The Fortresse of the Faythfull Agaynst ye Cruel Assautes of Povertie and Honger
The Fortresse of the faythfull agaynst ye cruel assautes of povertie and honger newlye made for the comforte of poore nedye Christians, by Thomas Becon.
Prover. xviii. A myghty strong fortresse is ye name of ye Lord, Unto that flieth ye righteous, and is in savegarde. 1550.
Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum.
PUBLISHED BY John Day
PUBLISHED BY William Seres
David. Psal. xxxvii.
I Have bene young, and am old, and yet sawe I never ye rightous forsaken, nor hys children beggyng theyre breade. The ryghtuous is ever merciful and lendeth, and yet shall hys children have Godds plenty and ynough.
Salomon [...]over .xxx.
Two thinges have I required of the, O Lorde, that thou wylt not deny me before I dye. Remove frome vanytye and lyes. Geve me nether poverte nor riches, only graunt me a necessarye lyuing, least if I be to full, I denye the and saye: who is the Lord? & least I beinge constrained thorowe povertie faul unto stealing, and forswere the name of my God.
Christe. Math. vi.
Take no thought, saying, what shal we eat, or what shal we drynke, or wherwith shal we be clothed? after al these thynges seke the Hethe[n]. For your heavenly father knoweth, that ye have nede of all these thinges. But seke ye fyrste the kyngdom of God and the righteousnes therof and al these thinges shall be caste unto you.
To the ryght worshipful Syr Jhon Robsarte knyght, Thomas Becon wysheth continuall health both of body and mynd fro[m] God the father in Christ Jesu our Lorde.
SO ofte as I behold the wretchid and to much miserable face of thys needye and beggerly world, yea so ofte as I consyder the lamentable & pytifull, state of the poore people, whych are nowe growen unto suche a number, that they be almoste innumerable, and so assayled wyth the cruell dartes of povertie and honger, that they in a maner despaire of necessary foode and convenient apparel for the sustentation of theyr poore wretched karcasses, and by thys meanes for a redresse of these their to manyfolde miseryes parte of theym, whose braynes are not perfectly setled, whose [Page] judgementes are not thorowly staied in the waye of perfecte reason, not paciently bearynge the crosse of povertye, contrary to Christen order and theyr bounden dutye attempte unto the greate doloure of al good men, ungodlye and unlawful enterprises, as wycked councels, unjust assembles, abhominable sedicio[n]s, divilyshe insurreccions, detestable conmocions, unryghtuous spoylynges of other mennes goodes, uncharitable raylynges Deut. xxviii, ii. Reg. xvii. Jerem. xviii. Ezech. iiii. v. iiii. x ix. xxxii xxiii. Dse. [...]i. upo[n] theyr superiours. &c. Utterly defacynge, somuche as in theym is, the face of the common weale, not consyderyng thys plage of famyn and honger to be sent into the world for synne accordynge to the threatnynges of God expressed in ye holy scriptures: I can none otherwyse the[n] lament and hartely wysh better and more prosperous thynges to the nedy and poore creatures of god universally. For although according to the common Proverbe,
Lytrel wore the ful sow that is in ye stye, What the hungrye sow ayleth, that goeth by.
Yet so many as are of God, and ledde wyth any natural or humaine affeccion, they remember thys olde sayinge:
It is mery in hel, Whe[n] berdes wag al, and can not even in the myddes of their wealth, but repent the mysery of the myserable, the poverty of the poore, the famyn [Page] of the famished, and to ye uttermost of theyr power studye to releve the dystresse The nature of Charitie romay. xii. dystresse of the nedy both wyth theyr goods and councel. As a true Christe[n] ma[n] joyeth wyth them that are glad, even so soroweth he wyth them that are sad. Charitye seketh not her owne, but both wisheth & doth wel to al men, even to her enemies. i. Corin. xiii. Charytye putteth on the propertye of Christ, whych became poore to make other ryche. Charytye joyeth not at her owne joy, if other sorowe. Charitie delyteth ii. Corin. viii. not in her own fulnes, if other wa[n]t. Charitie abhorreth her owne reaste if other be disquieted. I am combred dayly, sayth S. Paule, and do care for all congregacions. ii. Corin. xii. Who is weake, and I am not weake? Who is offended, and I am not greved? Yea Charitie refuseth almost to be saved, if other enjoye not the lyke benefyt. Dyd not that most excelle[n]t prophet Moses desyre God either to forgeve Exodi. xxxii. the chyldren of Israel theyr synnes or else to wy [...]e him out of ye boke of lyfe?
Dyd not blessed Paule wyshe to be romaynes. ix. accursed from God so that the Israelites hys kynsmen after the flesh, myghte be saved? Dyd not the gloryous Martyr Stephen accordynge to the example of Actes. vii. Christ praye for hys enemyts? So wholy doth Charitie geve her selfe to serve the Luke xxiii. health and wealth of other.
And as touchynge the relyefe of the [Page] poore and nedy, oppressed wyth the wa[n]t of worldly thinges, what good and godly man hath not at al tymes, as occasio[n] & habylitie hath served, sought it? Who beynge godlye mynded seynge his Christen brother or syster in necessitie, seketh not al meanes possible to healye theym? Can a Christia[n] abou[n]d in worldly wealth and suffer hys neyghbour to famyshe or to dye for colde? He hath not put on the bowels and re[n]der compassion of Christ, whych is not moved wyth pitie toward his nedy neighbour? Hospitalitie. O what goodli and notable examples doth ye holy scripture mynyster unto us of socourynge the socourles? What a myrroure to beholde is that most reverende Patriarke Abraha[m] the father of the faythful, Gene. xviii. unto the faythfull? Wyth what alacritie and cherefulnes of mynde dyd he receave into hys house the Angels of God beyng in mens lykenesse? Wyth what diligence prepared he al thynges necessary for them, as he thought, weary bodyes? When Loth saw the two aungels of God, whom he judged to be men, co[m]ming into Sodome at night, howe reverently did he behave hym selfe toward the[m], & instantly desyred the[m] to come into his house & ther lodged yt night? Gene. xix. I besech you syrs, saith he, turne into the house of your servaunte & abide ther. Washe your feete, & in the morning ye shal go forth on your journey. And afterwarde [Page] he made them a feast, saith the Scripture. These two godly auncie[n]t fathers thought is not mete to suffer strau[n]gers and wayfarynge men to passe foreby theyr houses wythoute relyefe. They dyd according to Gods holy wyl expressed by the prophet, sayinge. Breake thy breade to the hungrye, and led the nedye and the wayfaring into thy house. Esay. iviii. Whe[n] thou seest a naked ma[n], cover him, so shalt thou not despise thy flesh. Forget not hospitalite, saith S. Paul, for by it, certeyne unwars have receaved angels into theyr houses. How ready pacient Job was to Hebrues. xii. socour ye socourles,& to relyve the nedy, it is evident by these his wordes: When the poore desyred any thyng of me, have Job. xxxi. I denied it them? Have I caused the widow to stande waityng for me in vaine? Have I eaten my porcio[n] alone that the fatherles hath hadde no parte with me?
For mercye grewe up wyth me fro my youthe, and compassion fro[m] my mothers wombe. Have I sene anye man peryshe thorow nakednes and wa[n]t of clothyng? Or any poore man for lacke of raiment, whose sydes thanked me not because be was warmed with the wol of my shepe? Agayne he sayeth, I have not suffered a straunger to lye wtout, but I opened my doores unto him, that went by the way. As I maye passe over many other examples, contayned in the olde Testamente, [Page] which declare how merciful divers godly both men and women were towarde straungers and poore people, Marke. viii. how te[n]der harted and ful of most lovynge pitie and unfayned compassion, dyd our Saviour Christ shewe hym selfe when he fedde so manye people wyth seven loaves and a fewe small fyshes? I am inwardelye moved wt compassyon toward ye people, sayeth he, because they have nowe bene wyth me. iii. dayes, and have nothynge to eate, and if I send them away fasting to theyr owne houses, they shal faynt by the way. Moreover, as I maye let passe divers other miracles, which he dyd for the reliefe of ye poore, as turnyng water into wyne at the mariage in Cava Galile, Joan. ii. Joan. vi. and feedynge fyve thousande wyth five barly loaves & two fishes, did he not shew hym selfe to take great care for the poore, when he gave the ryche men thys commaundemente? When thou makest a dynner or supper, cast not thy frendes, [...] thy brethren, neyther thy kynsmen, nor thy ryche neyghbours, least they also byd the agayne, and a recompence be made the. But when thou makest a feast cal the poore, the feble, the lame, and the blynde, and thou shalt be happy, for they cannot reco[m]pence the. But thou shalt be recompenced at the resurreccion of the juste menne. Math xxv. In the descripcion of the generall Judgement, whyche shalbe at [Page] the last day, is not the rewarde of everlastynge lyfe ser forth to the mercyfull, Jacob ii. Math. v. and eternal damnacion to the merciles? The Judgement, sayth S. James, shall be without mercy, to the[m] that hath shewed no mercye. Blessed are the mercyfull, for they shall obtayne mercye. Luke. xi. Gyve almesse of that ye have, and behold al thinges are cleane unto you, sayth our Savioure Christ. Luke. xvi. Was not the rytche glottor damned, because he was ledde wyth no pietie towarde the poore?
O how diligent were the Apostles after Christes ascencion Actes. vi. xi. Actes. xxiiii roma. xv. ii. Cor. viii. Actes. xx. ii. Thess. iii. i. Timo. vi. to appoynt Deacons to mynyster unto the poore, and to provyde that they lacke nothyng? How earnest was blessed Paule in exortynge the Christians to make colleccions for the poore? Yea howe wroughte he wyth hys owne handes, that he myghte have wherof to geve unto the nedye? What a frendly lesson in ye poore peoples behalfe wryteth he unto Byshop Timothe to be declared unto the ryche worldlynges? Co[m]maund them that are rych (sayth he) in this worlde, that they be not hie minded, nor trust in uncertayne ryches, but in the lyuynge God, whych geveth us abundantly al thinges to enjoye the[m], that they do good workes, that they be redy to geve, and gladde to dystrybute, layinge up in store for theym selfe a good foundacion agaynste the tyme to come, [Page] that they may obtaine eternal life. How is Dorcas a noble and vertuous woma[n] commended in the holy Scripture? She was ful of good workes & almes dedes, saith blessed Luke, ites. ix. Yea she with her own handes made coates and garmentes for the poore. An example worthi to be folowed of our Gentle women and Ladyes now a dayes, Mirrours for Ge[n]tle women. whych in tyringe and garnishynge the[m] selves know neyther measure nor ende, but of preparynge garme[n]tes for the poore, they for the most parte do not somuche as once dreame. Dorcas coulde not abyde, that she herselfe shuld have a ryche waredroppe full of sumtuous apparel, and se her Christen Brethre[n] and systern go naked and dye for colde, Yea rather then they shoulde wante, she wyl set her owne ha[n]des to worke, which thynge many of our fine whight fingred Gentyl women, yea and some inferioure to them dysdayne to do.
How instantly dyd a certayne woma[n] etes. xvi. named Lidia desyre. S. Paule and hys companions to come into her house, and there to have all thynges necessarye for them? If ye thynke (saith she) that I beleve on the Lorde, Preachers unprovided. come into my house, and abyde there. Wold God the lyke affeccion towarde the Preachers of Gods woorde were founde in our [...] menne and women at this present, then shoulde not so manye of them be oppressed wyth povertie, and wander abrode wythout lyuinges [Page] as they do nowe, unto the greate sclau[n]der of ye Gospel, which they preach. Is it not a shame that they should want temporal thynges, whych minister unto us spiritual and heave[n]ly thynges? i. Corin. ix. Hath not the Lorde ordeyned, that they which preache the Gospell, shoulde lyve of the Gospel? Are not they that rule wel, and laboure in worde and doctryne, worthy of double honoure? Is it not convenie[n]t, that the housbandeman whyche laboureth, shoulde fyrst take of the frutes? Are we not forbydden to mosel the mouth of the oxe that treadeth out the corne? i. Timo. v. ii. Timo. ii i. Timo. v. Math x. Is not a rewarde ordeyned for the workeman? If we have sowen among you spiritual thynges, is it a great mater, if we reape your carnal thynges? i. Corin. ix. Doo ye not know that they, whych minister aboute holy thynges, lyve of the sacrifyce? Math. x. they whych wayte of the temple, are partakers of the temple. even so also dyd the Lorde ordayne, i. Timo. iii. Titus. i. that they whych preache the Gospel, should lyve of ye gospel, saith S. Paule. The Apostle requireth that a Bishop, yt is, a spiritual minister shoulde mayntaine hospitalitie. How unsemely the[n] is it for the[m] that shuld fede other, eyther myserably to live on other meus tre[n]chers, or els lyke vagaboundes to hunt aboute for theyr lyuinge? Papistes h [...] to fore better provided fo the[m] preache nowe. Neyther oure au[n]cestours nor we in tymes paste have so dealt wt ye sorcererlyke Sacryfycers, wt ye [Page] pratlyng Papistes, wyth the monstrous Monckes, wyth the chatrerynge Channons, wyth the flatterynge fryers, and such other mumryshe mummers, as under the vysar of paynted holynes have deceyved almost all the worlde, ledynge us from Gods blessed worde to mannes tryfleinge eradicions, from the waye of salvacion unto the state of damnacion, from heaven to hel, from God to the dyuyl. But so hath it ever gone for ye moste parte wyth the true Preachers in thys wycked and unthankeful worlde. In the tyme of king Achab, the true Prophetes of God were slayne, and the[m] that remained alyve, were secretlye kepte in caves and ther fedde wyth bread and water of good Abdye, whych unfaynedly feared God. [...]. xviii. If they had not bene preserved by that godly man, they hadde eyther bene slayne, or els famished. But the Preistes of Baal abounded wyth all kynde of wealth. Eyght hundred and fyfty, sayth the scripture, did eate of Jesabels table.
Who knoweth not, Hieremie. xx. xviii. that the Prophet Hieremie was throwen into pryso[n], cruelly entreated and lyke to dye for ho[n]ger, whan [...]hashur. the priestes, and suche other false prophetes even men pleasars, Math. xii. lyved in al wealth and aboundaunce of worldly thynges? Wyth what povertie the disciples of Christe were greved, Mathe. viii. it may easly be knowen, whe[n] they for very [Page] honger were co[m]pelled to plucke ye eares of corne & to eate. Joan. xviii. zachary. ix. Math. xxi. And how poore Christ was, not a fewe places of the Scripture do declare, whe[n] in ye meane time Annas, Caiphas, Alexander, ye Scribes, ye Pharises, Lawers, ye Byshops, the Priestes, ye sacrificers wt al ye rable of Hipocrites lyved in al pompe and pleasure. This in gratitude, churlishnes & illiberalitie toward ye ministers of gods word shal not escape unpunished. Luke. x. He yt despyseth you, despiseth me, sayeth Christ, & he that despiseth me, despiseth hym yt sent me. But let us returne unto our matter. Luke. x. Luke. xix. Actes. ix. Actes. xvii. Act. ixi. xxvii. Galath. vi.
What nede I reherse, Martha, Zache, Simon the tanner, Jason. Aquila, Philip the Evangelist, Publius, Philemon, Gaius, and suche other, whyche all shewed the[m] selves courteous, ge[n]tyl & beneficial toward al ye poore, but chefly toward the[m] yt were of ye houshold of fayth, as s. Paule warneth. If we have recourse unto auncie[n]t histories, O how shal we learne of the[m] the fatherly pytie & Godly glad affeccio[n], O factum bene. which was in ye Bishops & Deacons toward the poore people when Christes churche began to florishe. Read we not, that for the comfort of the poore and oppressed Christians, the godly auncient Byshoppes dyd not onelye sell the Ornamentes, Treasures, and Jewelles of the churche, but also the verye boxes of Golde and Sylver, wherein the Lordes [Page] bread, whych we co[m]menly cal ye Sacrame[n]t of the aulter, was kept? Myrrours for our Byshoppes. they had rather kepe the Sacramente of Christes bodye in a basket of wyckers, and to fell that they made of golde for the releife of the pore, then they shulde wante. O godly Byshoppes and faithfull sheppardes, whiche so diligently watched for the preservation of their shepe both bodily and ghostly. Is it not to be thought, that the su[m]mes of money, which the beneficed me[n] yerelye paye to the archedecon of everye dioceise, were fyrste of all frely graunted and gyven of oure predecessoures to be distributed amo[n]g the pore people of that diocease, as necessitie required, and theyr descrecion served? But howe that money is nowe abused, who seeth not? the office of the archedecon, The offyce of the Archdeco[n]. is yerely to visit everi paryshe in the diocese, wher he dwelleth, and diligently to se, what ye pore people of every paryshe want, and to make provision for them, & unto that use, as I said before, was that mony geven, which every beneficed ma[n] payeth to the archedeco[n] agayne, to se whither parson or vicar be resident upon hys benefice, and mainetaine such hospytalite, as ye pore of ye parish be ye better for it. But now a dayes ye archdco[n]s aske not for ye pore, nor in what co[n]dicio[n] they sta[n]d, but whether ye hosts be wel kept in ye pyxe fro[m] moulding & furring, whither corpraise clothes be clene washed, whither the Chrismatory besafely [Page] locked up, whyther the Prieste useth any unhalowed garme[n]tes or chalyce in hys sacrifisynge, whyther ye copes, vestme[n]tes and albes be sufficie[n]tly repayred, whither the Church, Chau[n]cel, or Church yard be in case good ynoughe, and suche other trifles. God have mercion us, & se[n]d us once a redresse of these thynges. Furthermore wt what a Godly pitie & charitable affeccio[n] dyd our auncestours burne toward ye poore me[m]bers of Christ, Folowe these fore fathers. which as I may speake nothynge of Abbeyes, Colleges, Chau[n]tries, frechapels. &c. bilt with theyr greate cost hospitals & suche other houses, enduing the same wt yerely revenewes for the relife of ye poore? Men [...]rie, fathers, fathers, but the maners of these fathers are clene forgotte[n]. Philip. ii. All seke theyr own avau[n]tage, & not those thinges whych pertaine unto Jesu Christ. Thus se we yt al good me[n] have ever pityed the poore, & sought al meanes possible to do the[m] good. But the co[n]trary is fou[n]d amo[n]g us nowe a daies. ii. Timo. iii. For me[n] according to s. Pauls prophecy, are the lovers of them selves & not of the poore. They are covetous to the[m]selfes, & not liberal to ye poore They heap to the[m]selfes, they provide nothing for the poore, ther be many signes of ye last day to be at hand, but this colde affeccio[n], & more cold love, & most cold lyberalitie toward ye poore prove evide[n]tly yt it is not far of. Amo[n]g mani other signs and toke[n]s, which Christ declareth to go [Page] before the daie of Judgeme[n]t, is not this one of the most evident? Math. xxiiii. For asmuch, sayeth he, as iniquitie shal abound, the love of many shal waxe colde. When dyd iniquitie ever so abounde? when was ye love of men ever so colde towarde the poore? The ryche worldelynges in tymes paste could buylde greate monasteries for the bellyed Hypocrites, Note. greate Colledges, Chauntries, and Freechappels, for subtle cariars and Purgatorie rakers, but who buylde somuche as a cotage nowe for to harbour a sely poore man? Men in tymes past disherered theyr lawful heyres to nouryshe in ydlenes a numbre of ydle bellies under the prete[n]ce of prayer, but who now eve[n] of his superfluities doeth any notable thyng for Christes poore me[m]bers? A number of people heretofore hath decked Idols and mawmets, with silke, velvet, and other precious veslures yea wyth gold, sylver, pearle, and precious stones, how many now in so greate a multitude do cloth ye poore naked creatures of God wyth canvis and rugge? They gave shoes of sylver & golde set wt rych stones to dome mawmets, but who now geveth shoes of leather to ye poore? O to muche unmercyfulnes. Can these thynges escape unplaged? If the Lorde lyveth, plages be at hande, excepte we amende. Thys oure ingratytude towarde God, and unmercifulnes toward [Page] the poore, wyl surely accelerate & haste forwarde the vengeauns of God to fall upon us. For whether we respect and behold the spiritualtie or temporalty, their love towarde the poore compared wyth the love of our Au[n]cestoures, is very cold, yea it is almost nothing. But if we compare theyr coveruousnes with the desire of our Elders toward the goodes of the worlde, Spiritual me[n] covetous we shal fynde it so farre to excel and surmount, as the hie heavens do the lowe earth. How do many of oure spiritual men, as they are called, heape promocion upon promocion, benefyce upon benefyce, deanrye upon deanrie, prebend upon prebend, and prebe[n]d for avau[n]tage? Ah, one fylthy belly to devoure so many wealthy lyuinges? O abominacio[n]. And yet the carelesse swyne are led wyth no pitie toward the poore, whose sweate of theyr browes they lyk up, whose laboures of theyr handes they cormorantlyke devour. Behold theyr paine in teaching, it is very smal, behold their hospitalitie, it is nothinge at all. Woo be unto these shepherdes, saith God by the Prophete, that fede the[m]selves. Shulde not ye shepeherdes fede the flockes? Ezech. xxxi [...] Ye have eate[n] up the fat, ye have clothed you wyth ye wol, the best fed have ye slayne, but the flocke have ye not nourished. The weake have ye not holde[n] up, ye sycke have ye not healed, the broke[n] have ye not bou[n]d togither, [Page] ye outcasts have ye not brought againe, the lost have ye not sought, but churlishly & cruelly have ye ruled them. Temporal me[n] covetous. Agayne how do many of the temporal worldlinges joyne ferme to ferme, office to office, lordshyp to lordshyp, pasture to pasture, land to land, house to house, & house for avauntage? that the vengeaunce of God threatned by the Prophetes maye come upon the[m]. Esaye v. Wo be unto you, yt joyne house to house, & couple land to lande, so nyghe one to another, that ye poore man can get no more ground. Shal ye dwel alone upon the face of the earth? These thynges are come up unto my eares, sayth ye Lord of hostes. Shal not many great & gorgious houses be so waste that no man shal dwell in the[m]? [...]ab acuk. 11. Agayne, wo be unto hym, yt heapeth up other me[n]s goodes. How lo[n]g wyl he lade hym selfe wt the thycke clay? Wo be unto hym, yt covetously gathereth evyl gotten goodes into hys house, that he maye set his nest on hye, to escape fro[m] the power of misfortune. Thou hast devised y [...] shame of thyne own house. The very stones of the wal, shal cry out of it. O how doth our saviour Christ thunder against ye rich worldlings, yt live al in pleasure, & yet are not once moved wt pytie & co[m]passio[n] toward ye pore? Wo be to you, yt ar rich (saith he) which have your co[n]solacio[n]. Wo be to you yt are filled, for ye shal ho[n]ger. Wo be to you yt laugh now, for ye shal mourne & weepe. Thus se we what [Page] unmercifulnes reigneth in the world almost universally. And how al the threatninges of Gods ve[n]geau[n]ce can not que[n]ch in ye wicked worldlynges hartes ye insaciable thyrst of gathering worldly gooddes, but that they go styl forthe to heape up thycke claye agaynst the[m]selves, yea & that beyond al measure, not co[n]sideringe how vaine & deceatful ye possessio[n] of temporal thinges is in this worlde. He heapeth treasure upo[n] treasure, saith David, Psal. xxxix. & yet knoweth he not for who[m] he gathereth these thinges to gether. Notable is the histori yt our saviour Christ telleth of a certaine rich ma[n] in ye Gospel of s. Luke Luke. xii. The grownd of a certaine rich ma[n], saith he, brought forth ple[n]tyfull frutes, and he thought win him selfe, saying: what shal I do, because I have no roume, wher to bestow my frutes? And he sayd, thus wil I do. I wyl destroy my barnes, & buylde greater, & the[n] wyl I gather al my gooddes yt are growe[n] unto me, & I wyl say to my soule, O soule yu hast much goods laid up in store for mani yeres, take thine ease eat, drinke, & be mery. But God said unto him, yu foole, this night wil they fetche awai thy soule again fro[m] the. The[n] whose shal those things be, which yu hast provided? So is it wt him yt gathreth riches to him self, & is not rich toward god. What the[n] remaineth, but yt thei which ar godli rich, reme[m]ber the[m]selfes to be ye stewardes [Page] of God, endued wyth worldly substau[n]ce, not to spe[n]d it voluptuously or after their own folyshe fansye about trifles, but upon theyr necessaryes, and that they may convenie[n]tly spare, to distribute unto the poore, which are their brothers in Christ of the same fleshe and bloude, & fellowe enheritours with them of one and of the same glory. O blessed is the riche, which is founde wythoute blemyshe, and hath not gone after golde, nor hoped in mony and treasures. Eccle. xxxi. Wher is ther such a one, and we shal commend hym, and call hym blessed. For great thinges doth he amo[n]g hys people. And that the Godlye ryche maye be the more encouraged to gratify the poore and to do good unto the nedye in thys wretched and begerlye tyme, let the[m] ever set these and such lyke se[n]tences of the holy scriptures before the eyes of theyr minde. Sente[n]ces for the Godlye ryche to reme[m]ber. My sonne defraude not the poore of hys almes, and turne not away thyne eyes from hym that hathe neede. Despyse not an hongry soule, and despise not ye poore in hys necessitie. Greve not the herte of hym that is healpelesse, and wythdrawe not the gyft fro[m] the nedeful. Eccle. iiii. Refuse not ye praier of one yt is in trouble tourne not away thy face fro[m] the nedye. Cast not thine eyes asyde fro[m] ye poore for any evil wil, yt thou geve him nove occasion to speake evyl of the. For if he complayne of the in ye bytternes of hys soule [Page] his prayer shalbe herd, eve[n] he that made hym, shal heare him. Be courteous unto the co[m]pany of ye poore, humble thy soule unto the elder, and bow downe thy head to a man of worship. Let it not greve the to bowe downe thine eare unto ye poore, but paye thy debte, and geve hym a fre[n]dli answer, & that with mekenes. Deliver hym that suffereth wronge fro[m] ye hand of ye oppressour, & be not faint harted, whe[n] thou fyghtest in judgeme[n]t. Be merciful unto the fatherles as a father, and be in steade of an husband unto theyr mother, so shalt thou be as an obediente sonne of the hiest, & he shal love the more then thy mother doth. Helpe the poore for ye commaundementes sake, and let him not go emptie fro[m] the, because of hys neessitie. Lese thy money for thy brother & neighbours sake, and bury it not under a stone wher it rusteth & corruptith. Eccle. xxix. Gather thy treasure after the commaundeme[n]t of the hyest, & so shal it bryng the more profitte the[n] golde. Lay up thy almes in the hand of the poore, & it shal kepe the from al yuyl. A mans almes is a purse wyth him, & shal kepe a ma[n]s favour as ye aple of an eye, & afterward shal it aryse & pay every ma[n] his reward upo[n] his head. It shall fight for the agaynst thine enemies better the[n] ye shyld of a Giaunt, or speare of ye mighty. Who so is merciful & geveth almes, that is the ryght thanke offeringe. Eccle. xxxv. [Page] Loke what thine hand is able, geve wt a chereful eye. For ye Lord reco[m]pe[n]ceth & geveth the seven tymes as muche agayne. [...]odi. iiii. Geve almes of thy goods, & turne never thy face fro[m] the poore, & so shal it come to passe, yt the face of ye Lord shal not be turned away fro[m] the. Be merciful after thy power. If yu have much, give ple[n]teously, if yu have litle, do thy dilige[n]ce gladlye to give of yt litle. For so gatherest yu thy self a good reward in ye day of necessitie. For mercy delyvereth fro[m] al syn & fro[m] death, & suffereth not ye soule to come in darknes. A great co[m]fort is merci before ye high god unto al the[m] that shew it. Eate thy bread wt the ho[n]gry and poore, & cover ye naked with thy clothes. He yt is mercyful, doth him self a benefit, but whoso hurteth his neighbour, is a tirau[n]t. Prover. xi. He yt is liberal in geving, shal have plenti, & he yt watereth shalbe watered also him self. Who so hordeth up his corne, shalbe cursed among ye people, but blessinge shal light upon hys heade, yt geveth foode. Prover. xiiii. Whoso despyseeh his neighbour, doth amisse, but blessed is he yt hath piti of ye poore. He that doth a poore ma[n] wro[n]g, blasphemeth his maker, but who so hath pity of ye poore doth honor unto God. Prou. x [...]ii. He yt hath piti upo[n] ye pore, le[n]deth unto ye Lord, & loke what he laieth out it shalbe payed him agayne. He yt is be[n]t unto mercy, shalbe blessed, for he geveth of hys bread unto ye poore. He yt geveth [Page] unto ye poore, shal not lacke, but he yt turneth awai his eyes fro[m] such as be in necessitie, shal suffer great povertie hym selfe. Prover. xxvi. Blessed is he yt co[n]sidereth ye poore & nedy, the Lord shal deliver him in ye time of trouble, Psal. xii. ye Lord shal preserve hym and kepe him, & make him blessed upo[n] earth, & not deliver him into ye hands of his ennemies, ye lord shal co[m]fort him, whe[n] he lieth sicke upo[n] his bed, yea & make his bed in ye time of his syckenes. Lay not up for your selves treasure upo[n] earth, Math. vi. wher the rust & moth doth corrupt, & wher theves breake through & steale. But laye up for you treasures in heave[n], wher nether rust nor moth doth corrupt, & wher theves do not breake thorow, nor steale. For wher your treasure is, ther wil your hart be also. He yt hath two cotes, let him parte wt him yt hath none, & he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Luke. iii. Luke. vi. Geve to every one that axeth the. Be ye merciful, as your father is merciful. Sel yt ye have, & give almes. Luke. xii. And prepare you bags, whych ware not old, eve[n] a treasure yt faileth not in heave[n], wher no thefe co[m]meth, neither moth corrupteth. Luke. xvi. Make you frendes of ye unrighteous Mammon, that when ye shal have nede, they may receave you into everlastynge habitacions. If thou wylt be perfect, go and sell all that thou haste, and geve to the poore, Math. xix. and thou shalte have treasure in heaven.
He which soweth lytyll, shall reape lytyl, 1. Corinth. ix. and he that soweth (in gevinge) largelye and frelye, shall reape plenteouslye. And let every man do accordynge as he hathe purposed in hys hart, not grudgyngly, or of necessite: For God loveth a chereful gever. Whyle we have tyme, let us do good unto al me[n], Galath, vi. but cheifly unto them, whiche are of the housholde of fayth. To do good and to destribut, Heb. xiii. forget not, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. He that hathe the goodes of thys worlde, and seeth hys brother have nede, Joan. iii. and shutteth up hys compassion from hym, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My babes let us not love in worde neyther in tounge, but in worcke and trueth.
Agayne yt the ungodly rych may learn somwhat to bridle their covetous affects & by that meanes be the more occasioned not to be altogether unmercifull to the poore, let them grave these and suche like textes of ye holy scripture in theyr hartes and beleve them to be as true, as there is a God. dente[n]tes for the ungodlye [...]oche to reme[m]ber. Ecclesi. v. Ecclesi. x. Truste not unto thy riches, and saye not: tushe, I have ynoughe for my life. For it shal not healpe the in the time of vengeaunce and temptacion. There is nothynge worse then a covetouse man. Why art thou proude, o thou earthe and ashes? there is not a more wycked thyng the[n] to love mony. And whi? such one hath his soule to sel, yet is he but filthi doung whyle he lyveth. He yt loveth riches, shall [Page] not be justified, & who so foloweth corruption, shal have ynough therof. Eccles. xxxi. Many one are come in great mysfortune by the reason of gold, and have found their destruction before the[m]. It is a tre of falling unto them that offer it up, and al such as be folishe, fal therin. He that trusteth in his riches, shall have a faull, but ye righteous shal loryshe as the grene leafe, Prover. xi. take not over great travayle & labour to be riche, Prover. xxi. beware of such a purpose. Whi wilt thou set thyne eye upo[n] the thyng whych sodenly vanysheth awaye? for ryches make the[m] selves winges, & take their flyght like an Eagell into the ayer. He that geveth unto ye poore, shal not lack, Prou. xxvi. but he yt turneth away hys eies fro[m] such as are in necessitie, shal suffer greate povertie hym selfe. The bread of ye nedy is ye life of ye poore he that defraudeth hym of it, is a ma[n]slayer. Eccle. xxxii He that loveth monye, wyll never be satisfyed with money, and who so delyghteth in riches, shal have no profyte therof. Where as much riches is, ther are many also that spend the[m] away. Ecclesi. v. And what pleasure more hath he that possesseth the[m], savinge that he may loke upon them, wyth hys eyes? a labouryng man slepeth swetly whether it be lytle or much that he eateth, but the abundaunce of the ryche wyl not suffer hym to sleape. Ye can not serve God & Ma[m]mon, that is, the worldly ryches. Math. vi. Verylye I say unto you, a rich [Page] ma[n] shal hardly enter into ye kyngdom of heave[n]: Math. xix. and againe I say unto you, it is easyer for a gable rope to go thorowe ye eye of a nedle, then a ryche man to enter into ye kyngdome of God. Wo be to you riche men which have your consolacio[n]. the. vi. Wo be to you that are filled, for ye shall honger. Wo be to you, that laugh now, for ye shal mourne and lame[n]t: Take hede & beware of covetousnes. For no mans lyfe sta[n]deth in the abundaunce of ye thinges, which he possesseth. the. xii. Neyther theves, nor covetouse parsones, nor yet extorcioners shal inherit the kyngedome of God. Cor. vi. Let not covetousnes be once named amonge you, as it becometh Sayntes. For this ye know, that no covetous parson which is a worshypper of Idolles, Ephesians. v. hath ani enheritau[n]ce in the kyngedome of Christe, and of God. Godlynes is greate riches, if a man be content, wyth yt he hath. For we brought nothing into ye world, neither may we cary ani thing out. Timo. vi. But whe[n] we have foode and rayment, we muste ther wt be co[n]tent: they yt wyl be rytch, fal into temptacion & suates, & into many folyshe & noysome lustes, which drowne men into perdicio[n] & destructio[n], for covetousnes of money is ye rote of al evil, which while some lusted after they erred fro[m] ye fayth, & ta[n]gled the[m] selves wt many sorowes, but yu ma[n] of god [...]e such thinges, folow ryghteousnes, godlynes, faith, love, pacie[n]ce, mekenes: let your co[n]uersatio[n] be without covetousnes, & be [Page] co[n]te[n]t wt such things as ye have al ready. Hebru. xiii. For he hath sayd, I wyl not faile the, nor forsake ye. The Jugeme[n]t shal be wythout mercy to hym, yt sheweth no mercy. Jacob. ii. Go to nowe ye ryche me[n], wepe & houle on your wretchednes, yt shal come upo[n] you. Your ryches are corrupte, your garmentes are moth eate[n]. Your gold & silver is ca[n]kred, & ye ruste of the[m] shal be a witnes unto you, Jacob. iii. & shal eate ye fleshe as it were fyre. Ye have heaped treasure together in youre laste dayes. Behold the hire of labourers, which have reaped down your feldes (which hire is of you kept backe by fraude) cryeth, & ye cryes of the[m] which have reaped, ar entred into ye eares of ye lord of hostes. Ye have lived in plesure on ye earth, & ben wanton. Ye have noryshed youre hartes as in a day of slaughter, ye have co[n]de[m]ned & kylled ye just,& he hath not resisted you. If both ye godly & ungodly rich wolde set these se[n]tences before ye eyes of their mind co[n]tinualli, surely it shuld go much better wt ye pore people, the[n] it doth at this prese[n]t For the[n] wold not ye rich me[n] so gredily gripe to the[m] selves the goodes of this world, nor so niggardli kepe the[m] after they have gotte[n] the[m], as they do now. The[n] wold not many ge[n]tleme[n], as thei ar called, so growe out of kind fro[m] their name bi shewi[n]g litle ge[n]tilnes to ye poore, nether bi enhau[n]cing their fermes, by taking fines, bi receavi[n]g great incomes, nor yet bi putting ye pore [Page] out of their houses, and sufferynge the teneme[n]tes to faul downe, as they do nowe, then wolde not the ryche worldlynges joyne ferme to fearme, & heave other men out of their lyuinges, as they do nowe. Then wolde not many of oure spirituall ministers lyke insaciable wolves, gett so mani ecclesiasticall promocio[n]s into their handes, as they do now, but havyng one lyuynge and that sufficient, be contente, and remaine upon it, teache theyr flocke, lede a good lyfe, and maynetayne hospitalitie amonge their Parysheners, yt the poore of theyr paryshe in tyme of nede maye have bread, broth, befe and bere, as they saye. Malach. iii. Note. Brynge everye tythe into my barne, sayeth the Lorde, that there maye be meate in my house. The parsonage or the vicarage is Gods house, & tythes are payd unto the[m], that they shuld have meat in theyr houses to norysh & co[m]fort ye pore, Phillip. ii. but whyle al men, as Saint Paul sayeth seke their own, & not Jesu Christs, while al, [...]ere. vi. viii. as ye prophet testifieth, eve[n] fro[m] ye lest to ye greatest give their mindes to covetousness & have no regard to ye poore & to their co[m]moditie, ye poore lyve misserably: ye pore mutter in corners & grudge against ye rich ye pore breake ye bond of peace, ye pore rune hedlong into al kynde of myscheif, which thing we of late have sene unto our great sorow, trouble & disquietnes, yea some of ye pore misers for lack of bodeli sustenau[n]ce [Page] fal to pyckyng, robbing, stealyng & murthering of other, some kyl, drowne, hang them selves, because they do not presently se how they may be able to fede the[m] selves, their careful wives, their lamentable childre[n], & their altogether wretched family, wishing rather thorow desperacio[n] desperatly to ende this their nedy, careful & wery life, then so to much wretchedly for to live. Oh what good man is not moved wyth pytye to heare, se, and knowe these thynges? Yea what good man thynketh not hym self bounde even of duty to healpe unto the redresse of these inconvenie[n]ces, yea pestilences? they are enemies to God, to ma[n], to ye contrey, to ye publyke weal, to our posterity, yea to heave[n] & earthe, which walowing in al kind of wealthe like Ethuysh Epicures, & living al in pleasure lyke effeminat Sardanapalus, & heaping ye goodes of ye world togyther as though they should never he[n]ce depart are nothynge moved wt the miseryes of ye poore miserable people. Wo be to that gloton, whych enfarcing hys own stinckyng & draffesaked belly with al kynd of plesure & deintie dishes, suffreth his pore nedy neighbour to perish for ho[n]ger. Wo be to yt covetous ca[n]kred churle, which so joyneth house to house & lande to land, yt the poore ma[n] knoweth not, wher to hyde his head, nor how to lyve. Wo be to that wicked worldling, which deckinge hym [Page] self gorgiously wt sumtuous apparel, suffereth his poore Christe[n] brother to go naked, & to die for cold. Wo be to that riche ravening raker, which hath raked together ple[n]ti of worldly goodes, & yet is unmerciful to ye nedi me[m]bers of Christ. Wo be to yt benificed ma[n], which having wherof to cherish ye pore of his parish, is abse[n]t fro[m] his benifice nothing caring what beco[m]meth of the[m], so yt he may live pleasa[n]tly & wealthely of ye sweat of other me[n]s browes. Yea & wo be to al the[m], which beyng able to healpe ye nede of ye nedi, & to relife ye misery of the miserable, refuse to do it. Great is their da[m]nacio[n]. But forasmuche as every ma[n] godly affected is by ye order of charitie for his power bou[n]d to seke & furder a redresse in thinges yt are amisse. I for my part considering yt nothyng in this world disquieteth a ma[n] more the[n] pe[n]sive care & careful pe[n]sivenes for a living (if not tomuch, yet co[n]uenie[n]t) co[n]sideryng also how many inco[m]modities do chau[n]ce to a ma[n], yt is co[n]tinualli vexed wt grevous thought taking for ye provisio[n] of ye belly, I thought it good to gather togither, as time hath suffred, certain se[n]te[n]ces & histories of ye holy sciptures, which declare & setforth unto us ye unmesurable bou[n]tie & exceding large liberaliti of god toward al the[m] yt cast their care on him, & travaile according to their vocacio[n] & calling, yt bi reading or hearinge of the[m], the weake in fayth may waxe stro[n]g in faith, & be fully [Page] perswaded, that yt god which nourished the[m] in their mothers wo[m]be, wil not leave the[m] now socourles, whe[n] they be able thorow his grace to cleu unto his promises, to cal upo[n] his name, & for their power endevour the[m] selfes bi one honest godli meanes or other, to get their living, ever casting their care on God, & yet not beynge idle, but laboring in their vocacio[n] according to gods good wil & pleasure. I doubte not, but if they dilige[n]tly weigh & earnestly po[n]der these co[m]fortable se[n]tences & histories of ye holy scripture, thei shal not only cease to atte[m]pt any unlawful meanes, but thei also shal find great quietnes procure much reast to their myndes, & so lo[n]g as they live, live wt a meri co[n]science. If I had bene as able to redresse ye miserable state of ye pore wt worldly goods, as my wyl is to stay their co[n]sciences wt the word of God, yt they may not despaire of a living, I wold have bene as redy to do the one, as I have labored to do ye other. But seing froward fortun goth forward to frowne upo[n] me, & daily ceaseth not to pearse me wt ye cruel dartes of poverti, I must do yt I mai, whe[n] I mai not yt I wolde, laughing folish fortun to scorne wt al her vanities, & pleasures, thincking my self sufficie[n]tli rich, solo[n]g as I have such a lord, Romay. x. as is ple[n]teously rich for so many as cal on him solo[n]g as thorow gods grace I am endued wt this faith to beleve yt while I travayle in my vocacion for my power [Page] according to Gods wyl, I shal want no good thing, yt is necessary for the eyther covering or feding of this my mortal bodye. And wold God al me[n] coulde so quiet the[m] selves, & with Democritus the Philosopher laugh thys foolish worlde wt al ye voluptuous worldlings to scorne, or wt the blessed Apostle even fro[m] ye very harte say, ye world is crucified to me, & I to the worlde. Thys lytle treatyse after I had once finished it, I thought mete to dedicate unto your right worshipful Mastershyp, partly for ye Godly affeccio[n] & Christe[n] zele, which both you & that good vertuous Ladye youre wyfe have borne toward ye pure religio[n] of God these many yeres, partly for ye good reporte yt bothe you have amo[n]g al good me[n] for your charitable liberalitie, & plentiful almes toward ye poore people, unto ye notable example of al rich me[n], specially of suche as professe ye Gospel, Grosse Gospellers. wherof many in these our daies, alas for pitie, have ye Gospell swi[m]ming in their lips, & yet in their deedes live no part of ye Gospel, but abuse ye name therof to cloke their beastli living & to shadow their carnal liberti, thei the[m] selves being ye bond slaves of Satha[n], further fro[m] ye true faith the[m] the very Turkes and Jewes, more estraunged fro[m] al godly workes, both of fastinge, praiyng, gevyng of almes, mortifiyng their carnall affectes. &c. then the very papistes, so cotouse, [Page] proud, hateful, vain glorious, diss [...]blyng, bankeryng, liynge, sclaundering, disdainefull, uncharitable, unmercifull, wicked, and uncleane in conversacion, that I know not to whom I may justlie compare them. They professe that they know god, as S. Paule sayth, but with their dedes they utterly deny him, Tit. [...]. being abhominable, bisobediente, and wholye estraunged from al good workes. What shal we the[n] loke for, but (except we repe[n]t and emende) eve[n] as Christ did prophecie, Math. xxi. the kingdom of god shal be take[n] from us, and geven to a nacion, which shall bring forth ye frutes therof. He loved not blessing, therfore it shal be far fro[m] him, saith David. Psal. xix. This unthankefulnes towarde god, this unmercifulnes towarde oure neighbour, this dissolucio[n] of lyfe toward our selves, can by no meanes scape unpunished. The Lord have merci upo[n] us, and turne our hertes, that we may serve him in holines and righteousnes al the daies of oure lyfe. Luke. [...].
God whiche hathe begonne a good worke in you, mought co[n]tinue & finishe the same unto the glory of his holy name, and the profite of his christen congregacion. Amen.
What had Paule offended? He spake nothing, he did nothing, but as other Jewes dyd. It was inough to kyll Paule, because he was that Paule which had preached Christ to be the sonne of god. At another time when he tolde the Jewes, that god appointed hym to be a teacher of the Ge[n]tils, how lifted they up their voices, saiyng. Actes. xxii. Away wyth such a felow from the earthe, for it is no reason that he shoulde live. Paule muste dye, because at the co[m]maundement of god he turneth the Gentiles from Idolatry to the true worshipping of god. And as the wycked world linges cruelly entreated the Apostels of Christe, so doe the worldly tirauntes ha[n]dle the good byshops and faythful ministers in the primitive churche. If any myschiefe, plage, or evyl chaunsed in the contrey [Page] wher thei wer, it was straight [...]ay layd to their charge. even so likewyse doth ye world at this time [...]eal wt the true preachers of ye lordes worde. Dearth, famine, ho[n]ger, plage, pestilence, battel, insurreccions, co[m]mocions, treasons, heresies, Epicurisme, licencious living. &c. all is imputed to the preachers of Christes gospell. They, they, and none but they, are the occasion of al that naught is, whe[n] no kinde of people is farther from doynge harme to a co[m]mon weale the[n] they, neither doth a co[m]mo[n] weale receive mo benefites of any man, then of the godlye preacher. If the olde worlde had hearde and obeyed the sermons of Nohe, they had not perished with waters. If the Sodomites and gomorianes had harkened to the sermons of Loth, Gene. vii. ii. Pet. ii. they had not ben consumed with raine, fyre and brymstone from heaven.
Thys belly care causeth the Lawers to corrupte the lawe, the judge to geve false sentence, the officers to be untrue to their Lordes and masters, the Hipocrites to corrupt the holy scriptures, the ryche men to be unliberall, unmercifull, the Beneficed menne to receyve much and distribute lytle, the Patrones of benefices, to sell to unlearned Priestes theyr benefices, parentes to sell theire chyldren lyke calves and sheepe for money, the papiste to hate the truthe of goddes worde, the marchaunte to for sweare hym selfe in sellynge hys marchandise, the craftes manne to make and utter false and sleyghty [Page] wares, the temporal Lord to raise hys rentes, or to take greate fines and incommes, the Inne kepers to polle and pylle hys geastes, the servaunte to robbe his master, the mayde her mastres, the syngle or maried woman to pley the whore, the syngle or maryed manne to playe the Rufian, and the thiefe, the subjecte to ryse agaynst his superioure. &c. Innumerable evels dothe thys belly care brynge unto menne, againste the whyche except they be well furnyshed both wyth strong fayth in goddes holy providence, and also fortressed wyth the knoweledge of holye scriptures, wherein lye buryed so greate consolacions for the faithful, they can not abide ye importune & continual futes of the sluggyshe bellye, but must nedes dispaire of satisfiynge her requestes, and by this meanes [Page] not only have an unquiet mynde, but also throwe them selves into desperacion, and so tomuche wretchedly finishe this their careful life Chri. Thys bellye care withoute doute is a great temptacio[n] to ma[n], and very muche disquieteth hym, namely when he seeth all thynges so dere as thei be now, and despair of a redresse, for asmuche as they which shuld amende thys thynge, are the cause of this dearth and famine, I speake of Grasiers, Shep mongers, and riche farmers. Therefore neyghbour Philemon, ye can not intreate at this present in your communicacion amonge us of a thing more mete for this beggerly and nedy wretched tyme, then to declare unto us by the holy scriptures, how mercifull and bounteous lorde we have in heaven, whiche wyll not suffer us to peryshe for honger, if we hange on his fatherly [Page] providence, and cast al oure care on hym. Phil. Thys your be[n]te good wyl to heare, doth not a litle encourage me to speake that whiche I have purposed, yea and that in fewe wordes, because I wyl not be tedious unto you. Eusebius.
Speake I pray you, we wyl geve good eare. Phil. That ye maye be thorowly perswaded of goddes liberalitie toward his faythfull servauntes, I praye you fyrst of all consider gods order in the provision for hys creatures. Before god made man, whom he was determined to make the hygh ruler under him over al thinges in this world, he made and prepared every thing necessarye for him, and for the conservacion of his bodie, yt he might abundantly have, what soever is expedient for hym, and by no meanes peryshe for honger and lacke of foode.
Chri. If the pore maried me[n] dyd earnestly wey, and diligentlye ponder this moste swete and confortable historie, they shulde never dispaire of a livinge, neither for the[m] selves, nor for their chyldren and familie, neither wold they seke any unlawefull meanes, as by stierring up co[m]mocions, makynge insurreccions, spoylynge other mens goodes &c, how to avoid their misery: but rather laboure to answere their vocacion, and without ceassing call on the name of the lorde, which wyl deale no lesse favorably wyth the[m], then he dyd wt Hagar and Ismaell. [...]al. xxxvii. Putte thou thy truste, sayeth David, in the lorde, and do good, so shalte thou dwell [Page] in the earthe, and be fedde wyth the beste daynties thereof. Delyghte thou in the lorde, and he shal geve the thy hertes desyre. Committe thy waye to the lorde, and put thy truste in hym, and he shall brynge it to passe. He shal make thy ryghteousenes as cleare as the lyghte, and thy juste dealing as the noone daye. Holde the styll in the lorde, and abyde pacientlye upon him. &c Agayne: Put your truste in God alwaye, Psal. ixii. O ye people, powre oute your hertes before hym, for he is oure hope. Philemo. In the dayes of Isahac Abrahams sonne, there fell a greate dearthe in the lande where he dwelte, in so muche that he removed frome that place, and tooke his journeye towarde Abimeleche Kynge of the Philistines, Gene. xxvi even unto Gerer. And whyle he was yet in hys journey, god spake unto hym and sayde.
Go not doune into Egipte, but abide in the land which I shal shew unto the, soieorne in this land, and I wyl be wyth the, and wyll blesse the. For unto the and to thy sede, I wyl geve al these contreis. Behold goddes carefull providence for his servauntes. Isahac wyshing to escape the cruell dartes of honger, hunteth aboute where he and hys maye convenie[n]tlye dwell. And rather then he wolde die for honger, he after the example of his father Abraha[m], [...] xii. determineth to go doune into Egipte. God which is able to fede and to save his people in every place [...]l. xxiiii. (for the earth is the lordes and al that is conteined therin) for biddeth Isahac to go doune into Egipt, wylleth him to tary styll in the contrey, and promiseth to blesse hym, yea to geve to him and to his sede, all the contreis of that lande. Isahac obeying the voyce of god, [Page] taried in that co[n]trey, & waxed exce [...]ding myghty, wealthy & ryche. For god gave him greate abundaunce of corne, of shepe, and of oxen, yea wyth a myghtie household dyd the lorde blesse hym, insomuch that the kinge him selfe came unto him, & desired to make acovenau[n]t of peace and amitie with him: unto suche & so great power was Isahac growen. He which afore knew not wher co[m]modiously to lyve, and in ye contrey which he wolde have forsaken for penurie and honger, even he nowe is become so ryche, that the kynge him selfe is glad to come to hym, and to desire his favour. Eus. O wonderful workes of god. Chri. Here finde we that true, whiche is spoken by the wyseman: Put thy truste in god, and abide in thine estate, for it is an easye thinge in the syght of god, Eccle. xi. to make a poore man ryche, yea and that sodenlye. The [Page] blessinge of god hasteth to the rewarde of the ryghteous, and maketh his frutes sone to florishe and prosper. Theo. This in dede was proved true in Isahac. phil. Not in Isahac onlye, but in so many as ever obeyed the voyce of God, and lived according to their vocacion. God is the same god to us all, that he was to Abraham and Isahac, if we by stronge faythe hange on hym and on his fatherlye providence, as they dyd, if the same integritie of maners and innocencie of lyfe apeareth in us, that shined in them. Euse. This beneficence and liberalitie of god towarde Isahac ought to encourage al men to tary at home in their own contreis and houses, to be contente wyth theire estate & callinge, and not to stray a brode for livinges, as many idle braynes do nowe a daies, leavinge theyr wyves and theire children in [Page] greate care and miserie, and manie of them never returning unto the[m]. Neyther ought men to doubte, but that god whiche is almyghty, and able to do what soever hys good pleasure is, wyl as wel provide for them at home in their poore cotages, as in the haulles of Princes. The blessinge of the lorde maketh men ryche, Prove. x. as for carefull travaile it doth nothing therto. Phil. When Isahac sent his so[n]ne Jacob to Mesopotamia, Gene. xxviii. yt he might take to wife one of ye doughters of Laba[n], Jacob as he passed forthe on his journey, made a vow, & sayd: If god wyl be with me, & wil kepe me in this journey which I go, and wyll geve me bread to eate & clothes to put on, so yt I come againe unto my fathers house in safetye, the[n] shal ye lorde be my god, & this stone which I have set up an ende, shall be gods house, and of all that thou shalte geve me wyll I geve the tenthe unto thee. [Page] Here Jacob desireth gods assiste[n]ce in his journey, that he may go and come safe. And as touching worldly goodes, he desireth no more but foode and raiment. And so nothing douting of goddes helpe, he goeth forward on his journey according to the co[m]maundeme[n]t of his father. Nowe behold the loving kyndnes of god toward Jacob. God which never leaveth them socourles that calle on hys holye name, appeareth unto Jacob in his slepe, and promiseth that he wyl geve him & his seede the lande that he slepeth upon, and that his posteritie shall be great and many, that they shall be as the dust of the earth, and shal spread abroude to the weaste, to the easte, to the north, and to the south, yea and that in his sede all kinreds of the earth shall be blessed. Chri.
Here are mo benefites promised to Jacob, then he asked. Phil. Yea mothen [Page] he durst have required of god Euse. But what of the requestes co[n]cerninge his journey? Phil. Ye shal heare. Wher as Jacob desired god to be with him, and to kepe him in his journey, god sayd unto him on this maner: Behold I am with the and wyll be thy keper in all places whither thou goest, and wyl bring the againe into this lande, neither wil I leave the until I have made good al that I have promised the. According to goddes promise Jacob had a prosperous journey travailynge into Mesopotamia. Of whose co[m]minge, when Laba[n] heard, unto whom he was sente of his father, Gene. xxix. Laban for very joye ranne to mete him, enbrased him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house Theo. Thys was good lucke. Chri. Good lucke in dede. Phi. So worketh god for hys servauntes, which hath all mens hartes in his [Page] hande. Theo. But what entertainement had Jacob afterwarde? Phil. Jacob taried wyth Laban twenti yeres: in the which tyme, God dyd not only sende him bread & clothes accordinge to hys requeste, but also such wives as his harte desired, wyth manye goodly children. Yea God so blessed Jacob, that he was excedinge ryche in gold and silver, in maide servauntes and men servauntes, in shepe, Camels, Asses, goates, kyne. &c. Gene. xxxi. And afterwarde God brought him home again into his contreye bothe saffelye and wealthely. Who will now distrust the promyse of suche a Lorde, so liberall, so bounteous so beneficial? Euse. This historie is greatlye co[m]fortable for al godly travailers by co[n]treies, hereof may they learne, yt god wil not forsake the[m] nor leve the[m] socourles, but se[n]d the[m] al things necessary in their journey, defe[n]d them [Page] frome theire ennemies, and safely bryng them who[m] agayn, if they cal on his holy name & caste their care on hym. Chri. So sayth the Psalmographe, Psal. xxi. he shall give his Aungels charge over the, to kepe the in al thy wayes. They shal beare the in theire handes, that thou hurte not thy foote against a stone. God shall defende the under hys wynges, & thou shalt be safe under hys fethers. His faithfulnes & trueth shal be thi sheld & buckelar. Thou shalt not be afraid for ani terrour by nyght, nor for ye arrowe yt flyeth by ye day. Psal. xxxi. Againe, my helpe cometh even from ye lord which hath made heave[n] & earth. He wil not suffer thi foote to be moved, & he that kepeth the, will not sleape. Behold he that kepeth Israel shal neither slomber nor sleape. The Lorde hym selfe is thy keper, the Lorde is thy defence upon thy ryghte hande.
So that the sunne shall not burne the by daye, neither the moone by nyght. The Lord shal preserve the from all evyl, yea it is even he that shal kepe thy soule. The Lord shal preserve thy goinge oute and thy comminge in from thys time forth for evermore. Theo. These be swete and comfortable scriptures Phil. I graunt to the faithefull, whiche depend altogether on God and on hys fatherlye providence. But the unfaithfull, whiche truste on them selfes, on their owne wysdome, and pollicy, fele no savour nor swetnes in them, as saynt Paule saith: .Cor. ii. a naturall man perceaveth not the thinges that belo[n]g to the spirit of god for they are folyshnes unto hym.
But let us beholde mo histories, which shal declare & set forth goddes hie providence & singular liberalite toward his servauntes, yt we mai learne perfectli to ha[n]ge on the [Page] lorde our god. Ye reade in the first boke of Moses, that in the time of Jacob whom we spake of a litle afore, Gene. xii. there was a great dearth in al contreis, in somuch that in the la[n]de of Canaan there was no vitaile to be gotten for money. Now behold the providence of god. God aforeseyng this plage of famine, to the entente that his servauntes shulde not peryshe in tyme of honger for lacke of fode, wonderfully sent Joseph afore into Egipte. Gene. xxxvii. And although his brothers solde him in to a straunge land, by this meanes sekyng his destruccion, yet god turned thys his servitude unto his honour, and the evel that they dyd to theyr brother, unto their profite, wealthe, and commoditie. Gene. iiii. For god exalted Joseph, and set up his honour above all the lordes and princes of Egipte: even nexte unto the Kynge was he in dignitie, in so [Page] much that he hadde the rule of all the kynges dominions, & did what semed him good in his owne eyes, such favour founde he in the syght of the kynge thorow goddes working. Now when this dearth was also felte in the lande of Canaan, and Jacob wt his familie in great daunger thereof, Gene, xlii. Jacob hearinge that corne was to be sold in Egipt (for thorowe Josephes wisedome was there corne inoughe layde up in the store houses of everye Citye in Egipte) Gene. xli. sente his sonnes thither to bye corne for theire money, that they might live and not die. To be short, seyng the historie is knowen, when the sonnes of Jacob came thither for vitaile, there was Joseph their brother in hie authoritie, who[m] they judged eyther to be dead, or elles to live lyke a bonde slave and drudge, not able eyther to do him selfe good or any other. In fewe, [Page] they had vitailes home with them, and their money also, with manye precious gyftes, and at the laste a co[m]maundement geven them yt they shuld bringe their father and houshold wyth al that he had, Gene. xiii [...] xiv. and provision shulde be made for them even in the best partes of the lande of Egipte. Yea the kynge him selfe sente charettes oute of Egypte to fetche Jacob and all his familie, and bad them not regarde theire stuffe, for the good of all the lande of Egipte is youres, sayth he. Jacob and all his were honorablye brought thyther, liberally and gently enterteyned of the kynge, Gene. xlvi. quietely and wealthelye placed in the lande of Egypt. And all this came to passe by the providence of God, whiche afore seynge thynges to come, worketh wonderfullye for the savegarde and healthe of hys servauntes.
For the cause that Jacob and hys chyldren found such favour in the syght of kynge Pharao, was not fortune, nor chaunce, but goddes providence: againe, that Joseph was exalted unto such dignitie, the cause thereof was not Josephes fayr face, nor yet his goodly personage, but gods good wyll, whiche gave him suche wisedome, as none had the lyke in all Egipte, Gene. xli. neither was there any in al the dominions of kynge Pharao founde lyke unto Joseph, whom the kyng might make governour over his realme. And al these thinges wrought god for the preservacio[n] of his servauntes as Joseph himselfe said to his brethren: Gene. xlv. I am Joseph your brother, whom you solde in to Egipte. Nowe therefore be not greved therwyth, neyther let it seme a cruell thinge in your eyes that ye solde me hither. For god dyd sende me [Page] before you into Egipte for your wealth, and to save your lives. For this is the second yere of dearth in the lande, and fyve mo are behind, in whiche there shall bee neyther earing nor hervest. Wherfore god sente me before you to make provision, that ye myght continue in the earth, and to save your lyves by a greate deliveraunce. So nowe it was not you that sente me hither but god, which hath made me a father unto Pharao, and lorde of all his house, and ruler thorowe oute all the lande of Egipte. God hym selfe also spake unto Jacob in a vision by nyght, saying: I am god, the god of thy father, feare not to go doune into Egipte, for I wyll there make of the a greate people. I wyll go doune wyth the into Egipte, and I wyll also bringe the agayne. Chri. O the unspeakeable good wyll of god toward all them [Page] that trust in hym. What other nacion, saith Moses, is so greate that goddes come so nye unto, Deut. iiii. as the lorde our god is nye unto us in all thynges, so ofte as wee call unto hym? The Lorde our god is a mercifull god, he wyll not forsake us, neyther destroye us, nor forget the appointement of our fathers, whiche he sware unto them. The lorde oure god cherysheth us even as a father doth his sonne. Wyll a mother forget the child of her wombe, saythe god, [...]a. xlix. and not pitie the sonne, whom she bare? And thoughe she doth forget, yet wyl not I forgette the. Behold I have written the up upo[n] my handes. &c. Theo. The last historie which you rehearsed, neighbour Philemo[n], is very co[m]fortable, and teacheth us that although the plage of famine be caste upon any realme, & the wicked therof peryshe for honger, yet wyl god so provide [Page] for them that fear him, & cal on his holy name, that they shall want no good thyng. Phil. Wel noted neighbour Theophile. So wold I have you both heare and reade the histories of ye holy scriptures, yt ye shuld perswade your selfe that what soever confortable historie ye finde in the sacred byble, is ther written for your co[m]fort. And to prove your saying true, heare what god sayth by the Prophet. Esa l. lxv. Behold my sernauntes shal eate, but ye shall honger. Behold mi servauntes shal drinke, but ye shal suffer thirst. Behold my servauntes shall be merye, but ye shall be confounded. Beholde my servauntes shall rejoyse for a very quietnesse of hearte, but ye shal cry for sorowe of herte, and complaine for vexacion of mynde.
Eusebius. The sayinge of Kynge David dothe not muche differ frome this. Psal. xxxlili.
Beholde the eyes of the lorde are upon them that feare him, and upon them that truste in his mercie, that he maye deliver their lyves from death, and noryshe them in tyme of honger. Prove. x. Salomon also sayth: the lorde wyl not let the life of the ryghteous suffer honger.
Phil. After god had delivered the Israelites out of Egipte with an out stretched arme, and broughte them into the wyldernes of Sin, where they sawe neither meate nor drynke (for god was determined to prove them whether they wer faithfull or not) Exodi. xvi. they grudged againste Moses and Aaron, sayinge: wolde to God we had died by the hand of the lorde in the land of Egipt, whe[n] we satte by the fleshe pottes, and when we dyd eate breade oure bellyes full. For ye have brought us oute into thys wyldernesse to kyll the hole multitude wyth honger.
Ye se the unthanckefulnes of this people for who[m] God had wrought so manye wonders, and to whome God had shewed so greate tokens of lovynge kyndenes, even as a father dothe to his childe. Ye have hearde howe they murmured age[n]st Moses & Aaron Goddes laweful ministers, whiche is nothynge else then to murmure agenst God him selfe. Ye se theire unfaithfulnes, & howe they are altogether swarved frome God and from his holy providence, so that they are worthy no benefite at the hande of God: but what the[n]? Is God false of his promise? yea rather eve[n] for his promis sake (where unto God hathe ever cheife respecte) whyche he made to theire fathers Abraham, Isahac and Jacob, he wonderfullye sente them downe meat from heaven, eve[n] ma[n]na, & so fed the[m] as ye wise ma[n] sayeth: yu hast fed thine own people [Page] with angels foode, & sent the[m] bread redye from heaven wythout theyr laboure, [...]api. xvi. beynge very pleasaunte & good of taste. And to shewe the riches and swetnes unto thy childre[n] thou gavest every one their desire, so that everye man myghte take what lyked hym beste. Theo. If God for his promyse sake fedeth the unfaithfull & no les untha[n]ckefull Israelites frome heaven, we that beleve his promises, and ha[n]ge onlye on him and on hys fatherlye providence, may be sure not to wa[n]t but abundantlye to have what so ever is necessary for us, Psal. cxliii. as ye Psalmographe sayeth: The eyes of all thynges loke and wayte upon the O Lorde, and thou geveste them meate in due tyme. Thou openest thy hande, and replenishest all thinges lyuynge wyth thy blessynge.
Ageine: They that feare the Lord shal have no scarsenes. Psal. xxxiiii. Thei whyche [Page] seke the Lorde, shall wante no good thynge. Chri. God shall soner cease to be God, then such as unfainedly trust in hym, shal peryshe for honger. Phil. As ye Israelites murmured for meat, so likwise did they for water. They came to Moses & chide with him, Exod. xvii. yea thei wer almost redye to stone him, and saide. Gyve us water to dryncke. Wherefore haste thou broughte us oute of Egipte to kyll us and oure chyldren and cattalle wyth thyrste? The Lorde God styll considerynge hys promyses, and not weyinge their in fidelitie nor unthanckefulnes, wo[n]derfullye and agaynste all naturall and humayne expectacio[n], gave them plentye of swete waters oute of the harde stonye rocke. Euse. O the marvelouse worckes of God. He is not called almyghtye wythoute a canse. For he dothe what so ever hys good pleasure is.
Phil. Thys man of God lyved in the time of Achab kinge of Israel, in whose dayes God sent a greate dearth into the world, for it rained not upon the earth by the space of iii. yeres and .vi. moneths. In this plage of famine, whereof innumerable wythoute dyed, se howe God provyded for hys servaunt Elias. Fyrste when the waters began to be dryed up, Reg. xvii. God sente hym to the brooke Cherith, where he promysed to gyve hym drincke, whyche thyng he unfainedly performed: so that whe[n] other perished for lacke of dryncke, he hadde Gods plentye & inoughe, as they use to saye. Now as touchyng his meate, behold the wonderfull power of God, whyche commaunded the Ravens to fede him and to bringe him meate. The Ravens, saith ye scripture, brought hym breade and fleshe in the morning, [Page] and likewise bread and fleshe in the eveninge, & he dronke of the broke. Behold & marke well, howe god provideth for his servau[n]t. He maketh the foules of the ayer to be Elias cookes, & to bring him meat, and god him self is butler & gevith him drinke at ye broke Cherith. O what a god have the faythful, how tender & gentle, howe lovinge and kynde is he to al the[m] that put their truste in him? Rather then his servaunt shulde die for meate, he maketh the foules of the ayer to bring him thinges necessary for the sustenau[n]ce of his bodie. O behold & diligently marke ye fatherli care, which the lord god hath for his servau[n]tes even as a father pitieth his owne childre[n], eve[n] so is the lorde merciful to the[m] yt feare him. Psal. xiii. It is trulie sayd of ye Psalmograph: The lord is at hand to all the[m] that cal on him, Psal. xiv. yea to all the[m] that call on him in truth. [Page] Theo. Elias myghte ryghte well saye, as Davyd wrytethe of hym selfe. Psal. xxlil. The Lorde fedethe me, therefore can I lacke nothinge. He shal fede me in a grepe pasture, & leade me forthe besyde the waters of conforte. Eus. As God dealte wyth Elyas and David, so wyll he deale with us, if we labour to please him as they dyd. Chri. So I truste, for there is no respecte of parsones wt God. Rom. ii. [...]es. x. [...]co ii. Roma. v. And what so ever is written, is written for our learnyng, yt thorow pacience & comfort of ye scriptures we may have hope. Phil. Ye saye truethe. Neyther dyd the care of God cease for hys servaunte Elias wyth that benefyte, wherof ye have hitherto hearde. For God is no chaungelinge, whom he loveth, he loveth to the end. Therfore whe[n] the brooke was dryed up because there fell no rayne upon the earth, God, whych never leaveth his servauntes [Page] socourles sayd to Elias, up and get the to Sarepta, whyche is in Sidon, and dwel ther, beholde I have commaunded a widowe there to sustayne the. So he arose, and went to Sarepta. And when he came to the gate of the citye, the wydowe was there gatheryng styckes. And he called to hir and sayd: fet me I praye the a lytle water in a vessel, yt I may drincke. And as she was goyng to fet it, he cryed after hir, and sayd: Brynge me I praye the a morsell of breade also in thyne hande. She sayd: As trulie as the Lord thy God lyveth I have no breade redye, but even an handefull of meale in a barrell and a lytle oyle in a cruse. And beholde I am gatherynge two styckes for to go in, & dresse it for me & my sonne, that we may eate & dye. And Elias sayde unto hir: feare not, come and do as thou hast said, [Page] but make me thereof a lytle cake fyrste of al, and bringe it unto me, and afterwarde make for the & thy sonne. For thus sayeth the Lorde God of Israel: the meale in the barel shal not be waked, neyther shal the oyle in the cruse be diminished, untyl the Lord have sent raine upon the earth. And she dyd as Elyas sayd. And she and hyr house did eate a good space, and the meale wasted not out of ye barrel, neyther was the oyle spent out of the cruse accordyng to the word of the lord, whych he spake by the hand of Elyas. Here agayne ye se what provysyon God made for Elyas, and howe benefycyall he also was to Elyas hostesse, and to her householde, because she entertayned him so gentyllye & dyd what so ever he commaunded. Theo. These be co[m]fortable hystories. Euse. And written for oure conforte. Phil. At another [Page] tyme when he fled frome wicked Jesabel kynge Achabs wyfe, Af. Reg. xi [...]. which sware that she wolde surelye sley him, because he had kylled all Baals priestes, whom she ful deintely nouryshed at her owne table, howe dyd god, even when he was a slepe, sende his Angell unto him wyth a loafe of broyled bread, and a vessel of water, and bad him eate? For thou hast yet, sayth he, a great journey to go. And in the strength of that meate, sayeth the scripture, walked he fortie dayes and fortie nyghtes, even unto Horeb the mounte of God. Here se ye, that when we sleape, god watcheth and careth for us, even as he cared for Peter, and sente his Aungell to deliver him oute of pryson, Actes. xii. when Peter was in a sounde sleape, and thoughte nothynge at all of the matter. Beholde sayeth the Psalmographe, he that kepeth Israell, Psal. cxxxi. [Page] shall neyther slomber nor sleape. Note agein, that wyth one meales meate God is able to preserve us fourty dayes and fourty nyghtes, as he dyd the Prophet Helyas, yea all our lyfe tyme, [...]ente. viii. if it be his pleasure, so that it is trulye sayde, man shall not lyve wyth breade alone, but wyth everye worde, that commeth out of ye mouth of God: And as God made provysion for Elias even so stoored he up Abdia Governour of wycked kynge Achabs house Reg. xviii. to petye hys Prophets and to provyde for them: whyche when divilishe Quene Jesabel destroied the Prophetes of God, toke an hu[n]dred of them, and hyd them, fyfti in one cave, and fyftye in a nother, & provided bread and water for the[m]: suche and so great is the care, whiche the Lorde taketh for hys servauntes universallye. Chri. It is therefore truly sayd of the Princelyke [Page] Prophet, thei yt seke the Lord shal want no good thyng. Psal. xxxiiii. Ageine: I have bene younge and am waxen olde, Psal. xxxvii. and I have not sene ye righteous forsaken, nor hys chyldren beggynge theyr breade on the earthe. Theo. These be comfortable histories for christe[n] and Godli preachers, whom for the moste part the wycked and unthanckefull world neglecteth, despyseth & set noughte by, yea and maketh les provision for them, then for theire malte horses and bandedogges.
Eus. O notable miracle. Here fynd we true yt holy Thoby sayde to his sonne: Tobi. iiii. My sonne, be not afraide.
Truth it is, we leade here a poore lyfe, but greate good shal we have, if we feare god, and departe frome al sinne, and do wel. Chri. This womans husba[n]d was a Prophet, and feared the lorde, therfore could not she and her children remaine longe confortles. For god hath promised to be a husband to suche widowes, and a father to suche godlye mens children. Psal. xxxvii I have not sene the ryghteous forsaken, nor their children begging their bread on the earthe, sayth the Psalmographe. Psal. cxii. Againe: Blessed is the man that feareth the lorde, he hath great delyght in his co[m]maundementes. His sede shal be myghtie upon earthe, the generacion of the faythfull, shall be blessed. Riches and plenteousenes shall be in his house, & hys ryghteousenes [Page] endureth for ever. Theo. This is a confortable historie for suche godly wome[n] as are christen preachers wives. Hereof may they learn, that though theyr husbandes be never so poore, when they departe out of this world, yet if they remain faithful, and in the feare of god, and diligently call on his blessed name in their adversitie, he wyll neither suffer them nor their children to lacke necessaries for their livinge, but by one meanes or other sende them all good thinges, so that they shal not wante. Josu. i. Psal. civ. Psal. xxxiiii. I wyll not fayle the, nor yet forsake the, sayth god. The lord geveth meate to the hongry. Beholde the eyes of the lorde are upon them that feare him, and upo[n] them that trust in his mercy, that he may deliver their lives from death, and nouryshe them in the tyme of honger. God despiseth not the desire of the fatherles nor the wydowe, Eccle. xxxx. saith the [Page] wyseman, when she powreth oute her prayer before hym. Dothe not god se the teares that runne downe the chekes of the widowe? or heateth he not the co[m]plaint over suche as make her to wepe? For fro[m] her chekes do ye teares go up unto heaven, & the lord which heareth them, doth accepte the[m]. Phil. At a nother tyme also we reade, yt thaforesayd Prophet in the tyme of dearth fed the Prophets childre[n], iiii. Reg. iiii. & with a few loaves norished a great number of men, in somuche that they dyd not only eat inough, but also left much of ye bread, so greatly was it multiplied thorow ye blessing of god, which is able of a lytle to make much, seyng of nothing he made al. Geve unto the people, yt they may eat, sayeth ye Prophet. The minister answered: What, shulde I set this before an hundred men? Set it before the people, sayth he, and let them eate, [Page] For thus sayth the lord: They shal eate and leave. And he dyd set it before them, and they dyd eate and leave accordyng to the word of the lorde. Se ye not here, what the blessyng of the lord is, and how al thinges increase and abound, when the lord openeth his hande? Psal. cxiv. If we depend on goddes goodnes, he wyll surely increase our vitayle in our store houses, upon our table, yea in our mouthes and bellies.
The Prophets servaunt though it not possible, that so great a number of menne coulde be sustayned wyth so fewe loaves. Math. xix. Marke. x. Luke. xviii. But that whiche is impossible with menne, is possible with god.
Who therefore wyll doubte anye more of goddes liberalitie, have he muche, or have he litle? It is all one before God to feede wyth muche, or to feede wyth lytle.
If god blesse us, we can not want, but if Gods blessinge be taken fro[m] us, we muste nedes peryshe. Euse. So sayth the Psalmographe: All creatures depende upo[n] the O lord, Psalm. xiiii. that thou shuldest geve them their meat in due time. For thou geving it them, they take it, and thou opening thy ha[n]d, thei are wel satisfied. But yu hidinge thy face, they are sorowfull, & thou taking away theyr breth, thei are but dead, and turned into the earth, that they came of.
Phil. Howe wonderfully dyd God fede Daniel the Prophet, when he was caste in to the Lions denne of the hye rulers, because he sayd that the greate Dragon, whom they of Babilon worshipped as god, was not god? Davi. xiiii. Dyd not the Angel of the lorde take the Prophet Abacucke by the top, when he was goinge in to the fielde to beare meate to the mowers, & caried him by the herre [Page] of the heade, and thorowe a myghty wynd set him in Babilon, upon the denne, wher Daniel was? So carye thy meate, saythe the Angel, that thou haste into Babylon unto Daniell, whyche is in the Lyons denne. And whan Abacuch eryed and sayde: O Daniell thou servaunte of God, have take thy breakefaste, ye God hath sente the. Daniel answered: O god hast thou thought upon me? well: Thou never fayleste them that love the. What a lyvely exa[m]ple is this of gods singular provide[n]ce and fatherly care, whiche he hathe for his servauntes? Notable and worthy to be written in letters of golde, is this sayinge of Daniel. Thou never faylest them that love the.
Christo. We all confesse no lesse.
Euse. I spake that I spake, to this ende, that men shulde not flatter them selves wt the swete & confortable promises of god, when they lyve in all wyckednes, and abhominacion, whych promises perteyne not unto them, but unto the faythefull servauntes of god, whych shall enjoye no lesse at the hande of god, then he hath promised. If they wyl enjoye the lyke commoditie, they must do the like servise. Thei must away with their straunge and new founde goddes, I meane, pryde, covetousenes, gluttonie, whoredome, malice. &c. and serve the onlye true, and livynge God. Philemon. Well neyghboures, to knyt up our talke [Page] wyth fewe wordes, ye have hearde howe beneficiall God is to them that put theyre truste iu hym, and lyve accordyng to theire vocacion: so that those that be faytheful nede not to despayre of comfort, seme the scarsenes of thynges so greate, that it bryngeth presente deathe almoste wyth it. For in that dearthe and penurye, the faytheful man that casteth hys care on God, and hangeth wholly on hys fatherlye providence, maye well saye wyth the Psalmograph. Psal. xxii. If I walcke in the myddes of the shadowe of deathe, I will not be afrayde of any evell, for thou arte wyth me. God is ever present wyth hys people in al their tribulacion, Psal. xci. & he wyl undoubtedlie delyver them, & save them harmles. Thys nowe remayneth, that when ye come amonge the poore neadye Christians, ye conforte them wyth these swete scriptures that ye have [Page] hearde, which wythout all doubte shal greatly stirre and quiete their myndes, and refrayne them frome attemptyng any unlawful redresse of thynges after this. Agayne, accordinge to your habilitie, releve their povertie wyth your ryches.
Exhorte your ryche neyghboures lykewyse to be beneficiall to the poore, as the faythful stewardes of God, remembrynge that unto that ende god hath endued them wyth theyr possessions. Praye unto god that he maye geve unto the covetouse worldlynges, a merciful and liberall herte, that after thys they maye no lesse wyllynglye seeke the profite of their neyghboures, then hytherto they have soughte theyr owne private lucre, and singulare commoditie. To conclude, pray unto god, that everie one of us maye so lyve, and so frame our lyfe according to his wyl, that he may vouchsafe [Page] to blesse us, and send us necessaryes for our livyng, that we may the more frelye, and wyth the more quiete mindes, serve him in holines and ryghteousnes all the dayes of oure lyfe. Like. i. Well neyghboures, I praye you take the paynes to come into the parlour wyth me. Ye shall take your parte of suche homelye fare as I have. And I praye yon be no strau[n]gers: The ofter ye come the more welcome shall you be.
Euse. We thanke you moste gentle neyghboure Philemon, and praised be the lord for your godlye and confortable exhortacions. Chri.
Geve the glorie to god alone.