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therefore God hath ordained, that some should give themselves to the knowledge of such things, and then teach others.


Let parents take heed how they speak in the presence of their children, and masters ought to take heed how they give ensamples unto their servants : for there be some masters and parents, that will swear in the presence of their children, yea, they will teach them to

Our Saviour, how earnestly he commanded us to beware of swearing. Therefore parents ought to take heed, and specially such as be rulers over houses, or be officers. If they? do swear, all the household will swear too, for it is commonly seen that the servant followeth the behaviours of his master, when they be ill ; but the servants are not so hasty to follow their masters in goodness. And this swearing is so come in an use, that we can say nothing at all, but we must swear thereunto, by God, or by my faith, or such like gear. But there be some, which when they be reprehended because of their swearing, they will say, men will not be lieve me except I swear ; which is a token that



they have been great liars. For every true man is to be believed without swearing: and therefore take this for a certain rule, that when a man is not ashamed, or hath not a conscience to break this law of God, that is to swear, he will not be ashamed, neither have any conscience to lie, to do against the commandment ; for because swearing is as well forbidden as lying, and lying as swearing; therefore he that maketh no conscience in the one, will make less conscience in the other. I myself have had sometimes in use to say in my earnest matters, yea, by St. Mary, and such like things; which indeed is naught. For we are commanded not to swear at all.


Here I might have occasion to speak against this excess of apparel, which is used now every where, which thing is disallowed in Scripture. There be some that will be conformable unto others, they will do as others do, but they consider not with themselves, whether others do well or not. There be laws made and certain statutes, how every one in his estate shall be apparelled, but God knoweth the statutes

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are not put in execution. St. Paul he commandeth us to put on Christ, to leave these gorgeous apparels ; he that is decked with Christ, he is well; and first we be decked with Christ in our baptism, where we promise to forsake the devil with all his works.

Now when we keep this promise, and leave wickedness, and do that which Christ our Saviour requireth of us, then we be decked with him, then we have the wedding garment; and though we be very poor, and have but a russet coat, yet we are well, when we are decked with him.

There be a great many which go very gay in velvet and satin ; but for all that, I fear they have not Christ upon them, for all their gorgeous apparel. I say not this to condemn rich men of their riches; for no doubt poor and rich may have Christ upon them, if they will follow him and live as he commandeth them to live. For if we have Christ upon us, we will not make provision for the flesh, we will not set our hearts upon these worldly trifles, to get riches, to cherish this body withal.


These shepherds were not offended with the poverty of our Saviour, and did therefore stay and meddle no further, but they went forth and preached and talked of it to other folks ; which thing they could not do without peril of their lives. Yet for all that these poor shepherds were content to lose their lives in God's quarrel. Therefore they go and teach their neighbours and others how the Messias and Saviour of the world was born of a virgin, and how the angel of God had opened it unto them.

But what followed of their teaching, or what became of it? It begot a wondering and a gazing : every body marvelled at it, and was desirous to talk of it, because it was a new matter; as we see in this our time, a great number of people pretend the gospel and bear the name of gospellers, because it is a new thing, { and therefore it is the more pleasant unto them. So was it at that time, every body would talk of it in all places, but there were few or none that believed. For we read not that


of them went forth to seek the child, and so to confirm his or their faith ; no, there was none. It was but a talk, and so they used it: wherein you may note the unfaithfulness and unthank

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fulness of this world, which will not receive the great benefits of God offered unto us. The shepherds told them how the angel of God had opened the matter to them, but the foolish people would not believe it. And even so at this time the preachers go abroad and shew unto the people what God had done for them, how he had delivered them from sin, death and hell. But the people are so blinded with unthankfulness, that they will not believe the benefits of God, nor receive them, but make a gazing and , a wondering at the matter.

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But what did Mary the mother of Christ ? What did she ? The evangelist saith, “She pondered it in her heart," she weighed the matter with herself. She did not as our wellspoken dames do: she took not in hand to preach: she knew that silence in a woman is a great virtue, therefore she made nothing of the matter : she boasted not of her stock, to be of the lineage of noble king David; neither did she praise her own child, but would rather hear him to be praised of another; she tarried until the Lord himself had opened the matter;


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