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down with her towards Christ's feet, the more we shall be afraid to rise again in sin; and the more we know and submit ourselves, the more we shall be forgiven ; and the less we know and submit ourselves, the less we shall be forgiven.
Think you not, but that there be amongst us a great number of proud Pharisees, which think themselves worthy to bid Christ to dinner, which shall perk and presume to sit by Christ in the church, and have disdain of this poor woman Magdalen, their poor neighbour, with a high, disdainous and solemn countenance, and being always desirous to climb highest in the church, reckoning their selves more worthy to sit there than another ? I fear me, poor Magdalen, under the board, and in the belfry, hath more forgiven of Christ than they have ; for it is like that these Pharisees do less know themselves and their offences, whereby they less love God, and so they be less forgiven.
I would to God we would follow this ensample, and be like unto Magdalen. I doubt not but we be all Magdalens in falling into sin, and in offending: but we be not again Magdalens in knowing ourselves, and in rising from sin. If we be true Magdalens, we should be as willing to forsake our sin, and rise from sin, as we were willing to commit sin, and to continue In lit.
Evermore bestow the greatest part of thy goods in works of mercy, and the less part in voluntary works. Voluntary works be called all manner of offering in the church, except your offering days, and your tithes. Setting up candles, gilding, and painting, building of churches, giving of ornaments, going on pilgrimage, making of high-ways, and such others, be called voluntary works; which works be of themselves marvellous good, and convenient to be done. Necessary works, and works of mercy, are called commandments ; and works of mercy consist in relieving and visiting thy poor neighbours. Now then, if men be so foolish of themselves, that they will bestow the most part of their goods in voluntary works, which they be not bound to keep, but willingly and by their devotion; and leave the necessary works undone, which they are bound to do, they and all their voluntary works are like to go unto everlasting damnation. And I promise you, if you build a hundred churches, give as much as you can make to the gilding of saints, and honoring of the church, and if thou go as mamy pilgrimages as thy body can well suffer, and offer as great candles as oaks, if thou leave the
works of mercy and the commandments undone, these works shall nothing avail thee. No doubt the voluntary works be good, and ought to be done; but yet they must be so done, that by their occasion the necessary works, and the works of mercy, be not decayed and forgotten. If you will build a glorious church unto God, see first yourselves to be in charity with your neighbours, and suffer not them to be offended by your works. Then when you come into your parish church, you bring with you the temple of God; as St. Paul saith, “You yourselves be the very holy temples of God.” And Christ saith by his prophet, “In you will I rest, and intend to make my mansion and abiding place.” Again, if you list to gild and paint Christ in your churches, and honor him in vestments, see that before your eyes the poor people die not for lack of meat, drink, and clothing. Then do you deck the very true temple of God, and honor him in rich vestures, that will never be worn out. Use yourselves according unto the commandments, and then finally set up your candles, and they will report what a glorious light remaineth in your hearts; for it is not fitting to see a dead man light candles. Then, I say, go your pilgrimages, build your material churches, do all your voluntary works, and they will then represent
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unto God, and testify with you, that you have provided him a glorious place in your hearts. But beware, I say again, that you do not run so far into your voluntary works, that ye do quite forget your necessary works of mercy, which you are bound to keep ; you must have ever a good respect unto the best and worthiest works toward God, to be done first and with more efficacy, and the other to be done secondarily.
Think you not that this our enemy, this prince with all his potentates, hath great and sore assaults to lay against our armour ! Yea, he is a crafty warrior, and also of great power in this world; he hath great ordnance and artillery, he hath great pieces of ordnance, as mighty kings and emperors, to shoot against God's people, to persecute or kill them, as Nero, the great tyrant, who slew Paul and divers other. Yea, what great pieces hath he' had of bishops of Rome, which have destroyed whole cities and countries, and have slain and burnt many | What great guns were those ! r
Yea, he hath also less ordnance, evil enough; they may be called serpentines. Some bishops in divers countries and here in England which he hath shot at, some good christian men that they have been blown to ashes. So can this great captain the devil shoot his ordnance. He hath yet less ordnance, for he hath of all sorts to shoot at good christian men; he hath hand-guns and bows which do much hurt, but not so much as the great ordnance. These be accusers, promoters and slanderers; they be evil ordnance, shrewd hand-guns and bows; they put a man to great displeasure; oftentimes death cometh upon that shot.
In like manner these men in the North Country, they make pretence as though they were armed in God’s armour, gird in truth, and clothed in righteousness. I hear say they wear the cross and the wounds before and behind, and they pretend much truth to the king's grace, and to the commonwealth, when they intend nothing less ; and deceive the poor ignorant people, and bring them to fight against both the king, the church, and the commonwealth.
They arm them with the sign of the cross, and of the wounds, and go clean contrary to him that bore the cross, and suffered those wounds. They rise with the king,