Page images
[ocr errors]

so the good man shall never perceive the fraud, till he cometh to the occupying of the corn. The other man that sold it, taketh this for a policy, but it is theft afore God, and he is bound to make restitution of so much as those two strikes which were naught, were sold too dear; so much he ought to restore, or else he shall never come to heaven, if God be true in his word.

I could tell you of one other falsehood, how they make wool to weigh much, but I will not tell it you. If you learn to do those falsehoods whereof I have told you now, then take the sauce with it; namely, that you shall never see the bliss of heaven, but be damned world without end, with the devil and all his angels. Now go when it please you, use falsehood. But I pray you, wherefore will you deceive your neighbour, whom you ought to love as well as your own self? Consider the matter, good people, what a dangerous thing it is to fall in the hands of the ever-living God. Leave falsehood, abhor it, be true and faithful in your calling.


I have read once a story of a good bishop, which rode by the way, and was weary, being yet far off from any town. Therefore seeing a fair



house, a great man's house, he went thither, and was very well and honorably received. There was great preparations made for him, and a great banquet; all things were in plenty. Then the man of the house set out his prosperity, and told the bishop what riches he had, in what honors and dignities he was, how many fair children he had, what a virtuous wife God had provided for him; so that he had no lack of any manner of thing; he had no trouble or vexations, neither inward nor outward. Now this holy man hearing the good estate of that man, called one of his servants, and commanded him to make ready the horses; for the bishop thought that God was not in that house, because there was no temptation there; he took his leave, and went his ways. Now when he came a two or three mile off, he remembered his book which he had left behind him. He sent his man back again to fetch that book; and when the servant ne again, the house was sunken and all that was in it.

Here it appeareth, that it is a good thing to have temptation. This man thought himself a jolly fellow, because all things went with him. But he knew not St. James's lesson, "Beatus qui suffert tentationem," Blessed is he that endureth temptation.


When I was in Cambridge, Master George Stafford read a lecture, there I heard him; and in expounding the Epistle to the Romans, coming to that place where St. Paul saith, that we shall overcome our enemy with well-doing, and so heap up hot coals upon his head; now in expounding of that place, he brought in an ensample, saying that he knew in London a great rich merchant, which merchant had a very poor neighbour, yet for all his poverty, he loved him very well, and lent him money at his need, and let him to come to his table whensoever he would. It was even at that time when Dr. Colet* was in trouble, and should have been burnt, if God had not turned the king's heart to the contrary. Now the rich man began to be a Scripture man, he began to smell the gospel; the poor man was a papist still. It chanced on a time, when the rich man talked of the gospel, sitting at his table, where he reproved

* Dr. John Colet, dean of St. Paul's, and founder of the school adjoining the cathedral. He was persecuted by Dr. Fitzjames, bishop of London, but escaped by the favor of archbishop Warham, and died in peace, in 1519.


popery and such kind of things; the poor man being then present, took a great displeasure against the rich man; insomuch that he would come no more to his house, he would borrow no more money of him, as he was wont to do before-times; yea, and conceived such hatred and malice against him, that he went and accused him before the bishops. Now the rich man, not knowing any such displeasure, offered many times to talk with him, and to set him at quiet. But it would not be ; the poor man had such a stomach, that he would not vouchsafe to speak with him: yea, if he met the rich man in the street, he would go out of the way. One time it happened that he met him in so narrow a street that he could not avoid, but must needs. come near him; yet for all that this poor man had such a stomach against the rich man, I say, that he minded to go forward, and not to speak with him. The rich man perceiving that, catched him by the hand, and asked him, saying, Neighbour, what is come into your heart, to take such displeasure with me? What have I done against you? Tell me, and I will be ready at all times to make you amends.


Finally, he spake so gently, so charitably, so lovingly, and friendly, that it wrought in the poor man's heart, that by and by he fell down

upon his knees, and asked him forgiveness. The rich man forgave him, and so took him again to his favor, and they loved as well as ever they did afore. Many a one would have said, Set him in the stocks, let him have bread of affliction, and water of tribulation: but this man did not so. And here you see an ensample of the practice of God's word, in such sort that the poor man, bearing great hatred and malice against the rich man, was brought, through the lenity and meekness of the rich man, from his error and wickedness, to the knowledge of God's word. I would you would consider this ensample well, and follow it.


What a trust and confidence have we had in holy water, and holy bread? Also in ringing of holy bells, and such fooleries! But it was good sport for the devil, he could laugh and be merry at our foolishness; yea, and order the matter so, to keep us in the same error. For we read in stories, that at some times the devil went away from some men, because of the holy water; as though that holy water had such strength and power that he could not abide it.

« EelmineJätka »