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gear, he found it out afterward. Therefore Mary had it not. I will say this, and yet not judge other folks' hearts, but only speak after daily appearance and experience; no doubt it is nothing but a token of pride to wear such vardingals, and therefore I think that every godly woman should set them aside. It was not for nought that St. Paul advertised all women to give a good ensample of sadness, soberness, and godliness, in setting aside all wantonness and pride. And he speaketh of such manner of pride as was used in his time : “Non tortis crinibus," not with laying out the hair artificially: “Non plicaturâ capillorum,” not with laying out the tussocks. (1 Tim. ii.) I doubt not but if vardingals had been used in that time, St. Paul would have spoken against them too, like as he spake against other things which women used at that time to shew their wantonness and foolishness.
Therefore, as I said before, seeing that God abhorreth all pride, and vardingals are nothing else but an instrument of pride, I would wish that women would follow the counsel of St. Paul, and set aside such gorgeous apparel, and rather study to please God, than to set their mind upon pride ; or else, when they will not follow the counsel of St. Paul, let them scrape out those words wherewith he forbiddeth them
their proudness: otherwise the words of St. Paul will condemn them at the last day. I say no more, wise folks will do wisely, the words of St. Paul are not written for nothing; if they will do after his mind, they must set aside their foolish vardingals : but if they will go forward in their foolishness and pride, the reward which they shall have at the end shall not be taken from them.
But I pray you to whom was the nativity of Christ first opened ? To the bishops or great lords which were at that time at Bethlehem ? Or to those jolly damsels with their yardingals, with their roundabouts, or with their bracelets ? No, no; they had so many hindrances to trim and dress themselves, that they could have no time to hear of the nativity of Christ: their minds were so occupied otherwise that they were not allowed to hear of them. But his nativity was revealed first to the shepherds, and it was revealed unto them in the night-time, when every body was at rest; then they heard the joyful tidings of the Saviour of the world. For these shepherds were keeping their sheep in the night-season from the wolf or other beasts, and
from the fox : for the sheep in that country do lamb two times in the year, and therefore it was needful for the sheep to have a shepherd to keep them. And here note the diligence of these shepherds: for whether the sheep were their own, or whether they were servants, I cannot tell, for it is not expressed in the book; but it is most like they were servants, and their masters had put them in trust to keep their sheep. Now if these shepherds had been deceitful fellows, that when their masters had put them in trust to keep their sheep, they had been drinking in the alehouse all night, as some of our servants do now-a-days, surely the angels had not appeared unto them to have told them this great joy and good tidings. And here all servants may learn by these shepherds to serve truly and diligently unto their masters; in what business soever they are set to do, let them be painful and diligent, like as Jacob was unto his master Laban. O what a painful, faithful and trusty man was he! He was day and night at his work, keeping his sheep truly, as he was put in trust to do ; and when any chance happened that any thing was lost, he made it good, and restored it again of his own. So likewise was Eleazar a painful man, a faithful and trusty servant. Such a servant was Joseph in Egypt to his master Potiphar;
so likwise was Daniel unto his master the king. *But I pray you where are these servants nowa-days ? Indeed I fear me there be but very few of such faithful servants.
Now, these shepherds, I say, they watch the whole night, they attend upon their vocation, they do according to their calling, they keep their sheep, they run not hither and thither, spending the time in vain, and neglecting their office and calling. No, they did not so. Here by these shepherds all men may learn to attend upon their offices and callings. I would wish that all clergymen, the curates, parsons, and vicars, the bishops, and all other spiritual persons, would learn this lesson by these poor shepherds; which is this, to abide by their flocks and by their sheep, to tarry amongst them, to be careful over them, and not run hither and thither after their own pleasure, but tarry by their benefices and feed their sheep with the food of God's word, and to keep hospitality, and so to feed them both soul and body. For I tell you these poor unlearned shepherds shall condemn many a stout and great learned clerk : for these shepherds had but the care and charge over brute beasts, and yet were diligent to keep them, and to feed them; and the other have the cure over God's lambs which he bought with the death of his Son, and yet
they are so careless, so negligent, so slothful over them; yea, and the most part intendeth not to feed the sheep, but they long to be fed of the sheep: they seek only their own pastimes, they care for no more. But what said Christ to Peter ? What said he ?
“ Petre, me ?” Peter, lovest thou me? Peter made answer, Yes. - Then feed my sheep." And so the third time he commanded Peter to feed his sheep. But our clergymen do declare plainly that they love not Christ, because they feed not his flock. If they had earnest love to Christ, no doubt they would shew their love, they would feed his sheep.
But it is a thing to be lamented, that the prelates and other spiritual persons will not attend upon their offices. They will not be amongst their flocks, but rather will run hither and thither, here and there, where they are not called, and in the mean season, leave them at adventure of whom they take their living. Yea, and furthermore, some will rather be clerks of kitchens, or take other offices upon then besides that which they have already. But with what conscience these same do so, I cannot tell. I fear they shall not be able to make answer at the last day for their follies, as concerning that matter : for this office is such a heavy and weighty office that it requireth a