¶An exhortacyon made to Relygyouse systers in the tyme of theyr consecracyon

¶I aske the banes betwix the hyghe and moost myghty prynce kyng of all kynges sone of almyghty god and the virgyne Mary in humanyte Cryste Ihesu of Nazareth of the one partye. And. A. B. of the thother partye / that yf ony man or woman can shewe ony lawfull Inpedyment other by ony precontracte made or corrupcyon of body or soule of the sayd. A. B. that she ought not to be maryed this daye vnto the sayd myghty prynce Ihesu that they wolde accordynge vnto the lawe shewe it.

GOod syster we are here gadred before almyghty god and all his sayn­tes in heuen in his chirche here my­lytaūt to solempne this noble spowsage bytwene the sayd sone of al­myghty god and you / whiche spowsage muste be of your partye desyred with all your hoole herte & free wyll / not compelled by none of your frendes / nor for cause of worldly worshyp nor ease of your body / but oonly for the loue & seruyce ye owe to the sayd myghty prynce / to serue hym & obeye hym & kepe his cōmaundementes / and all o­ther men & worldly worshyp renounce and forsake [Page] and hym to loue aboue all thynge / & his preceptes to performe and all other thynge to do that pertey­neth to a good wyfe. How moche be ye boūde vnto hym that wyl consent that ye be maryed vnto hym so grete a prynce & almyghty / and ye a wretche his creature & of a poore lynage. For the cōmon vsage is kynges to mary togydre. Dukes and Erles to­gydre / and poore people togydre / and seldome seen the ryche and the poore mary togydre / and yet this moost myghty prynce lorde of heuen & of erthe for the loue he bereth vnto you to make you his quene / his fader of heuen to be your fader his moder to be yours. And so by this maryage all your kynred shal be of cosynage by affynyte to the fad (er) of heuen / our lady all the angels with all the hole Genelogy of Cryste / to whiche honour and excellence no carnall spowsage coude exalte you. Therfore yf ye conty­nue his faythfull & true spowse cōmyttynge your mynde your wyll & all your werkes to obserue his cōman̄dementes / your rewarde shall be as in your Ioynter & dowery excede all rewardes that can be thought & may be geuen vnto man.

FYrste syster yf ye wyll be spowsed to this noble prynce & so be determyned in your myn­de. I saye thyse wordes to you of the holy ghoost. (Audi filia et vide & inclina aurem tuā et obliuis­cere populum tuū et domū patris tui) That is to [Page] saye / doughter here see and gyue humble atten­daūce / yf ye wyll be spowsed to this myghty pryn­ce / ye muste forgete and relynquysshe Ioye and fe­lycyte of this worlde / and the house of all your ge­neracyon / your fader and moder and all your car­nall frendes / and ye muste folowe hym in condy­cyons / and leue your olde name and condycyons and to be called after his name▪ his name is Ihe­sus Nazarenus. And soo ye muste be called Naza­rena. It is wryten (Nazarei candidiores niue in­terpretantur virgulti vel floridi siue custodientes aut separati a mundo vel vncti siue sancti aut consecrati) That is to saye. Ye muste be as a yonge grene braunche and as a floure and as a keper of the tresour of your husbonde and seuered from the worlde as a noynted holy and consecrate quene / for thyse propertees amonge other hath your spowse. Fyrste ye muste be as a yonge grene braunche / the whiche loseth his fayre beaute whan he is se­uered from the rote. The rote of all Relygyon is Ihesu of Nazareth that is charyte (Quia deus caritas est) And who soo euer is not in charyte he de­parteth hymselfe from almyghty god. Soo ye muste loue your spowse Ihesu aboue all thynge / he muste be in your mynde / in your soule / in your her­te / and in all your werkes. And of hym specyally ye muste speke / for yf ye haue ony pleasure for to speke of ony other thynges of the worlde or of ony [Page] other man / thenne wyll he be wrothe. For as saynt Gregory sayth (Prouidendū ergo nobis est quia intueri non debet quod non licet concupisci. Et io­hannes) Cryste sayth (Qui studet eligantes faci­es inspicere ipse fornacem passionis accendit) For he wyll that ye kepe oonly and entyerly vnto hym your fyue wyttes / to haue noo pleasure for to lo­ke vppon man or woman / nor to here of noo worl­dely thynges / nor speke of noo concupyscence / nor handell noo contagyous thynges / but oonly that shall be to his pleasure and seruyce. For as saynt Ierom sayth. There was neuer man soo Ielous of his wyfe and taketh hede of his werkes and de­des as our lorde your spowse wyll take hede of you For ye can thynke noo thought but he knoweth it / nor speke noo worde but he hereth it / nor be in noo place but he is there presente / nor noo thynge can dysceyue hym / therfore ye muste loue hym aboue all thynge and be in parfyte charyte with all your systers and his people and seruauntes. Also Cryste Ihesu is called (Flos campi) The floure of Nazareth / the beaute of this excedeth all other vertues and it is so noble a tresoure that it can not be pray­sed / and therfore virgynyte is honoured in al­myghty god. And Cryste the heede and the leder therof and the fyrste thynge that he dyde in erthe whan he became man he sette vp his housholde of virgyns and men of chastyte for to serue hym and [Page] his chirche here in erthe / as he was by virgyns the angels serued in heuen / his moder was and is perpetuall virgyne. Iohan Euangelyste his Secre­tary a virgyne. Iohan the Baptyst a virgyne. Ieremye the prophete a virgyne / and angeles in he­uen virgyns and Innumerable there syngynge and folowynge the lombe of god the seconde persone / and euer newe songes of Ioye and glorye. The angels of heuen honoureth virgyns as theyr bre­thern and systern And as it is wryten (Apocal .xix) The angell of god wolde not suffre saynt Iohan Euangelyste to worshyppe hym / for loue he was a virgyne as he was and angell and man of the er­the. And therfore Saynt Bernarde sayth. What is more full of beaute than is chastyte (Quid castitate decorius. Que mundum de inmundo con­ceptum semine de hoste domesticum de homine an­gelum facit) The angels worshypped saynt Ag­nes and cladde hyr in a garment of chastyte / crow­ned saynt Cecylye / saynt Agas shewed hyr holy­nesse / saynt Katheryne buryed / and delyuered from deth Susanne. And as it is wryten Numeri .xxxi. (Omnes feminas virgines reseruare alias omnes iubentur interfici) That is to saye. That where all the people sholde be destroyed and slayne for synne / yet god almyghty commaunded to spare virgyns. And therfore sayth saynt Ancelme (Don est salus nisi quem tu virgo peperisti) Saynt Margarete [Page] hadde the deuyll vnder hyr feete and boun­de hym / and he cryed & sayd / leue ye yonge may­de ye destroye me. And in lyke wyse Saynt Iu­lyan bette hym and putte hym to grete rebuke / and therfore the deuyll worshyppeth virgynyte as it is radde in Thobye the sixte chapytre. For ryght as the deuyll hath power of all vnclene lyuers / ryght soo he honoureth virgyns and feereth theym by­cause of the angelles. And therfore Saynt Iohan Crysostomus sayth (Castitas est res angelica per quam solum singulariter homines angelis assi­mulantur) And that angels haue in heuen by fe­lycyte. A man or a woman beynge theyr in virgy­nyte haue by grace and by grete labour. Virgyny­te by grace hath dyuerse preuyleges. Fyrste it re­plenyssheth paradyse (tricesimasecunda questione prima ca. Nupcie) The seconde that virgynyte is a vertue that man oonly may please god with fayth (in aut [...]. de leuo. F. Scimus colla .iij. the .iij.) It is the begynnynge of other vertues (In aut [...]. quomō op. ep̄i. F. ne (que) autem sacras. the .iiij.) That oonly amonge wymmen a virgyn is to be consecrate .xxv. di. Sicucius. the .v.) Virgyns martyrs and there other / and hath (Aureolam tricesimasecūda que­stione quinta. Si paulus) For as matrymony re­plenyssheth the erthe with childern / ryght so a vir­gyne replenyssheth paradyse (tricesimasecūda que­stione .i. Nupcie) Moders of childern of the worlde [Page] hath grete besynes and sorowe for to brynge forthe theyr childern / a virgyne is in quyetnesse and bryn­geth forthe hyr children in grete Ioye as it is wry­ten (Mathei .xxij. Que parate erant intrauerunt cum eo ad nupcias) And as it is wryten (Canti­co (rum) secundo. Sicut lilium inter spinas sic amicamea inter filias) Virgynyte is lykened vnto a lely the leuys of the lely that conserued the beaute ther­of is sobrenesse of mete and drynke / the contrarye therof is shewed in Loth beynge dronken fyled his owne doughters (Genesis decimonono .xv. q. i. Inebriauerunt) Iheronimus (Uirgo binum fu­giat pro veneno) As who sayth / a virgyne sholde hate wyne as venym.


YE muste also be a custos / a keper of all su­che thynges as this daye shall be delyuered vnto you in the name of your spowse & folowe hȳ therin. For and ye kepe not all thynges in theyr beyuge as he hath made theym / they sholde forth­with be destroyed / and therof Dauyd sayth (Ni­si dominus custodierit ciuitatem &c.) So ye muste kepe the tresour of your spowse Cryste perteynyn­ge to his fayth & to haue in your remembraunce & wyll to kepe the foure thynges that shall be dely­uerd vnto you this daye / your veyle & your mantyll both beynge of blake & a rynge wt a lyght of waxe berynge in your honde / and in kepynge of thyse it [Page] shal be shewed as ye loue your husbonde. This veyle and mantyll remembred ryght well the virgyne saynt Agnes whan she sayd (Posuit signū in fa­ciem meā vt nullū amatorē preter cum admittam) That is to saye. He hath couerd my soule Inwar­de and myn heede with a veyle / that and yf I wyll loue ony man better than hym I shall goo to the colour of my veyle and that is euerlastynge deth. In lyke wyse she shewed that hyr spowse Cryste Ihu had Indued hyr with a garment all sette with precyous stones / that is to saye / with charyte / fayth hope / hum [...] / obedyence / abstynence / & prayer / & Inbroudred a [...] [...]hyse f [...] vertues in the blake garmente of her body and soule here knytte togydre / whiche may euery vertuous persone dayly vse and encrease to his rewarde by grace and free wyll that be geuen vnto hym yf he wyll seke therfore. And therfore the sayd sayut Agnes songe & sayd to all virgynes (Induit me d [...]s ciclade auro detexta) (Anulus) Also I haue by the auctoryte geuen vnto me by Cryste Ihu to delyuer vnto you this daye a rynge in token of maryage Indyssolyble to be made betwix you & hym. For as saynt Poul sayth / ye muste herafter remembre no thynge but that is godly / & therfore the sayd saynt Agnes cryed with a grete voyce agaynst the deuyll & hym that temp­ted hyr to vnclenly desyres sayenge (Discite a me pabulum mortis. quia ab ali [...] amatore preuenta [Page] sum) And shewed vnto hym and vnto all the peo­ple with a mery voyce (Anulo suo subornauit me dominus noster ihesus cristus et tan (quam) sponsam de­corauit me corona) That is to saye. All the plea­sures and temptacyons of the worlde departe from me / for our lorde Ihesu Cryste with his rynge hath wedde me and hath crowned me with a crowne of euerlastynge Ioye yf I kepe truly my loue & spowsage vnto hym.


ALso remembre the lyght that ye brȳge with you / that sygnefyeth Cryste Ihesu that is (Uera lux que illuminat omnem hominē venientem in hunc mundum) Whos fayth by his chirche taught you ye muste entyerly kepe & se your lyght go not out but be brennynge in your soule and in your mynde by the blessyd Incarnacōn / passyon / re­surreccyon / and the moost blessyd lyfe of our sauy­our Cryste Ihesu / and that ye falle in none erthely synne / heresye nor errours by ony mānes techynge / nor dyspute not the rules of your relygyon / but wt all reuerence and obedyence that ye may do ye take theym / obeye theym / and obserue theym. And what so euer your abbesse or the rewlers of your relygyon commaunde you to do / byleue it is for the helth of your soule and accordynge to your relygyon / and honour and loue theym as your fader and moder / ye must be pacyent amonge your systers and suffre [Page] theym / ye muste be meke / ye muste ete and drynke suche metes and drynkes as ye be cōmaunded / and whan ye haue not halfe slept ynough ye muste ry­se / ye muste synge in your course & ordre with your systers / and take no hede though your voyce be not moost swetest and clere / soo ye haue a swete deuo­cyon / ye muste serue your systers and wesshe theyr feete / for Cryst Ihesu to whom ye shall be spowsed vnto was obedyent to his fader and suffred deth / and wesshed also he god and man the feete of his dyscyples poore fysshers.


ALso ye muste be Nazarena / that it to saye / deseuered from the worlde / as Ihesus Nazarenus sayth hymself (Regnū meum nō est in hoc mūdo) But though your body be here in this worlde corporally / your mynde & your soule to be with Cryste Ihesu / and soo take the worlde in all thyn­ge therin and saye with saynt Poull. The worlde is to me a payne / and I to the worlde / my Ioye is oonly in Cryste crucefyed. So syster your pleasure and conuersacyon muste oonly be in the crosse of Cryste / that is penaunce / in fastynge / prayer / and mortyfycacyon of your enemy the flesshe / and let it not haue his wyll / kepe you within your monaste­rye and departe not therfro (.xvi. q. i. placuit. n.) For ryght as a fysshe deyeth that is without water ryght soo a man or woman of Relygyon beynge [Page] without theyr cloyster is deed in theyr soules. Re­membre the storye of the bybell that Dena Iacobs doughter she wolde not kepe hyr within / not close as she was cōmaunded / but wolde go forth amon­ge yonge people and soo was corrupte and rauys­shed / and therof folowed Infenyte manslaughter and murdre. Moyses beynge in monte of Relygyon he spake with god / without he spake but with man (.xxxvi. di. c. Si) A woman of Relygyon or a man beynge in theyr cloyster in prayer they speke with god / without they speke with the deuyll / & therfore an holy fader sayd / ryght as an henne yt hath egges leueth hyr egges shall of them neuer come chekens So shall none be good Relygyous man or woman that leueth the place of Relygyon. And as it is rad in (Vitis patrū) Ther was a monke by longe space tempted by the deuyll & he resysted hym sore / at the laste he brought the monke to the dore where he sholde departe from the place of Relygyon / he made there a crosse and cryed to the deuyll / thou haste pulled me hyder / pulle me now ferder & thou canst but it shall neuer lye in thy power.


ALso remembre ye be anoynted in your Baptyme & confyrmacōn and now to be made perfyte Nazarena Crystꝭ wyf of Nazareth ye shal be sanctefyed & consecrate & so your name to be put in the grete kalender amonge the virgyns & spow­ses [Page] of Cryst Ih̄u in heuen (Ihesus nazarenus was vnctus oleo leticie pre oi (bus) parti (bus) suis) And that geuen vnto his manhone to anoynte with vertue & grace in this present lyf / & with euerlastynge Ioye his louers & seruaūtes / & therfore saynt Iohn Baptyst sayth (Nos oēs recepimꝰ grām in plenitudine eius) No thynge we haue suffycyent of ourself but all cometh of his grace / & therfore yf ye wyll be a­noynted with this noble oyle of mercy and grace in this present lyf & to come to be anoynted in euerla­stynge Ioye. Ye must do that was cōmaūded in the gospell by the wyse ma [...]dens yt sholde be spowsed vnto Cryste [...]nge [...] et emite oleū) Go and seke vnto ye may bye & haue this oyle of grace / and therfore the noble lady sayd to all hyr gentylwȳ ­men as it is wryten in the boke of all songes (In odore vnguento (rum) tuo (rum) currimꝰ) That is to saye / ryght as an hoūde yt hath foūde blood or percynge of a beest stryken & seketh & ceaseth not tyll he fyn­de it. So our sauyour Cryste Ihesu was woūded & loste blood & percyd of his blessyd lyf in this worl­de / to euery man to taste & folowe it tyll he fynde hym. Ye shal not syster nede to seke ferre tyll ye fȳ ­de percyd & sauour / as Dauyd sayth (Sicut cernꝰ ad fontes aqua (rum)) Of this swete oyntement of Cryste for he sayth by his prophete Dauyd (Prope ē dn̄s oi (bus) inuocanti (bus) eū) He is redy to euery body whan he is called vppon. Example therof. Mary [Page] Magdaleyn she brought with hyr oyntement of denocyon & sought hym and therfore soone she foūde hym. Soo it is your dewte to seke Cryste Ihesu to whom ye shalbe wedded nother at Nazareth Bed­leem nor Iherusalem / but ye shall fynde hym here within your owne chirche the same god and man Cryste Ihesu / and for your very loue & contempla­cyon go to an awter within your chirche / or to anymage of our lady where Gabryell saluteth hyr / Remembre the mercy & the loue yt the fader of he­uen bare to all mankynde sent his angell to a yon­ge mayde / & of hyr clene blood of virgynyte god & man was Ioyned togydre. Thenne go to an other awter or place that sheweth the Natyuyte of Cryst & how that he lyeth in grete pouerte in haye & be­twix two beestes & hath no comforte but this yonge mayde his moder to be fedde of hyr breste. And so for to go to other places wt in your chirche for your deuocōn of remembraūce of his passyon. And spe­cyally ones / twyes / or thryes of the daye that ye se­ke hym in your mynde deuoutely at the mount of Caluarye. That is that ye shall knele before the crucyfixe where his ymage is made remembrynge how he god & man that neuer had offended but to­ke mannes nature here for the grete loue & redempcyon therof & put vnto so paynfull and shamefull deth in the myddes of the worlde his moder beyng present / his hondes & his feet nayled vnto the tree / [Page] his herte stryken thorugh / and yet in all this payne his charyte was so moche that he prayed vnto his fader of heuen to forgeue all them that so vyolently & so wrongfully put hym to deth / and desyred of his fader that all mankynde sholde be forgeuen of theyr trespaces / for the offence of our fyrste formed fader Adam & the gates of heuen to be opened to all them that wolde byleue in hym. And in lyke wyse to remembre some deuoute place of his Resur­reccyon & blessyd Ascensyon / and how he shall come to make an ende of this present worlde & deme it. (Per ignē) And calle you & all mankynde to ac­compte of theyr demea [...] concernynge his fayth / & of you how ye haue kep [...]e your spowsage & pro­myse made vnto hym. And yf ye syster wel & Iuste­ly & truly obserue your name that ye shall be cal­led by after your husbonde / as Nazarena / that is to saye (virgulti) fayre braūches full of fruytes of vertue in your Relygyon & floures of virgynyte & keper of cōmaūdementes of your spowse / despysynge pleasures & pompe of the worlde / leuynge it vn­to ye folysshe maydens of the worlde / and anoynte your soule by holy lyuynge and so be (Sancta) as Cryste is (Sauctus) & consecrate your soule to al­myghty god / sayenge vnto hȳ with the holy may­de & martyr saynt Agnes and saynt Awdry (Ni­chil in terris desydero preter te) I desyre nothynge in this present lyfe but the Ihesu to be my keper & [Page] defender / & to haue the pryncypally in my mynde & thought / and than doubte ye no thynge systers / but it shall be sayd vnto you & euerychone of you. (Unguentū effusū nomen tuū ideo adolescentile dilexerunt te nimis) The angels of heuen beynge thyse fayre yonge maydens & gentylwȳmen. For ye bere the name of Nazareth that is theyr maker & lorde wyll make Infenyte myrthe & defende and kepe your persone & not departe from tyll they synge this songe moost blessyd that may be sayd vnto you (Ueni sponsa xp̄i accipe coronā quā tibi p̄paranit in eternū) That is to saye come mayde Nazarene Crystis spowse to present & receyue for thy rewar­de the specyall crowne of glory called (Auriola) that I wyll not geue nor rewarde with / but my specyall louers martyrs virgyns & prechers / & that ye may so do here yt ye may receyue this noble crowne I beseche almyghty god for his grete mercy Amen.

¶Here endeth an exhortacyon made to Relygyous systers in the tyme of theyr consecracyon

¶Enprynted at Westmynstre by Wynken de worde


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