A Godly Medytacyon
of the chriſten ſowle,
a love towardes God and
compyled in frenche by
tranſlated into Englyſh by the
ryght vertuouſe lady Elyzabeth
doughter to our late ſoverayne
Kynge Henri the viij.
To the ryght vertuouſe and chriſtenly lerned yonge lady Elizabeth, the noble doughter of our late ſoverayne kynge Henry the viii. Johan Bale wyſheth helth with dayly increace of Godly knowledge.
Diverſe and many (moſt gracyouſe lady) have the opynyons bene amonge the prophane philoſophers and chriſten dyvynes, concernynge ryght Nobylyte, and no fewar ſtryves and contencyons for the ſame. Nobylyte Some autours have vaynely boaſted it to take orygyn all of the olde Goddes of the Gentyles, as every lāande hath had hys peculyar Saturne, Jupiter, & Hercules, yea our Englāande here and all. Some hath ſatt it from the foure generall monarchyes of the Aſſyrianes, Perſeanes, Grekes, and Romanes. Some have attrybuted it, to the bolde battayles, and bloudſhedynges, in Xitnus of Babylon the firſt invēentour of polycyes in warre. in our great Albion Albion the Chameſene, whych firſt in thys regyon ſupre- 4 A2v ſuppreſſed the poſterite of Japhet, uſurpynge therin the firſt monarchy in Brute. Brute that more than ſix hondred yeares after defaced of hym the tyrannouſe yſſue. in Ebrāanck and Dunwallo. in Brenne and Belyne, in great Conſtantyne, Artoure, Cadwalader, Engiſt, Egbert, Alphrede wyllyam cōonquerour & ſoch other, for lyke cōonqueſtes of the Romanes, Grekes, Galles, pyctes, Brytaynes, Saxons, Danes, Iryſhens and Englyſhens.
Romani. The hawty Romanes ſet not yet a lyttle by themſelves, that they have ryſēen of Aeneas & Romulus, of whom the one moſt ſhamefully betrayed hys owne natyve kyndred and contraye, and the other moſt unnaturally ſlewe hys owne brother for worldly domynyōon. Gwalli. Lyke as our walſhemen here in Englande, advaūuncynge their ſucceſſyon or progeny above the Englyſh wyll nedes come of Dardanus & Brute, a foūundacyōon not all unlyke to the other. Theſe gloryouſe champyons for thys farre fatched groūunde of their Nobylyte, accoūunte all other nacyons and peoples, ignoble, profane, and barbarouſe, as is to be ſeane in the monumēentes of their writers. But in the meaneſeaſon, they are not aware that they 5 A3r Fo 3. they wndyſcretely prefarre curſed Cham to bleſſed Japhet. Japhet, by whoſe poſteryte the Iles of the Gentyles were firſt ſorted out in to ſpeches, kyndredes, and nacyons, Gene 10.Gen. 10 and not by Chams ofſprynge, of whome the Troianes and Romanes had their noble begynnynge. That the Chameſenes had in thoſe Iles, was by cruell uſurpacyon & tyrāanny, as teſtyfyeth Berosus the Caldeane and therfor that groūunde of Nobylyte is not all the beſt. Over and beſydes all thys, kyndes of Nobylyte ſome have applyed it to renomed byrth or ſucceſſyon of bloude, ſome to the habūundaūunce of pleaſures worldly ſome to the mayntenaūunce of great famylyes, some to the ſūumptuouſneſſe of notable buyldynges, ſome to the hygh ſtomake & ſtature of perſone, ſome to valeaūuntneſſe in marcyall feates, ſome to ſemely maners of courteſye, ſome to lyberalyte of rewardes and gyftes, ſome to the auncyentneſſe of longe coutynuaunce, ſome to wyſdome lernynge & ſtody for a cōommēenwelth with ſoch lyke. And theſe are not all to be dyſalowed, for we fynde them in Abraham, & David with other just fathers.
But now foloweth, a monſtruouſe, or whether ye wyll, a prestygyouſe nobylyte Aiij The 6 A3v Clergy. The Romyſh clergye ymagenynge to exalte themſelves above the lewde layte (as they ſhame not yet to call the worldly powers) have geven it in a farre other kynde, to mytars, maſſes Cardynall hattes, croſers, cappes, ſhaven crownes, oyled thombes, ſyde gownes, furred amyſes, mōonkes cowles, and fryres lowſy coates, bec ōommynge therby pōontyfycall lordes, ſpirytuall ſirs, and ghoſtly fathers. Thyſ kynde of Nobylyte dygged out of the dongehyll, have I ſeane gorgyouſly garnyſhed with Grāanbery the retoryckes of Porphyry, Ariſtotle, Dune, and Raymundus decretals, in the bokes of Johan Granbery byſhopp of herforde, De ſuperioritate eccleſiaſtica, De diſcrimine iuriſdictionum, and De poteſtate pōontificia. In the bokes alſo of Hunte Walter hūunte an ordynary reader ſūumtyme in Oxforde, De precellēentia Petri, & De autoritate eccleſie. Yea, and amōonge thēemſelves they have moch contended both by diſputacyon & writynges, whych of their ſectes myght other excell in the nobylneſſe of chriſten perfection. The monkes in publyque ſcoles, by a dyſtynccyon of the actyve and contemplatyve lyfe, have advaunced their ydell mōonkery above the offyce 7A4r Fo 4 offyce of a byſhopp, and the fryres their 4 fryres. ſcalde cravynge beggery, above the degrees of thēem Both. As is largely ſeane in the brawlynge workes of Rycharde Maydeſton, Thomas walden, Wyllyam Byntre & other whych have written Contra wicleuiſtas, & Pro mēendicatione fratrūum.
Mylverton In the dayes of kynge Edwarde the fourt, Johan Mylverton provyncyall of the Carmelytes, was full thre yeares, a pryſoner in the caſtell of Angell at Rome at the ſute of the byſhoppes of Englande for the ſame, and loſt ſo the byſhopryck of ſaynt Davids, wherunto he was a lyttle afore elected. Thys matter have I hearde, undre the tyttle of Evangelyck perfeccyon, moſt depely reaſoned in their ordynary dyſputacions at their concourſes cōonvocacyons, annd chapters (as they than called them) yea by thoſe whome I knewe moſt corrupt lyvers, Berūunto, for fournyſhynge 4 orders. out the ſame, the graye fryres added. S.Saint frances paynted woūundes, the blacke fryres S.Saint Domynyckes bolde dyſputynge with heretykes, the whyte fryres our ladyes fraternyte, and the Augustyne fryres the great doctryne of their patrone. In the unyversytees after moch Aiiij to and 8 A4v Preſtes to and fro, hath it bene concluded, that the order of a preſt have farre excelled in dygnyte the order of a byſhopp. And thys have they left behynde them for a moſt grave and depe reaſon therupon. Marke their more than lucyferyne preſumpcyon therin. Soch power hath a preſt (ſaye they) as hath neyther Angell nor yet Man, be he of never ſo great autoryte O Devile īincarnate ſcyēence, or vertu, for a preſt by worde maye make hym agayne, that by worde made heaven & earth. A preſt maye every daye both byget hym and beare hym, where as hys mother Marye bygate hym (beare hym they wolde ſaye) but ones. Theſe are their very wordes in a boke entytled De origine Nobilitatisillegible with moch more cyrcumſtaunce of matter. O blaſphemouſe bellybeaſtes, & moſt ydell wytted ſorcerers. How ydolatrouſly exalte they themſelves above the eternall lyvynge God & hys Chriſt?
Johan Criſoſtome Nobylyte a man taught and brought up in the chriſten philoſophy, defyneth the true Nobylyte after a farre other ſort, than ded the prophane writers. He calleth it not with Aristotle, a worthyneſſe of progeny, neyther yet with Varro 9 A5r Fo. 5. Varro āan opulēency of ryches, but a famouſe renome obtayned by lōonge exercyſed vertu He is puſaunt, hygh āand valeaunt (ſayth he) and hath Nobylyte in right courſe, that dyſdayneth to geve place to vyces and abhorreth to be overcomen of them Doctryne greatly adourneth a māan hyghly borne, but a godly endevoure of chriſtyanyte bewtyfyeth hym moſt of all. By nōon other wayes have Apoſtles. the Apoſtles and Martyrs obtayned a nobler report, than by the valeaunt force of pure doctryne and fayth A gēentyll hart (ſayth Seneca) or a ſtomake that ys noble, moveth, provoketh, and ſturreth, only to thynges honeſt. No man whych hath a noble wytte, delyteth in thynges of ſmall value, moch leſſe in matters of fylthnyeſſe or ſupperſtycyon. Chefely apperteyneth it to men and women of ſyncere Nobylyte, to regarde faythe. the pure doctryne and faythe, unto ſoch hath God promyſed in the ſcriptures, habundaunce of tēemporall thynges, longe lyfe, fortunate chyldren, a kyngedome durable, with ſoch other, Deut.28.Deut.28.
A moſt worthy conquerour is Gedeon. Gedeon noted in the ſcriptures, for deſtroyenge falſe relygyōon & renuynge the kyngedome Av of fayth 10 A5v of fayth. Iudi. vj.Judith.6. Aſa rex So is kynge Aſa, for removynge the male ſtues from the prelates abhorrynge marryage, & for puttynge downe ydolles whych hys forefathers maynteyned. 3. Reg. 153 Kings.15. Joſaphat So is kynge Joſaphat, for beynge couragyouſe in the wayes of God, and for puttynge downe the hyll aulters & their ſacrifices. 2.parali 17. Jehu So is kynge Jehu, for ſleynge the ydolatrouſe Preſtes, and for breakynge and burnynge their great God Baal, and for makynge, a Jakes of their holy churche 4.Reg.10Kings.10. Ezechias. So is kynge Ezechias for clēenſynge the houſe of the lorde from all fylthyneſſe, afore hys tyme therin occupyed 2 Parali. 29. and for breakynge downe the braſen ſerpent and ydolatrouſe ymages with their aulters and ſanctuaryes. 4 reg 18.Kings 4:18 Joſias So is kynge Joſias, for ſuppreſſynge relygyouſe perſones and aulter preſtes, for cōonſumynge their jewels & ornam ēentes, & for overthrowynge their buggery chambers in the howſe of the lorde 4 Reg.23.Kings 4:23 Thys noble kīinge alſo deſtroyed all theyr carved ymages, he ſtrewed the duſt of thēem upon their graves that had preſtes offered to them, and brent the preſtes bones upōon their aulters, reſtorynge agayne the lawes 11 A6r Fo. 6. the lawes of the lorde. 2. parali. 34. Jeſus Syrach reporteth of hym fynally, that he whollye dyrected hys hart to the lorde, & toke awaye, all abhomynacyons of the ungodly. Eccleſia. 49.Eccle. 49 Eccle. 49,Eccles. 49 Beſydes that is ſpoken of kynge David and kynge Salomon.
Not I only, but many thouſandes more whych wyll not from hens fourth bowe any more to Baal, are in full & perfyght hope, that all theſe moſt hyghly notable and pryncely actes, wyll renyue and lyvely floryſh Edwarde vi. rex. in your moſt noble and worthy brother kynge Edwarde the ſixt. Moſt excellent & godly are hys begynnynges reported of the very foren nacyōons callynge hym for hys vertuouſe, lerned, and godly prudent youthes ſake, the ſeconde Joſias Thoſe hys wonderfull pryncyples in the eyes of the worlde, and no leſſe gloryouſe afore God thus beynge to hys honoure, that eternall lyvynge God contynue and proſpere to the ende, that he maye have of them as had theſe vworthy kinges afore rehearced, a ryght noble and famouſe report. Ignoble Nobylyte ſought by wycked enterpryſes and obtayned by the ſame (as in many afore our dayes, and in ſome now of late) is not els but a publyque and notable 12 A6v notable infamye, and in the ende eternall dāampnacyon. Nobylyte wonne by the erneſt felynge of Gods hygh honour, to ſoch a precyouſe crowne of glory as wyll never peryſh here nor yet in the worlde to come
Tyraūuntes Cain after a worldly maner, or amōonge the ungracyouſe ſort, is holden noble for ſlaynge hys brother Judas of the prelates (for he receyved of thēem, a noble rewarde) for betrayenge Chriſt. Herode of the Jewes for murtherynge the innocēentes, And what is there more worthy reproche, dyſhonour, and ſhame, than are theſe excrable factes. Nobylyte The nature of true Nobylyte (as I have ſayd afore) is not to ryſe of vyce but of vertu, though many men there ſeke it. Of the moſt excellēent kinde of Nobylyte is he ſure (moſt vertuouſe and lerned lady) whych truly beleveth and ſeketh to do the wyll of the eternall father, for therby is he brought forewarde, and promoted into that heavenly kyndred Ioāan.1John 1 O noble kyndred. By that meanes becometh he the deare brother, ſyſter, & mother of Chriſt Math.12.Matt. 12 a cytizen of heaven with the Apoſtles and Prophetes. Ephe.2.Eph. 2 yea the chylde of adopcyon and heyre togyther with Chriſt in the heavēenly inherytaunce Roma 13 A7r Fo. 7 Roma.8Rom. 8 No ſoch chyldren left Socrates behynde hym, neyther yet Demoſthenes Plato, nor Cicero, with all their pleſan̄unt wyſdome and eloquēence. Alexāander. No ſoch heretage coulde great Alexander the Macedoneane byqueth to hys poſteryte neyther yet noble Charles, Artoure, nor David.
Of thys Nobylyte, have I not doubt (lady moſt faythfully ſtudyouſe) but that yow are, with many other noble women & maydēens more in thys bleſſed age. If queſtyon were axt me, how I knowe it? my anſwere wolde be thys. frutes. By your godly frute, as the fertyle tre is non other wyſe than therby knowne. luce vj.Luke 6 I receyved your noble boke, ryght frutefully of yow tranſlated out of the frenche tunge into Englyſh. I receyved alſo your golden ſentences out of the ſacred ſcriptures, with 4. tūunges. no leſſe grace than lernynge in foure noble lāanguages, Latyne, Greke, Frenche, & Italyane, moſt ornately, fynely, & purely writtēen with your owne hande. Wonderfully joyouſe were the lerned men of our cytie Men lerned. Murſeus, Buſcoducius, Bomelius Mithodius & Imāannus, as I ſhewed unto them the ſeyd ſentences, in beholdynge (as they than reported) ſo moch vertu, faythe 14 A7v faythe, ſcyence, & experyēence, of lāanguage & letters, ſpecyally in noble youth & femynyte. Through whych occaſyon ther be of thēem (I knowe) that can not witholde their lerned handes frōom the publyſhynge therof, to the hygh prayſe of God the gever, neyther yet from wrytynge to your worthy grace for ſtudyouſe contynuaunce in the ſame. Sēentēences. Your ſeyd ſēentēences, (they ſaye) farre paſſeth the Apohthegmes of Plutarchus tarchus, the Aphoriſmes of Theognis, the Stratagemes of Isocrates, the grave golden coūunſels of Cato & the manyfolde morals of Johan Goldeſton the great allegoryſer, with ſoche other lyke.
The firſt clauſe Your firſt written clauſes in iiii ſpeches latyne, Frenche & Italyane, out of the xiii Pſalme of noble David,illegible that the unfaythfull reckeneth folyſhly in their hartes, there is no God. Wherupon ſo corrupt they are in their vayne conjectures, and ſo abhomynable in their dayly doynges, that not one of their generacyon is godly. By thys do your grace unto us Hypocrytes. ſygnyfye, that the baren doctryne & good workes without fayth of the hypocrytes whych in their uncōommaunded latyn ceremonyes ſerve their bellyes & not Chriſt in gredyly 15 A8r Fo. 8 in gredyly devourynge the patrymony of poor wydowes & orphanes, are both execrable in themſelves, and abhomynable afore God for though thoſe paynted ſepulchres have the name of the lorde in their mouthes, & greatly boaſt the good workes of the lawe, yet knowe they not what belongeth to hys true honoure, but Hate. hate in their wycked hartes both hys gloryouſe name and worde. The true doctryne of faythe, and the feare of God, wyll that wycked ſort (whome thys pſalme wryngeth) not heare, but ſtyll tormēent the conſcyences of myſerable wretched ydyotes for advauntage of Maſſes and momblynges. Happys. Happy are they of thys lattre age, that in the Goſpell have receyved the ſavynge helth out of Syon (as your grace hath done) beynge clere from the ſtynge of thoſe vyperouſe wormes. Tuters. Bleſſed be thoſe faythfull tuters & teachers whych by their moſt godly inſtruccyons have thus faſhyoned your tender youth into the ryght ymage of Chriſt and not Antichriſt. Rulers Yea moſt bleſſed be thoſe godly governours and magiſtrates, whych have traveled and yet laboryouſly travayle with worthy Moſes, to brynge Gods 16 A8v Gods people clerely out of their moſt wretched captyvyte.
The latter clauſe Your latter clauſe in the Greke, incyteth us to the ryght worſhyppynges of God in ſprete and veryte Ioāan. 4.John 4 to honouringe of our parēentes in the ſemely offyces of naturall chyldren. Ephe. vi.Eph. 6 and to the reverent uſynge of our chriſten equalles in the due mynyſtracyons of love. 1. pet. Monachi 2.Pet. 1:2 Neyther Benedyct nor Bruno, Domynyck nyck nor Frances (whych have of longe yeares bene boaſted for the pryncypall patrones of relygyon) ever gave to their ſuperſtycyouſe bretherne, ſo pure preceptes of ſyncere chriſtyanyte. lōombardus Neyther yet Peter lombarde in hys. iiii. bokes of ſentences, with whoſe smokye dyvynyte, the lowſy locuſtes monkes, chanons, preſtes, and fryres, have these. iiii. hondred yeares darkened the clere ſunne, whych is the veryte of God. Apoca.9.Apoc. 9 If godly wyſe men wolde do nomore but conferre thys lernynge of yours and of other noble women in theſe dayes, with Robert. Kylwarby. the doctryne of Robert Kylwarby archebyſhopp of Canterbury and Cardynall, whych the unyverſytees of Oxforde & Parys were ſworne to, for mayntenaunce of that chriſtyanyte in the yeare of 17 B1r Fo. 9. yeare of our lorde. 12761276, by the conſent of all maſters regentes & non regentes, I doubt it not but they ſhulde fynde A change juſt cauſe to holde up both their handes and prayſe their lorde God for changynge that helle into thys heaven. An unſavery guſt therof ſhall they fynde, adjoyned of the Paryſeanes as neceſſary dyvynyte, to The boke the foreſeyd ſentēences of Peter lombarde.
In your forenamed boke, cōompoſed firſt of all by the ryght vertuouſe lady Margarete, ſyſter ſūumtyme to the frenche kynge Frances and quene of Naverre, And by your noble grace moſt dylygently and exactly tranſlated into Englyſh, fynde I moſt precyouſe treaſure concernynge the ſowle. Wherfor I have added therunto Elizabet the tytle of a Godly medytacyon of the ſowle, concernynge a love towardes God and hys Christ . Moſt lyvely in theſe and ſoch other excellent factes, expreſſe ye the naturall emphaſy of your noble name Eliſchabeth in the hebrue, is as moch to ſaye in the latyne, as Dei mei requies, in Englyſh, the rest of my God. Who can thynke God not to reſt in that harte whych ſendeth fourth ſoch godly frutes? I thynke nōon that hath ryght dyſcreſſyon B your 18 B1v your pēenne hath here plenteouſlye uttered An hart. the habundaūunce of a Godly occupyed harte, lyke as ded the vyrgynall lyppes of Christes moſt bleſſed mother, whan ſhe ſayd with heavenly rejoyce. My ſowle magnyfyeth the lorde and my ſprete rejoyceth in God my ſaver, luce.1Luke 1 Noble wom ēen lerned Many noble women of freſnch literature have bene afore tyme in thys regyon, whoſe nomēenclature or rehearſall of names I intende to ſhewe in the ende of thys boke, but non of thēem were ever yet lyke to thoſe whych are in our age. No, neyther Cambra, Martia, Conſtantia, Agaſia, Vodicia, Bunduica, Claudia, Helena. urſula. hilda, nor ſoch other lyke. Thys one coppye of yours have I brought into a nombre to thintēent that many hungry ſowles by the ineſtymable treaſure contayned therin, maye be ſwetely refreſhed. Cōoncluſio The ſprete of the eternall ſonne of God Jeſus Chriſt, be alwayes to your excellent grace aſſyſtent that ye maye ſende fourth more ſoch wholſome frutes of ſowle, and become a noryſhynge mother to hys dere congregacyon to their confort and hys hygh glorye Amen.
Your bounde oratour
A Godly Medytacyon of the chriſten ſowle, concerninge a love towardes God and hys Chriſte, compyled in frenche by lady Margarete quene of Naverre, and aptely tranſlated into Englyſh by the ryght vertuouſe lady Elyzabeth doughter to our late ſoverayne Kynge Henry the viii.
If thu do throughly reade thys worke (dere frynde in the lorde) marke rather the matter than the homely ſpeache therof, conſyderynge it is the ſtodye of a woman, whych hath in her neyther cōonnynge nor ſcyence, but a fervent deſyre Math.5Matt. 5 that yche one maye ſe, what the gifte of God the creatour doth whan it pleaſeth hym to juſtyfye a hart. For what is the hart of a Man, concernynge hys owne ſtrēength, before he hath receyved the gift of faythe? Hebre.12Heb. 12 Therby only hath he knowledge of the goodneſſe, wyſedome, and power of God. And as ſone as he through that fayth, knoweth pythely the truthe hys hart is anon full of charyte and love Bij So that 20 B2v 1.Ioāan.4.John 1:4 So that by the ferventneſſe therof, he excludeth all fleſhly feare, & fyrmely truſteth in God unfaynedly. for certaynely the gifte, whych God the creatour geveth frely at the begynnynge, doth never ceaſe tyll it hath made hym godly, whych putte th hys full truſt in God.
O happy and fortunate gifte, whych cauſeth a Man to poſſeſſe a grace ſo deſyred Ioan.6.John 6 Alas noman coulde thys underſtande, onles by ſoch gyfte God had geven it hym. And great cauſe he hath to doubte of it, ōonles God hath made hym to feale it in hys harte. Therfor gēentyll reader, with a godly mynde I beſyche the pacyently thys worke to peruſe, whych is but ſmall in quantyte, and taſte nothynge but the frute therof Prayenge to God full of all goodneſſe, that in thy harte he wyll plāante the lyvely faythe.
finit praefatio. liber incipit
Iob.7.Job.7 Where is the helle, full of travayle, payne, myſchefe, and torment? Where is the pytte of curſedneſſe, out of whych doth ſprynge all deſperacyon? Is there any helle 21 B3r Fo. 11. any helle ſo profounde, that is ſuffycyent to ponnyſh the tenth part of my ſynnes. whych are ſo many in nombre, that the infynyte ſwarme of them ſo ſhaddoweth my darkened ſences that I can not accompte them neyther yet wele ſe them? I am farre entered in amongeſt them, and ( Romāan.7Rom. 7 that moch wors is) I have not the power to obtayne the true knowledge of the depe daūungers of them. I perfyghtly fele, that their roote is in me. And outwardly I ſe non other effecte but all is eyther braūunche leafe, or els frute that it bryngeth, fourth all aboute me. Pſal.94.Ps.94 If I thynke to loke for better, a braūunche cōommeth and cloſeth myne eyes, and in my mouthe doth fall whan I wolde ſpeake, the frute ſo bytter to ſwalowe downe. If my ſprete be ſturred for to harken, than a great multytude of leaves doth entre in myne eares, and my noſe is all ſtopped with flowers.
2.Cor.3.2 Cor. 3 Now beholde how in paynes cryenge & wepynge, my poore ſowle, a ſlave and pryſoner, doth lye without lyghte, havynge her fete bounde through her concupyſcēence & alſo both her armes through evyll uſe Yet the power to remedy it doth not lye in me, neyther have I power to crye for Biij helpe 22 B3v helpe. Agayne, ſo far fourth, as I can perceyve, I have no hope of ſocour, but through the grace of God that I can not deſerve, whych maye rayſe every one from deathe. By hys bryghtneſſe he geveth lyght to darkeneſſe. Ioāan.12John 12 And hys power examynynge my faulte, doth breake all the vayle of ignoraunce, and geveth me clere underſtāandynge, not only that thys cometh of me, but alſo what thynge abydeth in me. Where I am and wherfor I do laboure. Who he is whom I have offended, to whom I ded obeye ſo ſeldome. Therfor it is cōonvenyent that my pryde be ſuppreſſyd
And humbly with wepynge harte, I do confeſſe that I am moch leſſe thāan nothynge, before my byrth myer, after a dungehyll, a body prompte to all evyll not wyllynge other ſtodye, alſo ſubject to care, ſorowe, and payne. Iob.14Job 14 A ſhort lyfe, and thende uncertayne. The whych undre ſynne by Adam is ſolde, and by the lawe judged to be damnyd. For I had never the power to obſerve one only cōommaundemente of God, I do fele the ſtrength of ſynne in me, therfor is my ſynne no whyt the leſſe to be hydden. And the more he is dyſſembled outwardly, ſo moche the more he encreaſythcreaſyth 23 B4r Fo. 12. creaſyth within the harte. Sapi.2.Wis. of Sol. 2 That whych God wyll, I can not wyll, and whart he wolde not, I ofte tymes deſyre to perfourme. Whych thynge doth conſtrayne me by importable ſorowe, to Wyſhe thende of thys myſerable bodye through deſyred death, bycauſe of my werye & ragynge life
Roma.7.Rom. 7 Who ſhall be he than, that ſhall delyver and recover ſuche good for me? Alas it can not be a mortall man, for hys power and ſtrength is not ſuche, but it ſhall be the only good grace of the almyghty God whych is never ſlacke to prevent us with hys mercye. O what a maſter is that, without deſervynge any goodneſſe of hym? I ſerved hym ſlouthfully, and without ceaſynge offended hym every daye, yet is he not ſlacke in helpynge me. He doth ſe the evyll that I have, what and how moche Gene.6.Gen. 6 it is, and that of my ſelfe I can do nothynge that good is, but with hart and body ſo enclyned am I to the contrarye, that I feale no ſtrength in me onles it be for to do evyll. He doth not tarry tyll I humbly praye hym, or that (ſeynge my helle & dāampnacyon) I do crye upōon hym. For with hys ſprete he maketh a waylynge in my harte greatter than I can declare, whych Biiij aſketh 24 B4v aſketh the gyfte wherof the vertu is unknowen to my lytele power.
Pſal.37Ps. 37 And thys the ſame unknowne ſyghte doth brynge me a newe deſyre, ſhewynge the good that I have loſt by my ſynne, & gyvēen me agayne through hys grace & boūuntye, tye, that whych hath overcomēen all ſynne O my lorde what grace and goodneſſe is thyn, whych doth put out ſo manye ſynnes Now maye we ſe that thu art full of all godly love to make me of a ſynner, thy ſerva ūunt & chyelde. Luce.19Luke 19 Alas my God, I ded not ſeke the but I fled & rāanne awaye frōom the, And here beneth thu camyſt to me whych am nothynge but a worme of the earthe, all naked. What do I ſaye, worme? I do hym wrōonge, that am ſo naughtye & ſwarme ſo full of pryde, deceyte, malyce & treaſon. The promyſe whych my fryndes made whāan I was baptyſed is ſuch, Collo.3.Col. 3 that I alwayes through faythe in thy paſſyōon ſhuld fele the mortyfycacyōon of my fleſhe & dwelle alwayes with the īin the croſſe where thu wert faſt nayled (as I beleve) and yelded death dead as I alſo ſhuld yelde all ſynne.
Thys have I often tymes taken downe agayne, untyed, and ſet at large. I have broken, denyed, and falſyfyed my promyſe and 25 B5r Fo. 13. & through pryde, I have lyft up my wyll in ſuche a maner, that through ſlouth.my dewtye towardes the was forgoten. Marck.16Mark 16 And that moche more is, as wele the profyte or value of thy promyſe, whych I had of the in the daye of my baptyſme, as alſo thy ſavynge love and promyſes folowynge, I have all alyke neglected. What ſhall I ſaye more? Albeit that often tymes thu perceyvynge me wretched and unhappye haſt gevēen me ſo many warnynges in fayth and in ſacramēentes, admonyſhynge me by preachynges, and confortynge me by the recayvynge of thy worthye bodye and ſacred bloude, Ioan.6John 6 promyſynge alſo to put me in the nombre of them that are now adourned with perfyght innocencye. Yet have I all theſe hygh benefyghtes, throwne into forgetfullneſſe,
Often tymes have I with the broken covenaunte. And partly for that my poore ſowle was to moche fed with evyll breade or dāampnable doctryne of hypocrytes, I deſpyſed ſuch ſocoure and ghoſtly phyſyck in Gods worde, as wolde have holpe me. Hiere.7.Jer. 7 And if I had bene wyllynge to loke for it yet knewe I at that tyme no teachers cōonvenyent. For there is neyther man, ſaynte, Bv nor 26 B5v nor Angell, for whome the harte of a ſynner without thy ſprete wyll change. Also good Jesus, thu beholdynge my blyndeneſſe, and that at my neade I coulde have no ſocour of men, dedyſt open the waye of my ſalvacyon. Pſal 118Ps. 118 O how great is the goodneſſe, and how ineſtymable the ſwetneſſe whych thu haſt ſhewed therin. Is there any father ſo naturall to the daughter or brother to the ſyſter, whych wolde ever have done as he hath done? For he came into the helle to ſocour my ſowle, where agaynst hys wyll ſhe was, intendynge to have peryſhed, becauſe ſhe ded not love.
Alas ſwete lorde thuu haſt loved her 1.Ioāan.3John 3 yea, to the very outſdedynge of thy moſt precyouſe bloude. O charyte fervent and incōomparable. Not ſlacke art thu in love that ſo loveſt every ſynner, yea, and alſo thyne enemyes, not only in forgevynge their offences, but alſo in gevynge thy ſelfe for their ſalvacyon, lybertie, and delyveraunce, to the death, croſſe, travayle payne and ſufferaunce. Ioāan.5.John 5 Whan I caſt in mynde, what ſhulde be the occaſyōon of thy love towardes me. I can ſe nothynge els but a love wonderfull, whych moveth the to geve me that I can not deſerve. Than my God 27 B6r Fo 14 my God as farre fourth as I can ſe, I ought to geve no thāankes for my ſalvacyon but only unto the, to whome I owe the prayſe ther of, as to hym whych is my ſavyour & creatoure. Ephe.3Eph. 3 What a thynge is it that thu haſt done ſo moche for me? Thu art not only contented to have forgyven me my ſynnes, but alſo haſt gyvēen unto me the ryght fortunate gifte of grace.
For it ſhulde ſuuffyſe me, I cōommynge out of ſuche a daunger, to be lyke a ſtraunger uſed. But thu doſt handle my ſowle, (if I durst ſo ſaye it) as a mother, daugh.ter, ſyſter, and wyfe. I lorde, I am the treſpaſer whych am not worthy to come nere the dore of thy ryght hygh place to aſke breade, where thy dwellynge is. Roma.8.Rom. 8 O what grace is thys, that ſo ſodenly thu voucheſavyſt to drawe my ſowle in to ſuche hyghneſſe, that ſhe felyth herſelfe ruler of my bodye. She poore, ignoraunte and lame, doth fynde her ſelfe wyth the, ryche, wyſe, and ſtronge, becauſe thu haſt written in her harte the roote of thy ſprete, & holy worde, gevynge her true fayth for to receyve it. Whych thynge made her to conceyve thy ſonne, in belevynge hym to be man, God, ſavyour, and alſo the true remytter 28 B6v remytter of ſynnes. Math.12.Matt. 12 Therfor doſt thu aſſure her, that ſhe is mother to thy ſonne of whom thu art the only faither.
And farthermore, O my father here is a great love, for thu art not wery of wele doynge ſyth that thy ſonne full of dyvynyte hath taken the bodye of a man, & ded myngle hymſelfe with our aſhes, whych thynge a man can not underſtāande unleſſe he hath a true faythe. Phil.2.Phil. 2 It hath pleaſed the to put hym ſo neare us, that he ded joyne hymſelfe unto our fleſhe. Than we ſeynge hym to be called man, we are bolde to call hym ſyſter and brother. Now the ſowle whych maye ſaye of her ſelfe that ſhe is. the ſyſter of God, ought to have her harte aſſured. After thys doſt thu declare with greate love, how her creacyon is only of the good wyll, whych it pleaſeth the alwayes to have towardes her, gevynge aſſuraunce that before her firſt daye, or tyme of beyng provyded for her. thu beſtowedeſt thy love on her. & Gene.1.Gen. 1 how through love thu haſt made her (as alone of power thu cannyſt wele do it) and alſo how thu dedyſt put her within thys body, not for to ſleape with ſlouth, but that both of them ſhulde have non other exercyſe, but only to thynke 29 B7r Fo. 15 to thynke how to do ſome ſervyce unto the
Than the truthe maketh her to feale that there is in the true paternyte. Tren.2. O what honoure. what ſwetneſſe, and what glory hath the ſowle, whych doth alwayes remēember that ſhe is thy daughter, & in callynge the fayther ſhe doth thy commaundement. What is there more? Is that all? No. It doth pleaſe the to gyve her an other name, to call her thy wyfe, & that ſhe agayne do call the huſbande, declarynge how thu haſt frely manyfeſted the marryage Coloſ.2.Col. 2 of her. By the baptyſme thu haſt made a promes, to gyve her thy goodes and ryches, and thu agayne to take her ſynnes, for ſhe hath nothynge els by herytage of her firſt father Adam. All her treaſures, that ſhe hath of nature, are nothyng els but ſynnes, whych thu haſt tyed upon the, and payed all her whole debte with thy goodes and.landes
Thu haſt made her ſo ryche, and with ſo great a joynter endued her, that ſhe knowynge her ſelfe to be thy Roma.5.Rom. 5 woyd? wyfe, doth beleve to be quytt of all that ſhe oweth, eſtemynge very lytel that ſhe hath here beneth. She forſaketh her olde father, & all the goodes that he gyveth, for her huſbandes 30 B7v huſbandes ſake. 1.Ioāan.5John 1:5 Surely (o my God) my ſowle is ſore hurte to be fedde with ſuche good, and agayne releved in leavynge the pleaſure of thys worlde for that whych is eternall, where peace is without warre. I marvayle that ſhe, thys remembrynge, doth not leſe her witt, coūuntenaunce, and ſpeache. Father, father, alas what ought I to thynke. Shall my ſprete be ſo bolde as to take upon hym to call the father? yea, and alſo ouur Father, for ſo haſt thu taught in the Pater noſter. But to call the daughter, haſt thu ſo ſayd? I beſyche the, tell me. Prouer. 13.Prov. 13 Alas yea, whan with great ſwetneſſe, thu ſaydeſt daughter, lend me thy harte.
O my God, in ſtede of lendynge, he is ready to geve hym ſelfe wholly unto the Receyve hym than, & do not permyt that any creature put hym from the, ſo that for ever with faythfull ſtedefaſtneſſe he maye love the with a daughterly love. Now my lorde if thu be my father, maye I thynke that I can be thy mother? Apoca 13Apoc. 13 Indede I cannot wele preceyve, how I ſhulde conceyve the that createdyſt me. But thu dedyſt in thys matter ſatiſfye my doubte, whan in preachynge and in ſtreatchynge 31 B8r Fo 16 ſtreatchynge fourth thy hāandes dedyſt ſaye Thoſe that ſhall do the wyll of my father they are my bretherne, alſo my ſyſter and mother. I beleve than, that hearynge & readynge the wordes whych thu haſt taught & uttered by thy holy prophetes. the ſame alſo whych through thy true preachers, Luce.11.Luke. 11 thu doſt dayly declare unto mēen in belevynge it and ſtedefaſtly deſyerynge to fulfyll, I cōonceyve the & beare the by love
Therfor without āanye feare, wyll I take upōon me the name of a mother. What mother of God? O ſwete vyrgyne Marye, I beſyche the, be not angry that I take up ſuche a tytle. I do neyther ſtele, nor uſurpe any thynge upon thy pryvylege, Math.1.Matt. 1 For thu only haſt above all womēen receyved of hym ſo great honoure, that no māan can in hym ſelfe comprehende how he hath bene wyllynge to take in the our fleſhe. For thu arte mother and perfyght vyrgyne before and after, and in hys holy byrth. In thy bleſſyd wombe thu dedyſt beare hym and noryſh hym. Thu dedyſt folowe hym in hys trybulacyons, and alſo in hys teachynges. Now brevely to conclude, Thu haſt with God founde ſuche grace, as the enemye, through malyce and deceyte, had cauſed 32 B8v had cauſed 1.Cor.15.1 Cor. 15 Adam & hys poſteryte to loſe By Eve and hym we had loſt it, & by thy ſonne hath it bene yelded unto us agayne
Therfor haſt thu bene ryghteouſly called full of grace. Luce.1.Luke 1 For thu lackedyſt neyther grace nor vertu, ſith that he whych is the beſt amonge them that be good, alſo the ſprynge of all goodneſſe and power whych hath created in the ſo pure innocēencye that thu arte the example of all vertues) hath buylded in the hys dwellynge & temple. He through love ded conforme hymſelfe with the, and thu arte tranſfourmed in hym. Therfor if any man ſhulde thynke to geve the greatter prayſe than God hymſelfe hath done, it were a fule blaſphemye. Luce.1.Luke 1 For there is no ſuche prayſe, as to the ſame whych commeth from God Thu alſo haſt had faythe ſo fyrme and cōonſtaunt, that (by grace) ſhe had the power to make the godly. Wherfor I wyll not take upon me, to geve the greatter prayſe than the honnoure whych thy ſoverayne lorde hath geven unto the. Acto.12Acts. 12 For thu arte hys corporall mother, and alſo thruoough fayth hys ſpyrytuall mother.
And I folowynge thy fayth with humbleneſſe, am hys ſpirytuall mother alſo. Alas 33 C1r Fo 17 Alas my God the brotherlyneſſe that thu haſt towardes me through thy humbleneſſe, in callynge me ſyſter, is great. Dedyſt thu ever ſaye īin it any thynge afore? Alas yea. For thu haſt broken the kyndred of my olde father, Roma.12.Rom. 12 callynge me doughter by adopcyon. Well than, ſeynge that we have both but one father, I wyll not feare to call the my brother. For ſo haſt thu reported it by Salomon in hys bellet. Canti.4.Song of Sol. 4 ſaynge, My ſyſter and ſpouſe thu haſt wounded my harte with the ſwete loke of one of thyne eyes, and with one cheyne of thy necke. Alas my brother, I wyſhe for no thynge els, but that in woūundynge the, I myght fynde my ſelfe wounded with thy love. To that wolde I geve over my ſelfe And lyke wyſe thu doſt call me wyfe in that place, ſhewynge largely that thu lovyſt me, ſaynge by theſe wordes amorouſe Cannti 2.Song of Sol. 2
Aryſe my dere dove, and come hytherwarde my dylectable ſpouſe. Therfor ſhal I ſaye with lovynge fayth, thu arte myne and I am thyne. Thu doſt call me thy love & fayre ſpouſe. If it be ſo, ſuche haſt thu made me. Alas, doth it pleaſe the, to gyve me ſuche names? They are truly able to breake a mannys harte, and cauſe it to C burne 34 C1v burne through love unſpeakeable, whan he thynketh upon the honoure that thu doſt unto hym, whych is moche greatter than he hath deſerved. A mother, a mother? Luce.8.Luke 8 Alas but of what chyldei is it? Truly of ſuche a ſonne, that my harte doth breake for love. My God, my ſonne? O Jeſus what ſpeache thys is, mother, daughter. O happy kyndrede. O what ſwetneſſe doth proceade out of that paternyte. But what doughterly and reverent feare ought I to have towardes hym, my father, yea & my creatour, my protectour and ſaver. To be thy ſyſter, alas here is a great love.
Canti.8.Song of Sol. 8 Now doſt thu break, my harte īin the myddeſt to make rowme for the ſame ſo ſwete a brother. So that no other name be writ tēen in the ſame, but only my brother Jeſus the ſonne of God. Acto.4.Acts 4 Non other man wyll I geve place to, for all the ſcourgynge and beatynge, that they cāan do unto me. Keape my harte then my brother and frynde, & lete not thy enemy entre in to it. O my father, chylde, brother, and ſpouſe, with hāandes joyned, humbly upon my knees I yelde the thankes and prayſes, that it pleaſeth the to turne thy face towardes me convertynge my harte, and coveryng me with 35 C2r Fo 18. with ſuche grace, that thu doſt ſe nomore my evyls & ſynnes. Ezech.33Ezek. 33 So wele haſt thu hydden them, that it ſemeth, thu haſt put thēem in forgetfulneſſe, Yea, & alſo they ſeme to be forgoten of me, whych have cōommytted them, for fayth and love cauſeth me to forget them, puttynge wholly my truſt in the alone.
Than my father, in whom lyveth unfayned love, wherof can I have feare in my harte? Pſal.31.Ps. 31 I confeſſe that I have done all the evyll that one creature can do, and that of my ſelfe I am nought. Luce.15Luke 15 Alſo that I have offended the as the prodygall chylde ded, folowynge the folyſh trade of the fleſhe, wherewith I have ſpente all my ſubſtaūunce, and the habundaūunce of goodes whych I had receyved of the. For poverte had wetheryd me awaye even as heys and yelded my ſprete dead for hunger, ſeakynge to eate the releaſe of ſwyne. But I founde very lytle ſavoure in ſuche meates. Than I ſeynge my lyfe to be ſo myſerable, I ded returne unto the my father agayne, ſayenge. Ezech.18.Ezek. 18 Alas I have ſynned in heaven and before the. I am not worthy (I tell it before every bodye) to be called thy chylde. But O bountyfull father, do no Cij worſe to 36 C2v worſe to me, than to one of thy howſholde ſervauntes.
Alas what love and zele is thys? Luce.15.Luke 15 for thu woldeſt not tarry my commynge and prayer but ſtretchynge out thy hāande receyvedyſt me, whan I ded thynke that thu woldeſt not loke upon me. And in ſtede to have ponnyſhed, thu dedyſt aſſure me of my ſalvacyon. Where is he thēen that ſhall ponnyſh me whan my, father ſhall denye hym my ſynne? There is no juudge that can condēempne anye creature, unleſſe God hymſelfe wolde dampne hym. I feare not the want of goodneſſe, ſyth I have my God for my father. Eſa.27.Esd. 2:27 My enemye ſhall do me no harme, for my father ſhall take all hys ſtrength awaye. If I owe anye thynge, he ſhall paye it all for me. If I have deſerved death, he (as a kynge) ſhall pardōon me, & delyver me frōom pryſon & hāangynge.
But here is the worſt. What maner of mother have I bene? For after that I by fayth, had receyved the name of a true mother, I became very rude unto the, bycauſe that Roma.7.Rom. 7 after I had conceyved and brought the fourth, I left reaſon, And beynge ſubject to my wyll, not takynge heade unto the, I fell a ſlepe and gave place to 37 C3r Fo.19. place to my great enemye, The whych īin the nyght of ignoraunce, I beynge a ſleape ded ſteale the from me craftely, and in thy place, ſhe ded put her chylde whych was dead. So ded I leſe the, whych is an harde ſorowe and remorce for me. Now have I loſt the by myne owe faulte (my ſonne) bycauſe I toke no hede to kepe the. 3.Reg.3.Kings 3 Senſualyte my neyghbour ( I beynge in my beaſtly ſleape) ded ſteale the from me, & gave me, an other chylde whych had no lyfe in hym, named ſynne, whom I wyll not have, for I do utterly forſake hym.
She affirmed that he was myne owne but I knewe hym to be hers. For as ſone as I came to the lyght of grace, whych thu haddeſt gyvēen me, thāan I knewe my glory to be changed, whan I ſawe the dead chylde not to be myne. For the ſame whych was alyve (whom ſhe had taken awaye) was myne owne. 2.Cor.illegible2 Cor. Betwene Jeſus & ſynne is the chaunge ſo apparant. But here is a ſtraunge thynge. Thys olde woman cauſi th me to kepe hym whych is dead, whom ſhe reporteth to be myne, and ſo ſhe wyll maynteyne. O Salomōon, a full true judge, thu haſt hearde thys lamentable proceſſe flawed-reproduction ordayned to cōontent the partyes, that Ciij the 38 C3v illegibleReg.3.Kings 3 the chylde ſhulde be devyded in two partes. The falſe woman agreyth, it ſhulde be ſo. But I remembrynge hym to be myne owne ſonne was rather contente to leſe hym, than to ſe hys bodye parted in two peces. For true and perfyght love is never contente with one halfe of that it doth love.
I had rather to wepe for my whole loſſe, than to recover but one halfe. My mynde coulde not be ſatyſfyed. if I had recovered one halfe without lyfe. Alas illegibleCor.4.Cor. 4 gyve her rather the chylde whych is alyve. Better it is for me to dye, than to ſe Jeſus Chriſt dyvyded. But O my lorde, thu dedyſt loke better to it than I. For thu ſeynge the anguyſh that I ded ſuffer, & how I ded rather forſake my ryght, than flawed-reproduction beholde ſuuche cruelneſſe Thu ſaydeſt, thys is the true mother and ſo cauſed them to gyve me my chylde agayne, for whom my harte was ſo ſorowfull. Sapi.3.Wis. of Sol. 3 O ſwete Jesus flawed-reproduction founde the after, to have proved me flawed-reproduction ded love the. Yea, I whych had loſt the yet dedyſt thu returne unto me, Alas, flawed-reproduction thu voucheſave to come agayne to her whych beynge lett with ſynne coulde not kepe the, my ſwete chylde, my ſonne, my helper 39 C4r Fo 20 helper, my noryſher, of whome I am a ryght humble creature. Gene.illegibleGen. Do not permytt that ever I do leave the agayne, for I do repent my ſelfe of the tyme paſſed.
Now come my ſenſualyte with ſynnes of all qualytees, for thu haſt no power to make me receyve the chylde whych is dead. The ſame that I have is ſtronge ynough for to defende me, & he ſhall not permyt that thu take hym awaye from me, He is alredy more ſtronge than anye man is. Therfor I maye ſleape and take reſt neare hym. Eſa.32.Esd. 2:32 For all thynges wele conſydered, he ſhall kepe me moche better than I coulde hym. Then as I thynke I maye take reſt. O ſwete reſt of the mother & the ſonne togyther, my ſwete chylde. O my God, honoure & prayſe be unto the only, ſo that every creature maye ſe how it hath pleaſed the to call me a mother, leſſe than nothynge. Pſal 11illegiblePs. The more that the thynge is ſtraunge and harde to be done, the more ought thy goodneſſe to have prayſe for it. And alſo I fynde my ſ elfe more bounde unto the than ever I ded for thys, that it pleaſeth the to have retayned me for thy ſyſter.
I am ſyſter unto the but ſo naughty a Ciiij ſyſter 40 C4v ſyſter, that better it were for me. that I were without the name, for I forgate the honoure of adopcyon in ſo noble a kyndred, & alſo thy ſo good & brotherly behaver towardes me. Nunme.12.Num. 12 I with pryde ded ryſe agaynſt the and (not remembrynge my faultes, but goynge a ſtraye from the, ded agree with my brother Aaron, beynge in wyll to geve judgment agaynſt thy workes, Prively I grudged agaynſt the alſo, whych thynge cauſeth me to have a great remorce in my conſeyence. Alas ryght bountyfull God, brother and true Moſes, whych doiſt all with goodneſſe and Juſtyce. I have eſtemed thy workes to be even ſynne, beynge ſo bolde to ſpeake evyn raſhely, ſaynge. Nume.12Num. 12 Wherfor haſt thu marryed a ſtraunge woman? Deute.5.Deut. 5 Thu gyveſt us a lawe, and ponnyſhemente if we do not fulfyll it. And thu woldeſt not be bounde to it, forbyddynge us the thynge whych thu thy ſelfe doiſt.
For thu doiſt forbyd us to kylle anye man, and Exo.32.Exod. 32 thu doiſt kylle and ſpariſt non of thre thouſande whych thu cauſydeſt to be ſlayne. Alſo God gave us in commaundemente by the, Exo.34.Exod. 34 that we ſhulde not marry the doughter of a ſtraunger. Yet thu 41 C5r Fo.21. thu tokeſt thy wyfe amonge them. Alas my dere brother, with a great meany of ſoche wordes (whom I knowe to be folyſhe) with Aaron (whych is my owne wytte) I imbrayded the, Wherof I do repente. For the lyvely voyce of God, rebukyngly toke me up, before I wente out of the place. What woldeſt thu than of my ſynne? Alas my brother thu woldeſt not have me ponnyſhed. but rather Ezech.18Ezek. 18 woldeſt my ſalvacyon and helthe, in aſkynge for me, thys great benefyght, that it ſhulde pleaſe God to mytygate hys judgemente The whych thynge thu couldeſt not obtayne. Nume12Num.12 For I became a lazar, ſo that whan any body ſhulde loke upōon me, they myght wele ſe that I had not bene wyſe. And ſo was I put ouut from the tentes and tabernacles of the people, bycauſe that a ſycke bodye maye infecte thēem whych be in helthe
Ezech33.Ezek.33 Oh, a ſowle can not have a greatter Pōonnyſhement, than to be bannyſhed out of the cumpanye of them whych are holye and good. But what dedyſt thu ſeynge my repentaunce? 1.Ioāan.2illegibleJohn 1:2 Thu provydedyſt that my penaunce was ſone at an ende, and with truue love dedyſt make meanes for me, wherupon I ded returne. O what C a brother 42 C5v a brother wolde, in ſtede to ponnyſhe hys folyſh ſyſter, ſo naturally cleave unto her? for injurye, grudge & great offēence, thu gevyſt her grace & love in recōompēence Pſal.50.Ps. 50 Alas my brother, how excedynge is thys thy love? Moch more is it, than brotherhede is bounde to geve to ſo poore & wretched a woman as I am. I have done the evyll, and thu gevyſt me good for it, I am thyne, and thu ſayeſt, thu arte myne. Evēen ſo I am, and wyll be ſo for ever. I feare nomore the great folyſheneſſe of Aaron, for no māan maye ſeparat me frōom the. Now that we are brother & ſyſter togyther, I care very lytle for all other men. Thy landes are myne owne inherytaunce.
Phil.illegible2.Phil. 2 Lete us than kepe (if it pleaſe the) but one howſholde. Syth it have pleaſed the to humble thy ſelfe ſo moche, as to joyne thy hart with myne, in makynge thy ſelfe a levely māan, I do ryght hartely thāanke the And as to do it as I ought, it lyeth not in my ſmall power. Take my meanynge than, and excuſe my ignoraunce, ſeynge I am of ſo great a kyndred as to be thy ſyſter. O my God, I have good cauſe, to love, to prayſe, & to ſerve the unfaynedly and not to feare, not to deſyre any thynge ſaue the 43 C6r Fo.22. ſave the only. Heſter.14.Esther. 14 Kepe me wele than, for I aſke nōon other brother nor frynde. If anye father have had anye pytie upon hys chylde. If anye mother have take anye care for her ſonne. If anye brother hav hyd the ſynne of hys ſyſter, it is thu. I never ſawe (or els it was kepte wōonders ſecrete) that ever huſbande wolde througly forgyve hys wyfe, after ſhe had hym ones offended, and ded returne unto hym.
There have bene ynough of thēem whych for to avēenge their wronges, have cauſed the judges to put them to deathe. ActoillegibleActs Other beholdynge their ſynnes, ded not ſpare their owne hāandes, ſodenly to kylle them. Other alſo ſeynge their faultes to apere, ded ſende thēem home agayne to their owne fryndes. Some perceyvynge their evyll dyſpoſycyons, have ſhut them up faſte in a pryſon. Now brevely to conclude upon their dyverſe complexyons, The ende of their pretence is ponnyſhment, and Deut.24.Deut. 24 the leaſt harme that ever I coulde perceyve in pōonnyſhynge thēem is thys, that they wolde never ſe thēem agayne. Thu ſhuldeſt rather make the ſkye to turne thāan, ſo to forſake thy wyfe for her myſdoynge. Wherfor my God, I can fynde no māan to be cōompared unto the. For of love thu arte the perfect 44 C6v example. Now my God, more than ever I ded, I confeſſe that I have broken my othe and promyſe.
Ioan.15.John 15 Alas thu haddyſt choſen me for thy wyfe, and dedyſt ſet me up in great ſtate & honoure. For what greatter honoure maye one have, than to be in the place of thy wyfe, whych ſwetely taketh her reſt ſo nere the. Of all thy goodes quene, maſtres, and lady, and alſo in ſuretie both of body and ſowle. Of great favoure is it, that I ſo vyle a creature, am ſo ennoblyſhed by the. Now to ſpeake it brevely. I have more, & better than any man mortall can deſyre. Luce.6Luke 6 Wherfor my harte hath cauſe to ſygh alwayes, and with habundaunce of teares, myne eyes to come out of my heade. My mouthe can not make to many exclamacyons. For there is neyther news nor auncyent writynges, that can ſhewe ſo pytiefull a caſe, as the ſame is whych I wyll tell now. Shall, or dare I tell it? Maye I pronounce it without ſhame? Alas yea. For my confuſyon is it not to ſhewe the great love of my huſbāande. Pſal.50.Ps. 50 Therfor I care not, if for hys worſhyp I do declare my faulte.
O my ſaver, whych dyed & was crucyfyedon 45 C7r Fo.23. fyed on the croſſe for my ſynnes. Thys dede is not ſuche, as a father to leave hys ſonne, or as a chylde to offēende hys mother or els as a ſyſter to grudge & chyde. Alas thys is worſe. For the offence is greatter where more love & knowledge is. Eſa.5.Esd. 5 For the more famylyaryte we have with God & the more benefytes we receyve of hym the greatter is our offēence whan we with hym dyſſemble. Specyally that I ſhuld ſo do, whych am called hys ſpouſe, and loved of the as thyne owne ſowle. Shall I tell the truthe? Yea. I have lefte the, forgoten the, & ranne awaye from the. I ded leave the for to go at my vayne pleaſure. I forſoke the and choſe other. Yea. I refuſed the, the welſprynge of all goodneſſe and faythfull promyſe. I ded leave the. Iob.10.Job 10 But whyther went I? Into a place where nothynge was but curſedneſſe.
I have lefte the my truſty frynde and lover, worthy to be loved above all other. I have put the aſyde, o welſprynge of all heltheſomneſſe, by myne owne wretched wyll. Yea, I have forſaken the, full of bewtie, goodneſſe, wyſdom, and power, & ſought to withdrawe me from thy love. I have accepted thy great enemyes, that is the 46 C7v is the devyll, the worlde, and the fleſhe, agaynſt whōome Hebre.12Heb. 12 thu faughteſt ſo ſore on the croſſe, to overcome for my ſake, to ſet me at lyberte, whych was by thēem of lōonge tyme a pryſoner ſlave. And ſo bounde, that no man coulde cauſe me to humble my ſelfe And as for the love & charyte that I ſhulde have had towardes the, they ded quēenche it ſo that the name of Jeſus my huſbāande, whych before I had founde ſo ſwete, was to me tedyouſe & hatefull. So that often tymes I ded jest at it. Luce.8.Luke 8 And if any man (I hearynge a ſermon) had ſayd unto me, the preacher ſayth wele. I wolde afferme it but the worde went awaye from me, as a fether doth in the wynde.
I went never yet to the preachynge, but for maner only. All my dedes were playne hypocreſye, for my mynde was in other places. I was anoyed whan I hearde ſpeake of the, for I was more wyllynge to go at my pleaſure. Now brevely to conclude, Hiere.2.Jer. 2 All that thu dedyſt forbyd me, I fulfylled & all that thu cōommaūundedyſt me to do, I ded eſchewe. And thys was the cauſe (my God) I ded not love the. But yet lorde, for all thys that I ded hate the and forſake the, ranne awaye from the, & betrayed 47 C8r Fo.24. betrayed the, ſhulde I geve thy place to an other? Or haſt thu ſuffered that I ſhulde be mocked, eyther yet beatēen or kylled? Haſt thu put me in darke pryſon, or bannyſhed me for ever, ſettynge nought by me? Haſt thu taken awaye thy gyftes agayne from me, and precyouſe jewels, to ponnyſh me for my unfaythfull frutes? Math.25.Matt. 25 Have I loſt my joynter whych thu promyſedyſt me, through my offēence agaynſt the? Am I accuſed by the afore the eternall father, for a naughty woman? Yea, haſt thu forbyd me thy preſēence (as I deſerved) & that I ſhulde never apere in thy howſe?
O moſt true huſbāande, & pure perfyght frynde, the moſt lovynge yet amonge all good lovers. Alas thu haſt done otherwyſe: Luce.13.Luke 13 For thu ſoughteſt for me dylygenly, whan I was goynge into the moſt depe place of helle, where all the evyls are done. Whan I was fardeſt from the both in harte and mynde, & clerlye out of the true waye. Than dedyſt thu lovynglye call me backe, ſaynge. Pſal .4Ps. 4 My dere doughter harken, and ſe, and bowe thy hearynge towardes me. Forget that ſtraunge nacyon to whom thu dedyſt ronne awaye and alſo the houſe of thyne olde father 48 C8v olde father, where thu haſt dwelled ſo longe Than ſhall the kynge full of all faythfulneſſe, deſyre thy bewtie. Math.1.Matt. 1 But whan thu ſaweſt that thy ſwete & gracyouſe callynge, ded not profyte me. than begannyſt thu to crye lowder. Come unto me all yow whych are wearyly loaden with laboure, for I am he that ſhall plenteouſly refreſhe yow and feade yow with my breade of lyfe. Alas unto all theſe ſwete wordes wolde I not harken.
For I doubted whether it were thu, or els a fabyllouſe writynge that ſo ſayde, Eſa.3.Esd. 3 For I was ſo folyſhe, that without love I ded reade thy worde. I conſydered not wele the comparyſon of the vyneyearde whych brought fourth thornes & bryers in ſtede of good frute, that it ſygnyfyed me whych had ſo done. I knowe it wele ynough, that whan thu dedyſt call the baren wyfe, ſaynge. Canti.6.Song of Sol. 6 Returne Sulamyte, All thys dedyſt thu ſpeake that I. ſhulde forſake my ſynne. And of all theſe wordes ded I, as though I had underſtande never a whytt. But whan I ded peruſe Hieremy the prophete, I confeſſe that I had in the readynge therof, feare in my harte and baſhefulneſſe in my face. I wyll tell it 49 D1r Fo.25. tell it, yea with teares in myne eyes, and all for thy honoure, and to ſupreſſe my pryde. Thu haſt ſayde by that holy prophete, Hiere.3Jer.3 if a woman hath offended her huſbande, and is ſo left of hym for goynge aſtraye with other. Namely if he therupōon refuſeth her for ever, is ſhe not to be eſtemed poluted and of no value?
The lawe doth conſente to put her in the hāandes of juſtyce, or to dryve her awaye & ſo never to ſe her or to take her agayne. Ezech.1illegibleEzek. Thu haſt made the ſepracyon from my bedde (ſayth he unto me) & placed foren lovers in my roume, commyttynge with them fornycacyon. Yet for all thys thu mayſt returne unto me agayne. For I wyll not alwayes be āangrye agaynſt the. Lyfte up thyne eyes, & loke aboute the on every ſyde. Thāan ſhalte thu wele ſe, into what place thy ſynne hath led the, & how thou lyeſt downe in the earthe. O poore sowle, loke where thy ſynne hath put the. Hiere.3illegibleJer. Even upon the hygh wayes, where thu dedyſt wayte, and tarrye for to begyle thēem that came by, even as a theſe doth whych is hydden in the wylderneſſe. Therfor thu in fulfyllynge thy wicked pleaſure, haſt with fornycacyon infected all the earthe D whych 50 D1v whych was aboute the. Thyne eye, thy foreheade, and thy face have loſte all their honeſt good maner. For they were ſuche as an harlot hath, and yet thu haddeſt no ſhame of thy ſynne.
And the ſurplus that Hieremy ſayth, conſtrayneth me to knowe my wretched lyfe, & Iob.10.Job 10 to wyſhe with ſorowfull ſyghes, the houre, the daye, the moneth, the tyme and the yeare, that I ded leave it, yeldynge my ſelfe condempned, and worthy to be for ever in the everlaſtynge fyre. The ſame feare whych doth not of me but of the procede, and exceadeth many of thy other gyftes, put me rather in hope than dyſpayre, as often as I ded remembre my ſynne. For as ſone as thu kneweſt my wyll bowynge undre thy obedyence, than puttynge in me a lyvely fayth, thu dedyſt uſe great clemencye. Hebre.11.Heb. 11 So that after I knewe the to be that lorde, maſter, and kynge whom I ought to have feared. Than foūunde I my feare not quenched, but mixed with love, belevynge that thu wert ſo gracyouſe, gentyll, and ſwete, & ſo pytiefull an huſbande, that I whych ſhulde rather have hydde me, than to have ſhewed my ſelfe, was not than in feare to go fourth and to 51 D2r Fo.26. and to loke for the. And in ſo ſekynge I founde the.
But what dedyſt thu than? Haſt thu refuſed me? Alas my God, no, but rather haſt excuſed me. Haſt thu turned thy face from me? No, Pſal.illegiblePs. for thyne eye ſo ſwete ded penetrate my harte, woūundynge it almoſt to the deathe, and gevynge me remorſe of my ſynnes. Canti.14.Song of Sol. Thu haſt not put me backe with thy hāande, but with both thy armes and with a ſwete, and māanly harte thu dedyſt mete with me by the waye, and not ones reprovynge my faultes, enbraſydeſt me. I coulde not ſe in beholdynge thy coūuntenaunce, that ever thu dedyſt ones perceyve myne offence. For thu haſt done as moche for me, as though I had benne good and honeſt. Roma.illegibleRom. For thu dedyſt hyde my faulte from every body, in gevynge me agayne the parte of thy bedde, and alſo in ſhewynge that the multitude of my ſynnes are ſo hyddēen & overcome by thy great vyctorye that thu wylte never remembre thēem. So that now thu ſeyſt nothynge in me, but the graces, gyftes and vertues whych it hath pleaſed thy fre goodneſſe to gyve me
O charyte moſt precyouſe. Eſa.4Esd. 4 I do ſe wele that thy goodneſſe both conſumd Dij my 52 D2v my lewdeneſſe & maketh me a newe godly and bewtyfull creature. The evyll that was myne, thu haſt deſtroyed, and made me ſo perfyght a creature, that all the good whych a huſbande can do unto hys wyfe thu haſt done it to me, in gevynge me, a faythfull Hope in thy promyſes. Now have I through thy good grace recovered the place of thy wyfe. Math.11Matt. 11 O happye & deſyred place, gracycuſe bedde, trone ryght honourable, ſeate of peace, reſt from all warre, hygh ſteppe of honoure, ſeparate from the earthe. Doiſt thu receyve thys unworthy creature, gevynge her the ſcepture and crowne of thy empyre and gloryouſe realme? who ded ever heare ſpeake of ſuche a ſtorye? as to rayſe up one ſo hygh, whych of her ſelfe was nothynge & maketh of great value, that of it ſelfe was naught.
Alas what is thys? Ioan.3.John 3 for I caſtynge myne eyes on hygh, ded ſe thy goodneſſe, ſo unknowne, grace & love ſo incomprehēenſyble that my ſyght is wonderfull. Than am I conſtrayned to loke downe, & in ſo lokynge downewarde, I do ſe what I am, and what I was wyllynge to be. Alas I do ſe in it the lewdeneſſe, darkeneſſe, and extreme 53 D3r Fo.27. extreme depeneſſe of my evyll, My deathe whych by hūumbleneſſe cloſeth myne eye The admyrable goodnneſſe of the, & the unſpeakeable evyll whych is in me. Sapi.14.Wis. of Sol. 14 Thy tyght hyghnes & pure majeſtie, my ryght fragyle and mortall nature, Thy gyftes, goodes, & beatytude, my malyce & great unkyndneſſe. O how good thu arte unto me, and how unkynde am I to the? Thys that thu wylte, and thys that I purſue. Whych thynges conſydered, cauſeth me to marvele, how it pleaſyth the to joyne thy ſelfe to me, ſeynge there is no comparyſon betwene us both.
Thu arte my God, and I am thy worke, thu my creator, and I thy creature Now to ſpeake brevely, Eſa.64Esd. 64 though I can not defyne what it is to be of the, yet knowe I my ſelfe to be the leaſt thynge that maye be compared unto the. O love, thu madyſt thys agrement, whan thu dedyſt joyne lyfe, annd deathe togyther. But the unyon hath made alyve deathe. Lyfe dyenge, and lyfe without ende, have made one deathe a lyfe. Deathe hath geven unto lyfe a quyckeneſſe. Coloſ.2.Col. Through ſuche deathe I beynge dead, receyved lyfe, and by deathe I am ravyſhed with hym whych is Diij alyve 54 D3v alyve. I lyve in the, and as for me, of myſelfe I am dead. And as cōoncernynge the bodyly deathe, it is nothynge els unto me, but a cōommynge out of pryſon. Deathe is lyfe unto me. For through deathe. I am alyve. Thys mortall lyfe fylleth me full of care and ſorowe, and deathe yeldeth me content.
Apoca 14.Apoc. 14 O what a goodly thynge it is to dye, whych cauſeth my ſowle to lyve. In delyverynge her frōom thys mortall deathe, it exe ēempteth her frōom the deathe myſerable, & matcheth her with a moſt myghty lover. & unleſſe ſhe thus dyeth, ſhe lāanguyſſheth alwayes. Is not thāan the ſowle blameles, whych wolde fayne dye for to have ſuche lyfe? Yes trulye, & ſhe ought to call deathe her welbeloved frynde, O ſwete deathe, pleſaunt ſorowe, myghty keye delyverynge from all wyckedneſſe. Roma.8.Rom. 8 Thoſe whych truſted in the (o lorde) and in thy deathe, were mortyfyed, becauſe they ded truſt in the, and in thy paſſyon. For with a ſwete ſlepe thu dedyſt put them oute of that deathe whych cauſeth manye to lamente. O how happye is the ſame ſlepe unto hym, whych whan he awaketh, doth fynde through thy deathe, the lyfe everlaſtynge.lastynge 55 D4r Fo.28. laſtynge. For the deathe is nōon other thynge to a chriſten man, but a lyberte or delyveraunce from hys mortall bande.
Roma. 7.Rom. 7 And the deathe whych is. fearfull to the wycked, is pleſaunt and acceptable to them that are good. Than is deathe through thy deathe deſtroyed. Therfor my God, if I were ryghtly taught, I ſhulde call the deathe lyfe, and thys lyfe deathe, ende of laboure, and begynnynge of everlastynge joye. For I knowe that the lōonge lyfe doth lett me from thy ſyght. Pſal.31.Ps. 31 O deathe, come, and breake the ſame obſtacle of lyfe. Or els love, do a myracle now, ſyth that I can not yet ſe my ſpouſe Tranſfourme me with hym both bodye & ſowle, and than ſhall I the better tarry for the cummynge of deathe. Lete me dye that I maye lyve with hym. For there is nōon that can helpe me, onles it be thu only. Ioan.15.John 15 O my ſaver, through faythe I am planted, and joyned with the. O what unyon is thys, ſyth that through faythe I am ſure of the. And I maye call the, father brother, ſonne, and huſbande. O what giftes thu doſt gyve, by the goodeneſſe of thoſe names.
O my father, what paternyte, O my Diiii brother 56 D4v brother what fraternyte, O my chylde, what dylectyon, O my ſpouſe, what conjunctyon is thys? Apoca 12Apoc.12 Father full of humylyte Brother havynge our ſymylytude. Sōonne engendered through faythe & love. Huſbande lovynge, and relevynge in all extremyte. But whom doiſt thu love? Alas is it ſhe whom thu haſt withdrawen from the ſnare, wherin, through malyce ſhe was bounde, and put her in place, name and offyce of a doughter, ſyſter, mother, and wyfe. Luce.8.Luke 8 O my ſaver, the ſame is a great favoure of ſwetneſſe, ryght pleſaūunt, and dylectable, whan a man, after the hearynge of thy worde, ſhall call the without feare, hys father, brother, chylde, & ſpouſe. I in hearynge that worde, do perceyve my ſelfe to be called there thy mother, ſyſter, doughter, & ſpouſe. Alas the ſowle whych doth fynde ſuche ſwetneſſe, maye conſume and burne for love.
Is there any love, onles it be thys, but it hath ſome evyll condycyon? Is there anye pleaſure to be herto eſtemed? Is there any honoure, but maye be accompted ſhame, to thys compared? Ioan.14John 14 Yea, is there any profyte equall to thys? More over to conclude it brevely. Is there any thynge that I 57 D5r Fo.29. that I coulde more erneſtly love? Alas no. For he that unfaynedly loveth God, reputeth all theſe thynges worldly, of leſſe value than the dūunge hylle. Pleaſure profyte, honoure of thys worlde, are all but vayne tryfles unto hym whych hath founde God. 2.Cor.32 Cor. 3 Suche love is ſo profytable honourable, & abundaunt, that (I dare ſaye) ſhe only ſuffyſeth the harte of a godly man, and yeldeth hym ſo content, that he never deſyreth or wolde have other. For who ſo ever hath God, as we ought to have hym, accounteth all other thynges ſuperfluouſe or vayne.
Now thanked by the lorde, through faythe have I gotēen the ſame love, wherfor I ought to be ſatyſfyed and content. Now have I the my father, for defence of my longe youth from wanton folyſhneſſe. Phil.2.Phil. 2 Now have I the my brother, for to ſocoure my ſorowes wherin I fynde non ende. Now have I the my ſonne, for my feble age as an only ſtaye. Now have I the a true, & faythfull huſbande, for the ſatiſfyenge of my whole harte. Now ſyth that I have the, I do forſake all them that are in the worlde. Syth I holde the, thu ſhalte eſcape me nomore. Seynge Dv that 58 D5v that I ſe the, Eſa.55.Esd. 55 I wyll loke upon non othre thynge that myght kepe me backe from the beholdynge of thy dyvynyte. Ioāan10.John 10 Seynge that I do heare the, I wyll heare nothynge that letteth me frōom the fruycyōon of thy voyce. Syth that I maye frely talke with the, I wyll cōommen with non other. Seynge it pleaſeth the to put me ſo nere the, I wyll rather dye than to touche any other Seynge that I ſerve the, I wyll ſerve non other maſter.
Seynge that thu haſt joyned thy harte with myne, if he depart from thyne, lete hym be ponnyſhed for ever. 2.theſ.2.2 Thess. 2 For the departynge from thy love is harder, than is any dampnacyon. I do not feare the payne of ten thouſande helles, ſo moche as I do feare the ones loſynge of the. Alas my God, my father, and creator, do not ſuffer that the enemy, inventor of all ſynne, have ſuche power, that he make me to leſe thy preſence. Exo.15.Exod. 15 For who ſo ever hath once felte the loſſe of thy love, he ſhall ſaye that he wolde rather be bounde forever in helle, than to feale the payne that one ſhall have by the loſſe of the ſame thy love one momente of tyme. O my ſaver, do not permytt that ever I departe from the. But if it 59 D6r Fo. 30. if it pleaſe the, put me in ſuche a place, that my ſowle through wantonneſſe of ſynne be never ſeparated from thy love.
In thys worlde I can not have perfyghtly thys my deſyre. Roma.7.Rom. 7 Whych thynge conſydered maketh me fervently & with all my harte, to deſyre the departynge from thys bodye of ſynne, not fearynge the deathe nor yet any of her inſtrumentes. For Hebre 9.Heb. 9 what feare ought I to have of my God, whych through love offered hymſelfe and ſuffered deathe not of dett or dewtye, but becauſe he wolde for my only ſake undo the power that mortall deathe had. Now is Jeſus dead, in whom we are all dead, and through hys deathe he cauſeth every man to lyve agayne. I meane thoſe whych through fayth are partakers of hys Paſſyon. Eccle.4illegibleEccles. For even as the deathe before the great myſtery of the croſſe, was harde to every bodye, and there was no māan but was feared therwith, conſyderynge the copulacyon of the bodye & the ſowle, their order, love, and agrement, ſo were their ſorowes extreme in the departynge of the one from the other.
But ſens it hath pleaſed the ſwete lam ded offer hymſelfe upon the croſſe, hys great 60 D6v great love hath kyndeled a fyre within the harte ſo vehement, Sapi.3.Wisd. of Sol. 3 that every true belever eſtemeth the paſſ age of deathe but a playe or paſtyme, and ſo provoketh other conſtauntly in hys truthe to dye. And evēen as the feare of deathe ded retarde us, ſo ought love to gyve us a deſyre to dye. 1.Ioāan.4.John 4 For if true love be unfaynedly within the harte of a man, he can fele non other thynge, becauſe that love is ſo ſtronge of itſelfe that ſhe kepith all the roume, and putteth out all other deſyres, not ſufferynge any thynge there but God only. For wherſoever true and perfyght love is, we do neyther remēembre feare nor yet ſorowe
If our owne pryde for to attayne honoure maketh us to ſeke deathe ſo manye ſtraunge wayes. As if for to have a folyſh pleaſure, a man putteth hym ſelfe in jeopardye of lyfe. If a merchaūunte to obtayne ryches, doth daunger hymſelfe, ſomtyme for the value of a ſhyllynge. Deute.16.Deut. 16. If the firſt cōonceyvynge of robery or murther, crueltie or deceyte, doth ſo blynde a man, that he doubteth nothynge the daunger of deathe, neyther yet myſfortune whan he ſeketh to avēenge hymſelfe or doth any other evyll. If the fury of ſyckeneſſe or the rankeneſſekeneſſe 61 D7r Fo.31. keneſſe of Malancholy cauſeth a creature fearcely to wyſhe for deathe, & oft tymes to drowne, hāange, or kylle thēemſelves. For ſuche evyls are ſomtymes ſo great that they cauſe their payned pacyentes to choſe deathe for lyberte. Ecels.1.Eccles. 1 If it ſo be than that theſe paynes full of evyll, and imperfectyons, cauſeth them not to feare the haſarde of deathe, but rather to thynke that deathe tarryeth to longe.
Alas what ought true and laudable love to do? What ought the love of the eternall creatour to wyſhe? Shulde ſhe ſturre a harte ſuche wyſe, that he beynge tranſported with ſuche affectyon, ſhulde fele non other thynge in hym? Alas yea. Roma.illegible.Rom. For deathe is a pleſaunt thynge to the ſowle, whych is in love with God, and eſtemeth the paſſage eaſye, through the whych ſhe commyth out of pryſon. For the harde waye, wherthrough ſhe commeth, can not wearye her for to enbrace her huſbande. O my ſaver, how good is the ſame deathe, through whom we ſhall have the ende of all ſorowes? 2.Cor.3.2.Cor. By whom I ſhall enjoye thy ſyght without impedyment, and be tranſfourmed into the lykeneſſe of thy majeſte?O dyethe 62 D7v
O deathe, through thy dede I truſt to have ſuche honour, as upon my knees with cryenge and wepynge I do dayly deſyre. Therfor come quyckely, annd make an ende of my ſorowes. Canti.5.Song of Sol. 5 O happy doughters, ryght holy ſowles joyned to the cytie hieruſalem, open your eyes and with pytye loke upon my deſolacyon. I beſeche yow that in my name ye do ſhewe unto my beſtbelove, my God, frynde & kynge, how at everye houre of the daye, I do languyſh for hys love. O ſwete deathe, through ſuche love come unto me, and with love brynge me unto my lorde God. 1.Cor.151.Corinthians.15. O deathe where is thy ſtynge and darte Alas they are bannyſhed from myne eyes, for rygour is changed into ſwetneſſe ſeynge that my frynde ded ſuffre deathe upon the croſſe for my ſake. Hys deathe doth ſo incourage my harte, that thu wert wonders gentyll to me, if I myght folowe hym.
O deathe, I beſeche the come to put the frynde with hys love. Ioāan.1. Now ſyth that deathe is ſo pleſaunt a lyfe, that ſhe pleaſith me more than feareth me, than ought I to feare nothynge but the ryght judgement of God. Apoca. 20Apoc. 20 All my ſynnes with hys juſt balaūunce 63 D8r Fo.32. balaūunce ſhall be wayed & ſhewed opēenly. Thys that I have done. alſo my thought and worde ſhall be better knowne, than if they were written in a rolle. And we maye not thynke that charyte wolde offēende juſtyce & truthe. For whoſo ever doth lyve unfaythfully, ſhall be ponnyſhed in everlaſtynge payne. God is juſt and hys judgemēent is ryghteouſe. Pſal.118.Ps. 118 All that he doth is perfyght in all thynges. Alas what am I conſyderynge my ryghtouſeſſe, I wretched and poore creature?
Eſa.64.Esd. 64 I knowe that all the workes of juſt mēen are ſo full of imperfectyon, that afore God they are more fylthye than myer or any other vyleneſſe. What wyll it be than cōoncernynge the ſynnes whych I do cōommyt, wherof I feale the burden importable? I can ſaye nothyng els but that I have wonne by them dampnacyon. Is thys the ende? Shall dyſpayre than be the conforte of my greate ignoraūunce? Alas my God no. Hebre.11Heb. 11 For the invyſyble faythe cauſeth me to beleve, that all thynges whych are impoſſyble to men, are poſſyble unto the. Luce.1illegibleLuke So that thu do conuuverte my worke, whych is nothynge, into ſome good worke of thyne to me, whych is ſpecyally faythe. Ioan.illegibleJohn Than my lord 64 D8v lord, who ſhall condempne me, & what judge wyll dāampne me, ſyth that he whych is geven me for a judge, is my ſpouſe, my father, and refuge? Alas what father? Suche as doth never condempne hys chyelde, but alwayes doth excuſe and defende hym.
Than I perceyve to have non other accuſer but Jeſus Chriſt, 1.Ioāan.2.John 1:2 whych is my redemer, whoſe deathe hath reſtored us oure loſt inherytaunnce. For he made hym ſelfe our man of lawe, ſhewynge hys ſo worthye merytes afore God, wherwith my great debte is ſo habundauntly recōompenced, that in judgement it is accompted for nothynge. O redemer, here is a great love. We fynde but fewe ſuche mēen of lawe. Swete Jeſus Chriſt, it is unto the that I am a detter, Math.18Matt. 18 yet doſt thu both praye, and ſpeake for me. And moreover whan thu doſt ſe that I am poore, with the abūundaūunce of thy goodes thu doſt paye my debte O incomprehenſyble ſee of all goodneſſe. O my father, doſt thu voucheſave to be my judge, not wyllynge the deathe of a ſynner. O Jeſus Chriſt, true fyſher, and ſaver of the ſowle, frynde above all fryndes, ſo thu beynge my man of lawe, de dyſtexcuſe 65 E1r Fo.33. Colo.2.Col. 2 dyſt excuſe and ſpeake for me, where thu couldeſt juſtly have accuſed me.
I feare nomore to be undone by any man for the lawe is ſatiſfyed by the for all. My ſwete ſpouſe hath made the payment ſo habundaunt, that the lawe can aſke nothynge of me but is payed of hym. Eſa.53.Esd. 53 For as I beleve, he hath taken all my ſynnes upōon hym, and hath gevēen me in place of them, hys owne goodes in habundaunce. O my ſaver, preſentynge thy vertues, thu doſt content the lawe. Whan ſhe wyll reproche me of my ſynnes, thu doſt ſhewe her how willyngly in thyne ownne fleſhe, thu haſt taken the dyſcharge of thēem, through the conjunctyon of our mariyage. Alſo upon the croſſe through thy paſſyon, thu haſt made ſatiſfactyon for it. 1.Pet.2.1 Pet. 2 Moreover, thy only charyte hath gevēen me thys, that thu haſt for me deſerved. 1.Ioā.4.anJohn 1:4 Therfor ſeynge thy meryte to be myne, the lawe can aſke nothynge of me. Than wyll I feare nomore the judgement, but with deſyre rather than parforce, I do tarry for the tyme that I ſhall ſe my judge, and heare a juſt judgemente of hym.
Pſal.22illegiblePs. Yet I knowe that thy judgemēente is ſo juſt, that there is no faulte therin, & E that my 66 E1v that my infydelyte is worthye to ſuffer the cruelneſſe of helle. For if I do only conſydre my deſervynge, I can ſe nothynge in it that can keape me from the fyre of helle. True it is, that the torment of helle was never prepared but for the devyll, and not for reaſonable men. Math.25Matt. 25 Nevertheleſſe if any man have ſet in hys mynde to be lyke to the devyll, than ought he as the devyll to be payed with a lyke rewarde. But if a man through cōontemplacyon of the ſowle, do holde of the, hys Angell of coūunſell, vertue, goodneſſe & perfectyōon, he is ſure to obtayne heaven, whych is a place of thy deſervynnge for hym. Luce.13Luke 13 Than ſhall the vycyouſe be ponnyſhed with the ſame, to whom they joyned themſelves. For ſith that they folowed Sathan, they muſt holde ſuche place as is for hym and hys angels prepared.
Now I conſyderynge the dyverſyte of both the ſortes, am lytle conforted in ſprete by thys. For I can not denye but I am more lyke the devyll than the Angell of lyght, wherfor I feare and tremble. Hebre.1Heb. 1 For the lyfe of the Angell is ſo pure & myne ſo unpure, that I am nothynge lyke unto hym, thys do I confeſſe. But to the other I am 67 E2r Fo.34. I am ſo lyke in my doynges, and ſo accuſtomed in hys wayes, that of hys payne & tormente I ought to be partaker. For the cruell ſynne whych hath bounde me in helle, is ſo great and hys force ſo ſtronge, that it leteth nothynge to come from it, neyther feareth it the cōontrary aſſaulte of any man. Luce.11Luke 11 But he whych is in thys kynde ſtronge, knoweth not how hys ſtrength goth awaye, whan a ſtronger than he cōommyth. Synne is ſtronge whych bryngeth us to helle.
And I coulde never yet ſe, that anye man by meryte or payne takynge, coulde ever yet vanquyſhe that helle, ſave only he whych ded the great aſſaulte throuugh hys unſpeakable charyte, Phil.2.Phil. 2 whan he humbled hym ſelfe to the croſſe. 1.Cor.13.1 Cor. 13 Wherby he hath overcomen hys enemye, broken helle and hys power ſo that it hath no farther ſtrength to keape anye ſowle pryſoner, that hath put her truſt in God. Than belevynge in the great ſtrength that he hath, I do not ſet by helle and ſynne. No not ſo moche as a ſtrawe. So that ſynne can never have holde of me, unleſſe it be for to ſhewe how Roma.illegibleRom. my God is mercyfull, ſtronge, myghtie, & a puſaūunt vanquyſher Eii of all 68 E2v of all the evyls whych were within my harte. If my ſynne forgyvēen, is the glorye of my moſt lovynge ſaver, I ought alſo to beleve, that my glorye is encreaſed therwith, ſeynge that I am planted or engrafted in hym.
Hys honoure only doth honoure all hys, and hys ryches doth replenyſh every one of hys with hys goodes. Apoca.5Apoc. 5 Than deathe helle and ſynne are overcome by hym. 1.Cor.15.1 Cor. 15 O glottonouſe helle, where is thy defence? Thu cruell vyllayne ſynne, where is thy tyrannouſe power? O deathe where is thy ſtynge & vyctorye, whych are ſo moche ſpoken of? In ſteade of deathe, thu deathe gevyſt us lyfe, and ſo doſt thu contrary to thy wyll. Apoca. 21.Apoc. 21 Alſo thu ſynne which covetyſt to drawe yche creature to dāampnacyon thu geveſt us a ladder to reache therby that goodly cytie Hieruſalem. Yet woldeſt thu of thy curſed nature that our eternall maker ſhulde loſe hys creature. But through hys love annd grace, the ſorye remēembraunce of thy uncomelyneſſe doth cauſe her by repentaunce to come agayne, and ſubmyt herſelfe unto God more than ever ſhe dyd. Hys ineſtymable goodneſſe cauſeth the to loſe the whole labour 69 E3r Fo.35. labour whych thu takeſt all the weke.
Oſee.13.Hos. 13 Therfor helle hath not had all the nomber that he did pretende to have, bicauſe that the ſolacyouſe ſhaddowe & power of hys paſſyon, is ſuche a myghtye protectyon to the ſowle, that ſhe therby nedeth neyther to doubte deathe, ſynne, nor helle. Is there anye thynge can pull me backe if God be wyllynge through hys gyfte of faythe to drawe me to hym? Ioan.illegibleJohn I meane ſuche faythe as we muſt nedes hauuve to obtayne the hygh graces from above, & alſo ſuche faythe as through charyte doth joyne the humble ſervaunt to hys maker. I beynge joyned unto hym, ought to have no feare of travayle, payne, nor ſorowe, for who ſo ever doth wyllyngly ſuffer anye maner of deathe or ſorowe for the truthe, as ded Chriſt, Math.1illegibleMatt. he doth feale in ſuche torment great conſolacyon for hys ſowle, knowynge that as for my ſelfe, I am weake, and with God I am ryght ſtronge.
Through hys confort I maye do all thynges. For hys love is ſo cōonstaūunt & perman ēent that it varyeth not for anye worldly thynge. Who can thāan withdrawe me from hys grace. Roma.8.Rom. 8 Surely the great heyth Eiij of heavēen 70 E3v of heaven, nor the deapeneſſe of helle, nor the breadeth of the whole earthe, neyther deathe nor ſynne, whych doth warre every daye agaynſt me, can ſeparate me one mynute from the great love & charyte, that my heavenly father through Jeſus Chriſt hath unto me. Hys goodneſſe is ſuche, that he loveth me whych have not at all tymes loved hym. And if I now love hym, than ſhall I feale hys love to increaſe in me. 1Ioāan.4John 1:4 But bycauſe that my love is not worthy to love hym, I deſyre hys love to be myne the whych I feale ſuche as though it were myne owne. Hys deſyre is to love, and through hys love he cauſith my harte to be inflamyd with love.
And through ſuche love he fyndeth hym ſelfe ſo welbeloved, that hys owne dede yeldeth hym wele content, & not my love or ſtrengthe. Ioan.13.John 13 Contentynge hys ſelfe, hys love doth increaſe more in me, than I can of hym deſyre. O true lover, fountayne, or welſprynge of all charyte, and only purſe of the heavēenly treaſure. Ought I to thynke, or dare I ſaye what thu art? Maye I write it, or can anye mortall man comprehende thys goodneſſe & love? And if thflawed-reproduction prēente in anye māannys harte, cāan he expreſſe it? No 71 E4r Fo.36. it? No ſurely, Roma.18.Rom. For the capacyte of no man can comprehende the unmeſurable goodneſſes whych are in the, for naturall reaſōon doth ſhewe us how there is no cōomparyſon betwyne an eternall & a mortall thynge. But whan through love the mortall is joyned with the eternall, the mortall thynge is ſo fulfylled with the eternall, that it can not fynde the ende therof. Ephe.2illegibleEph. For it hath in it more good therby, than it can contayne or holde.
Roma.illegibleRom. Therfor doth a man thynke, whych hath the love of God, that he hath all the goodes in the worlde therwith. Even as we ſe the ſūunne with one only ſparcle of hys lyght doth blynde the eye, and yet doth ſhe witholde her great lyghte. But aſke the eye what he hath ſeane, and he wyll ſaye that he hath beholden the whole bryghtneſſe of the ſunne. But that is a great lye. For he beynge dymmed with a lytle ſparcle, coulde not ſe the whole cleartye therof. Ecce.1illegibleEccles. And nevertheles he is ſo contente, that it ſemith unto hym as though he had ſo moche lyght as the ſunne contayneth. Yet if he had more than the ſeyde ſparcle, he were not able to ſuffer it. Pſal.118Ps. 118 Even ſo the ſowle whych through Eiiij faythe 72 E4v fayth doth fele one ſparcle of the love of God, doth fynde therwith the heate ſo great and marvelouſe, ſo ſwete and delycyouſe, that it is impoſſyble to her to declare what thynge the ſame love is.
For a lytle threerof that ſhe hath felte doth yelde her mynde ſatiſfyed & deſyerynge of more wherof ſhe hath ynough. So doth ſhe lyve languyſhynge & ſyghynge. The harte doth fele wele, that he hath receyved to moche, but he hath cōonceyved ſuche deſyre in thys to moche that Phil.1Phil. 1 he alwayes deſyerith to receyve the thynge whych he can not have, neyther is he worthye to receyve it. He knowith the good that he hath alredy to be unſpeakeable, and yet wolde he have more of that wherof he can not ſkylle. 1.Ioāan.4.John 1:4 Truly he can not fele or thynke the good whych is in hym. Then lyeth it not in my power, to tell what thynge the love of God is, ſith that I have no knowlege of the ferventneſſe therof. He that thynketh to have all thys love withyn hys harte, can not truly declare what thynge it is. Happye is he whych hath ſuche abundaūunce of thys love, that he maye ſaye, My God, I have ynough of it.He 73 E5r Fo. 37.
Iaco.3. He whych hath thys love within hym, dare not moche boaſte therof, leaſt in moche ſpeakynge he loſe it, unles it be to edyfye hys neybour unto ſalvacyon. The impoſſybylyte than of the declaracyon of thys love ſhall make me to holde my peace, Apoca.3.Apoc. 3 for there is no Saynte ſo perfyght, if he wyll ſpeake of the love of the hygh God, of hys goodneſſe, ſwetneſſe, graces, and of all thynges els whych pertayneth to hym, but lokynge a lowe ſhall fynde hymſelfe unworthye, and ſo ſtoppe hys mouthe. I than a worme of the earthe, leſſe than nothynge, ought to ceaſe and not to ſpeake of the incomparable hyghneſſe of thys love. Yet were it to moch unkyndeneſſe to be noted in me, Math.2illegibleMatt. if I had writen nothynge, havynge that done unto me whych wolde ſatiſfye a moche better wytte than myne is. For he that wolde hyde the goodneſſe of God, ſo good a maſtre, ſhulde commytt a ſynne worthye to be ponnyſhed with the everlaſtynge payne.
2.Cor.1illegibleCor. Therfor come. O happy Paule, whych haſt taſted ſo moche of the ſame ſwete ho nye, nye, beynge blynded for the ſpace of thre dayes, & rapte up unto the thirde havēen. Now I beſech the, ſatiſfye my ignoraūunce Ev and 74 E5v & faulte, & tel me what in ſuche vyſyon thu haſt ſeane. Harkēen thāan what he ſayth Roma.11Rom. 11 O the unſpeakeable hyghneſſe of the abūundaunt ryches or treaſure both of the wyſdome & knowledge of God. Sapi.17Wisd. of Sol.17 How incompreh ēenſyble are hys judgemēentes & how unſearchable hys wayes unto our weake wittes? O holye Paule, thy wordes cauſeth us moche to marvayle, that thu havynge knowledge of ſo heavēenly ſecretes, woldeſt ſpeake no further in them. At the leaſt yet tell us, what thynge we maye hope to have one daye through ſuche godly love. Geve care and ponder the wordes that he ſayth.
1.Cor.2.1 Cor.2 Neyther hath the eye ſeane, nor yet the eare hearde, neyther yet hath it ever entred into the harte of anye man, Eſa.64.Esd. 64 what God hath prepared for them that love hym. And wolde he ſpeake it no farther? No truly. Yet all thys that he ſayeth here, is for non other purpoſe, but to provoke us erneſtly to love. He wylleth us alſo therin to eſteme, that he neyther can declare nor yet name it, & ſo to geve forth our hartes to pacyēence & hope of that thynge whych Nours.8Num. 8 never māan yet coulde ſe, neyther yet dyſcerne, what though many through love for it hath dyed. O excellent gyfte of faythe 75 E6r Fo.38. wherof ſo moche good cōommyth, that it cauſith man to poſſedse the thynge whych he can not cōomprehende. Fayth joyned with the truthe, bryngeth fourth hope, wherby perfyght charyte is engēendered, And charyte is God, as thu knowiſt. 1.Ioāan.4John 1:4 If we have charyte, thāan we have alſo God therwith.
Than is God in us, and we are in hym. And all thys cometh through the benefyte of faythe. For he dwellith in all men whych have true faythe. Ioāan.14.John 14 Thus have we a greatter treaſure thāan we cāan tell of, or yet anye man expreſſe unto us. Now to cōonclude. Syth that ſo great an Apoſtle as ſaynt Paule is, Roma.1illegibleRom. wyll ſpeake no further of God & hys ineſtymable love, accordynge to hys ryghtouſe exāample and doctryne, I wyll holde my peace & be ſtylle, folowynge nevertheleſſe hys teachynges. Not withſtāandynge yet though herin I acknowledge my ſelfe but earthe and duſte, yet maye I not fayle to yelde thankes unto my eternall lyvynge God, for ſuche great graces, and benefytes, as it hath pleaſed hym to gyve me. 1.Timo 141 Tim. 14 Unto that everlaſtynge kynge of heaven immortall, invyſyble incōomprehenſyble, myghty, and wyſe only, be all honoure, prayſe, glorye, magnyfycence, and love for ever & ever. Amen.
Textes of the ſcripture.
Theſe. iiii. clauſes of the ſacred ſcripture added my lady Heliſabeth unto the begynnynge and ende of her boke, and therfor I have here regeſtred thēem in the ende.Eccle.25.Eccles. 25 There is not a more wycked heade, than the heade of the ſerpente, And there is no wrathe above the wrathe of a womāan. Eccle.25.Eccles. 25 But he that hath goten a vertuouſe woman, hath goten a goodly poſſeſſyon. She is unto hym an helpe and pyllar, wherupon he reſtith. Eccle. 25.Eccles. 25 It were better to dwelle with a lyon and dragon, than to kepe howſe with a wycked wyfe. Eccle.7.Eccles. 7 Yet depart not from a dyſcrete and good woman, that is fallen unto the for thy porcyon in the feare of the lorde, for the gifte of her honeſtie is above golde.
Certayne, & ſure am I (moſt gentyll reader) that all they whych ſhall peruſe thys godlye boke, ſhall not therwith be pleaſed. Appetytes. For amonge feaders are alwayes ſondry appetytes, and in great aſſemblyes of people, dyverſe, and varyaunt judgementes. As the ſaynge, is, ſo many heades, ſo many wyttes. Neyther fyne paynted ſpeche, wyſdome of thys worlde, nor yet relygyouſe hypocreſye (whych for pryvate commodyte many men ſeketh) are herin to be loked for. And a reaſon why. For he that is here famylyarly commoned with, regardeth no curyoſyte, but playneſſe and truthe. Synner. He refuſeth no ſynner, but is wele contented at all tymes to heare hys hombly tale. Hyde not thy ſelfe from me (ſayth he) whan thu haſt done amys, but come boldely face to face, and commen the matter with me. If thy ſynnes be ſo redde as ſcarlet, I ſhall make thēem whyter than ſnowe. And though thy factes be as the purple, yet ſhall they apere ſo whyte as the wolle. Eſa.1.Esd. 1 The lorde. For as truly as I lyve (ſayth he) no pleaſure have I in the deathe of a ſynner, but wyll moch rather that he turne 78 E7v turne and be ſaved. Eze. 33.Ezek. 33
If the hombly ſpeche here do to moche offēende, cōonſydre it to be the worke of a woman, as ſhe in the bygynnynge therof, have moſt mekely deſyered. And yet of nōon other woman, than was moſt godly mynded. David. Marke David in the pſalter, whych was a man both wyſe and lerned, and ye ſhall fynde hys maner in ſpeakynge not all unlyke to thys. Fayth ( ſaynt Paule ſayth) ſtandeth not in floryſhynge eloquence, neyther yet in mannys polytyque wyſdome, but in the grace and power of God. 1. Cor.2.1 Cor. 2 If the ofte repetynge of ſome one ſentence, engendereth a tedyouſe weryneſſe to the reader, S.SaintJohāan lete hym wele peruſe the holy workes of S.SaintJohan the Evāangelyſt, & I doubt it not but he ſhall fynde there the ſame maner of writynge. And hys occaſyon is (as all the chefe writers afferme) the neceſſary markynge of the preceptes of helthe, or of matter chefely concernynge the ſowles ſalvacyon. For a thynge twyſe or thryſe ſpoken, entereth moche more depely into the remēembraunce than that is uttered but once.
And as touchynge the porcyon that Lady Heliſabeth. my ladye Heliſabeth the kynges moſt noble 79 E8r Fo.40. noble ſyſter hath therin, whych is her trāanſlacyon. Chefely have ſhe done it for her owne exercyſe in the frenche tunge, beſydes the ſpirytuall exercyſe of her innar ſowle with God. As a dylygent & profytable bee, have ſhe gathered of thys flowre ſwetneſſe both wayes, and of thys boke conſolacyon in ſprete. And thynkynge that other myght do the ſame, of a moſt fre chriſten harte. ſhe maketh it here cōommen unto them, not beynge a nigarde over the treaſure of God. Math. 25.Matt. 25 Her firſt frute. The firſt frute is it of her yonge, tender, and innocent labours. For I thynke ſhe was not full oute xiiii. yeares of age, at the fynyſhynge therof. She have not done herin, as ded the relygyouſe and anoynted hypocrytes in monaſteryes, convēentes Lybrares. and colleges, in ſpearynge their lybraryes from men ſtudyouſe, and in reſervynge the treaſure contayned in their bokes, to moſt vyle duſt and wormes. But lyke as God hath gracyouſly geven it, ſo do ſhe agayne moſt frely dyſtrybute it.
Soch noble begynnynges are neyther to be reckened chyldyſh nor babyſh, though ſhe were a babe in yeares, that hath here gevēen them. The aged. Seldome fynde we them that in 80 E8v The aged. that in the cloſynge up of their wythered age, do mynyſtre lyke frutes of vertu. An infynyte ſwarme beholde we of olde dottynge bawdes and beaſtes, that with cōonſcyences loaden with ſynne (as S.Saint Paule reporteth them) taketh every paynted ſtocke & ſtone for their God, beſydes the ſmall breades that their lecherouſe chaplaynes hath blowen upon. They ſhall not be unwyſe, that ſhall marke herin, what commodyte it is, or what profyght myght growe to a chriſten cōommen welthe Youth. if youth were thus brought up in vertu & good letters. If ſoch frutes come forewarde in chyldehode, what wyll folowe and apere whan dyſcreſſyon and yeares ſhall be more rype and auncyent? A moſt manyfeſt ſygne of Godlyneſſe is it in the fryndes, where youth is thus inſtytute, Tuters. and a token of wonderfully faythfull dylygence, in the ſtudyouſe teachers, tuters, and dayly lokers on.
Nobylyte whych ſhe hath gotēen of bloude in the hygheſt degre, havynge a moſt vyctoryouſe kynge to her father, & a moſt vertuouſe, & lerned kynge agayne to her brother, is not in the earely ſprynge dyſtayned with wanton ignoraūunce, neyther yet 81 F1r Fo.41. yet blemyſhed with the commen vyces of dyſſolute youth. Lerned. But moſt plenteouſly adourned with all kyndes of languages, lernynges, and vertues, to holde it ſtyll in ryght courſe. The tranſlacyon of thys worke, were evydence ſtronge ynough, if I had not els to laye for the matter. But marke yet an other moch more effectuall and clere, at the whych not a fewe lerned men in Germany have wondered. In iiii. noble languages, Latyne, Greke, Frenche, and Italyane, wrote ſhe unto me theſe clauſes folowynge. Clauſes added. Whych I have added to thys boke, not only in commendacyon of her lerned youth, but alſo as an example to be folowed of other noble men and women, cōoncernynge their chyldren. The written clauſes are theſe, whych ſhe wrote firſt with her owne hande, moch more fynely than I coulde with anye prentynge letter ſet thēem fourth.
Latyne. Stultus dixit in corde ſuo, no eſt Deus. Illi corrupti ſunt, & abhominabiles in ſua impietate, nullus eſt qui aliquid boni facit.
Frenche. Le fol diſoit en ſōon coeur, il n’a nul Dieu. Ils ſont corumpus & ſont abhominablesF nables 82 F1v nables en leur impiete, il n’a nul qui faicillegiblet, bien.
Italiane Is ſtulto diſſe uel ſuo core, non v’e alcuno Dio. Corrutti ſono & abhominabile nella loro impieti, niſſuno è buono.
Greke. Ton theon phoboūun, tous de gonesillegible tima, tous de Philous aeſchynon.
The firſt clauſe in thre lāanguages, latyne, Frenche, and Italyane, comprehēendeth thys only ſentence, as I ſhewed afore in the Epyſtle dedycatory.
Antichriſt hys clergy. The fole sayth in hys harte, there is no God. Corrupt they are, and abhominable in their wyckedneſſe (or blaſphemyes agaynſt God) not one of them doth good.
The Greke clauſe is thus to be Englyſhed.
ne. Feare God, honoure thy parentes, and reverence thy fryndes.
Thus have ſhe geven us coūunſell, both to go and to come, to leave and to take. The pope To declyne 83 F2r Fo.42. declyne from the evyll, and to do that is good. Psal. 36.Ps. 36 To flee from the Antichriſt & hys great body of ſynne or blaſphemouſe cruell clergy, & to returne to God by a perfyght feare, honoure, and love. So lyvely Apothegmes, or breve and quycck ſēentences, reſpectynge chriſtyanyte, have ſeldom come from women. Writers. I have ſerched Plutarchus, Boccatius, Bergomas, Textor, & Lander of Bonony, whych all wrote of the vertues and worthy actes of womēen. But amonge them all have I founde no counſels ſo neceſſary to the cōommen welthe of our chriſtyanyte. Women. I denye it not, but excellent thynges they uttered, and matters of wyſdome wonderfull, concernynge morall vertues. But theſe moſt hyghly reſpecteth the kyngedome of fayth and regymēens of the ſowle, whych Jeſus Chriſt the eternall ſonne of God, from heaven by hys doctryne and death ſo buſyly ſought to clere. Many grave ſentences had they concernynge pryvate cauſes. All ſortes But unyverſally theſe are for all ſortes of people, hygh, lowe, hayle, ſycke, ryche, poore, lerned, & unlerned, that myndeth to have fredome by Chriſtes deadly ſufferynges, or to be delyvered frōom helle, ſynne, deathe, & the devyll, Fij by the 84 F2v by the pryce of hys precyouſe bloude.
No realme undre the ſkye hath had more noble women, nor of more excellent graces, than have thys realme of Englande, both in the dayes of the Brytaynes, and ſens the Englyſh Saxons obtayned it by valeaunt conqueſt. Guendolena. Guendolena the wyfe of Locrinus the ſeconde kynge of Brytayne, beynge unlaufully dyvorced from hym for the pleaſure of an whore, whom he longe afore had kepte, tryed it with hym by dynte of the ſwerde, had the vyctory, and reigned after hym as kynge the ſpace of. xv. yeares, tyll her ſonne Maddan come to laufull age. Cordilla. Cordilla the doughter of kynge Leyer, and leaſt of all her ſyſters, as her father was depoſed, & exyled out of hys lande, ſhe receyved, conforted, and reſtored hym agayne to hys princely honoure, and reigned alone after hys deathe, for the ſpace of.v. yeares Cambra Cambra the doughter of kynge Belyne, and wyfe to Antenor than kynge of France, ded not only excede in bewtie, but alſo in wyſdome. In ſo moch that ſhe firſt inſtructed the noble men how to buylde cyties, caſtels, and other ſtronge holdes, the cōommēen people more comely maners, and the womēen a moſt ſemelymely 85 F3r Fo.43. mely deckynge of their heades. Lawes. She made their cyvyle lawes, whych upon her name were called. Leges Sycambrorum. She taught them to ſowe flaxe and hempe, to watter it, drye it, dreſſe it, ſpynne it, weave it, whyten it, and faſhyon it, to all maner of uſe for the bodye.
Martia. Martia the wyfe of kynge Guythelyne, a lady excedyngly fayre, wyſe, & lerned in all the lyberall ſcyences, invented thynges wonderfull by the hygh practyſe of her wytt. After the death of her huſbāande ſhe reigned.vii. yeares as kynge, tyll Sicilius her ſonne came to age. She reredreſſed the commen welthe, refourmed the groſſe maners of the people, and made moſt honeſt lawes called of her name, Leges Martiane.. Conſtantia. So delyghted the Frenche kynge Nicanor in the wyſdome, lernynge, and comely maners of hys wyfe Conſtantia, the doughter of kynge Eliodorus, that he not only holpe her brother Geruntius in ſee battayle agaynſt the kynge of Orchades, but alſo ſent hys moſt dere ſonne Priamus into Brytayne to have the ſame ſelfe bryngynge up. Agaſia The Scottyſh kynge Finnanus thought hys pryncely honour moſt gloryouſly increaſed, as he had obtayned Fiij Agaſia 86 F3v Agaſia the doughter of kynge Blegabridus, to be coupled in maryage with Dorſtus hys ſonne, for the manyfolde graces that he behelde in her. What though the ſeyd ungracyouſe Dorſtus, in ſpyght of the Brytaynes, ded afterwarde uſe her moſt wyckedly. Būundwy-ca. Bundwyca a womāan both hygh of ſtature, and ſtomacke, alſo of myſt noble lynage amonge the Brytaynes, perceyvynge the havoke whych the Romanes dayly made in the lande, with great puſaunce of worthy warryours ſhe invaded them, ſlewe them, hynge up their captaynes, and folowed the remnaunt of them to the very Alpes of Italy. Where at the lattre by reaſon of dayly labours, ſhe ſyckened and ſo dyed, even the very glory of women, ſayth Ponticus Virunnius
Doada. Doada the firſt wyfe of kynge Arviragus, a woman of wonderfull force & hart ſtrongly armed her ſelfe, her .ii. doughters, and v. thouſande women more of the Britannyſh bloude in battayle agaynſt the furyouſe fearce Romanes, to ſuppreſſe their tyranny and execrable fylthyneſſe in abuſynge maydes, wyves, and wydowes. But as ſhe behelde the vyctory upon their ſydes bycauſe ſhe wolde not come undre their 87 F4r Fo.44. their captyvyte, ſhe poyſened her ſelfe, & ſo dyed. Voadicia. Voadicia her yonger doughter, afterwarde eſcapynge the handes of the ſeyd Romanes, with a myghty power of the Brytanes entered into the yle of Māanne, and in a nyght battayle, there ſlewe thēem in a wonderfull nombre, deſtroyenge their fortalyces, and holdes. Notwithſtandynge at the lattre beynge taken, ſhe was byheaded, her eldar ſyſter beynge maryed to kynge Marius. Athildis. Athildis the doughter of the ſeyd kynge Marius, was alſo a moſt noble woman, whom the Frenche kynge Marcomerus marryed for the only naturall gyftes and ſcyences whych ſhe had above other women, and had.vii. ſonnes by her. Claudia Rufina. Claudia Rufina, a noble Brytayne, wyttye and lerned both in Greke and Latyne, havynge to huſbande one Aulus Rufus a lerned knyght, a poete of Bonony & a phyloſopher of the Stoycall ſort, is moch cōommēended of Martialis the poete, for the Epygrammes and poemes whych ſhe than compyled in both thoſe tunges.
Emerita. Emerita the ſyſter of kynge Lucius, whych is called the firſt chriſtened kynge, a lady moſt vertuouſe and faythfull, for cōonſtauntly affermynge the veryte of Chriſt, Fiiij ſuffered 88 F4v ſuffered moſt tyrannouſe death and was brent in the fyre. Helena Flavia. Helena Falvia, the doughter of kynge Coelus, and mother to great Conſtantyne the Emprour, was a woman of incomparable bewtie and lernynge. Non coulde be founde lyke her in the artes lyberall, neyther yet in the fyne handelynge of all inſtrumentes of muſyke. She excelled all other in the dyverſe ſpeches of nacyons, ſpecyally in the Latyne, Greke, and Hebrue. She made a boke of the provydence of God, an other of the immortalyte of the ſowle, with ſerten Greke poemes, epyſtles, and dyverſe other treatyſes. Cōonſtāantia. Conſtantia her doughter, was alſo a woman of moſt excellent giftes, had ſhe not in the ende declyned to the deteſtable ſecte of the Arryanes, by ſerten hypocrytyſh preſtes. Urſula. Urſula Cynoſura, the floryſhynge douter of Dionothus the duke of Cornewale, was ſo nobylly brougt up in all lyberall dyſcyplyne, that Conanus the kynge of lytle Brytayne deſyred her to wyfe, and as ſhe went thydrewarde with. xi. thouſande Brytaynes wyves more, by chaūunce of wether and vyolence of ſee rovers both ſhe and they peryſhed by the waye.
Anne due Anna the ſyſter of Aurelius Ambroſius whych 89 F5r Fo.45. whych was afterwarde marryed to Lotho the kynge of Pyctes, & Anna the twynne ſyſter of kynge Arthure, are of writers magnyfyed, for their dyverſe and excellent graces. Morganis. Morganis a woman of incomparable love towardes her parentes, and contraye, ſo ſecretly and wyſely convayed the body of kynge Arthure, the moſt worthy governour of the Brytaynes, that the Englyſh Saxons coulde never come to it, to do their vyolēence theron. Hermelinda. Hermelinda, ryſynge of the Englyſh Saxons bloude, for her excellent bewtie and noble behaver became the wyfe of Cunibertus the kynge of Lombardy. Hylda. Hylda, a noble woman, both godly, wyſe, and lerned, not only dyſputed in the open Synode at Streneſhalce in the North contraye agaynſt the prelates, concernynge their newly founde out celebracyon of Eaſtre, and their crowne ſhavynge, with other ceremonyes, but alſo wrote a treatyſe agaynſt byſhopp Agilbert a Frenche man, the buſyeſt amonge them. Tres filis. The thre doughters of kynge Alphrede, Elfleda, Elfritha, and Ethelgora, were wonderfully experte in the lyberall ſcyences Alenora. Alenor the wyfe of kynge Henry the ſeconde, was lerned alſo, & wrote dyverſe Fv epyſtles 90 F5v epyſtles to pope Celeſtyne the thirde, & alſo to kynge Johan her Joanna. yongeſt ſonne.
Joāanna the yongeſt doughter of the ſeyd kynge Henry, ſo moch delyghted in good letters, that before ſhe ſhulde be marryed to kynge wyllyam of Cycyll, ſhe cauſed her father to ſende over.ii. lerned men of Englande. Walther and Rycharde with a Frenche doctour called Petrus Bleſenſis to inſtruct hym in them, ſpecyally in the arte of verſyfyenge. And at her cōommynge thydre, the one of thoſe Englyſh men was made archebyſhop of Panoune, & the other byſhop of Siracuſa, in recompēence of their labours. Margareta. Margarete, the noble mother of kynge Henry the.vii. ſo plenteouſly mynded the preferment of ſcyences & goynge forewarde of lernynges, that ſhe buylded in Cambryge for theſame porpoſe, the colleges of Chriſt & of S. Johan the Evāangelyſt, and gave landes for their mayntenaunce, as Eliſabeth quene Heliſabeth ded afore, to the quenes college there. Longe were it to rehearce the excedynge nombre of noble women, whych in thys lande of Brytayne or realme of Englande, have excelled in bewtie, wytte, wyſdome, ſcyence, lāanguages, lyberalyte, polycyes, heroycall force, and 91 F6r Fo.46. ce, and ſoch other notable vertues, and by reaſon of them done feates wonderfull. Names. Eyther yet to ſort out their Names and regeſtre them one by one, whych have bene marryed out of the ſame, to Emprours, kynges, dukes, earles, worthy captaynes, Phyloſophers, pheſycyanes, aſtronomers, poetes, & other of renomed fame and letters, only for their moſt rare graces and gyftes
Writers. Though non in thys lande have yet done as ded amonge the Grekes Plutarch9us & amonge the Latynes Boccatius with other authours afore named, that is to ſaye, left behynde them Cataloges, or Nomenclatures of famouſe and honorable women, yet have it not at any tyme bene barrayne of them. No, not in the dayes of moſt popyſh darkeneſſe. As apereth by Alenora Cobham. Alenor Cobham, the wyfe of good duke Umfrey of Gloceſtre, brother to kynge Hēen ry the fift. Whom Antichriſtes grande captaynes, the byſhoppes than of Englāande, in hate of her name and beleve, accuſed of ſorcerouſe inchauntmentes and experymentes of Necromancy agaynſt their holy horned whoryſh churche. And at the laſt ſlewe her noble huſbande in a falſe parlementlemēt 92 F6v lement at Bury, by their owne hyred ſlaughter man Pole, as they never are without ſoch. Double honoure. If they were worthy prayſe, whych had theſe aforenamed vertues ſyngle, or after a bodyly ſort only, we muſt of congruence graunt them worthy double honoure, whych have them moſt plēenteouſly doubled. As now ſens Chriſtes Goſpell hath ryſen, we have beholden them, & yet ſe them ſtyll to thys daye in many noble women, not ryſynge of fleſh and bloude as in the other, but of that myghty lyvynge ſprete of hys, whych vanquyſhed deathe, helle, and the devyll.
Anne Aſkewe. Conſydre yet how ſtrongly that ſprete in Anne Aſkewe, ſet them all at nought with all their artyllery and mynyſters of myſchefe both upon the racke and alſo in the fyre. Whoſe memory is now in benedyccyon (as Jeſus Syrach reporteth of Moſes) and ſhall never be forgotten of the ryghteouſe. She as Chriſtes myghty membre, hath ſtrongly troden downe the head of the ſerpent, and gone hence with moſt noble vyctory over the peſtyferouſe ſeede of that vyperouſe worme of Rome, the gates of helle not prevaylynge agaynſt her. Noble. What other noble women have, it 93 F7r Fo 47 it doth now, and wyll yet herafter apere more largely by their godly doctryne and dedes of fayth. Women. Marke thys preſent boke for one, whoſe tranſlacyon was the worke of her, whych was but a babe at the doynge therof. Marke alſo the grave ſentences, whych ſhe geveth fourth to the worlde & laude that lyvynge father of our lorde Jeſus Chriſt, whych hath thus taken hys heavenly wyſdome from the great grave ſenyours, that only are wyſe in their owne conſaytes, and geven it ſo largely to chyldr ēen. Math. 11.Matt. 11 Prayer. That heavenly lorde graūunt her and other noble women longe contynua ūunce in the ſame to hys hygh pleaſure. That lyke as they are become gloryouſe to the worlde by the ſtody of good letters, ſo maye they alſo apere gloryouſe īin hys ſyght by dayle exercyſe in hys dyvyne ſcriptures, Whoſe nature is in proceſſe of tyme to kyndle their myndes and inflame their hartes in the love of Chriſt their eternall ſpouſe, as thys preſent boke requyreth. So be it.
Thus endeth thys godly Medytacyon of the chriſten ſowle concernynge a love towardes God and hys Chriſt, aptely tranſlated into Englyſh by the ryght vertuouſe lady Elyzabeth doughter to our late ſoveraynne Kynge Henry the.viii.
¶The.xiii. Pſalme of David, called, Dixit inſipiens, touched afore of my lady Elizabeth.
Fooles that true fayth, yet never hod,
Sayth in their hartes, there is no God.
Fylthy they are, in their practyſe
Of them not one, is godly wyſe.
From heaven the lorde, on man ded loke,
To knowe what wayes, he undertoke,
All they were vayne, and went a ſtraye,
Not one he founde, in the ryght waye.
In harte and tunge, have they deceyte,
Their lyppes throwe fourth a poyſened beyte.
Their myndes are mad, their mouthes are wode.
And ſwyft they be, in ſhedynge blode.
So blynde they are, no truth they knowe,
No feare of God, in them wyll growe.
How can that cruell ſort be good?
Of Gods dere folcke, whych ſucke the blood?
On hym ryghtly, ſhall they not call,
dyſpayre wyll ſo, their hartes appall.
At all tymes God is with the juſt
Bycauſe they put, in hym their truſt.
Who ſhall therfor, from Syon geve,
That helthe whych hāangeth, in our beleve?
Whan God ſhall take, frōom hys the ſmart,
Than wyll Jacob, rejoyce in hart.
Imprented in the yeare of our lorde 1548-041548. in Apryll.96 F8v