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O crafty devil ! he went away, not for fear of the holy water, but because he would maintain men in error and foolishness. And no doubt it was the devil's teaching, the using of this holy water.
It was not long ago since I being with one of my neighbours that was sick, there came in an old woman, and when she saw the man sore sick, she asked whether there was no holy water to be gotten. See here the foolishness of the people, which amidst the light of God's most holy word, will follow such fantasies and delusions of the devil! Ye know when there was a storm of fearful weather, then we rang the holy bells; they were they that must make all things well, they must drive away the devil. But I tell you, if the holy bells would serve against the devil, or that he might be put away through their sound, no doubt we would soon banish him out of all England. For I think if all the bells in England should be rung together at a certain hour, I think there would be almost no place, but some bells would be heard there. And so the devil should have no abiding place in England, if ringing of bells would serve : but it is not that that will serve against the devil. Yet we have believed such fooleries in times past; but it was but mocking, it was the teaching of the devil. And no doubt
we were in a miserable case when we learned of the devil to fight against the devil.
And how much are we bound to God, that he hath delivered us from these gross ignorances, and hath taught us how we should fight and prevail against his enemy. Yet it is a pitiful thing to see, that there be some amongst us which would fain have the old fooleries again ; they are weary of the word of God, they cannot away with it, they would rather have their crossings, and setting up of candles, and such fooleries, than the word of God.
I was once called to one of my kinsfolk; it was at that time when I had taken degree at Cambridge, and was made master of art; I was called, I say, to one of my kinsfolk, which was very sick, and died immediately after my coming. Now there was an old cousin of mine, which after the man was dead, gave me a wax candle in my hand, and commanded me to make certain crosses over him that was dead; for she thought that the devil should run away by and by. Now I took the candle, but I could not cross him as she would have me do, for I had never seen it afore. Now she perceiving that I could not do it, with a great anger took the candle out of my hand, saying, It is a pity that thy father spendeth so much money upon thee; and so she took the candle, and crossed and
blessed him, so that he was sure enough. No doubt she thought that the devil could have no power against him.
This and such like things, were nothing but illusions of the devil : yet for all that we did so put our trust in them, that we thought we could not be saved without such things. But now let us give God most hearty thanks, that he hath delivered us from such snares and illusions of the devil; and let us endeavour ourselves most earnestly to hear God's most holy word, and to live after it.
No doubt we be full of lies. Consider and examine all estates, and ye shall find all their doings furnished with lies. Go first to men of occupations, consider their lives and conversations, there is in a manner nothing with them but lying. Go to men of authority, go to the lawyers, you shall find stuff enough. For it is seen now-a-days that children learn prettily of their parents to lie, for the parents are not ashamed to lie in presence of their children. The craftsman or merchantman teacheth his prentice to
lie, and to utter his wares with lying and forswearing. “In summâ," there is almost nothing amongst us but lies; and therefore parents and masters are in great danger of eternal damnation, for they care not how they bring up their youth, in godliness, or otherwise ; they care not for it.
Therefore I exhort you, in God's behalf, to consider the matter, ye parents : suffer not your children to lie, or tell false tales. When you hear one of your children to make a lie, take him up, and give him three or four good stripes, and tell him that it is naught : and when he maketh another lie, give him six or eight stripes; and I am sure when you serve him so he will leave it, for it is a common saying, “ Vexatio dat intellectum,” Correction giveth understanding. But we see now-a-days, that parents rejoice when their children can make a pretty lie. They say, he will be a pretty witty fellow, he can make a pretty lie. So much is the word of God regarded amongst us!
So likewise, prentices can do nothing but lie; and the better he can lie the more is he regarded of his master, and the more acceptable; and therefore there was never such falsehood as there is now; for the youth is so brought up in lies and falsehood. For we see daily what
FRIAR JOHN'S TEN COMMANDMENTS.
falsehood is abroad, how every man deceiveth his neighbour. There will no writing serve now-a-days, every man worketh craftily with his neighbour.
FRI AR JOHN'S TEN COMMAND.
I will tell you now a pretty story of a friar, to refresh
withal. A limitour of the gray friars, in the time of his limitation, preached many times, and had but one sermon at all times : which sermon was of the Ten Commandments. And because the friar had preached this sermon so often, one that heard it before, told the friar's servant that his master was called, “ Friar John Ten Commandments.” Wherefore the servant shewed the friar his master thereof, and advised him to preach of some other matters ; for it grieved the servant to hear his master derided. Now the friar made answer, saying, Belike then thou canst say the ten commandments well, seeing thou hast heard them so many a time. Yes, said the servant, I warrant you. Let me hear them, saith the master. Then he began, “Pride, covetousness, leche