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ry," and so numbered the deadly sins for the ten commandments.
And so there be many at this time, which be weary of the old gospel. They would fain hear some new things, they think themselves so perfect in the old; when they be no more skilful than this servant was in his ten commandments.
We should learn here to beware of that pestilent poison of ambition, which poison ambition, I say,
hath been the cause of the perishing of many a man: for this ambition is the most perilous thing that can be in the world. ambitious man is able to subvert and disturb a whole commonwealth : as it most plainly appeared by the Rhodians; which Rhodians in our time were very mighty, and of great estimation through all the world. Now what was their destruction ? Marry, ambition. Through ambition this mighty island of the Rhodes was lost, and came into the hands of the Turks. For the Chronicle sheweth, that before their destruction, when all things were well yet, the grand-master of Rhodes died. Now there was
one called Andrew Admirall, a Portingale, he desired to be grand-master; he was an ambitious man, he went about to promote himself, before he was called of God. But for all that, he missed his purpose, so that he was not chosen; for there was one chosen whom they called Philippe de Villers. But what doth this Andrew? Because he could not bring his purpose to pass, he sendeth letters to the Great Turk, signifying that if he would come, he would help him to get the island ; which afterwards he did. But yet it cost him his life, for his treason was espied, and so he received a reward according unto his doings.
So ye may perceive by this ensample, which was done in our time, how ungracious a thing this ambition is; for no doubt where there is ambition, there is division; where there is division, there followeth desolation, and so finally destruction, even according unto our Saviour's saying; “Every kingdom divided against itself, shall be brought to nought; and every city or house divided against itself, shall not stand.”
No doubt there hath been here in England many, which have been so vexed and
turmoiled with fear. That same Master Bilney which was burnt here in England for God's word sake, was induced and persuaded by his friends to bear a fagot, at the time when the Cardinal* was aloft and bare the swing.
Now when that same Bilney came to Cambridge again, a whole year after, he was in such an anguish and agony, that nothing did him good, neither eating nor drinking, nor any other communication of God's word ; for he thought that all the whole Scriptures were against him, and sounded to his condemnation. So that I many a time communed with him, for I was familiarly acquainted with him; but all things whatsoever any man could allege to his comfort, seemed unto him to make against him. Yet for all that, afterwards he came again, God indued him with such strength and perfectness of faith, that he not only confessed his faith, the gospel of our Saviour Jesus Christ, but also suffered his body to be burnt for that same gospel's sake, which we now preach in England.
Martin Luther, that wonderful instrument of God, through whom God hath opened the light of his holy word unto the world, which was a long time hid in corners, and neglected; he writeth of himself, that he hath been sometimes in such an agony of the spirit, that he
felt nothing but trembling and fearfulness. And I myself know two or three at this present hour which be in this case.
" Or what went ye out to see ? A man clothed in soft raiment ? Behold, they that wear soft raiment, are in kings' houses.” Here in these words, our Saviour condemned not fine gear, as silk, satin, or velvet ; for there is nothing so costly but it may be worn, but not of every body. Kings and great men are allowed to wear such fine gear : but John, he was a clergyman, it behoved not him to wear such gear. Peradventure if he had been a flatterer, as some be now-a-days, then he might have gotten such gear; but John, knowing his office, knew well enough that it behoved not him to wear such fine gear. But how our clergymen wear them, and with what conscience, I cannot tell; but I can tell it behoveth not unto them to wear such delicate things. St. Peter doth disallow gorgeousness in women: how much more then in men! For a man would think that women should have more liberties in such trifles ; but holy Scripture disalloweth it, and not only in women, but also in men. For he nameth women, because they are more given to that vanity than men be. For Scripture useth sometimes by this word women, to understand men too. And again, by the word men it understandeth women too: for else we should not find in all Scripture that women should be baptized.
Here were a good place to speak against our clergymen which go so gallantly now-a-days. I hear say that some of them wear velvet shoes and velvet slippers. Such fellows are more meet to dance the morrice-dance than to be admitted to preach. I pray God amend such worldly fellows, for else they be not meet to be preachers.
We read a pretty story of St. Anthony, which being in the wilderness, led there a very hard and strait life, insomuch that none at that time did the like ; to whom came a voice from heaven, saying, Anthony, thou art not so perfect as is a cobbler that dwelleth at Alexandria. Anthony hearing this, rose up forthwith, and