A BREEFE METHODE OR WAY Teachinge all sortes of Christian peo­ple, how to serue God in a moste perfect manner. Written first in Spanishe, by a Reli­gious man, named Alphonso. And reduced owte of Latin into En­glish in manner of a Dialogue for the easier vnderstanding and capacities of the simpler sorte.

By I. M.

TO THE RIGHT WOORshipfull, & vertuous Cathol [...]ck Lady, the La. M. C.

ALbeit mankinde, by the stinge of originall sinne, be deadlye wounded in body & s [...]ule, as spoyled of immortali [...]e & all diuine graces, broughte into a wofull state of all miseries, & naturallye inclyned to doe euill, to the greater encrease of his owne damnation: yet the grace & mercy of God, haith not altogether a­bandoned nor forsaken vs, but (with­out any our good desert) haith lefte vs in this exile & vale of woes, diuers helpes, remedies, & meanes, where­by we may attayne to his graceous fa­noure agayne, & (after this transitorie lyfe) be aduaunced to high glorie and the eternall ioyes in heauen. These meanes are his holy graces & vertues by which we may be moued & made able to serue him, & to conforme our selues to his will in all thinges. Oure perfect sanctity & frendshipp with god standeth in this pointe, that we be of [Page]same spirit with him, in euery thing we doe. And though he be a most gra­ceous & bountifull Lorde, & excee­dingly desireous of our eternall happy estate: And haith moreouer abundant­ly prouyded whatsoeuer may be ne­cessary or conuenient for our welfare: yea & through the excesse of his di­uine loue, haith lefte nothing vndone that might helpe or doe vs good: yet haith he lefte it in our owne choyce, & free libertie, whether we will ac­cept and vse his graces, endeuour to gett perfect holines, & serue him as he desyreth for our good, or noe. Great ruyne and destruction of all good, is made in oure soules by sinne, but it is in our owne power to repayre again this losse & calamitie, and to obtayne perfect holines, which we may doe, if (cooperating with goddes grace) we suffer our selues to be moued in all our actions onely by goddes holy spirit & will, as S. Paule saithe his children to be.

To instruct this, many deuout bokes & Treatises haue bene writen by lear­ned [Page]& holy men in all ages, teaching what we ought to doe, discoursing at large of the natures of all vertues & vyces, & yelding sufficient matter for all sorts of holy Meditations touching the ma­iestie, goodnes, & other perfections of god: Touching heauen, hell, Iudg­ment, death, sinne, vertue, and the rest: Perswading to good lyfe & ter­rifyinge from euill: All commodious woorkes & commendable trauells of good men. But amonge them all I neuer founde hitherto any comparable to a litle booke, deuulged by a religi­ous man named Alphonso, in the Spa­nish tonge. In which goulden Trea­tise, he geueth vs an exacte & perfect way, how we may repayre againe the ruine & wofull state of our soules, by sinn: & by rightly seruinge God, at­taine to the perfection of true holines & loue of him. This Author leauethe the large & goodly discourses of ver­tues & vyces, their reasons, examples, perswasions, & allpoynts of Medita­tions, (as all beinge sufficientlye Taughte and handled, by others in­numerable [Page]and to be founde euery where,) and breefely touchinge the ende for which God created and placed vs on earthe, what bounde & dutie we haue of ser­uinge him: what abiection & miserie our soules & bodies are brought vnto by sinne: He sheweth a breefe, yet a most exacte way and manner, how by the instrumentes and powers of oure soule, namely our vnderstandinge and free will, helped by godds grace, we may put in practise and execution, to his most holy honour, and our owne greatest profitt, whatsoeuer is taughte & conteyned in other bookes, how we may repayre our state againe, caste of all wicked customes, expell all vitious habitts, enryche & bewtify oure selues with all vertues, make all our woorks most preceous, acceptable, & meri­torious, in goddes sight, becom holy chaunge our selues owt of poore, na­ked, & abiect persons: into most glo­rious & diuine creatures: And finally be vnited to God in most perfect man­ner of frendshipp & loue.

This preceous Iewell, I sende you, [Page]as a token of my good affection, to­wardes your spirituall welfare, which I haue translated owt of latin, not yel­ding woord for woord, but (cullinge owt the principall poyntes & pithe of euery Chapter) haue reduced it into the forme of a Dyalogue, thereby ma­kinge it more easye & playne, for the capacities of the simpler sorte, whom also I wish, may take commodity ther­of, as I assure my selfe, your La. and euery one may doe, that reade & di­ligently practise, what is taught there­in: without which practise, all know­ledg is vnprofitable and vayne. It is not writen for vitious persons, suche as delight to lyue & wallow in sinne, without regarde of God or their own soules health, for these will take noe benefite hereof, but the Author haith prepared & directed this woorke, for the great good of vertuous soules who are resolued to serue God: & standing in battell against the worlde, the flesh & the deuill, haue a sincere defyre, to liue well & woorke their owne salua­tion. This good euery one that rea­dethe [Page]it, may reape: that knowinge thereby their owne poore & imperfect state, & behoulding how farr of they are from that degree of perfection they should & might arryue vnto; They may abase them selues in their owne conceyte, carry an humble mynde be­fore heauen & earthe, of their owne imperfections & vnworthines, which is a good stepp to further vertue: and be moued now & then, to work som particuler acts after the manner hereof which assuredly will be most pleasāt to God, & most meritorious to their own soules aboue all other woorkes they shall doe.

Now in your afflicted state where­in you are tossed too and froe daun­gerously, by the enemies of godds ho­ly churche, for your constancy in the catholick Faith: Alphonso will teache you how to fraught your shipp, with all sortes of vertues, more preceous then the Indian Treasures, that you may come well loaden to the porte, when your Lord shall ende your voyage.

How also to endure patiently, the ra­ginge [Page]& furious stormes of Godds e­nemies: And how finally to keepe a­low sale, and an humble conceite of your selues in all the good you doe, & to referr all the honour & prayse ther­of vnto God the owner & geuer of all good giftes. For it is a most certaine way to losse & shipp-wracke of all, to impute any good to your selfe, or to carry a high conceit of your owne well doinge.

Many vertuously disposed soules, de­light greatly in varietie & chaunge of their spirituall Exercises, & imbrace with greate affection euery noueltye, seking to know many wayes to serue God: & euer think that to be prefer­red as the best, which is straunge and vnknown to them, & that which they throughly know and haue vsed, they either loath or litle esteme, such is the inconstancye of our nature. But this new-fangled mutabilitye, exceeding­ly hindreth all spirituall good and the progresse in all vertue. And with out comparison better it were diligently to kepe & practise one (thoughe it be a [Page]meaner) then to be either negligente in the best, or to be allwayes incon­stantly flitting from one to an other: for so should a man neither goe for­warde, nor grow perfect in any.

Be familiar therefore & stay youre selfe with Alphonso (good Madam) for so shall you profitt greatly. And beware you be not content with the vertue you haue allready gotten: For our Lorde & God was made man, & vouchsaifed to dye, for to aduaunce vs to a higher & perfect state of holines in this lyfe: For this same ende also he would that Angells shoulde mini­ster vnto vs: And finallye for the same ende he haith g [...]uen vs the vse of hea­uen & earth with all his creatures in them. Remember me I beseche you in your deuotions. And thus I com­mitt you to God.

Your seruant in our Lord. I. M.

THE PREFACE OF The Author Alphonso.

SAinct Ambrose saith, that igno­rance of the order & manner how to woorke, greatly troubleth the qualitie of our meritt. Neither is it to be thought (as the same Author affir­meth) that we haue full knowledge of a thinge which we know we ought to doe, vnlesse we know withall the or­der of proceedinge in the same.

Whereupon it is manifest, that it pro­fiteth verie litle, if one know what is writen for seruing God, & be ignorāt in what manner and order it is to be done. And albeit arte & knowledge of euery good thinge, floweth from God the supremest artificer, & many be illuminated by his goodnes, & pre­uented with benedictions of delighte & sweetenes: yet for all that we must not omitt to doe what is in vs, to seke (as we are bounde) his commaunde­mentes & will, & other thinges which be necessary for doinge perfectly what­soeuer is pleasing vnto him. For which [Page]purpose the breefe forme & Methode which here we sett downe, will be pro­fitable, that we may know & woorke those greate thinges, which the holy scriptures teach vs. The which to doe it is noe lesse needefull that some arte be sought owte, then for doinge any other thinge which we couert rightly to know or woorke. To fynde owte this arte, the holye Doctoures haue spente much tyme, & haue lefte it wri­ten at large in diuers volumes: of all which, we will gather a breefe conclu­sion or somme. But this short work being chiefly ordeyned for the Exer­cyses of the soule: it will seme som­tymes verye obscure to them which haue not bene exercysed in the know­ledge & operations of the powers of their soule. Yet we shall shewe after a while in the prosecution of the book this Methode to be so farre from ob­scuritie, that it bringeth greate lighte to all other bookes of lyke argument.

Neither lett any thinke it superflu­ous or vayne, that we geue Docu­mentes whereby we may be helped to [Page]serue God, when as all the Scripture witnessith such to be necessary. And S. 1 Cor. 3 Paule saith, that we are helpers or coadiutors of God: but he either hel­peth not rightly, or not sufficientlye, that helpeth not as much as he can & oughte. Neither is it any other thing in vs that we helpe God, then that we moue our soule in all our workes, ac­cording to the prescripte rule of this present arte, as sacred diuinitie at large declareth.

The Philosopher in his Metaphi­sicks affirmeth, that mankinde liue the by arte: in which place he semeth by this propertie to distinguish man from vnreasonable creatures, for that all these are moued onely by naturall in­struct without arte: but man is ruled by arte & reason: Wherefore he may be said to serue God as it we are onely by naturall instinct, lyke to creatures voyde of reason, that is moued to serue him that way, by which he fee­leth greatest consolation & sweetenes without regardinge by his vnderstan­dinge & reason, whether there be a­ny [Page]other manner, wherby he may be able, to serue God more excellently.

Moreouer there is noe cause, why any should alledge the vnction of the holy Ghost, to teach vs in all things, & therfore any art or Methode where by we may learne to serue God, is­needeles: which sayinge is true, pre­supposinge that we our selues also be his coadiutors or helpers, endeuoringe to know & woorke, as we are taughte in the sacred scriptures, & in this arte which we are to geue. For the vncti­on of the holy ghost, teachethe not them that are vnwillinge to learne, nor them that are idle, or make resis­tance.

Furthermore leste the sweete yoke of our Lorde seme heauye to any, let vs consider that it is not a thing to be merueled at, if some dayes are to be spent, for getting so highe knowledg & wisdom, as is heare conteyned and taught in this arte. For if in learninge Grammer or Logick (artes farr infe­riour to this) one consume & spende 3 or 4 yeares, yea all his lyfo, if he [Page]will be perfecte in any of them: how much better is our lyfe bestowed (yea if it be wholly spente therein) for the perfect learning of this arte most high & diuine of all other artes, which our supreame maister Iesus Christe, came to teach vs, with his so great toile & payne.

Moreover, he that beginnethe to learne this arte, must consider, that it will happen to him, as it is wonte to happen to infantes, who hauinge per­fect soules, yet want the vse of reason: and hauing in their bodyes handes & fecte, yet can not goe or worke: but when they once begin to waxe and to moue their limmes, they goe, yet with great difficultie, & with fallinge now & then: but growing elder, & vsinge daily Exercyse, they goe so freelye, that they can runne at their pleasures.

The same hapneth in these Exerci­ses, whyles one desyrethe purelye to serue god aster this Methode: For al­beit our soules be perfect & intyere, yet so mightely are we bounde & op­pressed & without strength to mooue [Page]our selues in the perfecte way manifested in the holy gospell, & de­clared in this arte which we sett owte, that at the firste, we can not walke or goe at all, or if we be moued or at­tempt this, it is with such difficultie, that our goinge is well neare nothing. Yet notwithstanding let vs manfullye endeuour to doe what is here prescri­bed so well as we can: for whiles we shall scarse dare, to hope to gett the perfection taught vs, we shall by prac­tyse yea so runne by these high pathes that it may be said truly, our motions to be rather the motions of an Angell flying, then of a man walking on earth.

None oughte to pretende any ex­cuse why he serueth not God after the manner we haue here sett downe, cō ­tenting him self with the litterall ob­seruation of som religious rule, or the commaundements of God, as suffici­ente to saluation. For as the Apostle saith, Goddes will is that we be holy and perfect. Seinge therefore riches allready gotten, do not suffyce nor cō tente the louers of the world, but all­wayes [Page]they wishe & couet more, yea often contrary to Goddes commaun­dement. Neither in lyke māner ought we to be contente with these spirituall riches we haue allreadie: but labour to increase them dailye, & augmente the rewarde we expecte, seinge God doth vehemently desyre that we so do. But if our appetite couet not this, for the profitt we may gert thereby, at the least it shoulde extende it selfe to de­syre it, because we know it to be gods will that we be magnifyed & enrych­ed in all thinges, as the children of so eternall & glorious a Father in heauen, who admonisheth vs saying, Be you ho­ly, because I your Lorde god & Father am holy.

This booke may be intituled, The Way, Arte, or Methode, of fitly seruing God: which may be deuyded into three partes. The first conteyneth certaine vniuersall documents, instructions, or rules, whereby we may be directed in all our actions. The seconde part cō ­teyneth certaine particuler Exercyses, in which the seruant of God muste be [Page]exercysed, that he may repaire the ru­ine and corruption which sinne haithe brought into his soule.

The Third part treateth of the loue of god, and those thinges which he commaundeth to be loued, in which loue consistethe the fulfillinge of the Law, and of all our good. And let him marke that shall reade this, how much labour & diligence he bestow­eth, that desyreth to be conninge and furnished in some prophane arte, and how meete it is, that more diligence be vsed in this affayre.

These considerations therfore had & chefely relying vpon the assistance of our supreme maister Iesus Christ, our eternall God and Lorde, we will begin the foresaid arte & Method.

THE FIRST CHAPTER. HOW THE PILGRIM and the Ermit mett, & of their conference.

IN Mantua, there once dwelled a Knight called Probus, who for his valour, wisdom, & other vertues, was much renowmed in his countrye, & of all states very dearely beloued. He was of a most deuout & religious disposition, studying more to serue & please the omnipotent king of heauen, then the worlde or any earthly prince.

About the solemne feaff of Easter, he woulde goe on pilgrimage, to vi­sitt Ierusalem & other deuoute places of the holy lande. And as he traueled through a deserte in Siria, he missed his way & was benighted: And wan­dering too & froe, he espyed at the laste a candle shyninge from the syde of a rock: thither he wente with all hast, & called of them within. By and by there came forthe a fatherly [Page 1]oulde man named Alphonso, & asked who he was that called so vntymelye at his Cell? I am a pilgrime for the holy lande said Probus, & goinge a­stray in this wildernes, I espyed by good happ your candle, & am come to craue harbour with you this night. All that come in godds name be wel­come to me sayd Alphonso. I thanke you good Father said Probus.

When they were come within the Cell & sett downe, eche behelde o­ther verie earnestly. And Probus said, I meruell good Father, how you can endure to liue this austere lyfe in your comse attyre of sack cloath, with slen­der fayre in this vneasie hoale. I haue endured it said Alphonso, these many yeres I thanke God, and during this mortall lyfe, I desyre noe change. In what sorte I pray you saide Probus, haue you spent your lyfe in this solita­ry place, & what busines haue you had to kepe you here thus long? This mā ­ner of lyfe seemeth verye horrible to mannes nature. Mannes nature in­deede my sonne said Alphonso, would [Page]not endure this, if it were not drawn on & fedd with greater comforthe an other way.

The onely busines wherein I be­stow my self in this place, is continu­ally to serue my Lord & God: which trade of lyfe, is to me so sweete, plea­sant, & profitable, that it ouercometh all the horrour, payne, & other diffi­culties, which the frailtie of my na­ture fyndeth. What excedinge ioyes also I haue by the hope of myne eter­nall reward with God for seruing him as I doe (if by his grace I perseuer to the ende) my tonge can not expresse.

It semeth said Probus, your seruing of God is more then ordinary: For I serue him also as I thinke, yet haue I not any such ioy therein as you speake of. My dyetr is daintie, myne appa­rell ryche, my howse sumptuous, and yet with all these, I fynde small plea­sure or ease in seruing God.

These temporall commodities saide Alphonso, I want voluntarilye, be­cause it best pleaseth my Lorde that I so doe, & that I be content with ne­cessaries, [Page 2]without encombring my self with such superfluous thinges as you speake of, which if I had or desyred, woulde pethapps much hinder me in godds seruice, & are assuredly nede­lesse, to my lyfe, health, or good es­tate: But the perfect seruice of God, which bringeth to man true comforth delight, & beneftte in this lyfe, and a ioyfull hope of inestimable rewarde in heauen, consisteth not in the wante or hauing of these temporall commo­dities: For you also in your welth and abundance (if you knew the way) mighte perhapps serue God with as much pleasure & benefite, as I doe in this pouertie wherein you see me liue. For our Sauiour said: Blessed be the poore in spirit, because theirs is the kingdome of heauen. Which happy blessing & pouertie not onely they may enioy that wante all earthly treasures & com­modities: But also the greatest prin­ces in the worlde, in the middest of their wealth & abundance.

If this be so said Probus, I beseche you teach me the way, for I confesse [Page]I know it not: & if I can learne this lesson, I think I haue greate aduaun­tage of you, that liue thus austerely in this desert. Perhapps noe great ad­uauntage said Alphonso, for it is noe lesse gratefull & acceptable vnto god & noe lesse meritorious to our selues, to forsake all temporall commodities for his seruice, then to possesse & vse them to the same ende: yea the frail­tie of man and the corruption of our natures considered, it is muche lesse perill to want them then to haue thē. For the more we encomber & distract our small abilities abowt earthly thigs the lesse able are we to attende and wholly yelde our selues to heauenly.

But I shall willingly teach you the best way of seruinge God that hitherto I haue knowne. Sett asyde therefore all other thoughtes; & marke well what I shall say. When you conceaue me not, aske bouldly what my meaning is: For it is lost tyme to vs both, if I proceede, & teach more then you vn­derstande. Good Father said Pro­bus, seing you geue me leaue, I will [Page 3]make bould to interrupt you when ei­ther I conceaue you not, or doubt in any poynte. So doe in godds name said Alphonso.

First then I must lay you downe a few considerations & instructions, of great importance, and which are the foundations & groundwork whereon we must stay & raise vpp all the frame we are to buylde. And you must of­ten and verey carefullye call them to mynde, if you think to profitt in this way of seruing God I shall doe my best endeuour therein said Probus.

THE FIRST INSTRVCTIon, shewing to what ende God crea­ted Man, & placed him vpon earth. CAP. 2

THe first instruction said Alphon­so, & the foundation of all of­ten & seriously to be conside­red, is, that God (as the holy Scrip­ures and Fathers teach) created and [Page 4]sent vs into this world, not to enioy & rest in the transitory commodities & pleasures thereof: but that (taking of godds creatures so muche as may suffyce our necessities) we occupy & bestow our selues and all the reste we haue, in seruing & honoring our lord, who haith prepared for our rewarde, the blisse of heauen, wherein we shall possesse for euer, God him self, that is, an infinite good, and in him, all good thinges more aboundantly then we can imagin. To honour & serue God therfore (my sonn) are we come into this world. All we doo besydes this is nothing els but loste laboure, vaine & hurtfull tryfling, dishonora­ble to the noble children of such a fa­ther as God is. No doubt father said Probus, but we were created to serue God as you say: But what kynde of seruice dothe God requyre of man, & is by man of bounde & dutie to be performed.

THE SECOND INSTRVC­tion, of two manners how to serue god, & how Man is bounde vn­to them. CAP. 3.

THere be two sortes of seruinge god said Alphonso, & two waies in lyke manner are we bounde to serue him. The sirste is in the ob­seruing of godds commaundementes, which we are all bounde to kepe vn­der paine of eternall damnation to hell fyre. The second is more perfect, & is this, that (forsakinge all earthlye thinges, and withdrawinge our hartes from the loue thereof) we caste oure affection wholly vpon our heauenlye Father which is an infinite goodnes, & in all thinges laboure to be of the same spirit & will with him, accordinge to the example which our Sauioure the naturall Sonn of God left vs whiles he serued here on earth, not for any nede of his owne, but to instruct vs how we [Page]ought to serue our Lorde. This way Christ taught the yong man which had kept the commaundementes when he said, If thou wilt be perfect, geue all thou hast to the poore, & com & folow me. How are Christians bounde to this manner of seruice said Probus?

Not vnder payne of eternall damna­tion said Alphonso, as in the first way, but by a Law of frendshipp with god of equity & gratitude, wherein all the children of God that woulde not be reckned base-minded, vngratefull, & foolish, should moste carefully keepe them selues, that they may appere the worthy children of so graceous a Fa­ther. For to all it is geuen in com­maundement, that we loue our Lord with all our soule, with all our hart, with all our minde, and with all our strength. And to all he said: Be you perfect as your heauenly Father is.

As he deserueth much blame that go­ing to som place for dispatch of som weightie & necessary affaires, & neg­lecting & leauing the thing he wente to doe, trifleth away his tyme in vyle [Page 5]sportes & abiect thinges: so likewise is he much blame worthy, that being borne into this world to serue the high maiestie of God with all his powers & abilities, (which seruice is most due vnto God, & most profitable to the seruant) yet omittethe it because it is not commaunded him vnder paine of death, bestowing him self in the mean season, in a meaner and more abiecte kynde of seruice, mixed with muche worldly vanitie, that most swiftly pas­seth away, & bringethe with it much euill. And albeit God haith left it in our free choice and curtefye, yet the bound of frendshipp, equitie & grati­tude, requireth that we endeuoure to serue him (to whom all honour and seruice is most due) in the best man­ner we are able. The first way to serue God said Probus, is plame & manifest to all Christians, but the other apper­teyneth onely to you Eremites, to re­ligious persons, and Clargie men.

As the first said Alphonso, is com­mon to all Christians, & taught eue­ry where: so there is no Christian but [Page]he may be taught, learn, & performe the seconde. I can hardly think so said Probus, for we may not all forsake the world & cast all our hartes vpon this perfect seruinge of God you speake of. No person said Alphonso, is made a Christian, before he first solemnly renownce the worlde, with all the pompes & vanities thereof, & yelde him self to the obedience & seruice of God. And therefore the profession, not onely of Ermits, religious persons & Priestes: but of all true Christians also, is to forsake the world, & serue their Lord with all they are & haue. For as I said God created man for this ende, & for all temporall & earthly things, no man doth rightly vse them or can haue them, but to his excee­dinge harme, vnlesse he turne them wholly to the seruice, & honoure of his Lorde, whose in truth they be & not mannes but for a litle tyme to vse as god haith ordeyned & commaun­ded, which seruice we ought to yeld to God, not onely in keping his ge­nerall commaundements, but in the [Page 6]perfectest manner, as Christ our Lord by his owne exawple haith taught vs all. And this seconde is that, which now I purpose to teach you, that is, how ryche men, artificers, & all sorts of people, may serue their Lord and God most perfectlye. This will be most comfortable to vs of the world said Probus, but it semeth a most dif­ficult thing to be done.

THE THIRD INSTRVCTION Of the wofull ruine & destruction made in mannes soule & body by sinne, by reason whereof, he fyndeth greate difficultye in seruinge God. CAP. 4

YOu must know moreouer saide Alphonso, that if man had con­tinued in the happy state wher­in God created him at the first when he placed him in paradise, it had bene noe difficultie for him, to haue ser­ued God in most perfect manner, & [Page]to haue wrought any good. For thē by originall iustice, his sesuality & inferior powers were kept in most semely or­der & perfect obedience to his reasō & will. And these againe were guyded & assisted, by singular & abundante graces, easily to obey & serue God & woorke any good. But after once by the euill vse of his free will, he sinned & transgressed the commaundement of his Lord: he with all his progeny were spoyled of those graceous giftes & cast owt of that happy state & place into the banishment of this miserable worlde. His appetites, his will, and whole soule, became so infirme & dis­eased, that (loathing the infinite good for which he was created, as a thinge wherein now he tooke noe delight or pleasant taste, & auerst from all good) he is euer since inclyned to euill, and can desyre or loue scarsly any other thinges, but abiect, viceous, & hurt­full. By reason of that greauous losse & wofull chaunge, mankynde euer since haith founde much difficultie in the seruice of god, or doinge well.

Our concupiscence and inferioure powers, being now for want of origi­nall iustice, lett loose and sett at liber­ty: neuer cease mightily to repugne and disobey, the reasonable partes of our soule: yea & to draw them to any thinge they lyke, withowt regard what either reason or God commaundeth.

We haue still left vs said Probus, the powers of our reason and free will, and God geuethe the assistance of his grace to all that call for it: by these thē we may serue God in the best manner he requyrethe, notwithstandinge the corruption & repugnance of our infe­riour powers. We may serue him so indeede said Alphonso, but not with such facilitie, promptnes, & alacritie▪ as we might haue done in the state of our innocency. For not onely the in­clinations & motions of our sensuali­tie be verie disordered & contrary to oure reason, yea excedinglye impor­tune & vehemente to drawe vs from good to euill: but our reason also is much darkned, by that fall from o­riginall iustice, & our will sore weak­ned [Page]and wounded, yea and of them selues quyte disabled either to resiste the continuall assaultes of oure sensu­alitie & inferiour partes, or effectual­ly to woorke any good. The grace of god indeede enableth vs to doe well, but yet (as it is ordinarilye bestowed on men) it takethe not from them, nor quite ouercometh, the repugnan­cy & difficulties, which our corrupte natures haue in doing well. Can we not said Probus ouercom this difficul­tie by any meanes? Yea in great part said Alphonso, by singuler & extra­ordinary graces geuen by God, & by the good habits of vertues which we may plant in our soules, by diligent exercise of our superiour powers as I shall tell you hereafter. But now re­member that this great confusion and perturbation in our soules, our auersiō from good, our inclination to euill, with difficulty of woorking well, came all from sinn: & yet the same bounde of doing well & seruing God which we had before this destruction, is not taken away from vs. For though we [Page 8]not doe our duties but with much dif­ficultie, yet doe them we may by the assistance of godds grace, & by litle and litle, repayre againe the losse and wrack we haue gotten by sinn, in oure soule & appetites. How may this re­paration be made said Probus, for I think the nearer we bring our soules & powers to their former state, the better shall we be disposed, and with more facilitie shall we be able to doe our duties in seruing God. Yea more­ouer said Allphonso, we may profitt so muche herein, that we may obteyne wel-neare the same facilitie to worke with great delight in this corruptible lyfe, which we should haue had in the state of innocency.

THE FOVRTH INSTRVCtion, by what powers of our soule, we may repayre our ruyne, & of the way howe to vse oure vnderstanding and will. [Page] CAP. 5

IN what manner said Probus, is this Reparation to be made? It can not be made otherwyse said Alphonso, but by the powers and abilities of our soule helped & assisted with the grace of God. Wherefore you muste vn­derstand, that as man is made, and consisteth of a body & soule: so haith he infirmities in them both to woorke with, as the body haith feete to goe, handes to labour, tonge to speake, & the lyke. In the soule, there is the vn­derstanding & will, with diuers other sensuall powers. The corporall in­struments and their actions of them selues, are of small wotth & litle pro­fitable, as S. Paule said to Timothy. But the vnderstandinge and the will, may of their owne natures, be of ex­cellent dignitie & profitt, as if we oc­cupy them to know God & loue him, or to consider any good thing, and to desyre it, or to know what is euill, & to hate & shunne it: which operati­ons [Page 9]of these two powers, are greatly commodious, though the body reste all the while & do nothing. For by the Exercise of suche actions abowte any particuler vertue, we should produce & bring forth good habits in our soule & destroy the euill, which is a com­mendable thinge, though it be done but onely for the loue of vertue, as the heathen Philosophers did: much more when a Christian doth it hauing faith: but moste of all if such a man doe it with actuall intention, for the loue, honour, & seruice of God, as I shall declare anone.

These two instruments therefore, the vnderstanding & the will, & their operations, are the meanes (goddes grace euer concurring with vs) wher­with we may perfectly serue God and woorke the reparation of our soule.

They be indeede said Probus, the cheifest and moste noble powers that man haith, and therefore fitteste for such an ende: but in what sort should we vse them rightly? Our sensuall ap­petite said Alphonso, naturally desy­reth [Page]the thinge which it is inclined vn­to, that is, what soeuer semeth vnto it pleasant, delectable, and sweete for the present, to these naturally it is car­ried without further respecte: And in like sort it fleeth whatsoeuer seemethe harde, sharpe, and vnpleasante.

But our will is not moued in this sort, for before it desyre or shunn any thing, it consulteth with the vnderstanding, whether the thinge be conueniente or not, and according as the vnderstan­ding, iudgeth, so the will freely de­sireth or refusethe it: So that the vn­derstandinge, is as it were, a lighte and guyde to the will, shewinge the truth of euery thing as it conceiue the it, & directinge the will how to work.

Wherefore aboue all other things we must be carefull, that our vnder­standing doe not erre or be deceiued in any thinge we goe abowt to desyre or shunne. For if it be blinded by ig­norance, passion, or malice: it can neuer iudge rightly, nor consequent­ly the action of the will euer be good.

But againe, though the vnderstan­ding [Page 10]be without errour & iudge tru­ly what the thing is, or shew rightly what is to be done in any occasion: yet so meruelous is the power of mās will, that it standeth in free libertie, to folow, & woork as the reason iudg­eth, or to refuse. Onely it of all other powers and abilityes in man, haithe fredom & perfect libertie. It is subiect to none, & commaundeth all the rest: yea and in a meruelous sort the same power can predominate ouer it selfe, both freely commaund and enforce it selfe to obey: so that hereupon cometh all our euill, if either the vnderstan­dinge erre, or (it iudging rightlye) the will by reason of her lidertie, will not woorke accordingly. In this sort therefore we must proceede with these two powers for the reparation of our soules.

And first for the vnderstāding, in eue­ry thing which either by our naturall teason, or by the light of our faith, we know to be good, or disposing or fur­thering vs to vertue, & neuerthelesse we fynde great difficultie, horrour, & [Page]auersion in our selues to doe or desire it as were for our good: we must pre­sently vse the power of our vnderstā ­ding, & with it, consider and appre­hende, those same thinges (which seeme so sharpe & greuous to our na­tures) as thinges most preceous, and to God also most acceptable, & which may further vs also, to eternall life & ioyes: And after once we haue cō ­sidered & knowne them to be suche, the will which had auersion and hor­rour of them before, may now be en­couraged to loue, desyre, & embrace them, & to worke them in effect.

When they are thus considered & knowne to be such said Probus: yet is the will free to choose, to doe them or not. You say truly said Alphonso, the will euer remaineth free, & haith perfect dominion & libertie to doe, or not to doe: but yet often it is ter­rifyed with the difficultie & sharpnes of the thinge which is offered to it, & therupon ceaseth to woorke, and so sinneth or omitteth the good that it might haue done. But if we endeour [Page 11]by our vnderstanding, to prepare the way in manner abouesaid, it will take such courage vpon the knowledge of the excellencye of that woorke, that (be it neuer so painefull) it will loue and desyre it, and doe it also with as much facilitie and delighte welnere, as any other thinge which it coueteth naturally. Mark this pointe well my sonne, for I assure you that he which would worke & vse his vnderstanding in this manner, shoulde easely and in shorte tyme, come to great perfecti­on of vertue, & woork with much de­light & comforth. I think it well said Probus: But may I intreate you to de­liuer me this by some example?

With good will said Alphonso: but it will fall more conuenientlye after I haue shewed you how also you muste vse your will, for this is the cheifest poynt of all. Then proceede I pray you said Probus.

THE Vse of the will.

SVpposing said Alphonso, goddes holy grace euer to assist and con­curr with ourfree will (for other­wyse we were not able to thinke any good expediente for our saluation, muche lesse to desyre & woorke the same) you must know that it is in our owne power to desyre or leaue to de desyre, any thing iudged good or e­uill by our vnderstanding, & the same we may doe for this or that ende, and as often euery day as we will.

Nowe to wake the will desyre to doe a good thinge which naturally it doth abhorr, by reason perhapps it is painefull, harde, or vnpleasante: we must (as I said before) consider & ap­prehende the same thinge, as moste preceous & gratefull to God, & cō ­modious to our selues: & then incline our will (enforcing it after a sorte) to desyre & couet that thinge, as a sick man desyreth a bitter potion, because he apprehendeth it as holesome, the [Page 12]which narurally he doth loth and ab­horr. In like manner also is produced the acte of refusing or not desiring the euill, which we naturally couet or are inclined vnto; that consideringe it to be vngratefull to God, euill & hurtfull to our selues, we incline our will, & as it were violently enforce it, not to de­sire that thing. For example, to couet to be despysed, contemned, or litle estemed among men, is a thinge hor­rible, vnpleasant, & difficulte to our nature: And in like manner to for­sake all sensuall delights & pleasures.

Now he that woulde haue an acte of desiring such contempts & wantes of pleasures; must first consider and apprehend them, as most excellente & worthy thinges, most gratefull to God, & greatly meritorious to him selfe, & then compell as it were and enforce his will, to accept and desire them. In lyke sorte also to be hono­red, highly estemed, & be loued of all men, to haue sensuall pleasures & other thinges delightfull, sweete, & pleasant to our nature: He that would [Page]make an acte of refusinge and hatinge them, must consider and iudge them with his vnderstanding, as thinges of base valew, displeasant & vngratefull to God, & hurtfull to him self. And then vpon this true conceipt of these harmes in them, cease to desire them & make an act of hatred or contempt of them, as the sick person doth ab­horr & refuse a most sweete potion or other meate pleasing his appetite, be­cause he knoweth it to be hurtfull vn­to him, though otherwyse he had a vehement naturall desire & inclinatiō to the same.

In vsing our vnderstanding & will in this manner said Probus, shall we feele noe repugnance in our sensuali­tie? Yes said Alphonso & that often verie greate, but this not-withstan­ding, our acte is a true desire or re­fusall of our will: As we behoulde in the sicke man, that will not eate the meate to which he haith a greate af­fection & appetite, because it is vnhol­som for him, and that same will of his not to eate it, is profitable vnto him, [Page 13]though his inordinate appetite be not taken away. But by often woorking with the will in that sorte, the repug­nance & all difficulties, will be lesse­ned daily by the good habitts we get by our particuler actions. And albe­it we seme litle to profitt or goe for­warde, & to fynde small pleasure in woorking thus, by reason of the con­trary vitious habitts, inclinations, & customs in our soule, which make our­actions seme weake & could: yet must we not cease to doe them, for by prac­tise & exercise, we gett dailye more strength & readines, and we goe for­ward with great meritt.

Is this all said Probus I am to learn abowt the vse of these two powers?

This which I haue toulde you said Alphonso, is the way to vse them: but one thinge more I muste tell you, which all that woulde perfectly & as­suredly repayre their soules, must with greate diligence, carrie in minde and practise: for it is as it were the key of all our reparation. What is this I pray you said Probus? My sonne said Al­phonso, [Page]it is that besides the continuall stu­die & care we ought to haue of exer­cisinge the will, in desyring the good thinges we should desire, & omitting the desire of euill thinges, thereby to destroy euill habitts in our soule, and plante good, that besides this I say, we be diligent by the vse of our will, to represse & resist the first thoughtes, motions, & appetites, which often as­saile euen vertuous persons, and which may be consented vnto withowt mor­tall sinne. As for example, to be de­lighted that our deedes or woordes, be well estemed, or to be sorowfull & displeased for iniuries, & auersion of other persons from vs, & such lyke: In all which, though it be not a mor­tall sinne, that we be occupyed or cō ­sente to them, yet fewe knowe what great losse & harme they bringe to vs, for by them our soule is made dull & heauy towardes good thinges it should doe. He therefore that desyre the to be lorde ouer his owne actions, & be able with facility to worke well: ought presently with his will, to resist these [Page 14]first motiōs or suggestiōs: That where he was assayled with a motion of greif for such iniuries & auersion, or suche lyke: he presently oppose him self & resist such sorow & greif, with an ac­tuall desyre of iniuries, vexations, cō tempt, & contradiction. And con­trari-wyse in the motions of honour, creditt, fauour, & all other sweete, & delectable thinges, wherupon pre­sently arryseth in vs a complacency & delight: We must be ready by & by to woorke with our will an acte of not desyring or delighting in such thinges as naturally we are inclyned vnto and couett. For by so doinge, we shall not onely escape vanitie & sinn but by often practise, & vse, obteyne ex­cellent habitts, & expell the euill. Marke this well, & it may suffise for this poynt & instruction.

I perceiue said Probus, those good habitts woulde take away all or moste of our difficultie in woorkinge well: What way then may we gett them?

I shall teach you this also by & by saide Alphonso, but firste I muste tell [Page]you what intention & ende you must haue in the vse of your powers, & in all your actions; for without know­ledg of this, all you can doe, will be to small purpose or commoditie.

I pray you lett me here it then said Probus

THE FIFTH INSTRVCTION, What ende, scope, & intention, the seruante of God shoulde haue in all his actions. CAP. 6.

YOu muste know therefore said Alphonso, That in all thinges which we desyre or doe, the ende, intention, and motiue, why we doe it, maketh the acte good or euill preceous in goddes sight & meritori­ous, or vyle & sinfull: In so much as a good woork done for an euill ende, is euill, though otherwise of it owne nature it were good.

Doth a good ende in like manner said Probus, make an euill woorke good?

Not so saide Alphonso, For as a good woorke must be euery way void of euill, as wel, in it owne nature, as in the ende for which it is done: So an euill woorke is made euill, either for that it is euill of it own nature, or done for some euill ende. For which cause the Apostle said, that it was vn­lawfull to doe euill, for a good pur­pose. Goe forwarde said Probus for I vnderstande this.

Euery woork said Alphonso, that is good of it owne nature, or that is in­different, that is, which being neither good nor euill of it selfe: may yet be made good by a good ende or intē ­tion, or euill by an euill ende. Euery such woorke I say, may be done or de­syred for diuers good endes, as for the loue of vertue, or for the benefite of our selues or our neighboures, or for the imitation of our Sauiour and his Sainctes, or finallye for the loue of God, & thereby to serue, please, & honour him.

Now as one ende is better then an other: So consequently, that woorke [Page]is better, which is done for a better ende, & that the best, which is done for the best ende. Wherfore because god is an infinite goodnes, that work is the best which is wrought purely & whollye for his sake, or to yelde him honour or seruice, without respect of any other ende. The seruant of god then that desyreth in the best manner to please & serue his Lord, must doe all thinges both in body & soule, for God, to please, serue, obey, & ho­nour him thereby: That (forgeating as it were the good & glory that may come to our selues by doing any acte of vertue, & mindfull onely of God which desyreth our well doinge, and delighteth in it, & is most worthy to be serued & honored by vs in euery thing) we be moued to woork one­ly for pleasing & honoringe him, and for fulfilling his will: Like to a man, that for recouering his owne healthe, haith prepared a medicine, & before he take it, perceauing his deare frend to be fallen sick, and to haue greater neede of the same: In this case (for­geating [Page 16]as it were his owne infirmity, & the desire he had to that medicine, & mindefull onely of his frende) he reioyceth to forgoe it himselfe, & to bestow it for releeuinge of his frendes necessitye: So should we I say againe, serue God, & euer (forgeating our selues & all other things) desyre and woorke onely, because it is godds will we doe it, & because his maiesty requi­reth it at our handes. For this ende & motiue we shoulde couet to loue god, desyre vertues, desyre & pray for pardon of our sinnes, for graces, for glory: For this ende we shoulde flee sinne, feare hell, abhorr damnation, & desyre or refuse whatsoeuer. It se­meth harde & vnpleasant at the first, but after a whyle, it will be easie and delightfull. And such as haue their wills enflammed with deuotion & the loue of god, at the firste hearinge of this way, can woork thus without difficul­tie: and in short time come to exce­ding great perfection.

But how said Probus, shall begin­ners which haue but coulde deuotion, [Page]and weake loue of God, com to get this motiue actually in all they doe?

They may gett it said Alphouso by the vse of their vnderstandinge & will in this sort. Lett them consider, ap­prehend, & sett God as their cheifest frende & most worthy Lorde on the one syde, and them selues on the o­ther. This done, when theire will is moued to couet any vertue, or doe a­ny good woorke: Let them consider for what ende they are moued, and they shall finde it vsually, either for feare of punishment, or for their own benefite, or for the loue of vertue, or desyre of heauenly blisse. None of these motiues shoulde suffice or con­tent the seruant of God, though they be not euill: But seinge his will is so free (goddes help euer presupposed) that it may refuse any one ende, and choose an other, as I tould you be­fore: And seinge also he beleeuethe godds will to be more excellent and worthy, & that it should moue him rather then his owne: He must vio­lently enforce him self to omitt & re­fuse [Page 17]to desyre or will any thinge after his wonted māner &, bring his will to desyre the same thing for a better end & motyue, that is, to desyre to doe it, for fulfillinge the blessed will of God & pleasing him, and for that he (worthy of all seruice, obeysance, & honour) would haue him to doe it.

This loe is the way to gett this di­uine motiue in all our actions, which so incomparably excellethe the mo­tiues of our owne naturall desyres, & all other motiues (how good & ver­tuous soeuer they be) as noe tong cā expresse. For the perfection of all our holines & charitie, consisteth in this poynte, that we conforme our selues in all thinges to godds will, & be of the same mynde with him. For which cause, and for that it is Goddes high pleasure & desyre, that vpon this mo­true we ferue him: we shoulde ende­uour to haue it in all our workes both corporall & spirituall both greate and small: yea in those also which we are naturally to woork according to gods ordinance, as to eate, sleepe, &c.

For as we can not leaue these vndone: so doing them for the loue of God, they helpe vs much to the encrease of our spirituall lyfe: And so the leaste woorke that we doe in Godds sight, as to eate, slepe, recreate, & the like: shall be of more dignitye, then the greateste woorke which he doth that haith not the same ende: as to faste, to watch, to geue almes, to afflict the bodie, & such like, for the kingdom & ioyes of heauen, or any other end be it neuerso good.

Thus may we excedingly enriche ourselues euery day: thus may we be made as it were diuine, when we are moued in all our actions, onely by the spiritt & will of God. And therefore when we are abowt to doe any thing we should not passe vnaduisedly frō on thinge to an other, nor euer begin any thing, without casting of our eies be­fore vpon God: nor be contente and satisfyed with this neither, till we feele our selues to will & desyre the worke for pleasinge God, who excedinglye ioyeth & delighteth in our well doing, [Page 18]which once perceiued and sensiblye knowne, lett vs sett vpon the woork we are to doe, without thinkinge v­pon any good of our owne. For it is fitt & due, that his omnipotente and blessed will that created all wills, haue such precminence & dominion ouer all wills, that not onely they obey him in all he haithe commaunded them: but moreouer, that they doe euery thinge they are to woork, for the ful­filling his holy will, without any fur­ther respect. At the beginning it will seme verye difficult & harde to worke vpon this motiue, & small deuotion or ioy will appeare in this Exercyse: & the reason [...]s, for that we woorke not now, nor loue not, for any good of our owne, as we were accustomed to doe, & as it is naturall to vs: But woorking onely for the loue of God, we as it were remoue away from vs, the roote from which all ioye and de­light, was vsually & naturally wont to spring, that is, we leaue all respect of our owne proper good & rest, & take for the rest & ende of all our labours, [Page]an vnusuall or straunge good, that is, the seruice, pleasure, glory, or loue of God: which being a supernaturall mo­tiue & ende, and straunge to vs at the firste, noe meruell if this chaunge, bringe vnto vs great paine & trouble at the beginning: But by daily exer­cise, & frequent actions, we shall gett an habitt thereof & woorke readilye, with much delighte & comforth.

I beleue it well said Probus, for all beginnings of good things, are euer difficult & vnpleasant: and diligent vse & practise, make promptnes.

But I pray you Father, lett me ask you two questions, firste how shall I know and be assured, that it is godds holy will & desyre, that I woorke in this manner, and serue him vpon this motiue, and for this ende in all things?

This may you know said Alphon­so, both by your naturall reason, and the light of our Catholick Faith. For God created vs all to serue him, and greatly desyreth, yea moste strictlye chargeth vs to loue him, with all our hartes and abilities. And because [Page 19]his dreadfull Maiesty, is worthy of the cheifest and best seruice & in the best manner also that his creatures can de­uyse, to yelde him, which is, to be mo­ued in our actions, and to doe all we doe, for his loue, will, and honoure, as him self doth in all his woorkes: It is manifest that his will & desyre is, that we imitate him, working and ser­uing him in all thinges, for the same motiue and ende. For nothing can be more acceptable to his maiestie, then that we conforme our selues to him, and doe all for his sake. What is your other question now said Alphonso.

Why then said Probus, is not this ende and motiue (being the most perfect of all other) commaunded or taught vs in the holie Scriptures, but for the moste parte, they threaten vs with punishment, or muite vs with re­wards of heauē? &c. The Sonn of god our Sauiour Iesus said Alphonso, as he condescended for our good, to take vpon him our infirmities, as to be hungry, weary, to feare, to be so­rowfull, and the lyke: So woulde he [Page]also haue his euāgelicall doctrine wri­ten in such woords, as our base con­dition and frailtie requyred: which for the most part is moued (now after the corruption of our natures by originall sinne) either by hope of good rewards or for feare of punishment. But with­all we must consider, that as our re­demer tooke vpon him those infirmi­ties of oure nature, with the cheefeste perfection and charitie that might be, in fulfilling the will of his Father by doinge and sufferinge all for his loue and glory: so he would haue his ser­uants to folow his example: And (that hearing godds threates or promises) they be indeede woued with them, & doe their best to escape the one, and gett the other: but all this, not for the paines and punishmente threatned, or the rewardes promised: but because they procede by them, that it is godds will & desyre, they laboure to escape paynes and damnation, in which state they can neuer serue God more, nor doe his will: and to obteine the re­ward of heauen, where they shall be [Page 20]with God for euer, and haue noe will, but to honour and praise him. So the sinner once brought to grace, feareth godds threates, because his will is, that he feare them: He doth penāce, because it is godds will he doe it: He doth good woorkes for heauen, be­cause it is godds will he so doe: By reason of which ende & motiue, in his actions, they are of most high perfec­tion and meritt. And so the holy scrip­tures though they shew that owtward­ly, which is agreable to our infirmitie: yet with-all they conteyne inwardlye, their highest perfection in this poynte, as is manifest in the commaundemēt geuen, that we loue our Lorde with all our hartes and strength in all things, Mat. 12 which is perfectly kept, when we de­syre godds will to be fulfilled. But because out natures are much incly­ned to euill, and by reason of our vi­tious habitts and euill customes, we waxe soone weary of well doinge: I must teach you how to extirpate such euill habitts owt of your soule, and to engraft good: For vnlesse you learne [Page]this, all we haue said hitherto is to li­tle purpose, and you shall neuer worke with alacritie of mynde, nor procede with profitt. Doe so I pray you said Probus, for in all your speach hither­to, I haue perceiued that good habits woulde take away either all, or the most part of difficulties, which are to be founde in seruing God this perfect way you haue taught me. They do so said Alphonso, and more-ouer, the whole reparation of our soule, consis­teth in them, as the wrack & destruc­tion of all oure good, is by the euill habitts.

THE SIXTE INSTRVCTION. How to plante good habitts in our soule, & extirpate the euill. CAP. 7

YOu must know therfore said Al­phonso, that as these habitts be in our soules: so the actiōs wher­by they are gottē & made, are wrought principally, by the powers or instru­ments [Page 21]of the soule. And vnlesse we diligently vse & exercise these instru­ments, especially our vnderstanding & will, we shall neuer gett the habitts of any vertues. As for example, if a mā be impatient or testye, & would haue this vice amended in him self, and ob­teine the habitt of patience, this man how much soeuer he be wronged with iniurious woordes or deedes: howe much soeuer he desire the habitt of pa­tience, yea how much soeuer he refrain from woordes or deedes of reuenge: yet shall he neuer produce or bringe forth in his soule, the habitt of pati­ence, except he help him self by of­ten mouinge his vnderstanding, to cō ­sider the great good of patience, and by stirring his will as the necessary in­strument to bring forth this habitt by inclyning it (as I said before) to de­syre to suffer iniuries and persecutions for the loue, pleasure, and glorie of his Lord, that exhorteth vs all to it, and haith suffered the lyke for vs.

Liuing among good and ciuill peo­ple said Probus, and Christians espe­cially [Page]that haue the feare of God: we shall verye seldome, haue any suche occasions of impatience offered vs by iniurious woords or deedes, & so shall we haue small exercise, & consequent­ly, be long in getting the habitt of pa­tience, or neuer gett it at all. In like sort also may we say, of the habitts of other vertues.

Not so said Alphonso, for where or with whom soeuer we liue, we may woork, and exercise our selues at all tymes, to gett any vertuous habitt, & gett it in deede. How may this be said Probus.

At all tymes said Alphonso, you may produce it thus. For example, the ha­bitt of patience. Caste at any tyme, your cogitation vpon som iniury that you much abhorr, and think what you would doe if it were offered or done to you: Presently you shall perceiue, a greate repugnancy and horroure of that iniury aryse in your minde, by rea­son of the euill habitt of impatience in you. Forthwith therfore call to minde the great good that foloweth, & how [Page 22]is pleased in the patiēt suffering of such iniuries: and then enforce your will to desyre them. And cease not to en­force your self to this though it seme but a constraint and compulsion, for there is euer some part voluntary ther­in. And if you practise often these ac­tions, that which semed to be but a li­tle voluntary, will increase, and you shall come to suffer iniuries and tribu­lation most willingly: & withall the habitt of patience will be planted in your soule. In lyke manner may you at any tyme plante and enriche your self with habitts of humilitie, of po­uertie, Temperance, Chastitie, and other vertues, euer consideringe the greate good that is in the exercyse of them, and compelling your will to de­syre them vpon this motiue, because it is the desyre, will, and glorie of god that you haue them.

But yet you must vnderstand againe said Alphonso, that by this forethought and acceptance or desyre of iniuries, which indeede are not done vs; this habitt of patience is not so quickly nor [Page]so well gotten, as it is when som in­iurie or disgrace is actually done, and this before others, if then you compell your will to accepte it: Because the actions of our will accepting such pre­sent iniuries, are more vehement, & more subdue the soule, then those which are of accepting an iniurie offe­red onely by our thought, & may hap­pen, but doth not. And a few vehe­ment actions, woorke more strongly and effectually to the producing of an habitt, then many which are remisse and weake.

This is the way, to roote owt euill habitts, and to plant good. For wor­king of which effect, it is moreouer greatly profitable, to keepe alwaies a verie firme will and purpose, in the desyre and loue of good, and in the hatred of euill, to which ende serue greatly the high considerations, and weightie reasons which many bookes yelde, why good thinges and vertues are to be loued, and vice to be hated.

Now hereby you may perceiue how the mightieste Princes of the worlde, [Page 23]may enriche them selues with the ha­bitts of Patience, of Pouertie, Hu­militie, Temperance, & of all other vertues: and bewtify their Soules in godds sight, noe lesse then a religi­ous person, if they be willing and di­ligent to doe as I haue tould you.

I perceiue it well said Probus, but after we perceiue our selues to haue gotten these good habitts, may we not assure our selues to be in good state and holy? Albeit said Alphonso, a man haue gotten excellente habit [...]s of vertues, yet can he not be sure that he haith gotten the grace of god, with­out which, a man can be in noe good state with him, or in truth holye.

Godds grace is geuen infalliblye vnto them that haue all which I haue tould you already, and which foloweth af­ter, but naturally we can not know in this lyfe, whether we haue these things as godds will is we should, and conse­quently we can not be certaine, that we haue his fauour and grace. But a cheife signe that we haue it is, when in the same manner we behaue oure [Page]selues towardes those vertues where­of we haue gotten habitts, as we doe towards the vertues of other men, that is, if our harts be not extolled or any whitt prowde for them, but praise & thanke God, whose is euery thinge that good is: And ioy as much in o­ther menns vertues as in oure owne, because godds honour and glory, are equally manifested in them both.

But my sonn said Alphonso, I for­geat my self, it is good tyme nowe, you rest a litle, and make collation.

1 By this which I haue hitherto said, you may knowe in some parte, firste, how God created vs all to serue him, & to vse all temporall thinges to his honour, and for releefe of our neces­sities.

2 Secondly, how there be two man­ners of seruing God, and that we are all bounde to setue him in the perfec­test sorte.

3 Thirdly how by sinn, we are fallē from godds fauour, into a miserable state both of body & soule, the boūd of seruing God still remaininge.

Fourthly how we may repaire again this calamitie and destruction in our soule, by the powers thereof, woor­king with godds grace: & of the vse of our vnderstanding and will, to the same ende.

5 Fifthly to what ende you are to di­rect all your actions, thoughts, & de­sires, and how to doe it.

6 Sixtly, what way to extirpate euill and vitious habitts, which cause much harme in our soule, and how to plant the habitts of vertues.

After we haue made collation, I shall instructe you, how to exercyse your self in a sew principall thinges, which are necessary for the reparation of your soule, before you can be right­ly disposed, to loue and serue God, in such manner as he requireth.

THE SECOND PARTE, CONteyning certayne sperituall Exercyses, wherby the soule is adorned, bew­tifyed, and rightlye disposed to the perfect actes of louing & seruinge God.

THE first Exercyse how the ser­uant of God shoulde purge his soule from all sinne.

AFter they had refreshed them selues with breade and water, which was the Ermits vsuall fair: he begann & saide. My sonn, the firste thinge and Exercyse, wherein a man muste occupy him selfe, to gett a fitte disposition, to loue and serue God, is to extirpate or roote owt of his soule, all euill, that is, the silthe of sinne: that when he would do any seruice to his lord, there be nothinge that may offend the eyes of so highe a Maiestie. This done, he muste a­dorne [Page 25]and bewtify his soule with good habitts and vertues, whereby he may appeare gratefull & acceptable to him in his seruice. Of these two thinges, I will therefore now speake, and first how to roote owt and destroy sinn.

You must know then, that sinne is the most vyle and detestable euill that can be deuysed, & bringethe to any reasonable creature that commit­teth it, vnspeakable harmes and mis­cheues. For by sinn, we loose God, who is an infinite goodnes. By it we contemne, dishonour, and iniury, our louinge Lorde, in the fowlest manner that may be. By it, we frustrate in oure selues, the effecte and frute, of Christs painfull lyfe, and moste bitter passion, and conculcate or treade vn­der foote, his preceous blood. By it we defyle and make moste lothsom & abominable our owne soules, washed and sanctifyed with the blood of oure Sauiour, and chosen to be the sacred temples of Godds Maiesty. By it we pollute our harts, the Altars & Taber­nacles of the holy Ghoste, where he [Page]delightethe to dwell. By it we loose godds fauour, and all his graces, the eternall ioyes of his kingdom, with all our right and tytle thereunto. By it onely we are made the boundslaues of the deuill, the felowes and com­panions of all wicked men both aliue & deade, & of the damned spiritts in hell. By it, we are made the reproch­full enemies of God, the moste ab­iect, contemptible, and dishonorable of all his creatures. And finally by it we purchase assuredlye to our selues, endles damnation, eternall woes, and the horrible tormentes of hell fyre.

All which euills and miseries, are iustly dew to him, that by sinn com­mitteth high treason againste his su­preame Lorde, who vouch-saifed to dye for him.

Now the sorowes and teares of all goddes creatures are not sufficient to destroy or take away one sinne: much lesse the penance & teares of one man that haith committed the same.

But the mercy and clemency of oure Lord is so great, that he will not haue [Page 26]vs to dispaire: And desireous of our weale, haith prouided vs a remedie, & is content to pardon & forgeue our sinns, assone as we for our parts, haue hartie sorow & contrition for the same: What besides is needefull or requisite, he supplieth it of his owne, & resto­reth vs againe to his grace & fauour. It is meete therefore that we lamente & sorow for out sinnes, consideringe we haue done so many euills by them both against God & our selues.

How shoulde we doe this as beco­meth vs said Probus?

The way is this said Alphouso.

With your vnderstandinge present to your selues, the cuills which come of sinne as before: & then compell your will (principally for the offence & dis­honour of God, and because it is his will that you sorowe for them) to la­ment, and to desyre that you had not committed them, nor iniuried godds maiesty: which acte of your will, you muste often labour to produce; now in generall for all your sinnes: now for one particular sinn, now for an o­ther, [Page]& this with the greateste ende­uour you can, to haue hartie greif and contrition, notwithstanding you feele your self somtimes voyde of sensible sorowe or paine, for this is in godds hande and not in your owne, to haue at your pleasure, but doubtlesse he will bestow it also on you, if you endeuour to gett it as you may.

I vnderstand all this said Probus.

Then will I passe said Alphonso, to the second thinge, which I tould you was requisite, for the expellinge of our corruption & euill habitts.

What is that said Probus?

THE SECONDE EXERCYSE necessarye for them that woulde serue God, which is the hatred of our felues.

IT is the hatred of our self said Al­phonso: And this Exercyse amonge all other, is of greatest weight and importance for them that desyre per­fectly to loue God and to serue him: For from self loue, springe innumera­ble [Page 27]euills, by which are engendered viceous habitts: And this self loue sea­singe at the entrance of that holy ha­tred (which the holy scriptures much exhort vs vnto) all sinn will be destroy ed in vs, with all other wicked habits.

How may we com to this holy ha­tred of our selues said Probus?

Firste said Alphonso, of all thinges which may bringe vs delectation and pleasure, as meate, sleepe, recreatiō, reste, apparell, and the lyke, we must take or desyre no more, then that we can not omitt or leaue vntaken with­owt offence of god, that is, onely ne­cessaries: And necessaries also muste we take, not for our owne consolati­on, or for satisfaction & contentment of our owne appetites and sensualitie, consideringe how vnworthy we be of all delectation, through the greuous­nes of our sinnes: but onely for fulfil­linge godds holy will, who haith or­deyned & appointed that we vse and take such thinges, to able vs more in his seruice, for which cause we admitt them willingly, for releefe of oure ne­cessities: [Page]otherwise we would notad­mitt them at all. What in these ne­cessaries is sufficient, a mannes owne experience with a deuout mynd, will tell him.

Secondly all thinges which be pain­full & greuous, as laboures, toyles, abiections, contempts, iniuries, afflic­tions, and the lyke: We muste take vnto vs, and desyre or will they be done to vs as much as may be without offence of God, our owne or neygh­boures harme.

Thirdly if we would serue God, & hate our selues in moste commenda­ble manner, we must not onely refuse delectable thinges, and desyre pain­full & greuous as I said: but more o­uer we must ioy and be gladd, when any aduersities or sharpe things hap­pen vnto vs, & when we are depry­ued of pleasant thinges, yea of neces­saries, & this cheifly, when they are done by som others against our wills, or vpon euill intention: which yet we ought not to iudge withowt manifest signes, noe nor then neither with ab­solute [Page 28]& full determination: but pray for our persecutours, and loue them with all our hartes, because in truthe they doe vs much good: & otherwise we shoulde loose the inestimable re­warde we are to receiue for suffering patiently persecutions & troubles.

All these three thinges necessarye for the holy hatred of our selues, the Sonn of God taughte vs, both by his woord & by his owne example, as S. Peter saith he suffered for vs, 1 Pet. 2 leauinge vs an example to folowe his steppes, whose most blessed soule was free frō all sport of sinne, & therefore his holy body should not haue bene entreated sharply, or haue suffered any greuāce at all: Yet woulde he for our ex­ample (whō he most tenderly loued) refuse and set nothing by all delecta­ble thinges, & consent that his body & soule should suffer excedinge tor­mentes & gretues, as it is manifest in his holy gospell. Wherefore much shame & reproch it is, to all that pro­fesse them selues to be Christians and scholers of Christe, not to learne this [Page]holye hatred, neither by his woorde sayinge: He that hatethe not him selfe, can not be my Disciple: nor by his ex­ample, but stande euer vnwillinge to suffer any payne or iniurye for his ser­uice, or to heare of it either.

I confesse said Probus, it is greate reproch & dishonour to a Christian in this lesson, to forsake & not to imi­tate his Lord & God, considering he suffered all for our sakes & instruction, and the commoditye of our laboures being all our owne. But what reasons besydes this can we consider, why we should thus hate our selues? For vn­lesse our willes be animated & encora­ged by our vnderstanding in this point, cheifly, which (for the naturall loue we beare to our selues) semeth terri­ble & horrible to be thought vpon, we shall neuer desire this hatred, much lesse exercyse our selues to gett it.

The doctrine and example of our Sauiour said Alphonso, should suffice, but I will geue you two or three rea­sons moe. The first is, because what soeuer euill is in vs, with all our want [Page 29]of good & vertues: all I say, comethe because we hate not our selues, but loue and desyre thinges either against the commaundement of God, or cō ­trary to his counsells & aduyse.

Wherefore self loue being so hurt­full to vs, and hatred of our selues so commodious, we haue good cause to desyre & labour for this later, and to flee that other.

An other reason may be, because by sinning, we haue bene traitours a­gainst the maiestie of God: Where­fore it is meete & iuste, that we yelde him all possible satisfaction. And seing that satisfaction shoulde be answeara­ble in greatnes, to the greuousnes and malice of our sinnes, & we our selues can yelde but litle, and also in that we can doe, are verie negligent & slack, to vse our owne bodies hardly any way for making what satisfaction we are a­ble: At the least for this cause we ought to hate our selues as is declared, and to desyre & be ioyfull, that euery one hate, persecute, & afflict vs as much as they may without the offence of god [Page]that thus at the leaste we may satisfye vnto him, considering I say our own abilities otherwise suffice not.

The third & most high reason of all why we should hate our selues is, that our soules being voyde & emptie of self loue, as farr forthe as may stande with Godds pleasure: They may be filled with God him self, whose good­nes in noe wyse can suffer, that being emptie of self loue, we should not be filled with the loue of him, & conse­quently his holy will, reigne & beare all sway in oures. But of this princi­pall reason I shall tell you more, when we com to speake of the loue of God.

How shall we said Probus, vse the instruments of our soule, to obteine this holye hatred of our selues?

When we would said Alphonso, re­fuse & not admitt, thinges delectable & pleasant, or desyre & accept hard & painefull things, as contempts, re­uylinges, iniuryes, and the lyke: we must forgeat a litle these thinges, and not offer them thus nakedlye to oure will, but turne our mynde to consider [Page 30]the innumerable good thinges which com to vs, by refusing the one sort, & accepting the other: And principally the infinyte treasure of goddes loue, which we gett by hatred of our selues accordinge to his will. And then vpon these considerations, moue and inclyne our will to reiecte the pleasant & to embrace the greuous, as neces­sarie meanes to obteine these inestima­ble goods, euer with-all being mind­full that you doe all this, for the ser­uice of your Lorde, and for fulfillinge his holy will & pleasure.

But touching the ioyfull acceptance of paynefull thinges & aduersities: I shall tell you more, in the matters of Humilitie & Patience.

There is no more then to be learned said Probus, for the hatred of our selues.

Yes one thing more said Alphonso, which meruelously helpeth them that are desireous to obteine this holie ha­tred, which is, that continuallye and without ceasing, we persecute certain innumerable litle desires of our owne, which if we marke, com runninge v­pon [Page]vs in euery moment, & inclyne vs to selfe loue. Wherefore we must in all occasions, be watchfull ouer our owne actions, & verie circumspectly marke, whether perhapps we desire a­ny thing which is not belonging vnto God, or not furtheringe vs towardes him: And incontinent so soone as we espye any thinge to delighte vs with­owt God, we must incline our will, to contradict & refuse it. And when we perceiue any thing to happen gre­uous & displeasant: We must by & by, enclyne our will to couett & ac­cept it. If you be diligent in this, you shall both much sooner gett this holy hatred, and withall such dominion & gouernment ouer your self, as can not be expressed in woordes. Mark ther­fore this well I say againe, & exercyse it, for assuredly this poynte is the key & gate to cheife perfection.

This hatred said Probus, seemethe contrary to Chatitie, whereby we are all bounde to loue our selues.

Not so said Alphonso, but so soone as a man hateth him self in this sort, & [Page 31]not before: he haith all the loue that he ought to haue towardes him selfe, & which is most profitable & glorious to him, and that which God woulde he should haue. For then haith he the loue of God, of vertues, of eternall glory, and of all thinges which helpe him thither, which loue doth not suf­fer with it the company of any vyce.

But now let vs goe to the seconde thinge, that is, to know how we may adorne & bewtify our soules with ver­tues. As it pleaseth you said Probus.

THE THIRD EXERCYSE. How the seruant of God, should behaue him selfe in prayer.

YOu muste know therefore said Alphonso, that he is said to haue his soule adorned & bewtifyed, that haith his naturall appetites confor­mable with his reason and godds will & Law. And this conformity is none other thing, but a certain heap of ver­tues, which placed orderly in the soule [Page]make it bewtifull, and directe it as is conuenient for the great dignity ther­of, mitigating & repressing, all false and euill concupiscenses, which had stook in the soule by sinne, & dispo­sing it to serue, & withowt all con­tradiction, to yeld gratefull obeisance to the will of him that created it.

And because our owne strength & powers, are verie weake & vnable to obteyne suche thinges: I will reache you firste, how to call for helpe from God by prayer. Secondly, howe by many particularactes: you must build these habitts of vertues, speakinge of som few which be principall. Third­ly, how you must subdue & keepe in semely order, your foure naturall pas­sions, Ioy, Sorow, Hope, & Feare.


FOr Praier then, you muste know that Goddes pleasure is, that we stande neede of his supernaturall help, because the ende & felicity whereto he haithe created vs, is supernaturall, [Page 32]that is the blisse of heauen. His will also is, that we aske & demande it of him, not, but that he desyrethe more to geue it vs, then we to take or aske it: But first that we may possesse and enioy the thing with more honoure, which we get with greater endeuoure & labour in suting for it, & that we may as it were meritt the same: And secondly, that as importune beggers, we may the oftner presente our selues before him, and so come into more knowledg of his Maiesties greatnes, preheminence, & perfections, & more ioy in him, and loue him with a true knowledg & contempt of all thinges, which either are not God, or not fur­thering to him, & finally, with a per­fect loue of vertue, and an hatred of all sinn. By which our necessitye of praying to him, he keepe the vs with him as with a pledge: For vnlesse we stoode euer in nede of him, we should quickly without doubt, forgeat him.

To present our selues often before our Lord by prayer said Probus, must needes bring to vs, many good things [Page]you say: But in what sorte may oure prayer be acceptable to god, & com­modious to our selues?

That our prayer said Alpho so, may be gratefull in Godds sight, merito­rious & effectuall, it is not so muche needefull, that the thing we aske, be of great valewe, as that in our prayer we haue an high motiue or ende. For if his motiue that praieth for the king­dome of heauen, and his that aske the breade to eate, or health of his body, be all one or equall: their paayers be of equall meritt, not-withstandinge the things they pray for, farr excede, the one the other.

What motiue & ende said Probus, should we haue, to make our prayer most excellent & acceptable?

We should aske or pray for euery thinge said Alphonso, because it is Godds blessed will that we aske and haue it by prayer, and that obteyning it, we may be more disposed, & bet­ter abled, to loue & serue him.

Thus the prayer for breade, or any other meane thinge, is of excellente [Page 33]meritt, & so disposed should we be in our harts, when we come to prayer, that if we thought it displeasing or vn­gratefull to God, for vs to haue the thinge: we would forthwith, neither defire nor aske it. The hungry man comonly is moued to pray for bread, in releef of his necessitie: but the ser­uant of god that rightly praieth, ought not to aske meate, vertues, grace, glo­ry, or any other thing, for his owne necessitie or benefyte, but for fulfil­ling the will of his Lorde, who much desireth that he haue them, expecting onelye his petition, that he may geue them: so that the will of god (desirig that I haue the good I aske, & that I pray for it, & that by it I may be bet­ter disposed to serue him) must more moue me to desire & pray for it: thē anie ioy or good I looke for thereby.

May we not said Probus, pray for Grace, vertues, forgeuenes of oure sinnes, the ioyes of heauen, or other good thinges, for some other good end besides this? A praeir said Al­phōso, may be deuout & good, which is [Page]for any good or indifferent thing, to a good end, but there is none ende or motiue, which can make it so perfect and acceptable as this, in which I am moued to pray onely for the loue of God, & for fulfilling his blessed will & pleasure, and not vpon any loue to my self, or to the thinge I aske, or for any other respect. And yet may we in our prayers for this ende, kepe al­so a loue, to the good thing we aske & wishe to our selues also with greate perfection & meritt: so that we actu­allye referr it thus, that therefore we loue the thing and wish it, because it is godds will we loue it, and defire to haue it. And so we make God, and neither the thing nor our selues, the ende of our prayer.

I will geue you an example of this said Alphonso, againe, and withall let you see, how to vse your will rightly in praying.

A man may aske any thinge of his frend, either for the loue he bearethe to it, or for his own commoditie, or for the loue of his frende: Vsuallye [Page 34]men aske it for their owne good and benefite, & not for the loue of their frend. Now the seruant of god should refuse with his will to aske any thing, for the loue he beareth to the thinge or for his own commoditie: and ask it onely for the loue of his Lord, be­cause it pleaseth his Maiestie that he aske & haue it, that he may serue and please him the more: As he that pray­eth for pardon & remissiō of his sinns, & soroweth for them, should doe it more, because he seethe that to be in his soule which offendeth God, & for a desire he haith to haue it pure, that so he may yelde gratefull & accepta­ble seruice to his Lord: Then for any feare of punishmente or other harme or losse to him self whatsoeuer. And againe, as he that prayethe to escape tribulations, ought to feele in his hart a desire, & accordingly to pray to es­cape them, not cheefly for auoyding daunger, harme, or trouble: but for that tribulations may be to him, an impediment to serue God, carryinge euer withall, an vnfeaned desire and [Page]will, that godds blessed will be done therein, if at any tyme it please him to be serued by his troubles & paines. And so finallye in askinge any other good, that we aske it, not for oure owne consolation, but that hauinge it, we may thereby be more stirred vp & furthered to serue and loue God.

It will seme easie to you, if you re­member what I tould you before cō ­cerning the vse of your will, and the ende that you shoulde haue in doinge all thinges: & the example I gaue you then, of him that regardinge more his frendes necessitie then his owne, be­stowed on him the medicyne, which he prouyded for him selfe, will serue here also.

I remember well said Probus, what you said there.

Remember it said Alphonso, & be diligent to produce according to those instructions, many actes: and in shorte tyme, you will fynde greate sweetnes to pray vpon this motiue, thoughe in the beginning, you seeme to be drye or without comforthe and deuotion, [Page 35]hapneth, because you leaue your own self loue, which euer moued you be­fore to pray. But Godds loue increa­singe in you: deuotion and sweetnes with exceding great meritt, will also increase.

See therefore you passe not from asking one thinge, to aske an other, before you firste inclyne your will to aske it, because God would haue you to aske it, & that you intēde to serue him by askinge it.

I vnderstande all this said Probus.

If you so doe said Alphonso, then may we speake of getting vertues for adorning our soules.

THE FOVRTH EXERCYSE. How to gett the vertue of Humilitye, which is one of them, that oure Sauioure willed vs to learne of him selfe.

ALL vertues said Alphonso, may best be redd, & learned in the booke of lyse, & fountayne of wisdom our Sauiour Chirst. And let [Page]none hope nor think they can be en­riched with vertues, vnlesse they learn them of the Sonn of God made man, & principally of his sacred passion, for this is geuen vnto the world by the Father of heauen, as a moste plenti­full gould-myne, that owt of it we may gather all treasures, see & heare the excellency of euery vertue.

Therefore happy is he that by cō ­tinuall meditation, entrethe into the hidden & inner secretts of this myne: for there he shall finde stoared vppe, all the treasures of God.

What vertues said Probus, will he that we first learne of him?

He haith willed vs said Alphonso, to learne of him self two, which are, Humilitie, & Patience, saying, Learu of me, that I am patient, and humble of harte: which two, when we haue learned: we shall be full of true wis­dom and not before. Of these two therefore, I will tell you howe they may be gotten.

Many haue writen of the stepps & degrees of Humilitie, for it is a ver­tue [Page 36]which reacheth verie high, & des­cendeth verie low: & without stepps let no man hope to clyme to the topp thereof: but he that once arryue the thither, shall presently come into such knowledg of himself, & all thinges: that thereby he shall most clearly see how of him self, he is and haith vetie nothinge, and that onely God is the thing, that trulie is. For which cause he desireth that all the thoughtes and powers of men be bente to praise & magnifye him onely, whose is euery thing that is. Moreouer he wish­eth (because Humilitie coueteth no­more then is it owne) that the whole world entreate & esteme him as he is, that is for nothinge: And that menns harts be not occupyed, yea for any li­tle moment, in esteming that to be of some worth, which in truth is nothing­or a vessell of iniquitie which is worse then nothing, as euery sinner is.

Herein therefore consisteth the key of Humilitie, that this which I haue now said, may be fixed in our hartes, by many actes of good consideration: [Page]couetinge with-all, that they which harme or dispyse vs, & that they also which see it, may thinke vs to suffer, not vpon humilitye, but because we can not otherwyse doe, as S. Bona­uenture saith, that he which laboreth to please God, muste endeuour to be thought vyle & abiecte, not humble and modest.

Me think said Probus, it were good to shew our Humilitye to others, for their edification.

If a man said Alphonso, were of such perfect vertue, that without any repug­nance or difficulty, he could wishe to be estemed of all men vyle, abiect, & nothing, as I said before: suche a one might desire, for the edification of his neighboures, that they should think him to suffer iniuries willingly, & with ioy, for the loue of God and humilitie, & this were heroycall hu­militie, which was moste perfecte in our Sauiour.

I pray you Father said Probus, de­clare to me the humilitie of our Sa­uioure, seinge I muste haue it before [Page 37]myne eyes as a patern to imitate.

The humility of our Sauiour said Al­phonso, conteyneth in it, most high & vnspeakable misteries, & better may all creatures admire it, then com nigh in folowing it. For our Sauiour being God omnipotente, of infinite good­nes, and a moste perfecte man, did choose & will with great ioy, to be estemed for a most meane thing, yea almost for nothing, & for such a one he would be hardly intreated with in­iuries, contumelies, reproches, & tri­bulations, from the first day of his birth till he suffred a most sharpe & shame­full deathe. All which he did, not for that they weare needefull for him self: but that we who haue great neede thereof, mighte learne the manner of humbling our selues by his example.

Now the seruant of God must stu­dy & doe his best endeuour, to frame his humilitie, like to this of our Saui­ours: that is, consideringe his owne vylenes, abiection, and vnworthines, he ought to couet & desire, with great ioy (I say againe with greate ioy, for [Page]for this is the pith of all) that in the eyes & hartes of all men, he be repu­ted as worthlesse, and accordingly to be intreated, for of our selues we are none other, nor deserue better. This is the humilitie which oure Sauioure would haue vs to learne of him.

Why doth God said Probus, re­quyre of vs so great humilitie & con­tempt of our selues; & why would he teach it vs with so great cost & harme to him self?

He requyreth it of vs said Alphonso because in truth it is conuenient for vs, & because that of our selues we haue no good, nor deserue any at all, thoe we receiue many good thinges from the magnificall hande of God, from whom we ought to acknowledge to haue receiued them, & therefore glo­rify him & not our selues. Againe he requyreth it, because it (beinge vo­luntarily taken) is the perfecte medi­cyne of our mortall infirmitie, which cometh by pryde. Neither shall any man euer be soundly cured of that dis­ease, withowt perfecte humilitie.

And the more we wante of perfect curinge, the more also we shall wante of the puritie of our soule: & the more we wante of the puritie of our soule, the more shall we want of godds gra­ces & benefites, and so much the lesse shall we be his. Now that he woulde teach it vs with so much harme to him self, proceded from his infinite good­nes, & from his most tender & inef­fable loue to vs, not appointing men, or Angells to this office, but deligh­ting him self to be our instructour and guyde, notwithstandinge any harmes or inconueniences, that mighte befall him therefore.

How may we said Probus, come to gett this Humilitie, and to reioyce in contempts, iniuries, & tribulations, for it is verie hard to desire these thinges?

We may obteyne all this, said Al­phonso, by much considering the Hu­militie of godds Sonn, which I toulde you of before, & the profitt that com­meth to our selues by it: & cheefely because we are so abled & made fitt, to yelde acceptable seruice vnto God, [Page]and to please him. Wherefore we must verie often inclyne our willes, to couet and with ioy desire, abiections, contempts, and iniuries, which are so preceous & so profitable.

O how deseruedly oughte he to be humbled, or to be humble, & to de­sire to be despysed, that so often haith bene traiterous against his eternall lord yelding his soule to the deuill by sinn, & taking it from god, that so louing­ly dyed for it. Surely if we would se­riouslye marke this, we should receiue honoures (if at anie tyme they were offred vs) with much greife, consi­dering they hinder vs of the inestima­ble goodes which we might gett by i­mitating & accompanying the Kinge of heauen, in contempts, dishonoures, contumelies, & the lyke.

May not a man with humilitie said Probus, desire somtimes to be estee­med & honored?

Yes said Alphonso, he may desire this in some cases, as when (without respect of his own estimation) he haith his eye, respect, & intention onely to [Page 39]some seruice, & honour which he se­eth, may redownde to god thereby.

But in this case also he ought to de­sire such estimation with feare and som sorow, that he must be honored, & with great circumspection, that he be not deceiued with self loue.

How may I know said Probus, whe­ther in such case as this I kepe humi­litie, with that desire of honour?

You may know & discerne this said Alphonso, if you ioy noe whitt in that estimation & honour, but onely in the seruice & honour which is done to god by it. And again, if you fele in your hart an vnfeaned desire or disposition, that leauing all honour & estimation (if so it might please God) you had rather for your owne part, chose to yeld him your seruice, by suffering contempts, dispysinges, disgraces, & iniuries, then by that estimation, credit, & honour.

And lastly, if you fynde your hart as desireous & ioyfull, that other mē be estemed & honored for the seruice & honour of God, as your self, or that they be preferred before you: without [Page]any emulation.

When a man said Probus, haithe receiued benefites & good gifts from God, why may he not delight & re­ioyce in them?

He may ioy & delight in them said Alphonso, so he kepe humilitie with­all, & fall not into vayne-glorye: for otherwyse he shoulde turne all gods gifts to his dishonour, & his own gre­uous ruyne. I must therefore by the way, geue you warning of vayn-glo­ry, which is a vyce that defileth & de­stroyethe, all our vertues and good deedes, vnlesse we auoyde it well.

I pray you said Probus, teach me to escape it.

THE FIFTH EXERCYSE. HOW to ouercom the vyce of vainglo­ry, which is a mortall enemye to Humilitie & all vertue.

VAin-glorie said Alphonso, is the Mother of all euill, & it aboue all other thinges, hindreth the increase of Humilitie. It is a complacency or [Page 40]delight & ioy, which one taketh of some thing he ought not, or in some sort as he ought not. And there be diuers kyndes of it: As firste a man may glory & reioyce for his own wic­ked factes & euill deedes. This kind of glory & ioye, is not amonge Gods children and seruantes, but proper to graceles & most wicked persons, and therefore I will lett it passe.

Againe one may glory and ioy for some good thinge or gifte which he haith not: This also is most foolishe, vaine, & ridiculous, yet is it often in­cident to the good, as ordinary to the badd, procedinge from a disordered self loue, & a prowde mynde, deligh­ting in it owne prayse & flaterye.

Againe, one may glory & reioyce vainelye, for some good he haith or doth, or heareth of him self: This is that kynde, which assaultethe muche godds seruantes. Nowe a man may well ioye in the gifes which he haith of God, so farr forth as he seethe and hopeth thereby, some seruice to God or profitt to his owne soule. For God [Page]haith left it in our owne liberty, that we may so much ioy for euery good gift of God, as we know it to be from God, & to redownd to gods honour & seruice: But when it once passeth this ordinance appointed by god, by & by it becometh vain-glory, or vain ioy excedinge the limitts appoynted by God, as glorying and reioycinge in our selues, where we should glory onely in God.

How may we discern said Probus, when our glorye & ioye is vayne, or true & spirituall as it should be?

This vain-glorie said Alphonso, is so deceyptfull and subtill: that one yet a nouice & weake in vertue, may often thinke him self to ioye in God for the good he haith, and neuerthe­lesse much vain-glorie is mixed there­with. Wherefore till a man euident­ly know, & haue throughly tryed ver­tues to be in him self, he shoulde euer flee all kynd of ioy and complacency whyles he calleth to mynd the bene­fites that he haith receiued from God or the good giftes he haith or heareth [Page 41]spoken of him self, and rather accus­tom his harte to motions of feare, at these tymes, as suspecting vain glorie which verye secretly vsethe to creepe vpon vs in such occasions. And sure­ly he ought to suspect o [...] think it vain­glorie & ioy which he haith of godds gifts geuen him: so long as he haith not as much ioy & glorye in the gifts & benefites, which he knoweth other men to haue receiued from god, as he haith of his own. For albeit we ought to desire and choose vertues for oure selues, before other, & also to ioy that (seing it is godds will and ordinance that bothe we & others shoulde haue them) it haith pleased him to bestow them vpon vs: Yet when both we & they, haue receiued gifts from godds bountifull hande, seing god him self equally ioyeth in both: our ioy & glory in lyke forte, oughte to be equall for them both in God onely, & that his blessed will is fulfilled.

I vnderstand this satd Probus: but teach me I pray you, how I may a­uoyde this fowle sinne of vain-glory, [Page]and vaine ioy.

You may said Alphonso, by the vse of your vnderstanding & will, ouer­com it, & escape all the daunger ther­of. For by the assistance of gods grace you can hate that, which you once know to be vaine & false. Consider therefore the vanitie & falsed thereof by this example or comparison.

You will confesse it to be a fowle thinge, if some courtier would esteme it for a matter of great valew or worth or would glory in his harte, that he had offred him self to a litle daunger for the seruice & loue of his Prince, who had yelded him self before, to most greuous tormēts & cruell woūds for the courtiers sake & cause.

But if the same courtier, did not onelye in his owne conceipte, high­ly esteeme that litle he had done for his Prince, to whom he was so infi­nitly bound & behoulden: but more­ouer before others, woulde prowdly vaunt him selfe thereof: it were most ridiculous, to-too grosse follie, intol­lerable pryde & leuitie: Yet were it [Page 42]more abominable vanitye by farr, if that Prince had suffred all his tormēts & woundes voluntarily & without a­ny comforth or succour of his courti­er, but the courtier contrari-wise, had suffered his litle with great fauour, as­sistance, & comforth, of the Prince, & hauing promise also before his la­boures, of great benefites & rewards, & receiued the same afterwards: So in like manner he falleth into noe lesse abominable vanitie, yea & into worse incomparablye, that folowethe after vain-glory. For our high God, and King of incomprehensible Maiestie, of infinite power & honour, through his owne goodnes onely withowt any bounde, behoulding our extreme ne­cessities, for our sakes and saifties, ex­posed him self, to a most sharpe and ignominious death: In which we not onelye gaue him noe comforthe nor succoure, but more-ouer we yelded him noe thankes, yea all that were with him, fledd & forsooke him: & we also more forsake him now through defect of our vertue, when his god­head, [Page]mercy, and goodnes, are ma­nifested vnto vs. Which thinges be­inge thus, let vs acknowledge how vayne it is for any man to glory for his seruice he doth to God, omitting in the meane season, to glory & ioye in god onely. And moreouer let vs consider how exceding vaine it is, to desire for this smal seruice, to be high­ly estemed with others, whereas for that tyme whiles their hartes are oc­cupied, in iudginge vs to be of some worth, they cease to be occupyed in worthily esteming & praysinge God, of whom we haue, & whose is, all our good.

God forbidd, that the hart which is not occupyed in highly esteming & praising God, to whom all prayse is due, shoulde be occupyed in iudg­ing of any worth, to whom noe such thing is due. And he also deserueth much blame for his consentinge, that thinketh other to occupy their hartes, in praising & esteming him beinge so vyle & abiect, seasinge in that meane tyme to magnify god for all his good­nes [Page 43]& giftes, & is not ashamed nor greued, for so great disorder & abuse of thinges. It augmenteth also great­ly our vanitie, that whatsoeuer we do, or suffer, all is by the mighty grace & help of our most high God. It is said Probus, a thing both glorious & meritorious, that we accept the gifts & graces of God, & not reiect or re­sist them: and then why may we not glorie & think well of our selues that we accepted them? We neuer saw man said Alphonso, that would vainly glory & boaste, onely because he had accepted benefites, done him by a Prince, but rather it would haue bene iudged playne madnes, to haue refu­sed thē. And it is great folly for a mā to glorye and boaste, that he would not be madd whē he might, or proud­ly to behaue and esteme him self, be­cause he would not leap into a pitt & drowne him self when he might haue done it. Muche lesse cause surelye haith any man to glorye, because he accepted godds giftes & refused them not, considering that their verye ac­ceptinge [Page]and will to receiue them, is not done by their own power & abi­litie or nature, 1 Cor. 4 but principally by the grace and helpe of God, as S. Paule saith: What hast thou that thou haste not receyued? & if thou haste receiued it, why doest thou glory?

Nowe after your vnderstandinge haith had these & such lyke conside­rations of this vyce: moue & incline your will as I taughte you before, to refuse & hate it: And standing firm­ly in the true conceipte of your owne basenes & vnworthines, yeld all praise & glory to God to whom it is due, & in him onely, let all your ioye and glory be, & rest.

The actions of your will, you must diligently vse in all occasions, where this vain-glorie would creepe in, and draw you to delighte in your self, or in any thing you haue. This may suf­fyce concerning the euill vyce of vain­glory. Now will we speake of pati­ence which is the seconde vertue we are to learne of our Sauiour Christe, vnlesse you teste vnsatisfyed in some [Page 44]thing I haue said.

Goe forwarde said Probus, I pray you, for I vnderstande you well, and haue nothing to replye.

THE SIXT EXERCYSE. HOW to plant in our soules, the vertue of Patience, which is one of the two vertues, which our Saui­our would haue vs to learn of him.

PAtience said Alphonso, is so dear a sister & companion to Humi­lity, that comonly they are found together: And by what waies & paths the one is found, you may finde the other also. And as we said before that to gett Humilitie, it is necessarie we sett before our eyes, the humilitie of godds Sonne: so muste we doe also the same here, for obteyninge this vertue of Patience. For who can cō ­plaine or repyne insufferinge iniuries, or any tribulation (hauinge deserued them as we all haue) when he conside­reth with how great mildnes and pati­ence, [Page]his Lorde god voluntarily did choose to suffer so manie & so greate iniuries, contumelies, persecutions, & tormentes, together with a moste bitter death: who (besides that he was true God & Lord of all) was also a man of more noble, delicate, & ten­der complexion, then any other man in the world, & more feelinge, anie affliction.

Who will not patiently & myldly sustain for curing his owne sinnes, anie toyle, vexation, or distresse that may befall: if he consider his God to haue susteyned farr greater for the sinns of other, & to bringe remedy to our euills.

The example of our Sauioure said Probus, should indede moue & suffice vs to take anie aduersitie patientlye: but our frayle natures, can not away with trouble or affliction.

Naturallye indeede said Alphonso, we are inclyned to flee & abhorr thē: But godds grace preuenting our wills & cooperatinge with vs, we may be brought in short tyme, to accept and [Page 45]embrace them, and this the rather, if we consider, not onely this example which our Sauiour haith geuen vs, but more-ouer cast our eye, to the great commoditie we gett thereby, which our Lorde also is desireous we labour to obteine.

For persecutions & tribulations, are as it were a hammer or fire, where­with the rust or canker of our soules is taken away: or as a launcinge knife, thrust into our soules, to let owt the poysen of our self loue, which festreth there & drawethe vs from all good; that once freed from that filthe, we may woorke the high woork of God, that is, loue & serue him as we should.

For which cause, we ought hartely to loue & pray for our persecutours, & thank God that prouideth vs so good surgeons.

Teache me the way said Probus, I pray you, to gett this vertue.

If you remember said Alphonso, 1 P. C. 7. I taught it you before, when we talked of the way, how to plant vertuous ha­bits in our soule. For there I put the example [Page]of Patience, which may suf­fice also for this place.

I remember it verie well said Pro­hus.

That also which I taughte you said Alphonso, of the hatred of your selfe, 2 Part. 2 Exer. you must call to mynde againe in this mater, for the reasons I gaue you why you should hate your self, may serue fitlye, to moue you to suffer patient­ly, any aduersitie or affliction. Now let vs propounde one example of som odious matter, that may befall.

You either suspect or certenly know a man to speak or reporte som euill of you, which you neuer committed.

Hereby three dartes are caste at you to wound your soule: from all which the souldier and seruant of God, must cleare & acquyte him self, that by his fight, his Lorde may be serued & ho­nored, and his owne soule bewtified.

The first is the dart of euill suspiti­on or iudgment, againste the man, or against his intention. From this dart you must withdraw your self, and let it passe, inclyninge your will, not to [Page 46]accept or deale with it, as consenting to any such suspition or iudgment, but to referr it wholly vnto God, who is the high Iudg of all, and haith willed vs not to iudge. For fulfilling of whose will, we ought with great ioy to for­beare to iudge, and not to vsurpe or cake vpon vs his office.

The second is the darte of greuous impatiencye; To this you muste op­pose your self with all your strengthe, ioying in the paine and iniury, which cometh to you by that occasion, and the more you seme to ioye of it, the lesse will the deuill assaulte you with impatience, lest he geue you occasi­on of so great meritt.

That you may well demeane your selfe in receiuing this dart, remember what I said of the hatred of your self.

The third is the dart of hatred, of him whom you suspecte or know, to haue done you wronge. To this also you must oppose your self, inclyninge your will, to produce some singular acte of loue towards him, because it is godds will, that you loue and pray [Page]for your enemies. And in truth as I said, they doe you exceding greate good, if your self hinder it not, and they be as surgeons, to cure the feste­ring woundes of our soule.

Thus in all occasions of aduersitie, the seruant of God should be watch­full, and euer stand prepared patiently to endure, what-soeuer it pleasethe his Lorde to let befall for his tryall, that in so doing, he may honoure his Lord, benefite, and (as our Sauioure said) possesse his own soule, which re­maineth as voyd of all good, captiue to the deuill, and quite loste, if it be spoyled of this vertue of patience.

Nowe if you thinke good, let vs speake of the foure affections or pas­sions of the soule.

THE SEAVENTH EXERCYSE. HOW to moderate and keepe in order, the foure naturall passions of the soule.

THese passions said Alphonso, be Ioy, Sorow, Hope, & Feare: & they be naturall to euery one, as to ioy for a presente good, to sorowe for a present euill, to hope for a fu­ture good, and to feare a future euill.

I will teach you how to guyde and brydle them conueniently for the ser­uice and honour of God, and the re­payringe of your soule. For they may bringe vs much harme if they be lefte at libertie vnrestrayned, because they neuer cease ranginge vpp and downe in our soules, now one, now an other.

And we may well say, that all our euills come vpon vs, because they are permitted, to wander abowte, and runne vnbrydled. Yea they bringe much annoyance and hurte to spiri­tuall persons, howe lightlye soeuer they walke in them.

He onely may kepe them in good order & great moderation, that wor­keth all thnges, aswell internal as ex­ternall, for God, as I toulde you be­fore, & walketh in the hatred of him self, as you haue harde.

When are these affections said Pro­bus, kept in due order & moderatiō?

When we yelde said Alphonso, no consent to any of their motions, fur­ther then we know pleaseth God, & whereby he may receiue some grate­full seruice: Otherwyse, we oughte euer to repell their motions & banish them from vs, if we desire to walke a saife way towarde God.

May we not said Probus, be glad and ioyfull for any good thinge that hapneth vnto vs, & in lyke sorte be sorowfull for euill?

The seruants of God said Alphonso, should be gladd & ioy in nothing but God, or thinges which belong or di­rect & further them to him. The rea­son is, for that hauinge in God, & in such thinges, so great cause & matter of ioyes: they are verye foolishe and madd [Page 48]vaine, that occupye them selues, in ioying for any other, cōsidering their powers & force to ioy in God & loue him, are the weaker, by how muche more they are deuyded, into dyuers ioyes & busines. And consideringe againe, that albeit we yelde our selues wholly to ioy in God, yet are we not able to doe it sufficiently: How much lesse can we doe it, if we distract our selues to ioy in many thinges?

Wherefore by the vse & power of our will, as I toulde you before, we must doe one of these two, either pre­sently so sone as it offereth it self, re­pell & putt away all ioye and gladnes which is not in God, or thinges be­longinge vnto him: or direct & order it for God, as the ende thereof, so it be not some vaine or vnlawfull ioye.

And thus shall we doe as the Apos­tle willeth vs saying: Phil. 4 Ioy in our Lorde at all tymes: I say againe, ioye. For he which cause, we must looke warelye about vs, for daily innumerable things of small weight, occurre & ofter them selues to vs, bringinge occasions and [Page]causes of ioy & gladnes: from which forth-with we ought to vnwynde our selues, knowinge all ioyes which are offered vnto vs by the world, are as­sured harmes, & noe good to vs at all.

In a most potent and ryche King, you know it would be iudged, a ve­ry base & vyle disposition, to make so greate reckning of a peny, that the winning of i [...] woulde make him verie ioyfull, & the loosing of it, verie so­rowfull & greiued: But farr greater is our basenes & vilitye, if when alwaies we haue present, the infinite goodes which God possesseth for him self & vs, in which we oughte incessantly to ioye: we turne our selues to ioy in o­ther tryflinge thinges which occurr in the world, when especially we ought to loue our Lord more then our selues, & more to respect his glory then our owne, which yet he will geue vs most aboundantlye, if we faithfully and sin­cerelye serue him, in this our banish­ment.


IN lyke sort may we speake of him that soroweth for any thing of this world that may happen, except sin & things inducing thereto. For it may be well iudged great basenes, to so­row for any such temporall thinge of this lyfe, whearas we haue before oure eyes, so great glorye and inestimable goodes as I said God haith prouided for vs, for which we ought euer to re­ioyce & be gladd. Wherefore the seruant of God, muste suffer noe so­row nor heauines to stay in his harte, but that onely which is for sinn: be­cause this sorow being a passion which respecteth some present euill, or some good lost, & true euills & losses can not happen, but onely for sinne: He ought with reason to sorowe for none other thinge. And hauing present so infinite an euill to sorowe for as sinne is: he doth most foolishlye, if deuy­ding his force & strength, he sorowe for any other thing besides, conside­ring especially, that all his powers & [Page]abilities collected to this one woork, suffice not to sorow so much for sinn, as he should doe.

These sorowes which offer them selues dailie to vs vpon any tribulati­on or aduersitie, we may easily repell, if we consider, that we be gods more then our owne, & that he haith more tender care ouer vs, then we can haue of oure selues, and beste knowethe what is expedient for vs. And ther­fore what painefull thing or aduersity soeuer hapneth, it ought to be wel­com to vs, so long as it endureth, & we must take it ioyfullye as from the hande of our louinge Lorde, and as a thinge fitt and conuenient for one that is godds, & sorow no more for it, then God (whose we are) willeth that we sorow, speaking thus within our selues: Why haue I greater care of my self, then my Lord god willeth that I haue, seing I am not myne owne but his, who loueth me tenderly, & can not but continually behould me.

May we not then said Probus, seke meanes to deliuer and free our selues [Page 50]from suffering such paynefull thinges and aduersyties, or we shoulde beare them still with ioy, & let them alone to godds care & prouidence.

As it is godds will said Alphonso, that so long as we haue them, we euer suffer them with ioy, how painfull so­euer they be, & take them as frō the hand of our most louing father (which ioyfull patience, will greatly mitigate their paine) so it is also his will, that we procure & vse with ioyfull mode­ration, such meanes for our remedie, & deliuerance, as we know he haith left vs, and would haue vs to take, as phisicke in sicknes, meate in hunger, peace & saifty in persecution, and the lyke: But all this because it is his will we doe it, and that our frailties may serue him the better, being deliuered from such molestations & troubles.

How shall we said Probus, dryue a­way & expell, these motions of sorows and greiues, which the miseries of this world bringe hourly vpon vs, & how shall we get this ioy, whiles we are in the paines of them?

The seruant of God said Alphonso, must be alwaies prouident and watch­full, and so sone as the passion of sorow or greife beginneth to ryse by occasi­on of any aduersitie presently reiect and refuse it by the acte of his will, as I toulde you in the vse of that power, in the firste instruction: Yea he must endeuour to moue and enforce his will to couet and embrace the things wher­vpon those paines, greiues, and afflic­tions, grow. For whyles these things be desired the sorow ceaseth as it rose at the first, because the same thinges were dislyked or hated. He shoulde therfore acquaint and accustome him self, to ioy and be gladd, in all pain­full and sorowfull thinges, and contra­ri-wyse, to sorow in all thinges which are ioyfull and bringe delight, as it is said.

Sorow for ioy, & ioy for payne.
Kepe with thee as a certaine gayne.

Why shoulde we said Probus, couet these thinges, wherby such greif and molestation come to vs?

First said Alphonso, Cap. 2 because they come all from the hand of God as Iob saith. Again because we deserue them by our sinnes. Lastlye because they bringe to vs many commodities, and cure the festred vlcers of our soule.


NOwe by Hope (not as it is the thirde supernaturall vertue, but a naturall affection or passion, common to all mankinde) we expecte and looke for many thinges of this life either pleasante or commodious to vs. Yet nothing we hope for, should settle it self or take place in our hartes, but onely God, & these thinges whereby we thinke our selues, to draw nearer to him & serue him. Whatsoeuer is besides, we ought to esteeme it as no­thinge. And if we perceiue the Hope of any thinge, to be more fixed in our harte, or to occupye & delighte our myndes, then the blisse of heauen or vertues, which we hope from God: it muste forth-withe be expelled, as a most hurtfull and disordered thinge.


IN lyke manner also all feare is to be lefte that is not of God, as our Sauiour willed vs, not to feare them that kill the bodye, and can doe noe more: but God that can cast both bo­dy & soule into hell fyre. And Da­uid said, God is the protectour of my life; whom shall I feare. All the moments of our lyues, with all thinges belon­ginge vnto vs, are in the hande of god, and can not happen to vs, otherwyse then he will permitt. And therefore we should rather wish our owne eyes to be pulled owte, then aduisedly cō ­mitt any thinge that may displease his Maiesty: For all other thinges, there is no cause why we should feare them.

For thoughe all the calamities of the worlde fall vpon vs: yet if we feare them not, they can doe vs noe harm nor true euill, but rather if we en­counter them corragiously & bould­ly, & receiue them ioyfully, because it is our Lordes will we suffer them in memorye of those he suffered for vs: they will increase in vs, eternall me­ritt [Page 52]of glory & honour.

Wherefore we should be prepared alwaies to repute as nothing, or rather to este me as moste preceous Iewells & ornaments: all troubles & moles­tations of the world. And if at anie tyme some feare creepe vpon vs: pre­sently with our will, to encounter & repell it, lest it occupye the place, in which the reuerent feare of God most necessary for vs, should be harbored.

He that can moderate, rule, and subdue, these passions in this sorte, shall enioye greate peace, and arryue shortly, to high perfection of vertue, & be able rightly to iudg of all things, as the christian philosopher Boetius saith.

If thou wilt the truth behoulde with light most cleare:
Away with Ioy, Sorow, Hope, and Feare.

Hauinge declared, what way you may repaire the ruyne & destruction of your soule: it remaineth now that we speake of the loue of God, which Exercise is the most principall seruice [Page]can doe him, & the ende of all which we haue spoken of hitherto.

Take your reste nowe, for you are wearie with trauell: in the morninge God willing, we shall make an ende of this matter.

THE THIRDE PARTE. CONTEYNING the way how to loue God, our neighbours, and our selues.


AFter they had slepte a whyle, & Alphonso finished his vsuall de­uotions: they came together a­gaine, & Alphonso said.

Now my sonn, if you be satisfyed in all thinges we talked of yester night: Let vs goe forward as I promised you. I rest fully satisfyed said Probus, in all you haue said hitherto: Therefore I pray you procede to teach me how I may loue God.

The loue of God said Alphonso, is a fyre, which God would haue all­wayes burninge, on the Altar of our soule, & if you throughlye knewe the worthines and excellency thereof, all woulde seeme litle, that hitherto we haue said, of the reparation & ador­ning of the soule, by which so high a woorke is to be performed. For the acte of louing God is of so greate ex­cellency, that not Sainct in heauen, nor any thinge that is or can be crea­ted, can doe any woork more high or perfecte. For which cause the sonn of God him self, Mat. 22 calleth this the greatest and first commaundement. Yea if all the endeuours & strengthes of Angells & men, were heaped together in one Angell or man▪ he coulde do nothing more worthy, then is the acte of lo­uing [Page]God. And nothing that is or can be made, by the omnipotente power of God: can be sufficient to loue God with that perfection which his infinite goodnes & worthines doth deserue.

This loue of God, incomparably excelleth all other supernaturall ver­tues or woorks, & without it, none other gift or qualitye that man haith, profitethe him anythinge at all, or is to be estemed, 1 Cor. 13 as S. Paule saith larg­lye. This is the incessant & eternall woorke of God him self: For he be­ing of infinite goodnes & excellency, is infinitely to be loued, and is conti­nuallye occupyed with all his infinite power, in lou [...]nge his owne infinite goodnes & ioying in the same. And nothing being more consonante to e­quitie, nothinge so profitable or glo­rious to our selues, then that we loue him, who is an infinite good, & infi­nitely to be beloued, & whom we cā not sufficiently loue as he deserueth, albeit our strength & abilityes were in­sinite: His moste holy and righteous will is, that we doe the same thinge, [Page 54]with all our forces, which he dothe continually with his: that is, loue him & ioy in him with all our harts, pow­er, & strength. Yea & so greatly he requyreth & desireth this most diuine woork of vs, that he would yeld him self to a most cruell death, that so he might procure & prouoke vs to loue him, & all this for our good, & not for any benefite of his owne.

All other thinges besides this loue of God which are commaunded vs, or in the holy scriptures requyred of vs, are but for that they be helpes to this loue, & to omitt them, would great­ly hinder the same. Vyces & sinnes forbidden vs, are nothing els, but ā inordinate loue of vaine things, which occupye the place of our hartes, de­puted onely for God. Neither doe vertues serue for other ende, then fit­ly to dispose the soule for this loue: Which vertues notwithstanding, are so necessarie for this loue of God, that it were great presumption, to thinke we coulde obtein it, without great ex­ercyse in them.

To loue God said Probus, must of necessitie be a worke, of great excel­lencye and worthines: but I pray you tell me what this loue is, and how it may be done.

I must tell you first said Alphonso, how there be two sortes of loues, or louers of God. The one loueth him, for that he is a sweete and bountifull lorde, most liberally communicating his goodnes to his creatures: These are also much delighted in his seruice, and they aske many giftes of him, & pray with great contemplation of his Magnificency and knowledge of the excellency of vertues & graces which they pray for. Often also they come to him, as to the fountain of all sweet­nes. And by reason of the greate de­light & consolation, which they feele in their soule, they imagin this loue of theires to be most perfect & of high­est meritt.

This seemeth said Probus, to be a perfect louer of God.

I wishe said Alphonso, that all they which loue not God: would loue him [Page 55]at the least in this sorte. But the Ma­iestie of God permitteth not his true louers to be content with this kynd of loue though it be good, & may suf­fyce to exercise beginners & nouices in for som time, because from this they easely passe, to the highest & most per­fect loue, whereof by & by I will tell you.

How may we know said Probus, that this kynd of loue, is imperfect & fraile?

They that loue in this manner said Alphonso, forth-with when this sen­suall sweetenes is wantinge & depat­teth, goe with an heauy hart, and dull courage abowt thinges which belong to God. And they are so ouercome with the frailties of their owne nature, as almost if they had not had any such loue at all. For they procure & seke for corporall delights, as to eate and drinke daintely: They desire and ac­cept worldly fauours, frendshipps, ho­noures, praise, estimation, & other vayne thinges, pleasing their sensuali­tie (yet without mortall sinn) asmuch as other persons, that neuer had tasted [Page]of things perteining to god. Yea & of­ten in the very tyme when they are visited with such swetenes: they are intan­gled with certain vaine affections, & such as be somtimes not a litle sensuall, as delighted with the sweete natures, conditions, familiarities, & bewtie, of some persons. Againe, these louers commonly couet to be seene and ac­counted deuout, and they are greued when they perceiue, they are not re­puted for such, neither doe they ioy when they perceiue other persons to be reckned more deuout & better qua­lified then them selues. These & such like sports & imperfections they haue: All which be so abiect, that the high loue of God (which we are to speake of) doth not brooke them with it, no not when it wantethe that sweetenes in the sensuall appetites: whereby we may rightlye conclude, this kynde of louer, to be frayle & imperfect, as lo­uing cheefely for his owne commodi­ty or delight.

If this loue will not serue: to what purpose is it said Probus?

It is verye profitable said Alphonso, first, because he that haith it, may ea­sely cast from him the forsaid imper­fections and spottes, with the loue of vaine thinges.

Secondly, because such a louer, is in a verieneare disposition, to produce many actes of the higheste and most perfect loue, when he knoweth it.

Which is then this second kynde of loue said Probus?

It is said Alphonso, A certayne acte or woork of our will, vehemētly (& som­tymes also with sweetenes) louing or de­syring, that God be that infiuite good­nes he is: And possesse asmuch glory, dominion, & power, as indede he pos­sesseth to him self, ouer vs & all things. And again, that whatsoeuer is or may be, loue him, serue him, and glorify him, for his infinite goodnes & wor­thines onely. And all this is done for that the excellency of his Maiesty re­quyreth that we doe it, with all oure abilitie & strengthe.

He therfore that would truly and perfectly loue God, must often me­ditate [Page]& call to mynde what God is, & delight in him. Moreouer thinke what great glory he haith, and what dominion ouer vs & all creatures, & ioye for it, as men are wonte to ioye for the dignitye & dominion of their dearest frends. And with this also be must wish, that all thinges may serue & loue him, desiring this a thowsand wayes, & procuring it ten thowsand, & all this for God & his goodnes on­lye. For it is meete & iuste, that we loue his infinite goodnes & power, in most excellente manner that may be deuised. And seinge noe ende is high­er then God him self, who is the be­ginninge & ende of all thinges; it fo­lowethe, that he oughte to be loued principally, not for that which we re­ceiue or hope for of him, but for him self which is infinitly amiable.

Wherefore we shoulde accustome our willes, that they be moued to loue & to be delighted, in the perfection, glorie, & treasures of our Lorde, not because we feele swetenes in this loue nor for the giftes we haue receiued or [Page 57]hope to receiue hereafter, but forgea­ting as it were these thinges, loue him as moste worthy to haue all the willes & powers of Angells & men occupy­ed, in desiring & delightinge that his Maiestye haue all the infinite good it haith without respecte that any parte thereof, may redownd to vs, though indeede so much the more shall com to vs, by how muche more we loue him without respect of our own good.

By what certaine marke or signe said Probus, may we knowe, when a man haith this loue?

He haith it said Alphonso, that lo­ueth god asmuche when he sheweth him self seuere & sharpe, as when he is sweete & my Ide; asmuche when by iustice he punisheth, as when merci­fully he geueth benefites: asmuch in aduersitie as prosperity. Such a man loueth not God because he is dulce & sweete: Yet he loueth sweetenes, be­cause it is geuen by God, & bringeth him courage to serue God more dili­gently: He is not terrifyed nor affrigh­ted with chastisments, but taketh them [Page]with that loue which the holy hande & fatherly will of God that scourgeth doth requyre. He praiethe not, as drawne with loue & sweetenes of the gift, but that his soule enryched ther­by, may waxe stronger & more fer­uent in godds seruice. He is not of­fended or troubled to see him self de­solate of consolations, yet he sorow­eth if any thing be in him which haith displeased or doth offende, the eyes of so high a Maiestie. He asketh not forgeuenes & pardon of his sinnes for escapinge paine, or recouering his lost grace, vertues, tytle, & right to eter­nall gloue, but that his soule (hauing obteyned pardon) may be more grate­full & acceptable to God, & may loue & serue his highnes in puritie.

He haith noe affection, that may withdraw his hart any other way from God. He doth not remember or re­garde, whether men think of him or noe. He is not greeued, when he is contemned or reiected. He shunneth & is sorowfull for creditt & honoure offered him, fearing lest they be vnto [Page 58]him, hinderances to humilitye. He ioyeth for the good & honoure of o­thers, thinking that they accept or de­sire them, without ambition or vani­tie, for the better seruice of God and helpe of his people. Such a louer haith all thinges, and yet haith nothing.

He submitteth him self to all, & all serue him. He shunneth all sweete­nes, and he feelethe nothing but that is sweete. In God whom he loueth, he knoweth what he oughte to doe, to speake, to thinke: & for him on­ly he thinketh, he speaketh, he doth euery thinge. He liuinge, is not he that liueth, but it is Christ that hueth in him, geuinge him to liue a diuine lyse. In louing him self, he louethe not him self, but he louethe God all­mighty, for whose sake he desirethe all good thinges. He ioyethe in no­thinge, but that whereby his Lorde is serued, & that he thinketh gratefull in his sighte. And finallye, he euer ioyeth in his hart and thanketh God who in louinge him self infinitly, doth supply what is due to him from all his [Page]creatures.

How may we gett this loue of god said Probus?

It is vaine presumption said Alphon­so, for any man to thinke, he can leap to it at his pleasure, withowt making due preparation, & folowing the same pathe which godds sonn haith made vs both by his owne example & docrrine.

What preparation or pathes are these said Probus?

He that would receiue this pretious liquour into his soule said Alphonso, must firste of necessitye occupye him self for many daies in these Exercyses which I tould you of in the seconde parte, but before all, in the holie ha­tred of him self: otherwyse he shall be deceiued & profitt nothing at all.

I vnderstand you well said Probus.

That done said Alphonso, he must woork diligently in this sorte, whether he be preuented by God with bene­dictions of sweetnes or not. He must breefly call to minde, how vnmeasu­rable & infinite the good & glorie is that God possesseth, considering him [Page 59]as the best and most worthy, that all creatures ioy for his goodnes, & ther­vpon by & by inclyne his will to de­sire, & ioy for so great a good of his Lord, & let him continew in that act so long as he can. If he be a litle dis­tracted or waxe could in it, let him forth-with retorne to it againe in the same manner, his hart euer leapinge with ioy, in consideringe God to be full of infinite perfections & goodnes, And by continuance, he shall doubt­les be aduaunced to this perfect loue.

The honour, glorie, & perfections of our Lord are infinite & of infinite excellency, and in lyke sorte, euerye thinge in particuler that he woorketh or createth, doth shew forth and de­clare to vs, a singular goodnes & wor­thines in him. And seing that all the moments of our lyfe, suffice not fully to heare, or consider them as they are in him: we ought at the least, vnder name & tytle of infinite goodnes, ho­nour, & perfections, to heape them to­gether, & to produce actes of coue­ting, that God haue them all, and to [Page]ioy all the minutes of our lyfe that he haith them considering we owe all this to him as most due. And so muche may we exercyse our selues in these actes (although we want that sweete­nes which they call deuotion) that in euery place & busines, we may oft loue God in this sorte, withowte seking a­ny solitary places, as it hapneth daily when one frend ioyeth sodanly with­owt more opportunitie of place or cō ­panye, when he heareth or remem­breth some good to haue befallen his deare frende. That which I toulde you before of the vse of your will, & of the ende of all your actions, helpe much in these actes how you shoulde produce them, & that you must doe all for this ende, because God is most worthy of it, & desireth that we doe it for him.

Perhapps said Probus, we might gett this loue more easilye by prayer, doinge as you taughte me, when you spake of it, & by the exercyses of those vertues you rehersed before.

He shall obteyne it said Alphonso, [Page 60]the soner & better, that together with praier, will help him self with the acts of his will, as I toulde you before: which he may doe both in prayer and without it. For in euery such act, there is a new seruice to God, & a new in­crease of the loue of God, of grace, & of meritt.

And as noe artificer, how skilfull soeuer he be, profiteth any thing by his arte, but onely whyles he woorketh in it, so the seruant of God, is made rycher in the loue of God, but onely when he produce the speciall actes of the same loue: Which acte of loue, how short soeuer it be, beinge a farr greater, better, more preceous, and a more inestimable good, then all thinges els that any creature can doe in heauen or earth: We ought euery houre many tymes to worke it, that doinge our best endeuour in it during this lyfe, we may receiue more grace and ability to worke it for euer in hea­uen, where those blessed Saincts loue God more feruently & more perfect­ly, which more loued him heare on earth.

Wherfore we should deepely con­sider and condemne our owne negli­gence and folly: and seinge we ought neuer to cease from this acte of louing god (both because it is dew to his ma­iestie, and the acte of it self is of an in­estimable profit) we should most bit­terly lament euery moment of our life that we lett passe without this loue.

And specially we ought to bewaile our sinnes, which (if they be mortall) are deadlye enemies to it, or (if they be veniall) hinder so great a good, and coole the feruour thereof. In like sorte also should we reproue ourselues if we be not exceding glad and ioyfull, of euery thing that may further vs to it as iniuries, contempts, persecutions, &c. Or if we sorow not so much whē anie impediment is geuen vs to it, as are humaine fauour, sensuall and pro­phane delectation, temporall honours, credit, prayses, &c.

Out frailty is such said Probus, & our necessitie so great, that oftentimes we can not be gladd of iniuries, tri­bulations, and the lyke, nor refuse [Page 61]thinges delectable and prosperous.

It somtimes said Alphonso, through weaknes of body, or because as yet we haue not gotten so muche vertue as were nedefull for our sufferinge of ad­uersities ioyfully, but we must flee thē and our persecutoures, or againe pro­cure and receiue delicate and pleasant thinges: In such cases I say, we muste looke that we doe these thinges with actuall intention for auoyding greater euills, and sorow also much, in that by fleing aduersities and troubles, we de­part from a thing which should further vs to so great a good as is the loue of God. And againe that by takinge de­lectable thinges, we omitt and forgo the sharpe, which are most due vnto vs for punishment of our sinnes & negli­gences.

All this moreouer we ought to doe with humble prayer to our Lord, that he would vouchsaife to strengthen vs in body and soule, for better resistinge oure owne frailtie, whereby through defect of our vertue, it is needefull we auoyde such trouble, or vse such de­lightfull [Page]thinges, and that also by his grace, we may be disposed, notwith­standing these impediments of our in­firmitie, perfectly to loue him.

What remedye & helpe haue we said Probus, if we finde our selues ve­rie dull & heauy, whiles we endeuour to produce these actes of loue, & to bring all our motions, into the obe­dience & seruice of God: for so it of­ten hapneth in other exercyses of de­uotion & well doinge.

The same may happen also in this high woork said Alphonso, but then we may assure our selues that it cometh because we wante the holy hatred of our selues, which is the foundation & most principall disposition to this loue of God. Or again, because there cle­ueth in our hartes some inordinate af­fection to some earthly thinge, as loue of neede lesse delectation, or affection to some person or busines not rightly ordered. Wherefore he that feleth him self so dull, must search owt di­ligently in him self, such defect or af­fection, and take it away by contrary [Page 62]actes, as we taughte before, and shall more hereafter.

For to inclyne our will to produce actes of the loue of God, aboue all thinges, withowt hauinge first gotten the holy hatred of our selues, or whiles our affection to any earthly thing that may deilght vs endureth (not being ordeyned or referred either actuallye or virtually to God) is much lyke as if a man would cutt with a hammer, thinges requiringe a raisoure or sharpe knyfe. For the perfection & excel­lency of this loue (the least act wher­of, may aduance a man to a highe de­gree of eternall glory in heauen) doth not permitt with it, any such vyle & baise thinge. Besides this also the ser­uant of God, must be warie of the as­saultes of his mortall enemy the deuil, who neuer ceaseth to molest and hin­der them that goe forwarde in any ver­tue, but moste maliceously goeth a­bowt to harme and ouerthrow them, that endeuour to obteyne, this most holy loue of God.

What way I pray you said Probus, [Page]can he cheefly hinder vs?

Among many other said Alphon­so, he hindrethe vs by one, which is verie secrett, & yet much daungerous & hurtfull, that is, by a certain meane estimation, contempt, negligence, & couldnes of the minde, towardes the woork of the loue of God, which some persons haue, whiles they think, heare, or reade, the cheife poynt of it to consiste, in the desyre of Godds perfections, goodnes, & glorie, & in ioying in them as I said before.

How can this said Probus, happen to any man in this holy woork?

It hapneth said Alphonso, because they litle conceiue or marke the wor­thines of this thing, & the enemy doth assaile & trouble them withall: And principally it chanceth to them that are not preuēted with the swetenes which this loue is accustomed to bringe with it.

For they hearing as I said euen now this loue to consist in this, that we de­sire & inwardly feele in our selues, a complacency & ioy, for all the infinit [Page 63]goodnes and glory which are in god: & this onely for God: they wax could, thinking this worke not to be so high & excellent as it is, but iudge other woorkes aswell corporall as spirituall, to excede this, & to be more besee­ming godds seruantes, as preachinge, disputing gouerninge others, feigh­ting for the faith, almes deedes, fas­ting, afflictions, and the lyke.

Whereupon said Probus, commeth this false conceipt of theirs?

It commeth said Alphonso, firste by reason the deuill tempteth them, and withall, the taist and appetite of their soule, is distempered and corrupted, as I toulde you yester nighte, in the fourth instruction, by the example of the sick man, that by reason of his in­fected taist, desireth hurtfull meates, and taketh loath with wholesom.

What remedie haue we against this noysom impediment said Probus?

We must prouyde first said Alphon­so, that our corrupt appetite be cured, as I said in the fourth instructiō: which done, they that feele this couldnes, & [Page]haue this wrong estimation, shall in­continent perceiue, all other workes, how worthy & meruelous soeuer they seme, to be verie abiect & base, 1 Cor in re­specte of this loue, as S. Paule tea­cheth vs. And our Saui ur him self, beinge the eternall wisdom of God, (which can not erre or deceiue vs) haith chosen & commaunded the same aboue all thinges which may be done in heauen or earth. A reason hereof you may haue also, if you consider that albeit our free will & the actes there­of (which I toulde you before in the fourth instruction, to be of greateste dignitie in vs) be of them selues, litle worth or of small commoditie: Yet may we make them of inestimable dignitie & valew, if we vnite our will & most strongly fasten it, to the will of God, which is of an infinite excellen­cy, in such manner ioyning ours vnto his, that it be not carried to any other thinge, but what his blessed will de­sireth. For then the acte & desire of our infirme & base free will, groweth to be of infinite valewe and dignitie, [Page 64]when (forsaking our selues) we take the desire of that infinite will which is God, who incessantly willeth, lo­ueth, & ioyeth, for the infinite good & worthines he haith.

Why requyreth God said Probus, that we shoulde desire loue & ioye in this sort: as he euer doth?

He would haue vs doe it said Al­phouso, first for that his loue & good­nes to vs, would haue our abiect free will, aduaunced to so greate nobilitie & honour, as to haue an act of infinite and diuine valew. Againe, because (seing he haith created vs to so great a good as to enioy him self) it is iuste that we yelde him this seruice at least as to occupye our selues all the tyme of our mortall lyfe, in louing him and ioying for his good & glorye, as we see faithfull seruantes & louinge, ex­ceedingly to reioyce, for the goodes & honour their Lordes gett. Thirdlye, that heare on earth we may occupye our selues, & begin that worke wher­in our eternall glory and beatitude in heauen, cheifly must consist. For gods [Page]holye Sainctes, clearlye behouldinge his nature & essence, are replenished with an infinite knowledge, to iudge what goodnes & glorye his Maiestie is worthy of: & also with an infinite desire and loue, that he possesse the same. Which burning desire & loue of theirs, when (behouldinge God) they see it fulfilled in more perfecte sorte then they can wishe, imagine, or comprehende, they are rauished with vnspeakable ioyes & gladnes.

The happye Sainctes in heauen, haue the manifest vision & perfect fru­ition of all his goodnes, & therefore their knowledg, loue, & ioy, is per­fect. We sinfull wormes on earthe by the lighte of our catholicke faith (though obscurelye, yet moste cer­tainlye & firmlye) beleue the same, which they behoulde. And therefore God will, that we occupy our powers as much as we can, in the same loue, desire & ioy, of the infinite goodnes & glory of our Lorde. For the more we loue him, & ioye in his goodnes here on earth: the more perfecte and [Page 65]greater, shall oure loue & ioyes be in heauen.

I conceiue all this said Probus, but many without doubt, haue obteyned the perfecte loue of God requyred in this lyfe, withoute all this adoe, or knowledg of this way you haue taught me.

Many haue indeede said Alphonso, loued God perfectly, before this way was either known to me, or taught in this manner, by any that I haue hard: but surely the ordinary way to get it, haith bene this in substance. For it is gathered owt of the holy Scriptures, accordinge to the declaration of the holye Doctoures, which haue writen of this matter.

Many haue thought & thinke still that they haue gotten it verie easelye withowt these reasons & meanes, but comonly they fayled of it, & gott but the weake & imperfecte loue which I spake of before.

If you thinke good we will now passe to the loue of oure neighbours.

Doe so I pray you said Probus.

OF THE LOVE OF OVR Neighboure.

AS the loue of God said Alphonso, requyred before it, all the ex­ercyses and considerations we spake of: so the loue of our neighbour & of our selues, requyred before thē the loue of god. For it is necessary that these two loues procede from the loue of god, otherwyse they can not be good or well ordered. You muste know then that he which desireth to serue & please God: must mark and obserue two things. The first is, what God would haue him to doe: The se­conde, in what manner he would haue it done. For he shoulde haue small thanke, or rewarde with God, that sh [...]uld doe his commaundemente, if he did it not in the manner he com­maunded it. He haith bidden vs to loue one an other saying, This is my precept, that you loue one an other: and with this, in what sorte also we should doe it sayinge, as I haue loued you.

He then that doth the firste, shall [Page 66]not haue the high reward due to that loue, except also he doe the seconde.

Now therefore to knowe how we ought one to loue an other; we must consider how our Lord loued vs.

First by many waies & meanes, he drew & induced vs to the loue of god: Then he taught vs by his owne ex­ample, to suffer patiently, all the ad­uersities of this world, neuer sacking the raynes to vain delights, aboue that which might be necessary to the sus­tentation of his body. Then he dyed for vs, that we mighte haue thereby vertues, grace, & glorye. In this kind of loue he meruelously exceeded, & was a most vehemente enemye to all vayne loue which now passeth among vs, & is ordinarily verie corrupt & in­fecticus to our soules, created to be the temples of God. Accordinge to this example therefore of our Lorde, we ought to frame our Loue towardes our neighboures, castinge away all va­nities, which are accustomed to mixe them selues with our loue, as to be much affected to some persons, for that [Page]we see them vertuous & deuout, and in their conuersat on, to be mylde, graccous, & amiable: In the loue of whom often good menns hartes, are taken captyue, finding greife, disqui­etnes & trouble of mynde, to be with­out them, or not to talke with them or not to be mutually beloued & este­med of them: All which kinde of af­fection & loue is vaine and hurtfull to the seruantes of God.

Me think said Probus, we mighte well loue others in this forte, because we see them goddes seruants, cheifly if we doe it for God.

If your frend said Alphonso, had a seruant, the loue of whom, shoulde so hould captiue your hart, & so great­ly increase, that it more delighted you, to conu [...]se and talke with him, then with your frende: were it not manifest that now you loue not the seruant for your frende, but because his conuer­sation & nature is sweete & gratefull to you. For though your loue towards that seruant, beg [...]n for your frendes sake, yet now it is become inordinate [Page 67]and excessiue & more for your owne pleasure & delight you take in the ser­uant, then wholly for respect of your frend: Euen thus we may speake of that loue you rehearsed. It is playne mockerie to say it is loue of our neigh­bour purely for god, notwithstanding there be perhaps some part of spiritu­all loue therewith. But he that is tru­ly & wholly addicted to God, taketh noe parte from him, but geuethe him all, occupying & bestowing his wholl affection on him, or in some thinge, that is wholly ordered or directed to him, as such vaine loue can not be, beinge more for some thing in a cre­ature, then for God.

Our loue should be towardes all the seruants of our Father, aswell our enemies as frendes, with so great af­fection as may proceede, from the loue we haue to him, that all other af­fections sett asyde, onelye that may haue place which we owe vnto God.

To auoyde & caste of all which su­persiuous affections, those things may help, which I toulde you of before, [Page]speakinge of the naturall affection of ioy, & of the vse of our will.

How then said Probus, shoulde we loue our neighboures?

Our loue to them, said Alphonso, shoulde springe altogether from the loue of God, that (considering they are so highly beloued of him, that he would yeld him self to death for them when yet they were his enemies) we shoulde loue them all so much, as to help them in all that is good & nede­full for their bodies & soules, lyke as we are wonte loue them that muche delight vs: Yea & this we should do, though their conuersation weare mo­lestfull & odious vnto vs, entreatinge them curteously, & prouiding for their necessities, as for them which are ten­derly beloued of our heauenly Lorde & Father, who willeth & commaun­deth vs so to doe. All this we ought to doe, with as seruent a will as we cā, for gratifying, pleasinge, & obeyinge our Lorde, how iniurious & noysome soeuer they be vnto vs.

It is verie harde said Probus, for to [Page 68]beare such tender affection to our e­nemies, as we may doe to our frends & benefactoures.

Our corrupt natures said Alphonso, finde difficultie to loue our enemies, but the children of God must not me­sure nor order their actions, by the in­clination & motions of their corrupte affections, but by the rule of gods ho­ly will and commaundement. And a resolute will of seruing God, maketh them noe lesse firme & constante in louing him, whom their owne inor­dinate affections would hate, then him whom by the aboundance of benefites & good turnes, they are inclyned to loue.

Yet with all this you muste know, that albeit our loue ought to be in this sort equally to euery one: yet ought we first to shew it in good effects and benefites, towards them that are ver­tuous, & them we are behoulden vn­to. For godds will is, that our chari­tie be ord [...]rly disposed, preferringe in these good benefites, euery one, ac­cording as we are diuersly bound vn­to [Page]them.

God haith also said Probus, com­maunded vs to loue our neighboures, as we loue our selues, which is an o­ther manner of louinge them, then as our Sauiour loued vs.

He haith commaunded so indeede said Alphonso, but this manner & the other, are all one in effect & substāce if they be rightly vnderstoode. For the loue which we shoulde haue to our selues, ought to be the same, and in the same manner, as our Sauioure loued vs. We will therefore if it please you goe forward, & declare in what sort we are to loue our selues.

Doe so I ptay you said Probus, for it can not but be a pleasant hearinge, & without all perill of offending any, euery one being desireous, to loue him self as much as may be.


OVr naturall inclination said Al­phonso, to the loue of our selues, is so great & vehemente, that God haith not geuen vs any commaū ­dement thereof, yet by the blyndnes & corruption of sinn, we haue in most part lost our iudgment & knowledge, how we ought to doe it.

He therefore that would truly loue himself, must obserue three thinges.

First that by all meanes he procure any thinge wheareby he knoweth any good may come to him self.

Secondly that he flee and auoyde, whatsoeuer may bring him damage or euill.

Thirdly that he refuse not to offer & yelde him self to any difficulties for obteyninge his owne good.

Our naturall reason and the lighte of our Catholick faith, sufficientlye teach vs, which be true goodes & e­uills, & which be apparent & deceit­full. And we must be verey circum­spect [Page]& diligent that we erre not, in discerning these, or folow not the vn­reasonable inclinations & appetites of our owne sensualitie, takinge that for good, which indeede is hurtfull, or fleeing that as euill, which in truthe is our good.

Now he that would enrich him self with good thinges, must know, that in euery good he desirethe, or may obteyne, two thinges are to be con­sidered. One is, the good that may come to himself, by that thing. The other is, that it is godds will & desire, that he haue that thing. Of these two he ought litle or noe whitt, to esteme the benefite or good that may happē to him self of the thing he desireth or doth as it is his owne: In respecte of the seconde; that it is the seruice of God, & the fulfilling of his holy will as I toulde you before in the fifth in­struction, speaking of the end of all our actions & desires.

Our Lord haith geuen vs a prece­ous ornament or Iewell, where-with we may excedingly enriche our selues [Page 70]at any tyme, that is our appetite and will, the which we (as it were) gilde with coper or tinne, when we desyre & loue anything for our owne good & benefite: And againe, we adorne & bewtify it with diuyne goulde, whē (forgeating our selues) we desire and loue any good thing, onely for plea­sing & seruinge our Lorde, & fulfil­ling his will. For the more we for geat ourselues, & haue care of godds ho­nour & glorie, the more care haithe God ouer vs agiane to enriche vs with all goodnes. Wherefore he that spi­ritually loueth him self, must euer (as worldly men doe) study how to make better, all his goodes & substance whē he knoweth the way how it may easi­ly be done. What more is to be said of this poynt, I referr you to our con­ference of the hatred of our selues.

For the seconde also, which is the fleeing of all euill: I nede to say noe more, but he that truly loueth him self must este me nothing euill or hurtfull to him, & so flee it, but onely f [...]inne & the occasions thereof.

Now for the thirde, which is to of­fer himself to any difficultie or daun­gers for getting his own good: I must admonish him diligently to exercyse himself in the thinges that I haue said before, but principally, in the hatred of him self, in humilitie, in patience, and in the foure naturall affections or passions of his soule.

Is there then no more necessary said Probus, for obteyninge this true loue of our selues?

One thinge more said Alphonso, is to be obserued and practised diligent­ly, and that is. It hapneth dailye, that we doe or say somthing, other­wyse then we should haue done or be­cometh vs, for which they that see or heare, (knowing our defect or imper­fection) may think the worse of vs, & the lesse esteme vs. In which case we must consider, first the confusion that foloweth vs thereby. In this confu­sion we must not comfort or animate our selues, in thinking that others per­haps regarded not what we did or said, or that perhaps they haue forgotten it, [Page 71]or that it should not trouble vs, be­cause other men fall often into the like defects: This I say we should not doe, but with great loue embrace that con­fusion, & think that others marked vs verie well, & account worse of vs, & worthily contemne vs as vnprofitable & vnperfect men. For in doing thus, we make a vehement acte of patience and humilitie, and shortlye produce, most excellent habitts of them, and fi­nally, doe great seruice to God, if we referr it to him.

The other thing we are to consider in such cases, is the euill example we geue thereby, and the dishonoure or lesse glory to God. For this therefore the seruant of God, must produce an acte of sorow, for that he haith bene by that speach or fact, perhaps some oc­casion of euill, or lesse seruiceable to his Lorde, then he might or shoulde haue bene, and thus shall he reape cō ­modity both on the one, and the o­ther.

This is all I haue to say of the loue of our selues, vnlesse you be vnsatisfi­ed [Page]in some thing.

I am verie well satissyed in all you haue spoken said Probus, & I vetelye thinke, that whosoeuer would frame him self to serue God in this sorte you haue toulde me, should not onely in­crease excedinglye his owne meritt & glory in heauen: but moreouer leade a most ioyfull & sweete lyfe in earth.

He should noe doubt finde much comfort, ioye, & sweetenes said Al­phonso, seruing God in this sorte, but he muste beware, he reste not in this sweetenes, nor serue God for it, be­cause God geueth it not for that ende, but that by it we may come to take delight & ioye, in the consideration of that good, glorye, & dominion, which God possesseth, and that with great courage, we laude & prayse him.

What is our praysing of God said Probus?

All prayse of God said Alphonso, is none other thing in vs, then a iove that we haue, to manifeste and make knowne to all persons, the wonderfull woorkes & inestimable goodnes of our [Page 72]Lorde, in whom his seruants ought to delight & ioye, as worldly men doe, when they heare their deare frendes, or them selues praised.

Now let vs ende with thankes ge­uing to God for his giftes and good­nes.

Tell me this also said Probus, how shall I geue thankes to God?


THanksgeuing to God, said Al­phonso, is nothing els but an in­ternall acte of the soule, wher­by he that haith receiued a gift or be­nefite from God, first recogniseth him to be an infinite God & Lorde, from whom floweth all good in heauen & earth, and then ioyeth, not because he is more enryched thereby, but for the glory & goodnes of his Lord, and for that he seeth him self by that gifte, more abled to loue & serue him.

Is there nothinge besides this said Probus, necessary in yeldinge thankes to God?

Besides these actes of our vnder­standing & will said Alphouso, godds seruant ought vpon receipt of any be­nefite, to offer vnto God all he is, a­basinge & annihilating him self in his owne conceipt & will, that so he may wholly in body & soule, be deuoted into godds seruice, producing at that tyme greate actes of ioye, for the in­finite power & goodnes of god, from which that benefite came. For he that would be accounted gratefull, ought to requyte his benefactour with an o­ther thinge of as great or greater va­lew & worth, then that was, which he receiued of him before.

And seing we haue receiued of god all we haue: whatsoeuer we yelde to his seruice, is verie small to requyte, yea, the leaste of his benefites. We ought therefore at the least, to ren­der him thanks for them, in the mā ­ner I haue said, & this with as much loue and force, as possibly we may.

And not onely to doe this, for the benefites bestowed on our selues, but also for the giftes & graces geuen to [Page 73]all his Saincts, to our frendes, to our enemies, and all his creatures in hea­uen & earthe. For in so doinge, we make (in a straunge and meruelous sorte) the goodes of all godds crea­tures, our owne, & without regarde of our owne commoditie, we excee­dingly increase the same.

Now is it tyme, you were traueling. I will bring you into your way againe.

I thank you Father said Probus.

And beinge come to the way, they embraced eche other and departed, Alphonso to his solitary cell, & Pro­bus towarde Ierusalem.

Deo gratias.

A Table of the contents.

  • How the Pilgrim & the Ermitt mett. Cap. 1. fol 1.
  • To what ende God created man. 3.
  • Two manners of seruing God. 4.
  • Of the ruyne & destruction of mans soule & body by sinne. 6
  • By what powers of our foule we may repayre our ruvne, & how to vse our vn­derstanding & will. 8
  • The vse of our will. 12
  • What ende and intention we shoulde haue in all our actions. 15
  • How to plant good habits, & extir­pate the euill. 21
THE seconde parte.
  • How to purge our soule from sinn. 25
  • Hatred of our selues. 27
  • Of Prayer. 32
  • Of Humilitye. 35
  • HoW to ouercome the vyce of vayne­glorye. 40
  • Of Patience. 44
  • Of the foure naturall passions of the soule
  • [Page]Of Sorow. 49
  • Of Hope. 51
  • Of Feare. 52
The Thirde parte.
  • Of the loue of God. 53
  • Of the loue of our Neighbour. 66
  • Of the loue of our selues. 69
  • Of Thankes geuinge. 72

Faultes escaped in the printing

  • Fol. 9 pag. 1 lin. 4 Helped. reade, euer helped.
  • Fol. 14 pag. 2 lin. 2 greife, reade, sorow & greife.
  • Fol. 16 pag. 1 lin. 11 For god. reade for none other ende but onely for,
  • Fol. 34 pag. 2. lin. 27 vnfeaned, reade, ready & vnfeaned.
  • Fol. 42 pag. 1 lin. 6 hate, reade bate & refuse.
  • Fol. 52 pag. 1 lin. 7 God is, reade our Lorde is.
  • Fol. 94 pag. 2 lin. 20 good & glorye, reade, infinite good.

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