Page images

to be esteemed among the people, and to have no living at their hands. For as good preachers be worthy double honor, so unpreaching prelates be worthy double dishonor. They must be at their doublets. But now these two dishonors, what be they? Our Saviour Christ doth shew : “Si sal infatuatus fuerit, ad nihil ultra valet nisi ut projiciatur foras,” If the salt be unsavory, it is good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden of men. (Matt. v.) By this salt is understood preachers, and such as have cure of souls. What be they worthy then ? Wherefore serve they ? For nothing else but to be cast out.

Make them quondams,* out with them, cast them out of their office ; what should they do with cures that will not look to them ? Another dishonor is this, “Ut conculcentur ab hominibus," To be trodden under men's feet; not to be regarded, not to be esteemed: they be at their doublets still. St. Paul, in his epistle, qualifieth a bishop, and saith that he must be, “Aptus ad docendum, ad refellendum aptus," To teach, and to confute all manner of false doctrine. But what shall a man do with aptness, if he do not use it ? It were as good for us to be without it.

* A quondam is a person who is no longer in office, whether by resignation or deprivation; and by doublets are meant pluralities.

[blocks in formation]

A bishop came to me the last day, and was angry with me for a certain sermon that I made in this place. His chaplain had complained against me, because I had spoken against unpreaching prelates. “Nay," quoth the bishop, - he made so indifferent a sermon the first day that I thought he would mar all the second day: he will have every man a quondam, as he is.” As for my quondamship, I thank God that he gave me the grace to come by it by so honest a means as I did. I thank him for mine own quondamship ; and as for them, I would not have them made quondams, if they discharge their office. I would have them do their duty. I would have no more quondams, as God help

I owe them no more malice than this, and that is none at all.

This bishop answered his chaplain : “Well, says he, well, I did wisely to-day ; for as I was going to his sermon, I remembered me that I had neither said mass nor matins, and homeward I gat as fast as I could, and I thank God I have said both, and let his unfruitful sermon alone.” Unfruitful, saith one; another saith, seditious. Well, unfruitful is the best, and whether it be unfruitful or no, I cannot tell, it lieth not in me to make it fruitful; and if God work not in your hearts, my preaching can do you but little good. I am God's instrument but for


[ocr errors]

a time; it is he that must give the increase. And yet preaching is necessary: for take away preaching, and take away salvation. I told you of “Scala cæli,” and I made it a preaching matter, not a massing matter. Christ is the preacher of all preachers, the pattern and the exemplar that all preachers ought to follow. For it was he by whom the Father of heaven said, “ Hic est filius meus dilectus, ipsum audite,” This is my well-beloved son, hear him. Even he, when he was here on the earth, as wisely, as learnedly, as circumspectly as he preached, yet his seed fell in three parts, so that the fourth part only was fruitful. And if he had no better luck that was preacher of all preachers, what shall we look for ! Yet was there no lack in him, but in the ground. And so now there is no fault in preaching ; the lack is in the people, that have stony hearts and thorny hearts; I beseech God to amend them. And as for these folk that speak against me, I never look to have their good word as long as I live : yet will I speak of their wickedness, as long as I shall be permitted to speak : as long as I live I will be an enemy to it. No preachers can pass it over with silence : it is the original root of all mischief. As for me, I owe them no other ill will, but I pray God amend them, when it pleaseth him.

[blocks in formation]

Surely, methink, if a judge would follow but a worldly reason, and weigh the matter politicly, he should fear more the hurt that may be done him by a poor widow, or a miserable man; than by the greatest gentleman of them all. God hath pulled the judges' skins over their heads for the poor man's sake. Yea, the poor widow may do him more hurt with her poor Pater-noster in her mouth than any other weapon; and with two or three words shall bring him down to the ground, and destroy his jollity, and cause him to lose more in one day, than he gat in seven years.

Oh that a man might have the contemplation of hell ;—that the devil would allow a man to look into hell, to see the state of it, as he shewed all the world when he tempted Christ in the wilderness; " Commonstrat illi omnia regna mundi," He shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and all their jollity, and told him that he would give him all, if he would kneel down and worship him. (Matt. iv.) He lied like a false harlot, he could not give them, he was not able to give so much as a goose wing, for they were none of his to give ; the other that he promised them unto, had more right to them than he. But I say, if one were admitted to view hell thus, and behold it thoroughly, the devil would say ; "On yonder side are punish

[ocr errors]

ed unpreaching prelates ;" I think a man should see as far as a kenning, and see nothing but unpreaching prelates. He might look as far as Calais, I warrant you. And then if he would go on the other side, and shew where that bribing judges were, I think he should see many,

that there were scant room for any other. Our Lord amend it.

I spake of this gear the last day, and of some I had little thank for my labor. I smelled some folks that were grieved with me for it, because I spake against temerarious judgment. • What hath he to do with judgment ?” say they. I went about to keep you from arrogant judgment. Well, I could have said more than I did, and I can say much more now. For why? I know more of my lord admiral's* death sith that time than I did know before. O, say they, The man died very boldly, he would not have done so, had he not been in a just quarrel. I will go further with you now.

If I should have said all that I knew, your ears would have irked to have heard it; and now God hath brought more to light. And as touching the kind of his death, whether he be saved

* This is an allusion to the case of Thomas Seymour, Lord Sudley, and high admiral of England, who had recently been attainted of high treason, and sentenced to death, which judgment was put in execution on Tower Hill.

« EelmineJätka »