Page images
PDF
EPUB

much used. And at this time when Christ preached, the Jews' manner was to teach commonly by similitudes. Therefore our Saviour not intending to bring any new manner of teaching in amongst them, did therefore use their common manner of teaching, which was by similitudes. For as the coming of our Saviour Christ into this world was low and humble, so his preaching was simple and plain ; and here he used this familiar and plain similitude of husbandry, giving therewith an ensample to all preachers of his word to beware of vain-glory, and only to seek to edify and to profit their audience : like as he himself did, which was not ashamed, after his coming down from heaven, to teach his audience by husbandry, and thereby to exhort them to goodness. So let not the preachers now in this time be ashamed to apply their matter after the capacity of their audience, that they may do them good.

BURIAL OF THE DEAD.

Here I must take occasion to speak somewhat: they be many now-a-days very hasty to bury their friends, yea, sometimes before they

BURIAL OF THE DEAD.

275

be well dead. I heard say once, that a young woman was sick, and fell in a swoon; her friends which were with her, by and by made her ready to be buried; and when they went with the corse, and were coming into the church-yard, the corse stirred, and the vicar commanded them that bare her to set her down, and so finally the woman recovered. I tell this tale, to the end to give you warning, not to be too hasty with sick folk.

I have read in St. Augustine, that there was once a man which lay seven days speechless, neither seeing, nor hearing, nor yet receiving any sustenance, except some liquor, which they poured in his throat with a quill. Now that same man, after seven days, spake again; and the first word that he spake was this, What is the clock ? he thought he had lain but a little while. Now, if his friends had been so hasty with him, he should have been buried before that time. Therefore I admonish you, not to be too hasty with dead corses; as long as they be warm, keep them in the bed; or when a man is dead indeed, he will soon be cold.

When Christ went into a city which is called Nain, and many of his disciples following him, and much people ; when he was come nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, which was the only son

of his mother, and she was a widow, and much people of the city went with her. And here you may note by the way, that these citizens had their burying-place without the city, which no doubt is a laudable thing; and I do much marvel that London, being so rich a city, hath not a burying-place without ; for no doubt it is an unwholesome thing to bury within the city, specially at such a time when there be great sicknesses, so that many die together.

I think verily that many a man taketh his death in Paul's church-yard :* and this I speak of experience, for I myself when I have been there in some mornings to hear the sermons, have felt such an ill-favored, unwholesome savour, that I was the worse for it a great while after. And I think no less, but it be the occasion of much sickness and diseases. Therefore the citizens of Nain had a good and laudable custom, to bury their corses without the city, which ensample we may follow.

* In our author's time, and much earlier, St. Paul's church-yard was a common burying-place for all sorts of citizens and others; insomuch that Stowe tells us, in the year 1549, “ the bones of the dead couched up in a charnel, under the chapel; were conveyed from thence to Finsbury Field, (by report of him who paid for the carriage) amounting to more than one thousand cart-loads, and there laid on a moorish ground, in short space after raised, by soilage of the city upon them, to bear three mills,” from whence the place was called Mountmill.

PHYSICIANS.

277

PHYSICIANS.

When our Saviour was going amongst this great multitude to Jairus's house, there cometh a woman through the people, desirous to touch his garment.

The evangelist Mark setteth out this story more plainly than Matthew doth; he saith, “ There was a certain woman which had been diseased of an issue twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and felt no amendment at all, but rather was worse and worse. When she had heard of Jesus, she came in the press of the people behind him, and touched his garment: for she said, If I only may touch the hem of his clothes I shall be whole.” This woman was sick of a grievous disease, and had been sick of it twelve years; “ Passa est multa," She had suffered much sorrow by it; for no doubt whosoever hath to do with physicians he must be a sufferer: it is an irksome thing to go to physic: a man must receive many bitter medicines and potions. Therefore Mark saith, “ She suffered much ; they had put her to great pain, and she had be stowed all her substance upon them, and was never the better, but rather the worse." Belike she had been a woman of great riches, of great

[ocr errors]

substance, else she should not have been able to wage physicians so long. This place of Scripture reproveth not physicians, as though physic were a superfluous thing, and not necessary, because this woman was not healed ; as when

ye

would reason of this manner : What! shall I go to physic? No, that I will not, for I read in Scripture, that a woman spent all her goods upon physicians, and yet was never the better. But this text maketh no more against physic, than this text doth against labor, where Peter saith, “Per totam noctem laboravimus, et nihil cepimus,” We have labored the whole night, and have gotten nothing. Now a rash fellow will say, What! hath St. Peter labored all night and caught nothing ! then I will not labor at all, for I shall get nothing with my labor: but this is a foolish reasoning. For though the woman spent all upon physicians, and yet was not healed; and though Peter labored all night, and catched nothing, yet for all that we are allowed to use physic, and commanded to labor. For so saith Scripture ; 6 Honora medicum propter necessitatem,” Honor the physician for need's sake. " Item, A Deo est omnis medela," from God is all cure, and the highest hath created the medicine. knew the virtue of every herb, we might be our own physicians, but we know them not ;

If we

« EelmineJätka »