Auaunce nat thy selfe ī the abūdaūce of ry­ches ne of great powere of thy temporall frīdes but alonely in god: in whome is all abundaunce of ry­ches and puyssannce of myghte. And he aboue all thynge desyreth to gyue his owne selfe to those that dyspose them selfe to receyue hym by grace. Exalte nat thy selfe of any bodyly vertue for all suche sone he corrupte and vanisshe awey by a lytell infirmyte [Page] Inhaunce nat thy selfe of any naturall habilite lest god of nature be myscontente with the. Repute nat thy selfe better than other: lyste that thou be founde worse in the syght of god: that beholdeth the enlye dyposicyon of euery soule. and diuers tymes dyscō ­mendeth those thynges that men in this worlde cō ­mendeth. And therfore if thy werkes please men fe­re lyst they displease god. And if there be any good­nes or vertue in the: byleue that there is more in o­ther. And euer desire of god that the vertue of me­kenes may abyde in the. It shall neuer hurte the yf thou iuge thy selfe the leste & most vile of all other & in preferrynge of thy selfe afore other thou mayste lyghtly offende. There is true and sure pease in a meke soule. And in aproude herte contynuall enuye and indignacyon.

¶ The .viii. Chaptre of moche famyliarite to be auoyded.

SHewe nat thy secrete counselle to euery man but to hym that ys wyse secrete and dredeth god. Inhaunt nat moche the company of yonge ꝑ­sons and strangers. Vse no adulacyon for to come to any temporall promocion nor for that consydera­cyon exercise nat moche the company of myghty / & greate men yt be contynually besy in worldly thīges Be desirous to be accompaned with meke & chary­table men: & with those that be of good maners: and [...]tuous: & trete with them of those thīges that mayedifye & strength thy soule & be nat familier with a­ny ꝑson wherby thou maist lightly be tempted or in [Page] famed. It is necessary to haue charyte with euerye persone: but nat familiarite but with those that mai helpe to promote the to the famyliarite of god / & of his aungels. Somtime we se that som men beinge of great fame: and yet theyr bodyly presence ys nat moche profitable: & there be som that with their bo­dely presēce wene to ꝓfit other. whan they by theyr indiscression & euell maners rather discomfort / and hurte those that they wene to helpe & comforte.

¶ The .ix. Chaptre of meke subieccōn & obediēce

IT is full great merite to stande in obedience & forsake thy ꝓpre wyll & ꝑfectly to obeye to the wyll of a nother. It ys moche more sure to stan­de in the way of obedience: than in p̄lacy. But there be many that be rather in subieccyon of necessyte than of charyte: & they haue therin peyne / & lyghtly gruges and haue nat liberte of minde without they for the loue of god submitte theym selfe. Rēne hider or thyder: or where thou wylte: but it shalbe harde for the to fynde perfite rest but vnder make subiecci­on of a discrete Prelate. The ymaginacion & ymy­tacions of diuersytees of habitacions & places hath [...]sceyued many a religyous persone. Euery body in maner is glade to do that / that theyre mynde she­weth them. It shulde be more to theyr profite to for­sake theyr appetite than if they condiscende therto. But if we wolle that god shall abyde withe vs / we must forsake our ꝓpre wyll for the exāple & psesure of god & the profitable peas of our neyghbour. Sy [Page] then no man hath all cunnynge therfore it is sitting that no body haue to moche confidēce in their owne councell. And if thy vnderstandynge be good & suf­ficient. yet if thou wylt by example of our sauy [...]ure leue thy ꝓpre councell or direccion & folow a noder for thy mekenes thou shalt more profyt than if thou folowed thy ne owne wyll. As we here the comone prouerbe. It is moche more sure the wyse & discrete counsell of a nother / than to gyue theym counsell yt wyll nat folowe it. It is a synne of ꝑtynacite & pride any persone inportunly to offre theyr counsel & spe­cially where they can lytell profite.

¶ The .x. Chaptre of superfluous wordes to be auoyed.

THat soule that desireth inli perfecciō of their mynde must specially auoide the tumultuꝰ behauyour of wordly people. The besines of word­ly actes thought they be done with a good entente yet they lett & hyndereth the mynde of his great perfeccion. Nowe I repent my suꝑfluous langage / & frequent inhauntynge of wordely company for▪ by these .ii. meanes we be often tymes hurte in our cō ­science. If it be expedyēt and also you be disposed to speke lett it be ꝓfitable other to the honour of god y edificacion of thy soule / or thy neyghbour Also consider that all our good wordes be wryten of y aun­gels of god: & our euyll wordes of our enemy y de­uyll to our accusacion. And therfore it is moche mo­re profytable whanne good folkes be assembled of onemynde to the mouynge of goodnes. As the ho­le [Page] colys vnite to gyder eche of them receyuethe of o­ther influence of hete. So good soules assemblede togyder for the encrease of vertue echone of theym receyuethe of other influence of grace & encrease of vertue & goodnes.

¶ The .xi. Chaptre of the desire to profite spiri­tually & pease to be purchased.

IT is one speciall meane to acquire pease nat to intermytt vs of the wordes and werkes of those that atteyne nat to vs. Howe maye that per­sone be in gostely quyetnesse that moche intermyt­teth hym selfe of those thynges that he hath no cure of: Or syketh occasyons outwarde and hath but li­tell recourse to inlye habytacyon of hys conscyence Blessede be the true symple fowles wythoute any dysceyueable mynde that in all theyr lyfe and labo­ures truely entendeth for they shall come to the rest of mynde / and conscyence. ¶ The holy seyntes by mortyfiynge / and subduynge theyre sensualyte to reason all erthely thynges sette a parte they wythe all theyr inly delectable desyresfrely haue had their hole meditacyon in oure lorde. But we be besy mo­che in thynges transetorye / and folowe oure passy­ons that we maye nat ouercome in maner perfytly one vyce. ¶ And therfore we be nat accended in the dayly profite & deuocion & therfore we remayne re­mysse and voyde of deuocion. The most pryncipal cause why we haue no inly delectacyon or desire of heuenly contemplacyon ys: for we be nat fre or de­lyuered [Page] from our senssuall passyons & cōcupiscēsis ne inforce nat oure selfe into the holy waye that the blyssed faders haue gone afore vs. whan a litell ad­uersite cometh to vs we besone ouercome & redy to returne to the consolacyons of man. Where yf we wolde mightily stande in bataile for the loue of our lorde we shulde se the goodnes of his gracius helpe sent towarde vs. Hys grace is euer redy to gyde / & helpe those that in spirituall batayle haue full con­fidence in hym. And he procurith occasions of batel to the ende that we shulde increase the crowne of ꝑ­petuall ioye by the meane of victory. Than lette vs cutte awaye oure inordinate affeccions / & passions that be the rotes of all iniquyetnes & than we maye possesse a peasable mynde in god. If we wolde eue­ry yere indeuoure oure selfe to ouercome perfectly one vice: we shulde in shorte space come to greate perfeccyon. But I fere it be contrary bothe in riligion and worldly people that after longe cōtynuaūce in lyuynge they ꝑceyue that the state goynge afore hath be more vertuous & pure than the present state that they be in. The more we encrease in age / and drawe to our dethe the more dilygently nor shulde labour for the perpetuall reward▪ that be ordeined for those that order theyr lyues / and labours therto The v (er)tuous lyfe peynfull in the beginige by custo­me returneth to greate perfite pleasure It is harde to leue customes in pleasure. But it ys more peyne without mesure to leue the eternall peasure that for dāpnable custome shalbe loste. Eeuer striue might­ [...]ly [Page] agaynst the fyrste mocions that incyteth vs to [...]nne & resist the euyll customs for the lenger they ꝯ­tynue the more harde it shalbe to resist thē. If thou woldest cōsider howe great inly peas thou shuldest cause in thy selfe & in other ineshewynge outwarde pleasurs & i subduynge inordynat affeccions & de­sires contrarye to reason. I suppose thou woldeste be moche more diligent to come to spirituall encrease of lyfe.

¶ The .xii. Chaptre is of the ꝓfyte of aduersyte.

IT is expedient to vs to suffre aduersite: wher by man retourneth hym to the ꝯsyderacion of his present state: wherin he reputeth hym selfe as a pylgrym: & therfore he hath no affiaūce ī this wor­dle. Also it is expedient that we suffre contradiccyō & be cōtempned of the louers of the worlde wherby we shalbe induced to mekenes: & auoide vaine glo­ry whan we ꝑceyue our owne frailte & be cōtēpned of the worlde: we be compelled to leue our selfe & the worlde & holy to retourne vs to god: in whom if we wolde feruently infixe our selfe it shulde nat be gre­ [...]nede to syke outwarde cōsolacions. The more a good soule be troubled bodely or gostly: the more it knoweth god necessarie to it: & labourethe to haue hym by assistence of his grace. Also than it lamēthe & soroweth for the synnes y it hath done. & more her tely praieth to be delyuered of his i [...]quietnes & my­sery. also tribulaciō maketh a man wery of this wordle & to desire blessedly to be deꝑted therfro & be wt crist. For he cōsidereth that he shal neuer haue ꝑfite [Page] peas afore that we be with hym which by the pryce of his precius blode hath purchased ꝑpetual plesure & peas for hym selfe & his seruaūtis that a litell spa­ce wyll stryue ageynst synne & wikednes.

¶ The .xiii. chaptre of resistēce ageinst tēptacions.

AS we rede ī scripture & the wordes of Iob. The lyfe of man vpon erthe: is temptacion. Therfore it is expedyent that euery persone prudētly gyue hede to watch in praier beleue nat the deuyl that neuer slepeth but with a thousande snaris / and subtilties īportunably assaylynge vs: finally ītend­inge to deceyue vs. There be none so hooly in thys worlde but thei haue tēptacion: & if it be for the time greuous / yet yf it be resisted it is very ꝓfitable: for therby man is mekende / pourged & infourmede by experience The seyntes that be nowe crownede in heuen obteyned theyr victory by tribulacion & temptation. And those that were as cowardis in tribula­cion & tēptacion finally ouercome / be taken ꝑpetu­ally prysoners ī helle. And ther is no religiō nor sta­te so ꝑfite ne no place so holy in this worlde without aduersite & tēptacion. And therfore ther is nother ordre ne place here in this lyfe. where man may be ful­ly assured to auoide al perill of tēptacion for in thys corrupte body of ours we bere the mater of inordy­nate concupiscence & tēptacion. One tēptacion or tribulacion departinge. another comynge to vs. ther­fore it is expedient that we be alweye armed wythe pacience and exercysed ī v (er)tue. There be many en­tendynge to fle temptacion: that fall therin the mo­re [Page] / for by bodely fleynge a man shall nat be made su [...]e: but by perfite pacience and mekenes we shall be made stronge to ouercome all our enemies and tēptacyons. Tho that labour to auoyde the outwarde occasions and nat cut away the inly inordinate de­sires: theyr trouble & iniquyetnes shall more & more encrease. And thou shalte more lightly by pacyence and feythfull confidence in our lorde and sauyoure ouercome thy tribulacion / than by thyn owne ꝓpre vertue or strengthe. And in great tēptacion vse the counsell of a wyse and discrete persone / and be nat rygours to the persone tempted: but euer be glad to conforte hym as thou woldest desire for to be done to / yf thou were in lyke trouble. The begynnynge of alleuyll tēptacion is inconstaunce of mynde & ly­tell confidēce in god. For as a shyp without a direc­tour is moued with euery wynde: so a soule that ys [...]at stabled in god: as the fyre proueth golde: so tēp­tacyon the ryghtwyse man: as a bell vntouched ys nat perfytely knowen whether it be hole & of perfite [...]ounde or dyscrased: So man thouched by tribula­ [...]on is knowen whether he be hole in the vertue of [...]cience or nay. ¶ And euer loke dyly gentely that the temptacyon in the begynnynge be resysted: for thanne the ennemye is soone ouercome whanne he at hys fyrste enterynge fyndiethe the gate of ow [...]e soule shyte agaynste hym. ¶ That sykenesse that by contynuaunce ys in maner incurabylle in the be­gynnynge myghte haue bene recoueryde wythe a smalle / & an easy medycyne. And this subtyll discey­uer [Page] assayleth mannes soule fyrste with thought on­ly & then with stronge ymaginaciō / which folowith euyll delectacion: & vnclene mocion / & so at the laste the enemye entreth into the mynde with dedly con­sent to sine. and for there was no resistence agaynst hym in the begynnynge / he holy entreth in the con­clusyon. And euer the more remysse a soule be in re­sistynge the more vnmyghty is made to resyst: and the enemy more stronge & cruelle, There be some y in the begynnynge of theyr conuersion suffred gret tenptacion: some in the ende of theyr lyfe. And some by the space of all theyr lyfe. And some that in the ꝓ­cesse of all theyr life haue but smale tenptacion & all this cometh of the great wysdome / & equite of god: that passeth the state & the merites of euerye soule: & ordreth all the trouble & tenptacion in thys worlde / to the perpetuall helthe of hys electe chyldren. & ther fore we shulde of no wyse desyre whan we be tēptid but the more mekely returne to oure lorde with de­uoute prayer & besiche hym for his faderly mercy / & pyte to directe & preserue vs ī all tēptacion. And af [...] thapostel Paule that it wolde plese hym so euer to p̄ uent vs with his grace ye we be not ouercome with the myght of tēptacion. And amonge all the allecti­ues wherby we may enduce our lorde to assist vs ī our trouble is perfite mekens: for as (Dauidsaith) he shall saue & exalte those that be meke in spirite in tēptaciō & tribulacion man is ꝓued howe moche he ꝓfiteth & his v (er)tue is more manifeste. It is no gret m̄uell if a deuout mā without tēptaciō haue feruor [Page] of spirite. But they that in tyme of aduersite can a­plye theymselfe to haue feruour of spirite it is a sig­ne of stablenes & grace for to come. There be some that be kept fro great tēptacion: & yet ī smale & day­ly tēptacions they be oftymes ouercome with lytell tēptacion Therfore in great tēptaciō they euer fere to be ouercome.

¶ The .xiiii. Chaptre of vndiscrete iugement to be auoyded.

Gyue hede that thou consyder well thy propre warkes & be nat redy to iuge the dedes of a­nother that ꝑteynethe nat to the ne for whome thou shalt gyue none accōpt at thy dethe. Man laboreth in vayne oftymes in iugeynge other men & sone of­fendeth: but in serchynge hys owne defautes & con­siderynge them he euer laboreth frutfully. And we comonly be redy to iuge after oure affeccion & ma­ny tymes we erre frome the truthe in iugement for our pryde & synguler loue. And good were oure en­tent & desire we shulde nat be so greatly troubled in the resistence of oure sensuall desires. But there ys some inwarde inclynacion or outwarde affeccyon that withdraweth vs fro the very affeccion & desire that we shulde haue. There be many that in thīges that they do rather seche theyr owne lucre than the pleasure of god or the comon ꝓfyte of many other. & they thynke theyr mynde is set & patyfyed if they obteyne theyr purpose & if the cōtrarye fortune they be moued with [...]paciēce & be miscōtēt. And for diuer sites of affeccions: desyres: & opinions yt be amōge the people oftymes be some dissencions / & debatys [Page] amonge frendes cytezins & deuout religious peple It is harde to leue a custome of longe continuaūce & no man is glade to forsake his ꝓpre appetite: vn­derstādynge & desire. And thou be more redy to ap­plie to thyne owne reason & vnderstandinge than to the holy doctrine of seruaunt▪ of iesy crist. It shalbe longe or thou be gostly lyghtned for our lorde sen­deth nat the great habundaūce of spirituall lyghte but to them that forsake their owne ꝓpre appetites & resons & folow hym by mekenes.

¶ The .xv. chapt̄ of y ꝓfite of warkis ōde ī charite

THou shuldest nat do a mortall sinne for loue & fauour of any creature: ne for no erthly creture or worldly ꝓmocion. For therby thou shuldest put thy selfe out of the loue of our lorde & ieopderdy of the losse of euerlastynge promocyon. And some­tyme it is expediēt to leue a good dede for the great necessite of our neyghbour or elles for a better dede to be done: wherby we be nat hyndered in v (er)tue but rather promoted. The outwarde operacyon be yt neuer so commendable in the syght of the people wi­thout charyte it auaylethe nat in the syghte of god. whyche accepteth more the faythful entent and fer­uour of mynde: than the many folde multipliynge of great warkes or of wordes. Tho persones done moche that ordreth theyr lyfe to the honoure of god & rather to the profite of the comō wele than to their owne synguler ꝓfyte. There be many worldly people that thynke they doo many thynges of charyte but they be rather done of carnalyte as all tho that [Page] do theyr workes by the meane of carnall affeccyon ꝓpre wyll: hope of ꝓmocion: & alwey haue an iye to theyr owne synguler auayle. But charite euer īcly­neth to do that: that princypally may do honour to god: & obteyne the goodes goostly rather than tem­porall: & in bodely goodes it preserueth the comone wele afore a priuate & synguler wele: & the charita­ble man enuyeth no man for any pryuate ioye or pleasure: ne he lyketh nat to magnifie hym selfe but to magnyfie & glorifie god / & in hym to be blessed. He cōmaundeth no man by adulacyon but he referreth al cōmendacion honour & goodnes to god finally of whome cometh al grace & in whome al blessed crea­tures resteth perpetuall & in finall felicite O he that had but one sparkle of charite wolde repute al wor­dly plesures & loue but vanyte.

¶ The .xvi. Chaptre howe a man shulde suffre the defautes of his neyghbour.

THose fautes that we may nat amēde in our selfe nor in other we must paciētly sussre tyll that we se what our lorde wyll worke or order ther­in: & thinke that it is ordeyned of our lorde for to ꝓ­ue our pacyence without whiche our merytes be ly­tell to be pondered. And it is expediēt for vs to pray to owre lorde that we by his grace may pacientely suffre owre necessary defautes. ¶ If thou monis­she by broderly correccyon thy broder / or suster o­nes or twyse of theyre defaute If they receyue nat thy monicion striue nat with theym: but commyte it to god: that his wyll and honour be done in al his [Page] seruaūtes there is no euyll in this world but he kno­with how he shall order it to some well & goodnes & study paciently to suffre the defautes & īfirmites of other for thou hast many imperfeccions in thy selfe whiche other suffre in the If thou canste nat make thy selfe as thou woldest be ī euery condicion howe than shuldest thou desire to haue an other to thy pleasure we wolde gladly haue other perfite & yet we labour nat to amende our owne offencis we wolde that other that offendeth shulde be straitly correcte & our selfe more coulpable vncorrecte It displesithe vs to see other haue great liberte & priuelege disirig that they shulde be restreyned by lawe & statut and we desire oure selfe to be at liberte without lawe or statute & so it appereth that we full seldōe praise our neyghbour as our selfe the whiche we shulde do yf we were ꝑfite. Our lorde hath so ordeyned that we shall lerne echone of other to bere paciently the bur­den of an other for i this worlde there is no man wi­thout defaute no man without burdē no man suffi­cient of hym selfe in wisdome or prudence & therfore must echone of vs helpe to bere the burdē of other e­chone to comfort other helpe other istructe theym & monisshe them. And who is of more v (er)tue it aperith by ye occasiōs af aduersite Occasiōs makith nat a ꝑ­sone fraile but they shewe whether he be v (er)tuous or vycyous.

¶ The .xvii. chaptre how a ꝑsone shulde order him

IF thou wylt haue peas (selfe to come to pease and concorde withe other thou muste make [Page] a restraynige in many thynges of thyne owne wyll [...]ys no lytell vertue to contynue in a company with out dissencion or debate & so to continue. Blessed be tho persons that whether they be religious or secu­ler that fereth to offende god & in theyr cōuersacion hurteth no soule & so endeth theyr lyfe in the loue of god & of their neighbour. And thou wylt surely stā ­de in v (er)tue repute the as an outlawe & a pylgrym v­pon erthe & repute thy selfe vile for the loue of criste if thou wylt be his disciple & folow hym who so euer sekith in this worlde any thynge but god & ye helthe of their soules they shal fynde nothīge but tribulaci­on & sorow that ꝑsone can nat longe stande ī [...]etnes that laboreth nat to meke hym selfe ī his ꝓpre reputacion & to be subiecte to other remēbre that thou camist to this worlde to serue & nat to rule aft thy ꝓpre plesure & know thou that god of hys goodnes hath called the to ye relygion of cristis feythe yt by paciē ­ce & v (er)tuꝰ labour thou maist be made apte to reigne in ioy & rest. For as golde is ꝓued in the fournes so man by tribulacion ī the whiche no man may longe ꝯtinue without he meke hymselfe with all his herte by the example of our sauy our rote of all mekenes.

¶ The .xviii. chaptre of the examples of holy seitis

Thou dulle soule beholde the quike examples of the holy seyntes that haue bē afore vs in whome florysshed the perfeccyon of relygyon and fey the / and consyder nowe lytell thou [...]oeste in the respecte of theym and thou maye repute▪ thy lyfe in vayne. ¶ These sayntes and louers [Page] of our lorde haue serued god in great abstinēce hū ­ger / thyrst / colde / in pore aray / in labour & fatigaciō in watchinge / restinge / holy medytacion persecuci­on great oppression & many repreues. O how gret & greuous tribulacions suffred the holy appostyls martyrs / cōfessours & virgyns / & all other holy sou­les that haue folowed the stepis of our sauiour they haue hated the impedimentes of the lyfe of grace this worlde that they myght possesse the frute of e­uerlastynge lyfe for to come. O how straite & abiec­te lyfe ledde the holy faders in wyldernes how lōge & greuous temptacions suffred they. And how fers­ly haue they be assayled with the gostly ennemye / & how many continued feruēt praier haue they offred to our lorde. O to consider the great rigours absty­nence that they haue takē what zele / & feruour they had to spirituall ꝓfite how great & continuall batel they had to ouercome vice / & in all theyr lyfe and la­bour how pure & rightwis was theyr entent euer to god. On the day they laboured & ī the night they re­sted in praier & yf they in the day ladoured bodyly yet they praied in theyr mynde deuoutly: & so spent they al theyr tyme ꝓfitably & had so great pleasure in the seruice of god that they thought euery howre was shorte & hade litell mynde or none oftymes of theyr bodily reffeccion.

¶ The .xix. Chaptre of the good relygious exer­cyse of a religiou & soule.

LIke as a ꝑsone of honour is more preciusly besene in bodely vesturs that apereth to mā [Page] outwardly so they shulde ideuour them selfe accor­dynge to excede other with vertue in theyr soules & conscience wherin almighty god lokethe & deliteth whan it is endued with faire v (er)tues & specially spy­rituall men & women whiche shulde studye to ende­uoure theyr selse to appere in the sight of oure lorde pure as aungels. And euery daye we shulde inforse our selfe to deuocion & feruoure of feith as if we were newly conuerted to the law & feithe of iesu crist / & for as moche as we of our selfe may nother do well ne yet begynne to do well / than lete vs euerye daye with all oure inly strength and myght beseche oure lorde that we may so deuoutly begynne the seruice of hym that therby we may continue to hys plesure and our perpetuall saluacion. we be many tymes in mynde to do well and by a lytell occasion we be let­ted. The purpose of rightwismen dependeth more of the grace / and dyreccyon of god / than in theyre [...]ne prouydence. For man entendeth but god dis­posethe. Lette vs inforse owre selfe in that we may to the contynuaunce of our good purpose / and yet we be lyghtly lettyde therof. And though we maye nat contynually be in the feruent loue and medyta­cyon of god: yet lette vs determe owre selfe to vse it at the leste ones or twyse in the daye / and applie vs to vertue. And annexe to this pourpose a feruent in [...]ocacion & praier to god for his natural pite & fader ly compacion to gyue vs grace to cōplenisshe & ful­fyll this purpose. And at night goinge to rest: than let vs discusse the dedis that we haue done that dai [Page] in wordes / workes / & thought / wherin we comonly offende god & if we fynde that we haue made trās­gression in any offence aske we mercy with all our herte. As it is great ieoperdy an enemy or traitour to a prynce: or to a kynge that knoweth the cryme: for yf that man shulde slepe in the kynges palayes amonge the true seruauntes of the kynge he shulde rest in great ieopardye. So that ꝑsone that in thys worlde resteth in sīne amonge the seruaūtes of god of the which if some be charitably disposed as good aūgels & v (er)tuous men: yet there be many euyll as fé­des & euyll people: that euer be redy to do vēgeaūce & euyl / & therfore ageynst these we must cōtynually be armed with vertue & meke restreyninge ageynst glotony: & thou shalt ouercome all other vices. and in any wyse beware of ouer moche ocyosyte but o­ther be exercysed with redīge wryttynge praiynge or amendynge some ꝓfitable thynge for ye comone well. And spirituall labours be more surely done in secrete place than in comon: & be we nat slowe ī tho­se thīges that shulde redonde to ye houour of god / & comon ꝓfite of man: & redy to those thīges that re­torne to our sīguler & ꝓpre auātage. And it is nat expedient to continue alwey in one labour / but in one maner on the holy day & another on the feriall day one the tyme of tribulacion and tēptacion another ī the tyme of pease. And of the festyual day we ought to solēpnyse it accordynge to the solēpnite / so that ye more highe fest & solempne the more inly deuocyon by ryght shulde we haue. And whan one feeste ys [Page] [...]ne we shulde order our selfe to another feeste as the fygure of the euerlastynge feest of heuen which as for a time is delaide till we be more redy & anourned with charite & other vertues & our merites complenisshed for the whiche our lorde hath p̄fixed a ty­me in the whiche we ought to be cyrcūspecte & wat­chynge ī v (er)tuous labour of y which speketh our sa­uyour ī the gospell of Luke / Blessed be y seruaunt that is foūde wakīge in the comīge of our lorde I say surely to you saith the euangelyst that our lorde shall promote hym to the place of eternalle felycite where he shall haue all pleasure & goodnes that ani creature may of reason desire.

¶ The .xxi. Chaptre is moche cōueniēt for religious people how thei shulde kepe theyr solytary lyfe & sylēce.

ANd thou wilt withdrawe thyselfe from cu­ryous & super fluous wordes from ociosite & vnprofitable langage than thou shalt fynde tyme sufficient & apte to haue good meditacions / and to remembre the gret benefites that god hath done for the. The most holy men & women that euer were a­udydynge all worldly company haue chosen to ser­ue god in secrete placis & one holy man sayde I co­me neuer amōge cōpany but I deꝑte with lesse v (er)tu as it semeth me as we maye see by experyence yt ys more dyffyculte to kepe sylence in company than to [...]e so cyrcumspecte that we offende nat in no circū ­staunce of speche: It is moche more sure for a religious persone to byde at whome in solitarye contem­placyon / than to be abrode in the worlde where he [Page] may lyghtly be brought in many folde temptacyōs Therfore they that entende to come to spirituall ꝑ­feccion they must with oure sauyour auoyde the tu­multuous company of people & there be no religioꝰ people that with suerte apere to the worlde but they be glad to be dymysshed from worldly occupacion And there is no man sure in prelacy but he that is redye to be subiecte. And none that surely cōmaūdeth but they that be redye to be obedyent. And no man surely ioyeth but he that hath testymony of a good conscyence. None speketh surely but they yt be glad in tyme to kepe sylēce. And euer the suerte of blissed peple is full of the drede of god & euer the more gra­ce & vectuous theyr soules were anowrned wythe the more meke & obedyent they were both to god / & man. The suerty of euyll people risith of pryde / and presūpcion & in the conclusion it disceyueth them. & if thou be monke of the cherterhouse anker / or ankeres as longe as thou lyuest in this lyfe euer beware of presumed suerty & thinke that many holyer than thou in the syghte of the worlde for theyre inwarde elacion & presumcion haue perisshed & therfore to a­uoide this inwarde vayne glory & presūcion it is ex­pediēt that we be exersysed with temptaciō O that religious soule that wolde & it might contempne all transytory ioye and nether wolde ne it mystred to dele with the worlde. Howe pure a cōscience might it preserue. O that soule that wolde putte aweye all worldly besynes & wolde laboure allonly for godly thīges & gostly goodys & putte all their confidence ī [Page] god how great pese & [...]etnes shulde that soule haue [...]here is no persone worthy to haue heuenly consolacion but if they exercise their self in holy cōpuncciō & penaunce. Cōpunccion is remembraūce of our sī ­nes with great displeasure whiche must be done ī secrete place as (Dauid saith) Lete thy inly sorow for thysīnes be done ī thy secrete chambre. O thou reli­gius ꝑsone thou maist fynde that grace in thy celle which thou maist lyghtly lese without in the world And thy celle well inhaunted shall waxe swete. And if thou inhaunte it nat well. It shall īduce the ī to we rynes & displeasure. If thou wilte in the begynnīge of thy couersacion indeuoure thy selfe to bringe the into a custome to abyde in thy celle with remēbrāce that for a lytell tyme ocupyinge thy selfe well there thou shuldest therby come to euerlastinge liberte & the abidinge that shulde be full plesaūte to the. The deuoute soule in silence & [...]etnes moche ꝓfiteth and there comith to thy vnderstandīge the knowlege of the hydd scipture of god. There it may fynde ye wa­ter of contricion & teris wherby it may wasshe & clē ­se it selfe from sīne. And euer the more it withdrawe it selfe fro all worldly tumultuꝰ besines the more famyliar & dere it shalbe to god. And tho ꝑsons y wt ­drawe them from theyr worldly frendes & knowle­ [...] our lorde with his aungels shal drawe nere & a­ [...] withe them. It is full expediēt for a religiꝰ sou­ [...] to auoide y vn ꝓfitable plesure of worldly sight [...]ther to desire to see the worlde ne there to be seen [...] woldest yu see yt thīge that by righte yu maist nat [Page] haue. And if thou myghtest haue it yet thou shulde haue lytell continuaunce therwithe for the worlde passeth with all his plesaunt delites. The sēsuall de­sires draweth & moueth a religius ꝑsone to go abrode but whan short rēnynge or pleasure is past what remaineth but remorse of cōsciēce & ini [...]etnes of herte. It is oftymes sene yt a glad goinge out foloweth a sory returnynge. And a mery cuētyde foloweth a sory morow tide / for all carnall & sēsuall ioy entreth with delite dobely but īcōclusion it displesith & hur­teth. what maist thouse without thy cloyster yt thou maiste nat se within. Beholde there heuen & the ele­mētis wherof all erthly substaūce be fourmed what can thou see vnder the sōne that may any space aby­de. If all wordly plesurs & bodily were presēt what shulde it be but a vaine sight lyft vp thy iyen to heuē & pray out lorde of mercy for thy synnes & necligēce leue y vaine thīgꝭ to those y be vaine & attēde to tho­se thīges that our lorde cōmaundeth & shet the dore of thy soule & calle thy lorde Iesu to ye & abyde wyth hym ī thy cell. for thou shalt nat fynde so great peas in no other place. And thou woldest nat go fourthe ne gyue attendaūce to thīges vn ꝓfitable yu shuldest rest i more [...]etnes. But if thou haue delite to here noueltise thou muste somtyme therof suffre trybula­cyon of herte.

¶ The .xxi. chaptre is of y cōpuncciō of mānis hert

ANd thou wylte proffyte spyrytuallly preserue the in the drede of god / and stande rather vnder obedyence / than in thy propre wyll resraine [Page] all thy sensuall partes with the brydell of reasō & tē ­peraūce. Haue ꝑfite cōpunccion of hert & thou shalt fynde inly deuocion. Cōpunccyon & sorowe for our synnes sheweth many thynges to vs that a dissolu­te behauiour hideth and leseth. It ys merueylc that any persone in this worlde consideringe his exile & great ieopardise can be mery in any worldly thinge For the vnstablenes of herte & necligence of our de­fautes we ꝑceyue nat the sorowe of our soule & ther­fore we oftymes laughe vainly at those thingꝭ whe­reat we shulde rather wepe. There is no ꝑfite liber­te ne true ioye but in in the good conscience and the drede of god. That person is happy that hath gra­ce to auoide the impedimentꝭ of holynes of mynde & can assemble all the vertues of theyr soule in very true cōpunccion and meditacion of god. That ꝑson is happy that auoydeth euery thynge that maye of reason offende his conscience. Than they that be o­uercome of customable synne let them striue migh­tely ogeynst theyr custome. For euyll custome may be ouercome by good custome. Haue thy cōsidera­cion fyrste of thy selfe: and monisshe thy selfe before al other frendes. It is nat expedient that man ī this lyfe haue many consolacions wordly and if we ha­ue nat deuyne consolacyons: it is for that we haue nat true compunccyon of herte: or elles that we re­fuse nat vayne consolacyons of the worlde we shul­de repute our selfe vayne & vnworthy to haue deui­ne consolacions / but rather we deserue moche try­bulacion. The vertuous soule wheder it consyder [Page] it selfe or another it fyndeth mater of compunccion and sorowe: for it knoweth that none lyueth in thys worlde without tribulacion. The mater of true cō ­tricion / & compuncion euer be our synnes / & vyces wherby we be so disposed that we may seldome be­holde perfitly heuenly thynges. And thou woldeste as besily remēbre thy dethe as thou doest y length of thy lyfe thou shuldest more feruētly applie thysel­fe to amende the. And if thou woldest ꝑfitely remē ­bre the outragious peynes of hell & pourgatory. I suppose thou woldest be glad to suffre tribulacyon peyne / & labour: here in this worlde with that thou mightest auoide those outragious peynes of euer­lastynge damnacyon. But for those thinges be nat ī our consideracion: & for we applie ourselfe for wordly pleasure therfore we continue remysse / & colde for lacke of grace & inly deuocion. And for the mīde of man is nat constant in vertue: therfore the bodye is more fraile & lightly offēdeth. Therfore praie de­uoutly & mekely to our lorde: that it wold plese him of his grace to gyue vs the spirite of cōpunccion / & say with the ꝓ [...]hite. Good lorde fede me with ye brede of cōtriciō & wt ye habūdaūce of teris for my drīke

¶ The .xxii. chaptre of the consideracyon of the mysery of man.

w Here soeuer thou be or where soeuer thou cōuerte the: thou arte but a wretch without thou conuerte thy selfe vnto almyghty god. where fore arte thou troubled: if that any thynge happene nat to thy pleasure. what creature in all this worlde [Page] hath all his plesure. Se nat we that almighty god suffered many iniuries & wronges. and that ꝑsone hath most auauntage in hope that most suffreth paciently for the loue of our lorde. The frayle worldly people beholdynge only outwarde thynges say thꝰ Beholde howe good a lyfe thys man hath howe ri­che: howe greate possessions: howe myghty power how stronge and fayre a nature. But those goodes be of lytell certente euer in mouīge and they be pos­sssed euer with labour and feere. Therfore beholde the heuenly goodes that shalbe possessed with al pleasure and neuer fade. The felicite of man standeth nat in the habundaunce of wordly goodes: but it requireth thynges necessary for thys worlde. Euer ye more spirituall a man desireth to be / the more bytt­nes he ꝑceyueth in this worlde & more clerely ꝑcey­ueth the fautes of our corruptible kynde. & therfore the prophite Dauid desired of our lorde to be deliuered from all suche necessarie defautes that ī maner let men to come to ꝑfeccion. But wo be to them that knowe nat theyr myserie / & wo be to them that haue their greatest pleasure in this miserie & corruptyble lyfe: for and suche might euer lyue here they were r­tent dispysynge in maner the true felicyte to come: where euery man that cometh is most ꝑfytly suffy­sed. O how vnhappy & vnfeithfull creature that by inordinate desire of transetory & erthly thīgdes arte so blynde that thou hast no spirituall tast: but of car [...]all thynges. But at the houre of thy deth thyn iyen shalbe opened with peynes & than thou shalt know [Page] howe vyle & litell of reputacion these thynges were wherin thou dydest put thyn vnhappy felicite. But the holy sayntes and the deuoute louers of god ha­ue nat pryncypally attended to those thynges that were pleasaunt to the flesshe / or those thynges that haue temporally florysshed in thys worlde: but all theyr hope / & entent was in thys worlde to possesse the goodes eternall. All theyr desyre was exalted to the mooste hye and inuysible good leste it shulde be drawen to erthely thynges by the meane of thinges vysible. O thou dulle sowle that perseuereste in out warde trybulacyon / or inly temptacion and in both ouercome remembre that in tyme of trybulacion or temptacion is the most frutefull tyme of merite For thou muste go throught fyre and water before thou come in to the place of fynall consolacyion and rest. And thou shalte neuer ouercome vyce but by vyo­lence: we may nat longe be without synne / tideous­nes / or sorow: as lōge as we bere this fraile body o­boute with vs: we wolde be gladde to haue quyet­nes from all synne and mysere: but for asmoche as we haue looste innocencye by synne we be nat wor­thy to haue here the place of ioy and felycite. Ther­fore we muste by pacyence abyde the mercy of our lorde: vnto the tyme that our myserable mortalyte be perfitly chaunged in to the lyfe perdurable / and immortalle. O howe frayle is oure humayne lyna­ge euer prone and redy to vyce. This day thou art confessed of thy synnes: the next day thou retornest vnkyndely to the same synne. Nowe thou pourpo­sest [Page] to cesse fro thy synne and within the space of an houre thou fallest vnto the same: as thoughe thou haddest made no promise ne purpose contrary. and therfore we haue sufficient occasion of humiliacōn wherby we may manifestly perceyue our owne īfir­mites & vnstablenes. And that vertue that we long tyme laboured for & by grace obteyned is sone lost by necligence. And we be remysse & necligent nowe whan we be moste mighty to labour. what shall we do whan we waxe dull in wytte & feble in bodye. O howe vnhappy be those that repute them selfe sure cessynge to labour ageynst vyce as they were sure ī good lyfe. & yet there is no token in maner of ꝑfecci­on in their lyfe: & they that thinke themselfe ꝑfite as I haue rehersyd it were expedient that they were ī ­structe as Nouices begynners to growe in more ꝑfyte vertues.

¶ The .xxiii. Chaptre of the meditacion of dethe.

PRouyde for thy selfe whyles thou arte here: for thou seest that thys day a man is: and the morowe he apperethe nat. And whan he is wyth­drawen frome the bodely syght / he ys sone forgotē gostely. O the great dulnes / and hardnes of manes herte that more myndeth & prouydeth for transeto­ry thynges present: than eternall thynges for to come. If thou woldest in euery worde / warke / & thoughte remembre as thou shuldest sone dye than thou hauynge a good conscience shuldest nat so inordy­natly fere deth. It is more profitable to auoide syn­ne than to flee dethe. If thou be nat redy this day to [Page] dye by the same reson thou shalt nat be redy to mo­rowe. For to morowe is a day vncerteyne and thou knoeste nat whether thou shalte contynue therto or nay. What auayleth yt to lyue longe & thy lyfe to be lytell or nothynge amended. A longe lyfe encreseth nat alweye vertue: but dyuers tymes sinne and vi­ce. Wolde god we myght be conuersaunt eueriday in thys worlde withoute any offence. ¶There be many that counte many yeres of conuersacion: but full fewe of frutfull lyuynge. O it ys ferefull to dye but perauenture it is more ieoperdyous to lyue len­ger. Blessed be tho persons that contynually haue the houre of deth before theyr syght: and that euery daye dispose them selfe to dye. Reduce to thy remē ­braunce some persone that thou haste seene departe. and thynke that lyke wyse thou must nedes departe Whan thou rysest in the mornynge doute whether thou shalte contynue in bodely helthe vnto nyghte And therfore euer dispose thy selfe to be redye that dethe neuer may fynde the vnredy ne a slepar / and remembre howe many do departe sodaynlye. and whan they leest haue beleued they haue gone. The sonne of man both god and man our Iuge shal co­me that tyme whan we leest wene as he saythe hym selfe. Whan thy last houre comethe than shalte thou repent full sore of thy remysse / and neclygente lyfe: Howe gracyous / and happy is that soule that now in his lyfe laboreth to be in that state that it desireth to be founde in hys dethe. To contempne the worl­de ꝑfytely: ys a greate desyre to profyttein vertue. [Page] lo [...]e of dysciplene / labour / in penaunce / a prompte wyll to obedience / redy to forsake theyr owne wyll the supportacion of euery trybulacyon for the loue of oure lorde these shall enduce vs to haue a greate confydence to departe happyly out of thys worlde It ys moche better by tyme to prouyde for thy selfe and fynde thy goodes before the / than to truste to other that perauenture shall uought or lytell ꝓuy­de for the. And thou labour nat nowe besily for thy selfe who shalbe besy for the in tyme to come. Now the tyme is very precious: But it is lamentable to spende that tyme vnprofitably where we myght de serue goodes of the whiche we shulde lyue and ioy eternally the tyme shall come that thou woldeste be gladde to haue one day or houre to amende thyselfe in / but I knowe nat whether thou shalt obteyne yt ornaye. O thou vncircūspecte soule of howe greate ꝑyll & fere myghtest thou delyuer thyselfe of now yf thou woldest nowe fere to offende god & suspecte yt comynge of deth. Study nowe to lyue so that ī the houre of thy dethe thou mayste rather ioye than fe­re. Lerne nowe to dye frome the worlde that thann thou maist begynne to lyue with criste. Lerne now to contempne all wordly thynges that than [...] u maist frely without any impediment goo to criste. Chasti s [...]thy body nowe by penaunce & than thou maist haue certen confidence of reward. O thou vnwise mā [...]hy makist thou so great and sure prouysiō for the [...]me to come / whanne thou arte nat sure that thou [...]alte nat lyue o one daye to the ende. Howe manye [Page] haue be deceyued thinkynge to lyue longe & soden­ly haue decessed. Howe of tymes hast thou herde of those that be departed: howe some haue be slaine wt swerde: some drowned: some fallynge fro hie place haue broken theyr necke: some etynge haue be strā ­gled: some with: fire: some with yron: some with the ues haue be distroyed & so the ende of euery man in thys worlde ys dethe: & the lyfe of man in this worlde as a shadowe vanisshe aweye. Who shall remē ­bre or praie for the after thy dethe thou knowest nat Therfore nowe instore thy selfe of ryches īmortall that shall continue after thy dethe. Euer laboure for that thynge that may honour god & helpe thy sowle & attende therto: studye to make the sayntes of heuē & the frendes of god thy frendes: & they shall recey­ue the into euerlastynge tabernacles: Thou religi­ous soule behaue thy selfe vpon erthe as a pylgrim & a straunger: For it perteyneth no thynge to the to intermyt of the besines of this worlde. Preserue thi herte fre & directe it to our lorde for thou hast no ci­te here abidynge & therfore directe thy dayly mour­nynge & prayer vpwarde: that after thy spirite deꝑ­te fro thy bodye it may be worthy to be graciously translated into that celestiall & perpetuall Cyte.

¶ The .xxiiii. Chaptre is of the last iugenent & peynes deputed for synne.

IN all thy labours beholde the ende & howe yu shalt stande before y iuge to whome no thīge can be hyd. he that day shall nother be moued with [Page] rewardes nor praier nor any other cause that may be alegid but he shall iuge that is rightwis. O thou myeserable vnwyse synner what shalt thou answe­re that day to that lorde knowīge all that euer thou haste done. If thou fere somtyme in this worlde the face of a mortall man whiche thou haste dyspleased howe moche more shuldeste thou feere the face of thys thy eternall Iuge. why prouydest thou nat forthe daye of iugement. whan there maye no man be accepted or defended by another. But euery man shall answere for hys owne selfe. Nowe thy welle ordered laboure is frutefull thy wepynge accepta­ble / thy mornynge worthye to be herde / thy sorowe purgethe / & is satisfactorye. The pacyent man that more lamentethe for the malyce of synners. Than for hys owne iniurye hath an holsome pourgatory And lykewyse they that praye fore theyr ennemyes and in theyr herte forgiue their offences & they that tarye nat to aske forgyuenes of other for theyre of­fences. And be more redye to remytte thanne to be wrothe. And they that by vyolence restrayne theyr selfe fro synne / and euer be besy to make the bodye obedyent to the soule. All those haue an holsomme pourgatory in thys lyfe. It is moche more profita­ble nowe to pourge oure synne / and kytte it awaye than to abyde the pourgacion therof with the fyre of Pourgatory. Verely we deceyue our selfe by in­ordynat loue that we haue to owre selfe. what shall the fyre come to deuoure but thy sīne. Euer the mo [...]e thou sparyste thy selfe nowe / And so folowyste [Page] the sensuall appetite more greuouse shalbe thy pey­ne afterwarde and more greuouse the fyre. And therfore loke what thynge man more greuously offen­deth in / and therin shalbe his more peyne. ¶ The flouthfull persone shalbe punysshed with brennīge broundes. The glottone that hathe consumed me­tys / and drynkes superfluously to the detryment of theyr body / and the iniurie of the pore that famys­shed for hunger / than shall they famysshe for hun­ger in so moche that yf they wolde desire a drope of water to mytage that excedynge ardore / that they shall suffre / than it shall nat be possyble to theym to obteyne it. ¶ The lecherous people / and the inor­dynat louers of theyr lustys shal be cōpelled to drin­ke the stynkynge / and abhomynable inflamed py­che / and brymstone. And the enuyous people shall wayle / and howle as wode hundes. And so euery sine shall haue his propre torment / & peyne corespon­dynge to hym. And the obstinate prowde / & coueti­fe persons shalbe replenysshed with al confusion / & penury. There shalbe one houre more peynful and greuous / than here a hundred yere in bitter penaū ­ce. There shall neuer be consolacion ne rest to those that be dampned / or shalbe dampned: but here the troubled persons haue somtyme aleuiaunce of their peynes / and consolacion of their frendes. Be nowe besie & sorye for thy synne that in y day of iugement thou maiste haue suerty with holy sayntes wheche than shall stande in great constaunce ageynst those that haue vnryghtously vexed theym. And loke as [Page] they be nowe iuged of other men so than shall they [...]ge other. Than the pore obedient soule shal haue greate confidence / and the obstinate prowde man shall quake / and fere on euery syde. Than shal they be reputed wyse that haue lerned in thys worlde of our lorde to be abiecte / and dispised. Than shall all tribulacy on pacyently suffered be full profitable / & euery iniquyte shall trouble the auctor therof. Thā shall euery deuoute soule ioye and euery wiked creature shall wayle and mourne / than shal the flesshe that hath ben with reason chastised be more gladde than if it had ben alweye in delectacion and plesure than the vyle vesture shall shene & the glisterīge gar mentis shalbe derke and vyle / and the pore cotage more of pryce than the great gloryous palys edifi­ed for pompe / and pryde than shalbe more allowa­ble a constant pacience than allvsurped power than shall the true obedience of a meke religious soule be more exalted than any worldly cautelous prudence than shall a clere conscience be more ioyfull than the arrogance of poetis / or philosophers / than the con­tempt of riches be more of price / than the treasoure of all the erthe. Than thou shalt haue more delectacion in deuoute prayer than in the delectable fedīge And thou shalt more reioyce of the sylence that thou haste kepte than of thy longe suꝑfluoꝰ spech. Than shall thy hooly werk is be moche more of pryce than the faire and plesaunt wordes. Than shal a strayte life & peynfull be more ꝓfitable than al wordly de­lectacōn. lerne nowe to suffre smale tribulacyons yt [Page] than thou maist be deliuered from greate tribulati­ons. It thou wylte in any wise by continuaunce of thy synne order thyselfe to the fire make experience Putte thy hande in the fyre: If thou may nat suffre thys lytell peyne: howe shalte thou endure to suffre thy hole body perpetually to be putte in the fyre If nowe a lytell possyon make the so pacyēt what shal the intollerable peynes of helle do to the. Than gy­ue hede thou mayste nat haue the full pleasure bodi­ly here / and in the lyfe to come the habundaunce of spyrytuall ioye. Therfore if thou wylte afterward regne withe Cryste in perpetuall pleasure folowe hym here in thys lyfe with penaunce. It thou had­dest lyued frome the begynnynge of the worlde to thys daye in all honour and pleasure that were pos­syble to be hadde in this lyfe they shulde nowe be al paste: as a dreme that shortly apperethe / and soone ys forgotten. And if thou shuldeste lyue nowe lyke­wyse to the worldes ende / and than departe what shulde remayne of these pleasures nothinge. Than we maye conclude that all wordly pleasure ys but vanyte / and all other thynge in thys worlde ys va­nyte sauynge the loue of god / and hys seruyce or a thynge ordred to these. That sowle that loueth god with all hys herte / nouther fereth dethe inordynat­ly tormentes / iugement / ne helle. For persyte loue hath sure passage to owre lorde. who someuer hath delyte to offende it is no meruayle if they drede de­the / and theyr Iugement. ¶yet yf the loue of god maye nat wythdrawe the frome synne / than yt ys [Page] good & expedient that thou cesse of synne for the fere of the peynes of helle. And that ꝑsone that p̄ferreth any wordly loue before the loue of god can not lōge stande in the state of grace: but he shall sone be tied in the snare of the deuyll.

¶ The .xxv. chaptre of the feruent emandacyon of all the life of man.

LOke that thou be wakynge & dilygent ī the seruice of god & thou relygious soule remē ­bre bysely whether thou arte come / & why thou hast forsaken the worlde. was it nat for that intent that yu shuldest become a spirituall man / or woman / and to loue / & serue god only. Therfore incyte thy selfe to haue feruoure to spirituall profite. For thou shalte shortly receiue thy rewarde for all thy labours and in that heuenly inheritaunce shalbe nouther sorowe ne fere. Nowe labour a lytell / & than thou shalt fide great reste / & perpetuall gladnes / if thou wylt feith­fully / & feruently abide in v (er)tuous labour thou shalt fynde without dowte that our lorde shall feythfully & habundauntly rewarde the and haue hope that yu shalt come to victory. But it is expedient that thou therin haue nat to great suerty: lest thou be necligēt or exalted therby in thy mynde. There was a cer­tayne persone that was oftymes folowynge in hys mynde betwene fere & hope / and on a tyme beynge full of anguysshe & sorowe in a churche fell prostrat to the grounde seyinge these wordes. O if I myght knowe whether I shall perseuer / & ouercome thys great temptacion that I am in. he herde anone the [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] answere of our lorde shewed to hym in his soule saiynge. What woldeste thou do if thou kneweste that Do nowe that / as thou woldest do than: and ther­by thou mayste haue suerte. And so anone he was reconforted: and commytted hym selfe to the wyll of god / and of his flowynge and vnstedfast mynde was paysed / and wolde nomore by curious inquy­sicy on desyre to knowe what shulde befalle to hym in tyme to come: but rather he studyed to know the wyll of god / he studyed to conferme hys wyll to the wyll of god: as well in the begynnynge as in the endynge of euery dede that he shulde do. The ꝓphet Dauid exortynge euery man to vertue saythe. Do well and hope in god Inhabyte the erthe and thou shalte be fedde with frutes therof. The contynuall gruge and laboure of temptacy on and trybulacion wythdra weth ryghte many frome profyte and fer­uent emendacy on. Verely they that inforce theyre selfe wyth myghty apply cacyon to ouercome those thynges that be greuous and contrarye to the hel­the of theyr soules: they profite in excedynge other / and man in mortyfiynge of hys sensuall partes and ouercomynge of hymselfe therin specially he profy­teteh & cometh to more habundaunce of grace but euery man hath nat in lyke to ouercome or to morty­fie. A feruent louer of god if he haue mo and greati passions or lettynge shall more spyritually profyte than ye v (er)tuous ꝑsone yt hath lesse feruour to vertue There betwo thynges that specyally helpe a soule to come to vertue to withdrawe it selfe violently fro [Page] those thynges that corrupte nature is enclyned to & [...]eruently to labour for that grace or v (er)tue that we ꝑ­ [...]eyue we haue. moste nede to. Gyue hede in any wise that thou auoide those vyces in thyselfe that thou arte moste greued or myscontent within other mē: and be glade to gether vertue of euery vertuoꝰ cre­ature as the hony Be gadrethe hys hony of diuers floures so consider all those that thou arte cōuersāt with. Chese of echone of them some vertue refusige theyr vyce take the fayre floure frome the brambell and hurte nat thy hande of the thorne. And it happē the to be hurte indeuoure thy selfe to be recouerede without delaye. as thyn iye considereth the warkes of other / so thou arte noted of other. O howe iocun­de / and mery is it to be conuersaunt with company of honest name and fame / feythfull / and ferue [...] in the loue of god. And contrarye wyse it is gr [...]oꝰ to be accompanyed with tho that be disordered bothe to god and man: that nouther as louer [...] [...] feithfull subiectes haue complenisshed those [...] that thei be called to. Howe inconuenient [...] is a ꝑsone to be neclygent in those thynges that he is called to of our lorde: and to gyue hede to those thynges that he is nat bounde to. Reduce to thy remembraunce the state of thy perfeccion yt thou [...]t called to the y­mitacion of iesu criste or seruice: Cōsider well his life & how ferre thy life discordeth therfro & yu shalt fi­de thy selfe no good dyscyple nor scoler hut rather a [...]uynde or a postata. That relygious soule that de­uoutly exercyseth it selfe ī the lyse and passiō of oure [Page] lorde shall fynde therin all thynges ꝑfitable & necessarie for it & habundauntly & shall nat nede to seche any better thinge / than in thys lyfe is conteined O that soule that myght alweye haue the remembrāce of Iesu crucifyed: how sone & sufficiently shulde yt be enfourmed with knowlege necessarie: A feruent rely gius soule paciently suffreth & obserueth those thynges that be cōmaunded to it / And a necligente & a remysse religious soule hath tribulacy on vpon trybulacion / and suffreth anguy sshe & tribulacy on on euery party / & that is for it lacketh inly cōsolvcy­on / and is cestrayned from ourwarde cōfort. That relyyious persone that lyuethe without discyplene is redy to fall to ruyne. And that man that euer se­keth more large maner ane liberte in his lyfe: shall be alwey in anguyss he & trouble / and euershal dys­plese hym outher that lyfe / that he hath begonne or elles for he hath lefte a better. Take hede howe ma­ny religious people for the loue of god & euerlastīge ioye & liberte nowe obediently lyueth vnder the ru­le of strayte religion. They be withdrawen from ye worlde / and desyre nat to be greatly conuersaunte with the worlde they be porely fedde / content wyth vyle / & grosse clochynge: they labour moche & speke but lytell superfluously / they watche longe and so­ne ryse: longe in prayer / and holy redynge of frut­full doctrine / and yt they may come to euerlastynge liberte. They kepe theyr selfe fro the space of thys shorte lyfe vnder obedience and in pryson. Cōsyder the holy orders of relygyon bothe of men & women [Page] as those of the charterhouse / obseruauntis / minors [...]minores holy ankours & ankeres how besily thei [...]bou [...] nyght & day to plese & serue our lorde. The­se quicke examples of so great multitude shulde in­duce the to be a shamed to be so indeuoute & remysse in the seruyce of god. O howe iocunde & plesaunt a lyfe shulde it be to a soule that had no wordly thīge to do but loue god contynually with all hys herte in warkes and wordes. O if we myghte contynue in this lyfe without bodely refeccion as etynge & drin [...]yngeslepynge / or any other bodely necessires and gyue hede only to holy medytacion & gostly fedīge & ce [...]eccion of o [...]re soule / than we shulde be moche happy than we be nowe in seruynge / & attendynge more for bodely thynges than gostly ꝓ [...]ite. whann man cometh ones to that perfeccion that he secheth consolacion of no creature / than begineth he to ha­ue a spirituall tallage in god. and whan he is contēt with euery fortune as well with aduersite as ꝓspe­ryte conformynge and referrynge al his warkis to god to serue & obey to his will. Euer remembre the ende of euery thynge that thou begynnest and also that tyme loste can nat be recouered and thou shalt neuer obteyne vertue without labour & diligence & whan thou begynnest to be remysse in spirituall la­bours than thou begynneste to waxe euyll. If thou applye thy selfe spiritually to more vertu thou shalt fynde greate pease and than by grace of god & loue that thou hast to vertue thou shalt fīde the spiritual exercyse in vertue euermore delectable / & lyghter A [Page] feruent & louynge soule is euer redy to all thynges that be expedient to the plesure of god & spiritual ꝓ­fite of it selfe. It is more labour to resist vyce and i­ordinate passions / than to be occupied in bobely la­bours & if thou wilt nat gyue hede to auoide ye lesse synne thou shalte sone be enduced to the more. And whan thou hast brought the day to the euyntyde in v (er)tuous occupacion without any gret displesure to to our lorde than thou maiste be glad & suerlyetake thy rest in hym. And euer before all other soules gi­ue hede to thyn owue soule excite & moue thy self to v (er)tue / & what so euer thou doest be neruer neclygēti those thynges that be necessary for thy soule & loke howe moche thou desirest to ꝓfite / & so moche aplie thy selfe vyolently to gostly & spiritual labours. and thus endeth the first boke of Iohn̄ Gerson of the I­mytacion of Criste.

¶Here begynneth the .ii. boke of Iohn̄ Ger­son of the inwarde & deuoute conuersacion of the soule of man.

AFter the sentence of our sauyour Iesu crist the inwarde regne of god is in the soule of man. Returne thy self with all thy hert to our lorde & forsake ye inordi nat loue of the worlde & thy soule shall fynde rest lerne to ꝯtēpne outward thīg [...] & aplie thy mīde to inwarde thīges & thou shalt ꝑceiue that the [Page] kyngdome of god shall come to the wherwithe co­mith peas & ioye in the holy goost that is nat graū ­ted to no wicked man. If y wylte prepare ī thy soule a condynge mansion criste shall come and abyde there to thy inly consolacyon. All the pryncipall ioy and delite that god hath in man / is in the obedyen­ce / and vertue of the sowle: there he is customeably with merueylous swetnesse / and great famyliaryte comfortably fedynge it with goostely speche & doc­tryne. O thou feythefull sowle prepare thy herte to Criste thy spouse that he may come therto: and by his goodnes make therin a mansyon. For he sayth in the gospell of Iohn̄: who so loueth me he shall obserue my cōmaundementes and my fader & I with the holy gost shall come to hym and make with him inhabitaciō by grace vntyll we brīge hym to y cele­stiall habitacion of glorye. Make redy a place ī thy soule to hym that create it / andlette nothynge haue interesse therin that maye offende hym. If he abide with the that is lorde of all rychesse how maist thou [...]e poore he shalbe a sufficient / and a feythefull pro­uysoure for the in all thynge expedient for the ī who me thou muste more constauntly hope / and byleue than in euery creature: for all creatures mortall be mutable: for thoughe they promise neuer so suerlye [...]et they may besone chaunged. But crist that is the [...]ete firmament euer in one abydynge may uat of [...]y wyse breke hys absolute promyse. Be a frende that is mortall neuer so feythefull / or beloued: yet in [...]at / that he is mortall / & frayle he may be chaūged [Page] They that this day be thy frendes to morowe may be thyne ennemyes: & therfore put no sure confidē ­ce but in god whome thou shalte loue / and fere aboue all thynge. Here we haue no certen habytacyon: but wheresoeuer we be in thys worlde we be as pilgryms and strangers and shall neuer haue rest wt ­out we be vnyte to crist. Fyxe thyne iye of thy soule of the present thynges in this worlde of the pylgris that goone by the way whiche be nat taried by the beaute of those thynges that ben in their waye: but theyr mynde renne moost of the ende of theyr iour­ney. So lette the iye of your soule be fixed perfitly in heuen where be true iyes & than shall we be lesse taryed in the vse of erthely thynges. Beware that thou enclyne nat so moche vnto erthly thinges that thin appetite be nat therwith attached & thou made subiecte to the great enemy the worlde & so spiritu­ally perisshe. Lete thy medifacion be alwey of hym that is most highe & directe thy cōtynuall prayer to crist if thou can nat occupie thy mīde ī the high con­templacion of god rest than in the possession of our sauiour & lete thy contemplacion rest in his blessed woundes & there thou shalt ꝑceyue sīguler comfor­te in all tribulacions bodely & gostly. And feere nat moche of the detraccion of euyll speche of the worl­dely people if thou gyue no cause therto. For we haue example of oure maister crist that was most vile reputed / and in hys moste necessite forsaken of his frendes and a queyntaunce. Criste our leder wolde suffre and be dispised / & we desyre to be magnifyed [Page] & loth to suffre iniure or wronge. Criste had aduer­saries & detractours / and we wolde haue all to be our frēdes and benefactours. Howe shulne thy pa­ [...]ence be crowned without aduersite. And yu wylte suffre none aduersite howe shuldeste thou be the lo­uer of criste. If thou wylt regne with hym in perpetuall pleasure suffre with hym here temporall tribulacyons. If thou my ghtest ones perfitely entre ī the [...]ly deuocion of iesu cryste / and perceyue a litell of hys feruent loue / than thou shuldest but litell force all wordly auauntage or disauantage but shuldest rather ioye ī īiuries & contēptes shewed to the. For the perfite loue of god incyteth man to cōtynue hym selfe in the inly loue of god that is free frome all in­ordynate affeccions and may without defaute ho­ly conuerte hym selfe to criste and in hym haue per­fyte reste & fruycion. He that praysethe the good of the worlde nat as they be extemed of the wordly peple but as they be of price in theyr selfe that ꝑson ys very wyse and rather instructed of god than of mā That soule that hath at lyberte the inwarde moci­ons of vertue & pondereth but lytell the outwarde thinges he abidethe nother place nor tyme to haue v (er)tuous exercise in good lyfe. The inly man may so­ [...]e vnite & calle to geder his inly powers & v (er)tues of his soule / for they be neuer holy occupied with out­warde thīges. The outwarde labour or exercise is [...]ecessarye for a tyme it letteth his soule but lytell of [...]s ꝑfeccions for euery thynge yt behāppith to hym [...]heter it be aduersite or prosperyte he referreth yt [Page] to the wyll of god. Loke howe moche more a mā loueth any wordly thynge than it shulde be loued so moche his mynde ys distracte & lete fro the tru ordinate loue of god. If thy soule were ꝑfytly pourged from all inordynate affeccions euery auenture and fortune comynge to the shulde be ye augmentacion of v (er)tue & grace to thy soule. The cause why manye thynges displease or trouble the is that thou art nat yet perfitly mortified in thy selfe ne pourged frome all īordinate loue of erthly thīges. There is nothīge that disordreth or fyleth the soule of man as in pure & disordred loue of creatures. If thou woldest syke no worly consolacion outwarde thou mightest ha­ue thy meditacion and heuenly cōsolacion ī thy soule the whych excedeth all wordly & trāsetory cōfort as heuen excedeth erthe.

¶ The seconde chaptre of the humble subieccyon of the subiecte to the prelate.

wHo so euer be with y or contrary to the laboure with all thy myght to haue thy lorde god with ye in euery viage or thīg that thou doeste / and than thou mayste saye wythe Dauid the profite / god is my helper I shall nat fere the ennemye of man. The most immediate meane to god with the / is to haue a good clene conscience. And loke to who so euer god putteth furth his hande to helpe ther can no aduersite hurte hym. And if thou canst kepe scylence / and pacyence thou shalt without doute perceyue the helpe of god in thy nede. He knowethe the tyme / and the wayes [Page] of delyueraunce & therfore refrayne & committe thy selfe to hym. It ꝑteineth to hym to helpe & delyuer y feythfull obedient soules fro ꝑyll & ieopardie. It ys expedyent for our humylyacion & meryie that som­time other people knowe our defautes & synnes yt they may correcte & repreue vs. whan man for hys owne defautes humyleth hym selfe thā he hath more compassyon of the fraylte of other & reconsylethe hym selfe to those that haue offended hym & cōtrariwese he reconsileth them to hym. Almighty god ꝓ­tecteth & defendeth the meke man obedyēt & hym he knoweth & counselleth & enclineth hym selfe to hym & sendeth great habundaunce of grace to hym & she weth his secrete counsel to hym. Also he inuiteth hī & draweth hym by grace benigly & after his humyli­acion & depression he enhaunteth him to glory The meke obedyent soule ꝓued by iniury & confusyon maye rest in peas. For in asmoche it is cōtēpned of the worlde it is in maner cōstrained to fle & reste in god & neuer estimate thy selfe to haue ꝑfite ꝓfite wi­thout thou repute thy selfe most vile of all other.

¶ The .iii. chaptre of ye restfull & quyet persone.

TOke thou first be quiet thy selfe & than thou mayste the better pacifie other. A pacyēt mā more cōmendable & ꝓfitable than a great lettred [...]ipacyent A persone that is passionate lightely [...]eueth the worst party cōmonly in euery thynge. [...]at ꝑsone that is content applyeth euery thynge [...]t / and that soule that is nat well content is inq̄et [Page] by diuerse suspicions & nother quite in hymselfe ne yet suffereth other to be in pease / & speketh oftimes those thynges that be nat syttynge / & omyttethe to speke of those thynges that were expediēt to be spoken of. He considereth what other be bounde to do & is necligent in that / that perteyneth to hym selfe. Haue first a zele & a respecte to thy selfe / & than thou maist better attende to the dedes of other. Thou art redy to excuse thy ꝓpre errour & defautes / & wylte nat ꝯsider the fraylte of thy neyghbour. But it we­re more accordīge to equite to excuse thy neighbour & to accuse thyselfe: If thou wylt that other support & suffre the thou must somtyme charitably support & suffre other mē how ferre art thou from ꝑfite hu­mylyte & charite / by the which man shulde be moste wroth with his owne offences it is no great matter of pacience to be cōuersaūt with meke tractable / or charitable cōpany for with suche persons euery bo­dy deliteth naturally to be accōpaned: but it is a sig­ne of great v (er)tue & pacience to be ꝯuersant paciently with frowarde wrathfull & euyll manered peple ye be redy to ꝓue our pacience with cōtradiccions in­iuries & wrōges. Blessed be those that amonge this people be pacient for to them by theyr pacience per­teyneth the kyngdome of heuen. And that persone ye by grace can applie hymselfe more to suffre paciēt­ly shal obteyne more peas & may be called a cōque­rour of hymselfe / & ouer the worlde a lorde a frende of crist & the inheritour of heuen.

¶ The .iiii. chapt̄ of pure mīde & a true entent.

[Page]MAn is eleuate & lyft vp from erthely thinges vnto spirituall thynges by feithe / & clenesse [...]f mynde as by the meane of two wynges. Thy en [...]ent must be simple without any duplycite / and thy affeccion or desire pure from all disordinaūce. The symple and true entent beholdeth god: but the pure mynde apprehendeth & taketh taste of hys ineffable swetnes. If thou be fre frome all inly and īordinat affeccion there shall no good operacyon lett the frō the wey of perfeccion. That persone that entēdeth bothe the pleasure of god / & the ꝓfite of his neygh­bour maye haue true & inly lyberte of mynde if thy herte were perfitly ordred / euery creature shulde be [...] mirrour of lyfe / & a boke of holy doctryne to the. There is no creature so vnperfite or vile but ī some maner it sheweth the goodnes of god / if thy sowle were pure frome al inordynate affecciōs yu shuldest see & praise euery thinge in due order. A pure & cle­ [...]e herte ꝑceyueth heuen & hell comonly The īwar­ [...]e disposicion of man is shewede by his outwarde conuersacion there is no ioye in this worlde to the [...]ye of a clene conscience. And cōtrariwise there ys no trouble or iniq̄etacion in cōparison of the trow­ble of the mynde discōtent of euyll conscience / As y [...]ron put in the fire is clensed from the rust & made [...]ere & shenīge / so the obedyent soule made hotte in the fire of tribulacion is pourged from the rust of si [...]e & made clere ī conscience and made ardēt ī the lo­ [...]e of god / and so he ys chaunged into a newe man whan a soule begynneth to be remysse in vertuous [Page] labour / than it fereth a litell labour & receiueth gladly the outwarde cōsolacion. But whan it beginethe ꝑfitl [...] to ouercome it selfe: & to walke mightyly in yt way [...] [...]f god than it extemeth the labours / or trow­bles but light: y whiche before were gr [...]uoꝰ / & [...]por­table.

¶ The .v. chapt of the ꝓpre cōsideracion of man.

THere shulde novertuous persons haue gre­at cōfidence in theyr selfe. For many tymes by the meane of our presūpcion or tēptacion we lacke bothe grace & wysdome of true iugement. y spi­rituall lyght that we haue is but lytell / & yet we lese it sone by our neclygence. And diuers tymes we be so farre ouersene: that we wyll nat or can nat ꝑcey­ue our ꝓpre blīdnes. Dyuers tymes we be euyll in our dedis & in defence or excusacision of them we be worse. There be diuers that estymate / and thynke theyr dedes be done of zele / and charite the whiche they do by īmoderate passyon and carnalyte we be redye to repreue smalle offences iu our neyghbour & to excuse our ꝓpre great offences: we be redye to note the iniuries that be done to vs: but we cōsyder nat what other suffreth of vs. If we wolde cōsyder well our ꝓpre offences we shulde more paciētly suf­fre & iuge the defautes of other. The v (er)tuous ꝑsone cōsideringe howe he shall gyue accompte of his ꝓ­pre offences: cōsidereth but litell the offēces of other for whome he shall nat answere. Thou shalt neuer be inly deuout without thou kepe sylēce of other mē nes warkes & wordes / & dylygently beholde thyne [Page] owne. If thou gyue thyne attendaunce to god & to thy selfe only: the outwarde conuersacyon of other shall the lesse moue the / where art thou whan thou arte nat present to thy selfe. If thou consider al other thynges thy selfe nat considered what shal it auaile the? Thou shalt ꝓfite specially ī gostley lyuīge yf y preserue thy selfe fro tumultuoꝰ wordly occupacion & that religious soule may nat greatly ꝓfyte gostly that moche applyeth it selfe to seculer occupacyons Lete nothīge be so derely accept to the as thy lorde god or thynge ordred to hym: & estymate all delec­tacion or plesure of any creature nat ordred to hym but vaine a soule yt ꝑfitly loueth god / & reputeth all thīge vnder god & his seint [...] but smale of price. God of his incōprehēsible goodnes replenissheth ye worl­de & is y ꝑtite solace of soule & gladnes of herte.

¶ The .vi. chapt of ye gladnes of a good cōscience.

THe consolacion of a good soule is in cōsyde­racion of a good & clere conscience. Labour euer to haue a good conscience / and than thou shalt be contynually in gladnes: & myghty to bere pacy­ently aduersitees. For a good ꝯscience is euer glad amōge aduersitees / & cōtrary wise an euyll cōscien­ce is euer ferefull / impacyent / and inquiete. Thou mayste rest suerly if thy herte beinge right repreue the nat. Be notyme glade but whan thou doest wel The euyll people haue neuer true or perfite reste: [...]e perceyueth nat the inly peas of mynde: for as owre lorde sayth by hys prophete Isaie. there is no sure peas to wecked people: and yf they thynke they he [Page] sure [...]e doute nat aduersyte hauynge so great con­fydence in theyr selfe that they thīke no thynge may remoue theym frome theyr estate. Haue no confy­dence in suche maner of people: for without they be retourned frome theyr iniquite thou shalt se y wra­the of god fall vpon them / and theyr subtylyte / and false way shalbe made vayne: and theyr thought is shal perisshe / and they also. It is nat greuous for a ꝑfyte louer of god to ioy in tribulaciō: for that is no­ne other but to ioye in the crosse of Iesu cryste. The honour or ioye that is gyuen to man of man ys but of smale quantite: & there foloweth that ioye for the moste parte heuynesse. The ioye of good people ys in the conscience of theym / & nat in the vayne com­mendacion of men. and the gladnes of theym ys of god and in hym & theyr ioye in vertue & of good lyfe Tho that desire the true & eternall ioye forceth lytel of temporall felicite. That persone hath tranquilite & reste of herte that nother desireth wordly cōmen­dacion ne forceth nat of temporall commendacyon Thou art nat more holy if thou be commended ne lesse vertuous if thou be dispreised: & whan soeuer y be cōmended or dispraysed / thou arte as thou art & as our lorde y sercher of secrete myndes knoweth y so thou art v (er)tuous orvicious & if thou cōsider wel what thou art withiforth thou shalte litell force of y outwarde lāgage of ye people. man beholdeth y out­warde ꝑte of the / but god beholdeth ye hert. man cō ­sidereth the warkes but god the entēt of euery dede It is a good signe of a meke soule: that euer dothe [Page] & yet extemeth it self to do but litel or nought. That soule that inquireth nat nor desireth nat outwarde testymony for it selfe: it is a sigue that it hath cōmit it selfe holy to god. the probaciō of a vertuous soule standeth nat in the cōmendacion of their selfe but of god. The state of the inly vertuous man is princy­pally to order his myude to god by obedience & lo­ue & be at liberte from all outwarde īordinate affeccions and desires.

¶ The .vii. chapt of y loue of Iesu aboue al thīges

BLessed is that soule that perfitly knowinge Iesu crist loueth hym aboue all thynge and for his loue contempneth itselfe / as it is syttīge that a kynge be most princypall in his owne reame So it is according that Iesu be ordred as princypall in the soule of man the whiche is his reame as he saith hym selfe in the gospell of Luke. The kyngdome of god is within you: that is to saye in the sowle of a feythfull louer of Iesu. The loue of a creature ys vayne and vnstable / but the loue of iesu is feythfull and perseueraunt. That ꝑsone that wyll rest / or be supported of a disceyuable or roton staffe muste of necessite fall therwith. and cōtrary wise be a sowle neuer so feble / or frayle if it wyll rest or applie it self with all spirituall strengthe therof to Iesu criste yt shalbe ꝑfitly stablisshed & made strōge in him Loue hym & kepe hym before all other. For if al other frē ­des forsake the / he wyll nat leue the ne suffre the fy­nally to perisshe. And thou must somtyme of neces­syte be departed from all thy frendes of this world [Page] But indeuour thy selfe to kepe this great trend ie­su & thou shalt nat be seperated frome hym neyther lyuynge nor diynge & thou shalt fynde hym so feith­ful to the that whan all other fayle ofsocour & helpe towarde the he shall neuer fayle. And if thou wylt a­uoyde all iordinate loue of creatures Iesu wil gladly īhabite & abyde with the. What so euer thou do to man or receyue of hym nat ordred to icsus is asvai­ne & loste. Be nat adherent ne put nat thy cōfidence in that thynge that is as an holowe stocke or a rede hauynge no substaunce to susteyne the: euery man lyuynge in a mortall body: sayth our lorde is resembled to hay. And all his bodely pleasure shall sone fade & fall as doth the flowres in the medowe▪ If thou attende & gyue hede to outwarde apparance of mā thou shalt sone be disceyued. If thou wylt besily se­che solace & lucre / thou shalt fynde many tymes dis­pleasure & detryment. If thou seche thy lorde iesu ī euery thynge thou shalt truly fynde hym. And i like wise if thou seche thy selfe / thou shalt fynde thyselfe but to thy distruccyon. For he that laboreth to haue all other thinges & iesu cōtēpne is more ennemye to hīselfe than al his aduersaries ouer al ye worlde mai

¶ The .viii. chaptre of the famylyer amyte (be and loue of Iesu criste.

WHat soule that hath the gracious presēce of iesus hath all thīge that is good with­out any difficultes ꝓne & redy to euery v (er) tuous operacion & where iesus is nat present by his grace / there is euery dede of v (er)tue i maner peynfull [Page] There is no perfite inly and goostely consolacyon but whan iesu speketh in the religius soule Did nat mary Mawdeleyne arise sone whan Martha had shewed hir that hir mayster cryste iesu was nyghe and cleped hir. That may be called an happy houre whan criste calleth a soule from lamentacyon / and wepynge and specially of minde. O thou soule how harde & vndeuoute arte thou whan iesu is nat with the by assistence of his grace. It is nat more doma­ge to lese his grace / than all the worlde what maye the worlde auayle the without the grace of the ma­ker therof: It is in maner a peyne of helle to be sepe­rate fro iesu / & it is a plesaunt paradise to be vnytte and knitte with hym by grace. And there shal none aduersite neo ther enemye ouercome the / as longe as Iesu is with the / and that soule that syketh hym and fyndeth hym hath founde the tresour of all tresoures: and if thou lese hym thou haste more doma­ge: than thoughe thon shuldeste lese all the worlde / That persone may be called moste poore that hath nat iesus / and he is mooste ryche that hath hym by grace / it is great wisdome and cunnynge to be con­uersaunt with iesus / to kepe hym with the. Labour to haue ꝑfite mekenes and to be quiet / & deuoute / & iesu shall abide with the. If thou applie thy desires inordinatly to outwarde thynges / thou reiectis the inwarde grace of iesus. and than thou shalte be full disolate of true amite and frenhshyp / for wythoute his grace & gostely conforte / thou shalte neuer haue ꝑfytly gostely gladnes in hym afore all other / And [Page] also we shulde rather wyll to haue all the worlde cō trarie to vs: than to offende hym Amōge all thy de re & speciall frendes chese iesu as most dere feithful & speciall whome thou shuldest loue for hym selfe / & all other in ordre to hym. For ther is none other but he that hath all degrees of goodes & amyte but he a­lone & therfore in hym & for hym loue both thy fren­des & also thyn enemyes: & praie for them that they may knowe god & ꝑfitly loue hym. Neuer coueit to be cōmended & loued singulerly. For that of ryghte belongeth to our lorde to whome none maye be cō ­pared. Mixe neuer thy loue with any inordinat lo­ue of creatures if thou wilt know how swete Iesus is. But none maye taste of his swetenes without he be p̄uente with grace: & specially called of our lorde all other callynges sett aparte: so that thou sīglerly abyde with hym alone. Whan the grace of our lord cometh to a soule / than it is made stronge to euerye thinge that v (er)tue reqreth. & whan grace deꝑteth fro the soule it is faint & frayle vnapte to do or to suffre that v (er)tue cōmaūdeth: but it be with great difficulte & peyne: but yet leue nat those ded [...] of v (er)tue & dispai­re nat: but cōforme thy wyll to the pleasure of Iesu criste. For after wynter folowethe somer / after the night the day: after the tempest the fayre wether.

¶ The .ix. Chaptre of the dysolacyon of wordly cō solacyon.

IT is no great maistry to contempne the cōso­lacyon of man whan that the soule is preuent with heuenly comforte: but sothely that soule is ful [Page] herde bested that is disolate of conforte both of god and man / and yet yf it can pacyently suffre this for the loue of our lorde it deseruethe to be conforted of hym. what great mysterye is it to be mery / and de­uoute. Whan thou perceyueste the grace of god in thy soule redy to helpe the. That soule rydeth full pleasauntly whome the grace of oure lorde suppor­tethe / and bereth vp. What meruayle is yf that sou­le be nat ouer charged with trybulacyon that is supported of hym that is omnypotente / and ys conuey­ed by hys infynyte wysdome we be gladde to haue consolacion and supportacion in all our lyfe and labours and sory to be without them or to forsake our owne ꝓpre appetyte / and pleasure. The holy mar­tyr seynt Laurens was so feruent in the loue of our lorde that he gladly forsoke nat alonly the worlde & his speciall beloued frende and preste Sixtus: but also his mortall lyfe by passion moste terryble and ferefull he ouer came the loue of man by the loue of his maker & he made cōmutacion of transetory con­solacion & lyfe for euerlastīge & solacyous life. Here we may lerne to cōfourme our will to ye wyl & plea­sure of god whan he of his grace taketh to his mer­cy any of our frendes be they neuer so dere & specy­al to vs. For lyke as we come to the worlde by hys will & cōmandement so we must deꝑte fro this mor­tall lyfe & tēporall cohabitaciō. It is no lytell ne shorte batayle a man to ouercome him selfe and to ordre all his affeccions to the pleasure of god. The veray true louer of god / & studyꝰ desire of v (er)tue is nat besy [Page] to acquyre wordly consolacion or sensuall pleasurs ne bodely delectacions: but rather glad for the loue of god to exercise theyr selfe in harde and payntfull labours whan the spirituall & deuyne consolaciō is graūted to y for a tyme repute that of his goodnes & nat of thy deseruynge: be nat therof ioyfull to moche ne p̄sume therof vaynly but be therof meke and circūspecte & timerous ī all thy actis / for that houre shall passe & tēptacion & tribulacion shal come. And whan they come take nat īmoderate thought or so­row ne in no wise dispeyre nat / but mekely & paciēt­ly abide the deuine cōsolacion: for he ys of power to graunt to the more habūdaūce & cōtynuaūce of spi­rituall consolacion & swetnes than thou hadest before. And merueyle nat of suche altercacion in thy mi­de for thou art nat the first that hath had experiens of these / for the holy seyntes ꝓphetes / pr̄iarkes and appostels haue had like altercacions of minde somtyme mery by deuyne consolacions & somtymes ꝓued by withdrawīge of cōsolacion & belapped with tribulacion & vexacion. The ꝓphete Dauid (hauig y cōsolacious [...]sence of the deuyne grace) sayde he shulde neuer be remoued therfro without ende & a­none whan he had experiēce of y absēce of this gra­ce he saide to our lorde thou hast withdrawen thy delectable chere of thy presence & I am made disolate & troabled betwene those .ii. extremites of ioy & try­bulacion take we no defēce but rather prai we with Dauid sayīge I shalnat cesse to crye to y form̄ey & I shall mekeli pray to y my lord god: so finally he ꝓcurid [...] [Page] frute & effecte of his prayer as he testifieth sayinge Our lorde hath harde me & hath mercy of me / & ys made my helper & after saith. Good lorde thou hast tourned my sorowe īto ioy & yu hast belapped me wt ioye. If almyghty god hath in this wise delt with ye great excellent seyntes we that be of smale reputacion may take therof confidence in god: thoughe we haue somtime feruour of spirite & somtyme lacke of deuocion & spirituall cōsolacion / for his spirite of holy cōsolacion cometh & deꝑteth at his pleasure as y holy man Iob sayth. Thou graciously visetest him in the morowtyde: and shortlye afterwarde thou ꝓ­uydest hym by mater of paciēce. And therfore wher in shall I truste or in whome shall I haue cōfidence but in the great mercy of god / & hope of the heuenly helpe. If I myghte haue the assistence of good de­uoute men / the helpe of holy bokes / and the roiall & noble processe of scrypture / also incited to deuocion by the meane of swete melodyous sōge. all those thī ges may lytell auayle / whan I am lafte to my frail­te and pouerte without grace / than there is no bet [...] remedye but by pacience to remoue owre owne wil & conforme vs to the wyll of god. Iohn̄ Gerson the auctour of this treatese sayth: he neuer had knowe­ [...]ege of religious persone but he had at somtime subtraccion & demynucion of gostly swetnes: feruoure & deuocion. There was neuer religious soule so il­umined orso rauisshed in y visiō of our lorde but it was ꝓued by tēptaciō other afore or aft (er)ward. For ther be none worthy to haue y hye deuine ꝯtēplaciō [Page] but if be they be exercised firste with some tribulaci­on for the loue god. it is ꝓuyded by the greate wys­dome of god to the electe soules to haue temptaciōs as a signe or token of cōsolacion to come. For to those that be prouyded pacyently by tribulacions be ꝓmysed of our lorde heuenly rewarde & cōsolacōn as it appereth by the sētence of the holy gost shewed bi ye mouthe of the holy euangeliste Iohn̄ seyīge who souer ouercometh tribulaciō by paciēce vice & sinne by resistēce shalbe fed with the frute of y tree of lyfe y is with the clere deuine vision & vnspekable frui­cion of y blessed godhed. & also the deuine ꝯsolacion is graūted vnto man for to make hym more strōge to suffre aduersite. And anone folo with tēptaciō list yt mā take any elacion of y gostly ꝯsolaciō. The de­uil slepith nat ne y flesshely appetitis be nat yet morfied / & therfore p̄pare thyselfe to batell for yu hast en­nemies on euery side he yt neuer sesith to assaile y.

¶ The .x. chaptre of yeldīge thākes to god for hys graces.

wHy secheste thou reste whan thou arte ordeined in thys lyfe to labour Applye thyselfe more to pacience than to consolacyon / or pleasure / to the crosse of penaunce rather than to temporall ioye / & pleasure. There ys none so seculer or wordly: but if they might haue cō tinuaunce of spirituall cōsolacōn they wolde gladly accepte yt. For the spyrytuall ioyes excede all other wordly cōsolacioos & bodely pleasures. All wordly & bobely plesurs be transetori & mixte with somdele of vnclenes. But the spitritual plesurs & desyres be [Page] pure honest & ioyfull ꝓcedynge of vertues & graū ­ted of our lorde alonlye to pure and clene myndes. But this tranquylyte of gostely cōsolacions is many tymes ouerflowen by the outragious tēpestis of tēptacion. The false lyberte of lyuynge & greate cō ­fidence in our owneselfe be two thinges moche cō ­trary to heuenly visitacion & consolacion: Our lord shewith his goodnes to man grauntinge to hym y grace of gostely consolacion. But man sheweth his vnwise neclygence / whan he withdraweth cōdigne thanke ne īputeth nat this grace only to oure lorde and therfore we be nat worthye to haue his mercy­full grace to abyde with vs. Grace is euer graūted to the meke soules that euer be rede to yelde thākes to god for his mercyfull benefaites. and cōtrariwi­se grace is withdrawen fro the vnkynde & the elate persone. I desire nat to haue that consolacōn by the whiche the compunccion of hert may be minysshed or remoued / ne that desire or loue that with drawy­th cōtēplacion & inciteth my frayle soule to elacyon Euery excellency is nat holy: ne euery desyre pure ne enery swetnes good & holsome. There be diuers thynges full dere to man / that be nat accepte to god we shulde accepte gladly the grace wherby we mai be made humble / and tymerous to god / and more prompte to forsake our propre appetites / & wylles That soule that is perfytelye enfourmed wyth the rewarde of grace & lerned with the rod of subtracc [...] on of grace hath none audacite to ascribe any v (er)tue or grace to it selfe: but rather it reputeth / & cōfesseth [Page] it selfe pore and naked / yelde thou to god that is his & to thy selfe that is thyne: that is to say thanke our lorde for his graces & thy selfe for thy synne / for the whiche iuge thy selfe worthy for to haue peine & sub traccion of grace. There may no soule attaye thys hyghe degree of grace or perfeccion ne stande therī without it grounde it selfe in humilyte & obedyence Tho that be moste precious & highe in the sighte of god be moste vyle & lowe in theyr ꝓpre consideracion. & the more precious that they be in grace ye mo­re meke they be / full of trouthe of heuenly glory nat auidious of wordly vanite. Tho that be roted & ꝑ­fitly fixed in the drede & loue of god: may nat of no wise be obstynate or proude. And tho that ascribe al the goodes that they receyue to almighty god they be nat desirous of the vayne cōmendacyon of man but they rather desire the glory & cōmēdacion why­che is of god alone: and they labour that god be ho­noured & loued of all his sayntes: & they refarre all theyr labours to the same ende. Be thou kīde ī yel­dynge thankes to god for the smale benefaytes that therby thou maiste deserue more greate & ꝓfitable graces. Repute the lest giftes of god gret & the naturall dyfformytees and specyall tokyns of loue: for they be medycyns / & meanes to meke oureselfe. If we wolde consider perfitly the honour and dignite of the lorde that graūteth vs those gyftes we shuld exsteme no gyft lytell ne vyle. Howe may we Iuge that thynge lytell in acceptacion that is gyuen of y great kīge maker & gouerner of y worlde without [Page] whose wyl & ꝓuidence there fallethe no lefe [...]to the tre. And therfore he gyueth to diuers of hys electe people: peynes: tribulacions bodely & gostly as me anes of euerlastynge ꝓmocion. who soeuer desyre to retayne the grace of god let hym be diligent ī yel dynge thankes for the graces that he hath receyued And euer applie thyselfe to wisdom & mekenes lyst yt thou lese the grace that thou haste receyued If yt fortune by tēptaciō or frailte to be withdra wen frō the. say inly in thy soule that thou haste deserued y subtraccion therof: & paciently & humbly pray for y recoueringe therof: thou maist nat by thy ꝓpre me­rites be restored to the mercy & grace loste by sinne but by the meane of faderly pyte and moste merci­full passion of Iesu criste.

¶ The .xi. chaptre of the smalle noumbre of the lo­uers of the crosse of Iesu.

IHesus the heuenly kynge hath many louers of his heuenly kyngdome: but there be fewe that wyll take his crosse and folow hym. There be many desirers of hys consolacion: nat of his trybu­lacion: he hath many redy to be parteners of his ta­ble & repaste: but none of his abstinence & penaunce All men wolde be glad to haue ioye with hym: but there be nat many that desire peyne / & tribulacion for his loue. Many foloweth hym to be parteners of the fraccyon of his brede: but there be fewe that wyll paciently drīke with hym of hys chalice of try­bulacion. And many meruelously commende hym for his great meracles: but many of them be lothe [Page] to folowe the shame & vilete of his crosse. There be many that folowe hym in prosperite & loue & blesse hym as lōge as they receyue of hym prosperite and consolacion. And if he withdrawe hym selfe for a se­ason fro them by shewynge no tokyns of pleasure or consolacion they fall soone to lamentable cōplay­nynge & desperacion. Tho that loue that lorde nat for ꝓsperite ne cōsolacion of mynde alonly but principally for hym selfe they blesse hym as hertly ī tēp­tacion & tribulaciō or any other necessite as they do in theyr perfite prosperite. And if he shulde gyue to them euer in this worlde aduersite: yet they shulde euer loue and thanke hym. O howe myghty is the pure loue of Iesu nat ꝑmixed with any inordinaūs of fauour or affeccion. Tho that seche of god pryn­cipally by prayer or any other v (er)tuous pleasure bo­dely or gostly may be called rather couetouse mar­chauntes / than liberall louers the reason hereof we may perceyue for tho ꝑsons applie theyr seruice / & loue to our lorde for his benefaites & they serue & lo­ue ye benefaites afore god / & they loue the benefait▪ & gyftes in that they be profitable to theyr selfe / & so suīgly they may ryghtfully be called louers of their self rather thā of god. It is full hard to fīde any ꝑsō so spirituall yt is ꝑfitly fre from all inordinate affec­cions. That ꝑsone shulde nat be ꝓfitable or desirer only of those that be nere hym: but of ye farr extremites of y worlde. If a ꝑson were so v (er)tuoꝰ yt he wold leue all the worldes substaunce & do gret penaunce & had all knowlege: and were feruent in deuocyon [Page] yet he shulde nat atteyne the most excellent & great ꝑfeccion in lyuynge to the whiche he may nat apro­che without al other thynges forsaken he vtterly renounce his owne selfe & holy forsake his owne wyll & lyuynge & beinge at liberte & fre frome all priuate & seuerall affeccions & desires. & whan thou hast do­ne all that thou knowest to be done exteme and iuge thy selfe as thou hadest of thy selfe no thynge done & as the auctour of truthe our sauyour saith: whan we haue done that is possible to be done: yet we be of ourselfe vnprofitable seruauntes & nat worthi to be rewarded but of his grace. than we beynge pore & frayle in body & soule voyde of all meritorious v (er)tue may cōueniently say with the ꝓphete Dauid I am disolate & pore. There is none more ryche none more fre ne at liberte nor more of power than yt sou­le that knoweth itselfe: & wyl be redy to forsake nat all worly thynges: but also itselfe & repute and iuge itselfe most vyle of al other.

¶ The .xii. chaptre is of the royall & victorioꝰ way of the holy crosse.

THere be many that repute y wordes of our sauyour harde and peynefull whan he say­the we may nat be his disciples without we denie & reuounce our owne wyll and take the crosse and fo­lowe hym. But it shalbe more peynefull and sorow­full withoute comparison for to here the wordes of mouthe in the extreme and last iugement / whan he shall pronownce the wordee of perpetuall dampnacyon sayinge to the reprobate creatures: Go ye fro [Page] me for euer to be perpetuall fire that is ordeined for the deuyll & his angels: Tho that now here the worde of god and be gladde to folowe it / than they shall nat be astonyed of theyre owne partye herynge the wordes of dampnacion of the reproued peple whā our Lorde shall come to deme all the worlde ye syg­ne of the crosse shalbe heuē and so those that be true seruauntes of the lorde that was crucified / & at that day hauynge his conisaunce or signe that is to say the crosse of penaūce. than maye they haue full sure accesse to hym theyr maister & Iuge. Why fereste yu to take the crosse of short penaunce whereby yu maist comesuerly to the perpetuall ioyfull kyngdome. in yt v (er)tue of the crosse is spūall helthe & lyfe proteccion from our enemye. & infusion of heuenly swetnes. the strength of mynde ye ioy of the spirite. there is ꝓfitable & excellent v (er)tue with ꝑfecciō of holynes of liuīge There is no helthe of the soule ne hope of heuenly life / but by te vertue of the crosse and therfore take y crosse of penaunce & folowe Iesu thy leder into euer lastynge blysse. He hath gone before the beringe the crosse / & therupon for thy loue suffred deth. than ta­ke the crosse of tribulacion sikenes or other disases & desire to suffre deth for his loue / if thou wylt be as­sembled to hym in paciently sufferynge peyne try­bulacion & dethe. than thou shalt be ꝑtener of his plesure cōsolacion & ꝑpetuall lyfe & ioy. Than beholde what v (er)tue cometh by the holy crosse. & what habun­daūce of grace by ye ardēt desire to suffre deth for yt loue of our lorde. There ys none other way to come [Page] to life and inly peas. but by the way of the crosse of penaunce & cōtynuall mortificacōn of our rebellioꝰ sensuall partis. Go whether soeuer thou wylt & en­quyre whatsoeuer thou desirest: but thou shalt ne­ner abowe the vnder the fende a more excellent & su­re way than by the way of imitaciō of the holy cros Dispose thy selfe & order euery thynge after thy propre wyll & desire / & thou shalt fynde thou must euer suffre other frely & by thy wyl or violently & ageinst thy wyll & so thou shalt nat auoide the crosse outher sikenes & peynein thy body / orellis by tribulacyon in thy soule. Somtyme our lorde deleth with yt as he wolde forsake the / and somtyme by his wisdome he suffre the to be iniured & vexed of thy neyghbour & somtyme of thyn owne selfe and there is no reme­dye ne alienation but thou must paciently suffre tyll it plese the great phisicion to sende alegians & reme­dye to the. For he wyll that thou lerne to suffre try­bulacion that therby thou mayst be made more hū ­ble & holy conuerte thy selfe to hym. There be none that perceyueth or inly or hertly foloweth y gloryꝰ passion of crist as tho that for his loue or the ꝓfit of theyr soules hath had cōformable peyne. This cros of tribulaciō is euer redy & abideth the in euery pla­ce & therfore thou maist nat auoyde it ī any place. for if thou were secluded fro all the world. yet thou shul dest haue experience of this crosse of tribulacion in thyselfe Cōuerte thyselfe to those aboue ye / orellis to those yt ben vnder y / and aboute ye and loke wythin the. And in all those / thou shalte fynde the crosse of [Page] temptacyon ad tribulacion / and therfore it is expe­dyent to the euer to arme thy selfe with pacience: yf thou wylthaue inly peas and the crowne of perpe­tuall tryumphe and ioye. Endeuoure thyselfe to be­re this crosse of tribulacion pacyently / and it shall susteyne the myghtyly and lede the to a ioyfull en­de where thou shalt neuer bere the burdē of any kī ­de of tribulaciō or tēptacion. If thou bere this cros ageinst thy wyll / than thou berest a burden yt more chargeth thy selfe / & therfore in asmoche as yu must of necessite bere it / applie thy selfe that thou paciēt­ly susteyne it. and doute the nat if thou abiecte it / & put it away: but thou shalt haue another & perauē ­ture a more heuy and greuous to susteyne thynkest thou to auoyde that neuer mortall creature yet mi­ghte escape. What saynt fro the begynnynge of the worlde to thys daye hath come to heuen wythoute this crosse of trybulacion. No nat the sonne of god our sauyour: the whiche from his fyrste comynge ī to this worlde: vnto his departynge was nat ye spa­ce of one houre alyenate from the peyne of the cros and trybulacion. It was behouable that crist shuld suffre dethe and arise agayne / and so to entre īto, his glorye. Howe shuldest thou synfull creature thynke that thou shuldeste go to heuen by any other waye than by the playne / ryght and hygh kynges waye that is to saye the way of the crosse. Desyreste thou to come to heuen by pleasure and ioye. Nowe sithe the ledar of lyfe with all hys martyrs haue paste by the way of trybulacion and the crosse. Who so euer [Page] intende to come to heuen withoute the way of try­bulacion & the crosse they erre from the ryght waye for all the way of this mortall lyfe is full of meseres & crosses of tribulacion. And euer the more a soule ꝓfiteth in v (er)tue the more peinfull crosses & greuous tribyulacions it shall fynde ꝑtly for the fende assay­leth more fersly those ꝑsons whome he seeth encrese more in vertue. The seconde cause is / for the more strongly a soule encreaseth in vertue the more desy­re it hath to be eleuate frome the incommoditees of thys temporall exyle: & to be at lyberte in the perpe­tuall ioy & ꝓpre countrey. But the soule thus vexed with many folde affeccions may syngulerlye be re­cōforted whan it perceyueth that for euery trybula­cyon pacyētly & by grace ouercome it shalbe rewar­ded with the frute of euerlastynge lyfe. And euer ye body is punysshed with peyne and tribulaciou: the more shall the soule receyue of spiritual strengthe & consolacion. And somtyme the soule is so reconfor­ted in aduersite and tribulacion that it wolde nat be without them consyderynge that therby it ys made coformable to oure sauyoure cryste. And also it con­syderethe well that the more peyne and tribulacyon it may suffre for his loue / the more acceptable it shal be in hys sight. Howe may this be that man by paci­ence suffereth and desireth that nature fleethe / and hateth nat by no vertue in man but by the synguler grace of Iesu criste. It is nat the naturall appetite of man to loue / and suffre a peynefull crosse to cha­slyse the bodye / and subdue it to the seruyce of the [Page] spirite to flee honours / & gladly accepte repreues & iniuries: to dispise hymselfe: & desire to be dispised / paciently to suffre all aduersitees with shames & re­preues / & to desire no ꝓsperite in this worlde. Be­holde thy selfe well / & thou shalt wel perceyue that if thou haue those thīges aforsaid thou hast nat them of thy selfe: but if thou wylt applie thy selfe & haue cō fidence in god: he shall sende the fro heuen that thou shalt haue these v (er)tues & also thy sensuall part▪ with the worlde shalbe made subiectes to the / & yf thou wylt arme thy selfe with y quycke feith & the crosse of iesu cryst: thou shalt nat nede to fere the enuious subtylte of the fyende. than prepare thy selfe as a fei­thfull seruaunt of iesu criste to bere his crosse cōstātly / cōsideringe howe he thy lorde dyd bere it for the peinfully & mercifully: order thy selfe to suffre mani aduersitees / īiuries & wrōges ī this miserable life: & so thou shalt haue hym with the where so euer thou be also thou shalt fynbe hym where so euer thou hi­de y. Than if thou desire to be dere & a frende to thy redemer & haue ꝑte of his cōsolacion / desire affectu­ally to drīke wt hym of his chalys of trybulacion de­sire no cōsolacion ne ꝓsperite but at the wyll of god & order thy self to suffre tribulacions / & repute them as the moste speciall consolacyons / for they be y re­dy meanes to come tho the heuenly & ꝑpetuall cōso­lacions. whan thou comest to that degre of pacyēce that tribulacion is swete & pleasaunt to the for y lo­ue of god / than exteme thy selfe in goode state / and that thou hast founde paradise in erthe And as lōge [Page] as it is greuous to the to suffre & enforceth thy selse to fle tribulacion: so longe thou arte nat in the ꝑfite state of pacience: & whersoeuer thou fleest thou shalt fynde trybulacion nere & folowethe. If thou order thy selfe euer to suffre paciently & to haue remēbrāce of thy dethe / than thou shalt ꝑceyue thy selfe ī good state & also in q̄etnes & reste. If thou were so ꝑfite yt thou were rauysshed spiritually with Paule into y thyrde heuen: thou shuldeste nat be sure therbye to be without aduersyte. For owre sauy our spekyng of Paule saythe: I shall shewe hym howe manye thynges he shall suffre for my name. Than if thou wilt serue and loue thy lorde perpetually thou must nowe suffre & saye manye tymes to thy selfe: wolde to god I were able for to suffre for the name of my sw [...]te lorde Iesu. For therby thou shuldest gyue oc­casion of specyall edificacion of thy neyghbour great glory to thy selfe & exaltacion of gladnes to ye ho­ly aungels. All people in maner recōmende pacien­ce: but there be fewe yt wyll vse it. Thou that takest great labours & suffereste moche for the loue of the worlde / and wordly thinges by greate reason thou shuldeste be glad to suffre a lytell for the loue of the moste true louer criste. And euer the more thou mortifie discretly thy selfe the more thou begīnest to ly­ue in the sighte of god. There is no ꝑsone apt to cō ­prehende heuenly thīges withuot they submit their selfe to suffre aduersite for the loue of criste. There is no thinge more ꝓfitable for thy selfe & acceptable to god thā to be pacient & glad to suffre for the loue [Page] of hym. And if ꝓsperite & aduersite were put in thy eleccion thou shuldest rather chese aduersite / than desire to be recreate with many cōsolacions: For bi aduersite thou arte made conformable vnto cryste & all his seyntes. Our meryte & ꝑfeccion of state stā deth nat in great plesaunt & delectable cōsolacions but rather ī greuous tēptacions & tribulacions and penalyte of life. If there had be any more expedient meane to the helthe of man / than to suffre peyne / & tribulacion our lorde criste wolde haue shewed it bi wordes & examples. But he exorted hys disciples & all other that wolde folowe hym to heuen to take y crosse as the moste mediate meane to folowe hym sayinge who that will folow me to heuen thei must denye theyr owne selfe forsakīge theyr ꝓpre wyll & take the crosse of peuaunce & folow me. Af [...] all these thīges redde & perfitly serched it foloweth as a fy­nall cōclusion that it is behouable to vs ta entre into the kyngdome of heuen by wany tribulacions.

¶ Here begynneth the .iii. boke.

¶ The fyrste chaptre cōteyneth the inward speke­ynge of our lorde Iesu criste to mānis soule that he hath specially chosen.

[...]Oo saith suche a feithful soule I shall attēde / & here what our lorde shal spe­ke ī me. blessed is y soule which herith our lorde god speke ī it / & that concey­ueth of his mouth a worde of rsolaciō [Page] Blessed be the eris / that here the styll spekynge: or rownynge of almyghty god / and pondereth nat y disceytefull callynge or priue mouynge of ye worlde blessed be the eres that rest nat in the flaterynge / or wordly voyce outwarde flowynge. But rather he­ringe trouthe / that speketh & enformeth mānis sou­le in wardlye. Blessed be the iyen that be shytt to the delectable syght of outwarde or wordly thynges & that gyue hede deuoutly to gostely thynges. Bles­sed be they that by grace & by the lyght of soule per­ceyue the true inly entent of scripture: & that [...]pare them dayly by exercise os soule to conceyue the cele­stiall priuetees. Blessed be they that labour besilye ī soule to beholde & loue god almyghty & his plesure ī all thynges & for that auoyde frome them al wor­dly besines or desires that let suche deuociō. O thou my soule attende & gyue hede to the premysses and shyt thy senses or sensuall partes: that thou mayste here gostely what thy lorde speketh in the in warde inspiracion. The lorde & louer saith to the I am thi helthe & peas & lyfe euerlastynge Ioyne and knytte the suerly to me / & thou shalt fynde rest and peas of conscience: and after this euerlassynge peas & lyfe. Forsake the loue of foule & transetory & erthly thin­ges: and dilygently seche euerlastīge thīges. what be all temporall thynges but disceiuable / and what may any creature helpe the if thy lorde god that made the forsake the / wharfore refusest thou al wordli thynges & ioyne and cleue by clene and stidfast loue and seruice to almighty god thy redemer that thou [Page] maist hereafter attayne the eternall felicite i heuē.

¶ The seconde chaptre howe treuthe spekerhe in­wardly to mannes soule without noyse.

A Deuoute soule after that it hathe herde the swete instyllaunt spekynge of his lorde god as a man inflamed with loue desireth more longer speche with our lorde sayinge withe the Prophete Samuel thus / Speke good lorde for thy seruaūt is redy to here the / I am thy seruaunt gyue me vu­derstandynge to knowe thy cōmaundmētes & say­inges. Bowe & make my hert & soule to fele & folow thy wordes & instyll in to my soule thy holy techige & wordes as the dewe droppethe vpon the grasse I say nat as the chyldren of Israell sayd to Moyses. Speke thou to vs & we shall here the gladly: let nat our lorde speke to vs lyste we dye for drede. So be it nat with me good lorde. But rather I besech the humbly & desirously with the prophete Samuel yt thou vouchesaue to speke to me thy selfe I shall he­re the. Let nother Moises ne none other ꝓphet but thou good lorde the inwarde inspirour of al ꝓphe­tes speke to me & in me For thou only without them maist ꝑfitly teche me. They withoute thy goodnes can nat profyte me. They may well ꝓfer & vtter thi wordes: but they can nat gyue the spirite of vnder­standynge they ꝓfer fayre wordes: but if thou wor­ke nat with them they make none ardour inwarde they shewe fayre letters & writtiges: but thou alone openest theyr sense: they profer great misteries: but thou alone openest the clere vnderstandige of them [Page] They shewe thy cōmaundementes to be fulfylled: but thou alon helpest vs by thy grace to perfourme them. They shewe vs the way that we shulde wal­ke i: but thou alone doest cōfort vs to go theri They worke only without forth: but thou only illumynest within forth: They onlye water outwardely / but yu gyuest vs the frute of grace & good workes. They crie & speke to ys in outwarde wordes / but yu giuest vnderstandinge of that we here wherfore I besech the / that I may here the speke to me / & nat moyses lyst I die & be voyde of the frute of good lyuynge if I be only outwarly monisshed & nat iflamed īwar­dly that nat thy worde be only herde / & nat fulfylled in dede / knowyn / & nat loued / byleued & nat kepte / & so be to me dāpnaciō. speke thou good lorde to me & thy seruaunte shalbe redy to here the: for yu haste the wordes of eternall life shyt in the Speke to me I beseche the y wordes of rsolacion & cōforte to my soule & to the amendement of my lyfe to thy euerla­stinge laude & praysinge in heuen.

¶ The .iii. chaptre howe the wordes of god shulde be wekely herde / & howe many ponder them nat in theyr conscience.

OUr lorde spketh to his deuoute seruaunt sai­ynge thous / My sone gyue hede to my wor­des they be full swete pcellige alwisdome & cūnige of philosophers & wise men of this worlde. Mi wordes be spūal & gostly lyfe / & nat paisible in mannes mynde / they be nat to be applyed ne drawed as vai­ne complacens / but to be herde stydfastly in sylence [Page] and peas of soule and to be taken with al humslyte & desire of the soule. The deuoute seruaunt of god answereth his lorde god thus sayinge to hym Bles­sed is that man that thou doest enfourme and teche good lorde to vnderstande thy lawes & cōmaunde­mentis yt thou maist so spare hym in the day of thy wrathe fro thy indignacion yt he be nat loste wyth­out cōforte in the lande of dampnacion. Oure lorde say the agayne. I haue taught ꝓphetes with other fro the begynnige of the worlde hytherto: and yet I cesse nat to enforme men / but many there be that be harde & defete to here my wordes. Many here mo­re gladly the wordly spekynge / than godly or gost­ly spekynge. Many folow gladly theyr flesshely appetites of theyr body / than the pleasure or cōmaūd ment of god. The worlde ꝓmitteth & somtyme gy­ueth vs temporall thynges & lytell of valure for the whyche we serue it with greate desire. But god al­myghty ꝓmytteth & gyueth vs hye thynges & eter­nal & yet men be dulle & lowe to his seruice and to at tayne suche rewardes as he ꝓmytteth. Who so ser­ueth & obeyeth god almyghty in obseruynge his cō maundmentis: as it is obeyed to wordly princes: & maysters? Almoste none / for a lytell fee or prebende greate iourneys & harde labours be take an hande for suche wordly lordes & for y etnallyfe skarsly we may any labour or any hardnes suffre. So a vyle price is besily sought: & an excellent rewarde is put vnd (er). For a peny to be gotten or won we wyl lightly put our body & soule ī ieo [...]dy & auēture & for a vaine [Page] thynge and a lytell ꝓmyse we gyue oft our selfe day and nyght to great fatygacyon / but alas for god al­myghty that is euerlastynge goodnes & rewarde of ryght wyse people / for the vnspectable & iestymable Ioy in heuē / or for the hye honour & glory intermy­nable for to be had in rewarde in heuē / we dysdeyne & be slowe to suffer a lytell faty gaciō / Be thou ashamed sayth our lorde god to slowe folke & repreuyth them with theyr seruyce that worldly folke be foūde more dylygēt to theyr ꝑdyciō / thā be to euerlastyng lyfe / they ioy more in vanyte than other in trothe or stedfast thynges / & yet they be ofte frustrate of that that they truste vpon / but the promyse of our Lorde god deceyueth no man / for he is true & faythfull all his wordes & behestys to suche folke specyallye that serue hym vnto theyr ende / I am sayth he the rewarder of all good folke and ye prouer & helper of all de­uoute men / wryte my wordes sayth he in thy herte & thynke vpon them / they shall be to the right necessary in tyme of trybulacyon / Thou shalt vnderstāde ī tyme of my vysytacyon these thynges that yu redyst before & vnderstāde nat / I am wonte to vysyt sayth our lorde my seruauntis in two maner wyse / that is to saye by probacyon and cōsolacyon I proue them dayly by rebukynke theyr vyces & defautes / and I cōforte them agayne by exortacyon to vertu and to the encrese of grace / He that hereth my wordes and dispyseth them / hath yt shall iuge hym ī the last day.

¶ The .iiii. chapter how by prayer we may opteyn to deuocyon.

[Page]THou good lorde arte all goodnes / I am nat worthy to speke to the thy excellence is suche I am thy moost poore seruaūt & moost abiecte worme moost poore & cōtemptyble of all other for I am very noughte / nothynge hauynge ne nothynge of valoure / thou alone good lorde arte god ryghtwyse and holy thou arte almyghty / thou geuest all thyng thou fulfyllest all thynges / leuynge all onely the synfull voyde of grace / haue mynde good Lorde of thy merytes & fulfyll my hert with thy grace for thy workynge is neuer voyde / Howe may I lyue withoute great anguysshe & perplyxyte in this wretchyd lyfe but if thy grace & mercy cōforte me / wherefore I beseche ye that thou turne nat thy gracious face of hel­pe from me / tary nat thy vysytaciō from me wt draw nat thy swete consolaciō fro me / that nat my soule be aryfyed & be made as drye erthe withoute the moy­stoure of grace / good lorde teche me to knowe & ful­fyll thy wyll teche me to lyue humbly and worthely in thy pleasure for thou arte all wysdom ī the which thou knewe me before the worlde was and before I was brought into this lyfe by naturall byrthe.

¶The .v. chapter how we ought to beleue truthe & hūilite before god here.

SOn sayth our lorde walke before me alway ī truth & symplicite of herte & all doublenes auoyde from the in suche wy­se do alway seke me / He that walketh before me and alwey in trouth / shalbe safe from all perellys / & Ieo berdyes / & trouth shall delyuer hym frō deceyuours & from the detraccyon of yll men / And if trouthe de­lyuer [Page] the thou shalt be very fre from the vayne wor­des of men in this worlde & shall nat set by them / It is true sayth a deuout soule to god that thou sayste be it done after thy saynge / thy trouthe teche me / kepe me & brynge me to saluacyō & good ende & dely­uer me frō all euyll affeccyō / frō all inordynate loue so yt I may walke with ye good lorde in lyberte & fredome of hert / Truth sayth agayne to such a soule I shall teche the thynges that be rightwyse & plesaūte before me / Remēber thy synnes past with great dyspleasure and heuynes and repute the nat any thyng of valoure for any good dede that thou haste done / Thynke verely thou arte a synner by wrapped and boūde ī many passyons & synnes thynke yt of thyne owne selfe thou arte nought & soone turnest to that that nought is yu art soone ouercome wt synne / yu art soone trobled & ofte broken wt passyōs of syn yu haste nothynge of thy selfe that thou mayst magnyfy thy selfe of / but many thynges thou hast / wherfore thou oughtest to vylypēde the / for thou art more feble thā thou knowest thy selfe / Therefore let nothynge that thou doste seme to the great of pryce / of all thyngꝭ yt thou doest esteme nothynge p̄cious or in valour or ī reputacyō & laudable / but that thynge yt is eternall so yt the euerlastynge trouth be pleasaūt to ye before any thīge ellys / & yt allvylyte or syn̄e specially thyne owne synne & foulenes dysplease ye so yt nothyng be to the so odyous / as synne & wyckednes the whiche ought to displease the more thā the damage or losse of any other worldlye thynge / Some there be that [Page] walke nat clerey before me / but they be led by pryde & curyosyte to serche & knowe my secretys & the hye thyngꝭ of my godhede / & so they be neclygent about themselfe to know theyr synnes & gostly helthe / such ꝑsons fall oftē tymes into tēptacyōs & greuous synnes left to thē selfe for theyr pryde & curiosite yt they folowe / drede thou therfore the iugemētes of God & the īportable wrath of god almyghty / Dyscusse nat ne enserche the meruaylous werkes of god but ꝯsy­der thou well thy synnes & wyckednes how ofte & in how many great thynges thou hast offēdyd & tres­passyd ayenst god / & how many good thynges thou hast left vndone of rechelesnes / some folke ther be yt bere theyr deuocyon all in bokes / some in Images and some in outwarde tokens & fygures / some ther be that bere me in mouthe ofte namynge me in worde but lytell in hert / and some other there be / that haue theyr intelleccyon or reason clerely illumyned wt the lyght of vnderstandynge & theyr affecte so pour ged of erthely thyngꝭ that they alway aspyre to eternall thynges greuously berynge to here cōmenyng of erthely thynges / takyng but scarsly of suche thynges as be necessaryly requyred to natural lyfe / such knowe what the spyryte of trouthe speketh in theym the which techeth them to despyse erthely thynges & to loue heuenly goodes / and to despyse the worlde & worldly thynges and to desyre euer heuen and cele­styall thynges.

¶The .vi. chapyter of the marueylous desyre and affecte of the loue of God.

[Page]O Thou fader celestiall the eternall fader of my lorde iesu criste I loue the & blesse the for thou hast vouchesaue to remembre & beholde me louīge­ly with thy gracious consolacion. O thou fader of mercy & god of consolacion I thanke the that thou cōfortest me vnworthy to haue anye consolacion. I blesse & prayse the alwey with thy only begotē sone & ye holy goste whithout ende. whan thou good lor­de my louer as thou arte of al man kynde shal come into my herte all my inwarde ꝑtes shall ioye. Thou art my ioy / thou art my hope / & refuge ī the tyme of my tribulacion but for asmoche as I am īperfite of v (er)tue & feble in loue. Therfore I haue nede to be cō ­forted & helped of the. Wherfore I beseche thy ende­les goodnes to vysete me oftymes / and īstructe me with thy holy disciplenes and techynges. Delyuer me from passions / & hele my herte fro all inordinat desires & affeccyons. Se that I inwardely be pur­ged & eleuate frome wordly affeccions and may be made apte / and able to loue the good lorde spiritu­ally: stronge in pacience to suffre for the / and stable by ꝑseueraunce in goodnes. Loue is a great thinge & an excellent vertue / that maketh euerye greuous & harde thynge light / swete / importyble thīge easye to bere / and bitter thynges swete & sauorable. The loue of iesu perfyghtly imprynted in mannes soule makethe a man to do great thynges and exortethe hym therafter alweye to desire more and more per­fight thynges. Goostly loue desyreth euer to ascen­de to heuenly goodes & vily pendeth al erthly thīges [Page] his necessaries saued. Suche gostely loue coueteth to be fre and alyenate frome all wordly occupaciōs lyste that his inwarde syghte of soule be derked / or letted: ne his affeccion to gostely and heuenlye thī ­ges be letted frome his liberte by wordly thynges: Nothynge is more swete than is loue / no thīge ys more stronge than loue: no thynge hygher / larger meryer / fuller / ne better in heuen / or erthe. For loue cometh of god: ne it may nat reste fynally ī any cre­ature lower than god / It maketh a man renewe / & ioye. It maketh a man fre in hys soule wythout a­ny retaininge of synne. It maketh a mā set nought by wordly goodes: but to departe with all that he hath to relyue the indignes / and myserye of other folke. Also it maketh a man content with that lytell that god sendeth hym: & noughttd desire that ꝑtei­neth to other: for he resteth aboue all thynge erthely in one perfite goodnes: that is to say / ī god almigh­ty: of whome all other goodnes floweth & ꝓcedeth Suche a persone beholdeth not only the gyftes yt be gyuen to hym: but he attendeth aboue al thinges with loue and drede vnto god the giuer. Loue knoweth no measure: but it incendethe the louer out of measure. Loue makethe man to fele no hardnes ne other burden layde vpon hym. and it maketh a mā nat repute any labour that is impute to hym it ma­keth any man to desire ouer his power / and might It complaynethe nat of impotencye any tyme: For it makethe a man to thynke alle thynhes possyble to hym and lefull Loue therfore dothe and may do [Page] great thynges: where the louer lieth nat nor defay­leth nat. It maketh a man gladly to wake whan he is dulle and disposed to slepe / Whan a man is wery it maketh hym nat to accompte it. Whan a man ys arted or troubled / it chassethe aweye all trouble & feere inwarde. For as a quycke bronde or flame of fyre if it be moued: or blowen it flamethe vpwarde so a gostely louer in troubles is lyfte vp by feruour of loue to god. and so by the helpe of god almighty he ouerpassethe all suche peynes and trybulacions He that is a gostely louer knoweth that the ardent desyre of mannes soule is a greate crye in the ere of almyghty god / the whiche crye sayth inwardly to almyghty god. Thou good lorde art my loue thou art al my desire / and I am thy creature / delate my herte in thy loue that I may lerne to taste by the in­warde mouche of my soule howe swete thou arte in loue / and what is to man to be lyquyfyed and mol­ten in loue or to swymme therin. I am holden / and bounde in loue so that I go aboue my selfe for gre­at meruayle & feruour of lone I beseche ye good lor­de that I may synge the songe of loue / & folowe the my louer by vertuous lyuinge euer to ascende to y in perfitnes oflyuīge / so that my soule may be strēgthed in praysynge of thy maiestye by ioyfyll loue of thy goodnes. I besyke the alwey that I maye loue the more than my selfe & that I maye euer loue my selfe & all other that loue the: for the & in the as y law of loue that thou cōmāded monissheth loue is swif­te / clere / pyteous / mery / and iocounde / it is stronge [Page] pacient / wyse / feithfull / longe abydynge / manlye & neuer hyd but alwey redy. Whereso a man sekethe hymselfe / there he falleth fro loue / for loue is circumspecte very meke & religious / nat lyght ne gyuinge hede to vayne thynges. Very loue is sobre / chaste / stable / quyet / and kept in his bondes. Also loue ma­keth a man subiecte and obedient to hys prelate. It maketh a man ferme / and stable in vertuous life & to seme vyle and despecte or vn worthy in his owne sight. Also it maketh a man deuoute to god & kinde & alway to beleue & trust in him though he haue nat souche sauoure or approximacion to hys goodnes that perfighte folke haue. For noman here lyuynge maye in loue withoute langour & heuynes. He that is nat alwey redy to suffre & to applie hymselfe to ye wil of god almyghty his louer / he is nat worthy to be called a louer / for it perteynethe to a louer to suf­fre gladly al hard & bitter thīges for his louer & nat to decline fro hym for any cōtrarious thinge.

¶ The .viii. chaptre howe a true louer is proued.

HE that leueth or forsaketh the loue or the ver­tue that he hath begonne with for a lytell ad­uersyte or trouble / or that in suche tyme seketh lightly wordly consolacion / he is nat prudent ne stronge louer: for a stronge louer standeth stably in tēpta­cion / & he gyueth nat hede ne place to the deceytfull ꝑsuasions of the enemye he is nat broken by īpacy­ence / by aduersitees ne illuded or disceyued by pro­speroꝰ thinges. A wyse & a prudent louer ponderith nat the gyfte that is gyuen: so moche as the loue of [Page] the gyuer He conceyueth rather the loue of the gy­uer / than the gyft that is gyuen & prepondereth the gyuer before all thynges gyuen: A noble & veray louer resteth nat in the gift that god almighty giueth but in god that is the gyuer of all goodes: that mā is nat all disordred that somtyme lesse cōceiueth or pondereth god almyghty or his sayntis thā he wolde do For that good & swete desire that a man som­tyme ꝑceyueth in his soule is the effecte of grace gy­uen to man in this present lyfe & a taste & sauour of heuenly glory: to the whiche we may nat rest ouer­moche by cōfidence or trust of soule: for it goethe / & cōeth mouable / & is natꝑmanent A man to fight or striue agaist the euyll mociōs of his soule & to ouer­come the suggestions of the deuyll is a token of vertue & of great merite. See therfore what soeuer yu art that no stronge fantasies of any matter trouble the. Kepe still thy purpose & right intencion of soule to god & thou shalt nat fall. Thinke nat that it is il­lusion that thou art somtyme rauisshed in extasy or excesse of mynde & so retorned again to customable lightnes of hert. For thou sufferest rather such dis­cens against thy wyll than wylfully. As lōge as suche cōtrarious disordred or vaine thoughtes disple se ye & thou striueste against them whan they rise ī y it is to thy merite & no losse or hinderaūce. I knowe saith our lorde iesu to his louer that the old enemie to mā doth alwey his power to let thy wyl & desyre ī goodnes & to hynder & lett the from all good & de­uoute exersise: as fro the worship yt thou art bound [Page] to honour me with & my saintes & fro the meditacy­on or remembraūce of my passion fro the rememberaunce of synnes with bitternesse of soule fro the p̄ ­seruacion of thy berte fro euyll: & from wyll to ꝓfite ī goodnes & v (er)tue. Many ydell & euyll thaught is he suggesteth to mānis soule: to make hym both lothe & wery with prayer & other v (er)tuous exercises lowe cōfessyon displeseth hym greatly / & if he may he wil let a man of his cōmunion. Set nat by hym ne beleue hym nat: for he ley the before the many snares of disceyte. Whan he she weth to thy soule euyll thīges or vnclene Dispiteously say to hym go fro me thou foule wycked spirite. Thowe workes that bringist suche foule thinges to entyse me. Be thou ashamed for thou arte foule of thy selfe: go fro me thou false disceyuer of mankynde / thou shalt haue no parte in me. For my sauyour iesu shall stande with me ī my defence as a strōge warriour to thy cōfusion I had leuer dye & suffre almaner peyne than to cōsent to y Holde peas & cese of thy tēptacions: I wyl no more here ne gyue hede to the thoughe thou vexe me ne­uer so moche: For almighty god is my helper who­me I drede. He is the defender of my lyfe vpō who­me I truste. ye if the strengthe of castels withstand me I shall nat drede: For our lorde is my helper / & redemer. Fight & striue ageynste suche intisemētes as a good knight: if thou somtyme be ouercome by thy feblenes or frailte: take thā more cōfort & strēg­the of soule than yu didest before: trustige therby to haue the more large grace & cōfort of god & beware [Page] the after of pryde & vaine glory for therby be many led into erroneous wayes & fall ito vncurable blid­nes of soule. So yt thou therfore beware & humble the ageynst the presūpcion ot suche ꝑsones.

¶ The .viii. chaptre how grace is to be hyd vnder the palle of humylyte.

SOnne sayth the wise man / it is more sure / & ꝓfitable to the to hyde the grace of deuocion gyuen to the: than to shewe it out wordly. Auaunce nat the of it / ne speke nat of suche grace to other nor magnifie thy selfe therby: but thou shuldest rather dispise thy selfe and drede lyst thou be vnworthy to haue it or sone by thy neclygence to lese it. Mā shul­de nat cleue or trust to moche to suche affecciō whi­che may sone be torned to the cōtrarie. Cōsider wel whan thou hast suche grace howe wretched & nedy thou were before thou hadest grace / nor the profyte or encrease of spūal lyfe is nat only whan thou hast the cōsolacion of grace: but whan thou with humy­lyte sufferest the subtraccion of the same: so yt thou leue nat thy prayer ne other good dedes: but wyth al thy vnderstandynge & dylygēce do thy best whā thou felest suche subtraccion or dulnes in the to re­couer the consolacion of grace. Many there be that be very dulle & īpacient whan aduersyte fallethe to them the way & lyfe of fortune of man is nat euer in his power & eleccion but of the goodnes of god ys al that we haue: the whiche doth conforte whan we wyll & asmoche as he wyll / and whom he wil as his plesure is & no more. somꝑsons haue distroyed thēselfe [Page] by indiscrete desire of grace of deuociō for they haue disordred theyr strengthe of soule ouer moche nat ponderinge theyr exyle & pore lymytes of reson but rather folowed the desire of herte / & therfore for asmoche as they presumed higher thinges thā goddes pleasure was that they shulde attayne to ther­fore they lost theyr grace before had And so they be made & lefte nedy & vyle that presumed to entre the secretes of heuen / yt they may lerne nat to presume vpon themselfe: but alweye with true humylyte to trust to god almyghty. Suche ꝑsones as be begin­ners & be nat yet ꝑfite in ye way of v (er)tue & in our lor­de god / may lightly erre & be deceyued but if they folowe the counsell of discrescion: or discrete persones Suche ꝑsones as lene to theyr owne wytt & so fo­lowe it: & refuse the discrete wayes of suche as haue longe exersised the wayes of vertue. fall into greate īcōuenientis fynally. Such ꝑsons as be wise ī their owne sight wyl seldome be ruled humbly by other. Better it is to a man to haue lytell wisdome or cun­nynge with humylyte than to haue great cūnynge with pryd or vaine glory. Better it is to the to haue lytell than to haue moche with pryde & dāpnacyon: He lyueth nat discretly that gyueth hym al to lightnes & vayne gladnes forgetynge hym selfe & y dred of god: nat dredynge to lese grace. Also he is nat wise ne vertuous / that in tyme of aduersyte: or other hardnes dispayreth & trusteth nat stidfastly in god He that in tyme of pease wyll lyue to sykerlye with­oute drede of all paryles / he shalbe founde to dred­full [Page] and vnredy in tyme of batayle / & man wolde al­way abyde humble & lytell in his owne syght & dyly gētly a wayte on hymselfe / he shuld nat so soone fall to synne & offence of god / good & holsom coūceyll is a man after that he hath rceyued the spyryt of deuociō and charyte to thynke howe shulde he do & what shulde falle to hym in the absens of suche deuocyon whan such a case happeth let a man gader that such grace and lyght may returne agayne to hym by the honour of god whiche withdre we fro his cōsolacyō a season to shew his power & for mannes wele / it is more profytable to man somtyme to be lefte to hym selfe and to lacke suche grace & cōforte / than alwaye to haue such prosperous thynges at his wyll / For a man is nat reputed to be of more meryte or vertu in they syght of god / if he haue many vysyons or conso­lacions gyuē hym / or if he haue clere vnderstādyng of scrypture / or if he be auaūsed by great & hye ꝓmocyon / but than he is of great meryte & greatly in the fauoure of god almyghty if he be perfyte ī mekenes & fylled with charyte alway sekynge the honoure of god in his dedes / with cōtēpte & despysynge of hymselfe as well ī the syghte of other men as in his owne couetynge more in humyliaciō thā to be honoured.

¶ The .ix. chapter how a mā shuld nat repute hymselfe of any valour but vylypende hym.

GOod lorde I speke to the of my pressipciō nat withstādynge that I am but puluer & asshes if I repute my selfe any better / thou & thy wordes a gaynstāde me / Also my synnes bere true testymony [Page] agayne me ne I can nat agayn say theym / and if I wyll vylypende & despyse my selfe & nat repute me any thynge worthe as trouth apereth in me thā the grace of my lorde god shalbe to me mercyfull & his lyght nere me and my humyly acyon and obedyēce shalbe turned after this lyfe into euerlastynge exal­tacyon and auauncement / There good lorde thou shalt shewe me to my selfe v (er)ely what I am what I was and wherof I came / For I was I am noughte and know it nat if I be lefte to my selfe without thy helpe good lorde / thā I know my selfe to be nought and full of infyrmyte / and if thou good lorde wylte beholde me with thy grace and consolacyō anon I shalbe made stronge & be fulfyllyd with a newe Ioy & great marueyle it is yt I a wretche that alwaye of my selfe fall downe warde & may nat ryse agayne & by thy grace so sodaynly araysed agayne and so be nygnely lyfte vp and halsed of the / This is thy charyte & grace which p̄uenteth & helpeth me ī many ne cessytes & kepeth me busyly from greuous peryls & many euyllys / I lost my selfe by inordynate loue of my selfe & in sekynge the agayne & in louynge the agayne I haue bothe founde the & me / and of thy clene profounde & depe loue I am lyquyfyed & knowe verely my selfe nought / For thou swete lorde doest to me ouer my merytꝭ & ouer all that I coulde hope to haue of the / blessed be thou good lorde for though I be vnworthy to any goodes / yet thy īfynyte goodnes cesseth neuer of well doynge ye to suche persons as be vnkynge and farre fro the / make vs to be holy [Page] conuerted to the good lorde that we may be kynde / humble / meke / and deuout to the / for thou alone art our helthe / vertu and strengthe.

¶ The .x. chapter / all that we haue or do is to be re­ferred to god / as to the ende of euery thynge.

SOne sayth our lorde to vs I ought to be thy last & souerayn ende / if thou desyre to be bles­syd / and by this intencyon shalbe purged thyn affeccion that is ofte tymes euyll bowed downe to it selfe & to other creatures / if thou seke thy selfe ī any thyn­ge / anon thou faylest ī thy selfe & waxest drye where fore to me refarre all thynges / for I am he that haue gyuē all thyngꝭ / cōsyder all thingꝭ as wellyng & sprigynge out of the hyest & moost souerayne god & therfore they to be reduced to me as to theyr orygynall begynnynge / of me lytell & great / pore & ryche draw quycke water as of the well of lyfe & who seruith me wellynglye shall receyue grace for grace / But who that hath glory without me / or hath delectacyon in any pryuate good / shall neuer be stablysshid invery Ioy ne delyted in hert / but shalbe lette in many ma­ner of wyse & anguysshed wherfore thou oughtist to ascryue to thy selfe no waner of good / Thou shulde nat cōmende nor more repute thy selfe for any goodnes that thou hast / who euer thou be but refarre all goodnes that thou hast to god almyghty withoute whome we haue nothynge / god of his goodenes gaue vs what we haue & therefore he requyreth the sa­me to be consydered of vs with thankes to be gyuen agayne vnto hym / This is the very way to exchew [Page] from vs the synne of vaynglorye / if so be that trewe charyte and heuenly grace enter into man / no enuyne dysdayne of any person / nor pryuate of mannes selfe shall haue place ī hym / For grace and very charyte ouercometh all suche byces and it dylateth & enflameth mannes soule to god & to our neyghbour if we perceyue and vnderstāde well we shuld only ioy & hope in our lorde god and in no wyse in our selfe / for no mā is good of hym selfe but god alone which is to be loued and blessyd ouer all.

¶ The .xi. chapter how it is full swete to serue god to hym that forsaketh the worlde truly.

NOwe good lorde I shall repete my speche to the and nat cesse / I shall speke in the erys of my lorde god and kynge that is in heuē / how great is the multytude of thy swetnes whiche thou haste hyd and hydest good lorde for the tyme from them that lyueth here vnder thy drede / and to thy perfyte louers and seruauntes thou shewest the Ineffable cōtemplatyue swetnes of thy godhede / in this thou good lorde hast shewed thy great charyte that whā I was nat thou madest me / and whan I erryd and went out of the waye thou broughtest me agayn cō maundynge me to serue and to loue the / O welle of perpetuall loue what shall I say of the howe may I forgette the / whiche so louyngely doste remember me / and where I haue perysshed thou good Lorde hast shewed thy mercye to me ouer my hope and re­warded me aboue my meryte / what thankes shall I gyue to the for this grace gyuen me / It is nat gyuē [Page] to all men to forsake the worlde & to take vpon them a solytary lyfe / It is no great thynge me to serue y good lorde to whome al thy creatures be bound to serue & plese. But rather thys is to me a great thīg & meruelous yt it pleseth thy goodnes to receiue me to thy seruice / & to ioyne so pore & vnworthye as I am to thy welbeloued (ser)uaūtes. Lo all thynge yt I haue & yt I may do the (ser)uice of is thyn. & therfore I can gyue the nothīge but thyn owne / Heuē & erthe with theyr cōtentes that thou hast ordeyned to hel­pe man doeth dayly fulfyl thy cōmaundment after the ordre & forme yt thou hast ordeined them to Also thou hast ordeyned angels to helpe & confort man But aboue al this thy selfe hast vouchesaue to serue man ꝓmittynge to gyue the to man. What shall I gyue agayne to the for those & for a thousandefolde benefaites that thou of thy grace & goodnes hast giuē to. me Graūt me helpe & grace to serue the good lorde al the dayes of my life & at the leste that I may one daye serue the worthyly. Thou arte worthy to haue all seruice / all honour / & eternall laude & pray­sige. Thou art my very lorde god / & I am vnwor­thy and pore seruaunt. I am boūde to serue ye with all my strengthes & neuer to be wery of thy seruyce & praysynge so I desire & wolde it shulde be. Thou good lorde fulfyll that I want of my partye. Great honoure & glory is to serue the & to forsake al erthli thynges for the. They that gladlye & wyllyngly do submytte thē to thy seruice shall haue greate grace and they that forsake all wordly besynes / & do chese [Page] the harde & strayte waye for thy loue: shalbe refres­shed with the swete cōsolacion of the holy goste shal haue great liberte of soule. O thou thankfull & ioy­full subieccion & seruice of god wherby man is ma­de fre from synne & holy in the sight of god. O thou holy & hye state of religion whiche maketh a man e­gall to angels / pleasaunt to almyghty god & dred­full to dyuels & honourable to all feytheful folke. O thou seruice worthye alwaye to be desired & halsed wherby almighty god is gotten & euerlastinge ioy & gladnes gottē.

¶ The .xii. chaptre The desire of herte is to be examined & modered.

SOnne saith our lorde to his louer thou must yet lerne many thynges y thou hast nat yet well lerued / yt is to say that thou order thy desyre / & affeccion alway after my pleasure so that thou loue nat thyn owne desire or ꝓfite but yt thou ī al thīges a couetous louer & a folower of my wyll thou haste many desirous risinge & mouynge the: but cōsider well whither yu art moued in them for myn honour only or more for thy owne auaile or ꝓfite. if. I be the cause of thy mouinge thou shalt be well cōtent what so euer I sende vnto the. & if any thīge be hyd in thy desire of thyn owne will or sechynge: so that thynge is it that anoyeth and greueth the outwardely and within forth both / beware therof that thou lene nat to moche to thyne owne desire / me nat counseled y same thīge that before pleased the / displeseth the af­terwarde. Euery thinge that man desireth is nat to be folowed shortly / ne euery cōtrarious affeccion y [Page] man lotheth or hateth is to be fled at the firste. It is expedient somtyme to vse a bridell restraynynge in good affeccions & cūnynge or other besinesses & of idiscrete behauiour folowe the distracciō or brekīge of mānis mynde / that thou by thy īdiscreciō be nat an occasion or sklaunder to other. Also that thou be nat sodaynly troubled or inquyete by other mēnes resistence. It is somtyme behofull to a man that he vse violēce & resist his sensual appetite / & nat to giue he de what it desireth & what nat: but rather īdeuor hym that it be subiecte by vyolence to the soule. this sensuall appetite is to be subdued by disciplene to y soule vnto it be made redy to obeye in all thīges to reason vnto it haue lerned to be content with fewe thynges & necessarye without al grutchīge ageīste any incōuenyent thynge.

¶ The .xiii. chap [...] of the informacion of pacience & of stryfe ageynst sensualite.

LOrde god sayth the deuoute soule vnto god as I fele & vnderstande pacience is full ne­cessary vnto me / for many cōtrarious chaūces fall ī this lyfe: howe soeuer I order my selfe for pease to be hadde. I can nat haue it withoute batayle ne my lyfe can nat be without sorowe and trouble wherto our lorde sayth / Sōne thou sayest truely I wil nat that thou seke suche peas as wanteth tēptacion and trowble or cōtradiccion: but coūte the than to haue foūde peas / whā y art exercised with diuers trow­bles / & ꝓued with diuers aduersitees / & if thou saye that thou maist nat suffre such peynes. How maist [Page] thou suffre the fell peynes of Purgatory of .ii. euils the lesse is alweye to be suffered & chosen. wherfore suffre thou paciently the aduersitees & euyls of this worlde or lyfe that thou maist auoide the peynes e­uerlastīge folowīge hereafter for syne. Trowest yu that wordly men y be in welthe & wordly besynesse suffre no aduersite thou shalte nat fynde one suche ye if thou present the most delycate ꝑsone yt yu caust finde: but thou saist to me agayn. They haue delec­table thinges & pleasures. & they folowe euer theyr owne wyll / & therfore they ponder nat theyr trow­bles: But howe be it that they haue theyr desire / & in ryches / & wordly pleasures that they besacyatte with howe longe trowest thou it shall last? Sothly such folke as abondeth in wordly goodes & plesurs shall soone fayle & euanysshe as dothe the smoke of fyre. No remembraunce lefte of theyr ioyes before had. whiche also whan they lyued was nat fynally without great anguysshe / tydyousnes / & drede oftē time they receyue great troubles / & peyne of suche thynges as they haue great solace & pleasure in be­fore for of right wisnes it foloweth to suche ꝑsons y they fulfyl nat withoute great cōfusion & peyne the delectacions & wordly pleasurs yt they haue before sought & folowed with great īordinate delite & ple­sure how short / how vyle / & fals is the wordly glory & pleasurs. Suerly they be very fals & fikil and yet they be nat perceyued / for the blyndnes of mannes soule / so that man as a beest vnreasonable for a litel plesure or cōmodite of this transetory lyfe renneth [Page] into euerlastinge dethe of soule. wherfore sōne fle to folowe thyn owne wyll alway & folowe nat thy ple­sure & desire. Put thy delite & fixe thy loue in god / & he wyll graunt the thy peticion & desyre of hert. Fle all wordly inordinate pleasures & delectacions and thou shalt haue aboundaūt & heuenly cōsolacion. & the more thou preseruest the from the solace of erth­ly creatures: the more swete cōsolacions thou shalte fynde in almyghty god. But fyrst thou must come to suche gostly cōsolacions with greate heuynes / & lamentacion & with great labour & stryfe ī thy selfe ageynste thy sensuall ꝑties. Thy olde synfull custo­me wyll agaynstande the in suche goostely labour but he shalbe vanisshed & ouercome with a bet [...] cu­stome. The flesshe wyll murmoure & grutch ageīst suche labours: bur the feruour of the mīde maye re­frayne hym. The olde euemye to mānes soule wyll let the but thou maist chase hym away by prayer & by ꝓfitable occupacion he & his wayes shalbe let.

¶ The .xiiii. chaptre howe an hūble subiect ought to be obedient after the example of criste.

SOnne he that laboureth to withdrawe hym fro obedience he withdrawe hym fro grace & who seketh to attayne pryuate thynges leseth co­mon graces & giftes & he yt doeth nat obey to his superyor: it is a tokē that his flesshe or body is nat subdued yet perfitly to his soule: but it ofte grutcheth & rebelleth ageynste it. Therfore yf thou wylte that thy body be no rebel: but subdued to thy soule lerne [Page] thou to obeye gladly to thy superior. Soner ys thy outwarde enemy ouertome if thy inwarde man be nat distroyed or ouercome. There is no worse nor more greuous enemie to man than his body if it be nat accordynge or consentynge to his soule yu must vtterly dispise thy selfe. yf thou wylt preuaile ageist thy body. But thou louest thy selfe yet inordinatly & therfore thou dredest to leue thy selfe & to subdewe the fully to other mennes wyl. What great thynge is it to the that arte but erthe and nought to subdue the to man for godessake. Whan I god almyghty that made al thynge of nought did subdue and submitte me humbly to man for thy sake. I was made hūble that thou shuldest lerne to ouercome thy prid by my mekenes. Lerne thou asches to obey. Lerne thou erth & slyme to humble the & to ꝓstrate the vn­der euery mānesfete by true humylite nothing ep̄ ­sumynge of thy selfe. Lerne to brake thyn own will & to applye to other mēnes wyll. Ryse ageynste thy selfe & suffre nat pride to rayne in the / but she we the so meke that al men may walke vpon the and trede vpon the as vpon clay in the way. What haste thou vayne man & vyle synner to complayne or to gaine say them that myssayethe the or vexeth the: whiche haste so ofte offended thy lorde god and hast so ofte deserued helle by thy synfull lyuynge: but my mer­ciful iye & sight hath spared the for loue that I haue to thy soule: that thou myghtest knowe howe well I loue the: & that thou shuld ist be kynde & gyue the to true humylyte & subiecciō for my sake paciēty sufferynge [Page] thy propre contempt & despytes.

¶ The .xv. chaptre: of the hyd iugementes of god to be cōsidered for yu repressyon of vayne glory and magnyfiynge of man in graces receyued.

THou good lorde saith the deuout soule castiste terrybly thy iugementis vpō me so that with great fere thou alterest all my body & bonis to gyder & my soule is troubled with great fere & dred I stande astonied & rsider that heuynes be nat cle­ne in thy sight / if thou founde thy angels defectyue & impure: and therfore thou didest nat spare theim what shall fall vpon me that am dust & asshes y angels fell from heuen: what than maye I presume? Suche people as in semynge had workes of com­mendacion haue fall ful lowe: & suche as were fede with the mete of angels I haue sene be glad of swi­nes mete. There is therfore no holynes in man yf yu lorde withdrawe thy hande. Noo wysdome maye auayle yf thou withdrawe thy hande of gouernaū ­ce. No sure chastite is if thou defende it nat / ne ꝓprecustodie may ꝓfite man: if that the helpe of god be nat there. For if we be forsakē of god almyghty we be drowned & we perisshe. And if we be viseted and helped we be raysed vp to lyfe. Of oure selfe we be vnstable: but by the good lorde we be confermed: & made stedfaste we be colde of oure selfe: but by y we be accended & kyndled ī goodnes. O how mekely & obiect ought I to cōsider my selfe / how sīple / & litell be my good dedes if I haue any How ꝓfoūdely [Page] ought I to submytte me to thy hy [...] & depeiuge­mentis good lorde wherin I fynde my selfe nothīg valēt & nought. O thou īmesurable weght. O thou īpassable see wherin I can nat fynde me but al perisshed & adnichilat / where nowe is become al wordly glory what cōfidende may I haue of al vaine glory y I haue be exalted by before. Lo al vayne wordly glory is vanisshed by the depnesse of thy hyd iuge­mentis yt thou hast shewed vpō me what is any mā in thy sight good lorde: but cley or erth. & what may clay or erthe haue any gloriacion or pride agaynste his maker he that hath his herte truly roted by loue & humbles in god may uat be extolled by no vayne flaterīge ageynst his pleasure ne he shal nat be moued by any flaterynge that putteth his hole hope in god they that vse suche flaterynge be nought & euanissheth at the last with the sounde of worbes: but y truthe of our lorde shall alwey abyde and also they with hym that cleueth to hym.

¶ The .xvi. chaptre howe a man shulde make hys peticion to god.

GOod lorde say euery man in peticion makīg if thys thynge that I aske be to thy pleasure if it bd to thy honoure and if it be to me expedient / & profitable than graunt me it and to vse it to thy ho­noure and if thou goode lorde knowe it noyous to me & vn ꝓfitable to my soule than take fro me suche desire I besyke the euerye desire comethe nat of the holy gost & though it seme to man good & rightwi­se: yet it is harde to Iuge trewlye in suche thynges [Page] whether good spyryt or euyll / or elles mannes owne soule moue hym to desyre this thīge or y / for many be dysceyuyd in the later ende that semed to be induced and led by a good spyryt into such desyres wherfore we ought to desyre euery thyng that we aske or desyre / with drede of god & humblenes of herte / and that / for man in all workes & desyres shuld cōmytte hym holly to god wt resygnacyon of his proper wyll saynge / Good lorde thou knowest what thynge is to me moost profytable / do with me in euery thyng after thy pleasure & moost honoure / gyue me what thou wylt and whan thou wylte / put me good lorde where thou wylte / and do with me thynges as thou wylt / I am thy creature alway in thy handes / & thy seruaut redy to thy behest I desyre nat to lyue to my selfe but to the good lorde my god & lyfe / I beseke y that I may lyue worthely to the.

¶ The .xvii. chapter A prayer & desyre alway to lyue and do the pleasour of god.

O Thou moost benygne Iesu graunt me I be­seke the of thy grace that it euer be with me & worke with me vnto my ende & gyue me grace euer to desyre that thyng that is moost accepte to the thy wyll be my wyll / & my wylle alwaye folowe thy wyll and euer acorde therwith / and neuer discorde fro it / so that I may euer afferme me to thy wyll / gyue me grace to dye to the worlde and to all thyng / that be in the worlde / & to loue to be vnknowē in the worlde for thy sake / Graūt me aboue all desyres to rest ī the by holy peace of herte / For thou good lorde arte the [Page] very peace & rest of mannes herte / and withoute the all thynges be harde & inquyete / wherefore I beseke the that I may euer rest in the.


¶ The .xviii. chapter very solace & conforte is alonly to be sought in god.

WHat so euer thyng I may thynke or desyre to my solace & cōforte I loke nat for it here but I hope to haue it here after / For if I alone had all the goodes and solaces of the worlde / & myght Ioy in all delytes and pleasours worldly I am ascertayned that they may nat lōge endure / ne I with them wherefore I knowe that my soule may nat fullye be reconforted ne perfytely satysfyed / but alonly ī god almyghty / the whiche is the conforter of poore men and the embraser of meke persones / Abyde therfore thou my soule abyde the promes of god almyghtye by good lyuynge and heuēly desyre / and thou shalte haue the abūdace of all goodnes in heuē / for if thou to inordynatly desyre or loue the goodes of this present lyfe / thou shalte lese the heuēly thynges eternall Temporall thynges be to the in vsage / and heuēly in desyre / thou mayst nat be sacyat with thynges tē porall / for thou arte nat ordeyned to ioye and rest in them fynally / if thou hadest in possessyon all thyngꝭ create in erth thou canste nat be blessyd in them / but alonlye in god almyghtye the maker of all thynges standeth thy felycite and beatytude nat suche blysse which is sene & cōmēdyd of the louers of the worlde but suche ioy and felycyte that good crysten folke a byde & hope to haue / which spūall persones & they ye [Page] be clene ī herte some tyme tasteth whose ꝯuersaciō is heuenly and nat erthely / all worldly solace & cōforte of man is vayne and short / but that confort that is perceyued īwardly in mannes soule truly is blessyd here in hope / A deuout persone bereth alway about with hym ī mynde his cōforte Iesu / sayinge to hym busyly by inwarde spekynge / My lorde Iesu assyst and be nere me in euery place & tyme I beseke the & that I may be content & ꝯforted in the absens & wā ­tynge of all mānes solace for ioy of thyne / and if thy cōsolacyō be absēt fro me for any tyme / thy wyll thā and ryghtwyse probacyon be to me a hole solace / be thou nat alway wrothe with me I pray the.

¶ The .xix. chapter / howe all busynes of our soule is to be put in God.

SOne sayth our lorde to his louer / suffer me to do with the what pleaseth me / For I knowe what thynge is expedyent to the / Thou thynkest as a man / thou felest in many thynges after mānes desyre and affeccyon / Good lorde saythe the louynge soule to god / it is trouthe that thou hast sayde Thy busynesse for me is more than all my charge may be for my selfe / He stondeth casually and vnstably that castith nat all his busynes in the / whyles my wyll is stable and ryght wyse do with me as it pleaseth the It may nat be yll that thou doste or wyll haue done about me / if thou wylt that I be ī derkenes or lyght blessyd be thou / or if thou wylt haue me to be ī welth or ellys in trybulacyon / thy wyll be done / & blessyd be thou / Sone saythe our lorde so thou must stande [Page] if thou wylt walke with me thou must be as redy to suffer as to ioy: thou must as gladly suffer pouerte and aduersyte as prosperyte / and to haue ryches & welthe Lorde sayth the louer of God / I am redy to take of thy hande what so euer thou sendest me / and as gladly shall I take by thy grace yll as good / bytter thynges as swete / & heuy thyngꝭ as glad & to thā ke thy goodnes for euery chaūce that thou shalt sēde me / kepe me I beseke the from all synne / and than I shall neyther drede dethe ne hell / And cast me nat fynallye out of the bowels of thy mercy / ne do me nat out of the booke of lyfe / and nothynge shall noy me what so euer hardenes or trouble fall to me.

¶ The .xx. chapter temporall myseryes we oughte to suffer with Cryste.

SOne sayth our lorde to his louer / I descēded fro heuen for thy helthe and saluacyon / I to­ke vpon me thy myseryes of my faderly loue & cha­ryte (and nat of necessyte) that thou myght lerne paciens at me and nat grutche / ne bere heuely tempo­rall myseryes / For from the houre of my byrthe vn­to my deth vpō y crosse / I neuer cessed of suffraūce of peynes / I suffred great penury and defaute of tē porall thynges / I herde great grutchynge and complayntes made of me / suffred benygnely confusyōs and repreues / I receyued for my bn̄faytis vnkyndenes agayne / & for my myracles showed I receyued blasphemes / for my doctryne I had repreues / good lorde sayth the deuout soule to God / For as moche as thou waste founde so pacyent in all thy lyfe fullfyllīge [Page] in y vertu with other the cōmaundement of thy fader. it is worthy that I vnworthy wretch be­re me paciently after thy wyll in all thynges I shal bere the burden of this corruptible life as longe as thou wylt for the helthe of my soule: for tough this present lyfe be tedious / yet it is made meritorious and easy by the grace: and the more tollerable and dere by thy blessed exaumple of holy lyuynge / and of thy holy saltes. Also this present lyfe is more ly­ghtsome & cōfortable than it was to the faders of y olde lawe to whome the gate of heuen was shitte so so that none myght entre were they nuer so ryghte wise: vnto the sufferaunce of thy holy passion and dethe wherby thou madest man fre fro euerlastīge dethe & gaue them that they serued truly here ī this mortall lyfe fre entre in to the kyngedome of heuen O good lorde what thankes and grace am I boū ­de to giue the whiche hast shewed vnto to me andꝭ to all feythefull peple the veray good and rightwis way to thy euerlastynge kyngdome of heuen. For thy holy lyfe that thou lede is a way to vs to folow And by holy pacience we walke to the that art our crowne. For if thou hadest nat gone afore vs & had shewed vnto vs the wayes of pacience and vertue who shulde haue folowed the? Alasse howe many shulde haue stande abacke farre fro suche vertues: if they had nat sene & beholde thy vertuous exaū ­ples: we be yet slowe nat withstandynge that we here thy great techinges & meruels. And what shuldꝭ we do if suche light of exaumple were nat.


¶ The .xxi. chaptre of suffraunce of iniuries & who

GOd almyghty sayth (is ꝓued very pacient to his seruaunt tedious & wery of tēptacyon: what spekest thou sone. Cesse of thy complaynt cō ­sider myne (with other sayntes) greuous passyon Thou hast nat yet resisted in sufferaūce of thy troubles to the effusion of thy blod as we dyd thou hast litel suffred in cōparison of them that suffred so many thynges for me. some in warre strōge tēptacōns some in greuous tribulacions with other thynges wherby they haue be ꝓued & examyned. thou must therfore remembre the great thynges yt other haue suffred before that thou maist bere thy lytell grefes more esely & yf thy troubles & other greues seme to yt right great beware yt thy īpacience mary it nat & whether they be lytel or great se thou bere all pacy­ently without any gurtchinge for the more yu disposest the to suffre: the more wisely thou doest & ye esy­lier thou shalt suffre. & the more meryte shalbe to yt say nat in thy excuse. I may nat suffre this thīge of suche a persone he hath done me great harme & he disclaūdreth me with such thīges as. I neū thought But I may well suffre other persons & other thyn­ges as I ought to do suche thoughtes & obstacles yt cōsidereth nat the v (er)tue of pacience ne the reward therof but more the ꝑsons & offences done to hym. He is nat very pacient that wyll nothing suffre but as farre as it is saien to hym and of suche as he call suffre. A very pacyente parsone ponderethe nat of whome / or of what persone good nor euyll prelate [Page] or felowe he be ꝓued to suffre any hardnes or iniu­rie: but whansoeuer aduersyte or wronge fallethe to hym. howesoeuer and of whome it cometh a true pacyent persone taketh it pacyently & with thankes as of ye hande of god & so doinge he winneth to him great merite. for no thinge be it neuer so lytel yt mā suffreth for god: can nat passe without great merit be thou therfore redy to suffre paciently aduersites & to fight ageynst thy impaciēt proude hert. if thou wylt haue victorie. Thou maist nat gete ye well of pacience without fight. yf thou wylt nat suffre ad­uersitees thou refusist to be crowned: wherfore if yu wilte be crowned thou muste fight & striue with thy selfe strōgly & suffre paciently suche euyls. For wy­thout labour no man may come to rest. ne withoute fight no man may haue victory. wherfore good lor­de I besike the to make possible by thy grace to me & in me yt / that is seene īpossible to me by nature. yu knoweste yt I am euyl to suffre & yt I am sone caste down by litel adūsite araised againe me I besike ye good lorde that al maner of trowble or aduersite yt thou shalt sende me: may be cōmendable & desyred for thy holy name for to suffre aduersytees for the is very helthfull & merite to mysoule.

¶ The .xxii. chapt of the cōfessyon of mānes infyr­mitees and of wordly myseries.

I Knowlege myne iniquite ageynste me I am ryght feble and vnstydfaste: good lorde thou knowest the thynge ye I am discharged & cast doūe by oftē: ys but of lytell valure or weight I purpose [Page] me strongly to stande in well doynge: But whan a litell tēptacion assayleth me I am greatly anguys­shed. the thynge that I am moued & tēpted by gre­uoussly is but vyle / & whan I thynke my selfe a ly­tell siker of lytel rest that I somtyme haue / I fynde me soone after ouercome of a lytel blaste of tēptacy­on. Beholde therfore good lorde my fraylte knowē to the in all thynges that I am ꝓued by. haue mer­cy of me I besyke the & delyuer me from the filth of synne that I be nat fastined therī ne ouecrom ther­by I haue great remorse & often I am confounded before the & that I am so vnstydfaste and frayle to gaynstande my passions. And though they drawe me nat to the consent of synne. yet theyr ꝑsecucyon & contynual insuynge is to me ryght greuous and heuy. and it is to me right tideous to lyue in batayle & stryfe. Therby I knowe the better myn infyrmyte For wicked & abhomynable fantasies do rise in me to my trouble soner than they go or passe from me Wherfore I besike the god almyghty & louer of fei­thefull soules to beholde with thy gracious cōsyde­racion the labour & afflicciō of me thy (ser)uaūt & asiste me with thy mercifull helpe in all nedes & strengthe me with heuenly strēgthe yt the tēptar of mā: or my wretched flesshe nat yet fully subdued to my spirite haue nat dominacōn vpō my spirite ageīst whom I must figh cōtynually whiles that I liue ī this mise­rable life Alas what maner a life is this: where try­bulacions & miseries haboūdeth where al places be full of enemyes and snares to ouercome & cache mā [Page] For whan one tēptacion or trouble cesseth▪ another cometh. Also the fyrste conflycte or trouble yet du­rynge / many other sodaynlye ryse. Howe may this lyfe be beloued that hath so many bytternes and is so full of myseryes: how may it be called a lyfe that gendreth so many dethes & gostely infeccions and yet it is beloued and with great gladnes delyted & idyed in. The worlde is ofte reproued for yt it is disceytfull and vayne. And yet it is nat soone forfake whyle the cōcupyscēce of the flesshe reygneth: some thynges ī the worlde induceth man to loue the worlde & some other to despyse it: the cōcupiscēce of mannes flesshe / ye desyre of mānes eye / & pryde of y hert But the peynes and the myseryes folowynge gen­dre hate and cōtempte of the worlde yet for all suche myseryes the euyll delectacion of mynde that is geuen to the worldly pleasure ouercometh the heuen­ly desyre / & suche carnall delyte reputeth felycyte to bevnder such sensuall pleasure. For such neyther sauer ne taste the swetnes of god / ne y inwarde ioy of vertue. They that despyse the worlde & study to ly­ue & serue god vnder holy discyplyne they taste y sauour of heuēly thyngꝭ ꝓmised to such gostly lyuers they also se verely y errour & dysceyte of y worlde.

¶ The .xxiii. chapiter how man shuld rest in god aboue all gyftes and goodes erthely.

O Thou my soule rest thou aboue all thynge in our lorde God for he is ye eternall rest of sayntes. Gyue me swete Iesu moost louable of all other grace for to reste in the aboue all other creatures / a [Page] boue all helth and beawte / aboue all glory / honour power & dygnyte: aboue all ryces cūnyng subtylite or craftes / aboue all gladnes / ioy / fame / or laude: aboue all swetnes / cōsolacion / hope / or promyse: aboue all meryte / desyre / or gyftes: that thou mayst gyue to me body or soule / aboue all ioy or iubylacyon that mannys mynde may fele and compryse. And aboue all heuēly spyrytes with all other thynges vysible & īuysible that is nat thy selfe for thou good lorde amōge all thyngꝭ art best / hyest / moste myghty & moost suffyciēt: thou art moost swete / fayrest moost louable moost noble & gloryoꝰ aboue all ī whom all other godes be ꝑfytely / haue be & shalbe. And ther­fore what euer hit be that thou gyuest me (thy selfe except) it is insuffycient: For my hert may nat verely rest ne holly be cōtent: but in the that surmoūtest euery creature or thīge. O my moste amyable spouse cryste iesu moost pure louer: & lorde of euery creature: graunt me I pray the wynges of very lyberte that I may fle & rest in the my feruent loue & desyre O whā shall it be gyuen to me fully to vnderstande & se howe swete and good my lorde God is? whan shall I fully gader me in the / so that for thy loue I shall nat fele my selfe: but y alonly that excedest all knowlege & mesure. Nowe I ofte sorowe & morne & bere me in felycite: & lamentable myserye y I am in with great heuynes. For many euyls assayle me in this vale of mysery they sore trouble me and al­so ofte blynde me / dystroyeth and letteth me: that I maye nat haue fre accesse to the: ne haue thy swete [Page] enbrasynge that the blessyd spyrytes haue ꝯtynually with all iocūdyte & ioy. I pray y that my syghes & inly desyres with my manyfolde desolacyōs may moue thy goodnes to enclyne to my desyres. o iesu the lyght & clertye of euerlastyng glory the solace & conforte of wayfarynge soules: my soule speketh to the with styll desyre: and my mouth without voyce Howe lōge taryeth my lorde god to come▪ I beseke hym to come to me his pore seruaūt to my cōsolacyon & gladnes. Sende he his hande & power to delyuer me from all anguysshe. Come good lorde for wt out the I can haue no gladde day or hour thou art my ioye & without the my mynde & borde is voyde I am a wretche and as a prysoner fetred withoute all ꝯfort agreued tyll tyme that I may be refresshid with thy presens & so restored to lyberte / shewe me therfore I beseke the thy fauour & gracious p̄sens / Let other seke for y what so euer they wyll no thyn­ge pleaseth me ne shall do but thou my lorde god y art my hope & eternal helth I shall nat cesse to pray & call to y tyll thou returne to me by thy grace & speke to me inwardly saying / lo I am here come to the for thou called me / thy terys & the desyre of thy soul thy hūyliaciō & ꝯtricion of hert hath made me enclyne & brought me to the. And I agayne to my lorde good lorde I called the & haue desyred to ioy in the all other thynges left & forsakē for the. Thou lorde dyd fyrst excyte me to seke the / blessyd be thou that hast wrought such goodnes wt thy seruaūt after thy great mercy / what shuld thy seruaūt more do or say [Page] before the goodlorde: but to hūble hym to thy ma­geste alway myndefull of his proper fraylte & wye­kednes. None is lyke to the good lorde in all y meruelous creatures ī heuē & erthe / all thy workes that thou hast wrought be very god / & thy domes ryght wyse & trewe / & by thy ꝓuydēs all thynges be gouerned. Laude & glory be to the that arte the wysdome of the fader celestyall. My soule / my mouthe / wt all partyes may loue the and prayse the with all other creatures wtout ende.


¶ The .xxiiii. chapter / a remēbraūce or repetynge of ye bn̄faytꝭ of god.

GOodlorde open my herte in thy lawe and in thy p̄ceptes make me to walke. Make me al way to vnderstande thy wyll and pleasure & dyly­gently to ꝯsyder with reuerēce thy bn̄faites both in generall & in specyall y I may dewly thanke the / I knowe and confesse for trothe that I may nat gyue to the due thākes for the leste benefyte that thou gyuest and am vnworthy thereof whā I consyder thy excellence and noblenesse my spyryte fayleth in me for the great magnytude therof. All thynges yt we haue in body or soule within or without naturallye or suꝑnaturally we haue of thy gyfte & all they commende the of whom all goodnes cometh / & though some perceyue of thy larges mo graces or bn̄faites and some fewer: yet all that we haue cometh of the / & the leest gyft may nat be had without the / he that receyueth more bounteously of thy graces may nat toy therin as he had them of his owne merytes nor he maye nat very worthely exalte hym selfe aboue [Page] other ne vylypende his infery oure or the poure / for he that ascrybeth nat to hym selfe ne to his merytes but onely to the goodnes of god is more meke and in gyuynge thankes vnto god more deuout / and he that for all suche prerogatyues repreueth hym selfe moost vyle and vnworthy of other: he is more apte to ꝑceyue of the hande of almyghty God more lar­ger gyftes / & he that perceyueth fewer gyftes of god ought nat therfore to be heuy ne wroth / ne enuyous ayenst his rycher: but he ought rather thāke y goodnes of god that so frely & so abūdātly gyueth to his creatures wtout any ꝑsonall cōcepciō all thīgꝭ come of y / & therfore thou art to be magny fyed & praysed in all thyngꝭ / thou knowest good lorde what thyng is expedyent to be gyuen vnto euery man / and why this ꝑsone receyueth of thy larges more / & an other lesse / it ꝑteygneth not vnto vs but to the to discerne the whiche alonly knowest euery mannys merytes I repute it for a great benefyte gyuen to me of thy goodnes yt I haue nat great gyftis wherby I shuld haue any vayne laude or praysynge outwardlye of the people / so if man cōsyder well his vylite pouerte & great indygence / he wolde nat be heuy & troubled in hym selfe / but he wolde rather take therof great consolacyon & gladnes of soule / for thou good lorde chose and do contynuallye chose poore and humble & such as the worlde dispyseth to thy seruyce & famy lyaryte / as is shewed manyfestly by ye apostles syn­gulerly chosen of y whom thou made prynces of all the worlde / that nat withstādynge theyr ꝯuersaciō & [Page] lyuynge was without reprefe amōge men of hūble & symple without deceyte & malyce that they suffred gladly for thy name rep̄uynge & scourgyngꝭ & gre­uous peynes wt deth at ye last the which all be horryble and dispytfull to worldly folke / wherefore there oughte nothynge so glad thy louer & knower of thy bn̄fytes as thy wyll to be fulfylled in hym & the pleasure of thy eternall disposycion / wherof he ought to be so well ꝯtēte & pleased as at the ordynaūce of god it is to hym as lefe to be y leste & lowest as an other desyreth to be hyest & moost repute & to be content & pleased wt the lowest place as an other wt the hyest & to be as gladly abiecte / & dyspycable as other doth desyre to be hye & aboue other in the worlde / for thy loue & wyll good lorde ought to p̄cell all other thynges & more to please man thā all other bn̄fytes gy­uen or to be gyuen to man.

¶ The .xxv. chapyter / howe .iiii. thynges brynge pease to man.

[...]Oure thingꝭ sone therbe that make a man to be in great pease & lyberte of soule / fyrst is yt a man shall study rather to do and folowe an other mannys wyll than his owne / an other is to chose to haue lesse of tēporall goodes or worshyppes rather thā more: the thyrde is to chose euer ye lower sete or place & to bevnder alway & nat aboue / the .iiii. is to desyre that he wyll of god be holy done in the / suche a ꝑsone entreth the endis of pease & rest / lorde sayth the deuout soule / thy worde forsayd is short & cōteyner of great ꝑfeccyon on it is lytell and short in ꝓnun­ciaciō & full in sence & v (er)tue / If I coulde well kepe it [Page] I shuld nat be so soone troubled as I am for as ofte as I am greued & dyspleasyd / I fynde in me that I goo so ofte from this doctryne but thou good lorde yt all may / & also loueth well and profyte of mannes soule encreace thy grace in me yt I may accōplysshe thy worde vnto my saluacyon.

¶ The .xxvi. cha­pyter / a prayer agayne euyll thoughtes.

LOrde god I beseke the nat to be lōge absent fro me / but gyue alway hede to me ī helping me / vayne thoughtes haue rysen agayne me with many terrous that haue troubled me / howe shall I passe vnhurte / and howe shall I breke them and es­cape but if thou helpe / thou sayst to thy seruaunt I shall go before the / & I shall hūble them that Ioy & trust in erthely glorye I shall open to the the gatys of darkenes & I shall shew the my secretis do good lorde as thou ꝓmyses dwell in me & chase fro me all wycked & euyll thoughtes my hope & refuge siguler is to fle to the in euery trybulacion & to call vpō the wt inwarde cōfydēce to be helped pacyētly abydīge thy consolacyon.

¶ The .xxvii. chapter a deuout prayer for the illumynacyon of mānes mynde.

O Thou good thesu claryfy me with the clerete of euerlastynge lyght & chase fro myn hert all maner darkenes / stablysshe the great vagacions of my mynde that I suffer / breke & destroy the vyolēt tēptacyōs that I am acōbred with fyght strōgly for me & fere awaye the euyll bestes that is to say my lecherous cōcupyssens yt I am moued & tēpted by / y peace may be ī me by thy v (er)tue & myght / so that lau­de [Page] may soūde to the in the hall of my soule cōmaūde the wyndys & tēpestis of trouble & tēptaciō & the see full of mōstres & parellys to cease / & say to the north wynde that it blowe nat / and than shall be a great trāquilite / sende out thy lyght of truthe that it may shyne vpō erthe / for I am as the erthe vayne & barē vnto thou illumyne me / sende out thy grace from a boue / anoynte my hert wt thy grace celesty all / sende in to me the terys of deuocyon to make moyste and wete my dry soule yt it may brynge for the good frute & the frute of god warkynge / rayse vp my mynde the which is opp̄ssyd wt the burden of syn & suspēde my desyre holy to heuēly thynges so that ye swetnes of heuenly felycyte tasted / I may lothe to thynke of erthely thynges / rauysshe me from ye vnstedfast cō ­solaciō of all creatures / for no creat thing may fully satysfye myn appetyte Ioyne me good lorde to the wt the bāde of in seperable loue / for thou alone suffy syst to thy louer / and without the all other thynges be vayne and of no valure.

¶ The .xxviii. chapter / howe a man shuld eschewe to enquyre busyly of an other mannes dedes.

SOne sayth God to his louer / be thou nat curious to seke vanites or euyll questiōs of other mennys cōuersacyon in worde or dede / folowe thou me what ꝑteyneth to ye this or yt / or what this man is or that / or ellys what this man doth or sayth / and what yt / thou shalt nat gyue accōpt for other mēnys dedys but for thyn owne selfe / wherfore thā doste yu wrap the in suchevayne questyons / I knowe euery [Page] man wt his cōuersacyon / & I se euery thynge vnder the son̄e I know euery man what he th [...]keth willeth sayeth or doeth / and to what ende he entendeth his werke / thou shuld therfore cōmyt all tkyngꝭ to me & to my iugemēt / and to kepe thy selfe in good pease let hym that wādreth wander and dryue as he wyll At the last shall fall vnto hym yt he hath deserued in worde or dede for he may nat deceyue me. Desyre thou nat great fame outwarde ne great famylyary te wt folke no pryuate loue of any ꝑson for these thin ges gēdrith distraccōs of mānes soule & gret erours & derknes of mānes hert. I wolde speke to the gladly my wordes & my coūceyles & secretꝭ I wolde she we y if thou wolde dylygētly ob [...]ue my cōmīg openynge ye dore of thy hert to me / be thou prouydent & wakynge in prayers / humblynge the ī all thynges.

¶ The .xxix. chapiter / In what thynges standeth very peace and profyte of man.

SOne I sayde ones to my dyscyples I leue peace wt you & gyue you my pease / I gyue you my peace nat as ye worlde doth yt nowe gyueth peace / now troubles & warre / all folke desyre peace but all doth nat seke the very thynges y [...]ayne to peace. My peace is wt hūble ꝑsones & innocent thy peace shall be ī moche paciēs / if thou wylt here me & folowemy worde thou shalt haue moche peace ī all thy werkes take hede what thou dost say or int [...]d [...]g alwey to please me only / & nothynge without me to desyre or seke / also be thou nat curioꝰ or besy to dis­cerue or iuge other mēnys wordes or dedes ne mell [Page] nat of thynges that be nat perteynynge to the / and thus doynge thou shalt lytle or seldome be troubled neuer to suffer any heuynes or perturbacyon of bo­dy or soule longeth nat to this lyfe: but to the estate of the lyfe to come / where euer quyetnes & peace is / suppose nat therefore y thou hast foūde very peace for y thou felest no heuynes ne grauyte / ne thynke nat that all is well about the / if thou haue no aduersary / ne suffer cōtradyccyon / nor repute nat the therfore ꝑfyte / for y all thynges be done after thy myn­de & desyre / nor thou shalt nat repute the to be belo­ued / or to be in the fauour or grace with almyghty God if thou haue any gyfte of swetnes or deuocion for a true louer of vertue is nat knowē in such thynges nor the profyte or ꝑfeccion of man standeth nat in suche but in that rather yt thou offredest thy selfe with all thyn hert vnto the wyll of god / nat sekynge thy goodys or thyne owne wyll to be done in lytle or moche so that thou take euenly with thākes pro­sperous thynges and aduersytees / weyinge all in a lyke balaunce / if thou be so stronge in hope yt when thou lackest in warde consolacyon / than thou pre­payrest thy herte to suffer gretter thynges than before / nat reputynge thy selfe rightwyse or holy: thē thou walkest in the true and right way of peace / & without doubte then thou shalte se my face in euer lastynge ioy and if thou come to the full contempte of thy selfe then thou shalte haue the habūdaunce o [...] pese after thy possyb [...]lyte as a [...]ay [...]erer may haue.

¶ The .xxx. Chapiter of the preemynence of a fre mynde and howe prayers precellyth lesson.

LOrde this is the warke of a perfyte man neuer to lose his soule from the speculacyon or of the syght of heuēly thynges & to go amonge ma­ny busynesses as wtout all busynes nat as an ydell man but by a pre [...]ogatyue offre mynde nat lyuyn­ge by īordynate affeccyō to any creature I beseke ye moost good & almyghty god p̄serue me frō ye busy­nes of this lyfe / y I be nat wrapt ouermoche by the manyfolde necessaryes of my body that I be nat caught by lust of body delyuer me I beseke the frō all maner of īpedymētes & enemyes to my soule to saue me yt I be nat cast downe & broke by outragyous heuynes nat by such vanites as ye worlde busyly desyreth / but by such myseries as of y comō male dicciō of mākynde doth greue peynfully thy [...]uaū ­tes yt they may nat haue lyberte of soule to be ioy­ned to y as they wolde / good lorde turne all carnall [...]solaciō ī me into bytternes yt shuld entyse & drawe me by fals p̄tens of goodnes frō y cōtēplaciō & loue of euerlastynge thynges let me nat be ouercome of flesshly luste. Let me nat be dysceyued by ye worlde or by the shorte glory & pompe therof / nor let me be supplanted or be bygyled by the cawtels & deceytes of the deuyll / gyue me I beseke the strēgth to resyst all euyll / pacyēs to suffer aduersytes & stablenes of ꝑseueraūce / graūt me for all worldly consolacyons the swete gracyous vnccyon of the holy goost & for all carnall loue / yet into my soule the loue of thyne [Page] holy name. Mete & drynke and clothe & other necessaries to the body / be peynfull & onerous to a feruēt spyryte graūt me good lorde to vse suche bodely cō fortes tēperatly / so yt I be nat wrapped in outragyous desyre of such thynges / to forsake all such bodely necessytes I may nat lefully / for nature must be sustayned but to seke suche thynges in suꝑfluyte or such thynges as be more delectable thā ꝓfytable / ye holy lawe forbedeth it / for elles the flesshe of man shuld rebell ayenst the soule / amonge all such thyn­ges good lorde I beseke the that thy hāde of grace may teche and gouerne me euer / that I admyt no suche thynges in superfluyte.

¶ The .xxxi. chapiter the loue of pryuat thynges & of mannys selfe letteth the perfyte goodnes of mannys soule.

SOne if thou wylt possesse god almyghtye to dwell ī thy soule / thou must eschew & forsake all thy wyll for hym / so y onely thou gyue thy wyll holy vnto his wyll / for the propre loue of thy selfe is more dysauaūtage to y than any erthly thynge af­ter thyne affecciō & loue y enclynest to euery thyng more or lesse if thy loue be pure symple and well ordered thou shalte nat be ouercomen by inordynate desyre of such erthely thynges. Couet nat such thynges as it is vnlefull the to haue. Nor yet haue thou nat indede nor in desyre that thynge that shall lette the or thy inwardly lyberte of thy soule I haue meruayle sayeth God to his louer that man gyueth nat hymselfe to me with all his herte to gether / withall [Page] other thynges that he hath or desyreth to haue why art thou fatygate with superfluous busynes or de­syer / why is man wasted by vayne heuynes / Lette hym stande to my pleasure and wyll: and than he shall fele no heuynes ne harme / if thou seke this thī ­ge or that / or to be here or there for thy profyte or cō modyte thou shalt neuer be quyte ne fre from busynes of mynde / For in euery thynge besyde me is so­me defaute of goodnes: and no place is voyde of all aduersyte / wherefore seth transytory and worldlye thynges / rychesses or worshyppes multiplyed in dede or in desyre: doth nat helpe mannes soule but ra­ther the contempte and hate of suche thynges profyteth in the acceptacion ayenst god / for all suche shall passe with the worlde / The place that a man desy­reth shall lytell helpe hym: if the spyryte of charite & grace be nat with hym: & such peace as man seketh without forthe shall nat longe stande if it lacke the very foundament of stabylnes that is to say if man stande nat in god almyghty which is groūde of all stablenes / he may well chaūge his place but he shal nat be auaūtaged ī soule for whyther so euer a man fleyth he shall fynde suche occasyon as he fleyth.

¶ The .xxxii. chapyter / an oreson for ye pourgynge of mannes soule and for grace.

COnferme me good lorde by thy grace & ma­ke me sad in vertue inwardly in soule / make my hert voyde of all vnprofytable besynes / & nat to be drawē or led by ye vnstable desyre of any thynge what euer it be vyle or p̄cioꝰ: but to ꝯceyue al thīgꝭ [Page] togeder wt my selfe as transytory / nothynge vnder the sone is stable & ꝑmanēt but all is vanyte & afflyccyon to mannes soule / howe wyse is he that so vn­derstondeth and perceyueth / graunt me good lorde heuenly wysedome y I may lerne to seke & to fynde the aboue all other thynge to cōceyue and loue the aboue all thynges / & to vnderstande all other thyngꝭ as they be after the order of thy wysedome gyue me grace to bere prudently the ꝓsperyte & pleasure of ye worlde / & paciētly to suffer aduersyte / for it is great wysdome nat to be moued with any blast of wynde ne to entende to any flaterynge tale.

¶ The .xxxiii. chapt how a man shuld behaue hī ayenst detracciō.

SOne sayth our lorde to his louer / thou shalte nat be heuy if a man say yll or haue an yll o­pynyon of the that thou wolde nat gladlye here / for thou ought to iuge thy selfe to be worse & more vyle of cōdycion than other people be / if thou gader thy selfe so īwardly thou shalt nat greatly pōder fleyng wordes / it is nat a lytell argumēt prudēs or wysdō a man to kepe scylens in tyme of yll sayd or done to hym & to ꝯuert hym selfe īwardly to god & nat to be inquyete of mannes iugemēt / let nat thy peace be in mānes worde whether they say well of y or yll thou art one and nat chaūged by theyr wordes / where is true peace & true glory but in god / he that desyreth neyther to please men nor drede the nat to dysplease them / he shall fynally haue great peace / for of īordy nat loue & vayne drede cometh all in [...]etnes of herte and dystruccyon of soule.

¶ The .xxxiiii. chapiter / god almyghty is to be in­wardly called and blessyd in tyme of tribulacyon.

THy holy name good lorde [...]e alwa [...] blessyd that hast wylled this trouble [...] tēptacyō to fall vpon me [...] I may nat [...]e [...] [...]che [...]s it / but I ha­ue nede to fle to thy goodnes for helpe and socoure that thou may turne it to my well / good lorde I am nowe in trowble and [...] acordeth nat to well to my herte / for I am greatly vered [...]f this present passyō what shall I say that am tached thus with trybulacions / saue me good lorde in this houre I come to the in this houre of trowble that thy goodnes may be knowen whan I shall be delyuered by the of my great humylyacyon & trowble that I am in / please it thy goodnes lorde god to del [...]uerme therof / for I knowe nat what may do to my dyscharge & well & whyther I may go without the / graunt me pacyēs good lorde / also now helpe me good lorde & I shall nat drede what euer fall tome / what shall I say ī all my aduersytes / but that thy wyll be done ī me / I haue well deserued to be troubled & vexed wherfore I must suffer / & wolde god I myght so do wt pacyēce tyll the tempest be past / & better fortune folowe / god almyghty thou may take fro me this tēptacion / if it be thy pleasure / that I be nat ouercome thereof as thou hast ofte done▪ for the more harde it semeth to me to suffer suche temptacyon the more nere is thy right hāde to chaūge it.

¶ The .xxxv. chapter how man shuld aske the helpe of God trustynge in hym to recouer grace loste by deuout prayer.

[Page]SOne sayth our Lorde to his louer I am thy lorde god: that do conforte my setuauntes in the daye of trouble / come therfore to me whan it is nat well with the / it doth lette ye to haue cōsolacyon from aboue: that thou slowly fallest to prayer for a remedye / for before thon prayest to me deuoutly for helpe and consolacyon / thou sekest many inwarde consolacyons for thy refresshynge whiche all auay­leth the lytell vnto thou conceyue in wardlye that I alonly delyuer and helpe in nede them that trust in me / & without me there is novaylable or profytable coūceyll ne remedye durable & abydynge / but resu­me thy spyryt & be recōforted ī the lyght of my mer­cyes for I am [...]ere & redy to repayre all thynges yt be ruynous / nat onely to the state that they were of before / but also to theyr perferciō / no thyng is to me harde or impossyble / I am nat lyke to the yt sayste more than thou doste i dede / for my worde & dede is alone / where is thy fayth? stāde fermely & ꝑseuerātly ī thy fayth & my seruyce / be strōgely abydynge in me / & thou shalt haue cōfort ī tyme cōuenyēt / abyde me & I shall come sone & hele the / it is a lytell tēpta­cyon that doth vere the / & a vayne drede that dothe fere the / why art thou busy about thynges or chaunces nat yet beynge but for to come the which encreaseth thy heuynes / it is suffycyent to the day his wyckednes / it is but vanyte or Idlenes to be troubled or to be glad at y auēture of thyngꝭ to come whiche ꝑauenture shall neuer fall / but manys cōdycyon is to be disceyued by such Imagynaciōs / & it is a tokē [Page] of an vnstable soule / that is so soone led fro god by suggestion of the enemy for he pōderith nat wheder he deceyue by true suggestyons or fals: wheder he throw downe by the blynde loue of thīgꝭ p̄sent or by drede of thyngꝭ for to come / be yu nat aferde ne trowbled in soule / trust in my mercy whan thou trowest to be farre fro me / I am ofte more nere the / whan yu wenest to be holly lost: than thou moost deseruest rewarde / all this is nat lost whā thou felest ꝯtrarious­nes in thy mynde / thou shulde nat iuge after thy sē ­suall felynge ne take euery veracyō hopynge neuer to escape it / repute the nat all forsake whā I sēde ye any trybulaciō / for by such trybulacyō it is come to the kyngedome of heuē / it is more expedyēt to the / & to my other seruaūtes for to be ꝓued in aduersitees than to haue eche thynge after theyr wyll / I knowe the hyd thoughtes of mā / it is expedyēt to thy helth & saluacyon to be lefte some tyme to thy selfe wtoute gostly sauer / that thou be nat inflate by pryde & lyft vp aboue thy selfe thīkyng the to be better thā thou art in dede / I may take away whā my lyste that I gyue to any man / & restore it to them whan I wyll / whā I gyue any gyft or grace to any ꝑsō it is myne that I gyue / and whan I withdra we it I take but myn owne / for al goodes & euery ꝑfyte gyft is myn if I sende y any trouble bodely or gostly dysdeyne nat therof ne let nat thyn hert fall therby into great heuynes / for I may sone lyfte the vp agayn & chaū ­ge thy heuynes into ioy / neuertheles I am rightwyse & moche to be recōmēded & loued whan I sende ye [Page] such aduersyte or scourges / if thou wyltvnderstāde yu ought neuer to be heuy for ye aduersytes yt I sēde the: but rather to thāke me / & to repute it a synguler ioy that I spare the nat in suche peynfull afflycciōs that I sende the / for I sayde to my dyscyples / I lo­ue you as my father dyd me / though I sēde you īto the worlde nat to haue ioyes of the world but great batayles / nat to haue worldly honours but despytꝭ nat to be Idle but to labour / nat to haue rest but to gader moch frute of saued people into the barne or church of god lyke as I was sent to also / haue mīde sone also of these wordꝭ.

¶ The .xxxvii. chapt how all creaturis shuld beset a syde yt we may fynd god.

LOrde god sayth a deuout soule to our lorde I haue nede to haue more grace thā I haue yet if I shuld come thyder where no man ne creature shall let me / for as lōge as any creature reteyneth me by lokynge of thy loue I may nat fle to the frely He desyred to fle frely that sayde these wordes who shall gyue me wynges as a doue yt I may fle & rest where perfyte rest is / what thynge is more quyete & restfull thā is a symple iye / & who fleyth more frelye into the knowelege and loue of God / thā he that desyreth nothynge here in erthe / he therfore that wyll stāde in eleuacyon of mynde / & so beholde the good lorde maker of all thynge he must ouer passe euery creature & forsake hym selfe wt other ꝯsyderyng his lorde to haue nothynge lyke hym / but yt he p̄cell all creatures in thy loue / and but if a man be fre & low­sed from mordynate loue of all creaturꝭ he may nat [Page] frely lyft hymvp by cōtēplaciō & loue of heuēly thynges / therfore fewe folke be foūde cōtemplatyue / for fewe be foūde that fully sequestrate theym selfe fro erthly thynges that be but trāsytory / to ꝯtēplaciō is great grace requyred / for by grace a man must ī the dede of cōtēplacyon be lyft aboue hym selfe / & but if he be lyft vp in spyryte aboue all creatures erthelye & be holly vnyte to god almyghtye / what so euer he can or hath of v (er)tue is but of lytle pryce afore god / he shall longe be lytle in vertue / & lye lōge in erthe that reputyth or prayseth any thynge but onely eternall goodes which he had of god almyghtye / and what so euer thynge is nat god almyghty or to hym referred is nought / & to be acoūted for nought / great differens is betwene the wysdom of a deuout and illumyned ꝑsone of god / & the cūnynge of a lettred clerke or a student / for that doctryne is more worthye & better yt cometh by the influence of god than it that cometh by the labour of mannys wyt / many desyre to come to ꝯtēplaciō but fewe study for suche thīges as be req̄red therto ī erercyse / & a great īpedyment therto is that we stande ī sygnes & in sēsyble thyngꝭ & labour nat to mortyfye vs fro them / ne to despyse theym parfytely before as we shulde do / howe is it and with what spyryt be we led / I wot nat that be reputed spūall ꝑsons / & yet we laboure more about vyle & transytory thynges / thā about spūall / about the which scarsly at any tyme we laboure or thynke inwardly with suspēsynge of our outwarde sensys so that we wey nat our warkes straytlye or euenlye [Page] as we ought to do / for wherupon our affeccyon re­steth we do nat attende / ne we lament nat oure vyle and vnclene dedes / & therupon foloweth that whan our inwarde affeccyon is corrupte that the dede folowynge & ꝓcedynge therof is necessaryly corrupte for of a clene herte cometh good dedys and v (er)tuous lyuynge / euery man seketh the dede of what & howe moche he may do or doth / but howe v (er)tuous a man is it? that is nat so dyly gentlye soughte / for a ryche man / or a stronge man / for a good labourer / a good wryter / a good synger / a fayre man or womā / or for an able persone euery man dyly gentlye seketh / but howe meke in soule is suche a persone / how pacyent how deuout / or well idsposed inwardly is he no questyon is made / nature sheweth the outwarde good­nes of man / but grace torneth itselfe to the inwarde vertues of man / nature with gyftes naturall is ofte dysceyued / but the soule trusteth in God that he be nat disceyued.

¶ The .xxxvii. chapiter how man shuld forsake hym selfe and all couetyse.

SOne sayth our lorde thou may nat haue ꝑfyte lyberte but if thou vtterly forsake thy selfe all ꝓprietaries & louers of them selfe be fetered and nat fre / as couetous folke / curious & vaynglorious that seke alway ryches honours & delectable thīgꝭ & nat suche as ꝑteyne to iesu cryste / suche folke ofte feyne & cōpoūde suche thynges as be nat stable but faylynge for all thyng shall perysshe yt is nat begon & caused of god / holde well this shorte worde / forsa­ke all thynges for god & thou shalt fynde all thyngꝭ [Page] forsake couetyse & thou shall fynde rest / degest this thyng in thy mynde busyly & thou shalt vnderstāde all thynges / lorde this is nat one dayes werke nor a lyght thynge to attayne / for all ꝑfeccyon of relygyō is cōprysed therin / sone thou shuld nat soone be ad­uerted ne cast downe by dispayre whā thou herest y wayes of ꝑfyte folke / but rather to be prouoked to hyer thynges / & at the leest to inforce the by deuoute desyre to theym I wolde thou come there to yt thou loued nat carnally thy selfe / but that thou wolde fo­lowe my coūceyll in all thynges than thou shuld be as I sayde & all thy lyfe shuld be led with ioy & peas thou hast yet many thynges to be forsake & lefte the which but if thou holy leue and resygne to me / thou shalte nat attayne that thou desyrest / I coūceyll the to bye of my bryght golde / ye is to say heuenly wys­dome the which despyseth all erthely thīges yt thou may be very ryche / lay thou a syde all erthelye wys­dom and all inordynate pleasure of thy selfe or any other & thou shalt haue heuēly wysdome therfore / ye which wysdome though it be reputed lytell worth ī erthe & of erthly folke / yet it is a p̄cyous margarete hydde fro many & greatly desyred of many.

¶ The .xxxviii. chapyter of the vnstablenes of the herte of man / & how man shuld fynally lyfte vp and order his hert and mynde to god.

SOne sayth our Lorde truste nat to moche to thyn owne wyt & affeccion the which is now here now there soone chaūgid from one thing to an other / for as longe as thou lyuest thou shalt be chaūgeable [Page] & subiecte of mutabylyte ayēst thy wyll / now shalt thou be glad now heuy / now well pleasyd & cō tent & soone discōtēt / now deuout & soone vndeuout now busy in mynde & werke & now sleuthfull / nowe thou arte lyght & mery & soone after sad & troubled but a wyse man & well taught in soule standeth sta­ble in all such mutacyons / nat attedynge what he felyth in hym selfe / or of what party the wynde of thy stablenes bloweth / but rather that all the intente of his soule & mynde may come & ꝓfyte to the due and best ende / and in this wyse may a man alway one a byde holy as longe as the symple entēt of his soule amōge all suche varyacyons is nat vndered but dyrecte to me cōtynually / the more pure and clene the intēciō of mānys soule is y more stedfastly he goth amōge such stormes & troubles / but ī many thyngꝭ is the pure iye of mannes soule made darke / a man lyghtely beholdeth a delectable obiecte yt is p̄sented to hym and anone the soule is infecte by vnlefull defyre / for seldome suche ꝑsones be all fre and vnfecte of the venym of theyr owne sekynge / as we rede by exaumple of the Iewes the whiche came in to beta­nie to Marcha / & Mary / & nat to Iohn̄ only / but for to se Lazar / wherfore the iye of mānys intencion is to be clensed so that it be rightwys & aboue allvary ant meanys derecte to me.

¶ The .xxxix. chapiter howe god almyghty sauoureth to his louer aboue all thynges.

BEholde my lorde god & beholde all thynges what thyng may I more graciously & better [Page] to my beatytude desyre / o thou sauery & swete wode to thy louers my lorde god & all thynges / I say nat that he is the worlde ne the trāsytory goodes of the worlde which is nat to beloued / but god ī all thyng the which worde often repeted gyueth a great gladnes to the louer of god / whan thou art present good lorde all thynges be plesaūt to man / and if thou ab­sent the from hym / thyngꝭ be tedyous to hym / thou good lorde alone makest a peasyble herte and also a great gladnesse & solēpne ioyfulnes ī mānis soule thou makest a man fele wele of all thynges & to loue the in all tynge / and without thy goodnes nothyng may longe please man / but if any thynge shall be thankefull & well sauory to man / thy grace must be present and wysdome if thou good lorde sauour plesaūtly to any man / what thynge shall nat be delectable to hym / & if thy goodnes sauour nat to mā what may be ioyfull to hym / sothely nothynge: but world lye wysemen fawteth in thy wysdome good lorde / and they lyke wyse that sauoureth flesshly desyres / for in such wysdome and noughty wayes be many vanytes and spyrytuell dethe foloweth / And they that folowe the swete and blessyd lorde by contēpte of the worlde / and by mortyfyinge of theyr body or bodely lustys be knowen to bevery wyse for they be trāsfourmed from vanyte to trouth / and from car­nalyte to spiritualte / to such persones doth almyghty God swetely sauour / and what some euer good­nesse or delectaciō they fynde ī any creature they re­ferre all to ye laude & praysynge of the creature of al [Page] Great dyfferēce & dyssymylytude is betwyxt the sauour & swetnes of alinyghty god the maker of all & the sauoure of the thyng that is made of hym as is also betwyxt eternyte and tyme and betwyxt lyghte increate & light illumined of god / o thou light e [...]nal p̄cellynge & trāscēdynge all lightes create perse the towarde partes of myn hert wt thy ioyfull shynyng puryfye glad / claryfy and quyken my spyryte with his powers to enclyne & be ioyned to y from vnpro fytable excesses / o whan shall that blessyd houre co­me moost to be desyred whā I shalbe sacyat & reple nysshed with thy blesfull p̄sēce / that thou may be to me ī all pleasures possyble to be desyred / for as lōge as that gyfte is nat gyuen to me / my full Ioye shall nat be / it is myne olde man that is to say my bodye lyuynge in me by his venemoꝰ ꝯcupiscence not ful­ly crucyfyed or mortyfyed in me as yet my body couetyth strōgly agaynst my soule it moueth inwar­de batayles and sufferyth nat y reygne of my soule to be ī rest but thou good lorde yt hast d [...]iacyon vpō the see / & dost mytty gate his mouynges & flowīges aryse & help me quēche & destroy these outragioꝰ me uyngꝭ of my flesshe ▪ wherwith I am sore troubled destroy them ī thy v (er)tue & myght / shewe I beseke the thy power & declare y right hād vpō me for I haue no other hope but the that art my lorde & sauyoure.

¶ The .xl. chapiter how no man may be sure from temptacyon whyles he lyueth here.

SOne sayth our lorde God to his louer thou shalt neuer be syker or surer ī this lyfe but as [Page] longe as thou shalt lyue here / spūall armour shalbe necessary to the thou art cōuersaūt amonge thy ene myes & on euery syde thou arte troubled & vexed / & therefore if thou vse nat on euery hāde the shylde of pacyēce / thou shalt nat be longe vn wounded / more ouer if thou put nat thy hert stable in me & to suffer with good & deuout wylle all maner of thynges for the loue of me thou mayste nat suffer this ardoure nor come vnto the crowne & rewarde of blessyd sou les / thou must therefore passe manlye ouer all suche thynges & vse a myghty hāde ayenst thynges cōtrary to the / for to a cōquerour is promysed & graūted in rewarde aūgels fode / & to a sleuthfull & an Idell man is ordeygned great mysery / if yu seke here reste how shalt thou come to euerlastyng rest & qetaciō ī heuē gyue the nat here ī the worlde to great rest but rather to great pacyēce ayenst aduersytes ꝯtynual­ly insuynge / seke nat therfore true peace here ī erthe but in heuen where it is / nat in man nor in other creatures but ī god alone / thou oughtest for the loue of god suffer gladly all laboures & sorowes tēptacyōs & vexacyōs aduersytes & necessytes infyrmytes & in iurye oblyqes & rep̄ues / all tokens of mekenes & cō fusyons / correccyons & despytes / these thyngꝭ helpe to purches v (er)tues these thyngꝭ ꝓueth the knyght of cryste & maketh hym worthy the celesty all crowne / I shall sayth our lorde god yelde to my seruaunt y serueth me in suche wyse as is spoken euerlastynge rewarde for a lytell & short labour / & glorye infyny­te for a lytle confusyō / trowest thou sayth our lorde [Page] to his seruaūt that thou shalt haue alway spūall cō ­solaciōs at thy wyll / my sayntes had nat such ꝯsolacions ꝯtynuall / but many dyuers tēptaciōs & great ꝑsecuciōs / but with paciens they ouercame all such troubles / trustynge more in me than in them selfe in such peynes / knowynge with the apostle yt the pey­nys of this present lyfe be nat worthy to deserue the glory of heuē / woldest thou haue that anon that many afore haue scarsly opteyned after many wepyng terys & great labour / abyde pacyētly the gracyous comynge of our lorde / labour māly ī hisvyneyarde the werkes of right wysenes / put thy ꝯfort ī god mys truste hym nat / but stande strōgly in fayth & go nat fro his seruyce yt he hath called the to & expoūde thy body and soule stable & strōgely for the loue of god / and I shalbe with the ī all thy troubles & shall fully rewarde all that suffre or do for me.

¶ The .xli. chapiter agaynste the vayne iugementes of men.

SOn sayth our lorde to his louer cast thy hert & loue vpon thy lorde god stedfastly & dredre nat what man iugeth in the / where thy conscyence yeldeth the deuout & innocēt / it is good & blessyd to suffer & to be heuy to an humble ꝑsone that trusteth more in god than in hym selfe / many folke saye ma­ny thynges / & therfore lytle feyth is to be gyuen but to satysfye all men it is īpossyble / and though saynt Powle y apostell laboured to please all folke ī god / makyng hym selfe mete & apte to all mēnys ꝯdiciōs for theyr saluaciō & lucre / yet he set lytle by mēnes iu gemēt / that is to say mēnys dyscōmēdaciō or cōmē ­dacyon [Page] ayenst hym / he dyd laboure dylygetlye for other mennes edyficacion & saluacion / but he suffered other men to iuge or despyse hym / he coulde nat let / and therfore he commytted hym selfe & all his labours to god almyghty that knoweth all thynge & what is best for man / & he defendyd hym selfe by pacyence & humylyte agaynst all his aduersaries & le­synge makers / he answered sōtyme by worde & wrytynge agaynst his detractours that he shuld nat be sclaūder to other / what art thou that dredest a mor tall man which is to day & the morowe apereth nat / drede god & thou shalte nat drede mannes terrours whā may any man worke ī the by wordes or iniuryes / heshall rather noy hym selfe than the / ne heshall nat eschewe the iugementes of god / who euer he be haue thou god alway before the & stryue nat agayn suche cōplaynyng wordes / & thoughe thou seme for the tyme ouerthrowen and suffer ꝯfusyon ꝯtrary to thy deseruynges disdayn nat therwith lest thou my nysshe the crowne of glory by īpaciēs / but rather be holde me that may delyuer euery man fro cōfusyon & iniurye & rewarde euery man after his merytys & trauayles.

¶ The .xlii. chapter / if man wyll opteyn fredom of hert he must holy forsake hymselfe.

OUr lorde god sayth to his seruaūt / sone forsake thy selfe / & thoushalt fynde me stande thou without the ellec [...]yō of thy fre wyll / & without all ꝓpryete & thou shalte alway wyn / for if thou leue thy selfe vtterly / without p̄sūpciō of the same more abū daūce of grace than thou had / shall be gyuen to the [Page] Lorde sayth the dyscyple to his lorde god. how ofte & in what thyngꝭ shall I forsake my selfe / I saye to the sone that thou shalt euery hour & in euery thīge great & small forsake & make thy selfe naked / ellys Howe may thou be myne & I▪ thyne / but if thou for sake thy proper wyll ī all thyngꝭ within & without / the soner thou so do the better it shalbe with the / the more fully thou forsakest thy selfe with all other thī ­ges / the better thou shalt please me & the more thou shalt wyn / some relygyous folke with other forsake them selfe nat fully / but with some excepcyon suche trust nat to god almyghty / & therfore they endeuer them to prouyde for them selfe in some thyngꝭ some other at the fyrst doth offer them selfe and all theyrs to god / but at a tēptacion soone after arysynge they retur [...]e to theyr owne wyll the whiche they had for­sake / and therfore they profyte nat in vertue: suche ꝑsones shall nat come to very clēnes of hert ne to ye grace of my ioyfull famylyaryte / but if they make a hole resygnaciō & a dayly oblacyō of them selfe & all theyrs fyrste / without whiche thevnyō that longeth to my fruycion may nat be had / I haue sayd ofte to the forsake thy selfe and resyne the ꝑfytely and thou shalt enioy inwarde peace / gyue all for aske ne seke nothynge agayn of them that thou hast forsake for me / but stande holy & fermelye in me nat doutynge any thynge / & thou shalt haue me / thou shalt be fre ī soule / derkenes shall nat possesse y ne any spyryt of derkenes shall haue power of the / indeuoure the to this / pray & study with all thy desyre that thou may [Page] be delyuered fro all maner of ꝓperte & wt nakydnes of all ambiciō & possessyon folowe naked iesu cryst thy sauyour / & that thou dye to thy selfe & the world & lyue to me eternally / thā all vayne fantasyes wycked troubles & suꝑfluous busynes shall fayle / Also thā shall all īmoderate drede / & loue īordynate dye.

¶ The .xliii. Chapyter howe man shulde gouerne hym in outwarde thynges & renne to god for helpe and socour in parels and daungers.

SOne sayth our lorde to his louer / yu oughtest with all dylygence gyue hede that ī euery oc­cupaciō & outwarde dede thou be fre wtinforth ī thy soule hauynge power of thy selfe / so yt all thyngꝭ be vnder the & thou nat vnder them / that yu be lorde & leder of thy werkes & nat (ser)uaūt / but as a true hebrew or cristē mā goynge īto the sorte & lyberte of chyldrē of god the which stāde vpō the p̄sent thynges of the worlde & beholde ye eternall godes of heuē / y which also beholde the trāsytory thynges of the worlde wt theyr left iye & heuēly thynges with theyr right iye / suche folke be nat drawen by worldly goodes to in­ordynate loue of them / but rather they drawe suche tēporall goodes as god sendeth them & order thē to good dedes lyke as god almyghty y hye artyfycer hath ordeygned thē y lefte nothynge vnordred ī all the worlde / also if thou [...] euery auēture or chaūce stā de nat ī the outwarde apparaūce yt is to say if yu stā de nat to the iugemēt of thy bodyly iye or ere / but a none as thou ꝑceyuest such thyngꝭ / if thou enter wt moyses īto the table of thy soule by deuoute prayer [Page] to coūcell our lorde / y shalte here sometyme ye swete answere of god almyghty / and thou shalt returne agayne to thy selfe īstructe of many thynges bothe p̄ sent & for to come / moyses euer had a recours to the tabernacle of god for doubtis & q̄styons to be assoyled and he fled to the subsydye of prayer for perelles & the vnresonable vyol [...]cis and sautis of men to be fled / so thou shuldest fle into the secret tabernacle of thy soule in such doutis or parels there callynge on the helpe of god by deuout prayer / we rede y Iosue with the chyldren of israel was deceyued of the Ga­baonytis because they gaue lyght credens to theyr swete wordes & dyd nat coūceyll with our lorde by oracle as they shuld haue don before they had graū ted them any thynge.

¶ The .xliiii. chapter / a man shuld nat be importune in his wayes or nedys

SOne sayth our lorde to his louer / cōmyt thy cause to me alwey / & I shall well dyspose for the whan tyme behouable shall be / abyde myn ordydynaūce & thou shalte fynde ꝓfyte therby / my lorde god sayth he / I gladly cōmytte to thy goodnes my selfe & all my desyres & necessytes / for my prouydēce may lytle auayle / I beseke the y I cleue nat moche to auētures here after ensuynge / but yt I may shortly ī all such offer my selfe to thy pleasure / sone sayth god / mā often prosecuteth the thynge yt he desyreth & whan he cometh therto / he begynneth otherwyse to fele therin / for mānys affeccyons & desyres about one thyng be nat durable & abydynge / but now vp­pon this thynge sette / and now vpon that / the very [Page] ꝓfite of man is to forsake hym selfe & to cōmyt hym holy to God / for suche a man is very fre and syker / But our enemy & cōtrary to all goodnes cesseth nat of his tēptacyons / but day & nyght he maketh gre­uous sautes to vs / to catche vs at vnwares by his deceytfull snares / wake therfore & pray dylygently that thou enter nat into tēptaciō.

¶ The .xlv. chapt̄ man hath no goodnes of hym selfe / ne any thyng yt he may haue any glory or pryde of but all of ye goodnes of god.

LOrde what is man that thou hast suche mynde of or the sone of man whō doest vysyte with thy grace / what meryte was or is in man y to gyuest thy grace to / what may I com­playne if thou forsake me / or what may I ryghtwysly saye agayne the / if thou graūt me nat that I aske of the / seth yu gyuest all goodnes of thy owne good­nes & lyberalyte & without the deseruynge of man / Surely this I may thynke & say of my selfe / that I am nothynge of valoure that I haue no goodnesse of my selfe / but that I am in suffycyēt and frayle in all thyngꝭ and go to nought euer / and but I be hol­pen of the good lorde and infourmed within ī soule by the I shalbe made all dyssolute / thou good lorde abydest alwey one beynge and euery where good rightwys & holy / werkynge all thynges wele right wysly & holyly / & dysposynge all thy werkys ī wisdō but I wretche that am alwey more prone and redy to fayle than to ꝓfyte in vertue and goodnesse / am nat abydynge euer in one state / for seuen tymes in the day the rightwis man is troubled of synne / Ne [Page] the lesse it shalbe sone wele with me agayn if it please thy goodnes to helpe me / for thou alone good lorde mayste without man helpe in all nedys / & make meso ferine & stable / yt I shal nat be chaūged hyder & thyder / or fro this thynge to that / but y my herte maye be turned & rest in the alonly / & if I wolde ca­ste away all mānes ꝯsolacion eyther for deuociō for to be had or ellys to seke thy socoure & goodnes / for such nedes as fall to me that I am cōpellyd by to seke the / for no man may helpe or comfort me as thou mayst / than I myghte well truste to thy grace & to ioye of the gyfte of thy newe consolacyō / I thāke y good lorde the auctour and groūde of all goodnes / as ofte as any good chaunce happeth towarde me / I am but vanyte and nothynge in thy syght an vnstable man & seke / wherof may I than be proude or shulde repute me any thynge ꝓfytable / wheder nat of nought the whiche is moost vanyte / truly vayne glory is an ifectyue pestylēs and moost vanyte / for it draweth a man fro very glory & remeueth grace spyrytall / whyles a man hath a complacens in hym selfe / he dyspleaseth god / and whan he desyreth mā nys laude & vayne praysynge / he forgoth very v (er)tu­es very glory & holy ioy to man is to ioy I god & nat in hym selfe / to ioy in the name of god almyghty / & nat in his ꝓper vertue or strength / nor to haue delectacyon in any creature but for God / thy holy name good lord be praysed & blessid & nat myne / thy werk be magnyfyed & nat myne / no laude ne praysynge be gyuen to me by mannes mouthe for any thynge [Page] that I do but all be vnto thy pleasure thou arte my glorye & the inwarde ioye of my hert / I shall by thy grace euer ioye in the and in nothynge perteynyng to me but in my infyrmytes / let Iewes with other vayne louers of the worlde seke glorye of themselfe & in other I shall only seke the glory and praysyng of god / for all mānes glory & praysynge wt worshyp tēporall & also worldly hyght & ꝓmocyō cōparyd to thy eternall glorye good lorde is but vanyte & foly / o thou blessyd trynyte my god / my mercy and very truthe to the alone be laude / vertue / honour / & glory for euer.


¶ The .xlvi. chapter how all tēporall honour is to be dyspysed.

SOne sayth our lorde to his louer be thou nat confoūded ne heuy whan thou seest other honoured and auaūced / and thy selfe despysed and humyled / rayse vp thyn herte to me in to heuen & thou shalte nat be heuy though thou be despysed of man here in erth / Lorde sayth the dyscyple we be here in darke blyndenes lackynge the very lyght and therfore we be soone deceyued by vanytes as farre as I can vnderstande I neuer yet suffred any iniurye of any creature / wherfore I can nat rightwysely complayne agayne the / but for as moche as I haue oftesyn̄ed agayn the / therfore euery creature is worthyly armed ayēst me i punysshemēt of my syn̄es wherfore ꝯfusyon & shame to me is dewe with cōtēpte to the good lorde be laude honoure & glory / and but if I prepare my wyll to be dyspysed & forsake glad­ly of euery man and vtterlye to be reputed noughte [Page] I can nat be stablysshed ne pacyfyed wtinforth / nor spūally to be illumyned / ne may nat be fully knytte & ioyned to thy goodnes.

¶ The .xlvii. chapt / how no man ought to put his peas fynally in man.

SOne if thou put thy peas with any ꝑsone for thy felynge & for that they accorde with the y shalt be vnstable & vnpeased / but if thou haue thy recours to god that is ꝑmanent & euerlastyng truthe thy frende goynge awey or decessynge fro the shall nat make the inordynatly heuy / thou oughtest to loue all thy frendes in me / and for me to loue euery ꝑsone that thou accomptyst with good & dere to the in this lyfe / for I am the begynner & the ende of all goodnes / & without me all frēshyp is nat valent or durable / nor no worldly frendshyppe may endure / where I ioy nat / thou oughtest to be mortyfyed to such carnall affeccyōs of thy louers / that as moche as thou mayst thou shuldest desyre to be without al mānes cōpany / for the more a man wtdraweth hym fro all worldly solace / the more he draweth nere to god almyghty / & the more hye that he ascendeth in loue & spūall ꝯtēplaciō: the more ꝓfoūdly & iwardly he descēdeth in hūble ꝯsyderaciō of hymselfe & vyly pēdynge hym selfe / he that ascrybeth or gyueth any goodnes to hym selfe / he gaynstādeth the grace of god & letteth it to enter into hym / for ye grace of god alwey requyreth an hūble herte / if thou man saythe our lorde wolde ꝑfytelye dysprase thy selfe / & wolde empte clene thy hert fro all erthely loue thā wolde I sayth he dystyll & entre into the with abūdaūt grace [Page] but the more attēdaūce & affeccyon thou hast to my creatures / the more is theꝯsyderacyon & loue of thy creature take fro the / loke that thou lerne to ouer­come thy selfe i all thynges / for the possessyon of thy creature / & than thou mayst come to the knowlege of thy lorde god / what so euer thynge thou louest in ordiatly be it neuer so lytell yet it defoylith thy soule & letteth the to come to the knowlege & loue of god.

¶The .xlviii. chapt ageynevayne & seculerscyēce.

SOne saythe our lorde to his louer beware yt thou be nat moued by the fayre & subtyll wordes or sayinges of men / the reygne of god standeth nat in worde but in vertue / attende my wordes for they illumyne mānes mynde & īflameth wt the ardure of loue mānys herte / they make cōpūccyon ī man to be sory for his synnes / & with that they brynge to mānys soule great ꝯsolaciō / gyue the nat to lecture or study for that thou woldest be sene cunnynge / or wyse before other / but study therby to mortyfye thy vyces & vicioꝰ lyuynge i the & other / for yt shall mo­re ꝓfyte the thā the knowlege of many q̄stions / for whā thou haste red & knowen many thynges / thou must at last come to one pryncypall & begyn̄yng of all other / I am he that techeth man cūnynge & I gyue more clerevnderstādige to hūble ꝑsones thā any man techith / loke whom I speke to he shalbe wyse & ꝓfyte i soule / who shall be them that seke of men cu­ryous thynges and lytell ponder the wey how they shuld serue and please me / the tyme shall come whā that Cryste the mayster of all maysters / and Lorde [Page] of aūgels shall apere redy to here euery mānes les­son that is to say to examyne euery mānes cōscyēs / than shall Iherusalē be lyghtened & enserched with lanternes & lyghtes / and the hyd warke & cogitacy­ons of men / shalbe manyfestly opened / & all vayne excuses shalbe fordone & layd a syde / I am he sayth god that sodeynly ryse vp and illumyneth an humble mynde / that he may take and perceyue mo rea­sons of eternall trouth soner thā he that studyeth .x. yere in the scolys / I teche without soūde of wordes without confusyon of opynyons / without pryde of worshyp / & without fyght of argumētacyō / I teche to dispyse erthely thynges and thynges present / I make my louers to seke & to sauoure thynges eter­nall / to fle honours & paciently to suffer sclaunders and aduersytes nothyng without me to desyre but all theyr hope to put in me and to loue me ardently aboue all thynges / some in louynge me inwardlye haue dyuyne and godle thynges & cūnyng to speke marueylous thyngꝭ suche hath more ꝓfyted ī forsa kynge all thyngꝭ / thā ī studyinge about subtyle thi­ges / but I speke to some comon thynges & to other specyall thyngꝭ I appere to some swetely in hyd synes & fyguers / & to other I shewe great mysteryes wt great lyght of vnderstādynge / there is onevoyce & one letter in the bokes that they beholde / but that voyce or letter informeth nat all in lyke / for I am y inwarde techer of trouthe / serchar of mānes hert / y vnderstander of mānes thought ꝓmoter of his de­dis gyuynge to euery man as I thynke worthy.

¶ The .xlix. chapiter / howe we shuld despyse & nat greatly desyre outwarde worldly thynges.

SOne thou must be ignorāt & vnknowing many thīgꝭ / thou must accōpte thy selfe as dede vpon erthe / & seke one that all the worlde is crucyfyed to / thou muste ouer passe many thynges yt thou shalt parauenture ayenste the or thy frende with a deffe ere nat answerynge to such / but to such rather those thyngꝭ that be to thy peace / it is better a man to turne a way his iyen fro thynges of dyspleasure / & to let euery man to thynke & loke as he wyll. Also to withdraw thyn erys fro vnprofytable fables thā to deserne to ꝯtencious wordes / if thou wylt stande & enclyne to god / & dylygently beholde his iugemēt & the meke answers in his reproues / thou shuldest suffer the more easely to be ouercome / o lorde God what be we / lo we wepe & lament greatly for a lytell tēporall harme or losse / we renne ayenst myght and laboure bodely for a lytell tēporall auauntage / but our spūall losses & detrymētis yt we suffre be soone forgote withvs / & scarsly we returne agayne therto any tyme after our losse / to that thyng that is lytell or noughte worth we gyue great attendaunce / and that thynge that is of great pryce & moost necessary to vs we set nat by it / for all mankynde in maner rē neth towarde outwarde thynges / & but they soone aryse fro suche dysposycyon / they shall gladly lye & delyte euer in outwarde thynges.

¶ The .l. chapyter howe euery tale or worde is nat to be beleued / & howe mannes worde soone slydeth.

[Page]GOod lorde gyue & graūt me helpe of my trouble that I suffer / for mānes helpe is but vay­ne & vnuaylable in such nedis / I haue ofte fayled of helpe & socoure / where I trusted to haue founde it / and ofte haue I founde faythfulnes / where I tru­sted leest to haue foūde it / wherfore I say that man laboureth invayne yt putteth his hope in man thou good lorde art the very hope & helth of man blessyd be thou ī all thynges & for all thynges that happeth to vs / we be sicke & vnstable of our selfe / we be soone chaunged fro goodnes & disceyued / who is he that can so warely & wysely kepe hym selfe in all thyngꝭ that he fall nat sometyme into a snare of dysceyte of some ꝑplexite / but he that trusteth in the good lorde and seketh the with symple herte dothe nat so soone remeue from the / and if it hap hym to fall into anye tribulacyon / howe so euer he be wrapped therin / he shall soone be delyuered therof by y / or ellys soone receyue cōfort of thy goodnes / for thou good lorde forsakest them neuer yt truly truste in the / it is har­de to fynde a faythfull & a trusty frende / that so per­seueryth in all the trybulacyons of his frende / thou good lorde art moost faythfull ī all such nedys / & lyke vnto ye none is / nor may be foūde / o full well felte & sauoured yt soule in god / the which sayde my mynde is groūded & stablysshed ī my lorde god / if it we­re so with me I shuld nat so soone drede man / ne be moued at his wordes / who may ꝓuyde all thynges for to come / or who may eschewe y perelles or euyls here after ensuynge / if chaūces or thīges before sene [Page] ofte anoyeth & hurteth man / what shall I saye than of thyngꝭ vnprouyded / but that they more greuously hurt / but wherfore haue nat I wretche better prouyded or purueyed? why gaue I so soone credēs to other mennes sayinge? but we be men / ye thoughe we be reputed and extemed aungels of many folke to whom shall I gyue credēs / but to the good lorde for thou art very trouthe that nother dysceyuest ne may be disceyued / and euery other man is a lyervn stable / & soone dysceyuyng moost in wordes so that vneth it can or may be beleued that semeth ryght­wyse / whā he proferith it / howe prudently hast thou good lorde gyuē warnynge to vs to be ware of men and howe the moste famylyer frēdes of man be enemyes to hym / also a man shulde nat beleue if man shuld say to hym / lo cryste is here or there / shewyng hym that is nat cryste / but rather antecryst as hath be sayd and hereafter shalbe sayde I am taught by harme that I haue suffred & sene other suffer / And praye God that I maye be taught to be more ware and nat to my foly / a man sayth to me / sone be ware and kepe this pryuey to thy selfe that I say / & why­les I kepe pryuey suche as he commytted to me / he can nat kepe pryuey that thynge that he desyred me to kepe pryuey / but anon he betrayeth and dysclo­seth bothe hym and me and so goth his way good lorde defende me from such talys and vnware men that I fall nat into theyr handes / nor take vpon me to do suche thynges / good lorde graunt me to haue stablenes of worde & neuer to haue dysceytfull tōge [Page] but remoue all suche dysceytes fer fro me / I ought in all wyse eschewe that thyng that I wolde nat suffer my selfe / o howe good and peasyble is it a man to kepe scylence of other mēnys dedes / & nat lightly to beleue euery mānis tale / ne lyghtly to tell out su­che talys / to shewe brefely ī fewe wordes the entent of his mynde nat to be led or moued wt any bostyng or flaterynge wordes / & alway to seke god almyghty the beholder of mannes soule in his dedys euer desyryng that all the entēcion of his soule inwarde togeder with his outwarde dedes may be dyrecte & ꝑfourmed after his gracyous pleasure / how sure is it for the ꝯseruacion of heuēly grace / a man to fle vtter apparaūce of goodnes & nat to desyre outward flatery or vaynglory / but rather to folowe those thī ges which gyue and procure the amendynge of lyfe with the feruour of good lyuynge / knowen vertu & openly cōmendyd hath hurt many persones where grace pryuelye vsed & hyd hath and doth profyte / & auayle many in this frayle lyfe / the which after scripture is all tēptacyon & malyce.

¶ The .li. chapter / howe a man shulde put his confydence in God whan sharpe wordes touche hym.

STonde sone fermely and truste ī me whan yu art vexed with troubles and malycyous wordes / what be wordes but wynde yt fleeth in the ayre without hurt of any stone / if thou be gyltye of suche wordes or worthy of theym or suche repreues / than thynke thou wylte gladlye amende the / and if thou be nat glytye thynke yet thou wylte suffer gladlye [Page] such rep̄ues for goddis sake / It is but an easy thynge to suffer sharpe wordes sometyme where it is so that thou mayste nat suffre harde flagellacyons / or betynges with cryst & for hym / and why is it that so small thynges be so bytter and odyous to the / but for that thou art yet carnall & nat spūall in thy affeccyons / geuynge more hede to man than to god / for that thou dredest to be despysed / thou wolt nat be repreued for thy excessis / but sekest for thy defence derke & synyster excuses / but beholde thy selfe better & thou shalt se well that the worlde & veyne glorye / or mannes pleasure lyueth yet in the / whan thou refu­sest to be hūbled & ꝯfoūdyd for thy defautis / it is certeyne that thou art nat very hūble ne truly dede / or mortyfyed to the world / nor hast nat the worlde crucifyed to the / but here thou my wordes & thou shalte nat drede a thousande mennys wordys / lo if all the wordes yt myght be feyned were maliciously sayde agayn the / what shulde they noy the / if thou wolde let them passe & nat pōder them greatly / thou knowest they may nat mayme the ne hurt one here of thy hede / but he that hath nat ī warde syght to his soule helth / nor god afore his syght is soone moued & trobled at a sharpe worde / he that trusteth in me sayth our lorde and woll nat stande to his owne iugemēt shalbe without mānes terrour / I am the iuge and knower of all secretis / I knowe how euery thynge is done / I knowe both hym yt doth the īiury & hym that suffreth it / for by my suffraūce suche īiuryes be done / that many mēnys thought is may be knowen [Page] I shall iuge both the īnocēt / and hym that is gylty? but I haue decreed to ꝓue them both by my hyd iugemēt / the testymony & iugement of man ofte tyme deceyueth / but my iugemēt is true / it shall stāde stable / & it shal nat be subuerted though it be hyd & nat apere / yet it neuer dothe erre thoughe it apere nat ryght wys to some / wherfore in euery iugemēt man shulde renne to me / & nat to lene to his owne reason A right wis man woll neuer be troubled what thīge so euer hap to hym of god / yet and if any wronge be layde vnto hym he woll nat moche recke / ne he shall nat be exalted by vayne glory if he be reasonably excused by other / for suche a persone ꝯsydereth well yt I am the very sercher of mānys hert & inwarde partyes & nat iugynge after the face & the outwarde a­peraūce of man: but after the inwarde demeanyng of mānys soule / for ofte I iuge & fynde culpable many thyngꝭ yt mānys iugemēt demeth to be laudable wherfore I beseke the my lorde God the true iuge­ge stronge & pacyent that knowest the fraylte of the malyce of man / be yu my strength & trust ī all nedys myne owne cōcyēce / for thou good lorde knowest in me that I knowe nat my selfe / & therfore ī euery re­p̄ue I shuld hūble my selfe & benīgely suffer / but for asmoch as I haue nat paciētly & mekely suffred all such cōdycyon / relece & forgyue me good lorde I beseke the / & gyue me more large grace of sufferaūce / thy plenteuous mercy is better to me by the whiche I may opteyne ꝑdone of my mysbehaueour / than the ꝓper opynyō of my iustyce for the defence of my [Page] hyd cōcience / for though I suppose my cōcyēce to be clene and nat spotted with any synne / yet I may nat iustifye me in yt / for if thy mercy be remeued fro vs no mā here lyuynge may be rightwyse ī thy syght.

¶ The .lii. chapter / how man shulde suffer all gre­uys & aduersytes for the lyfe euerlastynge that we all hope and abyde here.

SOnse yu be nat broke by īpaciēs of y labours that thou hast take vpon the for my sake / also se thou be nat cast downe by dyspayre or vnreasonable heuynes in any trouble that shall hap vnto the but be thou recōforted / & strengthed in euery suche chaūce by my ꝓmyses / for I am suffycyēt to rewarde & gyue to my seruauntis aboue all mesure / thou shalt nat labour lōge here ne alwey be greued with heuynes / abyde a shorte tyme in pacyens / and thou shalt soone haue an ende of thy troubles / one houre shall come whan all thy labours / and troubles shal ceace / all thynges is mesurid and passeth wt tyme is both lytell & short / do therfore as thou doste and la­bour feythfully ī my vyneyarde that is to say in my church after the degre that thou art called to and I shalbe thy rewarde / wryte thou / rede / synge / sorow for thy synnes / kepe thy mouth fro yll & veyne wor­dis / pray thou & be pacient ī aduersites / such exercyses with such other v (er)tuoꝰ labours be the very wey & merytes of euerlastyge lyfe / peace shall come one day yt is knowē to our lorde & hyd fro man / yt daye shal nat be as ye day or nyght of this lyfe / but it shal be lyght & euer endurynge clerenes / stedfast peace / [Page] and infynnyte rest infallyble & sure / Thou shalt nat than say with the apostle / who shall delyuer me fro the ꝑellys & the ieoꝑdy of my mortall body / ne thou shalt nat than crye with the ꝓphet with desyre to be desolued & say these wordes / wo is me that myne a­bydyng here in this mortall body is ꝓlōged / & why for than shall deth that before had dn̄acion in man / be ouerthrowen & destroyed / & helth of body & soule shall thā euer be without ende / none anoye shall thā be to man / but a blessyd ioy & myrth / & a swete / and fayre cōpany / O if thou sawe the ꝑpetuell crownes of sayntes in heuen / & in what maner of glorye they lyue & ioy in now / that were before despysed ī theyr lyuynge & reputed vnworthy to lyue / sothely thou wolde humble the in the moost lowlye wyse / & thou wolde soner desyre to be subiecte to euery man / thā to haue gouernaūce of any man / nor thou wold nat desyre the glad dayes of this worlde / but thou wold rather desyre to be in trybulacion for god / and thou wolde desyre also to be vylypendyd & set at nought amonge men for cryst & with cryst thy saueour / o if these thynges were sauery to the & shuld profoundely ꝑse thy herte / thou weldest nat ones cōplayne the at such troubles & aduersytees / & why? for we ought eche of vs to suffer all labours / & hardnesse: for the lyfe eternall that is so precyous / it is no lytell thyng to wynne or to lese the kyngedome of heuen / lyft vp thy soule into heuen & beholde me & my sayntes all that hath had and suffred great conflyctes / and ba­tayles with me in this worlde / nowe they ioye with [Page] me / nowe they be cōforted / nowe they surely rest af­ter theyr labours & shall euerlastynglye abyde and reygne wt me ī the euerlastyng reygne of my fader.

¶ The .liii. chapiter / of the day of eternyte / & of the anguysshe of this present lyfe.

THe mansyon of the hygh cyte of heuen is all full of blysse & ioy infynyte / o thou day eter­nall moost clere y which art nat made derke by any nyghte / but it shyneth euer by the hye trouthe of al­myghty god / this day is euer ioyful and moost mery euer sure and stedfast & neuer chaūgynge his state into cōmodyousnes / wolde god that daye shulde shyne to vs / & all tēporall thynges were endyd / this day of eternyte gyueth lyght to the sayntes in heuē with perpetuall clerte and shynynge / but to trauaylers here in erthe it is farre & as by ye mene of a myrrour / the Cytezins of heuen knowe how ioyfull that daye is / and we whiche be the chyldren of Eue and outlawes from heuen sorowe for tedyousnes & byt­ternes of this our temporall day / the days of this tyme beshorte / euyll / full of sorowes and anguysshes where man is defoyled with many synnes and is feblysshed and destroyed often by passyons he is contracte and dystrayned with many dredes and with many busynesses is he occupyed / he is wrappyd in many vanytes / & with many errours he is intriked and broke with many laboures / he is moued with many temptacyons / he is ouercome with delytes & he is crucyate & turmentyd with penury and nede / o whan shall all these labours be ended / and whan [Page] shall I be delyuered fro the mysery / and thraldome of vyces / whan shall I thynke of the alone good lorde all other thynges lefte / and whā shall I ioy in the fully / whan shall I be without all Impedyment / or lettynge / & in very lyberte without all greuaunce of body and mynde / whā shall I possesse sadde peace without trouble / sure peace within and without & sure on euery syde / o good iesu whan shall I stande to beholde the / whan shall I haue syght / and cōtemplacyō of the eternall glory of thy kyngedome whā shalt thou be to me all in all / o whan shall I be with the in thy kyngedome / the whiche thou hast of thy goodnes preparate to thy louers at the begynnyng lo I am lefte here a poore outlawe in the Lande of myne ennemyes where dayly batayles and in for­tunes be full great / comforte me good lorde in my exyle / mytygate my sorowe for I syghe vnto the wt all desyre / for all that the worlde offreth vnto me for my solace is but a burden to me / I desyre inwarde­ly to be knytte & cleue to the good lorde but I may nat come therto / I desyre to be cōuerted and atteyn the heuenly thynges / but worldly thynges and pos­sessyons vnmortyfyed in me let me / & where in my mynde I wolde and desyre to be aboue all tēporall thynge / I am cōpellyd ageynst my wyll by my dull body to be vnder all / & so I vnhappy man am [...] ꝯty­nuall fight with my selfe / & I am made greuous to my selfe whyles my spyryte desyreth to be aboue & my flessh to be downe / o what is my suffraūce with inforthe that whan I treate of heuenly thynges by [Page] dylygence of my mynde / anone a multytude of car­nall thoughtꝭ mette & letted me / good lorde be thou­nat by thy grace far fro me / nor declyne thou nat in wrath fro thy seruaūt / sende downe the lyghtnynge of thy grace & ꝯsume such vayne & troblous thoughtes / sende downe thy arowes of drede & chase away all the fantasyes of the ennemy / gather together all my sensys to the / & make me forget all worldly thynges & gyue me grace soone to auoyde fro me & to despyse the fantasmes or Images of synne / Socoure thou me eternall truthe that no vanytes meue me / O thou heuenly swetnes come and enter into me / & chase fro me all vnclennes / forgyue me I beseke the & mercyfully ꝑdon as ofte as I ꝯsyder [...] my mynde any thynge in tyme of prayer excepte thy goodnes I knowlege the good lorde that I haue be wont to behaue me very distractely ī prayer & other thyngꝭ for I am nat often there / but absent where I stande or sytte bodyly / but I am more there whether I am borne by suche thoughtis / for I am there where my desyres be / and there my thought & desyre is where yt thyng is yt I loue / for yt thyng doth mete me anō in thought that naturally pleaseth or delyteth wherfore thou truthe hast openlye sayde where thy trea­sour is / there is thy herte / if I loue heuen I thynke gladly on heuenly thynges / If I loue the worlde I ioy of hit & in the fortunes of the worlde / and I am heuy to here of the worldlye aduersytees / if I loue my body or flesshely desyres / than I often Imagyn and thynke of them / if I loue my sowle / or spyryte / [Page] I delyte to thynke vpō spyrytuell thynges / so what so euer thynge I loue I gladly speke / & of the same I bere the Images of such busyly ī my mynde / but blessyd is that man y for god forgetteth all maner of creatures & that doth vyolēce to nature / and that doth crucyfy or quēche ye foule lustys or ꝯcupyssens of the flesshe by feruour of spyryte / so that with a clere ꝯsciēce he may offer his prayers purely to god / & so be worthy the cōpany of aūgels / all erthely thyn­ges within and without hym excludyd fro hym.

¶ The .liiii. chapiter / of the desyre of euerlastynge lyfe & what goodes be promysed to the knyghtys of god that fyght ayenst synne.

SOne whā thou felyst that the desyre of euer­lastynge beatytude or blysse is infūdyd in to the by grace / and with that thou desyrest to departe out of thy bodye y thou may se my clerenes euerla­styngly / than open thyn herte & receyue this holy inspiracion with all deuocion & desyre / gyue dygne & moost large graces to the hye goodnes of god that doth to the so worthely / so gracyously vysyteth y / so ardently excyteth the / & so myghtely doth rayse the / that thou fall nat to erthely thynges by thyne owne nature & burden / thou doste nat receyue that grace by thyn owne thynkynge or labour / but all only by the goodnes of heuenly grace & the respecte of God for that thou shuldest ꝓfyte more & more in v (er)tuous lyuynge & in humylyte / & that thou shuldest p̄pare the ayenst batayles for to come / and also that thou shuldest cleue to god almyghtye with affeccyon of [Page] with a feruonr of deuocion & stedfast wyll / sone the fyre doth often bren but the flame therof doth nat ascende without fume or smoke / right so the desyre of some men is in heuenly thynges but theyr affeccy­ons be nat fre fro temptacions of the flesshe / & ther­fore they do nat alwey purely for the honour of god that whiche they aske so effectuously of god / such is ofte tymes thy desyre which thou sayde was so im­portune / for that desyre is nat pure and perfyte / the which is infecte with mannes proper commodyte / aske thou therfore nat such thyngꝭ as be delectable / or profytable to the / but suche as be worshypfull to me / for if thou iuge right yu oughtest to ꝓfer myn or denaūce before thy desyre and all other thynges to be desyred / and to folowe my wyll & ordenaunce I knowe thy desyre / and haue herde thy manyfolde syghynges & wepīges / thou wolde now be in the lyberte of the glorye of the chyldren of god / it delyteth the nowe to be in the eternall hous of god that is to say in the heuēly coūtrey where full ioy is but thour is nat yet come / thou must yet haue labour and batayle ayenst thyn enemyes / & so haue the tyme of ꝓbacion here afore thou come to euerlastynge glory / & rest: thou wolde be fulfylled wt that hye goodnes / but thou mayst nat haue it yet / I am the essency all goodnes of man / abyde me sayth our lorde vnto I call the to my kyngdome / Thou must be ꝓued & exercysed here in erthe afore yu come to me thou shalte haue consolacion some tyme gyuen the / but the full plente that sayntes hathe in heuen shalte thou nat [Page] haue whyle thou lyuest here / be thou therfore reconforted & strōge bothe in thy doyngꝭ & in thy suffrāce the contraryousnes of nature / thou must do on the clothynge of grace & īnocencye & be chaūged into a newe man / thou must often do that thou wolde nat & that thynge that thou wold do thou must leue that please the other men shall ꝓcede and come to effecte & that thynge that thou haste a pleasure in shall nat come to effecte ꝑauenture / also what other men say shalbe herde & what thou sayst is set at noughte / o­ther men shall aske & they shall haue theyr askynge but thou shalt aske & nat spede / other men shalbe cō mēded in mēnys mouthes / and of the no man shall speke / other persones shall haue this offyce / or that cōmyt to them / and thou shalt be demed vnprofyta­ble / for suche thynges is man ofte naturally heuy & a great thyng it is if thou bere suche wt styll mouthe and mynde in such thynges with other lyke is man ꝓued / whether he be the true seruaunt of god / howe he can denye hym selfe & breke hym in aduersytees scarsly thou shalt fynde any thynge enioyned or layde vnto the to do / for the which thou nedyst to suffre deth as thou shalt fynde thynges ꝯtrary to thy wyll whiche thou must suffre moost whā thynges dyscordynge to thy mynde which appereth to the lesse profytable ī execucyō / be cōmaūded to the / & for asmoch as thou art vnder the domynyon & power of other to whom thou dare nat resyst therfore it is sene harde to the to folowe alwey the wyll of other / & alway to leue thy proper wyll / but beholde sone & consyder [Page] well the ende of thy labours which is nat far fro the Also gyue hede to the frute of them together with ye infynyte rewardes of the same / and thou shalt haue no greuaunce in suche labours / but a great cōforte of thy paciēce / for as for that lytle pleasure that thou wylfully forsakest nowe in this lyfe / thou shalt euer haue thy wyll done in heuē / for thou shalt haue there all y thou wyll or can desyre / thou shalte haue there power of all goodnes without any drede to lese it / there thy wyll one euer with me shall coueyte or de­syre no straunge / pryuate or worldly thynges / there shall no man resyst the / ne none complayne on the / none shall let the or withstāde the / but all that thou desyrest shalbe presentyd to the / and they shall ful­fyll all thyne affeccyon or desyre vnto the fulnes of the same / there shall glory be gyuen in rewarde for repreues here paciētly suffred / and the pall of laude for heuines and for the lowest or last place that thou hast be content with / thou shalt there receyue euerlastyng reygne / there shall apere the frute of obedyēs here kepte for god / the laboure of penaūce shalbe rewarded with ioy / & humble subieccyon shalbe crowned with glory / bowe the therfore vnder euery mannes hande / & forse thou nat who commaundeth the for to do this thyng or that / but study thou wt great dylygence that whether it be thy prelate thy felawe / or lower than thou / that intendyth to do any thyng that thou take all suche thynges well and with pa­cyence / and that thou fulfyll theym with very good and deuoute wyll / let this persone seke thys thynge [Page] & he that thynge / be he glad of this thynge / and he of that / or he commendyd in this / and he in that / be they neuer so p̄cyous or multyplyed / ioy thou ney­ther in this thynge nor ī that / but alonly to be vyly­pēded or despysed & ī my pleasure & honour / & ouer all desyre that whether thou lyue or dye / god alwey be gloryfyed ī the or by the.

¶ The .lv. chapt a man beynge in heuynes & desolaciō shulde cōmytte hym into the handes of god / & to his grace sayinge.

LOrde god holy fader blessyd be thou now & euer / for after thy holy pleasure / so thou hast done to me / and all that thou dost is good I besech the good lorde that thy seruaūt may ioy in the and nat in my selfe / ne in none other thynge but in the / or ordred to the / for thou alone art verye gladnesse / thou art my hope my crowne of reward / thou good lorde arte my ioy & honoure / what haue I / or any of thy seruaūtis yt we haue nat receyued of thy good­nes / ye without our meryte / all be thyne that thou haste gyuen and made / I am but pore & haue be in trauayle fro my youth / & often my soule is heuy vn to wepyng & some tyme it is troubled agayn it selfe for passyōs fersly inrysynge / I desyre good lorde ye ioy of peace / I aske y peace of thy chosen chyldrē ye which be norysshed & fed of the ī the lyght of ī warde & eternall ꝯsolacyō / if yu good lorde graūt me peace / if thou graunt me in wardly holy ioy / than shall the soule of thy seruaūt be full of louynge and deuoute praysynge of thy infynyte goodnes / & if thou with­drawe the fro me / as thou haste often wonte to doo / [Page] than I may nat ren the way of thy commaundemē ­tys that is to say fulfyll them / but more thy seruaūt is then arted to knocke his breste & to knele for gra­ce / and consolacyon afore had for that it is nat with hym nowe as yesterday & the daye before whan thy lanterne of lyghte shone vpon hym & illumyned his soule / and was defended fro the inwarde temptacy­ons vnder ye shadowe & shylde of thy wynges right wyse fader & euer worthy to be most loued the hour is come that thy seruaunt shulde be proued in / it is worthy father that thy seruaūt suffer this hour som what for the / Thou knew in thy eternall presens an houre for to come in the whiche for a lytell tyme thy seruaūt shuld outwardly be ouercome & yet within­forth be euer lyuynge ayenst the / that he shuld be vy lypended / centēpned / and despysed for a tyme in the syght of men / by sorys / peynes / & passyon / that he a ryse agayne with the in the morne of a new lyght of grace & after that be gloryfyed in heuen / for allsuch humylyacions holy father thou haste so ordeyned & wylled & after thy cōmaundement so be it fulfylled ī me / This is thy grace y thou good lorde shewest to thy frende to suffer troubles here in this worlde for thy loue as ofte / whā so euer / & in what so euer wyse thou dysposest or suffrest it to fall / without thy counceyle and prouydence / And also without cause no­thynge is done here in erthe / It is good to me good lorde / that thou hast humbled me that I maye thex by lerne the ryghtwyse iugementes / and therby ca­ste fro me all pryde and presumpcyon of hert / It is [Page] very ꝓfitable to me that I haue suffred or had such cōfusyon / that I by the erudycyon of it shuld rather seke thy consolacyon than mannes in such aduersy te / I haue lerned also therby to drede thy inscruta­ble iugemētes / whereby thou prouest & scourgest the ryght wyse man and the wycked / and that nat with out equyte and rightwysnes / I thāke the that thou haste nat spared my synnes but punysshed me with scourges of loue / ye bothe within and without with sores and anguysshes / no creature vnder heuē may cōforte me in myne aduersytes but thou good lorde the very and heuēly leche of mannes soule that smytest and helyst agayne / Thou ledest vs into sharpe peynes of body & suffrest vs to be ledde into dedely synne sometyme / and thou bryngest vs out therof agayne by thy great grace / Thy dyscyplyne be vpō me / and thy scourge shall teche me the wayes of vertue and mekenes / Lo fader I am here in and vnder thy handes / & I enclyne me vnder thy rodde of cor­reccyon / smyte my backe and my necke that I may bowe and refourme my crokydnes vnto thy wyll / Make me meke and lowly that I may lyue alway at thy wyll / I commyt me to the good lorde with all myne for to be correcte / For better it is to be punys­shed and correcte here / than after this lyfe / thou knowest all thynges and nothynge is hydde in mannes soule or concyens fro the / afore any thynges be ma­de / thy wysdome knoweth theym for to be / it is nat nedefull yt any man teche or warne the of any thyng that is done here in erthe / Thou knowest what profyte [Page] or peyne is expedyent to me and moche trybula cyon auayleth to pourge the fylthe and ruste of my horryble Synne and vyces / therefore do thou with me after thy pleasure and despyse nat I beseke thy grace my synfull lyfe for thou knowest it best / graūt me good lorde grace to knowe that I am bounde to knowe and to loue that I ought to loue / to prayse y thou wolde I shulde prayse / and to repute that is p̄ cyous ī thy syght / and to refuse all that is vyle afore the / gyue me grace good lorde nat to Iuge thynges after myne outwarde syghte ne after the herynge or the relacyon of vncunnynge folke / but truly to dys­cerne of vysyble thynges & spyrituall / and aboue all thynges to enquyre and folowe thy wyll & pleasure / mannes wyttes be often dysceyued in iugement / al­so the louers of the worlde be often dysceyued in lo­uynge all onely thynges vysyble / what is a man the better that men repute hym more or better thā he is ī dede / a deceyuer deceyueth another one vayne mā another / one blynde man another / & one sycke per­sone another / whyle he so exalteth hym / And yet in trouthe he more confoundeth hym than auaunceth whyles he so vaynly dothe laude / or prayse hym for howe great cōmendable & holy euery man is in thy syght so worthy & great he is and no more.

¶ The .lvi. chapter / A man shulde gyue hym to hū ble warkes whan he is nat inclyned or dysposed to hye warkes.

SOne thou mayst nat alway stande in feruent desyre of vertue / nor in the hyghe degre of cōtemptacion / [Page] but it is nedefull to the sometyme for ye fyrst corrupcion of mankynde to descende to lower thynges / and to bere the burden of this corruptyble lyfe with tedyousnes & agaynst thy wyll for as lōge as thou berest thy mortall body thou shalt fele werynes & heuynes of thy herte / thou must therfore why­les thou lyuest in this mortall lyfe ofte mourne and sorowe of the burden and contradyccyon of thy bo­dye to thy soule for that thou mayst nat contynually and without cessynge gyue hede and cleue to spūall studyes and to godly cōtēplacyon / then it is expedyent to the to fle to lowe and outwarde warkes / and to take thy recreacyon in the exercyse of good dedis & so to abyde fermely my cōmynge and heuēly vysytacyon / and with that pacyenlye to suffer exyle and drynesse of mynde / vnto that I vysyte the agayn & delyuer the frome all tedyousnes / for I shall make the forgete all such anoyes & labours & to ioy in in­warde quyetacion of soule / I shall lay afore the consolaciōs of scrypture that with glad herte thou may begyn to walke in my cōmaūdem [...]tes & say the pey­nes and passyons of this worlde be nat worthy to ye glory of heuen / the which shalbe manyfested & shewed in vs after this lyfe.

¶ The▪ lvii. chapiter / a man shuld nat repute hym selfe worthy to haue cōsolacy­on / but rather worthy indygnacyon sayinge.

LOrde I am nat worthy to haue thy consola­cyon nor any spirituall vysytaciō & therfore thou good lorde doste nothynge agayne ryghtwys [...] nes / whan thou leuest me in penurye / nede / and de­solacion / [Page] if I myght yet out fro me teris of contricion to the symylytude of the See yet am I nat worthy thy cōsolacion / I am nat worthy but to be scourged and punysshed / I haue so greuouslyh / and ma­nyfoldely synned / and offēded the in trouthe / I am nat worthy thy leest cōsolacyō / but thou good lorde benygne & mercifull that wyll nat thy werkes shuld perysshe to shewe the ryches of thy excellent good­nes into the vessell of thy mercy / ye without my proper meryte / thou with saue to cōfort me thy seruaūt aboue all mannes mesure / for thy consolacyons be nat after mānes fables / what haue I done my good Lorde that thou shuldest gyue me any celestyall cō ­solacyon / for I knowe nat that I haue done any good / but alway prone to vyce and slowe to amēde me / trewe it is that I saye I can nat saye nay / if I shulde any otherwyse saye thou shuldest stande a­gayne me / and no man shulde defende me agayne the / what haue I deserued for my synnes but hell & fyre eternall / In trouthe I confesse that I am wor­thy all derysyon and contempte / it semeth me nat to dwell amonge deuout persones / and thoughe I he­re suche thynges impacyentlye / yet shall I lay and reproue my synnes agayn me that I may the soner opteyne thy mercy / what may I say that am so gyltye and full of all cōfusyon / I haue nothynge to say but only this worde / Lorde god▪ I haue euyll incly­nacyons / and greuously haue synned / Haue mercy on me & forgyue me I beseke the / suffer me a lytle that I may sorowe and bewayle my synnes afore I [Page] passe hens vnto the countrey of darkenes couered with the darkenes of deth / and what dost thou aske moost of a wretchyd synner / but that he be sorofulll and made meke of his synnes / in very cōtriciō / and humyliacion of mānes herte / is very hope of forgy­uenesse / mannys concience so troubled with contrycyon is reconsyled to god / also grace loste by synne is repared / and therby man is defendyd fro the wrathe of god / & there meteth together in holy kyssyng and halsynge of god almyghty & the penytēt soule / the humble cōtriciō of synners is an acceptable sa­cryfyce to the good lorde / gyuynge a more swete o­dour vnto thy goodnes than incense by fyer / it is also the p̄cyous & acceptable oyntmēt that thou good lorde wolde to be mynystred to thy fete / for yu neuer dyd ne doste despyse but gladlye receyuest vnto thy grace a cōtryte & an hūble herte / there is the place of rufuge fro the face of wrathe of the enemye / there is clensyd and amendyd what so euer fylthe is other­wyse done.

¶ The .lviii. chapter / grace is nat myxt with folke that delyteth in erthely thynges.

SOne my grace is a p̄cious thyng / it woll nat be myxt with straūge thynges nor wt erthely cōsolacions / thou must therfore auoyde from the all the [...]pedym [...]tis of grace if thou wylt receyue it / aske a secrete place to thy cōtēplacion / loue to dwell with thy selfe alone / seke nat veyne spekynge with other / but rather be thou occupyed with deuout prayer to god that thou may haue a cōpūcte mynde & a pure cōcyēce / se thou accōpte all the worlde of lytell pryce / [Page] in thy estymacyō / and afore all worldly thynges prefarre thou the honour & medytaciō of god / for thou mayst louyngly thynke on me / & with that delyte in worldly & transytory thynges / thou must seperate & withdrawe thy selfe fro the knowlege & dere frēdys & thy mynde fro all bodely solace / as saynt peter the apostyll coūceyleth in his epystyll / all crystē folke yt they as straungers & pylgrymes absteyne from all suche flesshely and worldly thynges or pleasures / o what sure passynge & trust shall he haue in his decesse / that is nat than ouercome with any worldlye af­fecciō / but hath his herte sadly fixte ī god almyghty and losed fro all erthely thynges / a bestely man knoweth nat the fredome of mannes soule / yet if he desyre to be spūall / he must refuse as well his nye frēdys as suche as be far fro hym in consanguynyte / & also he must be moost ware of hym selfe / if man perfyte­ly ouercome hym selfe / he shall ye soner subdue other ennemyes to hym / perfyte vyctory is a man to ouer come fyrste hym selfe / he that holdeth hym selfe sub­iecte so that sensualyte obey to reason / and reason obey to God in all thynges / Suche a man is the ve­ry cōquerour of hym selfe and lorde of the worlde if so be that thou fullye desyre to atteyne that degre / & heyght / thou must manlye enforse thy selfe and be­gynne and to put thyne axe to the rote of thy soule / so that thou may plucke vp by the rotis and destroy the hydde and the inordynate Inclynacyon to thy selfe and to all pryuate and worldly goodys / of this vyce that a man loueth hym to Inordynatelye all [Page] most all cometh that is yll in man whiche loue ther­fore if it be ouercome we shall haue consequētly ī vs great peace & trāquyllyte / But for as moch as fewe folke laboreth to dye to themselfe / that is to saye to mortyfye suche contrariousnes in themselfe / nor goeth nat out of them selfe by contemplacyon or exer­cyse of vertue / therfore they lye wrapped ī themselfe & may nat be lyfte aboue themselfe spūally in soule but he that desyreth frely to walke with me / it is ne­defull that he mortyfye in hym selfe all yll & inordy­nate affeccyōs / so that he do nat enclyne ne cleue to any creature by pryuate loue of ꝯcupyscēs.

¶ The lix. chapt / of dyuers mouynges of nature & grace.

SOne se thou gyue hede dylygentlye vnto the mouyngꝭ of nature & grace / for theyr mouīgꝭ be very subtyll & ꝯtraryous / & scarcely they may be ꝑceyued but if a man be in wardlye illumyned / eue­ry man loueth & desyreth that thynge that is / or se­meth good / and euery man pretedeth in his wordes & sayinges some goodnes and therfore many be deceyued vnder the pretēs / & symylytude of goodnes / nature is wyly & therefore it draweth / snareth / and disceyueth many weyes & it hath euer it selfe for his ende / but grace walketh & maketh man walke sym­ple without colour or deceyte / it maketh man to de­clyne and fle from all yll / it pretendeth no snarys of deceyte / and it maketh man do his werkys all purely for god / in whom also he fynally doth rest / nature doth dye agaynst his wyll he wyll nat gladly be oppressyd or ouercome / ne he wyll gladly be obedyent [Page] or subdued vnder other but wt vyolence / grace doth the contrary / for it maketh man to stodye to morty­fye hym selfe / Also it resysteth to sensualyte / and so brydeleth hir that she rebell nat / grace maketh a mā to be subiecte to other / It maketh hym to desyre to be ouercome / It wyll natsuffer man to vse his ow­ne lyberte / It maketh man wyllynge to be euer vn­der dyscyplyne / It maketh man nat to coueyte do­mynacyon vpon other but alway to be on lyue and stande vnder God / and for God to howe humbly to euery man / Nature laboureth and studyeth euer to and for his owne profyte and gyueth hede what lu­cre & a [...]auntage he may gette by other / but grace attendeth nat to his owne ꝓfyte / but rather he atten­deth what is good & profytable to many / nature desyreth gladlye honoure & reuerence / & grace gyueth all honour and glory feythfully to god / nature dre­deth cōfusyon & cōtēpte / & grace ioyneth to suffre cō tynually repreues / & turment for the name of Iesu / Nature loueth Idlenes and bodyly rest / and grace can nat be Idell / but seketh gladly some profytable labour / Nature seketh fayre thynges and curyous and aborreth vyle thynges and gros / and grace delyteth in symple & humble thynges / it despyseth nat harde thynges nor to be idued with olde garmētis / Nature beholdeth tēporall thynges / and ioyeth at erthely lucres / It is heuy at harme and anone īpaci ent & wrathfull at an iniurious worde / but grace be holdeth thyngꝭ eternall it doth nat īclyne ne cleue to tēporall thyngꝭ / wherfore it is nat troubled ī losse of [Page] worldly goodes / nevexed at sharpe and harde wor­des for he hath put his treasoure & ioy ī heuē where nothynge may perysshe / nature is couetous and it soner & gladlyer receyueth than gyueth / Also it lo­ueth properte & pryuate thynges / but grace is pyte­ous and large to the poore & nedy / it escheweth syn­gularyte / it is content wt fewe thynges / & it Iugeth that it is better and more blessyd to gyue than take Nature enclyneth a man to the loue of creatures as to his owne body / to vayne syghte and mouynges and to such other thyngꝭ / but grace draweth to god and to vertues / it forsaketh the worlde and creatu­res therof with allvanytes / it hath carnall defyres & it restrayneth wauerynge or wandrynge about & it maketh man asshamed to be in open place / Nature hath soone outwarde solace wherin his sensys delyte / grace seketh solace in god only / & it delyteth in ce lestyall thynges aboue thynges vysyble / nature moueth man to do all his dedes / and warkes for ꝓper auayle it wyll do nothyng frely but trusteth for his good dede eyther as good a dede or a better or at ye fauour or laude of man / therfore it setteth moche by them be they neuer so exyle / but grace seketh nat a­ny temporall thyng / nor it asketh none other thyng but alone for towarde / nor it asketh no more of tem­porall thyngꝭ / but that he maye be the helpe of them [...]om [...] to thynges eternall / Nature ioyeth of the multytude of carnall frendys and kynnes folke he hath pryde of noble kyn̄e or of the noble place yt he is borne in / it gladdeth to be with myghty men and with [Page] his peris / but grace maketh man to loue his enemyes / nor he is nat proude of the multytude of frēdys ne it reputeth nat nobylyte of frēdes or of place that he cometh of / but if more vertue be there than with other it fauoureth more the pore thā y ryche it hath soner compassyō vpō an īnocent than vpon a myghty man / it ioyeth euer in trothe & nat in falshede / & it exorteth good folke to encrease of vertue and good­nes & to be assymylate to the sone of God by [...]tu / nature soone cōplayneth of defaut or heuynes that he suffreth / but grace suffereth paciētly all euylles / na­ture maketh all thynges bowe to hym / it fyghtethe for hym selfe & reproueth / but grace referreth all his cause to God / it maketh man to ascrybe no goodes that he hath to hym selfe / but to god onely of whom all goodnes cometh orygynally / it maketh man hū ble & nat to boste▪ hym selfe presūptuously it stryues nat nor [...]ferreth nat his reason or sētēce before ano­ther / but ī euery cause or fortune he submyttith hymselfe to the eternall wysedome & iugemēt of god / nature desyreth to know & to here nouelties / he wyll also apere forth warde and haue the syghte and expe­ryens of many thynges by his outwarde senses / he desyreth to do such thynges y laude and great pray synge cometh of / but grace doth nat desyre to know and perceyue newe or curyous thyngꝭ / For all such vayne desyres cometh of the olde corrupcyon of synne / syth n [...] newe thynge and durable is vpon erthe / gra [...]e techeth the senses of man for to contrayn and let the vay [...]e glory [...]t pleasour of man / & to eschewe [Page] all outwarde auaūtage / & to hyde mekely such thynges as be laudable & marueylous in hym / & to seke the laude and honour of god & a profytable frutful­nes of euery thynge & cūnynge that mā hath / it wyll nat that man cōmede hym selfe / ne exalte his vertue but it wyll y god be blessyd in his gyftes / the which gyueth euery thynge after his fre charite & without our deseruynges / This is a supernaturall lyghte & a specyall gyfte of God and it is a proper sygne and token of electe / & chosen persones & an ernes of euer­lastynge saluacion / which lyfteth vp man fro theyse erthely thynges to loue thyngꝭ celestiall & it maketh a spūall person of a carnall / the more therefore that nature is ouercome the more grace is yette in man & dayly is inwarde man that is to say the soulevysyted & renewed with inwarde graces & vysytacyō af­ter the Image of God.

¶ The .lx. chapter / of the corrupcyon of nature and the workynge of grace.

LOrde god that hast made me to thy Image & lykenes / graunt me thy grace / the whiche as thou hast afore shewed / is so great & necessary to my saluaciō y I may therby vaynquyssh my right bad nature that draweth me to syn̄e & ꝑdiciō I fele in my flesshe a lawe of Synne that Impugneth the lawe of my mynde and maketh me thrall to synne / & to obey to sensualyte in many thynges nor I maye nat resyst the passyons or mocions therof / but if thy holy grace infounded ardently to my hert assyst me Thy great & abūdaunt grace is nedefull to me that nature therby may be ouercome in me whiche is alwey [Page] prone to yll appetyte & thought / for that nature lynyally descendynge fro our fyrst fader Adam into his successyon after that it was vycyat & defoyled by his synne the peyne therof descēdid īto euery mā so that that nature the which was good / and right­wys whan it was made of the good lorde / is nowe for the vylyte & infyrmyte therofso corrupt mā that the mouynge of it lefte to man draweth euer to yll / & lowe thynges / hye & heuenly thynges lefte / For the lytell vertue & strength of that nature the whiche remayneth / there is as who sayth a lytell sparke of fy­re wrapped and hyd in asshes / This is the naturall reason of mā belapped with great darkenes / yet hauynge discrecion of good & yll / of truthe & falsenesse thoughe it be vnable to fulfyll all that he approueth nor may nat vse yet the full lyghte of truthe / nor his affeccyōs helthfully / wherfore it foloweth good lor­de that I delyte ī thy lawe after myne inwarde mā knowynge thy commaundement to be good / ryght wyse and holy / arguynge also / and fyndynge all yll and Synne to be exchued & fledde / and yet in myne outwarde man / that is to saye my body I do serue to the lawe of synne / whyles I obey more to sensualyte than to reason in his mocyons / wherof cometh that I woll that which is good / but I am of vnpo­wer to ꝑfourme it I purpose ī my mynde oft tymes many good dedys or werkis / but for that grace wā teth that shuld helpe my infyrmyte & febylnes / ther­fore I go asyde & cesse of good doynge / for a lytell resystens / Therof cometh that thoughe I knowe the [Page] wey of perfeccyon / and howe I ought to do / yet I aryse nat by deuocyō of soule to suche ꝑfytenes I am so oppressyd and lettyd by my dull & corrupte body thy grace good lorde is to me theragayne full necessary to begynne goodnes and to profyte therin & to fynysshe the same ī ꝑfytenes / for without that grace I can nothynge do / and with the helpe of it I maye do all thynges necessary to me / o thou heuenly gra­ce without the which no man may be of any meryte or valour before God / nor any naturall gyfte is profytable neyther craftes ne rychesse / neyther beautye ne strength / wytte or eloquēce be any thynge worth before the good lorde and grace wante / For gyftes of nature be gyuen Indyfferentlye to good folke & euyll / But the gyfte of electe and good persones is grace and loue of charite wherby they be noble and made worthye euerlastynge lyfe / that Grace is of such worthynes that without it / neyther the gyfte of prophesy / ne the workynge of myracles and sygnes nor hye speculacion or cūnynge auayleth any thyng Also neyther feyth ne hope / nor other vertues be ac­cepte of God without grace and charyte / o thou blessyd grace that makest hym that is poore in Soule ryche in vertues / and hym that is meke abundaunt of goodes spyrytuall / come and dyscende in me / re­plenysshe me soone with thy consalacyon / that my soule fayle nat for werynes / and drynes of mynde I beseche the good lorde that I may fynde grace and mercy ī thy syght / for thy grace is Inough to me if other thynges wante that nature asketh / if I be vexed [Page] / or troubled wt many trybulacyons I shall drede none euyll whyle thy grace is with me / that grace is my strength for it gyueth couceyll and helpe to hym that hath it / It hath power vpon all iugementes / & wysedome vpon all wyse men / It is the maistres of trouth and the techar of dyscyplyne the lyght of the soule the confort of pressures the chaser away of he­uynes / the auoyder of drede / the norys of deuocyon the brynger forthe of terys what am I wtout grace but as a drye tree without moysture and an vnpro­fytable stocke to spyrytuall beleuynge / wherefore I pray the good lorde that thy grace may euer p̄uent me / and make me busyly gyuen to good workes by the helpe of Cryste Iesu.

¶ The .lxi. chapiter we ought to forsake our selfe & folowe Cryste with our crosse.

SOne as farre as yu mayste forsake & loue thy selfe so moche more thou shalt passe into me / for lyke as the inwarde peace of mannes soule is to desyre nothynge without forth so a man forsakynge hym selfe inwadly conioyneth hym to God / I wyll that thou lerne to forsake or deny thy selfe perfytely in my wyll with all contradyccyon or complaynt / folowe thou me for I am the way / I am trouth and lyfe / without way no man may go / and wtout trouthe there is no knowlege / And without lyfe no mā may lyue I am the waye that thou oughtest to folowe / trouth to whom thou oughtest to gyue credēs / and am lyfe that yu oughtest to hope in to haue / I am the way vnmeuable & moost right / I am trouthe infal­lyble [Page] & moost hye / & am lyfe withoute ende increat & in the which stondeth the very lyfe & blysse of spyry­tes & blessyd soules / If thou abyde in my way thou shalt knowe the very trouth and trouthe shall dely­uer the / and thou shalt fynally come to euerlastyng lyfe / If thou wylte come to that lyfe as it is wryten thou must obserue my commaundementes If thou haue knowlege of trouth trust to me / and to my wordes / If thou wylt be my dyscyple denye and forsake thy selfe and folow me if thou wylt be perfyte sell all that thou hast and gyue it to the poore folke if thou wylt possesse euerlastynge lyfe despyse this present lyfe / If thou wylt be auaūced in heuē hūble the here in this worlde / If thou wylt reygne with me in heuē bere thy crosse here with me in erthe / For onely the seruaūtes of ye crosse fyndeth verely y way of lyght & eternall blysse / lorde Ihesu for asmoch as thy way is the way of straytnes & of hardenes the whiche is odious to worldly folke / therfore I beseke the to gyue me with the contempte of the worlde that I may hate it verely as thou dyd / It is nat acordyng that a seruaunt be preferred afore his lorde / ne a discyple aboue his mayster / Thy seruaunt therefore oughte to be exercysed in thy wayes / for therin is helth & very holynes / what euer I rede or here besyde it I am nat refresshed / ne I take nat full delectacy on therby sone for that thou haste red & knowest these thynges happy art thou / and thou shalt be blessyd if thou fulfyll them / it is wryten he that hath my cōmaūdemē ­tes in mynde and executeth theym in his conuersa­cion [Page] he is he that loueth me and I shall loue hym & I shall shewe & open my selfe to hym and I shall do hym to syt with me in the kyngedome of my father good lorde as thou hast sayd and promysed so be it done to me I haue take the crosse of thy hāde I shal bere it by thy helpe & grace as thou layde it vpon me whyles I lyue / for trulye the lyfe of a good man is the crosse of penaunce / the whiche is the verye wey to paradyse / the whiche wey I with other haue be­gon̄e / it is nat lefull to go backe & to leue it / haue do bretherne go we together the wey begon / Iesus be with vs: For his loue we take vpon vs this crosse of hardenesse / and therfore let vs abyde therin for his sake / for he shall be our helper that is our leder / be­holde our kynge goth before vs / he shall feyghte for vs / folow we hym strongely / drede we no parels / be we redy to dye with hym goostly ī the batayle of vyces & hardnes / ne let vs nat fle from suche exercyse yt we confounde nat our selfe.

¶ The .lxii. capter / a man shuld nat be dyscomfor­ted whan he falleth in any aduersyte or defaute.

SOne paciens & humylyte in aduersytes doth please me more than moch consolacyon / and deuocion in prosperyte had / why art thou heuy at a lytell worde / or dede done or sayd agyne the / if more had be sayd or don to the / thou oughtest nat to haue be moued at it / But lette it nowe ouer passe / This thynge that thou haste suffred is nat the fyrste nor shall be the laste trouble or euyll that thou shalte suffer if thou lyue / Thou arte stronge and manfull I­noughe [Page] where none aduersyte is resystynge agayn the / thou dost wele counceyll & can well strengthe o­ther with thy wordes / But whan sodeyn trybulacy on cometh to thy dore / thou faylest than both in coū ceyll and strēgth / gyue hede to thy great fraylte the which thou hast experyence of in lytell thynges ob­iecte agaynste the / And for thy helth whā such thyn­ges fall / lyfte vp thy herte to our Lorde as thou best can / and if it touche the yet let it nat throwe the downe ne longe vnbelappe the / Suffer such thynges pacyently / if thou can nat gladlye / and if thon here nat gladly such but thou felest parauenture indygnacy on in the / represse the within thy selfe / & suffer none inordinate worde passe from yt / wherby other shuld be sclaundered / A passyon areysed in a man shall soone be apesyd and inwarde sorowe shalbe made swete if grace returne to man ayen / yet I lyue sayth our Lorde / I am redye to helpe the and to comforte the more than I dyd before if thou wylt truste vnto me and deuoutly callvpō me / Be thou more quyete and pacyent thā thou hast ben / It is nat for nought thou art often tymes troubled and tēpted greuousely thou arte a man and nat God / thou arte a flasshely creature and none aungell / howe mayst thou thā thynke alway to abyde in one state of vertue / whan that was nat graunted to Aungell in heuen / ne vn­to the fyrste man in paradyse / the whiche bothe felle and stode nat longe in the state of theyr creacyon y they were create and sette in / I am he that arayses theym that sorowe for theyr Synnes / or that other­wyse [Page] suffreth with pacyence aduersyte / I auaunce them that knowe theyr infyrmyte / into my dyuyny­te / Lorde God thy holy worde be blessyd / it is swet­ter to me thā the hony come / what shuld I do in many and great trybulacyons and anguysshes / were nat yt thou cōforted me with thy holy and swete wordes / whyles I shall come to the porte of helthe euer lastynge by pacient suffraunce of aduersytes / what nedeth me force what and howe great or many try­bulacyons I suffer / graūt me good lorde I beseche the good ende and an happye passynge frome this worlde / haue mynde of me good Lorde and dyrecte my lyfe & me in the waye of ryght wysenesse to come to thy kyngedome.

¶ The .lxiii. chapiter / how a man shulde nat serche hye thynges / ne seke auentures the which God worketh here in his hyd Iugement.

SOne beware that thou dispute nat of hye maters or of the hyd iugemētes of God / as why this man is damned or forsake and he lyfte vp to so great and hye grace / Also why this man is so great lye punysshed with Syckenesse / pouerte / and such other / And this other man so greatlye auaunsyd to rychesse and dygnytees / Theyse thynges with such other excodeth all mannes consyderacyon or know­lege / for no mannys reason or dysputacy on may serche or compasse the Iugementys of God / Therfore whan thyn ennemye suffreth temptacyon to the in any suche thyngꝭ / or if other curyous ꝑsones enquyreth suche knowelege of the / answere agayne vnto [Page] them this sayinge of the prophete / thou alway bles­syd lorde arte euer rightwyse and thy domys are alwaye true & rightwyse / And also this sayinge of the same prophete / the iugemētis of our lorde are trewe and iustyfyed in them selfe / My iugementes sayth our Lorde are to be dred and nat to be dyscussed by mannes reason / for no mannes reason may cōpryse them / also thou shalt nat enquyre and despute of the merytes of sayntes whiche are hyer in merytes or blysse / Suche vayne busynes gendreth debates & stryfes / they also norysshe pryde and vaynglory / al­so enuy aryseth of the same whyles he his saynt and another his laboureth to p̄ferre / to desyre / to know / or to serche such thynges is but vanyte without all frute / and it dyspleaseth the sayntes suche opynyon For I am nat God of dyscencyon but of vnyte and peace / the whiche peace is founde more in trewe hu mylyacyon of man / than in his exaltacyon: Some man hathe more deuocyon to this saynte / and some to other Sayntes / but that is more of deuocyon of mannes affeccyon than of godlye or gostelye zele or loue / I am he that made all sayntes / I gaue theym grace and I haue receyued theym to my glorye / I euer knewe any mannys merytes preuētynge them with my swete blessynges / I haue knowen before my louers & chosen seruaūtes from the begynnyng whom I haue electe & callyd by my grace frome the reprobate and damnable cōuersacyon of the world­ly people / I haue chosen them & nat they me / and I haue drawē them to me by my mercy / I haue ledde [Page] them in temptacyons / and safely brought them out therof / I haue vysyted them with many and great consolacions / I haue gyuen them perseueraūce in goodnes / and I haue crowned theyr pacyence / I knowe the fyrst man and the last that shalbe / and so of euery other thynge / I halse all my chosen seruaū rys with mestymable loue / I am to be loued in all my sayntes & to be honoured and blessyd ouer all in eche of them / the which I haue so gloriously magny fyed and predestynde without any merytes goynge afore of theyr partye / He therfore that despyseth one of my leest sayntis or electe ꝑsones / he worshyppeth nat the moost / for I made both smal and great / and he that blasphemeth detracteth / or desprayseth any saynt detracteth me / and all my sayntes in heuē / all they be one by the bande of charyte / all they cōsyder and fele one thynge / they woll one thynge / and eche of them loueth other / and that is more they loue me aboue them selfe and theyr owne merytes / for they be rapte often aboue them selfe / and drawen oute of theyr proper loue and gyueth theym hooly vnto my loue in the which loue they rest by entyer fruycyon & gladnesse / nothyng may chaūge or depresse them For they be full of eternall truth / and they brenne in soule wt the ardoure of inextynguyble charyte / such folke as be carnall cesse to speke or tell of the state & glorye of sayntes / for they can nat but loue pryuate Ioye / They do away and put to as they fauoure / & nat after the pleasure of the hye truthe of our Lorde cryste iesu / In many folke is Ignoraūce but moost [Page] in theym that haue but lytell vnderstandynge and therfore they but seldome loue any persone perfytly or ghostly / many men be drawen by naturell affeccion & loue nowe to this saynt or man / nowe to that & some to this / some to that / and as they behaue them in these erthely thynges here / so they Imagen to be of heuenly thynges / But great dyfferēce is betwyxt the thynges that Imperfyte folke do Imagyn or cō syder / and these thyngꝭ that deuout and illumynyd persones seeth by heuēly illustracyon / therfore sone be ware to treate vpon suche thynges curiously that excedeth thy knowlege / but labour thou rather / and indeuour thy selfe that thou may be sorted with the leest or lowest that is in heuen thorowe the merytes of good lyfe / what auayleth it a mā to knowe which Saynt is more worthye in heuen than other / but if he wolde humble hym selfe the more / or wolde gyue more laude and praysynge vnto God therefore / He pleasyth god more that thynketh busyly with repentaunce of the greatnesse / and grefe of his synnes / & of the want of vertue that he hath wherby he dyffe­reth from the holynesse of sayntes / than he that dys­puteth of theyr degre in heuen more or lesse / Better it is a man with deuoute prayers and wepynges to praye to sayntes / and with humylyte of soule to ad­quyre and purchas theyr helpe / than to enquyre by vayne inquysycyon theyr secretes / They be well cō tent euery chone with hys ioy / If men here lyuynge were content and wolde refrayne theyr vayne spe­kynge / and conteucyon a boute theym / They haue [Page] no glorye or exaltacyon in theyr owne merytes / for they assygne no maner of goodnesse vnto theyr ow­ne selfe / but to God all onely the whiche hath gyuen theym all thynges of his infynyte grace and chary­te / they be replenysshed with so great loue of God and with so abundaunt and folowynge Ioye there vpon / that no glorye norfelycyte maye decreace / or fayle them / All the Sayntes in heuen the hyer they be in glorye / the more humble / and lowe they be in theyr owne syght / and more nere / and dere to me in loue / It is wryten in the apocalyps that the Sayntys in heuē of humblenes dyd submytte theyr crownes before God / and they fell on theyr faces before the humble lambe Cryste Ihesu / adhowrynge and worshyppynge hym as theyr lorde God euermore lyuynge withouten ende / Many folke enquyre bu­sylye whiche Saynt is more preferred in the kyngedome of almyghtye God / that knowe nat yf theyr selfe shall be worthye to be accompted with the leest Saynt in that kyngedome / It is not a lytell but a great thynge and grace to be in the leest sorte in he­uen / where all that be there are greatlye magnyfy­ed of God / For all that be there be called and are the chyldren of god almyghtye / whan the apostellys of God questyoned amonge theym / whiche of theym shulde be more preferryd in the kyngedome of He­uen / They herde agayne the answere of our Lorde / But if ye be conuertyd / and made meke / pure / and withoute malyce as chyldren be / ye shall nat enter the kyngedome of euerlastynge lyfe / and he that hū [Page] bleth hym as this chylde / he is more worthy ī y kyngedome of heuē / wo be to them that dysdayne to hū ble themselfe wt chyldrē / for they for theyr presūpciō & pryde shall nat be suffred to enter the humble yate of heuē / the which admyttyth none but humble and meke folke / wo also be to ryche folke the which be o­uercomen by Inordynate loue of theyr ryches / For suche ryche folke haue here theyr consolacyons and Ioye / And therfore at the last poore folke that be here humble of herte and content with theyr poore de­gre shall enter into the glorye of God for suche penury and hardenes / wronges and other ylles as they haue suffred here lyuynge in this vale of myserye / where ryche folke lyuynge here in welthe and plea­soure shalbe shyt out with great sorowe and lamen­cion / for that they haue loste so Inestymable a Ioy for a short worldly delectacyon that they had here lyuynge / ioy therefore ye humble folke and also poore for ye shall enheryte the euerlastynge ioy and kyng dome of God / if ye lyue well here in this mortall lyfe with perseueraunce.

¶ The .lxiiii. chapiter / All hope and truste that mā hath is to be fyxed in God all onely.

LOrde god what is my truste y I haue ī this lyfe? and what is my moost solace / & cōforte of all thynges vysyble y I se vnder heuē / Is it nat thou? whose mercy is īnumerable / yes sothely / whā hath it be well with me at any tyme without the? or whan myght any yll happe or come to me yu beynge present? Sothely neuer / I had leuer be poore with [Page] the / than to be ryche without thy presens / I had le­uer be a pylgryme here in erth with thy presens / thā to possesse heuen without the / For where thou arte there is heuē / and where thou arte nat there is dethe and also hell / Thou arte all my desyre / and therfore I haue nede to lament / to pray / and crye contynually after the / I may trust fully in none but in the for there may be no helpe in cases of nede / but in the only my lorde god / thou arte my hope / my trust / & my moost faythfull conforte and helpe in all thyng [...] / all other persones seke theyr owne profyte and auayle / but thou alonly p̄tendest and sekest my profyte and helthe eternall / also thou turnest all thynges to my well / ye & whan thou sendest me troubles / afflycciōs and temptacyōs all such thou good lorde ordeynest for my wele and profyte / that by a thousande wayes arte wont to proue thy chosen and beloued seruauntes / in which probaciōs thou art nat lesse to be pray sed / than if thou had replenysshed vs with heuēly cō solacions / In the good lorde I put all my hope & so cour / I sette all my trybulacyons and anguysshe in the / for all that I beholde & se without the I haue ꝓued it infyrme and vnstable / The multytude of carnall frendys auayleth nat / nor stronge helpers shall nat may helpe / ne wyse coūceylers may gyue any ꝓfytable answer or counceyll / ne the bokes of doctou­res may confort ne any p̄cyous substaūce may delyuer fro thy hande ne any secrete place may defende man / but if thou lorde god wyll assyst / helpe / cōforte coūceyl / instructe / & kepe hym all thynges that [...]eme [Page] for to be ordeyned to mannes pease and felycyte / If thou be absent they be nat worthye / ne they haue or gyue any true felycyte to any crature / thou my lor­de god therfore arte the ende of all goodnes / the hye lyfe of all the profoūde spekyng of all eloquēce & the moost stronge hope & solace of thy seruaūtes / Myniyen intendynge into the / I truste fullye in the my lorde god father of mercyes / Blesse and sāctyfy my soule with heuenlye blessynge / that it may be made thy holy tabernacle and dwellynge place / and the s [...] te of thy eternall glorye / No thynge be foūde in me at any tyme that shulde offende thy hye maieste af­ter the greatnes of thy goodnes and thy manyfolde mercyes beholde me / and here gracyosly the prayer of me thy poore seruaūt beynge farre exyled ī the regyon of the shadowe of deth / defende / and conserue the soule of me thy seruaunt good lorde whyle I la­boure amonge the manyfolde perels of this corruptyble lyfe / and dyrecte it by thy grace cōtynuallye in this lyfe vnto y fynall coūtrey of euerlastyng peace and claryte.


¶ Here endeth the thyrde booke of Ihon̄ Gerson / Emprynted in London by Rycharde Pynson / in Flete strete at the Sygne of the george / at the com­maundement and instaunce of the right noble & ex­cellēt princes Margarete moder to our soueraygne lorde Kyng Henry the.vii. & coūtesse of Rychmoūt & Derby / the yere of our lorde god .M.CCCCC. and, xvii. The .vii. day of October.[Page] [Page]







¶ Here be­ginethe the forthe boke of the folo­wynge Ie­su cryst & of the contēp­nīge of the world. In prynted at the cōmaū demēt of the most excellēt pri­ces Margarete: moder vnto our souereine lorde: kinge Hē ­ry the .vii. Countes of Ryche­moūt & Derby And by the sa­me Prynces it was trāslated out of frēche into Englysshe in fourme & maner ensuynge The yere of our lorde god M. D. iiii.

¶ Prologus.

COme to me saythe our mercyfull lorde / all that labo­reth and be charged / and I shall gyue vnto you refec­cyon. And the bredde that I shall gyue vnto you: shalbe my flesshe for the lyfe of y worlde. Take & ete it for it is my body that for you shalbe gyuen [...] sacryfice. Do ye this in remēbraū ce of me. For who soeteth my flesse / & drynketh my blode: he shall dwell in me & [...] in hym. ¶ These wordes that I haue sayde vnto you belyfe [...] and spiryte of helthe.

¶ In what great reuerence and feruent desyre we ought to receyue our lorde Iesu crist. Capitulo primo.

O My lorde Iesu crist eternall trouthe / these wor­des beforesayde be thy wordes. Albeit they haue nat ben sayde in one selfe tyme: nor wrytten i one selfe place. yet for yt they be thy wordes I ought feythefully / & agreably to vnderstande theym / They be thy wordes / and thou hast ꝓferred them. And they be now myn for thou hast sayde theym for my helthe: I wyll gladly recey­them of thy mouthe: to thende they may be the better so wen & planted in my herte. Thy wordes of so great pyte full of lo­ue / swetnes & dileccion greatly excyteth me: but lorde my ꝓ­per synes fereth & draweth backe my conscience / nat pure to receyue so great a mystery. The swetnes of thy wordes inci­teth & ꝓuokethe me: but the multytude of my synnes charge the & sore greueth me. Thou cōmaūdest that I shal come vn to the feythfully: if I wyll haue parte with the to the ende I may receyue the norysshynge of imortalyte if I desyre to op­teyne the Ioy and lyfe eternall. Thou sayst lorde come ye to me that labour & be charged / & I shall refresshe you. O how swete & amyable a worde is that in the Gre of a synner: that thou my lorde & my god lysleth of thy benygne grace to byd me that am so pore & haue so moche nede of the holy cōmuny on of thy precyous body. O good lorde what am I to presu­me to desyre y: that the heuen / & erthe may nat cōprehende & thou saist com ye all to me. who asketh & wylleth this right meke worthynesse / and amyable byddynge. Howe shall I dare come vnto the: whiche feele nat that I haue done any good. How shall I enterteine y into my hows: whiche so of­ten haue offended before thy glorious / & ryght benygne face The aūgels / arkas [...]gels honour the: the holy / & iuste creatu­res drede the. & thou sayst good lorde yet come ye allvnto me Lorde who shulde byleue thys thynge to be true: if thy selfe sayd it nat. And who is he that durste approche there vnto: [Page] If thou dydest not cōmaunde it. Noe that iust man labored by an hundreth yere to make the arke / to the ende be myght be saued with a fewe of his people. Howe may I preprayre me than in an howre: to receyne the withe due reuerence cō ­posour and creatour of all thys worlde. Moyses thy greate famylier and speciall frende made tharke of tymber: nat cor­ruptyble whiche he couered with right pure gold & put in ye tables of the lawe / & I a corrupt creature howe shall I nowe dare receyue the that arte conditour of the Lawe / and gyuer of grace and lyfe vnto all creatures. The right wyse Sala­mankynge of Israeledifyed a ryche Temple to the praysig of thy name by the space of .vii. yere / and by .viii. dayes ha­lowed the feest of the dedicacōn of the same / he offred a thou­sande hostys to pacifye thy goodnes with / and put the arke of alyaunce in the place made redy for the same with the soū / de of claryons / and trumpettys. Howe dare I than cursed / and right pore amonge other creatures receyue the into my howse: whiche vnnethe can knowe that I haue well passed and enployed one howre of tyme / nouther to my knowelege that I haue deuoutely passed one halfe howre. Do my god howe many haue there ben before me / that haue studyede to do any thynge that myght please the. Alas howe lytell thing ys that I do / albe it the tyme ys shorte. Aud yet whan I de­spose me to receyue thy holy cōmunyon / I am but losely ga­dred to gether and full coldly purged from all distracciōs of mynde. And certeinly no cogitacions vnprofitable ought to come into the holy presence of thy deyte. Also I ought nat to occupye me with any creature: for I shall nat receyue an aū ­gel but the lorde of aungels in to the secrete of my herte.

¶For there is a greate dyfference betwene the Arke of aly­aunce with his relyques / and the ryght pure / and precious body with hys vertues nat faylynge: but euermore duryng ¶And betwene y sacryfyce of the prefyguratyue lawe that was to come / and the true hostye of thy precyous body that ys thaccomplesshement of all the olde sacryfyce.

[Page]¶Wherfore than shulde nat I be more inflamed in thy ve­nerable presence: and by more solycytude prepayre me to re­ceyue the sacred and holy gyftes / and benyfyttes of the. In so moche the holy auncyent patryarkes and prophettes / kinges and prynces with all the people: hath shewedeso greate affeccion towardes thyne honoure and dyuyne seruyce ity­me passed.

¶The ryght deuout kynge Dauid inclyned to the arke of god with all his strengthe knowlegeynge / & remēberynge y benefytes don vnto his faders: he made orgayns of dyuers maners / & he composed psalmes & instytute that they shulde be songen / and he hym selfe sange theym with gladnes / & of ten tymes with the harpe of the holy goost. Thys kynge in­spired with the grace of hod: hath taught the people of Isra­el to prayse god with all theyr hertes. blessynge honourynge & prechynge dayly his holy name. If so greate deuocōn & re­membraūce was done with dyuyne seruice / and praysynges before tharke of his testament / howe great reuerence and deuocion ought we thanne to haue in the presence of the sacra­ment / and en the sumpcōn of the ryght excellent body of▪ our lorde Iesucrist. Also all cristen people vse for to renne to dy­uers places: for to vysyte the relyques of sayntes / and mer­ueyleth to here the merueylous dedes / and werkes of theym They beholde the great edyfyces / .or byldynges of temples and kesses the sacrefyed bones ofsayntes wrapped [...] clothes ofsylke and golde. and thou my lorde god saynt of all sayn­tes: creature of all thynges / lorde of all aūgels: thou arte he­re present on thys aulter before me. Often tymes the curyo­syte of men and noueltyes of thynges nat sene be of lytell▪ frute and lesse to be setby: pryncypally where there ys so light recours and great wauerynge wythoute ony contricyon▪ but my god thou arte all present in thys blessed sacrament of the aulter very god and man iesus cryste / in the whiche the fru­te eternall of helthe aboundethe / and is perceyued all the ty­mes that thou art worthely receyued. And to thys here dra­weth [Page] nat any lyghtnes of sensuall cu [...]yosyte: but ferme feith deuoute hope / and pure charyte. O god inuysyble: creatour of all the worlde. Howe merueylously doeste thou wyth vs: howe feythfull doest thou with theym: that purposeth to re­ceyue thy selfe in thys blessed sacrament. ¶ Certeynly it su [...] mounteth all vnderstandynge: & draweth specyally the her­tes of deuoute people to dyuocion / and enbraceth their affec­cion. For thy true and feythfull frēdes that disposeth al their lyfe to amende theym: receyueth often great grace of deuo­cyon and vertue of that moost worthyest sacrament. O mar­uelous hidde grace whych the feythfull crysten people of our lorde only knoweth. But the infideles / and subgettes vnto synne may therof haue no experyence. In that sacrament y spirytuall graces be confermed: and the vertue that was lost in the soule ys repayred: and beautye by synne wasted / is re­couered. Somtyme thys grace: that often wyth the pleny / tude of deuocyon gyuen: nat only vnto the thought: but al­so vnto the feble body the myght / and strengthe is augmen­ted. wherfore it behoueth vs to haue sorowe and pyte of our slouthe and ne [...]lygence that we be nat drawen with so great desyre and affeccyon to receyue our lorde iesu crist in whome is all hope / and the meryte of theym that ought to be sauede For he is our helthe / and redempcyō / and the consolacion of vyatours / and the eternall fruycyon of sayntes. ¶Also we ought to haue sorowe of that so many vnderstandeth / saue­reth / & reuerenceth so lytell this holy sacrament: which Ioy­eth the heuen / and kepethe all the worlde. Alas thys blynd­nes / and hardnes of mennes hertes: that wyll nat consydre so syngule [...] and inestymable a gyft as is giuen vnto vs: but falleth inaduertence by dayly vsage. For if the sacryfyce of thys holy sacrament were done only but in one place / & but of one preest in all the worlde: wyth howe great desyre weneye the people wolde go to that plase / and to that prrest to he­re the godly mysteryes done of hym. But no we be made many preestys: and in many places this holy sacrament▪ ys of­ofred [Page] to thende that the grace and loue of god to man may the more appere: and for so moche as thys holy communion ys sprede thorough oute the worlde. Thankynges be vnto the good pastour eternall that hast vouchedsaue to refressh & fe­de vs pore banysshed creatures wyth thy ryght precious body & blode: and also by thy wordes of thy ꝓpre mouthe / hast desyred vs to receyue thys holy mysterye: sayinge com ye all vnto me that be charged / and I shall refressh you.

¶Howe the great charyte / & bounte of god is shewede vnto man in the holy sacrament. Cap̄ .ii.

OMy god I come vnto the puttynge my confidence in thy mercy and bountye. I syke and. come vnto my sa­uyour I hungry and thursty vnto the fountayne of lyfe po­re and nedy vnto the kynge of heuen: the seruaunt vnto hys lorde: the creature vnto his maker: a persone desolate vnto hys pyteous comforter. But wherof is thys that thou thus comest vnto me. who am I that thou wylte gyue thus thyne owne selfe to. Howe dare I a synner beholde to appere before the. And howe may it please the to come vnto suche a wretche. Thou knowest thy seruaunt / and well vnderstandeste that no thynge good ys in hym. wherfore thou shuldeste do thys grace vnto me. ¶Than I confesse myne vnworthy­nesse and knowlege thy bountye and prayseth thy pyte and gyue vnto the thankes for thyne so moche great charyte.

Thou doest thys for thy▪ selfe good lorde / and nat for my me ryte: to the ende that thy bountye may the more be knowen vnto me. Thy charyte is more largely verifyed / & thy me­kenesse commended more perfetely: sythen that it thus plea­seth the / and so thou hast commaunded it to be done: this thy pleasure contenteth me: and wyth my wyll my wyckednes shall nat resyste the. ¶O swete and beny [...]e Ihesu howe great reuerence and gynynge thankes with perpetu­all praysynges be due vnto the my goode Lorde Iesu Crist [Page] that by thy pleasure and wyll I may receyue thy blessed bo­dy: whose worthynes no man is founde able to declare or ex­p̄sse. But what shall I thynke of this communion whane I shall come vnto the my lorde god whiche I can not duly ho­noure / and yet I desyre deuoutly to receyue the. what maye I thynke better and more profytable for me: thane to meke my selfe holy before the: and to prayse thyne infynyte boun­te aboue all thynge. I prayse the me lorde god euerlastingly and dysprayse my selfe and submytte me vnto the depnesse of my wretchydnes. ¶ O my god thou arte saynt of all sayn­tes / and I the fylthe of all synners yet thou inclynest thy selfe vnto me that am nat worthy to beholde the.

¶ Alas my swete creature that so mekely comest vnto me / and wylleth to be wyth me / and desyrest me vnto thy dyner and gyueth vnto me the mete of heuen and the brede of aun­gels which is brede of lyfe: and no lesse thynge than thyselfe whych is descended from heuen and gyue lyfe vnto y worl­de. Lete vs se here what great loue procedeth frome the / and what gentylnes doth shyne▪ vpon vs.

¶ Howe great yeldynges of thankes / and louynges be due vnto the of vs synners. O howe profytable and howe helthe full was thy councell whanne thou instytute / and ordeyned thys gracious gyfte. ¶ O howe swete / and Ioyous ys that feste wherin thou haste gynen vnto vs the fedynge of thy p̄ ­cyons body. ¶ O good lorde howe merueylous be thy ope­racyons / and howe myghty is thy vertue / and thy trouthe vnable be tolde. Thou hast sayde and all thynges were don and all that thou haste commaunded: hathe taken effecte. A merueylous thynge to be beleued / and ferre aboue y un­derstandynge of mā that thou my Lorde god very god and man art holy conteyned vnder a lytell lykenesse of bred and wyne / and thou art hole receyued withoute consumynge of hym that so receyueth the.

¶ Thou Lorde of all that haste no nede of any thynge / yet thou haste wyllede to inhabyte within vs by thys thy hooly [Page] sacrament. Lorde kepe my herte and my body vndefyled to the ende: that with a pure and a Ioyous conscience I may often receyue the to my euerlastynge helthe.

¶ Thise holy mysteryes whiche be institute / and ordeyned chyefly vnto thy honour and perpetuall remembraunce.

¶ O my soule reioyse the / and gyue thankynges vnto thy god for his noble gyfte / and synguler comforth that it lyste hym here in thys vale of teres thus to cōforte the. For as of­ten tymes as thou remembrest thys mystery / and receyueste thys blessed body of our lorde: so often thou receiuest the werke of thy redempcyon / and arte made partener of all the me­rytes of our lorde Iesu cryst. For his charyte is neuer mynis­shed. & the greatnesse of his mercy is neuer consumed. wher­fore thou oughtest to dispose the alwaye with a newe reuol­uynge of thy thought & oughtest to consider this great mys­terye of thy helthe by attentyue reysynge of thy soule.

¶ And this werke ought to be vnto the as greatly newe and ioyous whan thou receyuest it. as if that same day our lorde had first descended in to the wombe of the virgyn mari to be made man / orelles he that daye had suffred dethe for the hel­the of man vpon the crosse.

¶ What greate profyte it is often to receyue the body of our lorde Iesu cryst. C .iii.a

LOrde I come vnto the to thende that welthe may co­me vnto me of thy gyfte / and that I may Ioye at the holy feest that thou hast made redy vnto me pore wretche by thy swete benygnyte: in the whiche my sauyoure is all that I may or ought to desyre: for thou art my helthe my redem­pcion / my strength / honour / and ioy. Alas my lorde god make me thy dayly seruaunt Ioyous. For my lorde Iesus I haue reysed my soule vnto the / and nowe desyrethe deuowtly & reuerently to receyue the in to my hows / to thende I may deserue with zachee to be blessid of the / and to be accompted amonge the children af Abraham / ¶ My soule desireth thy body / my herte desyrethe to be vnyght wyth the. Gyue thy [Page] selfe vnto me good lorde / & than I suffised: for withoute the no consolacyon / nor comforte ys good: withoute the I may nat be / and withoute thy vysytacyon I may nat lyue. wher­fore it be houeth me often tymes to come / and approch to thy hyghe p̄sence to receyue the for the remedy of my helth to the entente I fayle nat in the waye of this mortall lyfe if I were defrauded from thy sprytuall noryshynge.

¶ Also my ryght mercy full lorde Iesu whan thou hast pre­ched vnto the people / and heled them of diuers sykenes thou hast sayde I wyll nat leue theym fastynge / and without re­feccion lest peranenture they myght fayle in theyr way. Do wyth me than good lorde in that maner: syth thou hast lefte thys holy sacrament for the comforte offeythfull people: for thou arte the swete refeccion of the sowles of theym that ha­worthely receyued and eten the / and they shall be perteners and inherytours of the eternall ioye. Certeyne ytys vnto me necessary that so often synnes and so sone keles and at euery houre fayles to come vnto the: to thende that by contynuall orysons and confessions / and by the receyuynge of thy holy body I may puryfye / and renewe the heete of my refeccyon For perauenture in absteynonge me to longe to receyue the: I may leue / forgete / and renne from my good purpos. For the wytte of man and woman from theyr chyldhod be incly­ned vnto euyll. And if thys dyuyne and godly medycyne hel­pe vs nat: incontynent we fall vnto worse. Than thys holy cōmunyon draweth men from euyll / and comforteth theym ageyne in goodnesse: for I am many tymes neclygent / and often keled whanne I commune / or worshyp my god. what shulde I thanne do if I toke nat that medecyne / and aske of hym grace and helpe. And albe it I am nat alwaye well dis­posed to receyue my creature. yet shall I put me vnto peyne to receyue these sacrede mysteryes in tyme conuenable: so y I maye be made a partener of so greate grace. ¶ For ytys one of the mooste pryncypall consolacyons vnto a feythefull sowle: for the tyme they shall make theyr pylgrimage towardes [Page] in this mortall body / and to the entent we may haue the more mynde of thy benefytes. ¶ My lorde god I shall mo­re often receyue y: my louige Lorde wyth a deuout thought O merueylous gentylnesse of thyne vnspekeable pytye to­wardys vs: that thou lorde god creatour and gyuer of lyfe vnto all spirytes / hathe wylled to come to one so pore asoule with the deite / and humanyte. and my pore lene & dryesoule hath lysted to be made fatte with thy grace and thy holy vnc­cyon of thy swete spiryte. O happy thought and well happy soule that deserueth deuoutely to receyue hys god hys lorde and creature: and in that receyuynge to be fulfylled with ioy and spirytuall gladnesse. O what great lorde receyuest thou O what and howe great and host enterteynest thou into thy lodgynge. Howe ioyous a felowe takest thou into thy hows Howe feythefull a frende thou admyttest vnto the. O howe good / noble / and swete espouse enbraceste thou which ought to be byloued and desyred aboue all thynges. O ryght swete beloued lorde / the heuen and erthe and all the ornamentis of theym holdeth scylence in the presence of thy face. For what praysynge honour / and beautye they haue it ys of thy mercy and largenes / and can not be lyke vnto thonour and beaute of thy holy name: of thy sapience: wherof there ys no noum­bre nother ende.

¶ Howe many cōmodities be gyuen vnto them that de­uoutly receyueth this holy sacrament C iiii.

[...] I lorde god I humbly beseche the to preuent me thy seruaunt in the blessynges of thy swete mekenes So that I may deserue to cum worthely / & deuoutly to the holy sacrament mooste to be magnyfied. Stere my herte & lose it frome the dull heuynes of my mortall body. Uysite me wyth the messāger of helth / and gyue me to tast thy swetnes spiri­tuall whiche is hydde fully in the sacrament as in a foūtayne of all swetnesse. Illmyne myne iyen to beholde thys greate mysterye / & strongly conferme me to beleue ye feithe vndou­table for it ys thy werke & nat the power of man it ys thy ho­ly [Page] ordynaunce and not by mannys deuyse. For there is no mā foundeable of hym selfe to conceyue & vnderstande these holy mysteryes whiche passeth the subtylte of aungels. ¶ Than Howe may I pore vnworthy synner which am but erthe and asshes serche & conceyue so hygh & holy secrysye / lorde I come vnto the in symplenes of herte / & in ferme feythe / and by thy cōmaundement / & withe meke hope / an reuerence. And truely I belyue that thou arte here presente in thys holy sacramente very god and man. And thou wylte I shall receyue the / and Ioyne me vnto the by charyte. wherfore I humbly pray / and requyre that it may plese the to gyuevnto me thy specy all gra­ce: so that I may be all relented / and flowe in thy loue in su­che wyse that I shall not desyre any other consolacyon. For thys hygh worthye sacrament ys the helthe of soule / and bo­dy. It ys the medycyne of all spyrytuall sekenes: in the why­che my synnes be heyleed: passyons be refrayned: temptaciōs be ouercome / and mynysshed: more greate graces be gyuyn the vertue begonne increased / faythe ys enestabysshed / hope ys made stronge and fortyfyed: charyte ys brannynge & spred abrode ¶O my god the defender of my soule / and the repay­rer of the weykenesse of man / and the sender of all Inwarde comforte, Thou hast gyuen / and dayly gyueth vnto thy well beloued frendes in thys holy sacrament deuoutly receyuynge it many commodites. For thou infusest into theyr soules grete comfort agaynst dyuers trybulacions: and frome the depnesse of theyr owne ouerthrowynge: thou areysyst them to the ho­pe of thy dyuyne helpe. And with a newe grace thou inwardely renewest / and lyghtnest theym in suche wyse as they that fe­le theym before the receyuynge of the Sacrament heuy / and dull / and ouerthrowen / and without affeccyon / and moyster of deuocyon. ¶ After that they haue ben fedde wythe thys he­uenly mete / and brynke: they haue founde them selfe chaūged into a merueylous Ioye: whiche thynges thou doest vnto thy chosen people by dispensacion of thy pure bounte: so that they mayeveryly knowe by open experyence / that nothynge they [Page] haue nor may haue of them selfe / and what grace / or good­nes they haue it cometh of the. For of theym selfe they be col­de harde & vndeuoute: but of the they be made feruent Ioy­ous & deuoute. For who ys he that cometh mykely vnto the fount [...]yne of swetnes: and shall not brynge some litell quan­tite of swetnes therfrom. I shall alwey put my mouthe vnto the hole of the heuenly pype of that founteyne: that I maye at the lest take a lytell droppe to satysfie my thyrste: so that I be nat all drye. And though I may nat be heuenly enflamed as y cherubīs & ceraphyns yet wyll I enforce me to deuociō and prepare my herte mykely to receyue thys holy louynge sacrament & shall desyre to be enbraced with a lytell flame of that goodly loue. O good Iesu holy & right pyteous sauior what so euer vertue / or goodnes y fayleth in me: I benigly beseche the graciously of thy pyte to supplye it by thy greate mercy. Thou that hast called all feithfull creatures īsayīge vnto theym▪ come ye all vnto me that labour & be charged: & I shall refresshe you. But alas good lorde I pore synnerla­bour in theswette of my vysage / & am tormented with sorow of my hert. I am charged with sīnes and trauailed with tēp tacyons / entryked and oppressed with many yuell passions And lorde there is none that may delyuer me or make me sa­fe. but thou my only god and sauyour to whome I commytt me and all my causes: to thende thou kepe me and lede me to the lyfe eternall: Receyue me vnto the praisynges of thy na­me that hast made redy vnto me thy precyous body / & blode to mete and drynke. My lorde god and sauyour graūte vn­to me by thy greate bounte that in customable receyuynge of thy holy mysterye: the affetcyon and desyre of my deuocyon may be encreased.

¶Of the dygnite of the sacrament of the aulter & of thor­dre of presthod. Cap̄ .v.

[Page]IF thou haddest the puryte of aungels and the holines ofsaynt Iohn̄ Baptyst: thou shuldest nat be worthye to receyue / or trete of that holy sacrament: for that is nat due to the merites of men / that a man shulde consecrate & treate of the sacrament of thys blessed body of Iesu crist / aud take in mete the brede of aungels. O great mysterye and the mer­uelous dignyte of prestys: vnto whome is gyuen that: that is nat graunted vnto the aungels. For the prestis only duely ordred in the churche of crist haue power to do and to conse­crate the holy dody of Iesu criste. Certeynly the preest is the mynyster of god: vsynge the worde of god: by the cōmaun­dement and ordynaunce of god. But god is the pryncipall & īuysible werker: to whome be submytted all creatures to be ordred after his wyll / and all to obey vnto hys cōmaūdemēt Than thou oughtest more to beleue in almyghty god & i y right excellent sacramēt: than to thy ꝓpre will or any othervisible tokē. And therfore to thys holy werke thou oughtest to come with great drede and reuerence. Take hede than and se from whome thys mysterye is gyuenvnto the: and that is by the puttynge to of the handes of the Bysshoppe thou arte admyttede vnto that hye cometh. Beholde nowe thou arte made a preste / and sacreyd to do this holy mistery. Se than that feithfully and deuoutly / and in due tyme thou offre thy sacryfice vnto god / and shewe thy selfe irreprouable & wyth oute defaute. Thou hast nat loused thy charge of lyuynge: but hast bounde the wyth a more strayte bonde of discyplyne and arte holden to a more great parfeccyon of holynes The preeste ought to be adnowrded wyth all vertues: and gyue all theyr example of good / and holy lyfe. Hys conuersacyon ought nat to be wyth comon people / or the weyes of comon men: but with the aungelles in heuen: or wyth the perfight men in the erthe. ¶The preeste clothede wythe holy vesty­mentes: occupyeth the cometh of Iesu criste / to thende that he may humbly praye vnto god for hym selfe / & for all other. For he hath bothe before hym / and behynde hym the sygne [Page] of the crosse: that he may contynually remembre the passion of our lorde iesu crist. Before hym he bereth the crosse to the ende that he dilygently beholde the traces and the examples of our lorde Iesu criste: and that he feruently studye to folow theym. Behynde hym also is signed with the crosse to the en­tent he shuldesuffre for the honoure of god all aduersytyes / Iniuries done vnto hym of other. Before hym he bereth the crosse for that he shulde be wayle ꝓpre hys sines. And behīde hym lyke wyse by great compassyon to sorowe the sinnes of other / and to knowe hymselfe that he is a man betwene god and the synner. And that he depart nat from oryson / and frō y holy oblacion to the tyme ye he deserue to purchase the grace of god. whan the preste sayth masse he honoureth god / he gyueth ioy vnto the aungels: he edyfieth the churche / he hel: peth the louīge people / he gyueth rest to them chat be passed and maketh hym selfe partyner of all good werkes.

¶ A inwarde remembraunce and excercyse that a man ought to haue afore the receyuīge of the body of our lor­de Iesu crist. Cap̄ .vi.

LOrde whan I thynke of thy worthynesse and of my great fylthynes / I tremble strongly & am confoun­ded in my selfe. For if I receyue the nat I fle the eternall lyfe & yf I vnworthyly receiue the I renne in to thy wrath what shall I thanne do my good lorde my helper / ptectour / com­forter / and ryghtsure counceller in all myne infyrmytes / and necessities. Teche me good lorde thy right weye / and pur­pose vnto me some excercyse cōuenable to the receyuynge of thys holy mystery. For it ys necessarye vnto me and greatly profytable to knowe howe deuoutly and reuerently I ought to prepayre my herte to receyue thys holy sacramēt or to ma­ke so goodly sacryfyce.

¶ The remēbrynge of his ꝓpre conscience with pour­pose of amendment. Cap̄ .vii.

THe preste aboue al thynges ought to desyre with so­uerayne reuerence and profounde mykenesse of hert full / and ferme fey the / humble hoope / and pyteous entente to the honour af god to celebrate take / and receyue this wor­thy sacament: examyne dylygently / and make clere / & open the conscience by true contrycion / and meke cōfession as far as he hath power: so that thou knowe no thīge that greuethe or byte thy sayde conscience / orlete the frely to come vnto the same daily. To haue displeasure of all thy synnes in generall and for thy excesses and synnes thou oughtest to haue sygh­inge and sorowe more speciull. And if the tyme suffre it con­fesse vnto god in secrete of thy herte the myseryes of all thy passyons: wepe and haue sorowe that thou art yet so carnall and worldely / and so euyll mortyfyede frome thy passyons so full of mocyons and concupiscences / so euyll composed / & ordred in thy outwarde wittes so often appliede vnto vayne fantasies: so moch enclyned vnto outwarde thinges: so nec­ligent in the in warde spirituall thinges so redy to laugh and to all dissolucion: so harde to wepe & to cōpunccyon: so redy to folowe the lose mauer and the pleasures of the flesshe: and so slowe and dull to the feruour of vertue: so curious to behol de / and to here newe fayre thynges: so neclygent / and lothe to lerne and desyre thynges that be meke and abiecte: So couetous to receyue and possed many goodis. & so scarse to gyue theym / and glad to holde and reteyne theym: so euyl auy sed in spekynge / & so incontynent to be styll: So vnordred in maners: so inportune in thy dedes: so gredy / and so quycke in thy mete: so deffe vnto the worde of god: so redy to rest so vnlusty to labour: so wakynge to fables: so slepy to holy vy­gillys: so neclygent vnto the seruyce of god: so spedy to then de therof: so wauerynge to take hede: so colde in deuocion in the tyme of the mass [...]: so drye in receyuynge of the sacramēt [Page] so soone withdrawen / so seldome well gadred vnto thyselfe so sodeynly moued vnto wrath / so easely stired: to the disple asure of other / so hasty to iuge / so roughe in rep̄uynge / so ioy ous in ꝓsperite / so weyke in aduersite / so often pourposynge many good thynges / and lytell bryngeth to good effecte These and other thy defautes with sorowe / & great dysplea­sure of thy ꝓpre fragylyte confessed and sorowfully be wept, Set the than with full purpose alweyes to amende thy selfe and to ꝓfyte from better vnto better / and after offre thy selfe with playne resignacion & entyer wyll to the hononre of my name perpetuall sacryfyce withyn the aulter of thyne herte. Teat is to knowe thy soule and body cōmyttynge feythfully vnto me / that thon so may deserue worthely to come and of­fre thy sacryfyce to god and to receyue the sacrament of my body helthefully. For no oblacion is more worthy nor no sa­tysfaccion can be so great for to deface the synnes of man: as to offre hym selfe to god purely / and entyerly with the obla­cyon of the holy body of Cryst Iesu in the masse and the ho­ly communyon. And they who someuer shall do as moche as lieth in theim and haue very repentaunce of thyr offences passed: as oft as they shall come vnto me they shall recouer pardon and grace. I am lyfe and wyll nat the deith of a syn­ner: but rather wyll that he retourne and lyue agayne. And than wyll I nomore remembre his synnes & tresspaces: but all shalbe forgyuen & pardoned vnto hym.

¶ Of ye oblacion of Iesu Crist in the crosse of ye ꝓpre re­signacōn that man shulde make of hymselfe. Ca .viii.

OMan as I dyd offre my selfe / and my free wyll vnto god my fader my handes sprede on the crosse / and my naked body forthy synnes. In somoche that no thynge re­mayned in me / but all passed in sacryfyce to apease his wra­the: in lyke wyse thou oughtest to offre vnto me wyllyngly thy selfe in pure oblacion dayly in the masse wythe all thy af­fec [...]yons / and strengthes as profoundely / and feruently: as [Page] thou mayst. what aske I of the more but that thou study to resygne thy selfe vnto me enterely. what thynge so euer elles thou gyuest vnto me: I haue no cure. For I demaunde nat thy gyftes: but only thy selfe. As no thynge shulde suffyce vnto the wythoute me. Lyke wyse no thynge maye please vnto me what so euer thou shalte gyue thou offre nat thy selfe vnto me. Offre the than gyue the holly vnto me. & that ob­lacyon shalbe acceptable. Beholde I dyd offre my selfe holy vnto my fader for the / and for the I dyd gyue all my body & blode to the ende that I shulde be all hole thyne / & thou myne also. But and thou rest in thy selfe and with good wyll presēt the nought vnto me: thane there is no full oblacy on nouther entyer parfyte vnyon betwene vs. For the fre oblacyō of thy selfe in to the handes of almyghty god: ought to go before al thy werkes if thou wylte opteyne lybertye & grace. And the lacke of thys is the cause that so fewe folke be illumyned and haue inwarly lybertye. For they can nat renounce them selfe My sentence is ferme / & stable: that none may be my disciple without he renounceth all that he hath. Than yf thou desyre to be my dysyple offre thy selfe vnto me with all thyne affec­cyon.

¶ That we ought to offre vnto god all that we haue / & to praye for all people. Cap̄ .ix.

LOrde all thynges that be in heuē and in erthe be thy­ne / and my wyllynge desyre ys to offre me vnto the perpetually in oblacyon: So that I maye be thyne euerlas­tyngly. And thys daye good lorde I offre vnto the my selfe perpetually to be thy seruaunt wyth my herte and soule ful­ly to contynue. I beseche the receyue thys holy oblacyon of me that am vnworthye to offre me vnto thy precyous bodye in the presence of aungels assystynge inuysyble to the ende: that it may be to the helthe of me / and all thy people. Lorde I also offre vnto the all my synnes whyche I haue cōmitted [Page] before the and thy holy aungels: syth the fyrst day that I be­ganne or in any wyse myght synne vnto thys presente daye. And I beseche the to inflame me with the brennynge fyre of charyte: and to deface / and put awey all the condysyons of my synnes. Clense my conscyence from all synne / and resto­re it vnto thy grace: that by synne I haue loste. And perfect­ly pardone me of all myne offences: that I may receyue per­fightly the swete kyssynge of peas. what may I do more for me synne: but mekely confesse theym with sorowfull wepig. and incessauntly prayinge the of thy pyte ous mercy.

¶ I beseche the lorde exalte me: and be vnto me redy whan I am before the. O my good lorde soueraynly all my synnes dyspleasith me. and by thy grace I wyll neuer begīne them agayne: but euer shall haue sorowe for theym as longe as I shall lyue: and shalbe redy to do penaunce / & make satisfac­cyon of the best of my lytell power. ¶ Wherfore nowe good lorde pardon me of my great and abhomynable synnes and for honour of thy holy name saue my soule whiche thou hast derely bought with thy moost precyous blode. And I com­mytte me good lorde vnto thy great mercy / and resigne me hooly vnto thy handes. Do with me Lorde after thy boūte and nat after my malyce / and iniquite.

¶ Also I offre vnto the all my dedes that I haue done: al­be it they be full fewe / and vnperfight: that thou maist sanc­tyfye & amende theym as they be agreable / & acceptable vn­to the. And alweyes good lorde drawe me from better to better / and conduyte and lede me slouthfull and vnworthy syn­ner vnto good and laufull ende.

¶ In lyke wyse I offre vnto the: the desyres of all deuowte persones: the necessytes of all good dedes of my kynsefolke and frendes / and of all theym that haue done me goode / or be dere vnto me / and all other for thy loue / and they that haue desyred / or requyred me to make sacryfyce for theyr frendes lyuynge / or passed the worlde: So as they may sele hel­pe / Consolacyon / Defence / And Preseruacyon frome all [Page] parels by thy grace / & delyueraūce of peynes so as they may yelde vnto the Ioy & gladnes with magnyfyinge & praisīge of theyr delyueraunce.

¶ I offre vnto the also prayers & holy oblacions for al them specyally that hath caused vnto me heuyues / hurte / or any maner of damage. ¶ And lyke wyse for theym that I haue troubled / greued / vexed / or sclaundred in wordes / or dedes knowyngly / ignoraūtly to the ende blessed lorde that we all may be pardoned of our offēsis don the one agaynst y other And good lorde Iesu take from our hertis all suspeciō / wra­the & indignacion / and all that may breke / or let charyte or di­mynysshe vs from thy eternall loue. O lorde haue pyte, bles­sed Iesu haue pyte: & gyue thy mercy vnto all theym that as­keth it: and thy grace vnto theym that haue nede. And make vs so worthy to haue that grace that we may go vnto the ly­fe eternall.


¶ That the holy sacrament ought nat lyghtely to be forborne. Cap̄ .x.

IT behoueth the often to tetourne vnto the fountayne of / grace mercy / bountye / pyte / and puryte: that thou mayst be clensed from thy vices & passions: so as thou maist be made more stronge / and wakynge agaynst all temptaci­ons and subtyll craftes of the fende. For thy ennemye kno­wynge the greate frute / and remedye of receuīge of this ho­ly sacrament enforcethe hym by allmaner of accasyons that he may to drawe the vnto hym agayne / and letteth the fey­thfull and deuout people whan any dysposethe theym to the receyuynge of thys holy cōmunyon. The ennemye Sathan putteth vnto theym the moost greuous temptacions that he may. Also it ys wrytten in the hystorye of Iob. thys yuell spi­ryte cometh amōge the chyldren of god to thende that by his cursed custome / he perturbeth / ꝑplexeth / and maketh theym dredfull dymynysshynge theyr affeccyon / and inpugnynge theym of theyr feythe: so that ꝑauenture, they leue their good [Page] purpose of that holy body that they at that tyme come for to receyue: but we shulde take no thought nor feare of the craf­ty cautiellesof that false enemye y be so foule & horryble: but all suche fantesyes we saulde cast agayne at the hede of that wicked spirite. it is a pore myschyuous spirite that so letteth & mockety vs. And for any assaultes or cōmocōns that he ex­cyteth. thys holy sacrament ought nat to be lefte. Also often tymes to great solicytude for deuocion to be had letteth and somtyme ceryousnes of confessyon to be made: But do after the councell of the wyse / and take away this anxietye & stry­ple: for it letteth the grace of god / and destroyeth deuocyon And leue not the holy receyuynge of Iesu cryst for lytell tri­bulacōn. or deieccion / pusyllanymyte: but wyth good wyll go vnto the cōfessour / and pardon all other that haue offen­ded the: and if thou yaue offended any other mekely aske for gyuenesse. And thanne drede not: but god wyll pardon the. what ꝓfiteth it longe to tary frome confession / or to deferre the receyuynge of thy blessed sauyour. First pourge the and cast out the venym / and than haste the to take the remedye And thou shalte fele the moche better: thann yf tyou haddest deferred it. For if thou thys day lyue the holy receyuīge for coldnes of deuocion & feblenes of mynde: parauenture to morowe thou shalte fynde thy selfe more slacke: and so lōge wy­thdrawe that thou shalt fynde thy selfe moche worse / & more vnable. Than as soone as thou maist: take awey this feble­nesse of mynde and the spyce of slowth. For alwey only to be in anguysshe and heuynesse of thy synne: passynge the tyme in trybulacyon / and for dayly obstacles īperfeccions to with drawe the from these dyuyne mysteryes: wythout tournīge vnto the pytyous meryte of our sauyour cryste Iesu. it hel­peth the nought: But greatly the longe taryinge to receyue thy saueour / anoeyth / and taryethe the / & shall brynge dayly vnto the a more slouthfulnesse. ¶ But alas for sorowe: some colde / and desolate persones gladely seke causes of taryinge from confession / and from the receyuynge of this holy sacra [Page] ment / and for that they couete many delayes: leste they shall be bounde to gyue theym selfe to a straytter maner in the or­dre of theyr lyfe. Alas howe lytel charyte & howe sklender deuocyon haue they that putteth aweye so easely the receyuin­ge of thys holy sacrament. O howe happy be they and agre­able vnto almyghty god that ledeth so holy a lyfe: that they may kepe their conscience in clene and pure drede: so as they may dayly dispose and make theym redy / and wyth greate affeccion desyre to receyue that holy sacrament: if it were le­full at all tymes. Neuertheles somtyme by mekenes to ab­steyne / or for other lefull causes that may lett with reuerence is to be praysed: But if slouthe / or neclygence holde hym: he ought to endeuour hym as far as in hym ys / & our lorde shall be p̄sent at his desyre: which wyll specially beholde his good wyll. but whan he is lawfully let / & if ye haue a good wyll / & pyteous mynde to receyue his maker: yet he shall not fayle to haue the frute of that blessed sacrament. For euery ꝑsone wyth perfite deuocyon may euery day receyue that holy sa­crament spūally to his helthe & without denyinge. & in certei­ne tymes & dayes establyssed: he ought to receyue the body of his saueour with effectuall reuerence sacramentally. And that to seche & to do it more to the praisynge & the honoure of god almyghty than to his owne consolacōn. For as often as he spūally is comuned & refressed īuysibly: so often he remē ­breth deuoutly the mysterye of the īcarnacōn of criste / & hys peinfull passion & is kindled in the loue of hym: he that otherwyse nat p̄payreth hym selfe but at the tyme of a greate feest or ellys by custome he is cōpelled. he shall often tymes be ful vnredy. Blessed is he that offres hym selfe vnto almyghty god as oft as he doth masse or ellis receyueth this honorable sacrament. And in doynge this mysterye / nat taryīge / nor to hasty: but kepe the comō maner with suche as thou leuest amōge. Thou oughtest nat to do that the herers therof take greue / or Irksomnes: but kepe the comon way after thordy­naūces of the holy faders. And do rather cōferme the / to the [Page] profyte of other than to thyne owne deuocyon or pryuate pleasure.

¶ Howe the blessed body of our lorde Iesu criste is gre­atly necessarye for the helth of mannys soule. Ca .xi.

O Ryghtswete Iesu howe great consolacyon & swetnes ys it to a deuoute Soule to ete withe the at thy dyner where none other mete is gyuen but thy selfe whiche art the only louer & oughtest to be desyred aboue all desyres of mannys herte. & howeswete a thynge shulde it be in thy presence from the bottom of the herte to sende oute teris: to dewe / and wesshe thy p̄cyous fete with the pyteous Mowdeleyne. But where is that deuocyon / or the plenteous effusion of holy te­rys: certenly in beholdynge the wythe thy holy aungels. All my herte ought to brenne & wepe with ioye: for I haue very­ly the p̄sēt be though thou hyd vnder a straūge lykenes. for myne iyen myght notsuffice to beholde the in thipropre and godly clernes / nor all the worlde might nat abide to beholde the clerens of thy ioy and maieste. wherfore good lorde thou helpest my weykenes / in that it pleaseth the to couer thyselfe vnder the fourme of y holy sacrament. I verily worship the whome the aungels worshyp in heuen. but in me it is as yet but ī feith: & the aūgels worship the there ī thin owne likenes without couerture. I must be content with true feythe & so walke tyll the day come of eternall clernes whan the shadow of fygures shall fynysshe. For whan that ꝑfecte day shall co­me the vsage of this holy sacrament shall ceas. For they that be blessed in the heuēly ioye / shall haue no nede of any sacra­mētall medycyne: for they shall ioye withoute ende ī the pre­sence of god seynge hym ī his glory face to face / & shalbe trās­fourmed from clernes vnto clernes with the godhed īcomp̄ ­hensible. they shall tast the sone of god made man: as he was fro the begynnynge / & shalbe euerlastyngly. I than remem­brynge me of the great meruels & solace thou ghit be spūall: it is to me greuous whanne I remembre those meruels. For all thynges that I here / or see in this worlde I compte as no [Page] thynge so longe as I se nat my lorde god in hys glory. Lorde god thou arte my wytnes that no thynge can gyue vnto me comforte / nor no creature may gyue vnto me rest: but thou my lorde god whome I desyre eternally to beholde. ¶ But that is a thynge to me nat possible: whyle I am in this mor­tall lyfe. wherfore it behoueth me with great pacyence to or­dre my selfe / and mykely to submytte me to the in all my desi­res. ¶ Good Lorde thy sayntes that nowe ioye wyth the in the kyngdome of heuen: abode the comynge of thy ioy with great feythe and pacyence as longe as they lyued. I beleue the same that they beleued / & hope as they haue hoped: and trust by the meane of thy grace to come theder as they nowe be. In the meane whyle I shall in good & fast feythe be com­forted by examples of holy sayntes. Also I haue full vertu­ous & holy bokes for the consolacion and myrrour of my life and aboue all these thynges thy right sacred body for my singuler refuge & remedye. I fele that two thynges be vnto me ryght necessarye: without whome this miserable lyfe shuld be vnto me inportable: For as longe as I shall be holden in thys present body: I cōfesse me to haue nede of two thynges that ys to knowe of mete and lyght. But therfore thou hast gyuen vnto me whyche am pore & syke thy holy body to the refresshinge of my soule & bodl. Also thou hast put before my feythe the light of thy holy worde. And wythoute these two thynges I myght nat well lyue spūtually. For thy word my lorde and god is the light of my soule / and the holy sacramēt is the brede of my lyfe. These two thynges so necessary may also be called the tables sette on eyther syde in the tresorye of holy churche: the one table is of the holy aulter hauynge this louely brede: that is to say the precyous body of Iesu cryste the other ys the lawe of god [...]onteynynge the holy doctryne and sheweth the ryght feyth and surely gydynge vnto the in warde secrysies where as the holy iuelys called Sctā scō (rum) I yelde vnto the thankes lorde Iesu cryste: whyche arte the clernes of eternall lyght. ¶ For thys table of holy doctryne [Page] whiche thou hast mynystred vnto vs by thy seruaūtes / pro­phetes / aposteles / and other doctours. And I yeld [...] vnto ye thankynges ageyne creatour & redemer of mankynde which hast declared thy greate charyte vnto all the worlde: & has [...]e prepared thys royalsouꝑ in the whiche thou hast nat purposed to be eten the fyguratyue lambe: but thy most holy body and precious blode reioisynge all thy creatures by that hoo­lest and swetly fulfyllynge theym with that helthfull chaleys wherin behyd all the delytes and ioyes of paradyse: and the holy anūgels be fedde with vs with swetnesse moche plentu­ous. O howe greate and honorable ys the offyce of prestes: to whome is gyuen power to consecrate by dyuyne wordes to blesse with theyr lyppes to holde with their handes recey­ue with theyr mouthes / & to mynyster vnto other the lorde / & god of all maieste. O howe elene ought to be the hādes: how pure the mouthe howe holy the body / and howe vndefylede the herte or a prest. vnto whome so often entreth the auctour of all puryte. Certeinly from the mouthe of a prest ought no worde to procede: but that / that were honest aud profytable that so often receyueth the sacrament of the holy dody of iesu crist. hys iyen ought to be symple & shamefast that so custo­mably beholdeth the holy body. The handes pure to lifte vp vnto heuen: whiche handeleth the creature of heuen / & erthe For specyally a prest it ys sayde in the lawe. be ye holy for I your lorde god am holy. O god omnipotent thy grace be vn to vs helpynge so that we whiche haue taken the office of p̄st hode may reuerently & deuoutly serue the with all puryte / & good ꝯsciēce. & if we may not lyue ī so great innocency of life as we ought to do: giue vs grace at the leest that we may we pe & sorowe the euylles that we haue commytted: and don so that in spirituall mekenes / & purpose of good wyll we maye from hensforth strongly serue the with feruent corage.

¶ With howe great diligence he ought to prepayre hym selfe that shulde receiue the sacramēt of iesu crist. Ca .xii.

[Page]OVre lorde sayth I the louer of puryte & the liberal gy­uer of all holynes: I serche the pure clene herte & there wyll I rest. Make redy than for me thy herte / & I shalbe wt the than: as I was with my discyples. At Ester I shall come & dwell with the if thou wylte: but thanne it behouethe the to mūdifye & clense the habitacōn of thy herte fro all synnes: le­ue all brute & noyse of the worlde with all thy vyces & inclose and shet the in thy chambre as dooth a solytary byrde vnder the euesynges of an hous. & remembre all the excesses & all thi defauttes commytted: with all thy soule & bitternes of herte. For a good frende wyll make redy to his welbeloued frende a good and a plesaūt place to dwell in / & in yt doynge is well knowen with what good affeccion he receyuethe his sayde frende. It is for trouthe that thou oughteste to vnderstande that thou mayste nat satyfye by any meryte or labour of thy selfe: nat and thou dydest labour with the beste of thy power by a hole yere thought thou hadest none other thynge to do. But thou shalt vnderstande that by my only power and grace: is ꝑmytted / & graūted vnto the to come vnto my table. & if a pore man were called vnto the table of a ryche lorde: and the pore man had none other thynge to gyue ageyne for ye benefytes of that ryche man / but swetely / & mekely to thanke hym he wolde do it. so oughtest thou to do diligently as mo­che as is in the: & nat by custome / or necestite: But wyth all drede / reuerence / & affeccyon. Thou oughtest to take ye bles­syd body of our lorde god: sythe that it lyste the hym to come vnto the. Certeynly I am he that callethe the: & I haue com­maūded it so to be done / & I shall supplye that faylethe in the wherfore come and receyue me. & whan in that doīge I giue vnto the the grace of deuocōn: yeld thou thankes vnto me thī god. Nat thynkynge that thou art worthy therof of thyselfe but that I haue had mercy of the. and yf thou haue nat that grace whan thou woldest: but fele thy selfe drye / & vnlusty: yet contynue thy orysou with sorowfull wepynge / and smyte at my dore wythoute ceasynge vnto the tyme thou maye re­ceyue [Page] alytell crome or drope of helthefull grace. & know it of trouth thou hast moche nede of me: and I haue none of the. Thou comest nat to sanctifye me: but I am he that shall san­tyfye the / & make the better to the ende that thou mayste be vnight with me to receyue newe grace & purpose amēdemēt Be nat in wyll to deferre me grace: but with all dilygence p̄ ­prayre thy herte to receyue withī the thy louynge lorde. & nat only thys prepayre the before thy cōmunyon / but also mayn­teyne & kepe the after the receyuynge of thy said holy sacra­ment ī that same deuociō ī as moche as thou maist. For thou oughtest to haue no lesse dylygēce than thou haddest afore. For the good & dilygent kepynge of thy soule after the recei­uynge of the blessed sacramēt is a good p̄paracōn to obteine the more great grace. And they that so donat: shewe thē selfe greatly euyll disposed / whan they habandowne them selfe so soone & so largely to outwarde solace / & in warde pleasures wherfore kepe the from great brute & spekinge / & abyde in ye secrete graces & frutes of thy god. for thou hast hym yt all the worlde may nat take awey / & I am he to whome thou ough­test to gyue the by suche maner that from hensforth thou liue nomore in thy selfe: but in me only.

¶ Howe the deuout soule ought effectuously with al his herte to be vnight vnto Iesu crist. Ca .xiii.

O Lorde who shall yelde vnto me that I may fynde the sole / & that I may open to the all my hert / & ioy with y as my pore soule desyreth / & that here be no creature to beholde me: but thou alone to speke to me / & I to the goode lord as of custome one frende speketh to a nother secretly: here of I desire & praie y lorde iesu to thende yt I may fully be vnyght vnto y & withdraw my hert fro all other creat thīges that I may ye soner lerne ye et̄nall & heuēly thīges by y meane of the receiuīge of this holy sacramēt. Alas my good lord whā shal I be vnight & gadred all hole ī y / & vtterly forgete my selfe. yu art ī me & I wt the. & thus assembled make vs dwell toged (er) I prai ye truly thou arte my chosen & beloued lorde / and it hath [Page] pleased thy benygne grace to be inhabited in my soule all the dayes of my lyfe. Thou arte my peseable well: in whome ys souereyne peas and true rest: without the there ys no thinge but labour / sorow / & infinyte mysery. Thou my god art clo­sed & hyd in councel of thy famyliars: whiche be nat comune to the euyll folkes. ¶ But thy familiar speakynge is with the meke & symple folkes. O lorde howe goode benygne / & swe­te ys thy spirite whiche to the ende thou maiste she we vnto y sonnes & chyldren thy swetnes: hast vouchedsaue to refressh theym agayne & gyues to theym refeccion of thy ryght swete brede descended from heuen. Certeynly there ys none other so great a nacion lackynge cristis feithe that hath their god­dis so nere vnto them as thou arte our god / & lorde to all thy feithfull crysten people: to whome thou gyuest thy blesed body to ete for theyr dayly cōforte / and to reyse theyr hertes to hyghe celestiall thynges. O what other folkes be there so noble as be the cristen people. or what creature is there so strōgly beloued vnder heuen as is the deuoute soule ī whom god entreth and gyueth fedynge with his owne glorious flesshe and blode. O grace inestymable & merueylous worthynesse O loue without mesure syngulerly shewede vnto man: But what shall I yelde vnto god / & wherwith shall I recōpence thys so great grace & charite. Truely there is no thīge I mai gyue more agreable to his mercy than to ioyne my hert per­fytely vnto hym. And whan my soule shalbe perfitely vnight with hym: Thanshall my inwarde parties ioy. And thanne my lorde wyll say vnto me / If thou wylt be with me I wyll be withe the. And I shall answere hym: blessed lorde I bese­che the dwelle with me for all the desyre of my herte ys to be with the inseꝑable without departynge.

¶ Of the brēnynge desire that some creatures haue in y blessed body of our lorde iesu crist. Ca .xiiii.

O Lorde howe great is the multytude of thy swetnesse / whiche thou hast hyd for them that drede the. whan I [Page] remēbre me of many deuoute ꝑsones: that haue come to this thy holy sacramēt with so great feruēt affeccōn / & deuocyon. I am than many tymes ī myselfe cōfused / a haue great sha­me that I go vnto the aulter & table of that holy communy­on so rudely with so colde deuocion / & am so drye without affeccion of hert. I am abasshed that I am nat all hole īflamed ī thy p̄sēce / & so strōgly drawē / & establesshed as many good deuoute persones haue ben. whyche by the greate desyre of thys holy sacrament & sensible loue of hert myght nat cōtey­ne ne witholde them from wepynge. But effectuously wyth mouthe / hert / & body came vnto that good lorde: as to the ly­uynge fountayne of all bountye / & may nat attayne to fulfyll theyr hungre: but if they take thy holy body whiche they so de siorously / affeccōnally / & spiritually may receyue. O true / & benygne feythe of theym that p̄uably sheweth the ornament of thy holy p̄sence. To them ys verely kno wen theyr god in brekynge of brede / whiche brenneth and broileth so strongly the herter of them in the loue of Iesu Crist. Certeynly suche affeccion / deuocōn / & vehement brennynge loue is far [...] from me. O good swete & benygne Iesu be vnto me pyteous / and redy to gyue and graunt to thy pore begger somtyme to fele a lytell of that hertely loue and affeccion in the receyuinge of thy holy body: to the ende that my feythe may be more ferme & my hope more ꝑfight in thy bountye / and my charite som­tyme so ꝑfightly inflamed that I maye experiently haue the heuenly mannat hat neuer may fayle. I knowe certeinly the myght of thy mercy may lēde me thy grace so moche desired and vysete me benygly with a brennynge spyryte whan the day of thy good pleasure shall come. And▪ though I be nat ī ­flamed with so great desyre of thy specy all deuout thynges yet haue I desyre by thy grace to be īflamed with that bren­nynge loue. Prayinge the good lorde that I may be made [...] tyner with all suche thy feruent louers: & that I may be noū bred in theyr deuout company.


¶ Howe mekely thou oughtest to beseche the grace of de­uocion and to renounce thy selfe. Cap .xv.

IT behoueth the instauntly to seche the grace of deuo­cyon / & to aske incessaūtly to abyde it paciently feith­fully / ioyously to receiue it / & mekely to conserue. & with that studiously to remytt vnto god the tyme & the maner of his so uerayne vysitacōn / vnto the tyme his pleasure be to come vnto the. & prīcipally thou oughtest to meke the / whē thou felyst but litell deuocion within the. & for all that thou oughtest nat to late thy selfe to fall / or sorowe to moche īordinatly. For full often our blessed lorde in a short momēt gyueth the which be fore he hath longe tyme denyed. Also somtyme he gyuethe at the ende of praiours that he dyd deferre at y begynnīge of y same. If alwey grace were so sone gyuen y a mā might ha­ue it at his wyll or wysche / it shulde nat be easely borne of a weyk & inꝑfect soule. And therfore in good hope & meke pacience the grace of deuocion ought to be abyden & yu oughteste to īpute it vnto thy selfe & to thy sinnes when it is nat gyuen vnto the or when it is secretly take awey frome the somtyme a litell thynge it is that may let or hyde thy grace if that may be called litell yt letteth so great a vaile. But be it litel or great if thou take that same awey & ꝑfectly ouercome it thou shalt obteyne that thou desyrest or incōtynēt that thou with all thy herte hast geuen thy selfe to god. And therfore seche nat this nor y at thy pleasure: but put the hole in the handes of god Thou shalt certenly fynde thy selfe vnyght vnto hym / and in great peas of thy soule. For ther is no thynge / y ought to be so sauery & pleasaūt / as is the pleasure & deuyne wyll of god Than who someuer lyft vp his intent vnto god with a sym­ple perfecte herte / so voyde hym & make hym naked from all disordinat loue or pleasure to any creat thynges of al y worl­de he is most mete to receyue the gyft of deuocion. Forowre lorde gaue his blessynge there where he foūde the vessels cle­ne & voide. And the more perfectly that any renoūce mortifie despise / & contempne theymselfe & all the lowe thynges / the [Page] soner grace shall entre & copiously aboūd so that he shall fele his hert lyfte vp as though it were set in a fredom and thē he shall se his hert largely habounde / & meruelously Ioy wyth in hym selfe for that the hand of god shalbe ouer wym and he shall submytte hym perpetually into hys holy handes. And so shall the man be blessed that secheth god with all his herte & his soule shall be taken in vayne werkes. But suche one cer­teynly in the receyuynge the holy body of Iesu Criste mery­teth and deserueth the grace of deuyne vnyon vnto god.

¶ For he beholdeth nat only hys propre deuocion / & cōsola­cyon: but the great honoure & glory of god.

¶ Howe we ought to she we our necessites vnto iesu crist and aske hym benygne grace. Cap .xvi.

O Ryght swete & most beloued lorde / whiche I nowe desire to receyue. Thou good lorde knowest the sikenes of soule and necessyte that I suffre. In what euylles / and vi­ces I slepynge am put. Howe often greued / temptyd / trou­bled and dyssolute. I come vnto the lorde to haue consolacy­on and comfort. I speke to the lorde thou knowest all my se­crete and inwarde thoughtes / whiche be▪ manyfeste / & open vnto the. It is thou only that perfectly mayeste helpe me for thou knoweste what vnto me necessarye: and of what goo­des aboue all other I haue moostenede.

¶ Albeit I am poore in vertue: alas yet mercyfull lorde be­holde me beynge here before the pore and naked: demaund­ynge pyteously thy swete grace & mercy. And geue thy po­re begger that dyeth for hunger / some of thy heuēly refeccōn and chafe my colde herte wyth the brenninge flame of thy loue. And illumyne me that amblyndede / and maye nat see: with that clerenes of thy presence. ¶ Take awaye from my thought: al the erthely and inwardelye thynges: and turne theym vnto me and make me thynke theym foule and bytter and all greuous and contrarye thynges vnto me.

¶ And they that maye please the: I maye take also in plea­sure. [Page] And all erthely creat thynges to haue in oblyuyon / and redresse my herte toward is the into heuen. And late me nat wauer nor erre vpon erthe: but thou only to be my swetnesse & consolacōn: my mete & drynke: my loue and all my ioye: so that my wyll be chaunged. enflamed and brenne allvnto the So that I may be made a spirite & inwardly vnight vnto y by grace / & brennynge loue. and suffre me nat blessed sauy­our to deꝑte from the fastynge & drye with hunger & thurst: but do with me mercyfully: as often: as thou hast done mer­uelously in thy holy seruauntes. what meruele is it vnto me that am nat all enflamed in the: seynge that thou arte the brē nynge fyre alwey illumynynge and lyghtnynge the vnder­standynge of thy creatures.

¶ Of the brēnynge loue & great affeccion that we shulde haue to receyue our sauyour crist iesu. Cap̄ .xvii.

O Lorde god ī soueraine deuocōn brennynge loue / and all feruent offeccion of herte: I desyre as many other holy / & deuoute ꝑsones haue desyred to receyue which hath ben greatly pleasaūt vnto the holynes of their lyfe by great deuocyon. O my god and eternall loue & my eternall felicy­te. I by ryght greate desire wysshe to receiue the as worthely / and as reuerently as euer dyd any of thy holy seruaūtes. All be it that I am nat worthy to haue so greate felynges of deuocion: yet offre I vnto the thaffeccions of my hert asve­rely as though I had all the brennynge & flamynge desyres that they had. Also I gyue and offre vnto the insoueraine reuerence / & veneracōn: all that a good debonayer herte maye conteyne. And wyll nat nor couete to reserue any thynge to myselfe: but offre and make sacryfice vnto the with fre / and ꝑfyght wyll myselfe with all my good is. Lorde god my cre:+ature & redemer thys day I desire to receyue the with suche affeccion / reuerēce / praisynge / honour worthynes / and loue & suche feith hope / & puryte as thy right holy moder & glori­ous virgyn Marye conceyued the: whanne she answerede [Page] mekely & deuoutly vnto thaūgell y shewede vnto hir the holy mystery of the incarnacion of the: the sonne of god. ¶ Se here the hande mayde of god / so be it done as thou hast said And the right excellent precursor saynt Iohn̄ Baptyste that wyth great Ioy sprange in thy presence by inspiracion of y [...] holy goost thanne beynge wythin the wombe of his moder. And afterwarde beholdynge the Iesu walkynge mekely a­monge men he greatly mekinge hymselfe to the same wyth a deuout mynde sayde. The frēde of the spouse standeth and harkeneth & wyth cōforte Ioyes for to here the voyce of the spouce. And so I wische to be enflamed with great & holy de­syre / & with all my herte present me vnto the: & for that I gy­ue & offre vnto the for me / & for all theim that be recōmended vnto my prayers: all the Iubylacōns of deuout hertis wyth brennynge affeccions: that excessyue thoughtis: the hye and spūall illumynacōns / & the heuenly vicōns wyth all the ver­tues / & praisynges as well celebrate as to be celebrate of all y creatures of heuen & erthe: to thende that thou lorde be wor­thely praysed & ꝑpetually gloryfyed of all creatures beseche­ynge the lorde to receyue my praiers & desyres of thy infinite benediccions & praysynges without ende: which right wisly be due vnto the after the greate habūdaunce & multytude of thy inestymable magnyficence. And so my desyre is to yelde vnto the at all houres & all momentis of tyme / & so I desyre & beseche all the heuenly spirites with all feithfull cristen crea­tures for to yelde vnto the praisynges. with effectuous pray­ers: all the vniuersall people prayse the. All generacyons / & kyndes magnyfie the holy / and swete name in great Ioye / & brennynge deuocion. & that they that celebratys that ryght hye and holy sacrament / & receyueth it in playne feythe / and great reuerence & deuocyon: may merite towardis the / and fynde grace & mercy. And for me wretchede synner I meke­ly beseche the whan I shall haue a tast of that swete vnyon / & deuocōn so moch wysshed & desired: that I may be fulfylled & fed so meruelously at that heuenly & holy table: that at my [Page] deꝑtinge from thens: thou good lorde wyll haue me pore si­ner in thy pyteous remembraunce.

¶ That a man shulde nat be to curious a īquisitor of y holy sacramēt: but a meke folower of crist iesu in submittynge his reason & felynge to the holy feyth. Ca .xviii.

IT behoues the to kepe the from to curyous īquysicy­on of the ryght profounde sacramēt if thou wilte nat be cōfoūded in thy proprevyce / and drowned in the deppeth of opinyons. For he that wyll inquire of the hye maiestye of god: he shall anone be oppressed & thrust downe from ye glo­ry of the same. God may open more than man maye vnder­stande. The deuoute / & meke inquisicyon of truthe ys alwey redy to be doctryned and taught. And yf thou studye to god by the holy / true and entyer sētences of holy faders: it ys nat reprouable: but well to be praysed. And that symplenesse ys well to be praysed: that leuethe the wayes of dyfficultyes / & questions / and goeth by the playne / and ferme pathe of the cōmaundementes of god. Many haue lost theyr deuocyon: in sechynge so besily the hye inspekeable thynges. ¶ It ys ynoughe to demaunde of the fast feythe. pure / and clene lyfe and nat the hye and subtyll profounde mysteryes of god. for yf thou may nat comprehende and vnderstande that / that is within the: howe mayste thou thanne vnderstande thynges that be aboue the. Submytte the thanne mekely vnto god & all thy vnderstandynge to the feythe of holy churche / and ye lyght of true science shall be gyuen vnto the as shalbe to the moost necessarie and profytable. Some be greatly tempted wyth the feythe of that holy sacrament: but that is not to be reputede vnto theym: but rather vnto that cursed ennemye the fende. And for that lette not thy good wyll / nor dyspute nat in thy thowghtes: nor answere nat to the doubtes that the ennemye of helle bryngeth before the / but fermely trust in the wordes of god. and beleue in sayntes: and holy prophet­tes: and than shall that cursed ennemye soone [...]e frome the. It is often ꝓfytable that the seruauntes of god suffre / & su­steyne [Page] suche assaultes. For the ennemy tenpteth nat the mys creauntes / & vnfeythfull people: nor also the greate synners that he surely holdeth & possedeth: but he tempteth / trayuai­leth / and tormenteth in dyuers maners the good feythefull and crysten creatures. And therfore kepe the alweyes wyth meke true feythe. & doubte the nought: but come vnto thys holy sacrament with lowly reuerence. And that thou mayst nat vnderstande: cōmytte it vnto almighty god / for he shal nat disceyue the: But he shall be dysceyued: that to moche trusteth in hym selfe. God walked wythe the symple people and shewed hym selfe openly vnto the meke. He gaue vnder­standynge vnto theym that were pore in spyrite. And he hyd his grace and secretes from theym that were proude / high & curious. For the humayne reason may lyghtly erre & be dis­ceyued: but the true feyth may neuer dysceyue nor fayle. All reason and naturail inquysicion ought to folowe feythe: wt ­out farther reasonynge. ¶ Fast feyth and true loue surmō ­teth all curious inquysicion: pryncypally in thys mater. and meruelously openeth to vnderstandynge in secrete maner of thys holy and ryght excellent sacrament. ¶ O eterdall god and withoute mesure of myght: and bounte: which hast ma­de the infinite greate and wounderfull thinges in the heuen and erthe whiche none ys sufficyent to enquyre / vnderstand or fynde the secretes of thy so meruelous werkes. and ther­fore they be called in estymable: for mannis reason no wther may / nor can comprehende thy werkes. To whome god lor­de almyghty: be gyuen laude / and praysynge wytheouten ende.


¶ Thus endethe the forthe boke folowinge Iesu Cryst & the cōtempnynge of y worlde.

¶ This boke Inprinted at londō in Fletestrete at the signe of the George by Richard Pynson Prynter vnto the Kynges noble grace.

Richard Pynson

Deo gracias.

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