THE FOLLOWING OF CHRIST.

Diuided into foure Bookes.

Written in Latin by the Learned and deuout Man, THOMAS A KEMPIS, Canon-Regular of the Order of S. AVGVSTINE.

Whereunto also is added the golden EPISTLE of S. BERNARD.

And Also certaine rules of a Christian life, made by IOHN PICVS the elder, Earle of MIRANDVLA·

Translated into English by B. F.

Printed with licence. 1615.

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TO THE HONO­RABLE AND VERTVOVS ELIZABETH VAVX, Mother to the Lord HAR­RODOVVNE.

HOnorable & Right Wor­thy, the publike demon­stration which you haue lately giuen of your true desire to follow the footsteps of our Lord, vndergoing so heauy a Crosse for his sake, with so ready and resol­ued a minde, hath moued mee to de­dicate this little Booke of the IMI­TATION OF CHRIST vnto you: assuring my selfe that it will be no lesse gratefull to you to see it ap­peare in light, purged from many mistaken sentences which were in the former Translation, then the rea­ding and practise thereof wil be pro­fitable to others; it being so diuine and excellent a worke, as in the opi­nion [Page] of such as can best judge of this matter, of all the Bookes which are written, that treate of Spirit & Chri­stian Perfection, the holy Scripture excepted, it is inferiour to none, if it excelleth not all.

No book hath bin more approued by generall consent, none more often printed & translated into diuers lan­guages, none more esteemed, com­mended, yea commanded also by the chiefe Masters of Spirit of some reli­gious Orders, to be often read by e­uery one in priuate, and once a week publikely to al. So full of sweet sense is this diuine Flower, that the most spirituall Bees may daily draw from thence great plentie of celestiall ho­ny. It is a dish of so diuine meat, that it neuer satiates the deuout mind: but as the Wisdome of God doth pro­mise to all such as sit at that heauen­ly banquent; so shal they find in this spiritual food, The more they eat it, the more [Page] they shall hunger after it. Eccles. 4.

And the reason hereof is, for that it containeth so great depth of spirit, and so great store and variety of hea­uenly documents, that it seemeth e­uer new to the Reader, and like ano­ther Manna, affordeth to euery one that delightfull taste which best a­greeth with the palate of his soule: and none can loath it, but they whose lustes doe carry them to Aegyptian slauery. A true Israelite may feed vp­on it forty yeares together, and euer finde such pleasing taste and encrea­sing strength by vse therof, as wil su­staine him in the desert of this world, and enable him to goe on without fainting, till he arriue at his promised inheritance of eternall rest.

The practise of that which this booke doth teach, couereth the soule with the rich garment of grace, and adorneth it with the splendent pearls of Euangelical perfection, which ma­keth [Page] vs more pleasing in the sight of God, then can the deckings of all earthly jewels make the fairest Lady in the Kingdome, where you are, ap­peare beautifull to the eyes of men. It returneth abundant gaine for su­stained losses, and enlargeth the li­berty which is now restrained. It rai­seth vp to cheerefull confidence the debased head, & placeth in a Throne of endlesse honour those who in this world doe seeme imprisoned in the blacke cloud of disgrace.

To you therefore who haue so willingly endured the losse of your earthly substance, I haue thought good to present this Euangelicall Pearle, and incomparable Treasure contained in a little roome. Here you shall find the most perfect manner of conforming our selues to Christ our heauenly paterne, & see the vertues set forth in their colours, which did most shine in the life of our Lord [Page] himselfe; and reade in plaine and vul­gar phrase those Lessons of high per­fection, which are commended vnto vs by the highest Wisdome, & which haue made as many Saints, as they haue had diligent and obseruant fol­lowers.

Accept therefore, I beseech you, this little Present, presented by him who wisheth you much more tem­porall happines, then your present state affordeth; and that endlesse glory, whereof your present suffe­ring is no vncertaine pledge. This first of Nouember. 1612.

Yours in all dutie. B. F.

A TABLE OF THE CHAPTERS OF THIS ensuing Booke.

THE FIRST BOOKE.
  • OF the imitation of Christ, and con­tempt of all the vanities of the world. pag. 1
  • Of the humble conceit of our selues. pag. 4
  • Of the doctrine of truth. pag. 7
  • Of prudence and foresight in our actions. pag. 13
  • Of the reading of holy Scriptures. pag. 14
  • Of inordinate desires, and affections. pag. 16
  • Of flying vaine hope and pride. pag. 17
  • That too much familiarity is to be shun­ned. pag. 19
  • Of obedience and subiection. pag. 21
  • Of auoiding superfluitie of words. pag. 23
  • Of the obtaining of peace, and zeale of spirituall profit. pag. 25
  • Of the profit of aduersitie. pag. 29
  • Of resisting temptations. pag. 30
  • Of auoiding rash iudgement. pag. 36
  • Of workes done of charitie. pag. 38
  • Of bearing with the defects of others. pag. 40
  • [Page]Of religious life. pag. 42
  • Of the examples of the holy Fathers. pag. 44
  • Of the exercise of a good and religious per­son. pag. 48
  • Of the loue of solitude and silence. pag. 54
  • Of compunction of heart. pag. 60
  • Of the consideration of humane misery. pag. 64
  • Of the consideration of death. pag. 70
  • Of iudgement, and the punishment of sin. pag. 77
  • Of the feruent amendment of our whole life. pag. 83
THE SECOND BOOKE.
  • OF spirituall conuersation. pag. 93
  • Of humble submission. pag. 99
  • Of a good and peaceable man. pag. 101
  • Of a pure minde and vpright intention. pag. 104
  • Of the consideration of ones selfe. pag. 106
  • Of the comfort of a good conscience. pag. 108
  • Of the loue of Iesus aboue all things. pag. 111
  • Of familiar conuersation with Iesus. pag. 114
  • Of the want of all comfort. pag. 118
  • Of thankefulnes for the grace of God. pag. 124
  • How few the the louers of the Crosse of Christ are. pag. 128
  • Of the high way of the holy Crosse. pag. 131
THE THIRD BOOKE.
  • [Page]OF the inward speech of Christ vnto a faithfull-soule pag. 143
  • That truth speaketh inwardly with­out noise of words. pag. 145
  • That the words of God are to bee heard with humilitie, and that many weigh them not. pag. 147
  • That we ought to liue in truth and humili­tie in the sight of God. pag. 152
  • Of the wonderfull effect of diuine grace. pag. 156
  • Of the proofe of a true Louer. pag. 161
  • That grace is to be hid vnder the veile of humilitie. pag. 165
  • Of a meane conceit of our selues in the sight of God. pag. 170
  • That all things are to bee referred vnto God, as vnto the last end. pag. 173
  • That despising the world, it is sweet to serue God. pag. 175
  • That the desires of our heart are to be exa­mined and moderated. pag. 179
  • Of the effects of patience, and of strife a­gainst concupiscence. pag. 182
  • Of the humble obedience of a subiect, ac­cording to the example of Christ. pag. 185
  • [Page]Of the secret Iudgements of God to bee considered, lest wee bee extolled in our good deeds. pag. 188
  • What we ought to doe and say in euerie thing which we desire. pag. 191
  • That true comfort is to be sought in God alone. pag. 194
  • That all our care is to be placed in God. pag. 196
  • That temporall miseries, by the example of Christ, are to be borne patiently. pag. 198
  • Of suffering of iniuries, and who is proued to be truely patient. pag. 201
  • Of the acknowledging of our owne infir­mitie: and of the miseries of this life. pag. 204
  • That wee are to rest in God aboue all his gifts. pag. 208
  • Of the remembrance of the manifold be­nefits of God. pag. 213
  • Of foure things that bring much peace. pag. 217
  • Of flying curious inquiry of the life of o­thers pag. 221
  • Wherein doth the firme peace of the heart, and true profit consist. pag. 223
  • Of the excellencie of a free minde, which humble prayer better deserueth then reading. pag. 226
  • [Page]That priuate loue most hindereth from the chiefest good. pag. 229
  • Against the tongue of slanderers. pag. 432
  • How we ought to call vpon God, and blesse him when tribulation draweth neere. pag. 233
  • Of crauing the diuine aide, and confidence of recouering grace. pag. 235
  • Of the contempt of all creatures to finde our Creator. pag. 240
  • Of the deniall of our selues, and forsaking our affections. pag. 244
  • Of inconstancy of heart, and of directing our finall intentions vnto God. pag. 247
  • That God is sweet aboue all things, and in all things to him that loueth. pag. 249
  • That there is no security from temptation in this life. pag. 252
  • Against the vaine iudgements of men. pag. 255
  • Of a full and pure resignation of our selues for the obtaining freedome of heart. pag. 257
  • Of good gouernment in outward things, and of recourse to God in dangers. pag. 260
  • That a man be not ouer earnest in his af­faires. pag. 262
  • That man hath no good of himselfe, nor a­ny thing whereof he can glory. pag. 264
  • Of the contempt of all temporall honors. pag. 267
  • [Page]That our peace is not to be placed in men. pag. 268
  • Against vaine and secular knowledge. pag. 271
  • Of not drawing outward things to our selues. pag. 274
  • That credit is not to be giuen to all men: and how prone man is to offend in words. pag. 275
  • Of putting our trust in God, when euill words arise. pag. 280
  • That all grieuous things are to be endured for life euerlasting. pag. 284
  • Of the euerlasting day, and shortnesse of this life. pag. 287
  • Of the desire of euerlasting life, and how great rewards are promised to those that fight valiantly. pag. 292
  • How a desolate person ought to offer him­selfe into the hands of God. pag. 299
  • That a man ought to imploy himselfe in workes of humilitie, when force is wan­ting for higher exercises. pag. 305
  • That a man ought to esteeme himselfe vn­worthy of comfort, and to haue deser­ued stripes. pag. 307
  • That the grace of God is not giuen to those that sauour of earthly things. pag. 310
  • Of the different motions of Nature and Grace. pag. 313
  • [Page]Of the corruption of nature, and efficacie of diuine grace. pag. 320
  • That we ought to deny our selues, and imi­tate Christ by the Crosse. pag. 325
  • That a man bee not too much deiected, when he falleth into some defects. pag. 329
  • Of not searching into high matters, and in­to the secret iudgements of God. pag. 333
  • That all our hope and trust is to be fixed in God alone. pag. 341
THE FOVRTH BOOKE.
  • WIth how great reuerence Christ is to be receiued. pag. 349
  • That great goodnes and charity of God is bestowed vpon man in this Sacramēt. pag. 356
  • That it is profitable to communicate often. pag. 361
  • That many benefits are bestowed vpon them that communicate deuoutly. pag. 365
  • Of the dignity of this Sacrament, and Priestly function. pag. 371
  • An Interrogation of the exercise before Communion. pag. 374
  • Of the discussing of our owne conscience, and purpose of amendment. pag. 375
  • Of the oblation of Christ on the Crosse, and resignation of our selues. pag. 379
  • That we ought to offer vp our selues, and [Page] all that is ours vnto God, and to pray for all. pag. 381
  • That the holy Communion is not lightly to be forborne. pag. 386
  • That the Body of Christ, and the holy Scripture are most necessary vnto a faith­full soule. pag. 392
  • That he that is to communicate, ought to prepare himself with great diligence. pag. 399
  • That a deuout soule ought to desire with her whole heart to be vnited vnto Christ in the Sacrament. pag. 403
  • Of the feruent desire of some deuout per­sons to receiue the body of Christ. pag. 406
  • That the grace of deuotion is obtained by humilitie and deniall of our selues. pag. 409
  • That we ought to manifest our necessities vnto Christ, and to craue his grace. pag. 412
  • Of burning loue and vehement desire to receiue Christ. pag. 414
  • That a man bee not a curious searcher of this Sacrament, but an humble follower of Christ, submitting his sense vnto faith. pag. 418

OF THE FOL­LOWING OF CHRIST. THE FIRST BOOKE.

CHAP. I. Of the Imitation of Christ, and contempt of all the vanities of the world.

HEE that followeth me▪ wal­keth not in darknes, saith our Lord. Ioh. 8. These are the words of Christ, by which we are admonished, that we ought to imi­tate his life, and manners, if we will be partakers of his diuine light, and be deliuered from all blindnesse of heart. Let therefore our chiefe care be to meditate vpon the life or Iesus Christ.

[Page 2]2 The doctrine of Christ excee­deth all the doctrine of the Saints: and hee that had the light of spirit, would discouer therein a secret and hidden Manna. But it falleth out that many, who often heare the Gospell of Christ, doe yet feele in themselues but slender motion of any holy de­sire, because they are voide of the Spirit of Christ. But whosoeuer will fully and feelingly vnderstand the words of Christ, must endeauour to conforme his life wholly to the life of Christ.

3 What will it auaile thee to di­spute profoundly of the Trinitie, if thou be void of humility, and there­by displeasing to the Trinitie? High words surely, make a man neither holy nor just; but a vertuous life maketh him deare to God. I had ra­ther feele compunction, then vnder­stand the definition thereof. 1. Cor. [...]. If thou diddest know the whole [Page 3] Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the Philosophers, what would all that profit thee, without charity, and the grace of God; Vanity of vani­ties, and al is vanity, but only to loue God, and wholly to serue him. Ec­cles. 1. This is the highest wisdome, by contempt of the world, to tend towards the Kingdome of heauen.

4 It is therefore vanity to seeke after fading riches, and to repose trust in them. It is also vanity to gape after honors, and to climbe to high degrees. It is vanity to follow the appetites of the flesh, and to labour for that, for which thou must after­wards suffer more griueuous punish­ment. Vanity it is to wish to liue long, and to be carelesse to liue well. It is vanity to minde onely this pre­sent life, and not to fore-see those things which are to come. It is vani­ty to set thy loue on that which spee­dily passeth away, and not to hasten [Page 4] thither, where euerlasting joy is per­manent.

5 Call often to minde this pro­uerbe: That the eye is neuer satisfied with seeing, nor the eare filled with hearing. Eccles. 1. Endeauour there­fore to withdraw thy heart from the affection of visible things, and to turne thy selfe to the inuisible. For they that follow their sensuality, doe staine their owne consciences, and lose the grace of God.

CHAP. II. Of the humble conceit of our selues.

ALL men by nature desire to know: but what auaileth know­ledge without the feare of God? Eccles. 1. & Arist. l. 1. Metaph. cap. 1. Surely, an humble husbandman that feareth God, is better then a proud Philosopher that neglecting him­selfe, laboureth to vnderstand the course of the heauens. Who so [Page 5] knoweth himselfe wel, groweth dai­ly more contemptible in his owne conceit, and delighteth not in the praises of men. If I vnderstood all that is to be knovvne in the vvorld, and were not in charity, what would that helpe me in the sight of God, vvho vvill judge mee according to my deeds?

2 Giue not thy selfe to inordinat desire of knowledge: for therein is much distraction and deceit. The learned are willing to seeme so to o­thers, and to bee accounted wise. 1. Corinth. 8. There be many things, vvhich to knovv, doth little or no­thing profit the soule: and he is ve­ry vnvvise, that bestovveth his la­bour about other things, then those that may auaile him for the health of his soule. Many vvords doe not satisfie the desires of the heart: but a good life comforteth the minde, and a pure conscience giueth great [Page 6] assurance in the sight of God.

3 Hovv much the more thou knovvest, and hovv much the better thou vnderstandest, so much the more grieuously shalt thou there­fore bee judged, vnlesse thy life bee also more holy. Be not therefore ex­tolled in thy owne mind for any arte or science which thou knowest; but rather let the knowledge giuen thee, make thee more fearefull. If thou thinkest that thou vnderstandest and knowest much; know also that there be many things more, which thou knowest not. Thinke not too well of thy selfe, but rather confesse thine ignorance. Rom. 12. Why wilt thou preferre thy selfe before others, sith there bee many more learned and skilfull in the Law then thou? If thou wilt know or learne any thing profitable, desire not to be knowne, and to be little esteemed of by men.

4 The highest and most profita­ble [Page 7] reading, is the true knowledge and consideration of our selues. It is great wisedome and perfection to esteeme nothing of our selues, and to thinke alwaies wel and commen­dably of others. If thou shouldest see another openly sinne, or commit any heynous offence; yet oughtest thou not to esteeme the better of thy selfe, for thou knowest not how long thou shalt bee able to remaine in good estate. Wee are all fraile, but thou oughtest to esteeme none more fraile then thy selfe. Gen. 8.

CHAP. III. Of the doctrine of Truth.

HAppy is he, whom Truth by it selfe doth teach, not by figures, and voices that passe away; but as it is in it selfe. Psal. 93.1. Our owne opinion and sense doe often deceiue vs, and it discernes little. What auai­leth it to dispute and contend about [Page 8] darke and hidden things; whereas for being ignorant of them, we shall not so much as once be reprehended at the day of Iudgment? Eccl. 3. It is a great folly to neglect the things that are profitable and necessary, and giue our mindes to that which is cu­rious and hurtfull: we haue eies and doe not see. Psal. 113.

2 And what haue we to doe with the termes and distinctions of Logi­tians? Hee to vvhom the eternall Word speaketh, is deliuered from multitudes and diuersities of opini­ons. By that one Word all things doe speake, and all declare the same: and this is the beginning, and that which speaketh vnto vs. No man without that Word vnderstandeth or judgeth rightly. Hee to vvhom all things are one, vvho draweth all things to one, and seeth all things in one, may enjoy a quiet minde, and remaine peaceable in God. O God, [Page 9] the eternal Truth, make me one with thee in euerlasting charity. It is te­dious to me often to reade and heare many things. In thee is all that I vvould haue, and can desire. Let all Doctors hold their peace: let all creatures be silent in thy sight: speak thou alone vnto me.

3 How much the more one is re­tired vvithin himselfe, and becom­meth inwardly sincere and pure; so much the more, and higher myste­ries doth he vnderstand vvithout la­bour: for that he receiueth light of vnderstanding from aboue. Mat. 11. Luk. 10. A pure, sincere and stayed spirit is not distracted, though hee be imployed in many vvorkes: for that hee worketh all to the honor of God, and laboureth for invvard tranquillitie, without seeking him­selfe in any thing he doth. Who hin­ders and troubles thee more then the vnmortified desires of thine owne [Page 10] heart? A good and deuout man first of all disposeth in himselfe his out­vvard vvorks: neither do they draw him to the desires of an inordinate inclination; but he ordereth them to the prescript of reason. Who hath a greater combate, then he that labou­reth to ouercome himselfe? This ought to be our endeauour, to con­quer our selues daily, to vvaxe stron­ger, and be more able to subdue our passions, and alwayes in this way to get some ground.

4▪ All perfection in this life hath some imperfections mixt with it: and no knowledge of ours is voide of darknes and ignorance. An humble knowledge of thy selfe is a more se­cure way to God, then a deep search after learning: yet learning is not to be blamed, nor the only knowledge of any thing whatsoeuer is to be dis­liked, it being good in it selfe, and ordained by God: but a good con­science, [Page 11] and a vertuous life is to be preferred before it. And for that ma­ny endeauour, rather to get know­ledge, then to liue well: therefore they are often deceiued, and reape either none, or very slender profit of their labours.

5 O, if men bestowed as much labour in the rooting out of vices, and planting of vertues, as they do in mouing doubts and questions; ney­ther would there so much hurt bee done, nor so great scandall be giuen in the world, nor so much loosnes be practised in places erected for ver­tue! Truely at the day of Iudgement we shall not be examined what wee haue read, but what we haue done: nor how well we haue spoken, but how vertuously we haue liued. Math. 23. Tell me now, where are all those great Doctors and Ministers, with whom thou wast well acquainted, whilest they liued and flourished in [Page 12] learning? Now others possesse their liuings, and perhaps doe scarce euer think of them. In their life-time they seemed something, and now they are not spoken of.

6 O, how quickly doth the glory of this world passe avvay! Eccl. 2. Would God their life had beene an­swerable to their learning, then had their study and reading bin to good purpose. How many perish in this world by reason of vaine learning, who take little care of the seruice of God? Tit. 1. And because they rather choose to bee great then humble; Rom. 1. therefore they vanish away in their owne thoughts. Mat. 18. and 23. He is truely great, that is great in charity. He is truly great, that is little in himselfe, and that maketh no ac­count of the height of honor. He is truly wise, that accounteth all earth­ly things as dung, that he may gaine Christ. And he is truly learned that [Page 13] fulfilleth the will of Christ, and for­saketh his owne. Phil. 3.

CHAP. IV. Of Prudence and Fore-sight in our actions.

WE must not giue eare to euery suggestion or instinct, but ought warily & leasurely to ponder things according to the wil of God. 1. Io. 4. But (alas) such is our weakenesse, that wee rather often beleeue, and speake euill of others, then good. Those that are perfectly vertuous, do not easily giue credit to euery thing that is told them, Gen. 8. for they know that humane frailtie is prone to euill, and very subiect to faile in words. Iam. 3.

2 It is great wisedome not to be rash in thy proceedings, nor to stand stiffely in thine owne conceits. Pro­uerb. 19. as also not to beleeue eue­ry thing which thou hearest; nor presently to relate againe to others, [Page 14] what thou hast heard, or doest be­leeue. Prou. 17. Consult with him that is wise, and of a good consci­ence, and seeke to be instructed by a better then thy selfe, rather then to follow thine owne inuentions. A good life maketh a man wise, accor­ding to God, and giueth him expe­rience in many things. Prou. 15. and Eccl. 1. How much the humbler one is in himselfe, and more subiect and resigned vnto God; so much the more prudent shall hee bee in all his affaires, and enioy greater peace and quiet of heart.

CHAP. V. Of the reading of holy Scriptures.

TRuth, not eloquence, is to bee sought for in holy Scriptures. Each part of them is to be read with the same spirit it was made. Wee should rather search after spirituall profit in Scriptures, then subtility of [Page 15] speech. Rom. 15. We ought to reade deuout and simple books, as willing­ly as high and learned. Let not the reputation of the writer offend thee, whether he be of great or small lear­ning: but let the pure word of truth moue thee to reade. Search not who spake this, or that, but marke what is spoken. 1. Cor. 2.

2 Men passe away; but the truth of our Lord remaineth for euer. Psal. 110. and Luk. 21. God speaketh vn­to vs sundry wayes, without respect of persons. Our owne curiosity of­ten hindereth vs in reading of the Scriptures, when as we will examine and discusse that which wee should rather passe ouer without more ado. Rom. 2. & 10. & Col. 3. If thou de­sire to reape profite, reade humbly, plainly and faithfully: neuer desire the estimation of learning. Inquire willingly, and heare with silence the words of holy men: dislike not the [Page 16] Parables of Elders, for they are not recounted without cause. Prou. 1. and 18.

CHAP. VI. Of inordinate desires, and affections.

WHensoeuer a man desireth any thing inordinately, he is present­ly disquieted in himselfe. The proud and couetous can neuer rest. The poore and humble in spirit, liue to­gether in all peace. The man that is not wholly dead in himselfe, is quickely tempted, and ouercome in small and trifling things. The weake in spirit, and that is yet in a manner subiect to his appetites, and prone to sensible things, can hardly with­draw himselfe altogether from earth­ly desires. And therefore hee is of­ten afflicted, when hee goeth about to retire himselfe from them▪ and easily falleth into indignation, when any opposition is made against him.

[Page 17]2 And if he hath followed there­in his appetite, hee is presently dis­quieted with remorse of conscience; for that hee yeeldeth to his passion, which profiteth him nothing to the obtaining of the peace hee sought for. True quiet of minde therefore, is gotten by resisting our passions, not by obeying them. There is no peace in the heart of a carnall man, nor of him that is addicted to out­ward things, but in the spirituall and feruent.

CHAP. VII. Of flying vaine Hope, and Pride.

HEE is vaine that putteth his trust in men, or creatures. Hier. 17.1. Bee not ashamed to serue o­thers for the loue of Iesus Christ: nor to be esteemed poore in this world. Presume not vpon thy selfe, but place thy hope in God. Psalm. 30. Doe vvhat lyeth in thy power, and [Page 18] God will assist thee. Trust not in thine owne knowledge, nor in the wisdome or prudence of any liuing creature: but rather in the grace of God, who helpeth the humble, and humbleth the presumptuous and proud. Hier. 9.

2 Glory not in wealth, if thou haue it, nor in the power of thy friends; but in God, who giueth all things, and aboue all desireth to giue thee himselfe. Extol not thy selfe for the stature and beauty of thy bodie, which is dissolued & disfigured with euery little sicknes. Take not plea­sure in thy naturall gifts, or wit, lest therby thou displease God, to whom appertaineth all the good whatsoe­uer Nature hath giuen thee.

3 Esteeme not thy selfe better then others, lest perhaps in the sight of God, who knoweth what is in man, thou be accounted worse then they. Exod. 3. & 12. Bee not proud [Page 19] of thy good workes, for the iudge­ments of God are far different from the iudgements of men: and that of­ten offendeth him, which pleaseth them. Iob 9. If there be any good in thee, beleeue that there is much more in others, that so thou mayst the bet­ter keepe within thy heart the preci­ous treasure of humility. It is no pre­iudice vnto thee to esteeme thy selfe worse then all the world: but it hur­teth thee very much, to preferre thy selfe before any one. The humble enioy continuall peace; but in the heart of the proud is enuy, and often indignation.

CHAP. VIII. That too much familiarity is to be shunned.

LAy not thy heart open to euery one: but treate of thy affaires with the wise, and such as feare God. Eccl. 8. Conuerse not much with yong people and strangers. Flatter not the [Page 20] rich; neither doe thou appeare wil­lingly before great personages. Keep company with the humble, simple, deuout, and vertuous; and conferre with them of those things, that may edifie. Be not familiar with any wo­man: but in generall commend all good women to God. Prou. 5. De­sire to bee familiar with God alone, and his Angels, and fly the know­ledge of men.

2 Wee must haue charitie to­wards all, but familiaritie with all is not expedient. Sometimes it falleth out, that the fame of some person that is not knowne, is much estee­med; whose presence notwithstan­ding is not gratefull to the eyes of the beholders. Wee thinke some­times to please others by our com­pany, and wee rather distate them with our disordered manners, and the euill customes which they disco­uer in vs.

CHAP. IX. Of Obedience, and Subiection.

IT is a great matter to liue in Obe­dience, to be vnder a Superiour, and not to be at our owne dispositi­on. It is much safer to liue in the state of subiection, then of gouernment. Many liue vnder Obedience, rather for necessitie, then for charitie: and such are discontented, and doe easi­ly repine and murmure. Neither can they attaine to freedome of minde, vnlesse they willingly and heartily put themselues vnder Obedience for the loue of God. Goe whither thou wilt, thou shalt finde no rest, but in humble subiection vnder the go­uernment of a Superiour The ima­gination and change of places haue deceiued many.

2 True it is, that euery one wil­lingly doth that which agreeth with his owne sense and liking; and is apt [Page 22] to effect those most, that are of his owne minde: But if God bee a­mongst vs, we must leaue our owne judgement, that so peace and quiet­nesse may bee the better preserued. Who is so wise, that he can fully know all things? Trust not there­fore too much to thine owne con­ceits: but bee willing to heare the judgement of others. If that which thou thinkest be good, and notwith­standing doest leaue it for God, and followest the opinion of another, it shall be better for thee.

3 I haue often heard, that it is more secure to heare and take coun­sell, then to giue it. It may also fall out, that each ones opinion may bee good: but to refuse to yeeld to o­thers, when as reason, or cause re­quireth it, is a token of wilfulnesse and pride.

CHAP. X. Of the auoiding supersluity of words.

FLy the vnquietnesse of men as much as thou canst: for the talke of vvorldly affaires hindereth very much, although they bee re­counted with sincere intention: Mat. 4. & 14. for wee are quickely defi­led, and as it were, enthralled with vanitie. Ioan. 6. I could vvish that I had often times held my peace, vvhen I haue spoken: and that I had not beene in company. Why doe wee so willingly speake, and talke one with another, when notwithstanding wee seldome re­turne to silence, vvithout hurt of conscience? The cause wherefore we so willingly talke, is, for that by discoursing one with another, wee seeke to receiue comfort one of an­other: and desire to ease our minde, ouer-wearied with sundry thoughts: [Page 24] Matth. 7. and wee talke willingly, and thinke of those things which we loue best, and most desire; or of those, which we feele most contrary vnto vs. Rom. 2.

2 But alas, oftentimes in vaine, and to no end: for this outvvard comfort is cause of no small losse of invvard, and diuine consolation. Therefore we must watch and pray, lest our time passe without any fruit or profit. If it be lawfull and expe­dient for thee to speake; speake those things that may edifie. An e­uill custome, and neglect of our owne good, doth very much slacke the raynes to inconsiderate speech: Yet deuout discourses of heauenly things, doe greatly further our pro­gresse in spirit, Act. 1. especially vvhere persons of one minde and spirit be gathered together in God. Rom. 15.

CHAP. XI. Of the obtaining of peace, and zeale of spirituall profit.

WEE might enioy peace, if wee would not busie our selues with the words and deeds of other men, which appertaine nothing to our charge. How can hee liue long in peace, that thrusteth himselfe into the cares of others, or that little or seldome recollecteth himselfe with­in his owne breast? Blessed are the simple and pure minds: for they shal enioy much peace.

2 What is the reason why some of the Saints were so perfect, and contemplatiue; Because they labou­red to mortifie themselues wholly to earthly desires; and therefore they could with their whole heart, giue themselues to God, and freely attend to their owne affaires. Wee are too much led by our owne pas­sions, [Page 26] and too solicitous for transito­ry things. Wee also seldome ouer­come any one vice perfectly, and are not inflamed with a feruent desire to profit in spirit: and therefore we re­maine cold in deuotion, and full of tepiditie.

3 If we were perfectly dead vnto our selues, and not intangled within our owne breasts: then wee might also haue some taste of diuine things, and feele the sweetnesse of heauenly contemplation. The greatest, and in­deed the whole impediment is, for that wee are not free from our passi­ons, and disordered inclinations: neither doe wee endeauour to enter into that path of perfection, which the Saints haue walked before vs: and when any small aduersitie befal­leth vs, we are too quickly deiected, and turne our selues to humane com­forts.

4 If wee endeauour like men of [Page 27] courage, to stand continually in the battell; surely wee should feele the fauourable assistance of God from heauen. For he who giueth vs occa­sion to fight, to the end we may get the victory, is ready to succour those that fight manfully, and doe trust in his grace. If wee esteeme our pro­gresse in religious life, to consist only in these exteriour obseruations; our deuotion will quickly be at an end. Let vs set the axe to the roote, that being freed from passions, wee may enioy true peace of minde.

5 If euery yeare we would roote out one vice, we should quickly be­come perfect men. But now often­times we perceiue it goeth contrary, and that wee were better, and of a more pure conscience at the begin­ning of our conuersion, then after many yeares of our profession. Our feruour and profit should encrease daily; but now it is accounted a [Page 28] great matter, if one can retaine but some part of his first spirit. If vvee vvould vse but a little violence in the beginning, then should wee bee able to performe all things aftervvards vvith ease and joy of heart.

6 It is a hard matter to leaue that to which wee are accustomed; but harder to doe against our owne vvills. But if thou doest not ouer­come little and easie things; how wilt thou ouercome harder matters? Resist thy inclination in the first mo­tions, and breake off euill customes, lest perhaps by little and little they dravv thee to greater difficultie. O, if thou diddest consider how much inward peace to thy selfe, and joy to others thou shouldest procure by de­meaning thy selfe vvell; I suppose thou wouldest be more carefull of thy spirituall profit.

CHAP. XII. Of the profit of Aduersitie.

IT is good that we haue sometimes griefe and aduersities: for they of­ten make a man enter into himselfe, and remember that he is heere in ba­nishment, and ought not to place his trust in any worldly thing. It is good that we be some times contradicted; and that there bee an euill or hard conceit had of vs: and this, although wee doe, and intend well. These things helpe often to the attaining of humilitie, and defend vs from vaine-glory: for then wee chiefely seeke God for our inward witnesse; when outwardly we be contemned by men, and when there is no credit giuen vnto vs.

2 And therefore a man should settle himselfe so fully in God, that hee needed not to seeke many com­forts of men. When a good & vertu­ous [Page 30] man is afflicted, tempted, or troubled with euill thoughts; then hee vnderstandeth better the great neede hee hath of Gods assistance, without whose helpe he perceiueth hee can doe nothing that is good. Then also he sorroweth, lamenteth, and prayeth for the miseries he suffe­reth. Then is he weary of liuing lon­ger, and wisheth that death would come, that hee might be dissolued, and bee with Christ. Then also hee well perceiueth, that complete secu­rity, and perfect peace cannot be had in this world.

CHAP. XIII. Of Resisting Temptations.

SO long as wee liue in this world we cannot be without tribulation and temptation: for as it is written in Iob: Temptation is the life of man vpon earth. Euery one therefore ought to be carefull, and diligently [Page 31] to arme himselfe with prayer against his temptations, lest the Diuell finde time and place to deceiue him; who neuer sleepeth, but goeth about see­king whom he may deuour. No man is so perfect and holy, but hath some­times temptations: and we cannot be altogether free from them.

2 Temptations are often profita­ble vnto men; though they be trou­blesome and grieuous: for in them man is humbled, purged and instru­cted. All the Saints haue passed and profited through many tribulations and temptations; and they that could not beare temptations, became re­probate and fell from God. There is no order so holy, nor place so secret, where there be not temptations or aduersities.

3 There is no man that is altoge­ther free from temptations, whilest he liueth on earth: for in our selues is the cause thereof, being borne [Page 32] with inclination to euill. When one temptation or tribulation goeth a­way, another commeth: and we shal euer haue something to suffer, be­cause wee haue lost that innocencie with which we were created. Many seeke to flie temptations, and do fall more grieuously into them. By flight alone we cannot ouercome; but by patience and true humility, wee be­come stronger then all our enemies.

4 Hee that onely auoideth them outwardly, and doth not pluck them vp by the root, shall profit little: yea temptation will the sooner returne vnto him; and he shall feele himselfe in worse case then before. By little and little, and by patience with lon­ganimitie (through Gods help) thou shalt more easily ouercome, then with violence, and thine owne im­portunity. Often take counsell in temptation, and deale not, roughly with him that is tempted; but giue [Page 33] him comfort, as thou wouldest wish to be done to thy selfe.

5▪ The beginning of al euil temp­tations, is inconstancie of minde, and little confidence in God: for as a shippe without a sterne is tosted to and fro with the waues: so the man that is negligent, and leaueth his purpose, is many wayes tempted. Fire trieth iron, and temptation a just man. We know not oftentimes what we are able to doe, but temp­tations doe shew vs what wee are. We must be watchfull, especially in the beginning of the temptation, for the enemie is then more easily ouer­come, if hee bee not suffered to en­ter the dore of our hearts, but bee resisted without the gate at his first knocke. Wherefore, one said: Ouid. libr. 1. de remed. amoris. With­stand the beginnings, for an after-remedie comes often too late. First there commeth to the minde an euill [Page 34] thought, then a strong imagination thereof, afterwards delight, and an euill motion, and then consent: and so by little and little our wicked e­nemie getteth full entrance, whilest he is not resisted in the beginning. And how much the longer one is negligent in resisting; so much wea­ker doth he become daily, and the e­nemy stronger against him.

6 Some suffer greatest temptati­ons in the beginning of their con­uersion; others in the later end; o­thers againe are much troubled al­most through the whole time of their life. Some are but easily temp­ted, according to the wisdome, and equity of the diuine appointment, which weigheth the state and de­serts of men; and ordaineth al things for the sauing of his elect and chosen seruants.

7 We ought not therefore to de­spaire when we are tempted; but so [Page 35] much the more feruently to pray vn­to God, that hee will vouchsafe to helpe vs in all tribulation; who sure­ly according to the saying of S. Paul, Will make with temptation such is­sue, that we may be able to sustaine it. Let vs therefore humble our selues vnder the hand of God in all temp­tation and tribulation; for he wil saue and exalt the humble in spirit.

8 In temptations and afflictions man is proued, how much he hath profited; and his merit is thereby the greater before God, and his vertues doe more openly appeare. Neither is it any great matter if a man bee de­uout and feruent, when he feeleth no heauines: but if in time of aduersitie he beare himselfe patiently, there is hope of great good. Some are kept from great temptations, and are of­ten ouercome in smal ones, which do daily occurre; to the end that being humbled, they may neuer presume [Page 36] on themselues in great matters, who in so small things doe see themselues so weake.

CHAP. XIV. Of auoiding rash Iudgement.

TVrne thine eyes vnto thy selfe, and beware thou judge not rashly the deeds of other men. Mat. 7. Rom. 25. Eccls. 3. In judging of others a man alwaies laboureth in vaine, often er­reth, and quickely sinneth; but in judging and discussing of himselfe, he alwaies laboureth fruitfully. We often judge of things according to our owne desire; for priuate affecti­on bereaues vs easily of true judge­ment. If God were alwaies the pure intention of our desire, wee should not be so much troubled with the re­pugnance of our sensualitie.

2 But oftentimes some inward se­cret inclination, or outward affecti­on occurreth, which draweth vs after [Page 37] it. Many secretly seeke themselues in their actions, and know it not. They seeme also to liue in good peace of minde, when things are done accor­ding to their will and opinion; but if it succeed otherwise then they desire, they are straight waies troubled and much afflicted. The diuersities of judgements and opinions, cause of­ten dissentions betweene friends and neighbours; betweene religious and deuout persons. Matth. 12. Luk. 12.

3 An old custome is hardly bro­ken, and no man is willingly led fur­ther then himselfe liketh. If thou dost more rely vpon thine own reason or industry, then vpon the vertue of o­bedience to Iesus Christ; Hier. 13. it will be long before thou be illumi­nated with grace, for almighty God will haue vs perfectly subiect vnto him, and that we transcend the nar­row limits of humane reason, enfla­med with his loue.

CHAP. XV. Of Workes done of Charity.

FOr no worldly thing, nor for the loue of any man, is any euill to be done: Matth. 18. but yet for the profit of one that standeth in need, a good worke is sometimes to be left off, or changed also for a better. For by doing this, a good worke is not lost, but changed into another of greater merit. The exteriour worke without charity profiteth nothing; 1. Cor. 13. but whatsoeuer is done of charitie, be it neuer so little and con­temptible in the sight of the world, it is fruitfull, and of great esteeme in the sight of God. For God weigheth more with how much loue one wor­keth, then how much he doth. Hee doth much, that loueth much. Luk. 7.

2 He doth much, that doth a thing well: he doth well, that rather serueth the common good of others, then his [Page 39] owne will. Phil. 2. Oftentimes it see­meth to bee charity, and it is rather carnality: because naturall inclinati­on, selfe-will, hope of reward, and desire of our owne commodity will seldome be wanting.

3 He that hath true and perfect charity, seeketh himselfe in nothing; but onely desireth in all things that the glory of God should be exalted. Phil. 2.3. & 1. Cor. 13. He also en­uieth none; because he loueth no pri­uat good: neither will he reioyce in himself; but wisheth aboue al things to enioy God. Psal. [...]7.24. He attri­buteth nothing that is good to any man, but wholly referreth it vnto God, from whom, as from the foun­taine, all things proceed: in whom fi­nally all Saints haue perfect rest, by fruition of his glory. O, he that had one sparke of perfect charitie, how easily would hee discerne, that all earthly things be full of vanity!

CHAP. XVI. Of bearing with the defects of others.

THose things that a man cannot a­mend in himselfe or in others, he ought to suffer patiently, vntill God ordaine otherwise. Thinke that per­haps it is better so, for thy triall and patience, without which our merits are not much to be esteemed. Thou oughtest to pray, notwithstanding, when thou hast such impediments, that God would vouchsafe to helpe thee, and that thou mayest beare them patiently. Matth. 6. Luk. 11.

2 If one that is once or twice warned doth not amend, contend not with him; but commit all to God, that his will may be fulfilled, and his name honored in all his ser­uants, vvho knovveth hovv to turne euill into good. Matth. 6. Endeauour to be patient in bearing with the de­fects and infirmities of others: for [Page 41] that thy selfe also hast many things, which must bee suffered by others. Thess. 5. & Ioh. 1. Luk. 6. If thou canst not make thy selfe such an one as thou wouldest; how canst thou ex­pect to haue another in all things to thy liking? Wee vvould vvillingly haue others perfect, and yet vvee a­mend not our owne faults.

3 We vvill haue others seuerely corrected, and vvill not be corrected our selues. The large libertie of o­thers displeaseth vs: and yet we will not haue our desires denied vs. Wee will haue others kept vnder by rigo­rous lawes; but in no sort wil we our selues be restrained. And thus it ap­peareth, how seldome we weigh our neighbour in the same balance with our selues. If all men were perfect, vvhat should vvee haue to suffer of our neighbour for God?

4 But novv God hath thus or­dained, that vve may learne to beare [Page 42] one anothers burden: Gal. 6. for no man is without defect, no man with­out burden, no man sufficient of him­selfe, no man endued with so much wisdom as he needeth: but we ought to beare with one another, comfort one another, helpe, instruct, and ad­monish one another. 1. Thess. 5. and 1. Cor. 12. Aduersitie best discoue­reth how great vertue each one hath: for occasions make not a man fraile, but doe shew what he is.

CHAP. XVII. Of Religious life.

THou must learne to breake thy owne will in many things, if thou wilt haue peace and concord with others. It is no small matter to dwell in community, or in a congre­gation, and to conuerse therein with­out complaint, and to perseuer there faithfully vntill death. Blessed is he that hath there liued well, and ended [Page 43] happily. If thou wilt perseuer in grace as thou oughtest, and profit in vertue, esteeme thy selfe as a banish­ed man, and a pilgrime vpon earth. Thou must be contented for the loue of Christ to be esteemed as a foole in this world, if thou desire to leade a vertuous, and perfect religious life.

2 The wearing of religious habit and shauing of the crowne, doe lit­tle profit; but change of manners, and perfect mortification of passions make a true religious man. 1. Pet. 2. He that seeketh any thing else but God, and the health of his soule, shal finde nothing but tribulation and sorrow. Eccls. 1. & 4. Neither can he remaine long in peace, that labou­reth not to be in the meanest place, and subiect to all.

3. Thou camest to serue, not to be serued. Know that thou wast called to suffer and to labour, not to be idle or to spend thy time in talke. Mat. 20. [Page 44] Heere in the Schoole of Christ men are prooued as gold in the fornace. Heere no man can stand, vnlesse hee humble himselfe vvith his vvhole heart, for the loue of God.

CHAP. XVIII. Of the examples of the holy Fathers.

COnsider the liuely examples of the holy Fathers, in whom true perfection and religion shined; and thou shalt see how little it is, and al­most nothing, which we doe now in these dayes. Heb. 11. Alas, what is our life, if it be compared to them! The Saints and friends of Christ ser­ued our Lord in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakednesse, in labour and vvearinesse, in vvatching and fa­sting, in prayer and holy meditati­ons, in persecutions and many re­proaches.

2 O, how many and grieuous tri­bulations suffered the Apostles, Mar­tyrs, [Page 45] Confessors, Virgins, and all the rest that endeauoured to follow the steppes of Christ! They hated their liues in this world, Ioh. 12. that they might possesse their soules in euerla­sting life. Mat. 7. O, how strait and poore a life led the holy Fathers in the vvildernes! How long and grie­uous temptations suffred they! How often and how grieuously were they assaulted by their ghostly Enemie! How feruent prayers offered they daily to God! How rigorous absti­nence did they vse! Hovv feruent zeale and care had they of their spi­rituall profit! How strong, and con­tinuall a combate had they for the ouercomming of vices! How pure and vpright intention kept they vn­to God! In the day they laboured, and in the night they attended to continuall prayer, although when they laboured also, they ceased not from mentall prayer.

[Page 46]3 They spent all their time with profit: euery houre seemed short for the seruice of God: and for the great sweetnes they had in contemplati­on, they forgot the necessity of cor­porall refection. They renounced all riches, dignities, honors, friends and kinsfolkes; they desired to haue no­thing vvhich appertained to the world; they scarse tooke things ne­cessary for the sustenance of life; they grieued to serue their bodies, euen it necessity. They were poore in earthly things, but rich in grace and vertues Outwardly they wanted, but in­wardly they were replenished with grace and spirituall comfort.

4 They were strangers in the world, but neere and familiar friends to God. They seemed to themselues as nothing, and abiect to this world: but they were precious, and beloued in the eyes of God. They were groū ­ded in true humility, liued in simple [Page 47] obedience, walked in charity and pa­tience: and therefore they profited daily in spirit, and obtained great grace in Gods sight. They were gi­uen for an example and patterne of perfection in Gods Church, & their example should more stir vs vp to a desire of our spiritual profit, then the nūber of the luke-warme & dissolute liuers draw vs to the neglect therof.

5 O, how great was the feruour of all religious persons in the begin­ning of their holy institution! How great was their deuotion to prayer! How diligent emulation of vertue! How exact discipline flourished! How great reuerence and obedience vnder the rule of their Superiour ob­serued they in al things! Their foot­steps yet remaining, doe testifie that they were indeed holy and perfect men; who sighting so valiantly trode the world vnder their feet▪ Now he is greatly accounted of, that breaketh [Page 48] not the rule, & that can with patiēce endure that which he hath professed.

6 O coldnes and negligence of our time, that we so quickly decline from our first feruour, and are come to that passe, that very slouth and coldnesse of spirit makes our owne liues tedious vnto vs! Would to God the desire to profite in vertue did not wholly sleepe in thee, who hast often seene the holy examples of deuout and religious soules.

CHAP. XIX. Of the Exercise of a good and Religious person.

THe life of a religious person ought to shine with all vertues; that he may inwardly be such, as outwardly he seemeth to men. Mat. 5. And with reason thou oughtest to bee much more within, then is perceiued with­out: for God beholdeth the heart, Psal. 33. Heb. 4. Psal. 15. whom we ought most highly to reuerence [Page 49] wheresoeuer wee are, and walke in purity like Angels in his sight; and to renue daily our purposes, and stir vp our selues to feruour, as though this were the first day of our conuer­sion; and to say: Helpe me, my God, in this my good purpose, and in thy holy seruice; and grant that I may now this day begin perfectly: for that which I haue done hitherto, is nothing.

2 According to our purpose, shall be the successe of our profit, and much diligence is necessary to him that will profit much. And if he that firmely purposeth, often faileth; what shall he doe, that seldome pur­poseth any thing, or with little cer­tainty? It may fall out sundry waies that we leaue off our purpose: and if for light occasions wee omit our accustomed exercises, it seldome passeth without some losse. The pur­pose of just men is rather grounded [Page 50] vpon the grace of God, then on their owne wisdome, in whom also they alwayes haue confidence, in whatso­euer they take in hand. For man doth purpose, but God disposeth: neither is the way of man in his own hands. Prou. 16.

3 If an accustomed exercise bee sometimes omitted for some worke of charitie, or of intention to profit our neighbour, it may easily after­ward be recouered: Eccles. 7. but if it be lightly left through inconstan­cie or negligence, it is an offence, and will proue hurtfull. Though vve endeauour what we can, yet shall we faile in many things. But yet me must alwaies purpose something certaine, especially against that which most hinders vs. We must examine well, and order both our exteriour and in­teriour actions; for that both are ex­pedient for our progresse in vertue.

4 If thou canst not alwaies recol­lect [Page 51] thy selfe, yet do it sometimes, and that at least once euery day; to wit, in the morning, or euening. In the mor­ning make thy good purpose; Deu. 4. in the euening examine thy self what thou hast bin that day in word, deed or thought: for that in these often­times perhaps thou hast offended God and thy neighbour. Arme thy selfe with courage against the mali­cious attempts of thine enemy. Re­fraine gluttony, and thou shalt more easily bridle all the disordered incli­nations of the flesh. Neuer be altoge­ther idle, but either reading, or wri­ting, or praying, or meditating, or la­bouring something of profit for the common good: but bodily exercises are to be discreetly vsed, and not to be vndertaken equally of all.

5 Those things that be not com­mon, are not to be done in the sight of al: for priuate things are best done in secret. But thou must beware, thou [Page 52] neglect not that to which thou art bound by common rule, and be rea­dy in performing thy priuate deuoti­ons: but hauing fully and faithfully accomplished all thy duties, & those things that were enioyned thee, if thou hast further leasure, returne to thy selfe as thy deuotion desireth. All cannot vse the same exercise, but one is more conuenient for this person, another for that. According to the diuersity of times also, diuers exerci­ses are fitting: for some suite better with festiuall daies, others with daies of labour. We haue need of one kind in temptations, and of others in time of peace and quiet. Wee desire to thinke of other things when we are sorrowfull, then we do when we are cheerefull in our Lord.

6 When principall feasts draw neere, good exercises are to be renu­ed; and the intercessions of Saints more feruently to be implored. From [Page 53] feast to feast, we should make some good purpose, as though wee were then to depart out of this world, and to come to the euerlasting feasts of heauen. And therefore we ought to prepare our selues carefully at holy times, and to liue more deuoutly, and to keepe more exactly all things that wee are to obserue, as though shortly we were to receiue reward of our labour at Gods hands.

7 And if it bee differred, let vs thinke that we were not well prepa­red, nor worthy as yet of so great glory, as shal be reuealed in vs at the time appointed: and let vs labour to prepare our selues better for our de­parture. Rom. 8. Blessed is that ser­uant (saith S. Luke the Euangelist) whom when his Lord commeth, he shall finde watching: Luk. 13. veri­ly I say vnto you, he shall place him ouer all that he possesseth. Mat. 24.

CHAP. XX. Of the loue of Solitude and Silence.

SEeke a fit time to attend to thy selfe, and often thinke of the bene­fits of God. Leaue curious things. Reade ouer such matters, as may cause rather compunction, then the labour of much study. If thou with­draw thy selfe from superfluous talk, and idle wandring about, as also from hearing of newes & tales; thou shalt finde sufficient and fit time to thinke of good things. The greatest Saints auoided the company of men as much as they could, and chose to liue to God in secret. Hebr. 3.

2 One said: As often as I haue bin amongst men, I haue returned lesse man. Senec. ep. 7. The same we finde by experience when wee talke long. It is easier to keepe silence altoge­ther, then not to exceed in words. It is easier for a man to keep home, then [Page 55] to demeane himselfe as he ought in all things abroad. He therefore that desireth to attaine to internal, & spi­rituall graces, ought with Iesus to withdraw himselfe from the people. Mat. 4. No man goeth safely abroad, but hee that gladly keepeth home. Eccl. 3. No man securely gouerneth, but he that delighteth to liue in sub­jection. No man securely comman­deth, but he that hath learned readi­ly to obey.

3 No man securely reioyceth, vn­lesse he hath within him the testimo­ny of a good conscience. And yet the security of Saints was alwaies full of the feare of God. Neither were they lesse carefull and humble in them­selues, for that they shined outward­ly with grace and great vertues. But the security of euill men riseth of pride and presumption, and in the end deceiueth them. Neuer promise to thy selfe security in this life, al­though [Page 56] thou seeme to be a good re­ligious man, or deuout Hermite.

4 Oftentimes those, who in the judgement of men were of better e­steeme, haue bin in greatest danger, by reason of their too much confi­dence. Wherefore it is more profita­ble to many, not to bee altogether free from temptations, but to be of­ten assaulted; lest they should be too secure, and so perhaps be lifted vp in pride: lest also they should too free­ly giue themselues to outward com­forts. O how good a conscience should he keepe, that would neuer seeke transitory joy! Would neuer busie himselfe with the things of this world! And how great peace and quietnesse should hee possesse, that would cut off al vaine solicitude, and only think of diuine things; and such as are profitable for his soule, and place all his hope in God!

5 No man is worthy of heauenly [Page 57] comfort, vnlesse hee haue diligently exercised himselfe in holy compun­ction. If thou desirest true contrition of heart, retire thy selfe into some secret and solitary place, and exclude from thy minde the tumults and vn­quietnesse of the world, as it is writ­ten: In your chambers be yee sorry. Psal. 4. In thy Cell thou shalt finde that which abroad thou shalt often lose. The Cell, if thou continue in it, waxeth sweete, and if thou loue not to stay in it, it becommeth irke­some. If in the beginning of thy conuersion thou accustome thy selfe to remaine in it, and keepe it well, it will be aftervvards vnto thee a deare friend, and a most pleasant com­fort.

6 In silence and quietnesse a de­uout soule perfecteth her selfe, and learneth the secrets of holy Scrip­tures. There shee findeth flouds of teares, vvith vvhich shee may euery [Page 58] night wash and clense her selfe, and be made so much the more familiar with her Creator, by how much the further off she liueth from all world­ly disquiet. Psal. 6. Who so therefore withdraweth himselfe from his ac­quaintance & friends; God with his holy Angels will draw neare vnto him. It were better for a man to lye hidden, and haue care of himselfe, then being carelesse of his soule, to worke miracles in the world. It is commendable for a religious person to goe abroad seldome, to fly to bee seene, & to be vnvvilling to see men.

7 Why wilt thou see that which is not lawfull for thee to haue. The world passeth away, and all his de­lights. The desires of our sensuality draw vs to vvalke abroad, but vvhen the houre is past, what bringest thou home, but a burdened conscience, and distracted thoughts? A joyfull going abroad, bringeth often a sor­rowfull [Page 59] comming home; and a mer­ry euening maketh a sad morning. Prou. 14. So all carnall joy entereth gently, but in the end it causeth re­morse and destruction. What is else­where to be seene, which thou canst not see here? Eccl. 1. Here thou seest heauen and earth, & al the elements, of which all other things are made.

8 What is there any where to be seene, that can long continue vnder the Sunne? thou thinkest perhaps to satiate thy selfe, and haue thy fill; but thou shalt neuer attaine it. If it were possible for thee to see all things created, present before thine eyes, what were it all but a vaine and vn­profitable sight? Eccl. 3. Lift vp thine eyes to God in heauen, and aske par­don of thy sins and negligences. Psa. 122. Leaue vaine things to the vaine. Attend thou to that which God cō ­mandeth. Shut thy dore vpon thee, & cal vpon Iesus thy beloued. Mat. 6. [Page 60] Be thou with him in thy Cell, for thou shalt not finde so great peace in any other place. If thou hadst stayed within, and not giuen eare to idle newes, thou haddest kept thy selfe better in good peace. But now that thou delightest sometimes to heare nouelties, it is fit thou sufferest for it some trouble and disquiet of minde.

CHAP. XXI. Of Compunction of heart.

IF thou wilt profit any thing, keepe thy selfe alwayes in the feare of God, and yeeld not too much scope to liberty. Prou. 19. Containe all thy senses vnder the rule of discipline, and giue not thy selfe to foolish mirth. Giue thy selfe to compuncti­on of heart, and thou shalt finde de­uotion. Compunction discouereth much good, which with too much li­berty is quickly lost. It is meruaile that a man can euer perfectly reioice [Page 61] in this life, if he consider his banish­ment, and weigh the many perills, wherwith his soule is inuironed. The leuity of our minds, & the little care we haue of our faults, makes vs not to feele the sorrowes of our soule.

2 But oftentimes we vainly laugh, when wee haue just cause to weepe. There is neither true libertie, nor good mirth, but that which is in the feare of God, accompanied with a good conscience. Happy is he, that can auoid all cause of distraction, and draw himselfe to the vnion of holy compunction. Happy is he, that can abandon all that may defile, or bur­den his conscience. Fight manfully: one custome ouercomes another. If thou canst forbeare to intermeddle with that which belongs to others; they will not hinder thee in that which thou hast to doe.

3 Busie not thy selfe in matters which appertaine to others: neither [Page 62] doe thou meddle at all with the af­faires of thy betters. Looke first of al to thy selfe, and haue a more especial care to admonish thy self, then whō ­soeuer thou louest best. If thou hast not the fauour of men, be not there­fore grieued; Gal. 1. but let this seeme vnto thee a most just cause of griefe, that thou lookest not to thy self with that care, which beseemeth the ser­uant of God, and a deuout religious person. It is oftentimes better and more secure, that a man hath not ma­ny consolations in this life, especially such, as are agreeable to the inclina­tion of our corrupt nature. But that we haue none at all, or doe seldome taste diuine comforts, the fault is ours, that doe not seeke for compun­ction of heart, nor do wholly forsake the vaine comforts of this world.

4 Acknowledge thy selfe vnwor­thy of diuine comforts, & that thou hast deserued great tribulatiō. Whē a [Page 63] man hath perfect contrition, then is the whole world grieuous and loth­some vnto him. Iudg. 2. & 20. A good man findeth alwaies sufficient cause of teares and sorrow; for whether he consider himself, or weigh the estate of his neighbour, hee knoweth that none liueth here without tribulatiō. 2. King. 13. And how much the more throughly he considereth himselfe; so much the more is his sorrow. Our sinnes and vices in which wee are so plunged, that we can seldome con­template the things of heauen, doe minister vnto vs matter of most just sorrow and hartie contrition.

5 If thou didst thinke more dili­gently of thy death, then of liuing long, thou wouldest without doubt be more careful in the amendment of thy life. Eccles. 7. And if thou woul­dest consider within thy selfe, the paines of hell, or of Purgatory. Mat. 25. I am perswaded it would moue [Page 64] thee to endure any labour or paine whatsoeuer in this world, and not to feare any kinde of austerity. But be­cause these things enter not to the heart, and wee still loue that which delighteth vs, therefore we remaine cold and void of spirituall vigour.

6 Oftentimes our want of spirit is the cause, that our wretched bo­dies do so quickly complaine. Pray therefore with all humility to our Lord, that he will vouchsafe to giue thee the spirit of contrition, and say with the Prophet: Feed me, O Lord, with the bread of tears, & giue me to drink with teares in measure. Ps. 79.

CHAP. XXII. Of the consideration of humane misery.

MIserable thou art wheresoeuer thou be, & whithersoeuer thou turnest, if thou turnest not thy selfe to God. Why art thou troubled when things succeed not as thou [Page 65] wouldest, and desirest? Who is there that hath all things as he wil? Eccls. 7. Neither I, nor thou, nor any man vpon earth. There is not any man in this world without some tribulation or affliction, though he be a King, or a Pope. Who thinkest thou then is in best case? Truely he that willingly suffereth something for God.

2 Many weake and feeble men say: Behold how well such a one liues, hovv rich, hovv povverfull, hovv beautifull, how great a man he is: but lift vp thine eyes to the riches of heauen, Luk. 12. and thou shalt see that al temporal prosperity is as no­thing, full of vncertainty, and which rather oppresseth then otherwise: for it is neuer had vvithout solicitude and feare. The felicitie of man con­sisteth not in hauing abundance of temporall riches: a meane suffi­ceth. Prou. 19. Iob. 14. It is true­ly misery enough to liue vpon earth. [Page 66] How much more a man desireth to bee spirituall, so much the more di­stasteful is this present life vnto him: for hee better perceiueth, and seeth more clearely the defects of humane corruption. Eccls. 2. To eat, to drink, to watch, to sleepe, to labour, to re­pose, and to bee subiect to all other necessities of nature, is doubtlesse a great misery to a deuout minde, that would gladly be free, and deliuered from all sinne.

3 The inward man is much op­pressed with these corporall necessi­ties, whilest he is in this world. And therefore the holy Prophet prayeth with great deuotion to be deliuered from them, saying: Deliuer mee, O Lord, from my necessities. Psal. 24. But wo bee to them that know not their misery, and much more to them that loue this miserable and corrup­tible life. For some there bee so do­tingly affected vnto it, that although [Page 67] with labor and begging, they scarce get bread to eate, yet if they might liue heere alwaies, they would care but little for the kingdom of heauē.

4 O senselesse creatures, and in­fidels in hart, who lie buried so deep in earth, that they haue no taste nor feeling, but of sensuall things! Rom. 8. But miserable wretches, they shall in the end feele, to their cost, how vile, & of no esteeme was that which they loued. The Saints of God, & the deuout seruants and friends of Christ respected little what pleased their naturall inclinations, or what flouri­shed in this life; but with their whole hopes and intentions they sought af­ter the riches of heauen. 1. Pet. 51. Heb. 11. Their whole desire was car­ried vp to those euerlasting treasures which are inuisible; lest they might haue bin drawne to base affections, by the loue of visible things. Lose not thy hope to profit in spirituall [Page 68] matters: there is yet time: the houre is not yet past. Rom. 13.

5 Why wilt thou defer thy good purpose? Rise vp in this very instant, and beginne, and say: Now is the time to worke, the time to fight: novv is it a fit time to amend my selfe. When any tribulation or affli­ction doth befall thee, then is the time to merit. Thou must passe tho­rovv fire and vvater before thou come to rest. Psalm. 65. Vnlesse thou vse violence to thy selfe, thou shalt not ouercome thy euill inclinations. As long as vvee carrie about vvith vs this fraile bodie of ours, vvee can neuer bee vvithout sinne, nor liue vvithout tediousnes and griefe. We vvould gladly enjoy quietnesse, and bee deliuered from all miserie; but for that vvee haue by sinne lost our innocencie, wee haue together with it lost also our happinesse. Rom. 7. Gen. 3. and therefore it behoueth vs [Page 69] to haue patience, and to expect the mercie of God till this iniquity haue an end, and that which is mortall be swallowed vp of life. 2. Cor. 5.

6 O, how great is the frailety of man, alwaies inclined to euil! Gen. 6 To day thou confessest thy sins, and to morrow thou committest againe the same which thou didst confesse. Now thou proposest to take heed, and within an houre thou doest as if thou haddest made no purpose at al. We may therefore with great reason humble our selues, and neuer admit any thought of our owne esteeme, being so weak as we are, and subiect to euery change. 2. Mach. 9. Full soone (God-knowes) is that lost by negligence, which with much la­bour was hardly gotten by grace.

7 What will become of vs in the end, that doe so timely beginne to wax cold? Woe be vnto vs, if wee will now giue our selues to ease, as [Page 70] if all were already in peace and secu­rity; when as yet there scarce appea­reth so much as any signe of true sanctity in our conuersation. It were needfull that we were taught good manners againe like children, if so perhaps there might be some more hope of our amendment and profit in spirit.

CHAP. XXIII. Of the consideration of death.

THe houre of death will quickly ouertake thee, and therefore looke how thou liuest. To day a man is liuing, and to morrow he doth not appeare; and being once out of sight, he is also quickly out of minde. Iob. 9. & 14. Luk. 12. O dulnes and hard­nes of mans heart, who thinketh on­ly on that he seeth, and foreseeth not that which is to come! Hebr. 9. Thou shouldest alwayes so order thy thoughts and actions, as if this very [Page 71] day thou wert to depart this life. If thou hadst a good conscience, thou wouldest not much feare death. Luk. 12. It is better to auoid sin, then to flie death. Sap. 4. If thou be not pre­pared to day; how wilt thou be pre­pared to morrow? Mat. 24. & 25. To morrow-day is vncertaine, and whe­ther thou shalt see it or no, thou knowest not.

2 What doth it auaile vs to liue long, when we do so little amend? A long life doth not alwaies make vs better, nay rather it oftentimes hea­peth vpon vs a greater load of sins, O that wee had spent one day well in this world! Many doe reckon the yeares of their conuersion, but full slender oftentimes is the fruit of a­mendment. If it be a dreadfull thing to die, perhaps it will be more dan­gerous for thee to liue long. Blessed is hee, that hath alwayes before his eyes the houre of hia death, and di­sposeth [Page 72] himselfe daily therunto. Eccl. 7. If thou hast at any time seen a man die, thinke with thy selfe, that thou must one day passe the same way.

3 When it ts morning, think that perhaps thou shalt not liue vntill night; and when euening comes, do not dare to promise vnto thy selfe the next morning. Heb. 9. Be alwaies ready, & so order thy selfe, that death may neuer take thee vnprepared. Many die suddenly: for the Sonne of Man will come, when we least think of it. Luk. 21. When that last houre shal come, thou wilt begin to thinke far otherwise of thy life, and much lament that thou hast beene so slack and negligent. Matth. 24. Luk. 12.

4 O, how wise and happy is hee, that now laboureth to be such in his life, as he wisheth to be found at the houre of his death! For the perfect contempt of the world, the feruent desire to profit in vertue, the loue of [Page 73] discipline, the labour of penance, the readines of obedience, the forsaking of our selues, and the bearing pati­ently of all aduersitie for the loue of Christ, will giue great confidence of a happy end. Thou mayest doe much good whilest thou art wel; but when thou art sick, what thou wilt be able to doe, I know not. Few doe grow better, and amend themselues with sicknesse; as also they that wander much abroad, seldome become holy.

5 Trust not vpon thy friends or neighbours; neither do thou put off to future time the care of thy soules health: for thou shalt sooner be for­gotten, then thou doest imagine. Esay 30. & 31. Hier. 17. & 48. It is better now to prouide in time, and doe some good before thou goest, then to trust in the helpe of others, when thou art gone. Mat. 6. If thou hast no care of thy selfe now when thou hast time, who will be carefull [Page 74] for thee hereafter? The time which now thou hast is very precious. Now are the daies of health. Now is the time acceptable. But alas, that thou spendest it so little to thy profit, in which thou mightest gaine eternall life! The time will come, when thou wilt desire one day or one houre to amend, and I cannot assure thee that thou shalt obtaine it.

6 O my dearest brother, from how great danger mayest thou deli­uer thy selfe! From how great feare maeyst thou bee freed, if thou doest now liue fearefull, and carefull of thy death! Labour to liue in such sort, that at the houre of death thou maist rather reioyce then feare. Learne now to die to the world, that thou maist then begin to liue with Christ. Learne now to contemne all earthly things, that thou mayest then freely go to Christ. Chastise now thy body with pennance, that thou mayst then [Page 75] haue assured confidence. 1. Cor. 9.

7 Ah foole, why dost thou thinke thou shalt liue long, being not cer­taine of so much as one day! Luk. 12. How many haue been deceiued, and taken out of this world on a sudden, when they least expected it? How often hast thou heard, how such a one was suddenly slaine, another was drowned, another falling from some high place brake his necke, another died at his meate, another when hee was playing: one came to his end by fire, another by sword, another by plague, another died by the hands of theeues? So as death is the end of al, and the life of man passeth away like a shadow.

8 Who will remember thee; and vvho vvill pray for thee after thy death? Iob 14▪ Do now, beloued bro­ther, doe novv vvhat thou canst, for thou knowest not how soone thou shalt die, nor what shall befall thee [Page 76] after thy death. Now whilest thou hast time, heape together eternall ri­ches. Matth. 1. Luk. 11. Thinke on nothing, but on the health of thy soule Gal. 6. Haue care only on that which belongeth to God. Luk. 16. Make the Saints of God thy friends by honouring them, and imitating their vertues, that when thou depar­test this life, they may receiue thee into their euerlasting dwellings. Hebr. 11.

9 Esteeme thy selfe as a pilgrime, and stranger vpon earth, and as one to whom the affaires of this world doe nothing appertaine. 1. Pet. 2. Keepe thy heart free, and lifted vp to God: for thou hast not heere any permanent Citie. Heb. 13. Send thi­ther thy prayers daily, with sighes and teares; that thy soule may de­serue to passe with much happinesse to our Lord after death.

CHAP. XXIV. Of Iudgement, and the punishment of sinne.

IN all things consider the end, and how thou wilt be able to stand be­fore that seuere Iudge, from whom nothing can be hidden, and is not ap­peased with gifts, nor admitteth ex­cuses, but judgeth according to ju­stice. Heb. 10. O most wretched and foolish sinner, that fearest sometimes the countenance of an angry man; what answer wilt thou make to God to whō al thy wickednes is known? Iob 9. Why prouidest thou not for thy selfe against that rigorous day of Iudgement, in which no man can be excused, or defended by another, but euery one will be burden enough to himselfe? Luk. 16. Now thy paines are profitable, thy teares acceptable, thy cries are heard, thy sorrow satis­fieth for thy sinnes, and purgeth thy soule. 2. Cor. 6.

[Page 78]2 The patient man hath a great and healthfull purgatory, Iam. 1. who receiuing iniuries, grieueth more for the others malice, then for his owne wrongs; Luk. 23. prayeth willingly for his aduersaries, and from his hart forgiueth their offences; Act. 7. de­layeth not to aske forgiuenesse of whomsoeuer hee hath offended; is sooner moued to compassion then to anger; vseth often violence to him­selfe; and laboureth with his whole force to subdue the flesh in all things to the spirit. It is better to purge our sinnes and vices now, then to reserue them for Purgatory. Verily the in­ordinate loue we beare to our selues deceiueth vs.

3 What other thing shal that fire feed on, but thy sinnes? How much the more thou sparest thy selfe now, and followest the desires of thy cor­rupt nature: so much the more grie­uously shalt thou be punished here­after: [Page 79] and so much the more matter dost thou keep for that purging fire. In the selfe-same wherin a man hath sinned, shall he be more grieuously punished. There shall the slouthfull be pricked forwards with burning goads. There shall the Gluttons be tormented with insatiable hunger and thirst. There shall the lasciuious and the louers of pleasures be coue­red ouer vvith burning pitch and brimston. The enuious like raging dogs, shall there howle for griefe.

4 There is no vice that shall not haue his proper torment. The proud shall be full of all shame and confu­sion. The couetous shall be in mise­rable want. One houre of paine there shall be more sharp, then an hundred yeares of most hard pennance heere. There is no rest there, nor comfort for the damned. Iob. 40. Heere yet sometimes our labours cease, and we enioy the comfort of our friends. Be [Page 80] now solicitous and sorrowfull for thy sinnes; that in the day of judge­ment thou mayest bee secure in the company of the blessed soules. For then shal the just stand in great con­stancy, against those that afflicted and oppressed them. Wisd. 5. Then shall hee stand to judge, who now doth humbly submit himselfe to the judgement of men. Then shall the poore and humble haue great confi­dence, and the proud shall be com­passed about on all sides with feare.

5 Then will it appeare, that hee vvas vvise in this vvorld, vvho had heere learned to be as a foole, and dispised for Christ. Then shall affli­ction patiently suffered delight vs, and iniquity shall stoppe her mouth, Then shall the deuout reioyce, and the irreligious mourne. Then shall the chastised flesh more flourish, then if it had bin alwaies nourished in de­lights. Psal. 106. Then shall the poore [Page 81] garment shine, and the precious robes appeare contemptiple. 2. Cor. 4. Then shall the meane cottage be more commended, then the sumptu­ous Palace. Then will constant pa­tience more auaile vs, then all earth­ly power. Then will simple obedi­ence bee more esteemed, then all worldly wisdome. Esay 29.

6. Then shall a good and pure conscience yeeld vs more comfort, then the profound learning of Phi­losophy. Then shall the contempt of riches weigh more then al the world­lings treasures. Then wilt thou bee more comforted that thou hast pray­ed deuoutly▪ then that thou hast fa­red daintily. Then wilt thou be more ioyful that thou hast obserued silēce, then that thou hast talked much. Then will good workes appeare of much more esteem, then faire words. Then a strict life and hard pennance will be more pleasing, then all earth­ly [Page 82] delights. Accustome thy selfe now to suffer a little, that thou mayst then bee deliuered from more grieuous paines. Proue heere first what thou canst endure hereafter. If now thou canst beare so little, how wilt thou be able to endure euerlasting tor­ments? If now a little suffering make thee so impatient, what will hell fire doe hereafter? Assure thy selfe, thou canst not haue two Paradises. It is impossible for thee to enioy delights heere in this world, and raigne here­after with Christ in heauen.

7 If thou haddest hitherto liued alwaies in honors and delights; what would it auaile thee, if thou shoul­dest presently die? Luk. 12. All is va­nity, but to loue God, and onely to serue him. Eccles. 1. And he that lo­ueth God with his whole heart, nee­deth to feare neither death, punish­ment, judgement, nor hell: for per­fect loue giues secure accesse to God. [Page 83] Rom. 8. But hee that delighteth al­waies in sinne, what wonder though he alwaies feare death, and be terri­fied with the thought of judgement. Yet it is good, that if loue be not of force to withhold thee from sinne, that at least the feare of hell may re­straine thee. And he that layeth aside the feare of God, can neuer continue long in good state, but falleth quick­ly into the snares of the diuell.

CHAP. XXV. Of the feruent amendment of our whole life.

BE watchfull and diligent in the seruice of God, and often thinke with thy selfe wherfore thou camest, and why thou didst leaue the world. 2. Tim. 4. Was it not that thou migh­test liue to God, and become a spiri­tuall man? Goe on therefore with courage: thou shalt shortly receiue the reward of thy labours, and there shall be no more feare nor sorrow in [Page 84] the confines of thy habitation. Mat. 5. Apoc. 21. Thou must labour heere a while: thou shalt afterwards haue great rest; yea euerlasting ioy. Eccles. 51. If thou continuest faithfull and diligent in seruing of God, doe not doubt but God will be faithfull and liberall in giuing thee reward. Apoc. 21. & 22. Matth. 25. Thou oughtest to haue a good hope of getting the victory, but thou must not make thy selfe assured thereof, lest thou waxe negligent, or bee puffed vp with pride. Rom. 5.

2 When one that was in great anxiety of mind, often wauering be­tweene feare and hope, did once, be­ing oppressed with griefe, prostrate himselfe in a Church in praier before an Altar, and said within himselfe: O, if I knew that I should yet perseuer! He presently heard, as it were, a voice from God, which said: What if thou diddest know it, what wouldest thou [Page 85] doe? Doe now what thou wouldest doe then, and thou shalt bee secure. And being herewith comforted, and strengthened in minde, he commit­ted himselfe wholly to the will of God, & that noysom anxiety ceased, neither had hee any minde to search curiously any further, to know what should befall him; but rather labou­red to vnderstand what was the per­fect and acceptable will of God, for the beginning and accomplishing of euery good worke, Rom. 12.

3 Hope in our Lord, and doe good, saith the Prophet, and inha­bit the land, and thou shalt be fed in the riches thereof. Psa. 36. One thing there is that draweth many backe from that spirituall good, & the dili­gent amendment of their liues: the horror of the difficulty, and the labor of the combat. But they aboue others profite most in vertue, that endea­uour most to ouercome those things [Page 86] which are grieuous, and contrary vnto them. For there a man profiteth more, and deserueth greater grace, where hee more ouercommeth and mortifieth himselfe in spirit.

4 But all men haue not alike to ouercome and mortifie: yet he that is zealous and diligent, though hee haue more passions, shall profit more in vertue, then another that is of a more temperate disposition, if he be lesse feruent in the pursuit of vertue. Two things chiefely helpe to our a­mendment, to wit, to withdraw our selues violently from that to which nature is viciously inclined, and to labor earnestly for that vertue, which we most want. Be carefull also to a­uoide vvith great diligence, those things in thy selfe, which doe most displease thee in others.

5 Gather some profit to thy soule out of euery occasion and wheresoe­uer thou bee: so as if thou seest or [Page 87] hearest any good, stir vp thy selfe to the imitation therof. But if thou seest any thing vvorthy of reproofe, be­ware thou doest not the same. And if at any time thou hast done it, labour quickely to amend it. As thine eye obserueth others, so art thou also no­ted againe by others. O, how sweet and comfortable a thing it is, to see the seruants of Christ feruent and deuout, endued with vertuous and decent manners! And on the con­trary, how pitifull and grieuous a thing it is, to see them that liue in a dissolute and disordered sort, not ap­plying themselues to that, for which they were called! O, how great do­mage and great danger it is, to neg­lect the good purposes of their vo­cation, and to busie themselues in that which appertaineth not vnto them, nor is committed to their care!

6 Bee mindefull of the purpose thou hast made, and haue alwayes [Page 88] before the eyes of thy soule, the pi­cture of thy Sauiour crucified. Thou hast good cause to be ashamed, loo­king vpon the life of Christ, seeing thou hast so slackly endeauoured to conforme thy selfe vnto him, though thou hast walked a long time in the way of the seruice of God. A religi­ous person that exerciseth himselfe seriously and deuoutly in the most holy life and passion of our Lord, shall there abundantly finde what­soeuer is necessary and profitable for him; neither shall hee need to seeke any thing elsewhere, but only in Ie­sus. O, if Iesus crucified would come into our hearts, how quickely and fully should we be instructed in all truth! Gal. 2. & 6.

7 A feruent religious person ta­keth and beareth all vvell that is commanded him: but he that is neg­ligent and cold, hath tribulation vp­on tribulation, and on all sides is af­flicted: [Page 89] for he is void of inward con­solation, and is forbidden to seeke externall comforts. A religious per­son that liueth not according to di­scipline, is in great danger of the ruine of his soule. He that seeketh li­berty and ease, shall euer liue in dis­quiet: for one thing or other will al­waies displease him.

8 How doe so many other reli­gious persons, vvho liue vnder the strict rule of Monasticall discipline? They seldome goe abroad, they liue retiredly, they feede meanely, they are cloathed coursely, they labour much, speake little, watch long, rise early, spend much time in prayer, reade often, and keep themselues in all kinde of discipline. Consider the Carthusians, Cistercians, and the Religious men and women of di­uers Orders, how they rise euery night to sing praises vnto God. And how vnseemely then it is for thee to [Page 90] be slouthfull in so holy a worke, when as so great multitudes of reli­gious persons doe beginne to glori­fie God.

9 O, that we had nothing else to doe, but alwaies with our mouth, and whole heart to praise our Lord God! O, that thou mightest neuer haue need to eate, nor drinke, nor sleepe, but mightest alwaies praise God, and onely imploy thy selfe in the exercises of spirit: thou shoul­dest then be much more happy, then now thou art, when for so many ne­cessities, thou art constrained to serue thy body. Would God these necessi­ties were not at all, but only the spi­rituall refections of the soule, which (alas) we taste of too seldome.

10 When a man commeth to that estate, that he seeketh no comfort of any creature, then doth he begin to take perfect contentment and de­light in God. Then shall he be con­tented [Page 91] with whatsoeuer doth befall him in this world. Then shall he nei­ther reioyce in great matters, nor be sorrowfull for small, but with great integritie and confidence commit himselfe to God; who shall be vnto him al in all: to whom nothing doth perish, nor die, but all things do liue vnto him, and serue him at a becke without delay. Rom. 11.

11 Remember alwaies the end, and hovv that time lost neuer re­turnes. Eccles. 7. Without care and diligence thou shalt neuer get ver­tues. If thou beginnest to wax cold, it will be euill with thee: but if thou giue thy selfe to feruour of spirit; thou shalt find much peace, and feele lesse labour, through the assistance of Gods grace, and loue of vertue. A­pocal. 3. The feruent and diligent man is ready, and prepared for all things. It is harder to resist vices and passions, then to toile in bodily la­bours. [Page 92] Eccls. 19. He that auoideth not small faults, by little and little falleth into greater. Thou wilt al­wayes reioyce in the euening, if thou spend the day profitably. Be watch­full ouer thy selfe, stirre vp thy selfe, warme thy selfe, and whatsoeuer becomes of others, neglect not thy selfe. The greater vio­lence thou vsest against thy selfe, the more thou shalt pro­fite.

THE END OF THE FIRST BOOKE.

OF THE FOL­LOWING OF CHRIST. THE SECOND BOOKE.

CHAP. I. Of spirituall conuersation.

THe Kingdom of God is with­in you, saith our Lord. Luk. 7. Turne thee with thy whole heart vnto our Lord, and forsake this miserable world, and thy soule shall finde rest. Ioel. 2. Learne to despise exteriour things, and to giue thy self to the interiour, & thou shalt perceiue the Kingdome of God to come into thee. Ro. 19. For the king­dome of God is peace, and joy in the [Page 94] holy Ghost, which is not giuen to the wicked. Christ will come vnto thee, and shew thee his diuine com­fort, if thou prepare for him a wor­thy mansion within thee. Psal. 44. Al his glory and beauty is within, and there he pleaseth himselfe. The in­ward man he often visits, and hath with him sweet discourses, pleasant comfort, much peace, wonderfull familiarity.

2 O faithfull soule, make ready thy hart for this Bridegrome, that he may vouchsafe to come vnto thee; and dwell within thee. For he saith: If any loue mee, hee will keepe my Word, and we will come vnto him, and will make our aboad with him. Ioh. 14. Giue therefore vnto Christ a place in thy heart, and deny entrance to all others. When thou hast Christ, thou art rich, and he will suffice thee. Hee will be thy faithfull and proui­dent helper in all things, so as thou [Page 95] shalt not need to trust in men. For men are soone changed, and quickly decay; but Christ remaineth for euer, and standeth firmely vnto the end. Ioh. 12.

3 There is little trust to be put in a fraile and mortall man, though hee be profitable and deare vnto thee: neither oughtest thou much to bee grieued, if sometimes hee crosse and contradict thee. Hier. 17. They that to day take thy part, to morrow may be against thee; and so on the con­trary, they often turne like vnto the winde. Put all thy trust in God, and feare and loue him: 1. Pet. 5. He wil answere for thee, and do in al things what is best. Heb. 13. Thou hast not heere a dwelling Citie: and where­soeuer thou bee, thou art a stranger and pilgrime: neither shalt thou e­uer haue rest, vnlesse thou be per­fectly vnited vnto Christ.

4 Why doest thou linger and [Page 96] make delayes heere, since this is not the place of thy rest? Phil. 3. In hea­uen ought to be thy dwelling, and al earthly things are to be regarded, as it were, in the way. Sap. 5. Al things passe away, and thou together with them. Beware thou cleaue not vnto them, lest thou be enthralled; and so doest perish. Let thy thought be on the highest, and thy prayer directed vnto Christ without ceasing. If thou canst not contemplate high and hea­uenly things, rest thy selfe in the pas­sion of Ch [...], and dwell willingly in the wounds of his sacred body. For if thou flie deuoutly vnto his holy wounds, and to th [...] [...] markes of his passion, thou [...]hal [...] feele great comfort in tribulation▪ neither wilt thou much care for being despised of men, and wilt easily be [...]re the words of slanderous tongues.

5 Christ was also in the world despised, and in great necessity: for­saken [Page 97] by his acquaintance & friends in the middest of slanders. Matth. 1.12.5.26. & Ioh. 15. Christ would suffer, and be contemned; and darest thou complaine? Christ had aduer­saries and backbiters; and wilt thou haue all men thy friends and benefa­ctors? For what shall thy patience be crowned, if no aduersitie happen vnto thee? 2. Tim. 21. If thou wilt suffer no aduersity, how wilt thou be the friend of Christ? Suffer vvith Christ, and for Christ, if thou desire to raigne with Chr [...]

6 If thou [...] perfectly entered into the heart of Iesus, and tasted a little of his burning loue: then wouldest thou not weigh thy owne commodity or discommodity▪ but wouldest rather reioyce at slan­ders, when they should chance to the cast vpon [...] for the loue of Iesus maketh a man to despise himselfe. A louer of Iesus, and of truth, and a [Page 98] true spirituall person, and free from inordinat affections, can freely turne himselfe vnto God, and lift himselfe aboue himselfe in spirit, and with great joy of his soule rest in God.

7 He that judgeth of all things as they are, and not as they are said, and esteemed to bee, is truely wise, and taught rather by God then men. Esa. 54. He that can liue spiritually, and make small reckoning of outward things: neither requireth places, nor attendeth times for performing of deuout exercises. A spirituall man quickly recollecteth himself: because he neuer yeeldeth ouer himself who­ly to outward things. He is not hin­dred by outward labour or busines, which may be necessary for the time: but as things fall out, so he frameth himselfe vnto them. Hee that hath well ordered and disposed all things within, careth little for the vaine in­uentions and peruerse inclinations [Page 99] of men. So much is a man hindred and distracted, how much he draw­eth matters vnto himselfe.

8 If all went well with thee, and thou haddest thy heart well purged, all things would fall out to thy good and profit. But many things displease and often trouble thee, because thou art not yet perfectly dead vnto thy selfe, nor free from the affection of earthly things. Rom. 8. & 1. Cor. 4. Nothing so defileth and intangleth the heart of man, as the impure loue to creatures. If thou refuse outward comfort; thou wilt be able to con­template the things of heauen, and often receiue internall joy.

CHAP. II. Of humble submission.

REspect not much who is with thee, or who is against thee. En­deauour, and take care, that God may be for thee in euery thing thou [Page 100] doest. Psal. 27. Haue a good consci­ence, and God will defend thee. For whom God will helpe, no malice of man can hurt. If thou canst hold thy peace and suffer, without doubt thou shalt see that our Lord wil help thee. He knoweth the time, and manner how to deliuer thee, and therefore thou oughtest to resigne thy selfe vnto him. It belongs to God to help, and to deliuer from all shame. Of­tentimes it is very profitable, for the better keeping of humilitie, that o­thers know, & reprehend our faults.

2 When a man humbleth him­selfe for his faults, then he easily pa­cifieth others, and quickly satisfieth those that are offended with him. God protecteth and deliuereth the humble: he loueth and comforteth the humble: vnto the humble man he inclineth himselfe: vnto the hum­ble he giueth great grace, and after his humiliation, hee raiseth him vn­to [Page 101] glorie. Vnto the humble hee re­uealeth his secrets, and sweetely draweth and inuiteth him vnto him­selfe. Matth. 12. The humble, when hee hath receiued confusion, is in peace, for that hee resteth in God, and relieth not on the world. Doe not thinke that thou hast profited a­ny thing, vnlesse thou esteeme thy selfe inferiour to all.

CHAP. III. Of a good and peaceable man.

FIrst keepe thy selfe in peace, and then maist thou pacifie others. A peaceable man doth more good, then he that is well learned. A passionate man turneth good into euill, and easily beleeueth the worst. A good peaceable man turneth all things in­to good. He that is well in peace, is not suspitious of any. 1. Cor. 15. But hee that is discontented, and trou­bled, is tossed with diuers suspitions: [Page 102] he is neither quiet himselfe, nor suf­fereth others to be quiet. He often speaketh that which he ought not to speake; and omitteth that which were more expedient for him to doe. Hee considereth what others are bound to doe: and neglecteth that which he is bound to himselfe. Ma. 7. First therefore haue a carefull zeale ouer thy selfe, and then thou mayest justly shew thy selfe zealous of thy neighbours good. Act. 1.

2 Thou knowest well how to ex­cuse and colour thine owne deeds, and thou wilt not receiue the excu­ses of others. It were more meet that thou diddest accuse thy selfe, and ex­cusedst thy brother. Gal. 6. If thou wilt be borne withal, beare also with another. 1. Cor. 13. Behold how far off thou art as yet from true charitie and humility, which knoweth not how to be angry with any, or to bee moued with indignation, but only a­gainst [Page 103] himselfe. It is no great matter to conuerse with the good, and those that are of a gentle disposition, for that is naturally pleasing to all, and euery one willingly enioyeth peace, and loueth those best that agree with him. But to bee able to liue peaceably with the vnquiet and per­uerse mindes, or with the disorderly, or such as contradict vs, is a great grace, and very commendable.

3 Some there are, that keep them­selues in peace, and are in peace also with others. And there are some, that neither are in peace themselues, nor suffer others to be in peace: they are troublesome to others, but alwayes more troublesome to themselues. And others there are that keep them­selues in peace, and labour to bring others vnto peace. Our whole peace in this miserable life, cōsisteth rather in humble suffering, then in not fee­ling aduersities. He that can best tell [Page 104] how to suffer, will best keep himselfe in peace. He is a conquerour of him­selfe, a Lord of the world, friend of Christ, and heire of heauen.

CHAP. IV. Of a pure minde and vpright intention.

WIth two wings man is lifted vp from earthly vanities, that is, with simplicity & purity. Simplicity ought to be in our intention. Purity in our affection. Simplicity fixeth the eyes of the soule in God. Purity appre­hendeth and tasteth his sweetnes. No good action will hinder thee, if thou be inwardly free from inordinate af­fection. If thou intend and seeke no­thing else but the will of God, and the profite of thy neighbour, thou shalt enioy eternall libertie. If thy heart were sincere and vpright, then euery creature would be vnto thee a looking-glasse of life, and a booke of holy doctrine. There is no creature [Page 105] so little and abiect, that representeth not the goodnes of God.

2 If in thine owne heart thou wert good and pure, then thou wouldest be able to see and vnder­stand all things without any impe­diment. Rom. 1. Prou. 3. A pure heart penetrateth heauen, and pierceth the depth of hell. Psal. 118. Such as eue­ry one is inwardly: so hee iudgeth outwardly. If there bee ioy in the world, surely a man of a pure heart possesseth it. And if there bee any where tribulation and affliction, an euill conscience feeles it. As iron put into the fire leeseth his rust, and be­commeth bright like fire: so he that wholly turning himselfe vnto God, becommeth feruent, and is changed into a new man.

3 When one beginneth to wax cold: then he is afraid of a small la­bour, and willingly receaueth ex­ternall comfort. But when he once [Page 106] beginneth to ouercome himselfe per­fectly, and to walke manfully in the way of God: then hee esteemeth those things to be light, which be­fore seemed grieuous vnto him.

CHAP. V. Of the consideration of ones selfe.

WE cānot trust much to our selues, for that grace oftentimes and vn­derstanding is wanting. There is but little light in vs, and that which wee haue, we quickly lose by our negli­gence. And oftentimes wee doe not perceiue our owne inward blindnes. We often do euil, & excuse it worse. Matth. 7. We are sometimes moued with passion, and we thinke it to be zeale. We reprehend small things in others, and passe ouer greater mat­ters in our selues. We quickly feele, and vveigh vvhat vvee suffer at the hands of others; but wee minde not what others suffer from vs. Hee that [Page 107] doth well and deepely consider his owne workes, will finde little cause to judge hardly of another.

2 A spirituall man preferreth the care of himself, before all other cares. Mat. 16. And he that diligently at­tendeth vnto himselfe, doth seldome speak much of others. Thou wilt ne­uer be recollected & deuout, vnlesse thou passe ouer other mens matters with silence, and looke especially to thy selfe. If thou attend wholly vnto God and thy selfe, thou wilt be little mooued with whatsoeuer thou seest abroad. 1. Cor. 4. Where art thou, when thou art not with thy selfe? Galat. 1. And when thou hast runne ouer all, what hast thou profited, if thou doest neglect thy selfe? If thou desirest peace of mind & true vnion, thou must esteeme little of all earth­ly things, and look only to thy selfe.

3 Thou shalt therfore profit much, if thou keepe thy selfe free from all [Page 108] temporall cares. Thou shalt hinder thy selfe greatly, if thou esteeme any thing of this vvorld. Let nothing be great vnto thee, nothing high, nothing gratefull, nothing accepta­ble, but only God himselfe purely, or that which is for God. Esteeme all comfort vaine which thou recei­uest from any creature. Eccles. 1. A soule that loueth God, despiseth all things that be inferiour vnto God. God alone is euerlasting, and of in­finite greatnes, filling all creatures: the comfort of the soule, and the true ioy of the heart.

CHAP. VI. Of the confort of a good Conscience.

THe glory of a good man, is the testimony of a good conscience. 2. Cor. 1. Haue a good conscience, and thou shalt euer haue ioy. A good conscience is able to beare much, and is cheerefull in aduersities. An euill [Page 109] conscience is alwayes fearefull and vnquiet. Thou shalt rest sweetly, if thy heart doth not reprehend thee. Wisd. 17. Do thou neuer reioyce, but when thou hast done well. Sinners haue neuer true mirth, nor feele in­ward peace: because there is no peace to the impious, saith our Lord. And if they should say: Wee are in peace, no euill shall fall vpon vs, and who shall dare to hurt vs? Luk. 12. Esay. 27. Beleeue them not: for vp­on a sudden will arise the wrath of God, and their deeds shall be turned into nothing, and their conceits shall perish.

2 To glory in tribulation is no hard thing for him that loueth. Rom. 8. For to glory so, is to glory in the Crosse of our Lord. That glory is short, which is giuen and receiued from men. Galath. 6. Sorrow al­waies accompanieth the glory of the world. The glory of the good is in [Page 110] their cōsciences, & not in the tongues of men. 2. Cor. 2. The gladnes of the just is of God, and in God: and their joy is of the truth. Hee that desireth true & euerlasting glory, careth not for that which passeth away vvith time. And he that seeketh temporall glory, or contemneth it not from his heart, sheweth himselfe but little to esteeme of the glory of heauen. He enioyeth great tranquillitie & peace of minde, that careth neither for the praises, nor dispraises of men.

3 Hee will easily be content and pacified, whose cōscience is pure. He is not the more holy, though thou commend him: nor the more, abiect though thou dispraise him. What thou art, that thou art: neither canst thou be truly said to be greater, then what thou art in the sight of God. If thou consider what thou art within thee, thou wilt not care what men say of thee. Man seeth in the face, but [Page 111] God looketh into the heart. 1. King. 16. Man considereth the deeds, but God weigheth the intentions. To do alwayes well, and to esteeme little of himselfe, is a token of an humble minde. To refuse to be comforted by any creature, is a signe of great purity, and inward confidence.

4 Hee that seeketh no outward witnes for himselfe, doth shew that he hath wholly committed himselfe vnto God. For not he that commen­deth himselfe, the same is approued (saith S. Paul) but whom God com­mendeth. 2. Cor. 10. To walk inward­ly with God, and not to be possessed with any outward affection, is the state of an inward & spirituall man.

CHAP. VII. Of the loue of IESVS aboue all things.

BLessed is hee that vnderstandeth what it is to loue Iesus: and to despise himselfe for Iesus. Psal. 116. [Page 112] Thou oughtest to leaue thy beloued, for thy beloued; for that Iesus will be beloued alone aboue all things. Deut. 6. The loue of things created is deceitfull and vnconstant: the loue of Iesus is faithfull and constant. Mat. 22. He that cleaueth vnto crea­tures, shall fall with that which is subiect to fall. He that imbraceth Ie­sus shall stand firmely for euer. Loue him, and keepe him for thy friend, who when all goe away, will not forsake thee, nor suffer thee to pe­rish in the end. Thou must once bee left of men, whether thou vvilt or no.

2 Liue and die with Iesus; and commit thy selfe vnto his trust, who when all faile, can alone helpe thee. Thy beloued is of that nature, that he will none of that which appertai­neth to others: but vvill haue thy heart alone, and sit like a King in his owne throne. If thou couldest purge [Page 113] thy selfe perfectly of all creatures, Iesus vvould vvillingly dwell vvith thee. Whatsoeuer thou puttest in men, out of Iesus, is all no better then lost. Trust not, nor rely vpon a reedefull of vvinde: for that all flesh is as hay, and all the glory ther­of shall wither away as the flower of the field. Esay 4.

3 Thou shalt quickely be decei­ued, if thou looke onely to the out­vvard shew of men. And if in them thou seekest thy comfort and profit: thou shalt often feele losse. If thou seekest Iesus in all things, thou shalt surely finde Iesus. But if thou see­kest thy selfe, thou shalt also finde thy selfe, but to thy owne harme. For man doth more hurt himselfe, if hee seeke not Iesus, then the vvhole vvorld, and all his aduersaries could annoy him.

CHAP. VIII. Of familiar conuersation with IESVS.

WHen Iesus is present, all is well, and nothing seemeth difficult: but when Iesus is absent, euery thing is hard. When Iesus speaketh not in­wardly vnto vs, our comfort is no­thing worth: but if Iesus speake but one word, we feele much consolati­on. Did not Mary Magdalen present­ly rise frō the place where she wept, when Martha said vnto her: Thy Ma­ster is here, and calleth thee. Ioh. 11. Happy is the houre whē Iesus calleth from teares to spiritual ioy. How dry and hard art thou without Iesus? How foolish & vaine, if thou desire any thing out of Iesus? Is not this a greater losse, then if thou shouldest lose the whole world? Matth. 16.

2 What can the world profit thee without Iesus? To be without Iesus is a grieuous hell; and to be with Ie­sus [Page 115] is a sweet Paradise. If Iesus be with thee, no enemy can hurt thee. Rom. 8. He that findeth Iesus, findeth a good treasure: yea a good aboue al goods. Mat. 13. And he that leeseth Iesus, leeseth too much, & more then the whole world. Hee is most poore that liueth without Iesus: & he most rich that is well with Iesus. Luk. 12.

3 It is a great skill to know how to conuerse with Iesus, and a great wisdome to know how to keepe Ie­sus. Prou. 8. Be humble & peaceable, and Iesus will be with thee. Be de­uout and quiet, and Iesus will stay with thee. Thou mayest driue away Iesus & lose his grace, if thou giuest thy selfe to outward things. And if thou shouldest driue him from thee, and leese him, vnto whom wilt thou fly, and what friend wilt thou then seeke? Without a friend thou canst not well liue: and if Iesus be not a­boue al a friend vnto thee; thou shalt [Page 116] be too too sorrowfull and desolate. Thou doest therefore foolishly, if thou doest trust or reioyce in any o­ther. It is better for thee to haue all the vvorld against thee, then Iesus offended with thee. Gal. 6. Amongst al things therefore that be deare vn­to thee, let Iesus alone be thy chiefest beloued.

4 Loue all for Iesus, but Iesus for himselfe, Iesus Christ alone is espe­cially to bee beloued; who alone is found to be good, and faithful aboue all friends. For him, and in him, let as well friends as foes be deare vnto thee: Mat. 5. and all these are to bee prayed for, that all may know & loue him. Luk. 6. Neuer desire to be sin­gularly commended or beloued, for that appertaineth onely vnto God, who hath none like vnto himselfe. Neither do thou desire that the hart of any should be set on thee; nor do thou set thy heart on the loue of any: [Page 117] but let Iesus be in thee, and in euery vertuous and good man.

5 Bee pure and free within, and intangle not thy hart with any crea­ture. Thou oughtest to be, as it were, naked, and carry a pure heart to God, if thou wilt consider; and proue, and see how sweete our Lord is. And truely vnlesse thou be pre­uented, and drawne by his grace, thou shalt neuer attaine to that hap­pines, to forsake and cast away all, that [...] mayest bee vnited to him [...]. For when the grace of God commeth vnto a man, then hee is strong, and nothing is hard vnto him. And vvhen it goeth a­way, hee is poore and weake, and as it vvere, left vnto the vvill of whomsoeuer will afflict him. In this thou oughtest not to bee deiected, nor despaire, but to resigne thy selfe with all indifferency vnto the will of God, and to beare all things that be­fall [Page 118] thee for the glory of Christ: for after winter followeth summer: after night commeth day, and after a tem­pest, faire weather.

CHAP. IX. Of the want of all comfort.

IT is no great matter to despise hu­mane comfort, when wee haue di­uine. It is much, and very much, to be able to want both humane & diuine comfort: and for the honor and glo­ry of God, to be willing to endure desolation of hart; and to seeke him­selfe in nothing, nor to regard his owne merit. What great matter is it, if thou be cheerefull and deuout at the cōming of heauenly grace? This houre is wished for of all men. He ri­deth easily whom the grace of God carieth. And what maruell if he feele not his burden, who is borne vp by the Almighty, and led by the grea­test guide?

[Page 119]2 We are alwaies willing to haue something for our comfort; and a man doth hardly put off, and forsake himselfe. The holy Martyr S. Lau­rence ouercame the world with his Prelate: because he despised what­soeuer seemed delightsome in the world: and for the loue of Christ he patiently suffered the high Priest of God, S. Syxtus, to be takē from him, whom he most loued. He ouercame therfore the loue of man, by the loue of the Creator; and he rather chose the diuine pleasure, then humane cō ­fort. See thou also learne to forsake some necessary thing, and a beloued friend for the loue of God. Bee not grieued when thou art forsaken by a friend, knowing that we al at length must be separated one from another.

3 A man must fight long, & with a constant minde, before hee get the victory, & be able to place his whole heart in God. When a man confideth [Page 120] in himselfe, he easily slideth vnto hu­mane comforts. But a true louer of Christ, & a diligent follower of ver­tue, giueth not himselfe to such so­lace, nor seeketh sensible sweetnes: but rather forcible exercises, and to sustaine hard labours for Christ.

4 When therefore spiritual com­fort is giuen thee from God, receiue it thankfully: but know that it is the gift of God, not any desert of thine. Be not puffed vp, ioy not too much, neither do thou presume vainely: but be rather the more humble for that grace, and more wary and fearefull in all thy actions: for that houre wil passe away, and temptation will suc­ceed. When consolation is taken frō thee, despaire not presently; but with humility & patience attend the hea­uenly visitation: for God is able a­gaine to giue thee greater consolati­on. This is not new nor strange vnto them, that haue experience in the [Page 121] way of God: for in the great Saints and ancient Prophets, there was of­tentimes such kinde of alteration.

5 For which cause, one when he had grace, said: I said in my plen­tie, I will not be moued euerlasting­ly. Psalm. 29. But vvhen this vvas gone from him, hee addeth vvhat he found in himselfe, saying: Thou turnedst thy face from mee, and I became troubled. Ibid. Yet doth hee not despaire in the middest of these changes, but more earnestly prayeth vnto our Lord, and saith: Vnto thee (O Lord) I will cry, and I will pray vnto my God. Ibid. Lastly, he receiueth the fruite of his prayer, and witnesseth that hee was heard, saying: Our Lord hath heard mee, and taken pitie on mee: our Lord is become my helper. Ibid. But where­in? Thou hast turned (saith he) my sorrow into joy, and thou hast com­passed me about with gladnes. Ibid. [Page 122] If great Saints haue beene so dealt withall, we that are poore and weake ought not to despaire, if we be som­times feruent, and sometimes cold: for the spirit commeth and goeth, according to the good pleasure of his will. Ioh. 3. For which cause blessed Iob saith, Thou visitest him early in the morning, and suddenly thou prouest him. Iob 7.

6 Whereupon therefore can I hope, or wherin ought I to trust, but in the great mercy of God alone, and in the only hope of heauenly grace? For whether I enioy the presence of good men, or deuout brethren, or faithfull friends, or holy bookes, or learned treatises, or sweet songs and hymnes: all these helpe little, & haue little sauour, when grace forsaketh mee, and I remaine left in my owne pouerty. At such a time there is no better remedy then patience, and the resigning of my selfe vnto the will of God. Luk. 9.

[Page 123]7 I neuer found any so religious and deuout, that hath not had some­times a withdrawing of grace, or felt not a decrease of feruour. There was neuer Saint so highly wrapt, and illu­minated, who first or last was not tempted. For he is not worthy of the high contemplation of God, who hath not bin exercised with some tri­bulation for God sake. For tempta­tion going before, is wont to bee a signe of ensuing comfort. And vnto those that are proued by temptati­ons, heauenly comfort is promised. He that shal ouercome, saith he, I wil giue him to eate of the wood of life. Apocal. 21.

8 But diuine comfort is giuen, that a man may be stronger to beare aduersities. There followeth also temptatiō, lest we should wax proud of that good. The diuel sleepeth not, neither is our flesh as yet dead: 1. Pet. 5. therefore cease not to prepare thy [Page 124] selfe to the battaile: for on thy right hand, and on thy left, are enemies that neuer rest.

CHAP. X. Of thankefulnesse for the grace of God.

WHy seekest thou rest, since thou art borne to labour? Iob▪ 3. Di­spose thy selfe to patience, rather then to comforts: and to the bearing of the Crosse, rather then to gladnes. What secular person is there, that would not willingly receiue spiritu­all joy and comfort, if hee could al­wayes haue it? Luk. 14. Spirituall comforts exceed all the delights of the world, & all the pleasures of the flesh. All worldly delights are either vaine, or vncleane: but spirituall de­lights are onely pleasant and honest, produced by vertues, and infused by God into pure hearts. But no man can alwayes enioy these diuine com­forts, according to his desire: for the [Page 125] time of temptation is not long away.

2 False freedome of minde, and great trust of our selues, is very con­trary to heauēly visitation. God doth well in giuing grace: but man doth euill in not returning it againe who­ly vnto God, with thankesgiuing. And therefore the gifts of grace can­not flow in vs, because wee are vn­gratefull to the giuer: and returne them not wholly to the head-foun­taine. Eccles. 1. For grace is euer due to him that is thankefull: and from the proud shall be taken that which is wont to be giuen to the humble.

3 I desire not that consolation that taketh from me compunction: nor that contemplation which bree­deth a haughtie minde. For all that is high, is not holy: nor all that is sweet, good: nor euery desire, pure: nor euery thing that is deare vnto vs, is gratefull to God. I do willingly accept of that grace, whereby I may [Page 126] euer become more humble and fear­full, and be made more ready & able to forsake my selfe. He that is taught by the gift of grace, & by the scourge of the withdrawing thereof; wil not dare to attribute any good to him­selfe; but will rather acknowledge himselfe poore and naked. Giue vnto God that which is Gods; Mat. 22. and ascribe vnto thy selfe that which is thine owne: that is, giue thankes vnto God for his grace, and acknow­ledge that nothing is to be attribu­ted to thee, but only sinne, and the punishment due thereunto.

4 Content thy selfe, and desire al­waies the meanest & lowest things, and the highest shall be giuen thee: for the highest stand not without the lowest. The highest Saints before God, are the least in their own iudg­ments. Luk. 14. And how much the more glorious, so much the humbler within themselues. Those that are ful [Page 127] of truth, and heauenly glory, are not desirous of the vaine-glory of this world. Those that are firmely setled and grounded in God, can no way be proud. And they that ascribe all vnto God, what good soeuer they haue receiued, seeke not glory one of another: Ioh. 5. but would haue that glory which is from God alone: and desire aboue all things to praise God in himselfe, and in all the Saints, and alwaies tend vnto the same.

5 Bee therefore gratefull for the least gift, and thou shalt bee made worthy to receiue greater. Let the least bee vnto thee also as the grea­test: and the most contemptible as an especiall gift. If thou consider the worth of the giuer, no gift wil seeme little, or of meane esteeme. For it is not little that is giuen by the soue­raigne Maiesty of God. Yea if hee should giue punishment and stripes, it ought to be gratefull, for that hee [Page 128] doth it alwayes for our saluation, whatsoeuer he permitteth to happen vnto vs. He that desireth to keep the grace of God, let him be thankefull for the grace giuen, and patient for the taking away thereof. Let him pray that it may returne. Let him be wary and humble, lest he leese it.

CHAP. XI. How few the louers of the Crosse of Christ are.

IEsus hath now many louers of his heauenly kingdome, but few bea­rers of his Crosse. He hath many de­sirous of comfort, but few of tribula­tion. He findeth many companions of his Table, but few of his absti­nence. Al desire to rejoyce with him, few will suffer any thing for him, or with him. Many follow Iesus vnto the breaking of bread; but few to the drinking of the Chalice of his Passi­on. Many reuerence his miracles, few follow the ignominy of his Crosse. [Page 129] Luk. 9.22. Many loue Iesus, as long as aduersities happen not. Many praise and blesse him, as long as they receiue any comfort from him. But if Iesus hide himselfe, and leaue them but a while, they fal either into com­plaint, or into too much deiection of minde.

2 But they that loue Iesus, for Ie­sus, and not for some comfort of their own, blesse him in al tribulation and anguish of hart, as wel as in the grea­test comfort. And although he should neuer giue them comfort, they not­withstanding would euer praise him, and alwayes giue him thankes.

3 O how powerfull is the pure loue of Iesus, which is mixed with no selfe-loue nor proper interest! Phil. 2. Are they not all to be called hirelings that euer seeke comforts? Doe they not shew themselues to be rather louers of themselues, then of Christ, that alwaies think of their cō ­moditie [Page 130] and gaine? Where may one be found that will serue God, with­out looking for reward?

4 It is hard to finde any one so spirituall, that is free from the loue of all earthly things. For where is a­ny that is indeed poore in spirit, and free from all affection of creatures? Far hence, and from the end of the world is his price. Prou. 31. If a man should giue all his wealth, yet is it nothing. And if he should doe great penance, yet is it little. And if hee should attaine to all knowledge, hee is yet far off. And if hee should haue great vertue, and very feruent deuo­tion, yet there is much wanting: to wit, one thing which is most neces­sary for him. What is that? That lea­uing all, he forsake himselfe and goe perfectly from himselfe, and retaine nothing of selfe-loue. Matth. 16. And vvhen hee hath done all that hee knoweth to bee done, let him [Page 131] thinke that hee hath done nothing.

3 Let him not weigh that much, which might be much esteemed, but according to truth, let him affirme himselfe to bee an vnprofitable ser­uant, as our Sauiour hath said: When you shall haue done all things that are commanded you, say: Wee are vnprofitable seruants. Luk. 17. Then may he be truely poore in spirit, and naked, and say with the Prophet: I am alone and poore: yet no man more powerfull, no man more free then he that can leaue himselfe and all things, and put himselfe in the meanest and lowest place. Psal. 24.

CHAP. XII. Of the high way of the holy Crosse.

VNTO many seemeth hard this speech: Deny thy selfe, take vp thy crosse, and follow Iesus, Mat. 16. But it will be much harder to heare that last word: Get ye away from me; ye [Page 132] cursed, into euerlasting fire. For they that now willingly heare and follow the word of the Crosse, shall not then feare to heare the sentence of euerlasting damnation. This signe of the Crosse shall be in heauen, when our Lord shall come to judgement. Then all the seruants of the Crosse, who in their life time conformed themselues vnto Christ crucified, shal draw neere vnto our Lord with great confidence.

2 Why therefore fearest thou to take vp the Crosse, which leadeth thee to a Kingdome? In the Crosse is health, in the Crosse is life, in the Crosse is protection against our ene­mies, in the Crosse is infusion of heauenly sweetnesse, in the Crosse is strength of mind, in the Crosse is joy of spirit, in the Crosse is the height of vertue, in the Crosse is the perfe­ction of sanctity. There is no health of the soule, nor hope of euerlasting [Page 133] life but in the Crosse. Take vp there­fore thy crosse and follow Iesus, and thou shalt goe into life euerlasting. Hee is gone before, bearing his Crosse, Luc. 14. and is dead for thee on the Crosse; Ioh. 19. that thou mayest also beare thy Crosse, and de­sire to die on the Crosse, with him. For if thou diest with him, thou shalt also liue with him. And if thou bee his companion in paine, thou shalt bee partaker with him also in glory. 2. Cor. 1.

3 Behold in the Crosse all doth consist, and all lyeth in ending our life vpon it: for there is no other way vnto life, and vnto true inward peace, but the vvay of the Holy Crosse, and of daily mortification. Goe where thou wilt, seeke whatso­euer thou wilt: thou shalt not finde a higher way aboue, nor a safer way belovv, then the vvay of the holy Crosse. Dispose and order all things [Page 134] according to thy will & judgement: yet thou shalt euer finde, that of ne­cessity thou must suffer somwhat, ei­ther willingly or against thy will, so as thou shalt neuer fully auoid the Crosse. For either thou shalt feele paine in thy body, or in thy soule thou shalt suffer tribulation of spirit.

4 Sometimes thou shalt be forsa­ken of God, sometimes thou shalt be troubled by thy neighbors, & which is more, oftentimes thou shalt bee irksome to thy selfe: neither canst thou be deliuered or eased by any remedie or comfort: but so long as pleaseth God, thou oughtest to beare it. For God wil haue thee learn to suffer tribulation without com­fort; and that thou submit thy selfe wholly to him, and become more humble by tribulation. No man hath so liuely a feeling of the Passion of Christ, as hee who hath chanced to suffer the like. The Crosse therefore [Page 135] is alwaies ready, and euery where at­tendeth thee. Thou canst not escape it, whither soeuer thou flyest: for wheresoeuer thou goest, thou cariest thy selfe with thee, & shalt euer find thy selfe both aboue & below, with­out and within: which way soeuer thou doest turne thee, alwaies thou shalt find the Crosse: & euery where of necessity thou must haue patience, if thou wilt haue inward peace, and deserue an euerlasting Crowne.

5 If thou beare the crosse willing­ly, it wil beare thee, and lead thee to thy desired end: to wit, where there shall be an end of suffering, though heere there shall not. If thou beare it vnwillingly, thou makest for thy self a new burden, & encreasest thy load, and yet notwithstanding thou must beare it. If thou cast away one crosse, without doubt thou shalt finde ano­ther, and that perhaps a more heauy.

6 Thinkest thou to escape that [Page 136] which no man could euer auoid? Which of the Saints in the vvorld was vvithout crosses and tribulati­ons? Verily Iesus Christ our Lord was neuer one houre without paine of suffering, so long as hee liued. Christ (saith he) ought to suffer, and rise againe from death, and so to en­ter into his glory: and how doest thou seeke any other way, then this high way, which is the way of the holy Crosse? Luk. 24.

7 The whole life of Christ was a Crosse and Martyrdome: and doest thou seek rest and joy? Thou art de­ceiued, thou art deceiued, if thou see­kest any other thing, then to suffer tribulations: for this whole mortall life is full of miseries, and inuironed on euery side with Crosses. Iob. 7. And how much the more one hath profited in spirit; so much the hea­uier Crosses he oftentimes findeth: for the loue he beareth to God en­creaseth [Page 137] the griefe which hee endu­reth for his banishment.

8 But yet this man; though so ma­ny waies afflicted, is not without the remedy of spirituall consolation, for the great good which he perceiueth to grow vnto him by the bearing of his Crosse. For whilest he willingly putteth himselfe vnder it, all the burthen of tribulation is turned in­to the confidence of diuine comfort. And how much the more the flesh is vvasted by affliction, so much the more is the spirit strengthened by invvard grace. 2. Cor. 11. & 12. And sometimes hee is so comforted with the desire of tribulation, and ad­uersitie, for the loue of conforming himselfe to the Crosse of Christ, that he would not wish at any time to bee without sorrow and tribula­tion: because hee beleeueth, that so much the more gratefull hee shall be vnto God, how much the more hee can suffer for him. This is not a [Page 138] worke of humane vertue; but it is the grace of Christ, that can, and doth so much in fraile flesh: that what natu­rally it alwaies abhorreth and flieth, that, by feruour of spirit, it taketh hould on, and loueth.

9 It is not according to mans in­clination to beare the crosse, to loue the crosse, to chastise and subdue the body, to fly honors, to suffer contu­melies with a ioyfull hart, to despise himselfe and to wish to be despised, to beare al aduersities, and domages, and to desire no prosperity in this world. If thou considerest thy selfe, thou shalt bee able to performe no such matter of thy selfe. 2. Cor. 3. But if thou trustest in our Lord, strength shall be giuen thee from heauen, and the world and flesh shall bee made subiect to thy command. Neither shalt thou feare thy enemy the Di­uell, if thou be armed with faith, and signed with the Crosse of Christ.

10 Resolue therfore with thy selfe, [Page 139] like a good and faithfull seruant of Christ, to beare manfully the Crosse of thy Lord, who was crucified for thy loue. Prepare thy selfe to beare many aduersities and diuers kinds of troubles in this miserable life: for so it will be with thee, whersoeuer thou be: and so surely thou wilt finde it, whersoeuer thou hide thy selfe. So it must be, and there is no remedy, or means to auoid tribulation & sorow but to beare them. Drink of the cha­lice of our Lord willingly, if thou wilt be his friend, & desirest to haue part with him. Mat. 20. Leaue the de­sire of comforts to God: let him do therin as shal best please him. Io. 28. Set thou thy heart vpon the suffering of tribulations, & account them the greatest comforts: for that the passi­ons of this life are not according to future glory, although thou alone couldest suffer them all. Rom. 8.

11 When thou shalt come to this estate, that tribulation shall seeme [Page 140] sweet, and pleasant vnto thee for Christ: then thou mayest thinke it is well with thee, for thou hast found a Paradise vpon earth. Galath. 6. As long as it is grieuous vnto thee to suffer, and that thou desirest to flie it; so long shalt thou be ill at ease: and the tribulation thou fliest will follow thee euery where.

12 If thou setlest thy selfe to that thou oughtest, to wit, to suffer, and to die to thy selfe, it will quickly be better with thee, and thou shalt find peace. Although thou shouldest haue beene rapt euen vnto the third hea­uen with Paul, 1. Cor. 12. thou art not for this assured, that thou shalt suffer no contradiction. I (saith Ie­sus) will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name. Act. 9. It resteth therefore, that thou suffer, if thou wilt loue Iesus, and perpetual­ly serue him.

13 O, would to God thou wert worthy to suffer somthing for Iesus! [Page 141] How great glory would it be vnto thee, what joy to all the Saints of God, how great edification also to thy neighbour! For al do commend patience, though few desire to suffer. With great reason thou oughtest to be willing to suffer a little for Christ; since many suffer far greater things for the loue of the world. Psal. 43.

14 Know for certaine that thou oughtest to leade a dying life. And how much the more euery one dy­eth to himselfe; so much the more doth hee begin to liue to God. No man is fit to attaine vnto heauenly things, vnlesse hee submit himselfe to the bearing of aduersities for Christ. Nothing is more gratefull vnto God, nothing more vvhole­some to thee in this vvorld, then to suffer vvillingly for Christ. And if it were in thy choice, thou shoul­dest rather wish to suffer aduersities for Christ, then to enjoy the delight of many comforts: because by these [Page 142] meanes thou shouldest be more like vnto Christ, and more conformable to all the Saints. For our merit, and the perfection of our estate consi­steth not in much sweetnesse and comforts: but rather in suffering great afflictions and tribulations.

15 If there had beene any better thing, and more profitable to the health of man then suffering, surely Christ would haue shewed it by word and example. But hee plainly exhorted al the disciples that follow­ed him, and all that desire to follow him, to the bearing of the Crosse, and saith: If any man wil come after me, let him deny himselfe, & take vp his Crosse and follow me. Luk. 9. So as when we haue read and searched all, let this be the last conclusion: That by many tribulations we must enter into the Kingdome of God. Act. 14.

The end of the second Booke.

OF THE FOL­LOWING OF CHRIST. THE THIRD BOOKE.

CHAP. I. Of the inward speech of Christ vnto a faithfull soule.

I Will heare what our Lord God will speake in me. Psal. 84. Blessed is the soule that heareth our Lord speaking in her: and receiueth from his mouth the word of comfort. 1. King. 3. Blessed are those ears that receiue the sound of the diuine voice, and listen not to the whispering of the world. Blessed indeed are those eares that harken not to the voice which soundeth out­wardly, [Page 144] but vnto truth which teaceth inwardly. Matth. 13. Blessed are the eyes that being shut vp to outward things, are attentiue to those things that are internall. Blessed are they that enter into the inward things, and endeauour to prepare them­selues more and more by daily exer­cises to the attaining of heauenly se­crets. Blessed be they that delight to attend to the seruice of God, and cast from them all impediments of this world.

2 Consider these things my soule, and shut vp the dores of thy sensuall desires: that thou mayest heare what thy Lord God speaketh in thee. Psal. 84. Thus saith thy beloued: I am thy safety, thy peace, and thy life. Keepe thy selfe with me, and thou shalt find peace. Forsake all transitory things, and seeke those that be euerlasting. Psal. 34. What are temporall things, but deceiuing snares? And what do all creatures auaile thee, if thou bee [Page 145] forsaken by the Creator? Forsake therefore all earthly things, and la­bour to please thy Creator, and bee faithfull vnto him, that thou mayest attaine vnto true happinesse.

CHAP. II. That truth speaketh inwardly without noyse of Words.

THE SERVANT.

SPeake Lord, for thy Seruant hea­reth. I am thy Seruant, grant mee vnderstanding, that I may knovv thy testimonies. Stirre vp my heart to heare the words of thy mouth. 1. King. 3. Psalm. 118. Let thy speech descend as the dew into my soule. The children of Israel in times past said vnto Moyses: Speake thou vnto vs, and wee shall heare thee: Let not our Lord speake vnto vs, lest perhaps wee die. Exod. 20. Not so Lord, not so, I beseech thee. But rather with the Prophet Samuel, I [Page 146] humbly and earnestly intreate: speak Lord, for thy seruant heareth. 1. Reg. 3. Let not Moyses speake vnto mee, nor any of the Prophets: but thou rather speake, my Lord God, the in­spirer and inlightner of all the Pro­phets: for thou alone without them canst perfectly instruct me, but they without thee can profit nothing.

2 They can pronounce words, but they giue not spirit. They speake meruailous well, but if thou hould thy peace, they inflame not the hart. They deliuer the letters, but thou o­penest the sense. They bring foorth mysteries, but thou disclosest the vn­derstanding of sealed things. They declare thy Commandements, but thou helpest to fulfill them. They shew the way, but thou giuest strēgth to walke it. They worke only exte­riourly, but thou instructest and en­lightnest the hearts. They water out­wardly, but thou giuest fruitfulnes. [Page 147] They sound foorth words, but thou giuest vnderstanding to the hearing.

3 Let not therefore Moyses speak vnto me, but thou my Lord God, the euerlasting truth; lest perhaps I shold die, and become without fruit, if I be warned outwardly onely and not inflamed within: lest the word heard and not fulfilled, knowen & not lo­ued, belieued & not obserued, should increase my judgement. Speak ther­fore Lord, for thy seruant heareth, for thou hast the words of euerlasting life. 1. King. 3. Speak vnto me to the comfort of my soule, & to the amēd­mēt of my whole life, & to thy praise & glory, & euerlasting honor. Ioh. 6.

CHAP. III. That the words of God are to be heard with hu­mility, and that many weigh them not.

OVR LORD.

SOnne heare my words, words of great comfort, excelling all the [Page 148] knowledge of the Philosophers and wise men of this world. My words are spirit and life, not to be weighed by the vnderstanding of man. Ioh. 6. They are not to be drawne to vaine liking, but to be heard with silence, and to be receiued with all humility and great affection.

SER.

And I said: Blessed is the man whom thou shalt instruct, O Lord, and shalt teach thy Law, that thou mayest giue him quietnes from euill daies, and that hee bee not de­stroyed vpon earth. Psal. 93.

LORD.

2 I (saith our Lord) haue taught the Prophets from the begin­ning, and cease not continually to speake to euery one: but many are deafe and giue no eare to my speech. Heb. 1. The greater number do more willingly listen to the world, then to God: and follow sooner the desires of their flesh, then the will of God. The world promiseth temporall and [Page 149] small things, and is serued with great diligence: I promise most high and eternal things, and the hearts of men are nothing moued with it. Who is he that serueth and obeyeth me with equall care, to that, with which the world, and the Lords thereof are ser­ued? Blush Sidon, saith the sea. Esa. 23. And if thou aske the cause, heare vvhereof. For a little prebend a long jorney is vndertaken: for euerlasting life many will scarce once lift a foot from the ground. A thing of small value is sought after greedily: for a peny sometimes there is great con­tention: for a vaine thing and sleight promise, men doubt not to toile day and night.

3 But alas, for an vnchangeable good, for an inestimable revvard, for the highest honour and glorie without end, they are loath to take the least paines. Blush therefore slouthfull and complaining Seruant, [Page 150] that they are found more ready to destruction, then thou to life. They reioyce more at vanity, then thou at truth. And yet they are sometimes frustrated of their hope, but my pro­mise deceiueth none, nor sendeth him away empty that trusteth in me. Rom. 1. Matth. 24. I will giue that which I haue promised. I will fulfill that which I haue said, but to him that remaines faithfull in my loue to the end. Apoc. 2. I am the reward of all good, and do try my deuout ser­uants in forcible proofes. Mat. 5.15.

4 Write my words in thy heart, and thinke diligently of them: for they will bee necessary in time of temptation. What thou vnderstan­dest not whē thou readest, thou shalt know in the day of visitation. I am wont to visite my elect two seuerall wayes, to wit, with temptation, and comfort. And I daily reade two les­sons vnto them, one reprehending [Page 151] their vices, another exhorting them to the encrease of vertues. Hee that hath my words and despiseth them, hath within him that shal judge him at the last day.

A prayer to implore the grace of deuotion.

SER.

5 Lord my God, thou art all that I can desire. Who am I, that dare speake vnto thee? I am thy poo­rest seruant, and a most vile worme: much more poore and contemptible then I can or dare expresse. Gen. 18. Remember Lord, that I am nothing, haue nothing, and can doe nothing. Thou alone art good, just, and holy; thou canst doe all things, performest all things, leauing only a sinner void of al good. Call to mind thy mercies, and fill my hart with thy grace, who wilt not that thy workes be void.

6 How can I support my selfe in this miserable life; vnlesse thy mercy and grace comfort me? Turne not thy face from me: delay not thy visitati­on; [Page 152] draw not away thy comfort, lest my soule become as earth without water vnto thee. Psal. 68. Lord teach me to fulfill thy will; teach me to liue worthily and humbly in thy sight; for thou art my wisdome, thou doest perfectly know me, and didst know me before the world was made, and before I was borne in the world. Psal. 142.

CHAP. IV. That we ought to liue in truth and humility in the sight of God.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, walke in my sight in sinceri­ty and truth; and euer seeke me in plainenesse of heart. He that walketh in my sight in truth; shal be defended from euill incursions, and truth shall deliuer him from seducers, and from the detractions of the wicked. Gen. 17. Wisd. 1. If truth shall haue deli­uered thee, thou shalt be truely free, [Page 153] and shalt not care for vaine speeches of men. 1. Ioh. 8.

SER.

Lord it is true. According as thou sayest, so I beseech thee let it be done with me, and keepe me, and bring mee to a happy end. Let thy truth teach me, and let it deliuer me from all euill affection and inordinat loue: and I shall walke with thee in great freedome of heart.

LORD.

2 I wil teach thee (saith the Truth) those things that are right and pleasing in my sight. Thinke of thy sins with great sorrow & griefe; and neuer esteem thy selfe any thing for thy good workes. Thou art in ve­ry deed a sinner, and subiect to many passions. Of thy selfe thou alwayes tendest to nothing, and art quickly cast downe and ouercome: quickly troubled, quickly dissolued. Thou hast nothing wherin thou canst glo­ry. 2. Cor. 4. But many things for which thou oughtest to humble, and [Page 154] despise thy selfe: for thou art much weaker then thou art able to com­prehend.

3 And therfore let nothing seeme much vnto thee whatsoeuer thou dost. Let nothing seem great, nothing precious, & wonderful, nothing wor­thy of estimation: nothing high, no­thing truly commendable, and to be desired, but that which is euerlasting. Let the eternall truth aboue al things please thee. Let thy owne great vn­worthinesse alwayes displease thee. Feare nothing, blame, & flie nothing so much, as thy sins and vices: which ought to displease more then the losse of any thing whatsoeuer. Some walke not sincerely in my sight, but led by a certain curiosity & pride, wil know my secrets, and vnderstand the high mysteries of God, neglecting themselues and their own saluation. Eccles. 3. and 2. Cor. 3. These often­times (for that I resist them) doe fall [Page 155] into great temptations and sinnes, for their pride and curiosity.

4 Feare the judgements of God, dread the wrath of the almighty. But discusse not the workes of the High­est. Search thine owne iniquities, in how much thou hast offended, and how much good thou hast neglected. Some carry their deuotion onely in books, some in pictures, sone in out­ward signes & figures, some haue me in their mouthes, but little in their harts. There are others that being il­luminated in their vnderstanding, and purged in their affection▪ doe al­waies aspire with an earnest mind to euerlasting happines: Esa. 29. and are vnwilling to heare of the things of this world, & to serue the necessities of nature with griefe; and these per­ceiue what the Spirit of truth spea­keth in them. Psal. 24 Because it tea­cheth them to despise earthly, and loue heauenly things: to neglect th [...] [Page 156] world, and day and night to desire heauen.

CHAP. V. Of the wonderfull effect of diuine grace.

THE SERVANT.

I Praise thee, O heauenly Father, Father of my Lord Iesus Christ, for that thou hast vouchsafed to re­member mee a poore and wretched creature. O Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, thankes be vnto thee, who sometimes with thy com­fort refreshest mee vnworthy of all comfort. 2. Cor. 1. I euer blesse and glorifie thee with thy only begotten Son, & the holy Ghost for al worlds. O God my Lord, the holy louer of my soule, when thou shalt come into my heart, all that is within me will reioyce. Thou art my glory, and the exultation of my heart. Psal. 3. Thou art my hope, and my refuge in the day of my tribulation. Psal. 31.

[Page 157]2 But for that I am yet weake in loue, and imperfect in vertue, I haue need to be comforted by thee: visite me therefore often, and instruct mee with thy holy discipline. Deliuer me from euill passions, and heale my heart of al inordinate affections: that being cured within, and wel purged, I may be made fit to loue, strong to suffer, and constant to perseuere.

3 Loue is a great matter, in very truth a great good: which alone ma­keth euery thing that is heauy light; and beareth equally vnequall bur­dens. Mat. 11. For it carrieth a bur­den without a burden, and maketh euery thing that is bitter sweet, and delightsome. The noble loue of Ie­sus enforceth man to worke great things, and stirreth him vp to de­sire alwayes the most perfect. Loue will be aloft, and not kept downe with any base things. Loue will be free from all worldly affection, to [Page 158] the end his inward sight be not ob­scured, that he be not intangled with the desire of any transitory gaine, or troubled with the want thereof. No­thing is sweeter then loue, nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more ample, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller nor better in heauen or in earth: for that loue hath his be­ginning from God, and cannot rest but in God aboue all creatures.

4 He that loueth, flyeth, runneth, and reioyceth, he is free, and not held in. He giueth all for all, and hath all in al, for that he resteth in one High­est aboue all, from which all good floweth and proceedeth. Hee respe­cteth not the gifts, but turneth him­selfe aboue all goods vnto the giuer. Loue oftentimes knoweth no mea­sure, but inflameth aboue al measure. Loue feeleth no burthen, weigheth no paines, desireth aboue it strength, complaineth not of impossibility, for [Page 159] that it thinketh all things lawful and possible. It is therefore able to vn­dertake all things, and performeth and bringeth many things to effect: whereas he that doth not loue, fain­teth and can doe nothing.

5 Loue alwaies watcheth, & slee­ping, sleepeth not: being wearied, is not tired: straitned, is not pressed: frighted, is not troubled: but like a liuely flame, and burning torch, brea­keth vpwards, and passeth through al with great securitie. Rom. 8. If any one loueth, hee knoweth what this voice cries. A lowd cry in the ears of God, is the burning loue of the soul, which saith: My God, my loue, thou art wholy mine, and I wholy thine.

6 Enlarge mee in loue, that my heart may taste how sweete it is to loue, and to be dissolued, & swimme in thy loue. Let me be possessed by loue, mounting aboue my selfe, with excessiue feruour & admiration. Let [Page 160] me sing the song of loue, let me fol­low thee on high my beloued, let my soule faint in thy praises reioycing with loue. Let mee loue thee more then my selfe, and not my selfe but for thee, and al in thee, and truly loue thee, as the law of loue commandeth which shineth in thee.

7. Loue is swift, sincere, pious, sweet and delightfull: strong, patient, faith­ful, prudent, suffering, ful of courage, and neuer seeking it selfe. 1. Cor. 13. For where one seeketh himself, there he falleth from loue. 1. Cor. 10. Loue is circumspect, humble, and vpright: not remisse, not mutable, nor atten­ding vnto vaine things; sober, chast, constant, quiet, and guarded in al the senses. Psal. 2. Loue is subiect and o­bedient to Superiours, meane and abiect to it selfe, deuout & thankfull vnto God, trusting and hoping al­waies in him, euen then, when God imparteth no sweetnes vnto it: for [Page 161] without sorrow none liueth in loue.

8 He that is not ready to suffer al things, and stand to the will of his beloued, is not worthy to be called a louer. A louer ought to embrace willingly al that is hard, and distaste­full for his beloued; and not to turne away from him, for any contrary ac­cidents.

CHAP. VI. Of the proofe of a true Louer.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, thou art not yet a strong and prudent louer.

SER.

Wherefore, Lord?

LORD.

Because thou giuest o­uer for a small aduersitie, and too earnestly seekest comfort. A constant louer standeth firmely in temptati­ons, & giueth not credit to the crafty perswasions of the enemy. As I please him in prosperity, so I am not vn­pleasant to him in aduersity. Phil. 4.

[Page 162]2 A prudent louer considereth not so much the gift of his louer, as the loue of the giuer. He rather estee­meth the good will, then the value, and placeth all gifts vnder his belo­ued. A noble louer resteth not in the gift, but in mee aboue any gift. All therfore is not left, if sometimes thou hast lesse taste of mee, and my Saints then thou wouldest. That good and sweet desire which thou sometimes feelest, is the effect of present grace, and a certaine taste of the heauenly Country: whereon thou must not re­ly too much, for it goeth and com­meth. But to fight against euil moti­ons of the minde which may happen vnto thee, and to despise the sugge­stion of the diuel, is a signe of vertue and great merit. Matth. 4.

3 Let not therefore strange fan­cies forced into thee, of any matter whatsoeuer, trouble thee. Retaine a firme purpose and vpright intention [Page 163] to God. Neither is it an illusion, that sometimes thou art suddenly rapt on high, and presently returnest againe vnto the accustomed vanities of thy hart. For thou dost rather vnwilling­ly suffer them, then commit them: and as long as they displease thee, and thou striuest against them, it is a merit and no losse.

4 Know that thy ancient enemy doth euer striue to hinder thy desire to good; and to diuert thee from all deuout exercise: to wit, from the worshipping of Saints, from the de­uout memory of my passion, frō the profitable remembrance of thy sins, from the guard of thine owne heart, and from the firme purpose of profi­ting in vertue. He thrusteth many e­uill thoughts into thy minde; that he may cause a wearisomnes and horror in thee, to draw thee from deuout prayer and reading. Humble confes­sion is displeasing vnto him, and if he [Page 164] could, he would cause thee to cease from receiuing the Sacrament of my Body. Trust him not, nor care for him, although hee should often set snars of deceit to intrap thee. Charge him with it, when he suggesteth euil and vncleane thoughts vnto thee: Say vnto him: Auant filthy spirit: blush miserable wretch, thou art fil­thy that bringest such things into mine eares. Away from me wicked deceiuer, thou shalt haue no part in me: but Iesus shall be with me as a strong warriour, and thou shalt re­maine confounded. Mat. 4. & 16. I had rather die and vndergo any tor­ment, then to consent vnto thee. hold thy peace and be silent. I will heare thee no more, though thou shouldest worke me many troubles. My Lord is my light and saluation, whom shall I feare? Ps. 26. If whole armies should stand together against me, my hart shal not feare. Our Lord [Page 165] is my helper, and my Redeemer.

5 Fight like a good Souldiour: and if thou sometimes fall through frailetie, recouer greater forces then before, trusting in my more aboun­dant grace: and take great heede of vaine pleasing of thy selfe, and pride. Psal. 26. & 1. Tim. 6. This brings ma­ny into error, and makes them some­times fal into almost incurable blind­nes. Let the fall of the proud, foo­lishly presuming of themselues, serue thee for a warning, and a perpetuall humiliation.

CHAP. VII. That grace is to be hid vnder the veile of humilitie.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, it is more profitable and safe for thee to hide the grace of deuotion, not to extoll thy selfe, nor to speake much, nor to esteeme much thereof: but rather to despise [Page 166] thy selfe, and feare it, as giuen to one vnworthy thereof. This affection is not to bee cleaued vnto, which may be quickly changed into the contra­ry. Thinke when thou art in grace, how miserable and needy thou art wont to be without it? Neither doth therein only consist the profit of spi­rituall life, when thou hast the grace of comfort; but when thou humbly, resignedly, and patiently sufferest the withdrawing thereof: so that thou be not then lesse diligent in the ex­ercise of prayer, nor suffer thy selfe to passe ouer the rest of thy accustomed good works: but that thou willing­ly performe what lieth in thee, accor­ding as thou art able and vnderstan­dest to be fit: not neglecting thy self wholy for the drines, and trouble of minde, which thou feelest.

2 There are many, that when it succeedeth not well with them, pre­sently they become impatient or [Page 167] slouthfull. The way of man is not al­waies in his power, but it belongeth to God, to giue, & to comfort when he will, how much he will, & whom he will, as it shall please him and no more. Hier. 10. & Rom. 9. Some vn­aduised persons haue ouerthrowne thēselues, for the greedy desire which they had of the grace of deuotion: attempting more then they were a­ble to performe, not weighing the measure of their weakenesse, but fol­lowing rather the desire of their hart, then the judgement of reason. And because they presumed on greater matters then was pleasing to God, they quickly lost their grace. They were made needy, and left in a deie­cted estate that built thēselues nests in heauē; to the end that being hum­bled and impouerished, they may learne not to flie with their owne wings, but to liue in hope vnder my fethers. Esay 24. They that are yet [Page 168] new, and vnacquainted in the way of our Lord, vnlesse they gouerne themselues by the counsel of discreet persons, may easily be deceiued and ouerthrowne.

3 And if they will rather follow their owne judgment, then giue cre­dit to others that are experienced, their end will be dangerous, if they cannot be drawne from their owne conceit. Seldome those that are wise in their owne opinion, suffer them­selues humbly to be gouerned by o­thers. A little knowledge with hu­mility, and a slender vnderstanding, is better then great treasures of lear­ning with a vaine selfe-liking. Psal. 15. & 16. It is better for thee to haue lesse, then much of that wherof thou maist be proud. He doth not discreet­ly, that wholy giueth himself ouer to mirth, forgetting his former pouerty and the chast fear of God, which fea­reth to lose the grace which he hath [Page 169] obtained. Neither is he vertuously wise, that in time of aduersitie or any tribulation whatsoeuer, yeeldeth to despairing thoughts, and thinketh and imagineth of me lesse confident­ly then he ought.

4 He that will be ouer secure in time of peace, shall be often found in time of war too deiected & feareful. 1. Thess. 5. If thou couldest alwaies continue humble and lowly within thy selfe, and temper & gouerne thy soule wel, thou shouldest not so soon fall into danger & offence. It is good counsell, that when thou conceiuest feruour of spirit, thou shouldest think what will become of thee, when that light shall leaue thee. And when that doth happen, remember the light may returne againe, which for thy instruction and my glory I haue withdrawne for a time. Iob 17.

5 Such proofe is often more profi­table, then if thou shouldest alwaies [Page 170] enioy prosperity according to thy de­sire. For merits are not to be weighed in a man by the number of visions and comforts which he hath, or by his knowledge in Scriptures, or by his being placed in high degree: but in that he is grounded in true humi­lity, and replenished with diuine cha­rity: if he alwaies purely and entirely seeke the honor of God, if he esteem himselfe nothing, and with a sincere heart despise himselfe, and reioyce more to be despised and humbled by others, then to be honored. Psal. 83.

CHAP. VIII. Of a meane conceit of our selues in the sight of God.

THE SERVANT.

SHall I speake vnto my Lord, sith I am dust and ashes? If I esteem bet­ter of my selfe, behold thou standest against me, and my iniquities beare true witnes, neither can I speake a­gainst [Page 171] it. Gen. 18. But if I abase and esteeme nothing of my selfe, and cast off all selfe-conceit, and (as I am) ac­count my selfe to be dust, thy grace will be fauourable vnto me, and thy light will bee neere vnto my heart: and all estimation how little soeuer, shall bee swallowed vp in the depth of my nothing, & perish euerlasting­ly. There thou shewest my selfe vnto me, what I am, what I haue bin, and whither I am come: for alas I am no­thing, and I knew it not. And if I be left to my selfe, behold I become no­thing, and a masse of infirmyty. But if thou suddenly looke vpon me, I am presently made strong, & filled with new joy. And it is a great meruaile, that I am so suddenly lifted vp, and so graciously embraced by thee, that of mine owne waight alwaies sinke downeward.

2 Thy loue is cause hereof, freely preuenting me, and releeuing mee in [Page 172] so many necessities, preseruing mee also from grieuous dangers, and (as I may truly say) deliuering me from innumerable euils. For surely by e­uill louing my selfe, I lost my selfe: and by seeking thee alone, and sin­cerely louing thee, I haue found both my selfe and thee, and for thy loue haue more deepely brought my selfe to nothing. Ioh. 12. For that thou, O most sweet Iesu, dealest with me a­boue all desert, and aboue all that I dare hope and request.

3 Blessed be thou my God, for although I be vnworthy of all good, yet the noblenes of thy bounty and thy infinite goodnes, neuer ceaseth to doe good euen to the vngratefull, and to them that bee turned away farre from thee. Matth. 5. Turne vs vnto thee, O Lord, that we may bee gratefull, humble and deuout: for thou art our safety, our power, and our strength.

CHAP. IX. That all things are to be referred vnto God, as vnto the last end.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, I ought to bee thy chiefest and last end, if thou desire to bee truly blessed. With this intention thy affection shall be purified, which is oftentimes inclined inordinately to it selfe, and vnto creatures. For if in any thing thou seeke thy selfe, thou presently faintest and driest vp with­in thy selfe. Direct therfore al things chiefely vnto me, for I am hee that haue giuen all. Consider euery thing as flowing from the highest good: and therefore all things are to be re­duced vnto me, as vnto their first be­ginning. Eccles. 1.

2 Out of mee, as out of liuing fountaines, the little and the great, the poore and the rich, doe draw the water of life: and they that willingly [Page 174] and freely serue mee, shall receiue grace for grace. Ioh. 4. But hee that will glory out of me, or be delighted in any particular good, shall not bee grounded in true ioy, nor enlarged in his heart, but shall be many waies hindred and straitned. 1. Cor. 1. Thou oughtest therfore to ascribe no good vnto thy self, nor attribute the praise of vertue vnto any man: but giue all vnto God. without whom man hath nothing. I haue bestowed all, and wil that al be returned to me againe: and with great seuerity I require thanks. 1. Cor. 4.

3 This is the truth that putteth to flight vaine-glory. And if heauen­ly grace, and true charity enter in, there shall be no enuy nor grudging of heart, neither shall there bee any place for selfe-loue. For diuine cha­rity ouercommeth all, and enlargeth all the forces of the soule. If thou vn­derstand aright, in mee alone thou [Page 175] wilt reioyce, in mee alone thou wilt hope: for none is good, but God a­lone, who is to be praised aboue all things, and to be blessed in all. Mat. 19. & Luk. 18.

CHAP. X. That despising the world, it is sweet to serue God.

THE SERVANT.

NOw I wil speake againe, Lord, and will not be silent. I wil say in the eares of my God, my Lord, and my King that is on high: O how great is the multitude of thy sweet­nes Lord, which thou hast hidden for those that feare thee! Psal. 30. But what art thou to thē that loue thee? What to them that serue thee with their whole heart? Truly vnspeaka­ble is the sweetnesse of thy contem­plation, which thou bestowest on them that loue thee. In this chiefly thou hast shewed me the sweetnes of thy charity, Gen. 1. for that when I [Page 176] was not, thou madest me: and when I went astray far off from thee, thou broughtest me backe againe, that I might serue thee: and hast comman­ded mee to loue thee. Psalm. 118. and Matth. 15.

2 O fountain of euerlasting loue, what shall I say of thee? How can I forget thee, that hast vouchsafed to remember me, euen when I whithe­red away and perished! Thou hast vsed mercy with thy seruant beyond all the expectation of my heart: and hast bestowed thy grace and friend­ship beyond all merit. What shall I returne vnto thee for this grace? Psal. 115. For it is not granted to e­uery one to forsake all things, to re­nounce the world, and to vndertake a life of religion and perfection. Is it much that I serue thee, whom all creatures are bound to serue? It ought not to seeme much vnto mee to serue thee: but this rather seemeth [Page 149] much, and meruailous vnto me, that thou vouchsafest to receiue into thy seruice one so poore and vnworthy, and to joyne him with thy beloued seruants. Iudg. 16.

3 Behold all is thine which I haue and whereby I serue thee. And yet in very deed thou rather seruest mee then I thee. 1. Cor. 4. Behold heauen and earth, which thou hast created for the seruice of man are ready at hand, and doe daily performe what­soeuer thou dost command; and this is little: yea thou hast also appointed the Angels to the seruice of man. Psa. 90. & Heb. 1. But that which excee­deth all, is that thou thy selfe hast vouchsafed to serue man, and promi­sed to giue thy selfe vnto him.

4 What shall I giue thee for all these thousands of benefits? I would I could serue thee al the daies of my life! I would I were able at least for one day to doe thee some [Page 178] worthy & acceptable seruice! Thou art truly worthy of all seruice, of all honor and euerlasting praise. Thou art my Lord, & I thy poore seruant, that am bound to serue thee with all my forces, neither ought I euer to cease to praise thee. And this I wish to doe, this I desire: and whatsoeuer is wanting vnto me, vouchsafe I be­seech thee to supply.

5 It is a great honor, a very great glory to serue thee, and to despise all things for thee. For great grace shall be giuen to them that shall willing­ly submit themselues vnto thy most holy seruice. They shall receiue most sweete comfort of the holy Ghost, that for thy loue shall renounce all carnall delights. Mat. 19. They shall attaine great freedome of mind, that for thy names sake shall enter into the narrow way, and shall haue left off all care of this world. Matth. 7.

6 O sweet and delightfull serui­tude [Page 179] of God, by which man is truely made free & holy! Mat. 11. & 1. Ioh. 5. O sacred state of religious bondage, which maketh man equal to Angels, pleasing to God, terrible to diuels, and grateful, and of great esteeme to all the faithfull! O seruice to be im­braced, and alwaies wished for, by which we obtain the greatest good, and attaine to that joy which neuer shall haue end!

CHAP. XI. That the desires of our heart are to be exami­ned and moderated.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, thou oughtest to learne ma­ny things more, which thou hast not yet well learned.

SER.

What are those Lord?

LORD.

That thou frame thy de­sire wholy according to my pleasure: and be not a louer of thy selfe▪ but a diligent follower of my will. Thy [Page 180] desires oftentimes doe stirre thee vp, and driue thee forwards with vio­lence: but consider whether thou art mooued rather for my honour, then for thine owne profit. If I bee the cause, thou wilt bee well con­tent with whatsoeuer I shal ordaine: but if there lurke in thee any selfe inclination, behold this is it that hindreth thee, and weigheth thee downe. Phil. 2.

2 Beware therefore thou incline not too much vpon any desire that commeth to thy minde, before thou aske my counsaile; lest perhaps af­terwards it repent thee, and that thou beginne now to dislike that which before did please thee, and vvhich thou earnestly desiredst as the best. For euery affection that see­meth good, is not presently to be-followed: nor euery contrary affe­ction at the first to be fled. It is ex­pedient sometimes to vse a restraint [Page 181] euen in good desires and endea­uours: lest by importunitie thou in­curre distraction of minde, and by euill example become a scandall vn­to others: or being gaine-said by others, thou bee suddenly troubled and fall.

3 Yet sometimes thou oughtest to vse violence, and resist manful­ly thy sensuall appetites, Philip. 2. and respect not what thy bodie vvould, or vvould not: but rather to labour, that euen perforce it bee subiect to the spirit. Rom. 8. and 2. Cor. 4. And it is to be chastised so long, and to be forced vnder ser­uitude, 2. Cor. 10. vntill it readily o­bey in all things, and learne to bee content with a little, and to be plea­sed with ordinary things, and not to murmure against any inconuenience. 1. Cor. 9.

CHAP. XII. Of the effect of Patience, and of strife against Concupiscence.

THE SERVANT.

LOrd God, I perceiue patience is very necessary vnto me: for that many aduersities doe happen in this life. Heb. 10. Howsoeuer I shall di­spose of my peace, my life cannot be without warre and affliction. Iob 7.

LORD.

So it is Son. And my wil is not that thou seek after that peace which is void of temptation, or that feeleth no contrarieties: but then thinke that thou hast found peace, when thou art exercised with sundry tribulations, and tried in many ad­uersities. Iam. 1.

2 If thou say that thou art not a­ble to suffer much, how then wilt thou endure the fire of Purgatory? Of two euils the lesse is alwayes to be chosen. That thou maist therefore [Page 183] auoid euerlasting punishments in the next world, endeauour to suffer pa­tiently for God the present euils of this. Doest thou thinke that men of this world suffer little or nothing? Thou art deceiued. Looke into the life euen of them that liue in greatest delicacies, and thou shalt finde it o­therwise. But thou wilt say they haue many delights, and follow their own wills, and therefore they make small account of their tribulations. Be it so, that they haue whatsoeuer they will; but how long dost thou thinke it will last?

3 Behold the vvealthy of this world vanish away like smoke, and there shall bee no memory of their joyes past. Psal. 67. Yea euen while they liue also, they rest not in them without griefe, irksomnes and feare. For the selfe-same thing in which they take their delight, is oftentimes the cause of sorrow vnto them, and [Page 184] much affliction. They haue their de­sert, who, for that they immoderate­ly seeke and follow delights, they do not obtaine them, but with shame and sorrow.

4 O how short and deceitfull, how inordinate, and filthy are those pleasures! Yea so senselesse and blind are men that they vnderstand it not: but like dumbe beasts, for a little pleasure of a corruptible life, they in­cur the eternall death of their soule. Doe not thou therefore, my Sonne, follow the disordinate inclinations of thy corrupt nature, but forsake thine owne will. Delight in our Lord, and he will giue thee the de­sires of thy heart. Eccls. 28. Psal. 36.

5 If thou desire true light, and to be more plentifully comforted by me: behold in the contempt of all worldly things, and in the cutting off of all base delights: shall be thy blessing, & aboundant comfort shall [Page 185] be giuen thee. And how much the more thou withdrawest thy selfe from all comfort of creatures, so much the sweeter and more forcible consolations shalt thou finde in me. But at first thou canst not attaine vn­to them without a certaine griefe, la­bour and strife. The old custome wil make resistance, and thou must ouer­come it with another custome that is better. Thy flesh will murmure; but thou must bridle it with feruour of spirit. The olde Serpent will sting and trouble thee: but by prayer hee shall be put to flight: and with pro­fitable labour thou shalt shut the dore against him.

CHAP. XIII. Of the humble obedience of a subiect, according to the example of Christ.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, hee that endeauoureth to withdraw himself from obedience, [Page 186] withdraweth himselfe from grace. And hee that seeketh to haue things in priuate, shall lose the common. Mat. 16. He that doth not willingly and freely submit himselfe to his Su­periour, it is a signe that his flesh is not yet perfectly obedient vnto him, but oftentimes rebelleth and mur­mureth against him. Learne therfore readily to submit thy selfe to thy Su­periour, if thou desirest to subdue thine owne passions. For the outward enemy is sooner ouercome, if the in­ward man be in good estate. There is no worse enemy, nor more trouble­some to the soule, then thou vnto thy selfe, not agreeing well with the spi­rit. Thou must of necessity haue a true contempt of thy selfe, if thou wilt preuaile against flesh and bloud.

2 Because thou louest thy selfe as yet too inordinatly, therfore thou art afraid to resigne thy selfe wholly to the will of others. But what great [Page 187] matter is it if thou that art dust, and nothing submittest thy self to a man for God: when I the Almighty and highest soueraigne, who created all things of nothing, humbly submit­ted my selfe vnto man for thee? Luk. 2. & Ioh. 12. I became the most hum­ble and abiect of all men, that thou mightest ouercome thy pride with my humility. Learne to obey, thou that art dust. Learne to humble thy selfe, thou earth and clay, and put thy self vnder th [...] feet of all men. Learne to breake thine owne will, and to yeeld thy selfe to all subiection.

3 Take courage against thy selfe, and suffer not pride to liue in thee: but humble and submit thy selfe to all, that euery one may go ouer thee, and treade thee as dirt of the streets vnder their feet. Vaine man, what canst thou complaine of? what canst thou answere foule sinner to them that reproue thee, who hast so often [Page 182] [...] [Page 183] [...] [Page 184] [...] [Page 185] [...] [Page 186] [...] [Page 187] [...] [Page 188] offended God, and so many times deserued hell? But mine eye hath spared thee, because thy soule was precious in my sight: that thou mightest know my loue, and alwaies remaine gratefull for my benefits: that thou mightest continually giue thy selfe to true subiection and hu­militie, and mightest beare patiently the contempt of thy selfe.

CHAP. XIV. Of the secret Iudgements of God to be conside­red, lest we be extolled in our good deeds.

THE SERVANT.

THou thundrest thy judgements ouer me, Lord, and shakest all my bones with feare and trembling, and my soule is sore afraid. I stand astonished, and consider; for that heauens are not pure in thy sight. Iob 15. If thou hast found wicked­nesse in Angels, and hast not pardo­ned [Page 189] them, what shal become of me? Iob 4. Starres fell from heauen, and what doe I presume that am dust? Apoc. 8. They whose workes seemed laudable, fell into the lowest: and I haue seene them, that did eate bread of Angels, to be delighted with the huskes of swine.

2 There is no sanctity, if thou, O Lord, withdrawest thy hand. No wisdome auaileth, if thou ceasest to gouerne. No strength helpeth, if thou leauest to defend. No chastity secure, if thou dost not protect it. No custo­die of our owne profitable, if thy sa­cred watchfulnes be not present. For if thou leauest vs, we sinke, and pe­rish; but if thou vouchsafest to visit vs, we are raised vp, and doe enioy life. We are inconstant, but by thee we are strengthned: we wax could, but by thee we receiue heate.

3 O how meanely and basely ought I to thinke of my selfe! How [Page 190] little, yea nothing ought I to esteem it, if I seeme to haue any good! O Lord, how ought I to submit my self vnder thy vnsearchable judgements: where I finde my selfe to be nothing else, but nothing, & nothing! O vn­measurable waight! O sea that can neuer be passed ouer: where I finde my selfe onely and wholly nothing! Where then is the lurking hole of glory? Whrre is the confidence con­ceiued of vertue? All vaine-glory is swallowed vp in the depth of thy iudgmēts, which hang ouer my head.

4 What is all flesh in thy sight? Shall clay glory against him that fra­meth it? Eccls. 23. & Esay 29. How can he be lifted vp with vain words, whose heart is truly subiect to God? All the world cannot mooue him to any elation of minde, whome truth hath subiected vnto it, neither shall hee be mooued with the tongues of all his praisers, that hath setled his [Page 191] whole hope in God. For they also that speake, behold, are nothing: they shall passe away with the sound of the words: but the truth of our Lord remaineth for euer. Psal. 116.

CHAP. XV. What we ought to doe, and say in euery thing which we desire.

OVR LORD.

SOn, say thus in euery thing: Lord if it be pleasing vnto thee, let this be done in this sort. Lord if it be to thy honour, let this bee done in thy name. Iam. 3. Lord if thou seest it ex­pedient for me, and allowest it to be profitable, then grant vnto me, that I may vse this vnto thine honor. But if thou knowest it wil be hurtfull vnto me, & not profitable to the health of my soule, take from me al such desire. For euery desire proceeds not from the holy Ghost, though it seeme vn­to man right and good. It is hard to [Page 192] judge whether a good spirit, or the contrary driue thee to desire this or that: or whether also by thine owne spirit thou be moued therunto. Many are deceiued in the end, who at the first seemed to be led by a good spi­rit.

2 Alwaies therefore, whatsoeuer occurreth vnto thy minde to be de­sired, let it be desired with the feare of God, and with humility of heart: and aboue al thou oughtest to com­mit it vnto me with full resignation of thy selfe: and thou oughtest to say: Lord thou knowest what is best, do this, or that, as thou pleasest. Giue what thou wilt, and how much thou wilt, and when thou wilt. Doe with me as thou knowest, & as best plea­seth thee, and is most for thy honor. Set me where thou wilt, and deale with mee in all things according to thy will, I am in thy hand, turne me, and turne me againe which way so­euer [Page 193] thou please. Behold I am thy seruant, ready to obey thee in all things: for I desire not to liue vnto my selfe, but vnto thee: and would to God it might be in some worthy and perfect manner.

A prayer for the fulfilling of the will of God.

SER.

3 Grant mee thy grace, sweet Iesus, that it may be with me, and labour with me, and perseuere with me vntill the end. Grant me al­waies to desire and will that which is most acceptable vnto thee, & best pleaseth thee. Sap. 9. Let thy will be mine, and let my will euer follow thine, and agree perfectly with it. Let my will and nill be all one with thine: and not to be able to will, or refuse any thing else, but what thou wilt, or reiectest.

4 Grant that I may die to all things that are in the world, and to loue for thy sake to bee contemned, and not to be knowne in this world. [Page 194] Grant that aboue all things that can be desired, I may rest in thee, and make my hart to enioy peace in thee. Thou art the true peace of the heart, thou art the only rest: out of thee all things are troublesome and vnquiet. In peace, in the selfe-same: that is, in thee, one chiefest, eternall good, I will sleepe and rest. Amen. Psal. 4.

CHAP. XVI. That true comfort is to be sought in God alone.

THE SERVANT.

WHatsoeuer I can desire, or imagine for my cōfort, I look not for it in this life, but hereafter. For if I should alone haue all the comforts of the world, & might enioy al the delights thereof, it is certaine that they could not long endure. Mat. 16. Wherfore, my soule, thou canst not bee fully comforted, nor haue perfect delight but in God, the cōforter of the poor, & the receiuer of the humble. Ps. 76. [Page 195] Expect a while my soule, expect the diuine promise, and thou shalt haue abundance of al good things in hea­uen. If thou desire inordinately the things that are present, thou shalt lose the celestiall and eternall. Haue temporall things in vse, and the eter­nal in desire. Thou canst not be filled with any temporall goods, because thou art not created to enioy them.

2 Although thou enioyest al that is created, yet canst thou not be happy thereby nor blessed: but in God that hath created all things, thy whole beatitude and happinesse consisteth: Sap. 2. not such as is seene, and com­mended by the foolish louers of the world; but such as the good faithful seruants of Christ expect, & the spi­rituall, & cleane of heart, whose con­uersation is in heauen, sometimes take a taste of. Phil. 3. Vaine & short is al humane comfort. Blessed & true is the comfort which is receiued in­wardly [Page 196] from truth. A deuout man e­uery where carrieth with him Iesus, his comforter, and saith vnto him: Be present with me Lord Iesus in e­uery place and time. Let this be my comfort, to bee alwayes willing to want all humane comfort. And if thy comfort be wanting, let thy will and just proofe be vnto me, as the grea­test comfort: for thou wilt not be an­gry alwaies, neither wilt thou threa­ten for euer. Psal. 102.

CHAP. XVII. That all our care is to be placed in God.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, suffer mee to doe with thee what I please. I know what is ex­pedient for thee. Thou thinkest as man: thou judgest in many things as humane affection perswadeth thee.

SER.

Lord, what thou sayest is true. Thy solicitude for me is greater, then all the care that I can take for [Page 197] my selfe. Matth. 6. & Ioh. 6. For he standeth at too great a hazard, that casteth not his whole care vpon thee. Lord, so that my will may remaine right and firme in thee, doe with me whatsoeuer it shall please thee. For it cannot be but good, whatsoeuer, thou doest with me.

2 If it be thy will, I should be in darknes, be thou blessed: and if it be thy will, I should be in light, be thou againe blessed. If thou vouchsafest to comfort me, be thou blessed: and if thou wilt afflict mee, be thou also e­uer blessed.

LORD.

Sonne, so thou oughtest to be, as ready to suffer, as to receiue joy. Thou oughtest to be as willing to be poore and needy, as plentifull and rich.

SER.

3 Lord, I wil willingly suf­fer for thee, whatsoeuer thy pleasure is shall befall me. I will receiue in­differently from thy hand, good and [Page 198] euill, sweete and sower, delightfull and sorrowfull: and giue thee thanks for all that hapneth vnto me. Iob 2. Keepe me from all sinne, and I will neither feare death nor hell: so as thou doest not for euer cast me from thee, and blot me out of the booke of life, what tribulation soeuer befall me, shall not hurt me. Psal. 22.

CHAP. XVIII. That temporal miseries, by the example of Christ, are to be borne patiently.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, I descended from heauen for thy health: I took vpon me thy miseries, my charity, and not any ne­cessitie drawing me thereunto: that thou mightest learne patience, & not refuse to beare temporall miseries. Ioh. 8. For from the houre of my birth, vntill my death on the Crosse, I was not without suffring of griefe. Esa. 53. I suffered great want of tem­porall [Page 199] things: I often heard many complaints against me: I bare pati­ently shame and reproches for bene­fits I receiued ingratitude; for mira­cles, blasphemies, for heauenly do­ctrine, reprehensions. Luk. 2.

SER.

2 Lord, for that thou wert patient in thy life-time, chiefly in ful­filling the commandment of thy Fa­ther, it is reason that I miserable sin­ner should haue patience in al things according to thy will, and for mine own health beare the burden of this corruptible life, as long as thou wilt. Ioh. 5. For although this present life be burdensome, yet notwithstanding it is now by thy grace made very meritorious: & by thy example, and the foot-steps of thy Saints, more plaine & tolerable to the weak. Yea, much more comfortable also, then it was in times past in the olde Law, when the gate of heauen remained shut: and the way also to heauen see­med [Page 200] darker, when so few tooke care to seeke after thy Kingdom. Neither they also that then were just, & were ordained to be saued, could enter in­to the heauenly glory before thy Passion, and the debt of thy sacred death was discharged. Mat. 7.

3 O how great thanks am I bound to giue thee, that thou hast vouchsa­fed to shew vnto me, and to al faith­ful soules, a direct & sure way to thy euerlasting Kingdome! For thy life is our way, and by holy patience we go vnto thee, that art our Crowne. If thou hadst not gone before vs, and taught vs, who would haue takē care to follow? Alas, how many would stay behind, & remaine far off, if they beheld not thy excellent examples! Behold we are yet cold, although we haue heard of so many of thy won­ders, & thy heauēly documēts! What would become of vs if we had not so great light to follow thee? Ioh. 12.

CHAP. XIX. Of suffering of iniuries, and who is proued to be truely patient.

OVR LORD.

WHat is it thou sayest, Son? Cease to complain, considering my pas­sion, and that of my other Saints. Thou hast not yet made resistance to the shedding of bloud. Heb. 12. It is but little thou suffrest, in comparison of them that haue suffered so much, so strongly tempted, so grieuously af­flicted, so many wayes tried and ex­ercised. Heb. 11. Thou oughtest ther­fore to call to minde the heauy suffe­rings of others, that thou mayest ea­sier beare the little aduersities which thou sufferest. And if they seeme not little, beware lest thy impatience be cause thereof. Yet whether they be little or great, endeauour to beare all patiently.

2 How much the better thou di­sposest [Page 202] thy selfe to suffering, so much the more wisely thou doest, and so much the more dost thou merit: thou shalt more easily also endure it, if thy minde be prepared, and thy selfe ac­customed thereunto. Doe not say; I cannot suffer these things of such a one, at the hands of such a person, nor such things are not to be suffred by mee, for hee hath done me great wrong, and vpbraided me with those things which I neuer thought of: but of another I wil willingly suffer, and as I shall see cause. Such a thought is foolish, it considereth not the vertue of patience, nor by whom it shall be crowned; but rather weigheth the persons, and the iniuries offered.

3 He is not truly patient, that wil not suffer but as much as he thinketh good, and by whom he listeth. But he that is indeed patient, mindeth not by whom he is exercised, whether by his superiour, or some of his equals, [Page 203] or by his inferior: whether by a good and holy man, or by a peruerse and vnworthy person. But indifferently from al creatures, how much soeuer, or how often soeuer any aduersitie happeneth vnto him, hee taketh all thankefully, as from the hands of God, and esteemeth it a great gaine: for that nothing before God, how little soeuer, so it be suffred for God, can be without merit.

4 Be thou therefore alwaies pre­pared for the fight, if thou wilt haue the victory. Without combate thou canst not attaine vnto the crowne of patience. If thou wilt not suffer, thou refusest to be crowned. But if thou desirest to be crowned, fight manful­ly, and endure patiently: without la­bour there is no comming to rest; nor without fight can the victory be ob­tained. 2. Tim. 2.

SER.

Lord, let that bee made possible to me by thy grace, which [Page 204] seemeth impossible to me by nature. Thou knowest that I can suffer lit­tle, and that I am quickly dismayed, when a small aduersitie ariseth. Let all exercise of tribulation be made pleasing vnto me, and be welcome for thy name: for to suffer, and to be troubled for thee, is very profitable for my soule.

CHAP. XX. Of the acknowledging of our owne infirmity: and of the miseries of this life.

THE SERVANT.

I Will confesse against me my iniu­stice: I will confesse vnto thee, O Lord, my infirmitie. Oftentimes it is a smal matter that discomforteth and grieueth me. Psal. 31. I purpose to resist with courage, but when a smal temptation commeth, it bringeth me into very narrow straits. It is some­times a very trifle, from whence great temptations do proceed. And whilst [Page 205] I thinke my selfe somewhat safe, when I least expect it, I find my selfe sometimes ouercome with a small blast.

2 Behold therfore, Lord, my humi­lity, & my frailty euery way knowne vnto thee. Psalm. 24. Haue mercy on me, and deliuer me out of the mire of my infirmities, that I sticke not fast therein: let me not for euer remaine deiected. Psal. 68. This is that which oftentimes beareth me back, & con­foundeth me in thy sight: for that I am so subiect to fall, and weak in re­sisting of my passions. And though I do not altogether consent, yet their continuall assaults are troublesome and grieuous vnto me: & it is tedious and a very irksome thing to liue thus daily in strife. Hereby my infirmitie is made knowne vnto me: for that wicked fancies doe alwayes much more easily enter in vpon me, then they can be cast out againe.

[Page 206]3 O mightie God of Israel, the zealous louer of faithfull soules; let it please thee to consider the labour and sorrow of thy seruant, and assist him in all whatsoeuer he vnderta­keth. Strengthen me with heauenly force, lest my old man, my miserable flesh, not fully as yet subiect to the spirit, preuaile & get the vpper hand: against which I ought to fight, as long as I breath in this miserable life. Alas, what a kind of life is this, where tribulations and miseries are neuer wanting! where al is set with snares, and compassed with enemies! For when one tribulation or temptation goeth away, another commeth, yea and during the first conflict also, ma­ny others come vnlooked for one af­ter another.

4 And how can a life bee loued that hath so many afflictions, and is subiect to so many calamities & mi­series? How is it called a life, that be­getteth [Page 207] so many deaths, & plagues? And yet it is loued, and many seek to delight themselues therin. The world is oftentimes blamed, that it is de­ceitful and vaine, & yet it is not easi­ly forsaken, because the inclinations of our flesh do too much ouerrule vs. Some things draw vs to loue it, o­thers to contemne it. To the loue of the world doe draw vs the concupi­scence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life: but the paines and miseries that do just­ly follow them, causeth a hatred and loathsomenesse thereof. 1. Ioh. 2.

5 But alas, wicked pleasure ouer­commeth the minde which is giuen ouer to the world, and she esteemeth it a delight to be vnder thornes: be­cause shee hath neither seene nor ta­sted the sweetnes of God, and the in­ward delight of vertue. Iob. 30. But they that perfectly contemne the world, and endeauour to liue to God [Page 208] vnder holy discipline, these are not ignorant of the diuine sweetnes, pro­mised to the true forsakers of the world, and do more clearely see how grieuously the world erreth, and how it is many wayes deceiued.

CHAP. XXI. That we are to rest in God aboue all his gifts.

THE SERVANT.

ABoue all things, and in all things, my soule, thou shalt euer rest in God, for he is the euerlasting rest of the Saints. Grant me most sweet and louing Iesu, to rest in thee aboue all creatures, aboue all health and beau­ty, aboue all glory and honor, aboue all power and dignitie, aboue all knowledge and learning, aboue all riches and artes, aboue all joy and gladnes, aboue all fame and praise, aboue all sweetnes and comfort, a­boue all hope and promise, aboue all merit and desire, aboue all gifts and [Page 209] presents that thou canst giue and im­part vnto vs, aboue all joy and jubily that the minde of man can receiue and feele: lastly, aboue Angels and Archangels, and aboue all the hea­uenly Host, aboue all visible and in­uisible things, and aboue all that, that thou art not, my God. Rom. 8.

2 For that thou, my Lord God, surpassest all, thou alone most high, thou alone most powerfull, thou a­lone most full and sufficient, thou a­lone most sweete, and comfortable, thou alone most beautifull and lo­uing, thou alone most noble and glorious aboue all things: in whom all good things together both are perfectly, and euer haue beene and shall be: and therefore it is too little and not sufficient, whatsoeuer thou bestowest on me besides thy selfe, or reuealest vnto mee of thy selfe, or promisest whilest thou art not seene, and not fully obtained: for surely my [Page 210] heart cannot rest, nor be fully cōten­ted vnlesse it rest in thee, & surmount all gifts and creatures whatsoeuer.

3 O my most beloued Spouse Christ Iesus, the most chast louer, the gouernour of all creatures: who wil giue me wings of true libertie to flie and rest in thee! Psalm. 53. O when shall it be fully granted me to consi­der in quietnes of mind, and see how sweet thou art, my Lord God! When shall I fully recollect my self in thee, that for thy loue I may not feele my selfe, but thee alone, aboue all sense, and feeling, in a manner not knowne vnto al. But now I oftentimes lament and beare my infelicity with griefe. Dan. 13. For that many euils occurre in this vale of miseries, which do of­ten trouble, grieue, and darken me, often hinder and distract me, allure and intangle me, to the end I should not haue free accesse vnto thee, and that I should not enioy those sweete [Page 211] and heauēly imbracings, which thou alwaies giueth to the blessed & cele­stial spirits. Let my sighes and mani­fold desolation on earth moue thee.

4 O Iesus, splendor of eternal glo­ry, & comfort of the pilgrime soule! With thee is my tongue without voice, and my silence speaketh vnto thee. How long doth my Lord delay to come! Let him come vnto me his poore seruant, & make me glad. Let him put out his hand, and deliuer me miserable wretch from all anguish. Come, come blessed Lord: for with­out thee I shall haue no joyfull day, nor houre. Thou art my joy, & with­out thee there is nothing but want. A wretched creature I am, and in a manner imprisoned, and loaden with irons: vntill thou comfortest me with the light of thy presence, and giuest me liberty, and shewest a fauourable countenance vnto me.

5 Let others seeke vvhat they [Page 212] please insteed of thee: but for me, no­thing else doth, nor shall delight me, but thou only my God, my hope, my euerlasting health. I will not hold my peace, nor cease to pray, vntil thy grace returne againe, and thou speak inwardly vnto me.

LORD.

Behold I am here, behold I come vnto thee, because thou hast called vpon me, thy teares, and the desire of thy foule, thy humility, and the contrition of thy heart, haue in­clined and brought me vnto thee.

SER.

And I said: Lord, I haue cal­led thee, & haue desired to enioy thee being ready to forsake all things for thee. For thou first hast stirred me vp that I might seek thee. Blessed be thou therefore, O Lord, that hast shewed this goodnesse to thy seruant, accor­ding to the multitude of thy mercies.

6 What hath thy seruant more to say before thee, but that he do great­ly humble himselfe in thy sight, al­wayes [Page 213] mindfull of his owne iniqui­ty and basenesse? For there is none like vnto thee in all whatsoeuer is wonderfull, in heauen and earth. Psal. 85. Thy words are good, thy judgements true, and by thy proui­dence all things are gouerned. Praise therefore and glory be vnto thee, O wisdome of the eternall Father: let my tongue, my soule, and all crea­tures together praise and blesse thee.

CHAP. XXII. Of the remembrance of the manifold benefits of God.

THE SERVANT.

OPen, O Lord, my heart in thy Law, and teach me to walke in thy Commandements. Grant me to vnderstand thy will, and to remem­ber thy benefits, as well in generall, as in particular, vvith great reue­rence and diligent consideration: that hence forvvard I may bee able [Page 206] [...] [Page 207] [...] [Page 208] [...] [Page 209] [...] [Page 210] [...] [Page 211] [...] [Page 212] [...] [Page 213] [...] [Page 214] worthily to giue thee thankes. Psal. 118. But I know and confesse, that I am not able to giue thee due thanks for the fauours which thou bestowest vpon me, euen in the least moment. I am lesse then the least of thy bene­fits: and when I consider the excel­lencie of thy Maiestie, the greatnesse thereof maketh my spirit to faint.

2 All that wee haue in our soule and body, & whatsoeuer we possesse outwardly or inwardly, naturally or spiritually, are thy benefits, and doe praise thee as bountifull, pious, and good, from whom we haue receiued all that is good. Although one hath receiued more, another lesse, all not withstanding are thine, and without thee euen the least cannot be had. He that hath receiued greater, cānot glo­ry of his owne desert, nor extol him­self aboue others, nor insult ouer the lesser: for he is greater & better that ascribeth least vnto himselfe, and is [Page 215] more humble & deuout in rendring thankes. And he that esteemeth him­selfe basest of all men, and judgeth himselfe most vnworthy, is fittest to receiue greater blessings.

3 And he that hath receiued fewer, ought not to be sory, nor beare it im­patiently, nor enuy them that are en­riched with greater store, but attend rather vnto thee, and chiefely praise thy goodnes, for that thou bestowest thy gifts so bountifully, so freely, and so willingly, without respect of per­sons. All things proceed from thee, and therefore in all things thou art to be praised. Thou knowest what is fit to be giuen to euery one: & why this man hath lesse, and he mo [...]e, it is not ours, but thine to determine, who doest weigh in just measure the deserts of euery one.

4 Wherefore my Lord God, I esteeme it as a great benefit not to haue much, whereby outwardly and [Page 216] before men I might seem worthy of praise and glory: so that he, who con­sidereth his own pouerty & basenes, ought not therfore to conceiue grief or sorow, or to be therfore troubled, but rather to take great comfort, and to be glad: for that thou, O God, hast chosen the poore and humble, & the despised of this world for thy selfe, and for thy familiar and domesticall friends. 1. Cor. 1. Psal. 44. Witnesses are thy Apostles themselues, whom thou hast appointed Princes ouer all the earth. 1. Thess. 2. And yet they liued without cōplaint in the world, so humble and simple, meane to the eyes of men, without all malice and deceit, that they reioyced to receiue contumelies for thy name: and what the world abhorreth, they embraced with great affection. Act. 5.

5 Nothing therefore ought so to reioyce him that loueth thee, and ac­knowledgeth thy benefits, as the ac­complishment [Page 217] of thy wil in himself, and the pleasure of thy eternall ap­pointment: wherewith he ought to be so contented and comforted, that he would as willingly be the least, as any would wish to be the greatest: and as peaceable and content in the last, as in the first place: and as wil­ling to be despised and contemned, and to be of no esteeme or account, as to be preferred in honor before al others, & to be greater in the world. For thy will and the loue of thy glo­ry, ought to be preferred before all things: and to comfort him more, and please him better, then all the benefits which he hath receiued, or can desire.

CHAP. XXIII. Of foure things that bring much peace.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, now I will teach thee the way of peace and true liberty.

SER.
[Page 218]

Doe Lord, I beseech thee, as thou sayest, for I shal be very glad to heare it.

LORD.

Endeauour, my Sonne, to do rather the will of another, then thine owne. Euer choose rather to haue lesse then more. Matth. 26. and Ioh. 5.6. Alwayes seeke the lowest place, and to bee inferiour to euery one. 1. Cor. 10. Wish alwayes, and pray, that the will of God may bee wholy fulfilled in thee. Luk. 14. Be­hold such a man entreth into the li­mits of peace and most quiet rest. Matth. 6.

SER.

2 Lord, this thy short speech containeth much perfection. It is little in words, but full in sense, and abundant in fruit. Mat. 5. For if it could exactly be kept by me, then should I not so easily bee troubled. For as often as I feele my selfe vn­quiet, and afflicted, I finde that I haue strayed from this doctrine. But [Page 219] thou that canst all things, and euer louest the good and profite of my soule, increase in me thy grace, that I may fulfill thy words, and perfect mine owne health.

A prayer against euill thoughts.

SER.

3 My Lord God, be not far from me: my God haue regard to helpe me, for sundry thoughts haue risen vp against me, and great feares afflicting my soule. Psalm. 70. How shall I passe through them without hurt? How shall I breake them?

LORD.

I, saith he, will goe be­fore thee, and will humble the glo­rious of the earth. I will open the dores of the prison, and reueale vnto thee the hidden secrets. Esay 45.

SER.

Doe Lord as thou sayest, and let all euill thoughts flie from before thy face. This is my hope, and my only comfort, to flie vnto thee in all tribulation, to trust in thee, to call vpon thee from my heart, and [Page 220] to expect patiently thy comfort.

A prayer for enlightning of the minde.

SER.

4 Enlighten me, good Ie­su, with the clearnes of inward light, and expel al darknes of my hart. Re­presse the many wandring thoughts, and beat down the fury of the temp­tations which violently assault mee. Fight strongly for me, and vanquish the euill beasts, that is, the alluring concupiscence, that peace may bee made in thy vertue, & abundance of thy praise sound in thy holy Court, which is a pure conscience. Com­mand the windes and tempests; say vnto the Sea, Bee still; and to the North-winde, Blow not; and a great calme shall ensue. Mat. 8.

5 Send foorth thy light and thy truth, that they may shine vpon the earth, for I am emptie and vnprofi­table earth, vntill thou impartest thy light vnto me. Psal. 42. Powre out thy grace from aboue, wash my hart [Page 221] with heauenly dew, giue waters of deuotion, to wash the face of the earth, to bring forth good and per­fect fruit. Lift vp my mind, ouerchar­ged with the waight of sinne: draw vp my whole desire to heauenly trea­sures, that hauing tasted the sweet­nes of celestial happines, it may loath to thinke of earthly vanities.

6 Take me violently to thee, and deliuer mee from all vnstable com­fort of creatures: for no created thing can fully quiet and satisfie my desire. Ioyne me vnto thee with an vnspea­kable band of loue: for thou onely fillest the minde of him that loueth thee, and without thee all things are distastefull.

CHAP. XXIV. Of flying curious enquiry of the life of others.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, be not curious: trouble not thy selfe with idle cares. What [Page 222] is this or that to thee? Doe thou fol­low me. Eccls. 3. and 1. Tim. 5. For what is it to thee, whether that man be such or no, or whether this man do, or speak this or that? Thou shalt not need to answere for others, but shalt giue account. of thy selfe. Io. 21. Why therefore dost thou trouble thy selfe? Behold, I know euery one what he is, and doe see all things that are vnder the Sunne: and do vnderstand how it is with euery one, what hee thinketh, what he would, & at what his intentiō aimeth. Gal. 6. Al things therfore are to be cōmitted vnto me: but doe thou keepe thy selfe in good peace, and suffer the vnquiet to do as they wil. Whatsoeuer they shal haue done, or said, shall fall vpon them­selues, for they cannot deceiue me.

2 Desire not too great fame in this world, nor to be knowne to many, nor to haue the priuate loue of men: for these things breed distractions, [Page 223] and cause great darkenes of heart. I would willingly vtter my words, and reueale my secrets vnto thee, if thou didst diligently obserue my cōming: and didst open the dore of thy heart vnto me. Be careful & watch in praier and humble thy selfe in all things.

CHAP. XXV. Wherein doth the firme peace of the heart, and true profit consist.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, I haue said: Peace I leaue to you, my peace I giue to you: not as the world giueth, doe I giue to you. All do desire peace, but all care not for those things that appertaine vnto true peace. My peace is with the humble and meeke of heart. Ioh. 4. Thy peace shal be in much patience. If thou wilt heare me and follow my voice, thou maist enioy much peace.

SER.

What then shall I doe?

LORD.

In euery thing attend vn­to [Page 224] thy selfe what thou doest, & what thou sayest: and direct thy whole in­tention vnto this, that thou mayest please me alone, and desire or seeke nothing out of mee, Of the sayings and doings of others judge nothing rashly: neither do thou intangle thy self with things not committed vnto thee: and doing thus, it may be thou shalt be little or seldome troubled.

2 But neuer to feele any trouble at all, nor to suffer any griefe of hart or body, is not the state of this life, but of euerlasting rest. Thinke not therefore that thou hast found true peace, if thou feelest no sorrow, nor that then all is well, if thou haue no aduersary: nor that it is perfect, if all things be done according to thy de­sire. Neither doe thou then esteeme highly of thy selfe, or imagine thy selfe to be especially beloued, if thou be in great deuotion, and sweetnes: for in these things a true louer of [Page 225] vertue is not tried: neither doth the profit and perfection of man consist in hauing them.

SER.

3 Wherein then, Lord?

LORD.

In offering thy self from the very bottom of thy heart, vnto the diuine seruice, not seeking thine owne interest or commodity, neither in great nor little, neither in time nor eternity: so that with equall counte­nance, thou mayest persist in thanks­giuing, both in prosperity and aduer­sity, weighing all things with an e­qual ballance. If thou be of such cou­rage, & so patient in hope, that when inward comfort is withdrawne from thee, thou prepare thy heart to suffer greater matters, and not justifie thy selfe, as though thou oughtest not to suffer these, and so great afflicti­ons, but justifie me in whatsoeuer I appoint, and praise my holy name; then thou walkest in the true and right way of peace: and thou shalt [Page 226] haue vndoubted hope to see my face againe with great joy. And if thou attaine to the full contempt of thy selfe; then shalt thou enioy as great abundance of peace, as thy banish­ment may permit.

CHAP. XXVI. Of the excellency of a free minde, which humble prayer better deserueth, then reading.

THE SERVANT.

LOrd, it is the worke of a perfect man, neuer to slack his mind from the attentiue thought of heauenly things, and as it were, to passe with­out care through many cares: not faintingly, but with a certaine priui­ledge of a free mind, adhering by in­ordinate affection to no creature.

2 I beseech thee, most mercifull God, preserue me from the cares of this life: lest I should be too much in­tangled thereby: and from the many necessities of the body, lest I should [Page 227] be enthralled by pleasure from all hinderances of the soule, lest broken with troubles, I should be deiected and dismayed. I mean not from those things that worldly vanity so greatly desireth: but from those miseries, that as punishments, do weigh down and hinder the soule of thy seruant, with the general curse of mortality, that it cannot enter into liberty of spirit, as often as I would. Gen. 3. & Rom. 7.

3 O my God, the vnspeakable sweetnesse, make bitter vnto mee all carnall comfort, which may draw me away from the loue of euerlasting happines, and wickedly allure me to it selfe with the force of a certaine present delight. Rom. 12. Let not flesh and bloud ouercome mee, O Lord. Let not the world, & the short glory therof deceiue me. Let not the Diuell and his subtill fraud supplant me. Giue me force to resist, patience to suffer, and constancy to perseuere. [Page 228] Giue me insteed of all the comforts of the world, the most sweet vnction of thy Spirit: and in lieu of carnall loue, powre into my soule the loue of thy name.

2 Behold, meat, drinke, cloathes, and other necessaries for the main­tenance of the body, are burden­some vnto a feruent spirit. Grant mee to affect such nourishments in due measure, and not to bee in­tangled vvith an ouer great desire of them. It is not lawfull to re­nounce them wholy, for that na­ture is to bee maintained: but to desire superfluities, and those things that doe rather delight, then su­staine, the Law of God forbid­deth: for otherwise the flesh would rebell against the spirit. Herein I beseech thee, let thy hand gouerne mee, and teach mee, that I may not exceed.

CHAP. XXVII. That priuate loue most hindreth from the chiefest good.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, thou oughtest to giue all for all, and to retaine nothing of thy selfe. Know that the loue of thy selfe doth hurt thee more, then any thing in the world. According to the loue and affection thou bearest them, so doth euery thing cleaue vnto thee more or lesse. If thy loue be pure, sim­ple, and well ordered, thou shalt bee free from bondage. Couet not that which thou mayest not haue. Mat. 6. Bee not willing to haue that which may hinder thee, and depriue thee of inward libertie. It is a wonderfull thing that thou committest not thy selfe wholy vnto me, from the bot­tom of thy heart, with all things that thou canst desire, or haue.

2 Why doest thou consume thy [Page 230] selfe with vaine griefe? Why tyrest thou thy mind with needlesse cares? Resigne thy selfe to me, & thou shalt feel no losse at al. Exo. 18. & Mic. 4. If thou seekest this or that, & wouldest be here or there, to enioy thine own cōmodity & pleasure, thou shalt ne­uer be in quiet, nor free from trouble of mind, for in euery thing somewhat will be wanting, and in euery place there wil be some that wil crosse thee.

3 Not euery external thing ther­fore attained, and heaped together helpeth thee: but it rather auaileth, if thou despise it, and doest root it out from thy heart, which thou must not vnderstand onely of thy reuenewes and wealth, but of the desire of ho­nor also, & vaine praise; all which do passe away with this fading world. The place auaileth little, if the spirit of feruour be wanting: Esa. 4.8. nei­ther shall that peace which is sought abroad long continue, if the state of [Page 231] thy heart be destitute of a true foun­dation: that is, vnlesse thou persist in me, thou maist change, but not better thy selfe. For whē occasion doth hap­pen, thou shalt find that which thou soughtest to fly, and perhaps more.

A prayer for cleansing the heart, and obtaining of heauenly wisdome.

SER.

4 Confirme mee, Lord, with the grace of thy holy Spirit. Ps. 50. Giue me force to strengthen my inward man, and to purge my heart from all vnprofitable care & griefe; Eph. 3. not to be drawne away with sundry desires of any thing either lit­tle or great: Mat. 6. but to consider all things, how they are transitory, and do quickly fade, & that my selfe do also passe away togither with thē: for nothing is permanent vnder the Sun, where all things are vanity and affliction of mind. O, how wise is he that so cōsidereth them! Eccl. 1. & 2.

5 Grant me, Lord, heauenly wis­dome, [Page 232] that I may learne aboue all things to seek and find thee, aboue al things to delight in thee, and to loue thee; & to think of all created things as they are, according to the disposi­tion of thy wisdome. Grant me pru­dently to auoid him that flatters me, & to suffer patiently him that cōtra­dicts me. Eph. 4. It is great wisdome not to be moued with euery blast of words; nor to giue eare to dangerous flattery: for so we shall go on secure­ly in the way which we haue begun.

CHAP. XXVIII. Against the tongue of Slanderers.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, be not grieued if some think euill of thee, and speake that which thou dost not willingly heare. Thou oughtest to judge the worst of thy selfe, and to thinke no man weaker then thy selfe. 1. Cor. 4. If thou walk according to spirit, thou wilt not [Page 233] much esteeme of flying words. It is no smal wisdome to be silent in time of euil, and inwardly to turne to me, and not to bee troubled with the judgement of men.

2 Let not thy peace bee in the tongues of men: for whether they judge well or euill, thou art neuer­thelesse alwaies the same. Where is true peace and true glory? Is it not in me? and he that coueteth not to please men, nor feareth to displease them, shall enioy much peace. From inordinate loue and vaine feare ari­seth all disquiet of heart, and distra­ction of the senses.

CHAP. XXIX. How we ought to call vpon God, and blesse him, when tribulation draweth neere.

THE SERVANT.

BLessed (O Lord) be thy name for euer: since it pleaseth thee that this temptation and tribulation [Page 234] should fall vpon me. Iob 1. & Psal. 112. I cannot fly it: but haue need to fly to thee, that thou maist helpe me, and turne it to my good. Lord, I am now afflicted, and it is not well with mee, I am much troubled with this present griefe. And now, beloued Fa­ther, what shall I say? I am taken in narrow straits, saue me in this houre. Mat. 26. Yea therefore I am fallen in this houre, that thou maist be glori­fied, when I shal be greatly humbled and by thee deliuered. Let it please thee, Lord, to deliuer me: for poore wretch that I am, what can I do, and whither shal I go without thee? Grāt patience, Lord, euen this time also. Help me my God, and then I wil not fear how much soeuer I be oppressed.

2 And now in this, what shall I say? Lord, thy will be done. Mat. 6. I haue well deserued to be afflicted and grieued. Surely I ought to beare it; and I would to God I might beare [Page 235] it with patience, vntil the tempest be passed ouer, & it become calme. But thy omnipotent hand is able to take this temptation from me, and to as­swage the violence thereof, that I vt­terly sinke not vnder it, as oftentimes heretofore thou hast done vnto mee, my Lord, my Mercy. And how much the more hard it is to mee, so much the more easie is this change of thy mighty hand to thee.

CHAP. XXX. Of crauing the diuine aide, and confidence of recouering grace.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, I am thy Lord, who doe vse to giue comfort in the day of tribu­lation. Come vnto me when it is not wel with thee. Nahum. 1. This is that which most of all hindreth heauenly consolatiō, that thou art slow in tur­ning thy selfe vnto prayer. Mat. 11. For before thou dost earnestly com­mend [Page 236] thy self to me, thou seekest ma­ny comforts, and delightest thy selfe in outward things. And hence it pro­ceedeth that al doth little profit thee vntil thou consider that I am he, that deliuer those that trust in me: & that out of me there is neither powerfull helpe, nor profitable counsell, nor re­medy that can continue. But now thou hauing recouered breath after the tempest, gather strength againe in the light of my mercies: for I am at hand, saith our Lord, to repaire al, not only entirely, but also abundant­ly. Mat. 23.

2 Is there any thing hard to me? or am I like vnto him that promiseth and performeth not? Where is thy faith? Be firme and constant. Take courage and be patient, comfort will bee giuen thee in due time. Attend me, expect, I wil come and cure thee. It is a temptation that vexeth thee: and a vaine feare that affrighteth [Page 237] thee. What else doth the care for fu­ture incertainties bring thee, but sor­row vpon sorrow? Sufficient for the day is the euil therof. It is a vain and vnprofitable thing to be grieued, or to reioyce for future things, that per­haps will neuer happen. Mat. 6.

3 But it is incident to man, to be deluded with such imaginations: and a signe of little courage to be so ea­sily drawne away by the suggestion of the enemy. For he careth not, so he delude & deceiue thee, whether it be true or false which he proposeth: whether he ouerthrow thee with the loue of present, or the feare of future things. Let not therefore thy heart be troubled, neither doe thou feare. Psal. 90. Beleeue in me, and put thy trust in my mercy. When thou thin­kest thy selfe furthest off from mee, oftentimes I am nearest vnto thee. When thou judgest that almost all is lost, then oftentimes greatest [Page 238] gaine of merit is at hand. All is not lost, when any thing falleth out con­trary vnto thee. Thou must not judge according to that which thou feelest for the present; nor giue thy selfe o­uer to any griefe, from whence soe­uer it commeth, as though all hope of deliuery were quite gone.

4 Think not thy selfe wholy left, although for a time I haue sent thee some tribulation, or withdrawne thy desired comfort; for this is the way to the kingdom of heauē. And with­out doubt it is more expedient for thee, and the rest of my seruants, that yee be exercised with many aduersi­ties, then that yee should haue all things according to your desires. I know the secret thoughts of thy hart and that it is very expedient for thy soules health, that thou be left some­times without taste & feeling of spi­rituall sweetnesse, lest perhaps thou shouldest bee puffed vp with good [Page 239] successe, and shouldest please thy self in that which thou art not. That which I haue giuen, I can take away, and restore it againe when I please.

5 When I giue it, it is mine; when I withdraw it, I take not any thing that is thine: for mine is euery good, and euery perfect gift. If I send thee affliction, or any crosse whatsoeuer, repine not, nor be not dismayd: I can quickly lift thee vp againe, & turne al thy sorrow into joy. Neuerthelesse I am just, and greatly to be praised, when I do all this vnto thee. Iam. 1.

6 If thou be wise, & consider wel thy case, thou wilt neuer yeeld so co­wardly to griefe, for any aduersitie that befalles thee, but rather reioyce and giue thanks; yea to account this thy only joy, that afflicting thee with sorrowe [...], I do not spare thee. As my Father hath loued me, I also loue you, said I vnto my beloued Disciples, whom certainly I sent not to tempo­ral [Page 240] joyes, but to great cōflicts: Io. 15. not to honors, but to contempts: not to idlenes, but to labors: not to rest, but to bring much fruit in patience. My Sonne remember these words.

CHAP. XXXI. Of the contempt of all creatures to find our Creator.

THE SERVANT.

LOrd, I stand yet in need of great grace, if I must go so far, as that no man or creature can hinder me. For as long as any thing holdeth mee, I cannot fly freely vnto thee. He desi­red to fly with great liberty, that said, Who will giue me wings like a doue, and I will fly and rest? Psa. 54. What thing more quiet then a sim­ple eye? Mat. 6. And what more free then he that desireth nothing vpon earth? Man ought therfore to ascend aboue all creatures, and perfectly to forsake himselfe, and to remaine in [Page 241] excesse of minde: and consider that thou, who art the maker of al things, hast nothing amongst creatures like vnto thee. And vnlesse a man be free from the affection of all creatures, he cannot with freedome of minde at­tend vnto diuine things. And for this cause there are so few contemplatiue men to bee found, for that few can wholy sequester themselues from fa­ding creatures.

2 Much grace is necessary to lift vp a soule, and to carrie it aboue it selfe. And vnlesse a man be lifted vp in spirit, and deliuered from all crea­tures, and wholy vnited vnto God: whatsoeuer he knoweth, and what­soeuer hee hath, is of little account. Long shall hee bee little, and lye in earthly basenesse, that esteemeth any thing great, but the one only vnmea­surable and eternall good. For what­soeuer is not God, is nothing, and ought to bee accounted as nothing. [Page 242] There is great difference betweene the wisdome of a spirituall and de­uout person, and the knowledge of a learned and studious Clerke. Farre more noble is that learning which floweth from aboue, from the diuine influence, then that which is painful­ly gotten by the wit of man.

3 There are many that desire con­templation, but they endeauour not to exercise those things that are re­quired thereunto. It is a great hinde­rance that we rest in signes and sen­sible things, & haue little true mor­tification. I know not what it is, nor by what spirit we are led, nor what we pretend, we that seeme to be cal­led spirituall, that we take so much paines, and so great care for transito­ry & base things, & scarce or seldom thinke of our owne inward profite, with full recollection of our senses.

4 Alas, presently after a sleight recollection, we breake foorth: and [Page 243] weigh not our workes with diligent examination. We minde not where our affections lie: nor bewaile the impurity and many faults that are in all our actions. For all flesh had cor­rupted her way, & therefore did that generall floud ensue. Gen. 6. & 7. Sith our inward affection then is much corrupted, it must needs be that our action proceeding therof, be corrup­ted, as a signe of the want of inward vigour. From a pure heart procee­deth the fruit of good life.

5 Wee aske how much one hath done; but how vertuous his actions are, is not so diligently considered. We enquire whether hee be strong, rich, beautifull, handsome, a good writer, a good singer, or a good labo­rer: but how poore he is in spirit, how patient & meek, how deuout & spiri­tual, is seldome spoken of. Nature re­specteth outward things, grace tur­neth her selfe to the inward vertues. [Page 244] That is often deceiued: this hath her trust in God, to the end shee be not deceiued.

CHAP. XXXII. Of the deniall of our selues, and forsaking all our affections.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, thou canst not possesse per­fect libertie, vnlesse thou wholy denie thy selfe. All such as bee lo­uers of themselues are bound in fet­ters, they are couetous, curious, wanderers, seekers of ease, and not of those things that appertaine to Iesus Christ; but oftentimes deui­sing and framing that vvhich vvill not continue. Matth. 16. and 19. For all shall perish that proceedeth not From God. Keep this short and complete word, Forsake al, and thou shalt finde all. Leaue thy inordinate desires, and thou shalt find rest. Con­sider this well: and when thou hast [Page 245] fulfilled it, thou shalt vnderstand all.

SER.

2 Lord, this is not one dayes vvorke, nor childrens sport: yea in this short sentence all the per­fection of Religious persons is in­cluded.

LORD.

Sonne, thou must not go back, nor straight waies be deiected, when thou hearest the way of the perfect; but rather bee stirred vp to more worthy and noble attempts, or at least to conceiue an earnest desire thereof. I would it were so well with thee, and thou wert come so far, that thou wert no longer a louer of thy selfe, but didst stand meerely at my beck, & at his whom I haue appoin­ted a Father ouer thee; then thou shouldest exceedingly please me, and all thy life would passe away in joy and peace. Thou hast yet many things to forsake, which vnlesse thou wholy resigne ouer vnto mee, thou shalt not attaine to that which thou [Page 246] desirest. I counsell thee to buy of me purified gold, that thou mayest be­come rich, that is, heauenly wisdom, which treadeth vnder foote all base and earthly things. Apoc. 3. Set little by the wisdome of this world, and esteeme not of the contentment of men, nor thine owne fancies.

3 I said, that thou shouldest buy the meane and base things, with the precious, and those that were with men of great esteeme. For true hea­uenly wisedome seemeth very base, and of small account, and is scarce thought of by men: for that estee­meth not highly of it selfe, nor see­keth to bee magnified vpon earth, which many praise from the teeth outward, but in their life they are farre from it: yet is it the precious pearle which is hidden from many. Mat. 13.

CHAP. XXXIII. Of inconstancy of heart, and of directing our small intentions vnto God.

OVR LORD.

SOn, trust not to thy affection: that which now is, will quickly change into another. As long as thou liuest thou art subiect to mutability, euen against thy will: so that now thou art mery, now sad, now quiet, now trou­bled, now deuout, now distracted, now diligent, now idle, now heauie, now light: But he that is wise, & wel instructed in spirit, remaines alwaies one in the middest of these changes, not heeding what he seeketh in him­selfe, or which way the winde of mu­tability bloweth: but that the whole intention of his mind, may tend as it ought, to the most perfect and best end. For so he may continue one, and the selfe-same, without any change in the midst of so many sundry chan­ces, [Page 248] directing alwaies the sincere eye of his intention vnto me.

2 And how much purer the eye of the intention is, so much the more constantly doth hee passe through the varietie of many con­trary waues. Matth. 6. But in many things the eye of a sincere intention waxeth blinde, for it quickely loo­keth vpon some delight, some ob­iect that occurreth. And it is rare to finde one that is wholy free from all blemish of seeking himselfe. So the Iewes in times past came into Be­thania to Martha and Mary, not for Iesus alone, but to see Lazarus also. Ioh. 11. The eye of our intention therefore, is to bee purged, that it may be sincere and pure, and to be directed vnto mee, neglecting the multitude and variety of earthly ob­iects. Mat. 6.

CHAP. XXXIV. That God is sweete aboue all things, and in all things to him that loueth.

THE SERVANT.

BEhold, my God, and all things! What would I haue more, and what can I desire more happy? O sweete and comfortable word! but to him that loueth the word, not the world, nor those things that are in the world. My God, and all things! Inough is said to him that vnderstan­deth; and it is pleasant to him that loueth, to repeate it often. For when thou art present, all things do yeeld delight, but when thou art absent, all becomes irkesome. Thou giuest quiet of heart and much peace, and pleasant joy. Thou makest men think well of all, and praise thee in all things: neither can anything please vs long without thee: but if it bee pleasant and delightsome, thy grace [Page 250] must be present, & it must be seasoned with the sweetnes of thy wisdome.

2 What can bee distastefull vnto him, to whom thou art pleasing? And whom thou delightest not, what can be pleasant? But the wise of the world and that haue their contentment in sensuall things, cannot attaine to thy wisdom, for in the world is much va­nity, & in the flesh is death. 1. Cor. 1. Rom. 8. & 1. Io. 2. But they that fol­low thee by the contempt of world­ly things, and mortification of the flesh, are proued to be truly wise; for they are changed from vanity to truth, from flesh to spirit. To these God is sweet, and what good soeuer is found in creatures, they wholy re­ferre vnto the praise of their Maker. Notwithstanding, great, yea very great is the difference betweene the sweetnes of the Creator, and of the creature, of eternity and of time, of vncreated and created light.

[Page 251]3 O euerlasting light, surpassing al created lights, cast forth the beams of thy brightnes frō aboue, & pierce the most inward corners of my hart: purifie, reioyce, clarifie and quicken my spirit with all the powers there­of, that I may cleaue vnto thee with excesse of vnspeakable joy. O when will that blessed and desired houre come, that I may be filled with thy presence, and thou mayest be vnto me all, in all things: as long as this is not granted me, I shal not haue ful nor perfect joy. Alas! my old man yet liueth in me, he is not wholy cru­cified, he is not perfectly dead. Rom. 7. He doth yet couet strongly against the spirit, and moueth ciuill warres, and suffereth not the kingdome of my soule to be in peace.

4 But thou that rulest the powers of the sea, and asswagest the motion of the waues, rise & help me: Psa. 88. dissipate the people that desire war, [Page 252] and destroy them in thy might, and let thy hand be glorified: Psal. 72. for there is no hope nor refuge for me, but in thee my Lord God. Psal. 30.

CHAP. XXXV. That there is no securitie from tempta­tion in this life.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, there is no security in this life: as long as thou liuest thou shalt alwayes haue neede of spirituall ar­mour. Thou liuest among enemies, and art assaulted on all sides: Iob 7. if therefore thou defendest not thy selfe on euery side with the shield of patience, thou canst not be long vn­wounded. 2. Cor. 6. Moreouer, if thou fix not thy hart on me, with a sincere will to suffer all things for me, thou canst not sustain the heat of this bat­taile, nor get that victorious crowne which they haue that are in glory. Thou oughtest therefore manfully to [Page 253] go through all, and to vse a strong hand against whatsoeuer withstan­deth thee. For to him that ouercom­meth is giuen Manna; and to the negligent is left much woe. Apoc. 2.

2 If thou seekest rest in this world, how wilt thou then attain to euerla­sting rest? Giue not thy selfe to much ease, but to much patience. Seek true peace, not in earth, but in heauen; not in men, nor in any creature, but in God alone. Thou oughtest for the loue of God willingly to vndergoe whatsoeuer labours, to endure what­soeuer griefes, temptations, vexati­ons, anxieties, necessities, infirmities, iniuries, detractions, reprehensions, humiliations, confusions, corrections and contempts; these help to the at­taining of vertue; these try a Nouice of Christ, these make a heauenly Crowne. I will giue an euerlasting reward for a short labour, and infinit glory for transitory confusion.

[Page 254]3 Thinkest thou, that thou shalt alwayes haue spirituall consolations at will? My Saints had not so, but many afflictions, and sundrie temp­tations, and many discomforts: all which they endured patiently, and trusted rather in God, then in them­selues: knowing that the sufferings of this time are not condigne to the deseruing of future glory. Rom. 8. Wilt thou haue that straight waies, which many after teares, and great labours haue hardly attained? Ex­pect the comming of thy Lord, doe manfully, be of good courage: feare not, doe not flie, but offer both bodie and soule for the glorie of God. Psalm. 26. I vvill revvard thee in most plentifull manner, and I vvill bee vvith thee in all thy tri­bulations.

CHAP. XXXVI. Against the vaine Iudgements of men.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, fixe thy heart stedfastly on God, and feare not the judgements of men, when thy conscience giueth testimony of thy justice & innocen­cy. It is a good and happy thing to suffer in that sort: neither will it bee burdensome to an humble mind, nor to him that trusteth rather in God, then in himself. The most part of men are giuen to talke much, and therfore litle care is to be had of their words: neither is it possible to satisfie all. 1. Cor. 9. Though the Apostle endea­uoured to please all in our Lord, and made himselfe all vnto all, 2. Cor. 4. yet hee little regarded that hee was judged by humane day. Coloss. 1.

2 He did for the edification and health of others as much as he could and lay in him: yet could he not hin­der, [Page 256] but that he was sometimes jud­ged, and despised by others. Therfore he committed all to God, who knew all, and defended himselfe with pati­ence & humility against euil tongues and such as thought vanities & lies, and spake what they listed: Yet som­times notwithstanding he answered, lest the weake might haue receiued scandall by his silence.

3 Who art thou, that fearest a mor­tall man? To day he is, and to mor­row he is not seene. Feare God, & the terror of men shall not trouble thee. 2. Mac. 2. What harme can the words or iniuries of any do thee? he rather hurteth himselfe then thee: neither can he auoid the judgments of God, be he what he wil. Rom. 2. Haue thou God before thine eyes, and contend not with complaining words. 1. Cor. 11. And if for the present thou see­mest to be troden downe, and to suf­fer shame and confusion, without [Page 257] desert, do not repine, neither do thou lessen thy crowne by thy impatience; but rather lift vp thine eyes to me in heauen. Hebr. 12. I am able to deli­uer thee from all shame and wrong, and to repay euery one according to their workes.

CHAP. XXXVII. Of a full and pure resignation of our selues for the obtaining freedome of heart.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, leaue thy selfe, and thou shalt finde me. Make choice of no­thing, appropriate nothing to thy selfe, and thou shalt euer gaine. For greater grace shall alwaies be giuen thee, when thou dost perfectly re­signe thy selfe, and not turne backe to take thy selfe againe.

SER.

Lord, how often shall I re­signe my selfe? And wherein shall I forsake my selfe?

LORD.

Alwayes, and in euery [Page 258] thing, as well in little as in great. I do except nothing, but doe require that thou be, as it were, naked & void of al things. Otherwise, how canst thou be perfectly mine, & I thine, vnlesse both within & without thou be free from all selfe-will? And how much the sooner thou dost this, so much the better shalt thou find thy self, & how much the more fully and sincerely thou dost it, so much the more shalt thou please mee, and so much the more shalt thou gaine.

2 Some there are that resigne themselues, but with some excepti­on. For they put not their whole trust in God, and therefore doe labour to prouide for themselues. Some also at the first do offer all, but afterwards being assailed with temptations, doe returne againe to that which they had left, and therefore they goe not forwards in the way of vertue. These shall not attaine to the true libertie [Page 259] of a pure heart, nor to the grace of my diuine familiarity, vnlesse they first make an entire resignation, and offer themselues a daily sacrifice vn­to me. For without this can neuer bee obtained the vnion with mee, wherewith my Saints enioy me.

3 I haue often said vnto thee, and now againe I say the same: Forsake thy selfe, resigne thy selfe, and thou shalt enioy internall peace. Mat. 16. Giue all for all, seek nothing, require nothing, repose thy selfe purely and with a full confidence in mee, and I will giue my selfe vnto thee, & dark­nes shall not couer thee. Let this bee thy whole endeauour, let this be thy prayer, let this be thy desire, that ca­sting off all propriety, thou mayest al naked follow thy naked Sauiour Ie­sus: and dying to thy selfe, mayest liue eternally to me. Then shall vaine fantasies, euill perturbations, and all superfluos cares flie away: then shal [Page 260] immoderate feare leaue thee, and in­ordinate loue shall die.

CHAP. XXXVIII. Of good gouernment in outward things, and of recourse to God in dangers.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, thou oughtest with all dili­gence to procure, that in euery place and action, or external busines, thou be inwardly free, and master of thy selfe, and that all things be vn­der thy disposition, & thou not sub­iect to them; that thou mayest bee Lord and Master of thy actions, not a seruant or a hireling, but rather a freeman, and a true Hebrew, belon­ging to the lot and freedome of the sonnes of God, who put the things that are present vnder their feet, and place their thoughts on that which is eternall: who looke on transitory things with the left eie, and with the right doe behold the things of hea­uen: [Page 261] who suffer not themselues to be drawne to cleaue vnto them, but ra­ther dispose and vse them, as they are ordained by God, and appointed by the Creator of all, who hath left no­thing in his creatures without due order.

2 If thou remaine firme and sted­fast in all euents, and dost not weigh by the outward apparence, nor with a carnall eye, the things which thou seest and hearest; but presently in e­uery occasion dost enter with Moses into the Tabernacle, to aske coun­sell of our Lord, Exod. 33. thou shalt sometimes heare the diuine and ce­lestiall Oracle, and shalt returne in­structed of many things both pre­sent and to come. Moses had alwaies recourse to the Tabernacle, for the deciding of all doubts and obscure questions, and fled to the helpe of prayer, for the remedy of the iniqui­tie and dangers of men. So oughtest [Page 262] thou in like maner to fly to the closet of thy heart, earnestly crauing the di­uine fauour. For the Scripture testi­fieth, that therefore was Iosue & the childrē of Israel deceiued by the Ga­baonites, because they consulted not first with God, but giuing too light­ly credit to faire words, were delu­ded with counterfeit piety. Iosue 9.

CHAP. XXXIX. That a man be not ouer earnest in his affaires.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, alwaies commit thy cause to me, I will dispose well of it in due time: expect my ordination, and thou shalt find it will be for thy good.

SER.

Lord, I do most willingly commit al vnto thee, for my care can profit little. O that I cleaued not too much to future euents, but offred my selfe with all readinesse of minde to thy diuine pleasure!

LORD.

2 Son, oftentimes a man [Page 263] doth earnestly labour for that which he desireth: and when he hath gotten it, hee beginneth to be of another minde, and not to esteeme so much of it, as before he did: for mans affe­ctions doe not long continue fixed on one thing, but do passe from one to another. It is therefore a matter, not of least moment, to forsake our selues euen in the least things.

3 The true spirituall profite of man, consisteth in denying and for­saking of himselfe: and he that is re­signed, liueth in great freedome and security. But the ancient enemie, who alwaies laboureth to withstand the seruants of God, omitteth at no time his wonted temptations, but day and night lieth still in waite, to cast the vnwary, if hee can, into the snare of deceit. 1. Pet. 5. Watch therefore and pray, saith our Lord, that you enter not into temptation. Matth. 26.

CHAP. XL. That man hath no good of himselfe, nor any thing wherof he can glory.

THE SERVANT.

LOrd, what is man, that thou art mindefull of him, or the sonne of man, that thou vouchsafest to visite him? Psalm. 8. What hath man de­serued, that thou shouldest giue him thy grace? Lord, what cause haue I to complaine, if thou forsake me? Or if thou doest not that which I desire, what can I justly say against it? Sure­ly, this I may truely thinke and say: Lord, I am nothing, I can doe no­thing, I haue nothing that is good of my self: but in al things I do faile, and am defectiue, and doe euer tend to nothing: and vnlesse thou helpe me, and dost interiourly instruct me, I become cold, and am dissolued.

2 But thou, O Lord, art alwayes the same, and endurest for euer, al­waies [Page 265] good, just and holy, doing all things well, just, and holily, and di­sposing al things with wisdome. Psa. 101. But I that am more inclined to fall, then to goe forwards, doe neuer continue in one estate: for seuen dif­ferent times are changed ouer mee, yet doth it soone turne to the better, when it so pleaseth thee, and when thou vouchsafest to stretch forth thy helping hand. For thou alone canst help me without the fauour of man, and so strengthen me, that my coun­tenance shall be no more changed, but my heart shall be conuerted, and rest in thee alone.

3 Wherefore, if I could once per­fectly forsake all humane comfort, either for the loue of deuotion, or for mine own necessity, which infor­ceth me to seeke after thee (for none else can comfort mee) then might I well hope in thy grace, and reioyce in the gift of new consolation.

[Page 266]4 Thankes by vnto thee, from whence all proceedeth, as often as it goeth well with me: but I am meere vanity, & nothing before thee, an vn­constant and weake man. Whereof then can I glory? Or why do I desire to be esteemed of? Is it not of no­thing? and this is most vaine. Truly vain-glory is an euill plague, and ve­ry great vanity: because it draweth from true glory, & robbeth the soule of heauenly grace. For whilest a man pleaseth himself, he displeaseth thee: whilest hee gapeth after the praise of men, he is depriued of true vertue.

5 But true glory, & holy exulta­tion and joy, is for a man to glory in thee, and not in himselfe; Abac. 3. to reioyce in thy name, and not in his owne vertue, nor to delight in any creature, but for thee. Praised be thy name, not mine: magnified bee thy worke, not mine: let thy holy name be for euer blessed, but to me let no [Page 267] part of mens praises be giuen. Ps. 112. and 113. Thou art my glory, thou art the joy of my hart. In thee wil I glory and reioice al the day; but for my self I will not joy, but in my infirmities.

6 Let the Iewes seeke the glory, which one man giueth ro another: I will desire this, which is from God alone. Ioh. 5. For all humane glory, all temporall honor, al wordly high­nes, compared to thy eternall glory, is vanity and folly. O my truth, my mercy, my God, most blessed Trini­ty, to thee alone be all praise, honor, vertue, and glory for all eternity.

CHAP. XLI. Of the contempt of all temporall honors.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, trouble not thy selfe, if thou seest others honoured and aduan­ced, and thy selfe contemned and de­based. Lift vp thy heart vnto mee in heauen, and the contempt of men [Page 268] in earth will not grieue thee.

SER.

Lord, we are blind, & quick­ly seduced with vanity. If I look wel into my selfe, I cannot say, that any creature hath done me wrōg, & ther­fore I cānot justly complain of thee.

2 But because I haue often & grie­uously sinned against thee, all crea­tures do justly take arms against me: for shame and contempt is due vnto me, but vnto thee praise, honor, and glory. And vnlesse I do so prepare my self, that I be willing, & do reioyce to be despised and forsaken of all crea­tures, and to be esteemed nothing at all, I cannot obtain internal strength and peace, nor be spiritually enlight­ned, nor wholy vnited vnto thee.

CHAP. XLII. That our peace is not to be placed in men.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, if the peace thou hast with any bee grounded on the opinion [Page 269] which thou hast of him, or on the contentment thou receiuest in his company, thou shalt euer be vncon­stant and subiect to disquiet: but if thou haue recourse vnto the euer-li­uing and eternall Truth, a friend go­ing from thee, or dying, shall not grieue thee. The loue of thy friend ought to rest in me, and for me is he to bee beloued, whosoeuer hee bee, whom thou thinkest well of, and is verily deare vnto thee in this life. No friendship can auaile, or continue without me; neither is the loue true and pure, which they haue, whose hearts are not joyned together by me. Thou oughtest to be so dead to such affections of beloued friends, that (for as much as appertaineth vnto thee) thou shouldest wish to be without all company of men. Man approcheth so much the neerer vnto God, how much the further off hee departeth from all earthly comfort: [Page 270] so much the higher also he ascendeth vnto God, by how much lower hee descendeth into himselfe, and how much the baser hee is in his owne conceit.

2 But hee that attributeth any good vnto himselfe, hindereth the comming of Gods grace vnto him. For the grace of the holy Ghost euer seeketh an humble heart. If thou couldst perfectly annihilate thy self, and purge thy selfe of all created loue, then should there flow into thee great abundance of my grace. When thou castest thy eies on creatures, the sight of thy Creator is taken from thee. Learne to ouercome thy selfe in al things, for the loue of thy Crea­tor; and then shalt thou be able to attain to heauenly knowledge. How little soeuer it be, if it be inordinate­ly loued and regarded, it defileth the soule, and hindreth the enjoying of the chiefest good.

CHAP. XLIII. Against vaine and secular knowledge.

OVR LORD.

SOn, let not the faire speeches and subtill sayings of men moue thee. For the Kingdom of God consisteth not in words, but in vertue. 1. Cor. 4. Obserue well the words which I speake; for they inflame the hart, and enlighten the mind, induce compun­ction, and bring sundry comforts. Do thou neuer reade to shew thy self learned or wise: but labour to mor­tifie thy vices, for that wil profit thee more, then the knowledge of many hard and difficult questions.

2 When thou shalt haue read and knowne many things, thou oughtest euer to returne to one beginning. I am he that teacheth man all know­ledge: and doe giue to little ones a more cleare vnderstanding, then can be taught by man. He therefore to [Page 272] whom I speake, shall quickely bee wise, and shall profit much in spirit. Woe be to them, that inquire many curious things of men, and doe little desire to know the way how to serue me. The time will come, when the Master of Masters shall appeare, Christ the Lord of Angels, to heare the lessons of all, that is, to examine the consciences of euery one: and then he will search Hierusalem with a candle, and the hidden things of darknesse shall be laid open, and the inuention of tongues shall be silent. 1. Cor. 4.

3 I am hee that in an instant doe raise vp the humble mind, to vnder­stand more reasons of the euerlasting truth, then can bee gotten by ten years study in schooles. I teach with­out noise of words, without confusi­on of opinions, without ambition of honor, without contention of argu­ments. I am he that teacheth to de­spise [Page 273] earthly things, to loath things present, to seeke the euerlasting, to delight in the things that are eter­nall, to fly honors, to suffer scandals, to place all hope in me, to desire no­thing out of me, and aboue all things feruently to loue me.

4 For one by louing me entirely, learned diuine things, and spake wonders: he profited more in forsa­king all things, then in studying subtilties. To some I speake ordina­ry things, to others, things more especiall: to some I appeare sweetly by signes and figures, but to some I reueale mysteries with much light. The voice of bookes is one, but it teacheth not all men alike. For I am the internal Teacher, I am the Truth, the Searcher of the heart, the Vn­derstander of thoughts, the Setter forwards of good workes, distribu­ting to euery one according to my will.

CHAP. XLIV. Of not drawing outward things to our selues.

OVR LORD.

SOn, in many things thou oughtest to be ignorant, and to esteeme thy selfe as dead vpon earth; and as one to whom the whole world is crucifi­ed. Thou must also passe ouer many things with a deafe eare, and rather thinke of that, which appertaineth to thy peace. It is more profitable to turne thine eies from the sight of vn­pleasing things, and to leaue vnto e­uery one his owne opinion, then to striue with contentious words. If thou standest well with God, & con­siderest his judgments, thou shalt the more easily yeeld to the wil of others.

SER.

2 O Lord, to what an estate are we come! Behold, we bewaile a temporall losse, and for a little gaine we toile and spare no labour, and the spirituall domage of our soule is for­gotten, [Page 275] and hardly at length called to mind. That which little or nothing profiteth, is alwaies remembred, and that which is chiefely necessary, is negligently passed ouer, because mans nature carrieth him to external things; and vnlesse he quickly re­turne vnto himselfe, he lieth drow­ned in them with delight.

CHAP. XLV. That credit is not to be giuen to all men: and how prone man is to offend in words.

THE SERVANT.

HElpe me, Lord, in my tribulati­on, for vaine is the defence of man. How often haue I bin deceiued, finding wāt of faith, where I thought it sure? Psal. 59. And how often haue I found faith, where I least expected it? It is vaine therefore to trust in men; but the safetie of the just, O Lord, is in thee. Blessed be thou my God, in all things that befall vs. We [Page 276] are weake and inconstant, quickely deceiued, and soone changed.

2 Who is he that is able so warily to keep himselfe, that he neuer fal in­to any deceit or doubt? But he that trusteth in thee, O Lord, and seeketh thee with a pure heart, doth not easi­ly fal; & if he fal into any tribulation, be he neuer so much inthralled, yet he shal quickly be deliuered or com­forted by thee. Pro. 10. For thou wilt not forsake him for euer that trusteth in thee. The friend is rare to bee found, that continueth faithful in his friends distresse, but thou, O Lord, thou alone art faithfull at all times, and there is none like vnto thee.

3 O how wise was that holy soule that said: My minde is firmely setled and grounded in Christ! If it were so with me, then would not humane feare so easily trouble me, nor words mooue mee. Who can foresee all things? Who is able to beware be­forehand [Page 277] of future euils? If things e­uen foreseene do oftentimes hurt vs, how can things vnlooked for choose but wound vs grieuously? But why did I not prouide better for my self, miserable wretch? Why also haue I so easily giuen credit to others? But alas we are men, and God knoweth, weake and fraile men, although by many we are reputed and called An­gels. To whom shall I giue credit, Lord? To whom but to thee? Thou art the truth that neither doest de­ceiue, nor canst be deceiued. And on the otherside, euery man is a lyar, weak, vnconstant, and subiect to fal, especially in words: and therfore we must not easily giue credit euen to that, which in outward shew see­meth at the first a certaine truth.

4 O with how great wisdom hast thou warned vs to take heed of mē! and because the enemies of man are his familiar and domesticall ac­quaintance, [Page 278] not to trust if one should say: Behold heere, or behold there. Mat. 7. I am tought to my cost, and I would to God I might thereby en­crease my care, and not my folly. Be wary, saith one, be wary, keepe vnto thy selfe what I tell thee; and whilst I hold my peace, and thinke it is se­cret, he cānot keep that secret, which he desired should bee secret, but pre­sently discloseth me and himself, and goeth his way. From such tales, and such improuident people, protect me Lord, that I fall not into their hands, nor euer commit such errours. Giue me grace, my God, to obserue truth and constancie in my words, and re­moue far from me a deceitful tongue. What I am not willing to suffer, I ought by all meanes to auoid.

5. O how good and quiet a thing it is to be silent, and not to talke of others, nor to beleeue all that is said, nor easily to report what we haue [Page 279] heard; Prou. 25. to lay ones selfe o­pen to few; Esa. 24. alwaies to seeke after thee, the beholder of the heart; not to be carried away with euery winde of words, but to desire that all things both within and without, be accomplished according to thy will and pleasure. How secure is it for the keeping of heauenly grace, to fly the sight of men? And not to seek those things, that seeme to cause admirati­on abroad, but to follow that with al diligence, which bringeth amend­ment of life, and encrease of feruour.

6 To how many hath vertue, knowne and ouer hastily commen­ded, bin hurtful? how profitable hath grace beene kept with silence in this mortall life, which is nothing but a perpetual temptation, and a warfare?

CHAP. XLVI. Of putting our trust in God, when euil words arise

OVR LORD.

SOn, be constant, and put thy trust [Page 280] in mee. For what are words, but words? They passe through the aire, but hurt not. Psa. 36. If thou be guil­tie, determine willingly to amend thy selfe: if thou be innocent, resolue to suffer this willingly, at least for God. It is a small matter to suffer sometimes a fevv vvords, if thou hast not yet the courage to endure stripes. And why doe small matters go to thy heart, but for that thou art yet carnall, and regardest men more then thou oughtest? Because thou art afraid to bee despised, therefore wilt not bee reprehended for thy faults, and therefore seekest shad­dowes of excuses.

2 But look better into thy self, and thou shalt see that the world yet li­ueth in thee, & a vain desire to please men. For when thou refusest to be humbled, & reproued for thy faults, it is surely euident, that thou art nei­ther truely humble, nor dead to the [Page 281] world, nor the world perfectly cruci­fied to thee. But giue diligent eare to my words, & thou shalt little respect ten thousand words spoken by men. Behold, if al should be spokē against thee that could be maliciously inuen­ted, what would it hurt thee, if thou suffredst it to passe, & madest no rec­koning at all of it? Could all those words pluck as much as one haire from thy head? Mat. 10. Luk. 11.

3 But he that hath not his heart within him, nor God before his eies, is easily moued with euery little dis­praise, whē as he that trusteth in me, and confideth not in his own judge­ment, shal be free from human fears. For I am the Iudge and the discerner of all secrets. I know how the matter passed, I know him that offereth the iniury, and him that suffereth it. Psal. 7. From me hath this word pro­ceeded: this hath happened by my permission, that out of many hearts [Page 282] thoughts may bee reuealed. I shall judge the guilty and the innocent, but by a secret judgement I would beforehand try them both. Luk. 2.

4 The testimony of men often­times deceiueth: my judgement is al­waies true, it shall stand, and not be ouerthrown. It is commonly hidden and secret, and not knowne in euery thing but to few: notwithstanding it neuer erreth, neither can it erre, al­though to the eyes of the foolish it seemes not right. Men ought there­fore to returne to me in euery judge­ment, and not to stand in their owne opinions. For the just man will not be troubled, whatsoeuer happeneth vnto him for God: Pro. 12. and if any thing be wrongfully brought forth against him, hee will not much care, neither will he vainly be glad, if by others hee be with reason excused. For he considereth that I am he that searcheth the heart and reines, & do [Page 283] judge, not according to the outward face, nor humane apparence. For that is oftentimes found culpable in my sight, that in the judgement of men is commendable.

SER.

5 O Lord my God, the just Iudge, strong & patient, thou know­est the frailty and peruersity of man, be thou my strength, & all my trust, for mine owne conscience sufficeth me not. Thou knowest that which I cannot reach vnto, and therefore in euery reprehension I ought to haue submitted my selfe, & to haue borne it patiently: vouchsafe mercifully to pardon me, as often as I haue failed herein, and giue me againe grace of greater sufferance. For thy bountiful mercy is more auaileable to me for the obtaining of pardon, then my conceiued justice for the defence of my hidden conscience. Although my conscience accuse me not, yet I can­not hereby justifie my selfe; 1. Cor. 4. [Page 284] for if thy mercy be away, no man li­uing shall bee justified in thy sight. Psal. 142.

CHAP. XLVII. That all grieuous things are to be endured for life euerlasting.

OVR LORD.

SOn, let not the paines dismay thee which thou hast vndertaken for me, neither be thou discomforted for the tribulatiōs which do befal thee; but let my promise strengthen and comfort thee in all euents. I am able to reward thee aboue all measure. Thou shalt not long toile heere, nor alwaies be oppressed with griefe. At­tend a while, and thou shalt see a speedy end of thy euils. There will come an houre when all labour and trouble shall cease. Little and short is all that passeth away with time.

2 Do as thou doest, labour faith­fully in my Vineyard, I will be thy [Page 285] reward. Write, reade, sing, mourne, obserue silence, pray, suffer crosses manfully: Matth. 20. life euerlasting is worthy of all these, and greater combates. Peace shall come in the day which is known vnto our Lord, and it shall not be day nor night, to wit, of this time, but euerlasting light, infinite brightnesse, stedfast peace, and secure rest. Then thou shalt not say, Who shall deliuer mee from the body of this death? Rom. 7. nor crie, Woe be vnto mee, for that my dwelling in a strange Countrey is prolonged! Psal. 119. For death shall be throwne downe, and health shall be without decay, no anxietie, blessed joy, sweete and glorious company.

3 O if thou hadst seene the euerla­sting crownes of the Saints in hea­uen, and with how great glory they now reioice, who in times past were contemptible to this world, & estee­med [Page 286] vnworthy of life it selfe: Sap. 3. and 5. truly thou wouldest presently humble thy self euen vnto the earth: and wouldest rather seeke to be vn­der the feete of al, then to haue com­mand, so much as ouer one: neither wouldest thou desire pleasant dayes of this life, but rather reioyce to be afflicted for God, and esteeme it thy greatest gaine to bee reputed as no­thing amongst men.

4 O if thou haddest a feeling of these things, and didst suffer them to enter into the depth of thy hart, how durst thou so much as once to com­plaine! Are not all painfull labours to be endured for euerlasting life? It is no small matter to leese or to gain the Kingdome of heauen. Lift vp thine eyes therfore vnto heauen: be­hold I, and all my Saints with mee, who in this world had great con­flicts, do now rejoyce, now are com­forted, now are secure, now do rest, [Page 287] and shall remaine with mee euerla­stingly in the kingdom of my Father.

CHAP. XLVIII. Of the euerlasting day, and shortnes of this life.

THE SERVANT.

O Most blessed mansion of the heauenly City! O most cleare day of eternity, which night obscu­reth not, but the highest truth euer enlightneth, day euer pleasant, euer secure, and neuer changing into con­trary state! Apoc. 21. O that, that day would once appeare, & all these temporall things were at an end! To the Saints it shineth glistering with euerlasting brightnes, but to those that are Pilgrimes vpon earth, it ap­peareth only a far off, and as it were through a glasse.

2 The inhabitants of heauen doe know how joyfull that day is: but the banished children of Eue be­waile the bitternesse and tediousnes [Page 288] of this. The daies of this life are short and euill, full of sorrow and anguish, where man is defiled with many sins, incumbred with many passions, disquieted with many feares, filled with many cares, distracted with many curiosities, intangled with ma­ny vanities, compassed about with many errors, worne away with ma­ny labours, vexed with temptations, weakened with delights, tormented with want. Iob 7.

3 O when shall these euils be at an end! Rom. 7. When shall I be de­liuered from the miserable bondage of sin! Psal. 70. When shall I thinke, O Lord, of thee alone! When shall I perfectly reioyce in thee! When shal I bee free from all impediments in true liberty, without al grief of mind and body! When shall I haue firme peace, peace secure & without trou­ble, peace without and within, peace euery way assured▪ O good Iesu, whē [Page 289] shall I stand to behold thee! When shall I contemplate the glory of thy Kingdom! When wilt thou be vnto me all in all things! O when shall I be with thee in thy Kingdom, which thou hast prepared for thy beloued, from before all worlds! I am left a poore and banished man in the Land of mine enemies, where there are dai­ly warres, and great misfortunes.

4 Comfort my banishment, as­swage my sorrow: for my whole de­sire sendeth vp sighes vnto thee. For all is burdensome to me, whatsoeuer this world offereth for my comfort. I desire familiarly to enioy thee, but I cannot attaine vnto it. I would glad­ly fixe my heart to the things of hea­uen, but temporall cares and vnmor­tified passions weigh me downe. In mind I would be aboue al things, but to my flesh I am inforced to be sub­iect against my will. Ro. 7. & 8. Thus vnhappy mā that I am, I fight against [Page 290] my selfe, and am become grieuous to my selfe, whilest my spirit seeketh after the things that are aboue, and my flesh that which is below.

5 O what doe I inwardly suffer, when in minde I consider heauenly things, and presently in my prayers a multitude of fleshly fantasies present themselues before me! My God, be not farre from me, depart not in thy wrath from thy seruant. Psa. 70. Cast forth thy lightning, & disperse them: send out thy darts, and breake all the fantasies of my enemy. Gather my senses together vnto thee, make mee forget the things of this world: grant me grace to cast away speedily the fantasies of vices. Succour me, O e­uerlasting truth, that no vanity may moue me. Come heauenly sweetnes, and let al impurity fly from thy face. Pardon me also, and mercifully for­giue me as often as I think vpon any thing else, besides thee, in prayer. I [Page 291] truly confesse, that I am wont to be subiect to many distractions: for of­tentimes I am not there, where I do corporally stand or sit, but rather there, whither my thoughts do carry me. Where my thought is, there am I: there is oftentimes my thought, where my affection is. That quickly occurreth vnto me, which is naturally delightsome, & by custome pleasing.

6 And for this cause, thou that art truth it self, hast plainly said: Where thy treasure is, there is also thy heart. Mat. 6. If I loue heauen, I willingly thinke of heauenly things. If I loue the world, I reioyce at the felicity of the world, & grieue for the aduersity thereof. If I loue the flesh, I imagine oftētimes those things that are plea­sing to the flesh. If I loue the spirit, I delight to thinke of spirituall things. For whatsoeuer I loue, thereof doe I willingly speake, and heare, and cary home with me the formes and repre­sentations [Page 292] thereof. O blessed is that man, that for thee (O Lord) forsaketh all creatures; that violently resisteth nature, & out of the feruour of spirit crucifieth the concupiscence of the flesh; that with a cleare conscience he may offer sincere prayers vnto thee, and be worthy of the company of the Angelicall quiers, all earthly things outwardly and inwardly be­ing excluded.

CHAP. XLIX. Of the desire of euerlasting life, & how great re­wards are promised to those that fight valiantly.

OVR LORD.

SOn, whē thou perceiuest the desire of euerlasting blisse to be giuē thee from aboue, & desirest to depart out of the Tabernacle of this body, that thou maist without shaddow of any enterchange behold my light; open thy heart, and receiue this holy inspi­ration with thy whole desire. Giue [Page 293] great thankes to the heauenly good­nes, that dealeth with thee so fauou­rably, visiteth thee mercifully, stir­reth thee vp feruently, holdeth thee vp powerfully, lest through thine owne waight thou fall downe to the vanities of the earth. Neither doest thou obtaine this by thine owne thought or endeauour, but by the on­ly fauour of heauenly grace & diuine bounty, that thou maist profit in ver­tue, & obtaine greater humility, and prepare thy selfe to future battailes, and endeauour to cleaue vnto mee with the whole affection of thy hart, and serue me with a feruent desire.

2 Sonne, fire often burneth, but the flame ascendeth not vp without smoke: so likewise the desires of some men are earnestly carried to heauen­ly things, and yet they are not free from temptation of carnall affecti­on: and therefore it is not altoge­ther purely for the honour of God, [Page 294] that which they so earnestly request of him. Such is also oftentimes thy desire, which with such importunity thou presentest vnto me. For that is not pure & perfect, which is infected and defiled with the loue of thine owne proper commodity & interest.

3 Ask not that which is delight­some and profitable to thee, but that which is gratefull to me, and apper­taineth to my honor, for if thou jud­gest aright, thou oughtest to preferre and follow my appointment, rather then thine own desire, or any desired thing. I know thy desire, and haue heard thy often grones. Now thou wouldest bee in the freedome of the glory of the sons of God: now doth the euerlasting habitation, and the heauenly Country full of joy delight thee, but this houre is not yet come: it is yet another time, to wit, of war, time of labour & triall. Thou desirest to bee filled with the chiefest good, [Page 295] but thou canst not attaine it for the present. I am he (saith our Lord) ex­pect vntill the Kingdome of God doth come. Iob 7.

4 Thou art yet to be tried vpon earth, and to bee exercised in many things. Comfort shall be sometimes giuen thee, but abundant fulnes ther­of shal not be granted. Take courage therfore, & be constant as wel in do­ing, as in suffring things contrary to nature. Iosue 1. Thou oughtest to put on a new man, and to be changed in­to another. Eph. 4. Thou must often­times doe that which thou wouldest not, & leaue vndone that thou woul­dest do. That which is pleasing to o­thers, shall goe well forwards, that which thou wishest, shall not speed. That which others say, shal be heard, what thou sayst shall be nothing re­garded. Others shall aske, & shal re­ceiue, thou shalt aske & not obtaine.

5 Others shall bee great in the [Page 296] praises of men, but of thee there shall be no speech; to others this or that shall be committed, but thou shalt be accounted fit for nothing. At this nature will sometimes repine, and it is much if thou endurest it with si­lence. In these and such like a faith­full seruant of our Lord is wont to be tried, how he can deny and ouer­come himselfe in all things. There is scarce any thing, wherein thou hast such need to mortifie thy selfe, as in seeing and suffering those things that are contrary to thy will, especi­ally when that is commanded, which seemeth vnto thee inconuenient, or to little purpose. And for that thou being placed vnder authority, darest not resist a higher power, therefore it seemeth hard vnto thee, to walke at the becke of another, and to leaue wholy thine owne opinion.

6 But consider, Sonne, the fruit of these labours, the end neere at [Page 297] hand, and the reward aboue all mea­sure, and thou shalt receiue no griefe therby, but great comfort of thy pa­tience. For in regard of that little of thy will, which now thou willingly forsakest, thou shalt alwaies haue thy will in heauen. There thou shalt haue all that thou wilt, or canst de­sire: there thou shalt enioy all good without feare of loosing it, there shal thy will be euer one with me; it shall desire nothing, strange or priuate; there no man shall withstand thee, no man complaine of thee, no man hinder thee, nothing come against thee: but all things desired shall bee there together present, and delight thy whole desire, and fulfill it to the highest degree: there I will giue thee glorie for the reproach which heere thou sufferedst, a garment of praise for former griefe, for the lowest place, a seat of an euerlasting Kingdome; there shall the fruit of [Page 298] obedience appeare, the labour of pennance reioyce, and humble sub­jection shall bee gloriously crow­ned.

7 Now therefore bow thy selfe with great humility vnder the hands of all, and regard not who said, or commanded this; but take great heede, that whether thy Superiour, or thy Inferiour, or thine equall re­quire any thing of thee, or doe insi­nuate their desire, thou take it all in good part, and endeauour to fulfill it with a sincere intention. Let one seeke this, another that, let him glo­rie in this, the other in that, and be praysed a thousand thousand times; but doe thou neither reioyce in this, nor in that, but in the contempt of thy selfe, and in my pleasure and ho­nour a lone. This art thou to wish, that whether by life or death, God may be alwayes glorified in thee.

CHAP. L. How a desolate person ought to offer himselfe into the hands of God.

THE SERVANT.

LOrd God, holy Father, thy holy name be now and for euer blessed; because as thou wilt, so is it done, and what thou dost, is good. Let thy seruant rejoyce in thee, not in him­selfe, nor any thing else, for thou a­lone art the true gladnes, thou art my hope and my crowne, thou art my joy and my honor, O Lord. What hath thy seruant, but what he recei­ued from thee, euen without any de­sert of his? 1. Cor. 4. Thine is all that thou hast giuen, & whatsoeuer thou hast made. I am poore, and in labours from my youth: and sometimes my soule is heauy vnto teares, somtimes also it is troubled in it selfe, by rea­son of passions which rise against her. Psal. 87.

[Page 300]2 I desire the joy of peace, I craue the peace of thy children, that are fed by thee in the light of comfort. If thou giue peace, if thou infuse holy joy, the soule of thy seruant shall be full of heauenly sweetnes, and shall become deuout in thy praise, but if thou withdraw thy selfe, as very of­ten thou art wont, he wil not be able to runne the waies of thy Comman­dements, but rather hee boweth his knees, and knocketh his breast, for that it is not with him, as it was yesterday, and the day before, when thy light shined vpon his head, and he was protected vnder the shadow of thy wings, from the temptations which violently assault him.

3 O righteous Father, and euer to be praised, the houre is come, that thy seruant is to be proued! Behold, Father, it is fit, that in this houre thy seruant suffer something for thee. O Father worthy of eternall honour, [Page 301] the houre is come, which from all e­ternity thou didst fore-know should come: that for a short time thy ser­uant should outwardly bee oppres­sed, but inwardly liue for euer with thee: he should be a little despised, and humbled, and made as an abiect in the sight of men, and much affli­cted with passions and infirmities, that he may rise againe with thee, in the rising of new light, and be clari­fied in heauen. Holy Father, thou hast so appointed it, and wilt haue it so: and this is fulfilled which thy selfe hast commanded.

4 It is a grace and a fauour to thy friend to suffer, and to be afflicted in the world for the loue of thee, how often soeuer, and by whom soeuer thou permittest it to fall vpon him. Without thy counsell and proui­dence, and without cause nothing is done in earth. Psalm. 118. It is good for mee, Lord, that thou hast [Page 302] humbled me, that I may learne thy righteous judgments, and cast away al haughtines of hart & presumptiō. It is profitable to me, that shame hath couered my face, that I may rather seeke to thee for comfort, then to men. I haue learned also hereby to dread thy inscrutable judgment, that afflictest the just with the wicked, but not without equity and justice.

5 I giue thee thanks, that thou hast not spared my sinnes, but hast worne me away with bitter stripes, inflicting sorows, & sending griefs within and without. There is none vnder heauen that can comfort mee, but thou my Lord God. Tob. 13. the heauēly Phi­sitian of souls, that strikest & healest, bringest into hell, and drawest out a­gaine: Psal. 17. let thy correction be vpon me and let thy rod instruct me.

6 Behold beloued Father, I am in thy hands, I bow my selfe vnder the rod of thy correction: let my neck & [Page 303] shoulders feel the stripes of thy cha­stisement, that my crookednes may be conformed to thy wil. Make me a deuout & humble disciple of thine, as thou art wōt wel to do, that I may be ready at euery beck of thy diuine pleasure. I commend my selfe and all mine vnto thee to be corrected. It is better to be rebuked here, then here­after. Thou knowest all and euery thing, and there is nothing hidden in the conscience of man, which can be hidden from thee. Before things are done, thou knowst that they wil hap­pen, & hast no need that any should teach thee, or admonish thee of those things, which are done on earth. Thou knowest what is expedient for my good, and how much tribulation is fit for purging the rust of my sins. Do with me according to thy desi­red pleasure, and despise not my sin­full life, better and more clearely knowne to none then to thee alone.

[Page 304]7 Grant me, Lord, to know that which is to be knowne: to loue that which is to be beloued: to praise that which pleaseth thee most: to esteem that which is precious vnto thee: to despise that which is contemptible in thy sight: suffer me not to judge according to the sight of the exteri­our eyes, nor to giue sentence accor­ding to the hearing of the eares of ignorant men; but to determine of visible & spiritual things with a true judgement, & aboue all things, euer to search after thy will and pleasure.

8 The senses of men are often deceiued in their judgements, the lo­uers of the world are also deceiued, in louing only visible things. What is a man the better, for that he is esteemed great by man? The deceit­full man deceiueth the deceitfull, the vaine, the vaine, the blinde de­ceiueth the blinde, and one feeble likewise another, whilest he exalteth [Page 305] and praiseth him. For how much e­uery one is in thy sight, so much hee is, and no more, saith humble Saint Francis.

CHAP. LI. That a man ought to imploy himselfe in the works of humilitie, when force is wanting for higher exercises.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, thou art not able alwaies to continue in the feruent desire of vertue, nor to persist in the high pitch of contemplation, but thou must sometimes of necessitie, by rea­son of originall corruption, descend to inferiour things, and beare the burthen of this corruptible life euen against thy will, and with irkesome­nes. As long as thou carriest a mor­tall body, thou shalt feele trouble and heauines of hart. Thou oughtest therefore in flesh oftentimes to be­waile the burthen of flesh: for that [Page 306] thou canst not alwaies perseuere in spirituall exercises, and diuine con­templation.

2 It is then expedient for thee to fly to humble and exteriour workes, and to refresh thy selfe with good and vertuous actions, to expect with a firme confidence my comming, and heauenly visitation, to beare pa­tiently thy banishment, and the dri­nesse of thy minde, till thou bee vi­sited againe by mee, and deliuered from all anxietie. For I will make thee forget thy former paines, and enioy inward quietnesse. I will lay open before thee the pleasant fields of holy Scripture, that with an en­larged heart thou mayest beginne to runne the way of my Comman­dements. And thou shalt say, that the sufferings of this time are not condigne to the glorie to come, that shall be reuealed in vs. Rom. 8.

CHAP. LII. That a man ought to esteeme himselfe vnworthy of comfort, and to haue deserued stripes.

THE SERVANT.

LOrd I am not worthy of thy com­fort, nor of any spiritual visitation, and therfore thou dealest justly with me, when thou leauest me poore and desolate. For if I could sheed teares like a sea, yet I were not worthy of thy comfort. For (alas) I deserue no­thing, but to be scourged & punish­ed, in that I haue grieuously and of­ten offended thee, and sinned in ma­ny things. All things therefore duely considered, I am not worthy euen of the least comfort. But thou milde and merciful God, who wilt not that thy workes do perish, to shew the riches of thy goodnes in the vessels of mer­cy, euen beyond his desert, vouchsa­fest to comfort thy seruāt aboue hu­mane measure. For thy comforts are [Page 308] not like to the vaine words of men.

2 What haue I done, O Lord, that thou shouldest impart any heauenly comfort vnto me? I remember not, that I haue euer done any good, but haue beene alwaies prone to sin, and slouthfull in my amendment. It is true, and I cannot deny it. If I should say otherwise, thou wouldest stand against me, and there would be none to defend mee. Iob 9. What haue I deserued for my sinnes, but hell and euerlasting fire? I confesse in the truth of my heart, that I am worthy of all scorne and contempt, and it is vnfit that I should be remembred a­mongst thy deuout seruants. And al­though I be vnwilling to heare this, yet notwithstanding for the loue of truth, I will lay open my sins against my selfe, that I may the better de­serue to obtaine thy mercy.

3 What shall I say, being guilty, and ful of confusion? I can vtter out [Page 309] of my mouth no other word but this: I haue sinned, Lord, I haue sin­ned, haue mercy on me: Psa. 50. Par­don me, suffer me a little, that I may bewaile my griefe, before I go vnto the land of darknes, and be couered with the shaddow of death. Iob 20. What dost thou require of a guiltie and miserable sinner, but that hee be contrite and sorowful, & do humble himself for his offences? In true con­trition and humblenesse of heart, is bred a [...]ope of forgiuenesse, a trou­bled conscience is reconciled againe, grace lost is restored, man is defen­ded from future wrath, and God and the penitent soule meet together in the holy kisse of peace.

4 Humble contrition for sins, is an acceptable sacrifice to thee, O Lord, sauouring much sweeter in thy sight then burning frankincense. Psal. 50. This is also the pleasant oyntment, which thou wouldest haue powred [Page 310] vpon thy sacred feet, Luk. 7. for thou neuer despisest a contrite & humble heart. Psal. 50. There is a place of re­fuge from the face of the wrath of our enemy: there is amended, and washed away whatsoeuer vnclean­nes hath beene elsewhere gathered, and whatsoeuer is defiled.

CHAP. LIII. That the grace of God is not giuen to those that sauour of earthly things.

OVR LORD.

SOn, my grace is precious, it suffe­reth not itself to be mingled with externall things, nor earthly com­forts. Thou oughtest therfore to cast away al hinderances of grace, if thou desire to receiue the infusion thereof. Choose therfore a secret place to thy selfe, loue to liue alone with thy self, desire the conuersation of none: but rather powre out deuout praiers vn­to God, that thou mayest keepe thy [Page 311] minde compunct and thy conscience pure. Esteeme the whole world as nothing: prefer my seruice before al outward things; for thou canst not attend vnto me, and be delighted al­so in trāsitory vanities. Mat. 19. Thou oughtest to sequester thy selfe from thy acquaintāce & friends, & to keep thy minde depriued of all temporall comfort. So the blessed Apostle Peter required, that the faithfull of Christ should keep themselues as strangers and pilgrimes in this world. 1. Pet. 2.

2 O how great a confidence shal he haue at the houre of death, whom no affection to any earthly thing de­taineth in the world. But the weake mind is not yet capable of so retired a hart; neither doth the fleshly person vnderstand the freedom of a recolle­cted minde. Notwithstanding, if he wil be truly spiritual, he ought to re­nounce as well that which is far off, as that which is nearest vnto him, & [Page 312] to beware of no man more then of himselfe. It thou perfectly ouercome thy selfe, thou shalt with more ease subdue the rest. It is a glorious victo­ry to triumph ouer our selues. For he that keepeth himselfe subiect in such sort, that his sensuality be subdued to reason, & reason in al things be obe­dient to mee, he is truely a conque­rour of himself, & Lord of the world.

3 If thou desire to mount vnto this height of perfection, thou must begin manfully, & set the axe to the root, that thou maist pluck vp & de­stroy thy hidden and inordinat incli­nation to thy selfe, & vnto al priuate and earthly good. Of this vice (that man too inordinatly loueth himself) almost all dependeth, whatsoeuer is wholy to be ouercome: which being once ouercome & subdued, there wil presently ensue great peace and tran­quillity. But for that few endeauour perfectly to die vnto themselues, and [Page 313] to forsake themselues wholy, there­fore they remaine intangled in them­selues, and cannot bee lifted vp in spirit aboue themselues: but hee that desireth to walke freely with me, it is necessary that he mortifie all his inordinate affections, and not ad­here vnto any creature by priuate loue.

CHAP. LIV. Of the different motions of Nature and Grace.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, marke diligently the moti­ons of thine owne nature, and my grace, for in very contrary and se­cret manner these are moued, and can hardly be discerned, but by him that is spirituall and inwardly en­lightned. All men desire that which is good, and pretend some good in all their words and deeds, and therefore vnder pretence of good, [Page 314] many are deceiued. Nature is de­ceitfull and seduceth, intangleth, and deceiueth many, and alwayes propo­seth her selfe for her end, but grace walketh with great sinceritie, and a­uoideth all shew of euill, pretendeth not deceits, and doth all things pure­ly for God, in whom also shee final­ly resteth.

2 Nature will not willingly die, nor bee kept in, nor ouercome, nor bee subiect to any, nor bee sub­dued: but Grace laboureth to morti­fie her selfe, resisteth sensuality, see­keth to be subiect, is willing to bee ouercome, and will not vse her owne libertie, shee loueth to be kept vnder discipline, and desireth not to rule any, but alwaies to liue and remaine wholy subiect vnto God, and for God, is readie humbly to bow vnto all men. Nature striueth for her owne commoditie, and considereth what profit shee may reape by ano­ther: [Page 315] but Grace considereth not what is profitable and commodious vnto her selfe, but rather what is profita­ble to many. Nature willingly re­ceiueth honour and reuerence: but Grace faithfully attributeth all ho­nor and glory vnto God.

3 Nature feareth shame and con­tempt, but Grace reioyceth to suffer reproach for the name of Iesus. Na­ture loueth idlenesse, and bodily rest, but Grace cannot be idle, but willingly embraceth labour. Na­ture seeketh to haue those things that bee curious and precious, ab­horreth that which is meane and base: but Grace delighteth in plaine and humble things, despiseth not course and meane, nor refuseth to weare that which is old and torne. Nature respecteth the things of this world, reioyceth at earthly gaine, sorroweth for losse, is moued with e­uery little iniurious word; but Grace [Page 316] thinketh on that, which is euerla­sting, and cleaueth not to that which fadeth with time; shee is not trou­bled with losse, nor exasperated with iniuries, for that she hath placed her treasure and joy in heauen, where nothing perisheth.

4 Nature is couetous, and doth more willingly receiue then giue, she loueth proper and priuate things: but Grace is pitifull and liberall to all, auoydeth singularitie, is con­tent with a little, thinketh it happier to giue, then to receiue. Nature in­clineth to creatures, yeeldeth to her owne flesh, followeth vanities, and listneth to discourses: but grace draweth vnto God, and seeketh af­ter vertues, renounceth creatures, fli­eth the world, hateth the desires of the flesh, restraineth wandrings a­broad, blusheth to be seene in pub­like. Nature is willing to haue some outward comfort, wherein shee may [Page 317] delight her senses, but grace seeketh comfort in God alone, and deligh­teth aboue all visible things in the highest good.

5 Nature worketh all for her owne gaine and profite, shee can do nothing freely, but for bestowed benefits: shee hopeth to obtaine either that which is equall, or bet­ter, either praise or fauour, and co­ueteth to haue her workes and gifts much esteemed: but Grace seeketh no temporall thing, nor asketh any other reward for her deserts then God alone, nor desireth more of temporal necessaries, then what may serue her for the obtaining of euer­lasting glory.

6 Nature rejoyceth to haue ma­ny friends, and kinsfolkes, shee glo­rieth of Noble birth and descent, pleaseth the powerfull, fawneth vp­on the rich, applaudeth those that are like her selfe: but grace loueth [Page 318] her enemies, and is not puffed vp with multitude of friends, nor estee­meth place or birth, but where it is joyned with greater vertue, shee ra­ther fauoureth the poore, then the rich, hath more compassion of the innocent, then the powerfull, reioy­ceth in the simple, and respecteth not the deceitfull, exhorteth euer the good to labour for the better gifts, and by vertue to resemble the Sonne of God. Nature quickely complai­neth of any want and trouble: Grace constantly suffereth all kinde of need.

7 Nature turneth all things to her selfe, striueth and contendeth for her selfe: but Grace reduceth all to God, from whence originally they proceede: shee ascribeth no good to her selfe, neither doth shee arrogantly presume of her selfe: she contendeth not, nor preferreth her opinion before others, but in euery [Page 319] sense and vnderstanding submitteth her selfe vnto the eternall Wisdome, and to the diuine Iudgement. Na­ture coueteth to know secrets, and to heare newes: shee will appeare a­broad, and make proofe of many things by the experience of her own senses, shee desireth to be knowne, and to doe those things, for which shee may bee praised and admired: But Grace careth not for hearing newes, nor to vnderstand curious matters, for that all this springeth from the ancient disorder of our cor­rupt nature, seeing nothing that is new is durable vpon earth. Shee teacheth therefore to restraine the senses, to auoid vaine-pleasing and ostentation, humbly to hide those things that are worthy of praise and admiration, and of euery thing and euery knowledge to seeke profita­ble fruit, and the praise and honor of God: she will not haue her selfe, nor [Page 320] hers, publikely praised, but desireth that God should bee blessed in his gifts, who of meere charity bestow­eth all things.

8 Thus Grace is a supernaturall light, and a certaine speciall gift of God, and the proper marke of the e­lect, & pledge of euerlasting saluati­on, which lifteth vp a man frō earth­ly basenes to loue things of heauen, and of a carnall, maketh him a spiri­tuall person. How much the more therefore Nature is depressed & sub­dued, so much the greater grace is infused, and the inward man daily by new visitations more perfected according to the Image of God.

CHAP. LV. Of the corruption of Nature, and efficacie of diuine Grace.

THE SERVANT.

MY God, who of thy meere goodnesse hast created mee to [Page 321] thy Image and likenesse, Genes. 1. graunt mee this grace which thou hast shewed to bee so great, and so necessary to saluation, that I may o­uercome my wicked nature, which draweth me to sinne, and to the losse of my soule. For I feele in my flesh the law of sinne, contradicting the law of my minde, and leading mee captiue, to obey sensuality in many things: neither can I resist the passi­ons thereof, vnlesse thy holy grace, feruently infused into my heart, doe assist me. Rom. 7.

2 Thy grace, O Lord, and great grace is needfull, that nature may be ouercome, which is euer prone to e­uil from her youth. For by Adam the first man, in falling and being cor­rupted by sinne, the penalty of this staine hath descended vpon all man­kind in such sort, that Nature it self, which by thee was created good, and without defect, is now accounted [Page 322] for vice, and for the infirmitie of a corrupted nature, for that the moti­on thereof left vnto it selfe, draweth to euill and abiect things. For the lit­tle force which remaineth, is like a certaine sparke, lying hidden in ashes. This is naturall reason it self, compassed about with great dark­nesse, still retaining power to di­scerne good and euill, and the di­stance betweene true and false, al­though it be vnable to fulfill all, that it approueth and enioyeth not now the full light of truth, nor the for­mer integrity of her affections.

3 Hence it is, my God, that ac­cording to my inward man, I de­light in thy law, knowing thy Com­mandements to bee good, just and holy, reprouing also all euill and sin, and doe know that it is to be fled. Rom. 7. But in my flesh I serue the law of sin, whilest I rather obey sen­sualitie then reason. Hence it is, that [Page 323] I haue a will to doe good, but know not how to performe it. For this cause I often purpose many good things, but for that I want grace to helpe my infirmity, for a light resi­stance I go backe, and faint. I know the way of perfection, & see clearely enough what I ought to do, but pres­sed with the waight of mine owne corruption, I rise not vnto it.

4 O Lord, how needfull is thy grace for me, to beginne any good worke, to go forward, and to accom­plish it. Ioh. 13. For without it I can do nothing, but in thee I can doe all things, when thy grace doth com­fort me. O heauenly grace, without which our owne merits are nothing, and no gifts of nature are to bee e­steemed. Arts, riches, beautie, and strength, wit, or eloquence, are of no worth with thee, O Lord, with­out thy grace. For gifts of nature are common to good and euill, but the [Page 324] peculiar gift of the elect is grace and loue, wherewith being marked, they are esteemed worthy of euerlasting life. This grace so much excelleth, that neither the gift of prophesie, nor the working of miracles, nor any speculation; how high soeuer, is of any esteeme without it. Neyther faith, nor hope, nor other vertues are acceptable vnto thee without chari­tie and grace. 1. Cor. 13.

5 O most blessed grace, that ma­kest the poore in spirit rich with ver­tues, and the rich in many blessings, humble in heart, come downe vnto me, replenish mee in the morning with thy comfort, lest my soule should faint with wearines, and wi­ther away with drines of mind. I be­seech the Lord, that I may find grace in thy sight, for thy grace sufficeth, though other things that nature de­sireth be wanting. Psal. 22. If I be tempted and vexed with many tri­bulations, [Page 325] I will not feare euils whi­lest thy grace is with me: shee is my strength, she giueth aduice and help: she is stronger then all enemies, and wiser then all the wise.

6 Thy grace is the mistresse of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the solace in affli­ction: she driueth away sorrow, she expelleth feare, she is the nurse of de­uotion, the bringer foorth of teares. What am I without it, but a rotten peece of wood, and an vnprofitable stalke, only meet for the fire? Let thy grace therefore, Lord, alwaies pre­uent me, and follow mee, and make mee euer diligent in good workes, through Iesus Christ thy Son, Amen.

CHAP. LVI. That we ought to deny our selues, and imitate Christ, by the Crosse.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, looke how much thou [Page 326] canst goe out of thy selfe, so much mayest thou enter into me. As to be void of all desire of externall things, maketh inward peace; so the forsa­king of our selues joyneth vs inter­nally to God. I will haue thee learne the perfect leauing of thy selfe vnto my will, without contradiction and complaint. Follow me, I am the way, the truth, and the life. Ioh. 14. With­out the way there is no going, with­out truth there is no knowledge, without life there is no liuing. I am the way which thou oughtest to fol­low, the truth which thou oughtest to trust, the life for which thou oughtest to hope. I am the way which cannot lead amisse, the truth which cannot erre, the life which cannot end. I am a most strait way, a supreme truth, a true life, a blessed life, an increated life, if thou remaine in mee, thou shalt know the truth, and truth shall deliuer thee, and thou [Page 327] shalt apprehend euerlasting life.

2 If thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandements: if thou wilt know the truth, beleeue me. Mat. 19. If thou wilt be perfect, sell al. If thou wilt be my disciple, deny thy selfe. Luk. 9. If thou wilt possesse a blessed life, deny this present life. Ioh. 12. If thou wilt be exalted in heauen, hum­ble thy selfe vpon earth. Luk. 14. If thou wilt raigne with me, beare the Crosse with mee. For onely the ser­uants of the Crosse finde the way of blisse and true light.

SER.

3 Lord Iesus, for as much as thy way is narrow, strait and con­temptible vnto the world, grant me grace to imitate thee in suffring wil­lingly all worldly contempt. For the seruant is not greater then his Lord, nor the Disciple aboue his Master. Mat. 7. Let thy seruant be exercised in thy holy life, for there is the health and the true sanctitie of my soule: [Page 328] whatsoeuer I reade or heare besides, doth not recreate or delight me ful­ly. Luk. 6.

LORD.

4 Sonne, now that thou knowest and hast read these things, happie shalt thou be, if thou fulfill them. Hee that hath my Comman­dements and keepeth them, hee it is that loueth me, and I will loue him, and will manifest my selfe vnto him, and wil make him sit with me in the Kingdome of my Father.

SER.

Lord Iesus, as thou hast said and promised, so giue mee grace to deserue, that it be fulfilled. I haue re­ceiued the Crosse, I haue receiued it from thy hand, and I will beare it, and beare it till death, as thou hast laid it vpon me. Truely the life of a good religious person is the Crosse, and it is a sure guide to heauen. It is now begunne, it is not lawfull to go backe, neither is it fit to leaue that which I haue vndertaken.

[Page 329]5 Let vs then take courage, my brethren, and go forwards together. Iesus will be with vs, for Iesus sake we haue vndertaken this Crosse: for the loue of Iesus let vs perseuere in the Crosse. Hee will be our helper, who is our guide and forerunner. Behold our King goeth before vs, who also will fight for vs: let vs fol­low him cheerefully, let vs not bee dismayed, but be readie to die with courage in the battaile, and let vs not blemish our glory by flying from the Crosse.

CHAP. LVII. That a man be not too much deiected, when he falleth into some defects.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, patience and humilitie in time of aduersitie, are more plea­sing to mee, then much comfort and deuotion in prosperitie. Why art thou grieued for euery little [Page 330] trifle spoken and done against thee? Although it had beene much more, thou oughtest not to haue been mo­ued. But now let it passe, it is not the first that hath happened, nor any new thing, neither shall it bee the last, if thou liue long. Thou art cheerefull enough as long as no aduersity oc­curreth. Thou canst giue good coun­sell also, and canst strengthen others with thy words, but when any tri­bulation suddenly knocketh at thy dore, thou art destitute of counsell, and voide of force. See therefore thy great frailtie, which thou often pro­uest in very small occasions. It is notwithstanding permitted for thy good, when these and such like oc­casions befall thee.

2 Put it out of thy heart the best thou canst, and if it touch thee, yet let it not deiect thee, nor trouble thee long: beare it at least patiently, if thou canst not ioyfully. Although [Page 331] thou bee vnwilling to heare it, and feelest in thy heart some motion of disdaine, yet represse thy selfe, and suffer no inordinate word to passe out of thy mouth, which may bee a scandall to the weake. The storme which now is raised, shall quickly be appeased, and inward griefe shall be asswaged by the returne of grace. I do yet liue (saith our Lord) and am ready to helpe thee, and to giue thee greater comfort then before, if thou put thy trust in mee, and callest de­uoutly vpon me. Esay 49.

3 Be more patient, and prepare thy selfe to greater suffering. All is not lost, if thou feele thy selfe often afflicted, or grieuously tempted. Thou art a man, and not God: thou art flesh, not an Angell. How canst thou looke to continue euer in the same state of vertue, when an Angell in heauen hath fallen, and the first man in Paradise lost his standing? I [Page 332] am hee that doe giue healthfull comfort to them that mourne, and doe raise vp vnto my God-head those that know their owne frailtie. Gen. 3.

SER.

4 Lord, blessed be thy sa­cred Word, more sweete vnto my mouth then the hony, and the ho­ny-combe. What should I doe in these my so great tribulations and anguishes, vnlesse thou diddest com­fort mee with thy holy, sweete, and heauenly speeches? Psal. 118. What matter is it, how much, and what I suffer, so as at length I may attaine to the hauen of blisse? Grant mee a good end, grant mee a happie pas­sage out of this world. Be mindfull of me, my God, and direct mee the straight and ready way to the euer­lasting Kingdome, Amen.

CHAP. LVIII. Of not searching into high matters, and into the secret iudgements of God.

OVR LORD.

SOnne, beware thou dispute not of high matters, not of the secret judgements of God, why this man is forsaken, and he assumed to so great grace: why also this man is so much afflicted, and he so greatly aduanced. These things exceede all humane power, neither can any reason, or di­scourse of any man, search out the judgement of God. When the enemy therfore suggesteth these things vn­to thee, or some enuious people de­mand them of thee, answere that of the Prophet: Thou art just, O Lord, and thy judgement is right. Psa. 218. And againe: The judgements of our Lord are true & justified in thēselues Psa. 18. My judgments are to be fea­read, not to be discussed, for they are [Page 334] such as cannot be comprehended by the vnderstanding of man.

2 In like maner I aduise thee not to enquire, nor dispute of the merits of the Saints, which of them is holier then the other, and which is greater in the Kingdome of heauen. These things oftentimes breed strife & vn­profitable contentions, they nourish also pride & vain-glory, from whēce do vsually spring enuy & dissensions, whilst one will needs foolishly haue this Saint preferred, & the other an­other. 1. Tim. 2. To desire to know & search out such things, is to no pur­pose, but to displease the Saints, of whom they speake. For I am not the God of dissensiō, but of peace, which peace consisteth rather in true humi­litie, then in exalting our selues.

3 Some are carried with zeale of affectiō, to loue these, or those most, but this loue is rather humane then diuine. I haue made al the Saints, and [Page 335] haue giuen them grace: I haue made them partakers of my glory. I know the merits of euery one, I haue pre­uented them in the benedictions of my sweetnes. I foreknew my belo­ued before the beginning of the world. I chose thē out of the world, they chose not me first. Ioh. 15. I cal­led them by grace, I drew them by mercy, I led them through sundry temptations. I haue sent thē great in­ward cōforts, I haue giuen thē perse­uerāce, I haue crowned their patiēce.

4 I know the first and last: I em­brace all with inestimable loue. I am to be praised in al my Saints, I am to be blessed aboue al things, and to be honored in euery one, whom I haue thus gloriously exalted, and predesti­nated without any precedent merits of their owne. He therefore that con­tēneth one of the least of my Saints, honoreth not the greatest, for that I made both the lesse and the greater. [Page 336] Iam. 2. Wisd. 6. And he that disprai­seth any of my Saints, dispraiseth al­so me, & al the rest in the Kingdome of heauen. All are one by the band of Charity, they thinke the same, they will the same, and are all knit toge­ther in one perfect-band of loue.

5 But yet (which is much more high) they loue me more then them­selues, & more then their owne me­rits. For being rauished aboue them­selues, & drawne out of the affection of themselues, they tend wholy vnto the loue of mee, in which also they rest, enioying me with vnspeakable glory. Nothing can put them backe, nothing presse them down; for being full of euerlasting truth, they burne with the fire of vnquenchable chari­ty. Let therfore carnal & earthly mē, that can affect no other but priuate joyes, forbeare to dispute of the state of Saints. They adde and take away according to their owne fancies, not [Page 337] as it pleaseth the euerlasting Truth.

6 There is in many great ignorāce, specially in those that bee slenderly enlightned, & these can seldom loue any with perfect spiritual loue. They are alwaies much drawne by a natu­ral affection & humane friendship, to this man or to that, and according to the experience they haue of them­selues in their earthly affections, so they frame an imagination of heauē ­ly things. But there is an incōparable distance betweene the things, which the imperfect frame in their conceits, and those which illuminated persons do see by reuelation from aboue.

7 Beware therefore, my Sonne, that thou treat not curiously of these things, which exceed thy knowledg, but rather so apply thy endeauours, that thou maist at least haue the mea­nest place in the Kingdom of heauē. Eccles. 3. And if any one did know which of the Saints exceeded others [Page 338] in sanctity, or is esteemed greater in the kingdom of heauen, what would this knowledge auaile him, vnlesse he should thereby humble himselfe the more in my sight, and stirre vp his minde to praise my name with greater feruour. His labour is much more acceptable vnto God, that thinketh of the greatnes of his sins, and his want of vertues, and how far off he is from the perfection of the Saints; then he that disputeth of their greatnes. It is better to pray to the Saints with deuotion and teares, and to craue their glorious suffrages with an humble mind, then to search their secrets with a vaine curiositie.

8 They are well, and right well contented, if men could content thē ­selues, and refraine from these vaine discourses. They glory not of their own merits for they ascribe no good vnto themselues, but attribute all to me, who of my infinite charity haue [Page 339] bestowed my blessings vpon them. They are replenished with so great loue of my Godhead, and so supera­bundant joy, that there is no glory nor happines, that is, or can be wan­ting vnto them. All the Saints, how much the higher they be in glory, so much the more humble they are in themselues, and neerer and dearer vnto me. And therefore thou hast it written, That they did cast their crownes before God, and fel downe vpon their faces before the Lambe, and adored him that liueth for euer. Apocal. 4.

9 Many enquire who is greatest in the Kingdome of God, that know not whether they shall euer be num­bred there amongst the least. It is no small matter to bee euen the least in heauen, where all are great, for that all there shall be called, and shall be indeed the Sonnes of God. The least there shall bee great among thou­sands, [Page 340] and the sinner of an hundred yeares shall die. For when the Disci­ples asked who was the greater in the Kingdome of heauen, they recei­ued this answere. Matth. 18. Vnlesse you be conuerted, and become as lit­tle children, you shall not enter into the Kingdome of heauen. Whosoe­uer therefore shall humble himselfe as this little childe, he is the greater in the Kingdome of heauen.

10 Woe be vnto them that dis­daine to humble themselues willing­ly with little children. Mat. 6. For the low gate of the Kingdom of heauen, wil not giue them entrance. And wo be to the rich, that haue their com­forts heere, for whilst the poore enter into the Kingdom of God, they shall be waiting without. Reioyce you that be humble; and you that bee poore, be you glad, for yours is the Kingdome of God, if you walke ac­cording vnto truth. Mat. 5.

CHAP. LIX. That all our hope and trust is to be fixed in God alone.

THE SERVANT.

LOrd, what trust haue I in this world? Or what is the greatest comfort, that all things vnder hea­uen doe yeeld mee? Is it not thou, my Lord God, whose mercies are without number? Where hath it beene well with mee without thee? Or when could it bee ill with mee, when thou wert present? I had ra­ther bee poore for thee, then rich without thee. I rather choose to be a Pilgrime in earth with thee, then to possesse heauen without thee. Where thou art, there is heauen: and there is death and hell, where thou art not. Thou art my desire, and therefore it behoueth mee to send forth deep sighes from my heart, and crie and pray vnto thee. For I haue [Page 342] none to trust vnto, none that can help mee in time of necessitie, but thee a­lone, my God. Thou art my hope, and my trust; thou art my comforter, and most faithfull vnto mee in all my di­stresses.

2 All men seeke their owne gaine, thou only seekest my saluation, and my profit, and turnest all things to my good. Phil. 2. Although thou per­mittest many temptations to assault me, and many aduersities to befall me, yet thou ordainest all this to my good and profit, who art wont to proue thy beloued seruants a thou­sand wayes. In which proofe thou oughtest no lesse to bee loued and praised, then if thou diddest reple­nish me with heauenly comforts.

3 In thee therfore, my Lord God, I put my whole hope and refuge: in thee I place my tribulation and an­guish, for I finde all to be weake and vnconstant, whatsoeuer I behold out [Page 343] of thee. For neither can many friends auaile, nor forcible helpers aide, nor wise counsellers giue profitable an­swere, nor the bookes of the learned comfort, nor any wealth deliuer, nor any secret or pleasant place defend, if thou thy selfe dost not assist, helpe, comfort, instruct, and keepe vs.

4 For all things that seeme to be ordained for the rest and solace of man, when thou art absent, are no­thing, and doe bring indeed no joy, nor comfort at all. Thou therefore art the end of all that is good, the light of life, the depth of wisdome: and the most forcible comfort of thy seruants, is to trust in thee aboue all things. To thee therefore do I lift vp mine eyes: In thee my God the Fa­ther of mercies, I put my whole trust. Blesse and sanctifie my soule with thy heauenly blessings, that it may be made thy holy habitation, and the seat of thy eternall glory: and that [Page 344] nothing may be found in the Tem­ple of thy greatnes, that may offend the eyes of thy Maiestie. According to the greatnes of thy goodnes, and multitude of thy mercies, take pitie vpon mee, and heare the prayer of thy poore seruant, who is farre exi­led from thee in the land of the sha­dow of death. Protect and keepe the soule of thy seruant, amidst so ma­ny dangers of this corruptible life, and by the assistance of thy grace, direct it in the way of peace, to the Countrey of euer­lasting light, AMEN.

The end of the third Booke.

OF THE FOL­LOWING OF CHRIST. THE FOVRTH BOOKE. A deuout Exhortation vnto the blessed Sacrament. The voice of Christ.

COme vnto mee all yee that la­bour and are burdened, and I will refresh you, saith our Lord. Matth. 11. The bread which I will giue, is my flesh, for the life of the world. Ioh. 6. Take yee and eate, this is my body that shall be deliue­red for you. Matth. 26. Doe this for the commemoration of me. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my [Page 346] bloud, remaineth in me, and I in him. 1. Cor. 11. The words which I haue spoken vnto you, are Spirit and life. Ioh. 6.

CHAP. I. With how great reuerence Christ ought to be receiued.

THese are thy words, O Christ, euerlasting Truth, though not spoken all at one time, nor written in one and the selfe-same place. Be­cause therefore they are thine and true, they are al thankfully and faith­fully to be receiued by me. They are thine, & thou hast spoken them, and they are mine also, because thou hast spoken them for my saluation. I wil­lingly receiue them from thy mouth, that they may be the deeper imprin­ted in my heart. These deuout words so full of sweetnes and loue, do stirre me vp, but mine owne offences doe amaze me, & my impure conscience [Page 347] driueth me back from the receiuing of so great mysteries. The sweetnes of thy words doth encourage mee, but the multitude of my sinnes doe oppresse me.

2 Thou commandest me to come confidently vnto thee, if I will haue part with thee: and to receiue the food of immortality, if I desire to ob­taine euerlasting life & glory. Come (sayest thou) vnto me, all ye that la­bour and are burdened, and I wil re­fresh you. Mat. 11. O sweet and loue­ly word in the eare of a sinner, that thou, my Lord God, shouldest inuite the poore and needy to receiue thy most blessed body. But who am I, Lord, that I may presume to ap­proach vnto thee? Behold the hea­uens cannot containe thee, and thou sayst: Come ye all vnto me. Mat. 11.

3 What meaneth this most pious benignity, and so louing inuitation? How shal I dare to come, that know [Page 348] not any good in mee, whereupon I may presume? How shal I bring thee into my house, that haue often offen­ded thy most gracious countenance? The Angels and the Archangels ho­nor thee, the Saints and just men doe feare thee; and thou sayest, Come ye all vnto me. Mat. 11. Vnlesse thou, O Lord, didst say it, who would beleeue it to be true? And vnlesse thou didst command it, who would dare to come vnto thee? Behold, Noe, a just man, laboured an hundred yeares in building of the Arke, that he might be saued with a few: and how can I in one houres space prepare my selfe to receiue with reuerence the Maker of the world? Gen. 6.

4 Moses thy great seruant, and especiall friend, made an Arke of in­corruptible wood, which also he co­uered with most pure gold, to put the Tables of the Law therein: and I a rotten creature, how shall I so [Page 349] lightly dare to receiue the Maker of the Law, and the giuer of life? Sa­lomon the wisest of the Kings of Is­rael, bestowed seuen yeares in buil­ding a magnificent Temple, in praise of thy name, and celebrated the feast of the Dedication therof eight daies together: 3. King. 6. hee offered a thousand peaceable sacrifices, and set the Arke in the place prepared for it, with the sound of trumpets, and joy: 3. King. 8. and I the most vnhappie and poorest of men, how shall I bring thee into my house, that I can scarce spend one halfe houre deuout­ly? And I would to God it were once almost one halfe houre, in wor­thy and due manner!

5 O my God, how much did they endeauour to please thee, and alas how little is that which I doe? How short time doe I spend, when I prepare my selfe to receiue? I am seldome wholy recollected, very sel­dome [Page 350] altogether free from distracti­on; & yet surely no vndecent thought should occurre in the presence of thy Deity, nor any creature draw me vn­to it: for I am not to harbour an An­gell, but the Lord of Angels.

6 And yet there is great difference betweene the Arke & the Reliques therof, and thy most pure body with his vnspeakable vertues: betweene those legall Sacrifices, figures of fu­ture things, and the true sacrifice of thy body, the complement of all an­cient Sacrifices. Why therefore doe I not become more feruent in thy ve­nerable presence? Wherefore doe I not prepare my selfe with greater care to receiue thy sacred gifts, sith those holy ancient Patriarkes and Prophets, yea Kings also and Princes with the whole people haue shewed so great zeale of deuotion to thy di­uine seruice?

7 The most deuout King Dauid [Page 351] danced before the Arke of God with all his force, calling to minde the be­nefits bestowed in times past vpon his fore-fathers. 2. King. 6. He made Instruments of sundry kinds, he pub­lished Psalmes, and appointed them to be sung with joy: himselfe also oftentimes played vpon the Harpe. Being inspired with the grace of the holy Ghost, he taught the people of Israel to praise God vvith their whole heart, and with pleasant voy­ces euery day to blesse & praise him. If so great deuotion was then vsed, and such memory of diuine praise before the Arke of the Testament, what reuerence and deuotion is now to be performed by me, and al Chri­stian people in the presence of this Sacrament, in receiuing the most precious body of Christ?

8 Many goe to sundry places to visite the Reliques of Saints, and are astonished when they heare of their [Page 352] miraculous workes: they behold the spacious buildings of their Chur­ches, and kisse their sacred bones, wrapped in silke and gold: And be­hold thou art heere present with me on the Altar, my God, the Holy of Holies, the Maker of all things, and Lord of Angels. Oftentimes in those deuotions there is but curiositie of men, and nouelty of the beholders in the seeing of such sights, and little fruit of amendment is gotten there­by, especially where there is so vn­constant wandring, without true contrition. But heere in the Sacra­ment of the Altar, thou art present, my Lord, God and Man, Christ Ie­sus, where also plentifull fruit of e­uerlasting saluation is obtained, as often as thou art worthily and de­uoutly receiued. No leuity, no curio­sity, or sensuality draweth vnto this, but firme faith, deuout hope, and sin­cere charity.

[Page 353]9 O God the inuisible Creator of the world, how wonderfully dost thou deale with vs! How sweetly and graciously doest thou dispose of all things with thy Elect, to whome thou offerest thy selfe to be receiued in the Sacrament! O this exceedeth all vnderstanding of man: this chief­ly draweth the hearts of the deuout, and inflameth their desire. For thy true faithfull seruants that dispose their whole life to amendment, by this most worthy Sacrament, often­times receiue great grace of deuoti­on, and loue of vertue.

10 O admirable and hidden grace of this Sacrament, which onely the faithfull of Christ do know: but the vnfaithfull, and such as are slaues vn­to sinne, cannot conceiue nor feele. In this Sacrament spirituall grace is giuen, and lost vertue is restored in the soule: and beautie disfigured by sinne, returneth againe. This grace [Page 354] is sometimes so great, that with the fulnesse of deuotion, which is heere giuen, not only the minde, but the weake body also feeleth great in­crease of strength.

11 Our coldnes and negligence surely is much to be bewailed and pi­tied, that wee are not drawne with greater affection to receiue Christ in whom al the hope and merit of those that are to be saued doth consist. For he is our sanctification and redemp­tion: he is the comfort of passengers, and the euerlasting fruition of Saints. It is much therefore to be lamented, that many doe so little consider this comfortable mystery, which rejoy­ceth heauen, & preserueth the whole world. O blindnes and hardnesse of mans hart, that doth not more deep­ly weigh the greatnes of so vnspea­kable a gift, but rather comes by the daily vse thereof, to regard it little or nothing.

[Page 355]12 For if this most holy Sacrament should be celebrated in one place on­ly, & consecrated by one only Priest in the world: with how great desire, dost thou think, would men be affe­cted to that place: and what esteeme would they haue of such a Priest of almighty God, by whom they might enioy the consolation of these diuine mysteries? But now there are many Priests, & Christ is offred vp in many places, that so the grace and loue of God to man may appeare so much the greater, how much the more this sacred Cōmunion is cōmon through the world. Thāks be vnto thee, good Iesu, euerlasting Pastor of our soules, that hast vouchsafed to refresh vs poore & banished men, with thy pre­cious Body & Bloud, & to inuite vs to that receiuing of these mysteries, with the words of thy owne mouth, saying: Come vnto me all ye that la­bour & are burdened, and I will re­fresh you. Mat. 11.

CHAP. II. That great goodnes and charity of God is bestow­ed vpon man in this Sacrament.
The voice of the Disciple.

PResuming of thy goodnesse and great mercy (O Lord) being sick, I approach vnto my Sauiour, hungry and thirstie to the Fountaine of life, needy to the King of heauen, a ser­uant vnto my Lord, a creature to my Creator, desolate to my mercifull Comforter. But whence is this to me, that thou vouchsafest to come vnto mee? Who am I, that thou shouldest giue thy selfe vnto mee? Luk. 1. How dare a sinner presume to appeare before thee? And thou, how doest thou vouchsafe to come vnto a sinner? Thou knowest thy seruant, and seest that hee hath no good thing in him, for which thou shouldest bestow this benefit vpon him. I confesse therefore my vnwor­thinesse, [Page 357] & I acknowledge thy good­nes: I praise thy mercy, and giue thee thanks for this thy vnspeakable cha­rity. For thou dost this for thine own goodnes, not for any merits of mine, to the end that thy goodnes may be better knowne vnto me, thy charity more abundantly shewed, and thy humility more highly commended. Since therefore it is thy pleasure, and hast commanded that it should bee so, this thy bounty is also pleasing to me, and do wish that my offences may be no hinderance.

2 O most sweet and bountiful Ie­su, how great reuerence and thankes with perpetuall prayse is due vnto thee for the receiuing of thy sacred Bodie, whose worth and dignitie no man is able to expresse! But what shall I thinke of at this time, now that I am to receiue this diuine Sa­crament, and to approach vnto my Lord, to whome I am not able to [Page 358] giue due reuerence, and yet I desire to receiue him deuoutly? What can I thinke better, and more profitable, then to humble my selfe wholy be­fore thee, and to exalt thy infinite goodnes aboue me? I praise thee my God, and wil exalt thee for euer: and I do despise, and submit my selfe vn­to thee, euen into the depth of my vnworthinesse.

3 Behold thou art the Holy of Holies, and I the skumme of sinners! Behold thou bowest thy self downe vnto mee, who am not worthy so much as to looke vp vnto thee! Be­hold thou commest vnto me: it is thy will to be with me, thou inuitest me to thy banket. Ps. 77. Thou wilt giue me the food of heauen, and bread of Angels to eat, which is no other tru­ly then thy self, the liuely bread, that descendest from heauen, and giuest life vnto the world. Ioh. 6.

4 Behold from whence this loue [Page 359] proceedth! What kind of fauour and benignity is this which shineth vpon vs! What thanks and praises are due vnto thee for these benefits! O how good and profitable was thy coun­sell, when thou ordainedst it! How sweet & pleasant the banket, when thou gauest thy selfe to be our food! How wonderfull thy work, O Lord, how powerfull thy vertue, how vn­speakable thy truth! For thou saidst the word, and all things were made; and this was done which thou com­mandest. Gen. 1. & Psal. 148.

5 A thing of great admiration, and worthy of faith, and surpassing the vnderstanding of man, that thou, my Lord God, true God and Man, shouldest be wholy contained vnder a small forme of bread and wine, and shouldest bee eaten by the receiuer without being consumed. Thou who art the Lord of all things, and stan­dest in need of none, hast pleased to [Page 360] dwell in vs by meanes of this thy Sa­crament: preserue my heart and body vnspotted, that with a cheerefull and pure conscience I may often cele­brate thy mysteries, and receiue them to my euerlasting health, which thou hast chiefely ordained and instituted for thy honor, & perpetuall memory.

6 Reioyce my soule, & giue thanks vnto God for so noble a gift, and sin­gular comfort left vnto thee in this vale of teares. For as often as thou callest to mind this mystery; and re­ceiuest the body of Christ; so often dost thou worke the worke of thy redemption, and art made partaker of all the merits of Christ. For the charity of Christ is neuer diminish­ed, and the greatnes of his mercy is neuer lessened. Therefore thou ough­test alwaies to dispose thy selfe here­unto, by a fresh renuing of thy mind, and to weigh with attentiue consi­deration this great mystery of thy [Page 361] saluation. So great, new, and joy­full it ought to seem vnto thee, when thou sayest or hearest Masse, as if the same day Christ first descending in­to the wombe of the Virgin, were become man, or hanging on the Crosse, did suffer and die for the sal­uation of mankind.

CHAP. III. That it is profitable to Communicate often.

BEhold, O Lord, I come vnto thee, that I may be comforted in thy gift, and be delighted in thy ho­ly banquet, which thou, O Lord, hast prepared in thy sweetnesse, for the poore. Psal. 67. Behold in thee is all whatsoeuer I can, or ought to desire: thou art my health and my redemp­tion, my hope, and my strength, my honor, and my glory. Make joyfull therefore this day, the soule of thy seruant, for that I haue lifted it vp to thee, my sweete Iesus. Psalm. 85. [Page 362] I desire to receiue thee now with de­uotion, and reuerence. I do long to bring thee into my house, that with Zachaeus I may deserue to be blessed by thee, and numbred amongst the children of Abraham. My soule thir­steth to receiue thy Body, my heart desireth to be vnited with thee.

2 Giue thy selfe to me, and it suf­ficeth. For besides thee no comfort is auailable. I cannot be without thee, nor liue without thy visitation. And therfore I must often come vnto thee, and receiue thee as the only remedy of my health, lest perhaps I faint in the way, if I be depriued of thy hea­uenly food. For so, most mercifull Ie­sus, thou once didst say, preaching to the people, & curing sundry diseases: I will not send them home fasting, lest they faint by the way. Matth. 15. Mat. 8. Deale thou therefore in like manner now with mee, who hast vouchsafed to leaue thy selfe in the [Page 363] Sacrament for the comfort of the faithfull. For thou art the sweet refe­ction of the soule, and he that eateth thee worthily, shall be partaker, and heire of euerlasting glory. It is neces­sary for me, that do so often fall and sinne, so quickly waxe dul and faint, that by often prayers and confession, and receiuing of thy sacred body, I renue, clense, and inflame my selfe, lest perhaps by long abstaining I fall from my holy purpose.

3 For man is prone vnto euil from his youth, and vnlesse this diuine re­medy help him, he quickly slideth to worse. Gen. 8. This holy Communi­on therefore draweth backe from e­uill, and comforteth in good. For if I be now so often slack and negligent when I communicate, or say Masse, what would become of me, if I recei­ued not this remedy, and sought not after so great a helpe? Though eue­ry day I be not fit, nor well prepared [Page 364] to say Masse, I will endeauour not­withstanding at conuenient times to receiue the Diuine Mysteries, and make my selfe partaker of so great a grace. For this is the onely chiefe comfort of a faithfull soule, whilest she wandreth from thee in this mor­tall body, that being mindfull of her God, shee often receiue her Beloued with a deuout minde.

4 O wonderfull benignity of thy mercy towards vs, that thou, Lord God, the Creator and giuer of life to all spirits, dost vouchsafe to come vn­to a poore soule, and with thy whole Godhead and humanity to replenish her hunger. O happy mind and bles­sed soule, that deserueth to receiue thee, her Lord God, with deuout af­fection, and in receiuing of thee, to be filled with spirituall joy! O how great a Lord doth shee entertaine! How beloued a guest doth shee har­bour! How pleasant a companion [Page 365] doth shee receiue! How faithfull a friend doth shee accept! How beau­tifull and noble a Spouse doth shee embrace! She embraceth him who is to be loued aboue al that is beloued, and aboue al things that may be de­sired. Let Heauen and Earth and all their beauty be silent in thy presence. For what beauty and praise soeuer they haue, it is receiued from thy bounty, and shal not equal the beau­ty of thy name, of whose wisedome there is no end. Psal. 146.

CHAP. IV. That many benefits are bestowed vpon them that Communicate deuoutly.
The voice of the Disciple.

MY Lord God, preuent thy ser­uant in the blessings of thy sweetnesse, that I may deserue to approach worthily and deuoutly to thy holy Sacrament: stirre vp my heart vnto thee, and deliuer me from [Page 366] all heauines & slouth: Ps. 20. visit me with thy comfort, that I may taste in spirit thy sweetnes, which plentiful­ly lieth hid in this Sacramēt, as a foū ­taine. Ps. 105. Giue light also to mine eyes to behold so great a mystery, and strengthen me to beleeue it with vndoubted faith. For it is thy worke, and not mans power, thy sacred in­stitution, not mans inuention. For no man is of himselfe able to compre­hend and vnderstand these things, which surpasse the vnderstanding e­uen of Angels. What therefore shall I vnworthy sinner, earth and ashes, be able to search and comprehend of so high and sacred a mystery?

2 O Lord, in sinceritie of heart, with a good and firme faith, and at thy commandement, I come vnto thee with hope and reuerence, and do verily beleeue, that thou art heere present in the Sacrament, God and Man. Thy holy pleasure is, that I re­ceiue [Page 367] thee, & by charity do vnite my self vnto thee. Wherfore I do recurre vnto thy Clemencie, and doe craue speciall grace, that I may wholy melt in thee, and abound with loue, and hereafter neuer admit any externall comfort. For this most high and wor­thy Sacrament is the health of the soule and body, the remedy of al spi­rituall sicknes: by it my vices are cu­red, my passions bridled, temptations ouercome or weakned, greater grace infused, vertue increased, faith confir­med, hope strengthened, and charity inflamed and enlarged.

3 For thou hast bestowed, and still oftentimes dost bestow many bene­fits in this Sacrament vpon thy belo­ued that receiue it deuoutly, my God the protector of my soul, the strēgth­ner of humane frailty, and the giuer of all inward comfort. Thou impar­test vnto them much comfort against sundry tribulations, and liftest them [Page 368] vp from the depth of their own base­nesse, to the hope of thy protection, and dost inwardly refresh & illustrat them with a certaine new grace, in such sort, that they who before Com­munion felt themselues heauy & in­disposed, afterwards being strēgthe­ned with heauenly meat and drinke, do find in themselues a great change to the better: which thou dost so di­spose to thy Elect, that they may tru­ly acknowledge, and patiently proue how great their owne infirmity is, and what benefit and grace they re­ceiue from thee. For they of them­selues are cold, dull, and vndeuout; but by thee they are made feruent, agile, and full of deuotion. For who is there, that approaching humbly vnto the Fountain of sweetnes, doth not carry away from thence at least some little sweetnes? Or who stan­ding by a great fire, receiueth not some small heat thereby? Thou art a [Page 369] Fountaine alwayes full, and ouer­flowing, a fire euer burning, and ne­uer decaying. Esa. 12. Leuit. 6.

4 Wherefore if I cannot draw at the full out of this Fountaine, nor drinke my fill, I will notwithstan­ding set my lips to the mouth of this heauenly conduite, that I may draw from thence at least some small drop to refresh my thirst, to the end I wi­ther not wholy away and perish. And though I be not altogether celestial, nor so inflamed as the Cherubims and Seraphims, notwithstanding I will endeauour to apply my selfe to deuotion, and dispose my heart to obtaine some small sparke of di­uine fire by humbly receiuing of this Life-giuing Sacrament. And what­soeuer is hereunto wanting in mee, good Iesu, most blessed Sauiour, doe thou supply for mee, most be­nigne and gratious Lord, who hast vouchsafed to call vs vnto thee, say­ing: [Page 370] Come vnto me all yee that la­bour and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Mat. 11.

5 I labour in the sweate of my browes, I am vexed with griefe of heart, I am burdened with sinnes, I am troubled with temptations, I am intangled and oppressed with many euill passions, and there is none to helpe me, none to deliuer and saue me, but thou, Lord God, my Saui­our, to whome I commit my selfe, and all mine, that thou mayest keepe me, and bring me to life euerlasting. Receiue me to the honor and glory of thy name, who hast prepared thy Body and Bloud to be my meat and my drinke. Gran [...], Lord God, my Sa­uiour, that by frequenting thy my­steries, my zeale and deuotion may encrease.

CHAP. V. Of the dignitie of this Sacrament, and Priestly function.
The voice of Christ.

IF thou hadst angelicall purity, and the sanctity of Saint Iohn Baptist, thou wert not worthy to receiue, nor handle this Sacrament. Mat. 11. For it is not within the compasse of the de­serts of men, that man should con­secrate and handle the sacrament of Christ, & receiue for food the bread of Angels. A great mystery, & great is the dignity of Priests, to whom is granted that, which is not permitted to the Angels. Psal. 77. For Priests only instituted in the Church, haue power to celebrate, and consecrate the Body of Christ. The Priest is the Minister of God, vsing the words of God, by Gods commandement and appointment; but God is there the principall Actor, and inuisible wor­ker, [Page 372] to whome is subiect all that he pleaseth, and all that hee comman­deth, doth obey. Gen. 1. Psal. 148. Rom. 9.

2 Thou oughtest therfore to giue more credit to God Almightie in this most excellent Sacrament, then to thine owne sense, or to any visi­ble signe. And therefore thou art to come vnto this Mysterie with feare and reuerence. Consider attentiuely with thy selfe, what that is, whereof the Ministrie is deliuered vnto thee by the imposition of hands of the Bi­shop. Behold thou art made a Priest, and consecrated to say Masse: see now that in due time thou offer Sa­crifice vnto God faithfully and de­uoutly, and carry thy selfe so, as thou maist be without reproofe. 1. Tim. 4. Thou hast not lightned thy burthen, but art now bound with a straiter band of discipline, and art obliged to a more perfect degree of sanctitie. [Page 373] A Priest ought to be adorned with al kind of vertues, and to giue exam­ple of good life to others. His con­uersation should not bee according to the ordinary and common pro­ceedings of men, but like to the An­gels in heauen, or to perfect men on earth. Philip. 3.

3 A Priest clothed in sacred gar­ments is the Vicegerent of Christ, to pray humbly, and with a prostrate mind vnto God for himselfe and the whole people. Heb. 5. He hath before and behind the signe of the Crosse of our Lord, to the end he may euer re­member the Passion of Christ: hee beareth the Crosse before him in the Vestement, that hee may diligently behold the foote-steps of Christ, and feruently endeauour to follow them. Hee is behinde marked with the Crosse, that he may patiently suf­fer for God, whatsoeuer aduersities shall bee laid vpon him for others. [Page 374] He beareth the crosse before, that he may lament his owne sinnes, and the same hee hath also behind, that hee may with a compassionate heart be­waile the offences of others, & know that he is placed as a mediatour be­tweene God and the sinner. Neither ought he to cease from prayer & ho­ly oblation, till he deserue to obtaine grace & mercy. When a Priest doth celebrate, he honoreth God, reioy­ceth the Angels, edifieth the Church, helpeth the liuing, giueth rest to the dead, and maketh himselfe partaker of all good deeds.

CHAP. VI. An Interrogation of the exercise before Communion.
The voice of the Disciple.

WHen I weigh thy greatnesse, O Lord, and my vnworthinesse, I tremble, and am confounded in my selfe. For if I come not vnto thee, I [Page 375] fly from life, and if I vnworthily in­trude my selfe, I incurre thy displea­sure. What therefore shall I do, my God, my helper, and my counseller in necessitie?

2 Teach mee the right way, ap­point me some briefe exercise suta­ble to this holy mystery of sacred Communion. For it is good for me to know, how I should reuerently and deuoutly prepare my heart vnto thee, for the profitable receiuing of thy Sacrament, or for the celebrating of so great and diuine a Sacrifice.

CHAP. VII. Of the discussing of our owne conscience, and purpose of amendment.
The voice of the Beloued.

ABoue al things, the Priest of God ought to come to celebrate, han­dle, and receiue this Sacrament with great humility of hart, and lowly re­uerence, with a full faith, and a god­ly [Page 376] desire of the honour of the diuine Maiesty. Examine diligently thy cō ­science, and to thy power, purge and clense it with true contrition, and humble confession: so as there may be nothing in thee, that may be bur­dēsome vnto thee, or that may breed thee remorse of conscience, and hin­der thy free accesse to these heauenly mysteries. Repent thee of all thy sinnes in generall, and in particuler bewaile thy daily offences. And if thou hast time, confesse vnto God in the secret of thy heart, all the mi­series of thy disordered passions.

2 Lament and grieue, that thou art yet so subiect to sensuality, and so addicted to the world, so vnmor­tified in thy passions, so full of the motions of concupiscence, so vn­watchfull ouer thy outward senses, so often intangled with many vaine fantasies so vehemently inclined to outward things, so negligent in the [Page 377] interiour, so prone to laughter and immodesty, so hard to teares and compunction, so prompt to ease and pleasures of the flesh, so dul to auste­rity and feruour, so curious to heare newes and see vaine sights, so slacke to imbrace that which tends to thine owne humiliation and contempt, so couetous of abundance, so niggard­ly giuing, so fast in keeping, so in­considerate in speech, so vnbridled to silence, so loose in manners, so outragious in deedes, so greedie to meate, so deafe to the word of God, so hasty to rest, so slow to labour, so watchfull to tales, so drowsie to watch in the seruice of God, so hasty to the end therof, so inconstant in at­tention, so negligent in saying thy office, so vndeuout in saying Masse, so dry in receiuing, so quickely distra­cted, so seldome wholy recollected, so sodainly moued to anger, so apt to take displeasure against another, so [Page 378] prone to judge, so seuere to repre­hend, so joyful in prosperity, so weak in aduersitie, so often purposing much good, and performing little.

3 These and other thy defects confessed, & bewailed with sorrow, and great dislike of thine owne infir­mity, make a firme purpose alwayes to amend thy selfe, and to goe for­wards in vertue. Then with full re­signation, and with thy whole will offer thy selfe vp to the honor of my name, a perpetuall sacrifice in the al­tar of thy heart, faithfully commit­ting thy body and soule vnto mee, that thou mayest so also deserue to come worthily to offer sacrifice vnto God, and to receiue profitably the Sacrament of my body.

4 For there is no oblation more worthy, nor satisfaction greater, for the washing away of sins, then to of­fer vp our selues vnto God purely and wholy with the oblation of the [Page 379] Body of Christ in the Masse, and in Communion. And when a man shall haue done what lieth in him, & shall be truly penitent, As I liue, saith our Lord, who will not the death of a sinner, but rather that he be conuer­ted and liue, I will not remember his sinnes any more, but they shall be all forgiuen him, and fully pardo­ned. Ezec. 18.

CHAP. VIII. Of the Oblation of Christ on the Crosse, and resig­nation of our selues.
The voice of the Beloued.

AS I willingly offered vp my selfe vnto God my Father, with my hands stretched forth on the Crosse, and my body naked for thy sins, so that nothing remained in mee that was not turned into a sacrifice, for the appeasing of the diuine wrath: so oughtest thou also to offer vp thy self willingly vnto me daily in the Masse, [Page 380] as a pure and holy oblation, with thy whole force, and desire, in as heartie a manner as thou canst. What doe I require of thee more, then that thou resigne thy selfe wholy vnto mee? Prou. 23. Whatsoeuer thou giuest besides thy selfe, is of little account in my sight, for I seeke not thy gift, but thee.

2 As it would not suffice thee to haue all things whatsoeuer besides me; so neither can it please mee, whatsoeuer thou giuest, if thou offe­rest not vp thy selfe. Offer thy selfe vnto me, and giue thy selfe, all that thou art, for God, and thy offering shall be gratefull. Behold I offered vp my selfe wholy vnto my Father for thee, and gaue my whole body and bloud for thy food, that I might be wholy thine, and thou remaine mine. But if thou abidest in thy selfe, and doest not offer thy selfe vp free­ly vnto my will, thy oblation is not [Page 381] entire, neither shall the vnion be­tweene vs be perfect. Therefore a free offering vp of thy selfe into the hands of God, ought to goe before all thy actions, if thou wilt obtaine freedome and grace. For this cause so few become inwardly illumina­ted, and enjoy true liberty of heart, for that they do not resolue wholy to deny themselues. My saying is vn­doubtedly true: Vnlesse one forsake all, hee cannot bee my Disciple. Ioh. 14. If thou therefore wish to bee mine, offer vp thy selfe vnto mee with thy whole desires.

CHAP. IX. That we ought to offer vp our selues, and all that is ours vnto God, and to pray for all.
The voice of the Disciple.

THine, O Lord, are all things that are in heauen & in earth. Ps. 23. I desire to offer vp my self vnto thee is a free oblation, and to remaine [Page 382] alwaies thine. O Lord, in sincerity of my hart, I offer my self vnto thee this day, in sacrifice of perpetuall praise, to be thy seruant for euer. Receiue mee with this holy oblation of thy precious body, which in the pre­sence of the Angels inuisibly atten­ding heere vpon thee, I offer vp this day vnto thee, that it may be to the health of my soule, and the saluation of all thy people.

2 I offer vnto thee, O Lord, al my sins and offences, which I haue com­mitted in the sight of thee, and thy holy Angels, from the day wherein I first could sin, to this houre, vpon thy holy Altar, that thou maist consume and burne them all with the fire of thy charity, & wash out all the stains of my sins, and clense my conscience from all offence, and restore to me a­gaine thy grace, which I lost by sin, forgiuing me all my offences, and re­ceiuing me mercifvlly in the kisse of peace.

[Page 383]3 What can I do for my sins, but humbly confesse and bewaile them, and intreat alwaies for mercy with­out intermission? Psal. 31. I beseech thee, heare me in thy abundant mer­cy, whē I stand before thee my God. All my sins are very displeasing vnto me; I will neuer commit them any more, but I am sory, and will be sory for them as long as I liue, & am rea­dy to do penance, and to satisfie for them to the vttermost of my power. Forgiue me, O God, forgiue mee my sinnes, for thy holy names sake: saue my soule, which [...]ou hast redeemed with thy precious bloud. Behold I commit my selfe vnto thy mercy, I resigne my selfe ouer into thy hands. Do with me according to thy good­nesse, not according to my wicked­nes, and manifold iniquities.

4 I offer vp also vnto thee, all whatsoeuer is good in me, although it be very little and imperfect, that [Page 384] thou mayest amend and sanctifie it, that thou mayest make it gratefull and acceptable vnto thee, and al­waies perfect more and more that which thou hast begunne, and bring me also, who am the slouthfull and vnprofitable creature, to a good and blessed end.

5 I offer vp also vnto thee all the godly desires of deuout persons, the necessities of my parents and friends, my brethren and sisters, and of all those that are deare vnto me, and that haue done good either to my selfe or others for thy loue, and that haue de­sired mee to say Masse and pray for them, and all theirs, whether they be yet aliue, or already dead: that they all may receiue the help of thy grace and comfort, protection from dan­gers, deliuery from paine, and being freed from all euils, may joyfully giue worthy thankes to thee.

6 I offer vp also vnto thee my [Page 385] prayers, and sacrifices, especially for them who haue in any thing wronged, grieued, or slaundered mee, or haue done mee any domage or displeasure, and for those also, whome I haue at any time grieued, troubled, and scandalized by words, or deeds, wittingly, or at vnawares: that it may please thee to forgiue vs all our sinnes and offences, one a­gainst the other. Take, O Lord, from our hearts all jealousie, all in­dignation, wrath and contention, and whatsoeuer may hurt Charitie, and weaken brotherly loue. Haue mercie, O Lord, haue mercie on those, that craue thy mercie: giue grace vnto them, that stand in need thereof, and grant that wee may bee worthy to enioy thy grace, and at­taine to life euerlasting, Amen.

CHAP. X. That the holy Communion is not lightly to be forborne.
The voice of the Beloued.

THou oughtest often to haue re­course to the Fountaine of grace, and of diuine mercy, to the Foun­taine of goodnesse, and of all piety, that thou mayest bee cured of thy sinnes and passions, and deserue to be made more strong and vigilant a­gainst all temptations and deceits of the Diuell. The enemie knowing the greatest profit, and remedy to con­sist in the holy Communion, endea­uoureth by all meanes and occasions to withdraw and hinder faithful and deuout persons from it.

2 Some when they purpose to re­ceiue the sacred Communion, suffer greatest assaults of the Diuell. For that wicked spirit (as is written in Iob) commeth amongst the Sonnes [Page 387] of God, to trouble them with his ac­customed malice and impiety, or to make them ouer fearefull and per­plexed, that so he may diminish their affection, or by his subtile assaults, take away their faith, to the end they may either altogether abstaine from this diuine foode, or at least come vnto it with lesse deuotion. But there is no heed to be taken of his frauds and malicious suggesti­ons, be they neuer so filthy and hi­deous, but all is to be turned backe vpon his owne head. Wee ought to contemne and scorne him miserable wretch, and not to omit the sacred Communion for his assaults, and the troubles which he raiseth.

3 Oftentimes also an excessiue care for the obtaining of deuotion, and a certaine anxiety for the ma­king of our Confession hindreth vs. Follow in these occasions the coun­sell of the wise, and put away all [Page 388] anxiety and scruple, for it hindereth the grace of God, and ouerthroweth deuotion. Omit not (for euery vexa­tion of the minde which happeneth) to receiue this holy Sacrament, but goe presently to confession, and wil­lingly forgiue others, whatsoeuer of­fences they haue done against thee: and if thou hast offended any, hum­bly craue pardon, and God will wil­lingly forgiue thee.

4 What auaileth it to delay con­fession, and to defer receiuing? Purge thy selfe with speed, spit out the ve­nom presently, make hast to take a remedy, and thou shalt find it better, then if thou deferredst it long. If thou omittest it to day for this cause, perhaps to morrow some greater wil fall out, and so thou mayest bee hin­dred a long time from these diuine Mysteries, and become more vnfit. Stirre vp thy selfe, and shake off all heauines and slouth, with the grea­test [Page 389] force and speed thou canst. For it profiteth nothing to continue long in disquietnes and trouble of minde, and for daily incurring impediments to withdraw thy selfe from the Sa­craments. Yea it hurteth very much to defer Communion long, for it is wont to breed a great and dange­rous dulnes. Alas, some cold and dis­solute people, doe willingly delay their confession, and do therefore de­fer the sacred Communion, lest they should bee bound to greater watch ouer themselues.

5 O how little charity and weak deuotion haue they, that so easily o­mit the receiuing of these holy my­steries! How happy is he, and grate­full to God, who ordereth so his life, and keepeth his conscience in such puritie, that hee may bee readie and fit to communicate euery day, if it were conuenient, and might be done without note. If any one sometimes [Page 390] abstaine of humility, or by reason of some lawfull impediment, he is to be commended for the reuerence which therein he sheweth. But if it procee­deth of coldnes, he must stirre him­selfe vp, and doe what lieth in him, and God will prosper his desire, for the good will he hath to do it, which God doth chiefely respect.

6 And when any lawfull hinde­rance doth happen, he must alwayes haue yet a good will, and louing de­sire to communicate, and so shall hee not lose the fruit of the Sacrament. For a deuout person may euery day and houre profitably and without let, receiue Christ spiritually: and yet on certaine daies, and at time ap­pointed, he ought to receiue Sacra­mentally with a reuerend desire, the Bodie of his Redeemer, and rather seeke the honour and glory of God, then his owne comfort. For he com­municateth mystically, and is inuisi­bly [Page 391] fed, as often as he deuoutly cal­leth to minde the mysterie of the Incarnation, and the Passion of Christ, and is inflamed with his loue. 1. Cor. 11.

7 He that prepareth not himself, but when a Feast draweth neere, and when custome compelleth him ther­unto, shal often be vnprepared. Bles­sed is he that offereth himselfe vp as an Holocaust and burnt offering to our Lord, as often as hee doth cele­brate or communicate. Bee not too long nor too short in saying Masse, but keepe the accustomed manner of those, with whom thou liuest. Thou oughtest not to be tedious and trou­blesome to others, but to obserue the common course according to the appointment of thy Superiours: and rather frame thy selfe to the profit of others, then to thine owne deuotion or desire.

CHAP. XI. That the Body of Christ, and the holy Scrip­ture are most necessary vnto a faithfull soule.
The voice of the Disciple.

O Most sweet Lord Iesu, how great is the delight of a deuout soule that feasteth with thee in thy banquet, where there is no other meat offred to be eaten, but thy selfe her only beloued, and most to be de­sired aboue al the desires of her hart. And verily it would be a great com­fort vnto mee, to powre out teares from the bottome of my heart in thy presence, and with deuout Magda­len, to wash thy feet with the teares of mine eyes. Luk. 7. But where is this deuotion? Where is so plenti­full shedding of holy teares? Surely in the sight of thee and thy holy An­gels, my whole heart should be in­flamed, and dissolue into teares for [Page 393] joy. For I enioy thee in the Sacra­ment really present, although hidden vnder another forme.

2 For to behold thee in thine owne diuine brightnesse, mine eyes would not be able to endure it, nei­ther could the whole world stand in the clearenes of the glory of thy Ma­iesty. Thou therefore prouidest for my weaknesse, in that thou couerest thy selfe vnder the Sacrament. I doe really enioy and adore him, whome the Angels adore in heauen; but I as yet for the time, in faith, they in his proper forme, and without shadow. I ought to be contented with the light of true faith, and to walke therein, vntill the day of euerlasting brightnes breake forth, and the sha­dowes of figures passe away. But when that shall come which is per­fect, the vse of Sacraments shal cease. 1. Cor. 13. For the blessed in hea­uenly glory need not the remedie [Page 394] of Sacraments, who rejoyce without end in the presence of God, behol­ding his glory face to face, and be­ing transformed by his brightnesse into the brightnesse of the incom­prehensible Deitie, they taste the word of God made flesh, as he was from the beginning, and as hee re­maineth for euer.

3 Whilest I remember these thy wonderfull works, all spirituall com­fort whatsoeuer becommeth very te­dious vnto me: for that as long as I behold not my Lord openly in his glory, I make no account of whatso­euer I see or heare in this life. Thou art my witnesse, O God, that no­thing can confort mee, no creature giue mee rest, but thou, my God, whom I desire to behold euerlasting­ly. But this is not possible whilest I remaine in this mortall life. Therfore I must frame my selfe to much pati­ence, and submit my selfe to thee in [Page 395] all my desires. For thy Saints also, O Lord, who now rejoyce with thee in the Kingdome of heauen, whilst they liued expected in faith and great pa­tience the comming of thy glory. Heb. 10. & 11. What they beleeued, I beleeue; what they hoped for, I ex­pect; whither they are come, I trust I shall come by thy grace. In the meane time I will goe forward in faith, strengthened by the examples of the Saints. I haue also deuout bookes for my comfort, and for the guide of my life, and aboue all these, thy most holy Body for a singular re­medie and refuge.

4 For I perceiue two things to be chiefely necessarie for me in this life, without which this miserable life would bee insupportable vnto mee. Whilst I am kept in the prison of this body, I acknowledge my selfe to stand in need of two things, to wit, food and light. Thou hast therefore [Page 396] giuen vnto me, weake creature, thy sacred Body, for the refection of my soule & body, Ioh. 6. and hast set thy word as a light vnto my feet. Ps. 118. without these two I could not well liue. For the word of God is the light of the soule, and thy Sacrament the bread of life. These also may be cal­led the two Tables set on the one side and the other, in the store-house of the holy Church. Psal. 22. Heb. 9. and 13. One is the Table of the holy Altar, containing the Sacred bread, that is, the precious Body of Christ: the other is of the diuine law, contai­ning holy doctrine, teaching true faith, & certainly leading to the part of the Temple within the veile, where are the Holy of Holies. Thankes be vnto thee▪ Lord Iesu, light of euerla­sting light, for thy table of holy do­ctrine, at which thou seruest vs by thy seruants, the Prophets and Apo­stles, and other Doctors.

[Page 397]5 Thanks be vnto thee Creator & Redeemer of man, who to manifest thy charity to the whole world, hast prepared a great Supper, Luk. 14. wherin thou hast offred to be eaten, not the mysticall Lambe, but thine owne most sacred Body and Bloud, Ioh. 6. reioycing all the faithful with thy holy banquet, and replenishing them to the full with thy heauenly Cup, Psal. 22. in which are all the de­lights of heauen, and the holy An­gels doe feast with vs, but with a more happy sweetnesse. Wisd. 16.

6 O how great and honorable is the office of Priests, to whom it is granted with sacred words to con­secrate the Lord of Maiestie, with their lippes to blesse him, with their hands to hold him, with their owne mouth to receiue him, and to admi­nister him to others! O how cleane ought to be those hands! How pure that mouth! How holy the bodie! [Page 398] How vnspotted the heart of the Priest, into whom the Author of pu­rity so often entreth! Nothing but holy, no word but chaste and profi­table ought to proceed from the mouth of the Priest, which so often receiueth the Sacrament of Christ.

7 Simple and chaste ought to be the eyes, that are wont to behold the body of Christ, the hands pure and lifted vp to heauen, that vse to han­dle the Creator of heauen and earth. Vnto the Priests especially it is said in the Law: Bee yet holy, for that I your Lord God am holy. Leuit. 19. and 20.

8 Assist vs Almighty God with thy grace, that we, who haue vnder­taken the office of Priesthood, may serue thee worthily and deuoutly in all purity, and with a sincere consci­ence. And if wee cannot liue in so great innocency as we ought to do, graunt vs notwithstanding in due [Page 399] manner to bewaile the sinnes which we haue committed, and in the spirit of humility, and sincere intention to serue thee hereafter with more fer­uour.

CHAP. XII. That he that is to Communicate, ought to pre­pare himselfe with great diligence.
The voice of the Beloued.

I Am the louer of purity, and the giuer of all sanctitie, I seek a pure heart, and there is the place of my rest. Psal. 23. & Mat. 5. Make readie and adorne for me a great chamber, and I will make with thee the Pasch with my Disciples. Mark. 14. Luk. 22. If thou wilt haue me come vnto thee, and remaine with thee, purge the old leuen, and make cleane the dwelling of thy heart: 1. Cor. 5. shut out the whole world, and all tumult of vices: sit like a sparow solitary vp­on the house top, and thinke of thy [Page 400] offences in the bitternesse of thy soule. For euery louer prepareth the best and fairest roome for his beloued, and herein is knowne the affection of him that entertaineth his beloued.

2 Know thou notwithstanding that the worth of no action of thine, is able to make this preparation suf­ficient, although thou shouldest pre­pare thy selfe a whole yeare toge­ther, and thinke on nothing else: but of my mercy and grace onely, thou art suffred to come to my Table, like a begger inuited to dinner to a rich man, who hath nothing else to re­turne him for his benefits, but to humble himselfe, and giue him thanks. Do what lieth in thee, and do it diligently, not for custome, nor for necessity, but with feare and reue­rence, and harty affection receiue the Body of thy beloued Lord and God, who vouchsafeth to come vnto thee. [Page 401] I am he that haue called thee, I haue commanded it to be done, I will sup­ply what is wanting in thee, come and receiue me.

3 When I bestow the grace of deuotion on thee, giue thankes to God, for it is giuen thee, not for that thou deseruest it, but because I haue mercy on thee. If thou haue it not, but rathere feele thy selfe dry, conti­nue in prayer, sigh and knocke, and giue not ouer vntill thou deserue to receiue some crumme or droppe of grace. Thou hast need of me, not I of thee, neither commest thou to san­ctifie me, but I come to sanctifie and make thee better. Thou commest, that thou mayest bee sanctified by me, and vnited vnto mee, that thou mayest receiue new grace, and bee stirred vp againe to amendment. Neglect not this grace, but prepare thy heart with all diligence, and re­ceiue thy beloued into thy soule.

[Page 402]4 But thou oughtest not only to prepare thy selfe to deuotion before Communion, but carefully also to conserue thy selfe therein, after thou hast receiued the Sacrament. Neither is the carefull guard of thy self after, lesse exacted, then deuout prepara­tion before. For a good guard after­wards is the best preparation thou canst make for the obtaining againe of greater grace, because that mans minde becommeth very indisposed, if hee presently powre himselfe out to outward comforts. Beware of much talke, remaine in some secret place, and enjoy thy God. For thou hast him whome all the world can­not take from thee. I am hee, to whom thou oughtest wholy to giue thy selfe, that so thou mayest liue hereafter, not in thy selfe, but in me, without all care.

CHAP. XIII. That a deuout soule ought to desire with her whole heart to be vnited vnto Christ in the Sacrament.
The voice of the Disciple.

HOw may I obtaine this, O Lord, that I may finde thee a­lone, and open my whole heart vnto thee, and enjoy thee as my soule de­sireth? And that no man may looke vpon me, nor any creature mone me or respect me, but thou alone mayest speake vnto me, and I to thee, as the Beloued is wont to speake to his Be­loued, and a friend to banquet with his friend. Exod. 33. & Cant. 8. This I pray for, this I desire, that I may be wholy vnited vnto thee, and may withdraw my heart from all created things, and more and more, by sa­cred Communion and often celebra­ting, learne to taste of heauenly and euerlasting sweetnes. O Lord God, [Page 404] when shall I bee wholy vnited and absorpt by thee, and altogether for­getfull of my selfe! Thou in me, and I in thee, and so grant vs both to continue in one. Ioh. 15.

2 Thou art my Beloued, the choi­cest amongst thousands, in whome my soule hath taken pleasure to dwel all the daies of her life. Cant. 5. Thou art my Peace-maker, in whome is greatest peace, and true rest, without whom is labour and sorrow, and in­finit misery. Thou art a hidden God, and thy counsell is not with the wic­ked, but thy speech is with the hum­ble and simple of heart. Prou. 3. O Lord, how sweet is thy Spirit, who to the end thou mightest shew thy sweetenesse towards thy children, vouchsafest to feede them with the most delightsome bread which de­scendeth from heauen, and is full of all sweetnes. Wisd. 12. Surely there is no other Nation so great, that hath [Page 405] Gods approching vnto them, as thou our God art present to all thy faith­full, vnto whom for their daily com­fort, and for the lifting vp of their hearts to heauen, thou giuest thy self to be eaten and enioyed. Deut. 4.

3 For what other Nation is there so famous, as the Christian people? Or what creature vnder heauen so beloued, as a deuout soule, to whom God himselfe commeth to feed her with his glorious flesh? O vnspeaka­ble grace! O admirable fauour! O infinit loue, singularly bestowed vp­on man! But what shall I giue vnto our Lord in returne of this grace, for so singular a charitie? Psal. 115. There is no other thing more grate­full that I am able to giue, then to bestow my heart wholy on my God, and to vnite it perfectly vnto him. Then shall all my bowels reioyce, when my soule shall be perfectly v­nited vnto God. Then hee will say [Page 406] vnto me: if thou wilt be with me, I will bee with thee. And I will an­swere him: Vouchsafe, O Lord, to remaine with me, and I will be with thee: This is my whole desire, that my heart be vnited vnto thee.

CHAP. XIV. Of the feruent desire of some deuout persons to receiue the Body of Christ.
The voice of the Disciple.

O How great is the store of thy sweetenesse, O Lord, which thou hast hidden for them that feare thee! Psalm. 30. When I re­member some deuout persons, who come vnto thy Sacrament, O Lord, with great deuotion and affection, I am oftentimes confounded, and blush within my selfe, that I come so negligently and coldly to thy Al­tar, to the Table of holy Communi­on, that I remaine so drie, and with­out spirituall motion or feeling, that [Page 407] I am not wholy inflamed in thy pre­sence, my God, nor so earnestly drawne and moued, as many deuout persons haue beene, who out of a vehement desire of receiuing, and a feeling affection of heart, could not containe themselues from weeping, but with the desire both of soule and body, they earnestly longed after thee, O God, the liuely Fountaine, being not otherwise able to temper nor satisfie their hunger, but by re­ceiuing thy Body with all joy and spirituall greedinesse.

2 O most ardent faith of those persons, a probable argument of thy sacred presence. For these truely know their Lord in the breaking of bread, whose heart burneth so with­in them, whilest thou, O blessed Ie­su, walkest with them. Luk. 24. Such desire and deuotion, so vehement loue and feruencie, is oftentimes far off from me. Be mercifull vnto me, [Page 408] good Iesu. sweet and benigne Lord, and grant me, thy poore needy crea­ture, to feele sometimes at least, in this holy Sacrament, a little cordiall desire of thy loue, that my faith may be more strengthened, my hope in thy goodnes encreased, and that my charity once perfectly inflamed, after the tasting of heauenly Manna, may neuer decay.

3 Thy mercy, O Lord, is able to giue me the grace I desire, and to vi­sit me in thy bounteous clemencie with the spirit of feruour, when it shall please thee. For although I burne not with so great desire as those that are so especially deuoted vnto thee: yet notwithstanding by thy grace, I desire to haue this great inflamed desire, praying and crauing that I may participate with all such thy feruent louers, and be numbered among them in their holy company.

CHAP. XV. That the grace of deuotion is obtained by humili­tie and deniall of our selues.
The voice of the Beloued.

THou oughtest to seeke the grace of deuotion instantly, to aske it earnestly, to expect it patiently and considently, to receiue it joyfully, to keep it humbly, to worke with it di­ligently, and to commit the time and manner of this heauenly visitation to God, vntill it shall be his pleasure to come. Thou oughtest chiefly to hum­ble thy selfe, when thou feelest in­wardly little or no deuotion, and yet not to be too much deiected, nor to grieue inordinately for it. God often giueth in a short moment that, which he hath long time denied: he giueth sometimes in the end that, which in the beginning of prayer he differred to grant.

2 If grace should be alwaies pre­sently [Page 410] giuen, and at hand euer with a wish, it could not be well endured by a weake man. Therefore deuotion is to be expected with good hope, and humble patience: yet impute it to thy selfe, and thy sinnes, when it is not giuen thee, or when it is secretly taken from thee. It is sometimes a small matter that hindreth & hideth grace from vs, if it bee to bee called small, and not rather a great matter, that hindreth so great a good. And if thou remooue this, bee it great or smal, and perfectly ouercome it, thou shalt haue thy desire.

3 For presently, as soone as thou giuest thy selfe to God, and seekest not this, nor that, for thine owne pleasure or will, but setlest thy selfe wholy in me, thou shalt find thy selfe vnited vnto him, and quiet. For no­thing will taste so well, and please thee so much, as the will and plea­sure of God. Whosoeuer therefore [Page 411] with a sincere heart directeth his in­tention to God, & purgeth himselfe from all in ordinate loue, or dislike of any creature, shall be most fit to re­ceiue grace, and worthy of the gift of deuotion. For our Lord bestoweth his blessing there, where he findeth his vessels empty. And how much the more perfectly one forsaketh these basest things, and dieth to himselfe by contempt of himselfe; so much the more speedily grace commeth, and entreth in more plentifully, and lifteth vp the heart that is free, to a higher state of grace.

4 Then shall he see, and abound, and wonder, and his heart shall be enlarged, because the hand of our Lord is with him, and hee hath put himselfe wholy into his hand for e­uer. Esa. 60. Behold so shall the man bee blessed, that seeketh Almighty God with his whole heart, and ta­keth not his soule in vaine. This man [Page 412] deserueth great grace of diuine vni­on, in receiuing the holy Eucharist, for that hee regardeth not his owne deuotion and comfort, but aboue all deuotion and comfort, he prizeth the honor and glory of God.

CHAP. XVI. That wee ought to manifest our necessities vnto Christ, and to craue his grace.
The voice of the Disciple.

O Most sweete and louing Lord, whom I now desire to receiue deuoutly, thou knowest my infirmi­tie, and the necessity which I endure, with how many sins I am oppressed, how often I am grieued, tempted, troubled and defiled. I come vnto thee for remedie, I craue of thee thy heauenly comfort, and the ease of my paine. I speake to him that knoweth all things, to whom all my secrets are open, and who can only perfect­ly comfort and helpe mee. Thou [Page 413] knowest what it is, whereof aboue all things I stand in most need, and how poore I am in vertues.

2 Behold I stand before thee, poore and naked, calling for grace, and crauing mercy. Refresh this thy hungry and needy creature, giue heat vnto my coldnes with the fire of thy loue, giue light vnto my blindnesse with the brightnes of thy presence. Turne al earthly things vnto me, in­to bitternes, all things grieuous and contrarie, into patience, all base and created things, into contempt and obliuion. Lift vp my heart to thee in heauen, and suffer me not to wan­der vpon earth: be thou only sweete and delightsome vnto mee, from hence-forth for euermore, for thou only art my meat, and my drinke, my loue and my joy, my delight and all my good.

3 O that with thy presence thou wouldest wholy inflame, burne, and [Page 414] change me into thee, that I might be made one spirit with thee, by the grace of inward vnion, and melting of burning loue. Suffer me not to go from thee hungry and drie, but deale mercifully with me, as thou hast of­tentimes dealt wonderfully with thy Saints. What meruaile if I should be wholy inflamed by thee, and die in my selfe, sith thou art fire euer bur­ning, and neuer decaying, loue puri­fying the heart, and enlightning the vnderstanding.

CHAP. XVII. Of burning loue and vehement desire to receiue Christ.
The voice of the Disciple.

WIth great deuotion and burning loue, with most hearty affection and feruour I desire to receiue thee, O Lord, as many Saints and deuout persons haue desired thee, when they receiued thy Sacrament, who were [Page 415] most pleasing vnto thee in holines of life, and most feruent in deuotion. O my God, the euerlasting loue, my whole good, my happinesse without end, I would gladly receiue thee with the most vehement desire, and wor­thy reuerence, that any of the Saints euer had, or could feele.

2 And although I be vnworthy to haue all those feelings of deuoti­on, yet I offer vnto thee the whole affection of my hart, as if I alone had those most sweet inflamed desires: yea whatsoeuer also a deuout minde can conceiue and desire, all that, with greatest reuerence, and most inward affection I offer & present vnto thee. I wish to reserue nothing to my self, but freely and most willingly to sa­crifice my selfe & all mine vnto thee, my Lord God, my Creator, and my Redeemer. I desire to receiue thee this day with such affection, reue­rence, praise & honor, with such gra­titude, [Page 416] worthines and loue, with such faith, hope and purity, as thy most blessed Mother the glorious Virgin Mary receiued, and desired thee, when she humbly and deuoutly an­swered the Angel, who declared vn­to her the mystery of the Incarnati­on, and said: Behold the Handmaid of our Lord, let it be done vnto mee according to thy word. Luk. 1.

3 And as thy blessed Forerun­ner, the most excellent amongst the Saints, Iohn Baptist, cheerefully lea­ped with joy of the holy Ghost, whilest he was yet shut vp in his mo­thers wombe: and afterwards seeing Iesus walking amongst men, hum­bling himselfe very much, said with deuout affection: The friend of the Bridegrome that standeth and hea­reth him, reioyceth with joy for the voice of the Bridegrome: Ioh. 3. so I also wish to be inflamed with great and holy desires, and to offer my self [Page 417] vp vnto thee with my whole heart. Wherefore I offer also and present vnto thee the joyes, feruent desires, excesses of minde, spirituall illumina­tions, and heauenly visions of all de­uout hearts, with all the vertues and praises exercised, and to be exercised by all creatures in heauen and earth, for my selfe and all such as are com­mended to me in prayer, that by all thou mayest be worthily praised, and glorified for euer.

4 Receiue, my Lord God, the affections of my heart and desires, which I haue to giue thee, infinite praise and thankes, which according to the measure of thy vnspeakable greatnesse are due vnto thee. These I yeeld thee, and desire to yeeld thee euery day and moment, and I doe intreate and inuite all the heauenly Spirits, and all thy deuout seruants to giue thanks and praises together with me.

[Page 418]5 Let all People, Tribes, and Tongues praise thee, and magnifie thy holy and sweet name with great joy and feruent deuotion: and let all that reuerently and deuoutly ce­lebrate thy most high Sacrament, and receiue it with full faith, deserue to finde grace, and mercy at thy hands, and pray humbly for mee sinfull creature. And when they shall haue obtained their desired deuotion and joyfull vnion, and depart from thy sacred heauenly Table well com­forted and meruailously refreshed, let them vouchsafe to remember my poore and needy soule.

CHAP. XVIII. That a man be not a curious searcher of this Sa­crament, but an humble follower of Christ, submitting his sense vnto faith.
The voice of the Beloued.

THou oughtest to beware of cu­rious and vnprofitable searching [Page 419] into this most profound Sacrament, if thou wilt not sinke into the depth of doubt. He that is a searcher of Maiestie, shall be oppressed by Glo­rie. Prou. 25. God is able to worke more then man can vnderstand. A pious and humble inquirie of truth is tolerable, so he be alwaies ready to bee taught, and doe endeauour to walke in the sound pathes of the an­cient Fathers doctrine.

2 Blessed is that simplicity, that forsaketh the difficult waies of que­stions, and goeth on in the plaine and assured path of Gods Comman­dements. Many haue lost deuoti­on, whilest they would search after high things. Faith and sincere life are exacted at thy hands, not height of vnderstanding, nor the depth of the mysteries of God. If thou doest not vnderstand, nor conceiue those things that are vnder thee, how shalt thou bee able to comprehend [Page 420] those that are aboue thee? Submit thy selfe to God, and let thy sense be subiect to faith, and the light of knowledge shall bee giuen thee in that degree, as shall bee profitable and necessary for thee.

3 Some are grieuously tempted about Faith and the Sacrament, but this is not to bee imputed to them, but rather to the enemie. Do not re­gard nor dispute with thy thoughts, neither doe thou giue answere to the doubts mooued by the enemie, but beleeue the words of God, be­leeue his Saints and Prophets, and the wicked Serpent will flie from thee. It is oftentimes very profita­ble to the seruant of God to suffer such things: for he tempteth not In­fidels and sinners, whom he alreadie securely possesseth, but hee sundrie waies tempteth and vexeth the faith­full and deuout.

4 Goe forward therefore with a [Page 421] sincere and vndoubted faith, and come to the Sacrament with vn­fained reuerence. And whatsoeuer thou art not able to vnderstand, commit securely to Almightie God. God deceiueth thee not: hee is de­ceiued that trusteth too much to himselfe. Psalm. 18. and 118. God walketh with the simple, reuealeth himselfe to the humble, giueth vn­derstanding to little ones, openeth the senses of pure minds, and hideth grace from the curious and proud. Mat. 11. Humane reason is weake, and may be deceiued, but true faith cannot be deceiued.

5 All reason and naturall search ought to follow faith, not to go be­fore it, nor impugne it. For faith and loue doe chiefely excell, and worke in a hidden manner in this most blessed and excellent Sacrament. God, who is euerlasting, and of in­finite power, doth great and inscru­table [Page 422] things in heauen and in earth, and there is no searching of his won­derfull workes. If the workes of God were such, as might bee easily comprehended by hu­mane reason, they were not to be called won­derfull and vn­speakable.

Heere endeth the fourth and last booke of the fol­lowing of Christ, the which fourth booke treateth most principally of the blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

HERE BEGIN­NETH A GODLY TREA­tise, and it is called a notable Lesson, otherwise it is called the Golden Epistle.
[Page] THE GOLDEN EPISTLE.

The exposition of the name of this little booke.

A Right good and wholesome Lesson, profitable vnto al Christians, ascribed vnto S. Bernard, and put among his Works, I thinke by some vertuous man, that would it should thereby haue the more authoritie, and the rather be read, & better bee borne away: for doubtlesse, it is a good matter, and edificatiue vnto all them that haue zeale and care to their soules health, and desire of saluation. It is called in the Title (Notabile documentum) that is to say; A no­table Lesson: And some doe call it the Gol­den Epistle. It followeth immediatly after a little worke called Formula honestae vitae, the forme and manner of an honest life, or of honest liuing.

IF you intend to please God, and would obtaine grace to fulfill the same, two things be vnto you very necessary. The first, you must withdraw your mind from all worldly and transitory things, in such maner, as though you cared not whether any such things were in this world or no. The second is, that you giue and apply your selfe so wholy to God, and behaue your self in such sort, that you neuer do, say, or thinke that you know, suppose, or beleeue should offend or displease God, for by this meanes you may soonest and most readily obtaine and winne his fauour and grace. In all things e­steeme and account your selfe most vile, and most simple, and as verie nought, in respect and regard of ver­tue: and thinke, suppose, and be­leeue, [Page] that all persons be good and better then you bee, for so shall you much please our Lord. Whatsoeuer you see, or seeme to perceiue in any person, or yet heare of any Christi­an, take you no occasion therein, but rather ascribe and apply you all vnto the best, and thinke or suppose all is done or said for a good intent or purpose, though it seeme contra­rie: for mans supposition and light judgements bee soone and lightly deceiued, or beguiled. Despise no person willingly, nor euer speake e­uill of any person, though it were ne­uer so true that you say. For it is not lawful to shew in confession the vice or default of any person, except you might not otherwise shew and de­clare your owne offence. Speake little or nothing vnto your proper and selfe laude or praise, though it were true, and vnto your familier fellow or faithfull friend, but studie [Page] to keepe secret and priuie your ver­tue, rather then your vice: yet were it a cruell deed for any persons to de­fame themselues. Be more glad to giue your eare and hearing vnto the praise, rather then vnto the dispraise of any person, and euer beware as well of hearing, as speaking of de­traction, and when you speake, take good deliberation, and haue few words, and let those bee true and good, sadly set, and wisely ordered. If any words be spoken vnto you of vice or vanity, as soone as you may breake off, and leaue that talke or communication. And euer returne and apply your selfe vnto some ap­pointed good and godly occupation, bodily or ghostly. If any sodaine chance fall or happen vnto you, or vnto any of yours, leane not too lightly thereunto, or care much ther­fore. If it be of prosperitie, reioyce not much therein, or bee ouer glad [Page] thereof: If it be aduersitie, bee not ouercome or ouerthrowne therwith, or brought to sorrow or sadnesse, thanke God for al, and set little ther­by. Repute all things transitory as of little price or value. Giue euer most thought and care vnto those things, that may profite and promote the soule. Fly and auoid the persons, and the places of much speech, for better it is to keepe silence, then to speake. Keepe the times, & places of silence precisely, so that you speak not with­out reasonable and vnfained cause. The times of silence in religion bee these. From Collation vntill Masse be ended, after the houre of Tierce: from the first Grace in the Fratour vntill the end of the latter Grace. And from the beginning of Euen­song, vntill Grace bee ended after supper, or else (Benedicite) after the common beuer. The places of silence be the Church and Cloister, the Fra­tour [Page] and the Dortour. If you be slan­dered, and doe take occasion at the fault or offence of any person, then looke well vpon your selfe, whether you be in the same default sometime your selfe, and then haue compassi­on vpon your brother or sister. If there be no such default in you, think verily and beleeue there may be, and then doe as (in like case) you would bee done vnto. And thus, as in a glasse, you may see and behold your selfe. Grudge not, neither complaine vpon any person for any manner of cause, except you see and perceiue by large coniecture, that you may pro­fit and edifie thereby. Neither deny, nor affirme your minde or opinion stiffely or extremely, but that your affirmation, denegation, or doubt be euer powdred with salt, that is to say, wisdome, discretion and patience. Vse not in any wise to mocke, check, or scorne, neither yet to laugh or [Page] smile but right seldome. And that alway to shew reuerence or louing manner, light countenance or loose behauiour becommeth not a sad per­son. Let your communication bee short, and with few persons, alwaies of vertue, learning, or good & Chri­stian edification, and euer with such warinesse, that no person in things doubtfull may take any authoritie of your words or sentence. Let all your pastime be spent in bodily labours, good and profitable, or else godly in study, or that passeth all, in holy and deuout prayer, so that the heart and mind be occupied with the same you speake. And when you pray for any certaine persons, remember their de­gree, estate & condition. For a forme and order of your prayer, this may bee a good and ready way, to fol­low the order of the six Gramaticall cases: The nominatiue, the genitiue, the datiue, the accusatiue, the vo­catiue, [Page] and the ablatiue. The nomi­natiue, that is, first to pray for your selfe, that you may haue ghostly strength and constancie, that you fall not into any deadly offence by frailtie, and that you may haue right knowledge of God by faith, and of your selfe, by due consideration of your estate and condition, and of the lawes of God for your conduct and countenance: and thirdly, that you may haue grace and good will, ac­cording to the same strength and knowledge, and that hauing vnto God a reuerend dread, you neuer of­fend in thought, word, or deed, but that you may euer loue him for him­selfe, and all his creatures in due or­der for him, and in him. The second is the genitiue case. Then must you pray for your genitours, your proge­nitours and parents, that is to say, your fathers and mothers, spirituall and carnall, as your ghostly fathers, [Page] or spirituall soueraignes, your god­fathers, your godmothers, your na­tural father and mother, your grand­fathers and grandmothers, your bro­thers and sisters, and all your kin­dred. In the third place is the da­tiue case. There must you pray for benefactors, good doers, of whom you haue receiued any manner of gifts spirituall or temporall, vnto the wealth of your soule or body. In the fourth place is the accusatiue case, where you should pray for your ene­mies, such persons as by any meanes haue annoyed, hurt, or grieued you, either ghostly or bodily, that is to say, in your soule or manners by any suggestion, intising, euill counsell, or euill example. In your fame or good name, by detraction, back-biting, or slandering, or yet by familier com­pany. For a person commonly is re­puted & supposed to be of such con­dition, as they bee, with whom hee [Page] hath conuersation & company. And for them that hurt your body, either by strokes, or by any other occasion haue hindered the state and health thereof. And likewise of your world­ly goods or possessions. For all these manner of enemies must you pray, that our Lord God would forgiue them as you doe, and as you would be forgiuen, and that they may come to right charity and peace. The fifth case is called vocatiue, that is to say, the calling case, where you conueni­ently may call, cry, and pray vnto our Lord for all manner of persons that be out of the state of grace, ei­ther by infidelity, as Turkes, Sara­zens, and such other: or else by er­rour, as all manner of Heretikes: or else by any deadly sinne or offence to God. Pray for all these manner of persons, that they may come vnto the right way of their saluation. In the sixt and last place is the ablatiue [Page] case, where thou must pray for all those that be taken out of this life, & that died or passed the same life in charitie, & now haue need of prayer. In the which you may keep a forme of the same order that is before, that is to say: In stead of the nominatiue, where you prayed for your selfe, you may now pray for all those that doe abide in paine for any default or of­fence done by your example or oc­casion: and for the genitiue in the se­cond place, for your parents, and all your kindred departed this life: and in the third place for the datiue, pray for your benefactors passed: and for the accusatiue in the fourth place, you may pray for them that liue in paine, for any occosion or example that they gaue vnto you: and in the fift place for the vocatiue, pray for al them that haue greatest pains in Pur­gatory, & least help heere by the suf­frage of prayers: and for the ablatiue [Page] in the sixt and last place, pray for all soules in generall. And that you may be the more apt to pray, call three things oft times to remembrance, that is to say, what you haue beene, what you be, and what you shall be. First, by reason of your body, you were conceiued of the most filthy a­bominable matter of man, shamefull to be spoken, far more vile then the slime of the earth, and after borne in a sinfull soule, and purged only by grace. And now (as vnto the body) you bee a muckheape or dunghill of filth, more vile then any vpon earth if you remember what doth issue dai­ly, and come forth out of the meates of your body. And your soule is dai­ly in some sin, or (at the least) full like to be. What you shall bee, as vnto your body, you may see by experi­ence, wormes meat, & earth againe. And what shal become of your soul, no man in this world can assure you. [Page] To remember then the joyes of hea­uen and paines of hell, and that both be infinit, endlesse, and without re­bate, but both euer encreasing, and neuer ceasing, neuer haue ease nor rest, but euer continue & euerlasting. To remember then, I say, these things may greatly mooue you to behaue your selfe in a good sort, & to studie how you may auoid the one, and ob­taine the other. Remember specially how great a losse it is to lose heauen, and how vncomfortable gaines to winne hell, and how soone and how lightly either of them may be gotten or lost. When any thing then, of ad­uersity, hurt or displeasure, happen vnto you, thinke then, or imagine, that if you were in hell, you should haue the same displeasure, and many worse. And so to auoid those, you shall heere the better suffer, and for our Lord the more patiently beare al these that now bee present, or any [Page] that may come hereafter. And in like manner, if any good prosperity or pleasure happen vnto you, think then that if you were in heauē, you should haue that pleasure, and many mo ex­cellent joyes. And so for the feruent desire of those joyes, you shall set lit­tle by any worldly comfort or plea­sure. A good contemplation there­fore may it bee vnto you in feasts of holy Saints, to thinke & record how great paines they suffred here for the loue of our Lord, & how short these were, & how soone passed: and then againe, how marueilous reward they had therefore in blisse and joy euer­lasting. So the troubles and torments of good persons be soone & shortly gone and ended, and the joyes and pleasures of sinfull persons do soone fade and fly for euer. The good per­sons, for their troubles suffered heere vpon earth, doe get and win eternall and euerlasting glory, which the euil [Page] persons do lose. And contrary, these euill and sinfull persons, for their joy and pleasure heere, do receiue by ex­change eternall & euerlasting shame and rebuke, with paine and woe vn­speakable. Whensoeuer then you be disposed to sluggishnesse, or to bee drowsie, remisse in prayers, or dull in deuotion, then take this little worke, or els some other good Treatise, and reade therein, and euer note well the contents thereof, and what is meant thereby. And if you be not thereby deliuered or eased thereof, then shift vnto some other work or occupatiō, so that euer you auoid idlenes, and al vaine pastimes, which indeed is losse of time. And then remember, that those that now abide in paine, either in hell, or yet in Purgatory, for such times so passed or lost, had rather then all the world haue such time to redeeme their paines by, as you may haue if you will. Time then vnto all [Page] persons well occupied, is very preci­ous and deare. Take good heede therefore, how you spend it or passe it, for you can neuer reuoke it or call it backe. If the time passe you by trouble and vexation, thinke they be happy and gracious, that be past this wretched life, and now in blisse, for they shall neuer haue any such mise­rie. And when you feele a comfort or consolation spirituall, thanke God therof, and thinke the damned soules shall neuer haue any such pleasure. And thus let this bee for your exer­cise in the datiue. At night when you goe to rest, first make account with your selfe, and remember how you haue spent or passed the day & time that was giuen you to bee vsed in vertue, and how you haue bestowed your thoughts your words, and your workes. And if you finde no great thing amisse, giue the whole laude and praise vnto our Lord God. And [Page] if you perceiue contrary, that you haue mispent any part thereof, bee sory therefore, and beseech our Lord of mercie and forgiuenes, and pro­mise, and verily purpose to make a­mends the next day. And if you haue oportunitie thereupon, it shall be ve­ry conuenient for you to bee confes­sed the next morning, and especially, if the matter done, said, or thought, by deliberate consent, doe grieuous­ly weigh and worke with a grudge in your conscience, then would I ad­uise you neuer to eate nor drinke, till you bee discharged thereof, if you may conueniently get a ghostly fa­ther. Now for a conclusion of this worke, put before you, as by case or imagination, two large Cities, one full of trouble, turmoile and misery, and let that bee hell. The other Citie full of joy, gladnesse, comfort, and pleasure, and let that bee heauen. Looke well on them [Page] both, for in both be many dwellers and great company. Then cast and thinke within your selfe, what thing heere might so please you, that you should choose the worse Citie, or what thing should displease you on the other part, whereby you should withdraw your selfe from that ver­tue that might conuey and bring you vnto the other Citie. And when you haue studied well hereupon, and can nothing finde, I dare well assure you, if you keepe well the precepts and counsailes of this little Lesson, you shall finde the right way, for the holy Ghost will instruct and teach you, where you be not sufficient of your selues, so you endeauour and giue diligence to beare away and follow that which heere is taught. Reade it euery weeke once or twice, or oftner if you will. And where you profite, giue the thankes, laude and praise vnto our Lord God, and [Page] most sweet Sauiour Iesu Christ, who send you his mercie and grace, that alway liueth God world without end. Amen.

THis Lesson was brought vnto me in English, of an old transla­tion, rough and rude, with request to amend it. I thought lesse la­bour to write new the whole, which I haue done according to the meaning of the Authour, though not word for word: and in diuers places added some things following vpon the same, to make the matter more sententious and full. I beseech you take all vnto the best, and pray for the olde wretched brother of Sion, RI­CHARD WHITFORD.

A SPIRITVALL GLASSE.

REade distinctly, pray deuoutly, sigh deepely, suffer patiently, humble your selfe lowly, giue no sentence hastily, speake but seldome, and that truely, preuent your speech discreetly, do your deeds in charitie, temptations resist strongly, break he head speedily, weepe bitterly, haue compassion tenderly, do good works busily, loue perseuerantly, loue harti­ly, loue faithfully, loue God all-only, and all other for him charitably, loue in aduersitie, loue in prosperitie, thinke alwaies of loue, for loue is none other but God himselfe. Thus to loue, bringeth the louer to loue without end. Amen.

THE RVLES OF A CHRISTIAN LIFE, made by IOHN PICVS the elder, Earle of Mi­randula.

FIrst, if to man or woman the way of vertue doth seeme hard or painefull, because wee must needes fight against the flesh, the diuell, and the world, let him or her call to remembrance, that whatsoeuer life they will choose ac­cording to the world, many aduersi­ties, incommodities, much heauines and labour are to be suffered.

Moreouer, let them haue in re­membrance, that in wealth & world­ly possessions is much and long con­tention, laborious also, and there­with vnfruitfull, wherein trauaile is the conclusion or end of labour, and [Page] finally, paine euerlasting, if those things be not well ordered, and cha­ritably disposed.

Remember also, that it is very foolishnesse, to thinke to come vnto heauen by any other meanes, then by the said battaile, considering that our head and Master Christ did not ascend vnto heauen, but by his pas­sion: and the seruant ought not to be in better estate or condition then his Master or Soueraigne.

Furthermore, consider that this battaile ought not to be grudged at, but to be desired and wished for, al­though thereof no price or reward might ensue or happen, but onely that thereby wee might bee confor­med or joyned to Christ our God and Master. Wherefore as often as in resisting any temptation, thou doest withstand any of thy senses or wits, think vnto what part of Christs passion thou mayest apply thy selfe, [Page] or make thy selfe like: As resisting gluttonie, whilest thou doest punish thy taste or appetite: remember that Christ receiued in his drinke, aysell mixed with the gall of a beast, a drinke most vnsauoury and loath­some.

When thou vvithdrawest thine hand from vnlawfull taking or kee­ping of any thing, which liketh thine appetite, remember Christs hands, as they were fast nailed vnto the tree of the Crosse. And resisting of pride, thinke vpon him, who being very God almightie, for thy sake recei­ued the forme of a subiect, and hum­bled himselfe vnto the most vile and reproachfull death of the Crosse. And when thou art tempted with wrath: Remember that hee, which was God, and of all men the most just and righteous, when hee beheld himselfe mocked, spit on, scourged, and punished with all dispites and [Page] rebukes, and set on the Crosse be­tweene two theeues, as if he himselfe were a false harlot, hee notwithstan­ding shewed neuer token of indig­nation, or that he were grieued, but suffering all things with wonderfull patience, answered all men most gently. In this wise, if thou peruse all things one after another, thou mayest finde, that there is no passion or trouble, that shall not make thee in some part conformable or like vn­to Christ.

Also put not thy trust in mans helpe, but in the onely vertue of Christ Iesu, which said: Trust well, for I haue vanquished the world. and in another place hee saith: The Prince of this world is cast out there­of. Wherefore, let vs trust by his onely vertue, to vanquish the world, and to subdue the Diuell. And therefore ought wee to aske his helpe by our owne prayers, and by [Page] the prayers of his blessed Saints.

Remember also, that as soone as thou hast vanquished one temptati­on, alway another is to bee looked for: The Diuell goeth alway about and seeketh for him whom he would deuour. Wherefore wee ought to serue diligently and be euer in feare, and to say with the Prophet: I will stand alway at my defence.

Take heed moreouer, that not onely thou bee not vanquished of the Diuell, that tempteth thee, but also that thou vanquish and ouer­come him. And that is not onely when thou doest not sinne, but also when of that thing wherein hee tempted thee, thou takest occasion for to doe good. As if hee offereth to thee some good act to bee done, to the intent that thereby thou maist fall into vaine-glorie: forthwith thou thinking it, not to bee thy deede or worke, but the benefite or [Page] reward of God, humble thou thy selfe, and judge thee to bee vnkinde vnto God in respect of his manifold benefits.

As often as thou doest fight, fight as in hope to vanquish, and to haue at the last perpetuall peace. For that peraduenture God of his abundant grace shall giue vnto thee, and the Diuell being confused of thy victo­rie, shall returne no more againe. But yet when thou hast vanquished, beare thy selfe so, as if thou shoul­dest fight againe shortly. Thus al­way in battaile, thou must thinke on victory; and after victory, thou must prepare thee to battaile immediatly againe.

Although thou feelest thy selfe well armed and readie, yet flye (notwithstanding) all occasions to sinne. For as the Wiseman saith: Who loueth perill, shall therein perish.

[Page]In all temptations resist the be­ginning, and beate the children of Babylon against the stone, which stone is Christ, and the children bee euill thoughts and imaginati­ons. For in long continuing of sinne, seldome worketh any medicine or remedie.

Remember, that although in the said conflict of temptation the bat­taile seemeth to be very dangerous: yet consider how much sweeter it is to vanquish temptation, then to fol­low sinne, whereto shee inclineth thee, whereof the end is repentance. And herein many be foulely decei­ued, which compare not the sweet­nesse of victorie to the sweetnesse of sinne, but onely compareth battaile to pleasure. Notwithstanding, a man or woman, which hath a thousand times known what it is to giue place to temptation, should once assay, what it is to vanquish temptation.

[Page]If thou bee tempted, thinke thou not therefore that God hath forsa­ken thee, or that hee setteth but lit­tle by thee, or that thou art not in the sight of God, good or perfect: but remember, that after Saint Paul had seene God, as hee was in his Diuinitie, and such secret mysteries as bee not lawfull for any man to speake or rehearse, hee for all that suffered temptation of the flesh, wherewith God suffered him to bee tempted, lest he should be assaulted with pride. Wherein a man ought to consider, that Saint Paul, which was the pure vessell of election, and rapt into the third heauen, was not­withstanding in perill to be proud of his vertues, as hee saith of himselfe. Wherefore aboue all temptations men or women ought to arme them­selues most strongly against the temptations of pride, since pride is the roote of all mischiefe, against [Page] the which, the onely remedie is to thinke alway that God humbled himselfe for vs vnto the Crosse. And moreouer that death hath so hum­bled vs, whether wee will or no, that our bodies shall be the meat of worms loth­some and veni­mous.

FINIS.
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