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THE 



VOLUME THE THIRD. 



A DIALOGUE 

OF 

COMFORT AGAINST TRIBULATION: 

BY 

SIR THOMAS MORE, KNIGHT, 

SOME TIME LORD CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND. 




SAINT GEORGE PBAY FOB ENGLAND. 

LONDON: 
CHARLES DOLMAN, 61, NEW BOND STREET. 

MDCCCXLVII. 



Integritas morum MORUM commendat, et ardor 
Ingenii, et docto dulcis in ore decor. 

Audoeni Epigr. 



DIALOGUE 



COMFORT AGAINST TRIBULATION, 



MADE BY THE RIGHT VIRTUOUS, WISE AND LEARNED MAN, 



SIR THOMAS MORE, 



SOMETIME LORD CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND, WHICH HE WROTE IN THE 
TOWER OF LONDON, A.D. 1534, 



AND ENTITLED THUS: 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT AGAINST TRIBULATION, 



MADF. BY AN HUNGARIAN IN LATIN, AND TRANSLATED OUT OF LATIN INTO 
FRENCH. AND OUT OF FRENCH INTO ENGLISH. 



NOW NEWLY SET FORTH, 



WITH MANY PLACES RESTORED AND CORRECTED 



LONDON: 
CHARLES DOLMAN, 61, NEW BOND STREET. 



MDCCCXLVII. 



Printed by J. & H. COX, BROTHERS (LATE COX & SONS), 
74 & 75, Great Queen-street, Lincoln s-Inn Fields. 




INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 



THE present volume of the ENGLISH CATHOLIC LIBRARY 
introduces to modern readers a treatise by Sir Thomas 
More, " one of the ornaments of the English nation, one 
of the wisest, best, and most religious of mankind." 1 * 
We say introduce, because, with the exception of his 
most notable UTOPIA, the works of that eminent martyr 
are known, save by name, to very few of his countrymen. 
Whether this has arisen from the cold and depressing- 
influence of a system antagonistic to that faith of which 
he testified ; or whether, from his name being so tragi 
cally incorporated with the great historical events of the 
sixteenth century, all attention to his writings has been 
absorbed in the contemplation of the man ; is a question 
on which it is needless to speculate. Let us hope 
that the improving spirit of the present age will repair 
this disgraceful neglect ; and that ere long a complete 
and satisfactory edition of the works of Sir Thomas 
More will be as rife and familiar on our shelves as those 
of Shakspeare and Bacon. 

The biography of the virtuous Chancellor requires not 
to be penned by us anew. The Life by his great-grand 
son Cresacre, so ably edited by the learned and acute 
Mr. Hunter, is one of the most charming compositions in 
that department of literature ; and in point of fidelity 
and interest is only equalled by that of Wolsey, which 

* Rev. J. Hunter, South Yorkshire, i. 374. 

a 



VI INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 

the sagacity of the same editor has restored to the real 
author, George Cavendish. Those by Roper,* Cayley, 
and, more recently, by Mr. Walter, apart from scarcer 
tractates within the cognizance of the erudite comprise 
every particular of importance to their subject. 

As the title-page bears, and as Cresacre More narrates, 
the Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation was com 
posed during its author s imprisonment in the Tower of 
London in 1534. " Which subject," this his descendant 
well observes, " he handleth so wittily as none hath come 
near him either in weight of grave sentences, devout 
considerations, or fit similitudes; seasoning always the 
troublesomeness of the matter with some merry jests or 
pleasant tales, as it were sugar, whereby we drink up 
the more willingly these wholesome drugs, of themselves 
unsavory to flesh and blood ; which kind of writing he 
hath used in all his works, so that none can ever be 
weary to read them, though they be never so long."-f- 
And again, when speaking of his various works, 
Surely of all the books that ever he made, I doubt 
whether I may prefer any of them before the said three 
Books of Comfort, yea or any other man s, either heathen 
or Christian, that have written (as many have), either in 
Greek or Latin of the said matter. And as for heathen, 
I do this worthy man plain injury, and do much abase 
him, in matching and comparing him with them, espe 
cially in this point: seeing that, were they otherwise 
never so incomparable, they lacked yet, and knew not 
the very especial and principal ground of comfort and 
consolation, that is, the true faith of Christ, in whom and 
for whom, and whose glory we must seek and fetch all 
our true comfort and consolation: well, let that pass; 
and let us further say, that as the said Sir Thomas More 
notably passeth many learned Christians, that have of 
the same matter written before, so let us add, that it may 
well be doubted, all matters considered and weighed, if 
any of the rest may seem much to pass him. There is 

* The edition by Mr. Singer is a worthy companion to the labour of his 
friend, Mr. Hunter, 
t P. 110. 



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. Vll 

in these books so witty, pithy, and substantial matter, for 
the easing, remedying, and patiently suffering of all man 
ner of griefs and sorrows that may possibly encumber any 
man, by any manner or kind of tribulation, whether their 
tribulation proceed from any inward temptation or ghostly 
enemy, the devil, or any outward temptation of the world, 
threatening to bereave or spoil us of our goods, lands, 
honour, liberty, and freedom, by grievous and sharp 
punishment, and finally of our life withal, by any painful, 
exquisite, and cruel death ; against all which he doth so 
wonderfully and effectually prepare, defend, and arm 
the reader, that a man cannot desire or wish any thing of 
any more efficacy or importance thereunto to be added. 
In the which book his principal drift and scope was to 
stir and prepare the minds of Englishmen manfully and 
courageously to withstand, and not to shrink at the immi 
nent and open persecution which he foresaw, and imme 
diately followed against the unity of the Church, and the 
Catholic faith of the same ; albeit full wittily and warily, 
that the books might safer go abroad, he doth not expressly 
meddle with these matters, but covereth the matter under 
a name of an Hungarian, and of the persecution of the 
Turks in Hungary, and of the book translated out of the 
Hungarian tongue into Latin, and then into the English 
tongue."* And such golden consolations and encourage 
ments, and genuine philosophy, were inscribed " with a 
coal;" his enemies having enhanced the pains of incar 
ceration by depriving him of all ordinary writing mate 
rials ! 

The first edition of the Dialogue of Comfort was printed 
at London by Richard Tottei, 1553, in quarto. The 
next, from which our present reprint is obtained, at Ant 
werp, in 1573, in 16mo. : and again, at the same city, in 
1574 and 1578. The portrait in this first Antwerp edition 
was unknown to Granger and Bromley. 

The " Right Honourable and Excellent Ladie," to 

whom Fowler dedicated the work, was Jane, second 

daughter of Sir William Dormer (father of the first Lord 

Dormer of Wenge), by his first wife Mary, daughter to 

* P. 340. 

a -2 



Vlll INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 

Sir William Sidney, ancestor to the Earls of Leicester. 
She was maid of honour to Queen Mary, and married 
Don Gomez Suarez de Figueroa y Cordova, Count of Feria, 
who came to England with King Philip, and was after 
wards the first duke of Feria in Spain. * According to 
Haro, his love for her cost the duke somewhat of rank and 
fortune. His words are : (( De quien se avia enamorado y 
aficionado de tal manera, que escrive, que por esta causa 
no sucedio en el estado y Marquesad de Priego, por no 
aver contrahido matrimonio con la Marquesa dona Cata- 
lina su sobrina, hija del sobredicho Conde don Pedro su 
Jiermano." *f* 

With the exception of adapting the orthography to that 
of our own day, and amending the punctuation, the pre 
sent reprint is a faithful copy of its original, carefully 
collated with the text in the collected works of 1557. 

Mr. Mitford has recently J rescued from oblivion the 
following epitaph on More by Henry Harder, from the 
Uelicice Poetarum Danorum. This we here preserve; 
and conclude with the much more elegant tribute of the 
Jesuit Balde, the most estimable poet of his illustrious 
order. 

Thoma Mori Epitaphium. 

Mori memento, quisquis hunc tumulum vides ; 
Ille ille gentis tanta lux Britannicae, 
Columenque voxque civium, Regis maims, 
Et purpuratorum alpha Morus presidium, 
Charitum voluptas, dulce Musarum decus, 
Virtutis ara, terminus Constantise, 
Virque omnium, dum vixit, integerrimus. 
Hie ille Morus ille divisus jacet 
Irse furentis immolatus principis. 
Poena quid ista fecerit dignum rogas ? 
Age, arrige aures : ipse quamvis mortuus 
Tibi dicet ipse nempe quid dicit ? Nihil. 



* Collins Peerage, by Brydges, vii. 69. 

f Nobiliario de Espafia, i. 433. 

J Gentleman s Mag. for April, 1846, p. 384. 



IX 



THOM^E MORI CONSTANTIA. 

Hie ille Morus quo melius nihil 

Titan Britanno vidit ab sethere, 

Funesta cum Regem Bolena 

Illicito furiasset sestu : 

Audax iniquas spernere nuptias 
Amore veri, propositum minis 
Obvertit Henrici, tyranno 
Fortior, indocilisque flecti. 

Non career ilium, non Aloysia 
Dimovit uxor ; nee trepidus gener 
Nee ante Patrem Margarita 
Foemineo lacrymosa questu. 

Fertur monentem mitia conjugem, 
Sed non et isto digna viro, procul 
Abs se remotam, cum feroci, 
Ut fatuam, pepulisse risu. 

Mox, qua fluentem seThamesis rotat 
Addestinatum funeribus locum, 
Casto coronandus triumpho, 
Per medios properavit Anglos. 

Ductum secuta flente Britannia, 
Non flevit unus ; marmore durior, 
Et certa despectante vultu 

Fata tuens, hilarisque torvum. 

Atqui sciebat, quid sibi regius 
Tortor parasset, nonaliter tamen, 
Quam laureates Sulla fasceis, 
Ipsesuam petiit securim. 

Plenus futuri quo tumulo stetit, 
Postquam paventem carnificis manum, 
Mercede firmasset, cruento 
Colla dedit ferienda ferro. 



Easter Monday, 1847. 



A DIALOGVE 

Cttmfort 

against Tribulation, made by 

the right Vertuous, Wise and Learned 

man, Sir Thomas More, sometime 

L. Chancellor of England, which 

he wrote in the Tower of 

London, An. 1534, 

and entituled 

thus : 



dialogue of OTumfort against 

latton, matte b an Hungarian in Hatin, anfc 
translate* out of Eatin into dFrmd), b 
out of dTrenrf) into 



nctob f(tt foortf), tott!) mang placed 
antt (orrtctett bo confetence of Sunotie Copied. 



Non desis plorantibus in consolatione. Eccli. 7. 



ANTVERPIAE, 

Apud lohannem Foulerum, Anglum, 
M.D.LXXIII. 



To the Right Honourable and Excellent Lady, the 
Lady Jane, Duchess of Feria. 




;HEREAS I was so bold the last year, to 
dedicate to your Honour a little Treatise of 
mine own translating, not worthy indeed to 
come forth under the name of so noble a 
patroness, whereby I might seem, not to 
apply any deed or gift of mine toward the 
honour or service of your Grace, but rather to use the name 
of your honourable personage for the better commendation 
and setting forth of that small labour of mine : to amend 
that fault and boldness committed then, I thought good 
now to present unto your Grace, not any better gift of mine 
own (as being yet not able to give any that is ought worth), 
but surely an excellent gift of another man s device and 
making, which both hath done, doth, and shall do much 
good to many other good folk, and to your noble Grace 
also. For though I know right well, that the same hath 
been seen and perused of your Honour many times before 
now, and that you have yet, and many years have had the 
same lying by you : yet both by myself, and by other 
also, I know, that how oft soever a man have read the 
same, yet as oft shall he need to read it again. And 
though he both have and do still read it again and again, 
he shall yet take profit more and more by it, and always 
shall have need, while he liveth here, to have oft recourse 
thereunto. And that may well appear in this present case 
of your Honour, who in this long mourning for the lack 
and loss of your right worthy and most noble husband, my 



XIV DEDICATION. 

good Lord the Duke s Grace, cannot, I suppose, anywhere 
find the like ease of your heaviness and comfort for the 
sole and sad estate of your virtuous widowhood, as here 
out of this book may be taken, both for that, and for any 
other worldly woes and afflictions. 

These six or seven years have I been desirous to have 
so good a book come forth again in some smaller volume 
than it was in before, being indeed not so handsome for 
the private use and commodity of the reader, as I trust it 
shall be now. But it hath not been my chance, through 
one let or other, to accomplish that desire of mine till 
now. And that is indeed the chief thing that I have 
done therein, which I may account as mine : I mean, in 
that I have brought it into this small volume, and withal, 
by conferring of sundry copies together, have restored and 
corrected many places, and thereby made it much more 
plain and easy to be understood of the reader. All 
which small labour of mine I beseech your Honour to 
accept in good part, as of him that would be right glad, 
not only by this or any mean to testify alway my good 
heart and affection toward the noble Duke, both while he 
lived and still after his decease, but also to do likewise to 
your Grace, and to your Noble Son (being his father s 
own heir both of estate and worthy qualities) any such 
service, as my poor ability can anywise achieve. And 
thus commending myself in all humble manner unto your 
Grace, I shall remain, as before, bound alway to pray for 
the good health and long life of your Honour, and of your 
no less dear than noble son, whom in his father s place I 
take still for my good Lord also. From Antwerp, the 
last of September. An. 1573. 

Your Grace s most humble servitor, 

JOHN FOWLER. 



TO THE READER. 




F the whole life of man be a continual war 
fare upon earth, as God s own word doth 
witness,* and as our own experience doth 
daily prove the same, and that man himself 
horn of a woman, is indeed a wo man, 
that is, full of wo and misery, even from 
the first hour of his birth, to the very last moments of his 
life,t at which time he suffereth the extremest wo and most 
pinching pain of all, in parting from his own natural 
body, that he naturally loveth so well: how great need 
have we to provide and have ready alway some good 
armour and weapon in this our long warfare, and not to 
be without some relief and succour against so many 
miseries as we be subject unto. 

To make any particular discourse of all the sundry 
sorrows and woes that appertain to each state, both of 
men and women, of young and old, sick and whole, rich 
and poor, high and low, subject and prince, and king and 
queen and all ; it would be too long a business, and shall 
not need at this present, referring the knowledge and 
remembrance thereof to each person in his degree, as he 
daily and hourly feeleth the same. 

For though that some there be, that neither feel nor 

know their own miseries, and yet live in most misery of all, 

whereof the common proverb saith, that such as are in 

hell think there is none other heaven ; and as in very 

* Job vii. f Idem xiv. 



XVI TO THE READER. 

deed many folk of this world take and ween this to be 
their heaven, because they know none other yet (and other 
shall they never know here, but by faith*) yet, be we never 
so blind in seeing and knowing our own most miseries, 
we have for all that other miseries besides so many and 
so great, that there is no creature so happy here on 
earth, but that one way or other, at some time or other, he 
seeth and feeleth sorrow and wo enough. And though 
that perhaps to other folk he seem to live in all worldly 
wealth and bliss, yet himself knoweth best what him 
aileth most, and as another proverb also saith, Each man 
knoweth well where his own shoe wringeth him. 

And albeit that commonly the best folk suffer most 
afflictions in this world, as being most hated of the world, 
and best beloved of God, who reserveth for them in 
another world the crown of eternal bliss,-f and for the evils 
that they endure here, doth rew r ard them with good 
things there : yet the common sort of folk, yea and the 
very worst and most wicked too, have likewise their kinds 
of afflictions and miseries, and do not lack their worldly 
woes, which vex them otherwhiles even at the very hearts 
as much, and more, than any other tribulations, either 
inward or outward, do molest the minds of the virtuous 
and good. 

If these miseries be so common and so general unto all, 
what ought all folk generally to provide for, but remedy 
and comfort against the same? And if the infection of 
this pestilent malady of man be such and so sore, that it 
letteth none scape long without it, but visiteth each body 
by some mean or other, wherever they dwell, and what 
air soever they live and rest in, what great cause have we, 
that cannot avoid this contagious air, but must needs 
lead our lives in it, and thereby fall sick now and then, 
to seek some good preservatives against such an universal 
plague, or at least some good comfortatives for the heart 
and brains and principal parts of us, that we be not so 
stricken upon the sudden, but that we may temper the 
rage of this disease, arid overcome the danger of it, to the 
recovery of our health and final salvation ! 

* Hebr. xi. t Esai. vi. ; 1 Cor. ii. 



TO THE READER. XV11 

I would verily believe, these things well pondered, that 
is, both the general estate of man s misery and pain, and 
the great necessity of comfort which as generally folio weth 
therewithal, that, whereas many books have and do 
come forth daily, that tend toward some benefit or other 
unto man, yet scant any can appear, the profit whereof is 
so great and extendeth so far, as of this. 

The invention indeed of the author seemeth to respect 
some particular cases, which was of him wonderful wittily 
devised, applying his whole discourse to the peace of 
Christendom, to wit, the land of Hungary, which hath 
been there many years (and yet is) sore persecuted and 
oppressed by Turks. But under this particular case of 
Turks persecutions he generally comprehendeth all kinds 
of afflictions and persecutions both of body and mind, 
that may any way be suffered, either by sickness or 
health, by friend or foe, by wicked and wrongful oppressors, 
by miscreants and Turks, and the very fiends and devils of 
hell also. And that was done for this intent (as it may 
seem) that under this one kind of Turkish persecution, 
the benefit of the book might be the more common to all 
Christian folk, as the which could justly of none be 
rejected nor reproved, but if themselves were very Turks 
too, or worse. And yet I trow, no Turk is so cruel and 
fell, that will or can let a poor Christian man in the 
midst of all his afflictions put upon him by the same 
Turk, to seek and use some comfort, in his case, such as 
he may. 

Howbeit this book is also such, and so generally profit 
able, and so charitably written and devised to the behoof 
of all, that both good and bad, Christian and heathen, 
Jew and gentile, and the very Turks too, in that they 
be mortal men and subject to worldly miseries, may if 
they would read and use it, pick out many good counsels 
and comforts, whereby to ease themselves also in their most 
adversities. For sometime the chance is turned, and it 
fortunes as well the Turks to be taken prisoners by the 
Christians, as the Christians are taken and persecuted by 
them. 

And surely if Turks understood the language, and per- 



XV111 TO THE READER. 

ceived well the general commodity of the book, whatso 
ever the common sort and furious multitude of them 
would do for their accustomed malice and envy against 
all benefit of the Christian, yet (no doubt) a man should 
find some good member of them so tractable and indif 
ferent, that would for their own sakes in considering of 
their own need, and the general condition of all men, 
neither gainsay their Christian captives to seek them some 
ease in their misery, nor yet refuse themselves, to use (from 
among the rest) such comforts here and there as may serve 
their own turns. For we see that even in the midst of 
their own countries they suffer many Christian folk to 
dwell, paying certain tributes and taxes for their safe 
guard and sufferance to live there. And in other coun 
tries also which they newly subdue and win from the Chris 
tians, they do not so dispeople the whole lands and main 
countries, but that they let many thousands dwell there 
still, professing openly and freely their faith, with churches 
and chapels allowed for them: this only provided, that 
they agnize the Turk to be lord of the land, and them 
selves to live in quiet and civil subjection under him. 

But blessed be God, that the Turks themselves, though 
they have overrun almost all Hungary, and thereto won 
Cyprus of late, are far enough off from us yet : and would 
God all their Turkish fashions and persecutions were as far 
off from us too, and that Christian charity did reign more 
truly and plentifully in the hearts of all that bear the name 
of Christians in Christendom. For then a great part of 
the comforts that are in this book, should not greatly need, 
nor we should not greatly need neither to fear lest any 
Christian folk would shew themselves so unchristian, as 
to find fault or mislike with the use and free having of 
the same among all men, whereas the matter and argu 
ment thereof toucheth men all so near. 

Howbeit very few shall be found here in our quarters 
(by all likelihood) that have so much degenerated from 
the nature of true Christianity, as expressly to disannul or 
disallow the same, lest they might thereby seem, not only 
to be no Christians at all, but rather right renegades, 
which are indeed much worse than any natural Turks. 



TO THE READER. XIX 

For as for all such as profess the Gospel and favour the 
truth of God s word, they must needs of fine force both 
think well hereof, and also allow and command the read 
ing and perusing of the same among all good Christian 
people, whereas there is in manner nothing therein, but 
that is taken out of the very Scripture, out of God s own 
written word, and altogether treateth of faith, and of the 
principal points thereof. Wherefore (to conclude) there 
is no more to say, but only to wish unto all men generally, 
that as their own need and adversity shall move them to 
seek for some ease and comfort in their case, if it be 
their chance to light upon this book, they may so look 
thereon, and find such benefit and relief thereby, as may 
be most God s pleasure and quiet of their minds. 



A DIALOGUE 



COMFORT AGAINST TRIBULATION 



A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, made by the 
right virtuous, wise, and learned man, Sir Thomas More, 
sometime Lord Chancellor of England. 



ANTONY AND VINCENT. 




. WHO would have weened, oh! 
my good uncle, afore a few years passed, 
that such as in this country would visit 
their friends lying in disease and sick 
ness, should come, as I do now, to seek 
and fetch comfort of them ; or, in giving, 
comfort to them, use the way that 1 may well use to 
you ? For albeit that the priests and friars be wont to 
call upon sick men to remember death ; yet we worldly 
friends, for fear of discomforting them, have ever had a 
guise in Hungary, to lift up their hearts and put them 
in good hope of life. But now, my good uncle, the world 

B 



2 . A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

a notable sag* is here waxen such, and so great perils appear 
Sue S a a s here to fal1 at hand ; that methinketh the 
eaer. greatest comfort that a man can have is, when 

he may see that he shall soon be gone. And we that are 
likely long to live here in wretchedness, have need of 
some comfortable counsel against tribulation, to be given 
us by such as you be, good uncle, that have so long lived 
virtuously, and are so learned in the law of God, as very 
few be better in this country here, and have had of such 
things as we do now fear, good experience and assay in 
yourself; as he that hath been taken prisoner in Turkey 
two times in your days, and now likely to depart hence 
ere long. But that may be your great comfort, good uncle, 
sith you depart to God ; but us here shall you leave of your 
kindred, a sort of sorry, comfortless orphans, to all whom 
your good help, comfort and counsel hath long been a 
great stay; not as an uncle unto some, and to some 
farther of kin, but as though that unto us all you had 
been a natural father. 

ANTONY. Mine own good cousin,* I cannot much say 
nay, but that there is indeed, not here in Hungary only, but 
almost also in all places of Christendom, a customable 
manner of unchristian comforting, which albeit that in 
any sick man it doth more harm than good, withdrawing 
him in time of sickness, with looking and longing for life, 
from the meditation of death, judgment, heaven and hell, 
whereof he should beset much part of his time, even all 
his whole life in his best health ; yet is that manner in my 
mind more than mad, where such kind of comfort is used 
to a man of mine age. For, as we well wot, that a young 
man may die soon ; so we be very sure that an old man can 
not live long. And yet sith there is, as Tully t saith, no 
man for all that so old, but that he hopeth yet that he may 
live one year more, and of a frail folly delighteth thereon 
to think, and comforteth himself therewith; other men s 
words of like manner comfort, adding more sticks to that 
fire, shall in a manner burn up quite the pleasant mois 
ture that most should refresh him ; the wholesome dew 

* This word was anciently applied to a kinsman generally, 
f Cicero de Senectute. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 3 

(I mean) of God s grace, by which he should wish with 
God s will to be hence, and long to be with him in 
heaven. 

Now where you take my departing from you so 
heavily, as of him of whom you recognize of youi 1 good 
ness to have had herebefore help and comfort; would 
God I had to you and other more half so much done, as 
myself reckoneth had been my duty to do. But whenso 
ever God take me hence, to reckon yourselves then com 
fortless, as though your chief comfort stood in me, therein 
make you (methinketh) a reckoning very much like as 
though you would cast away a strong staff and lean upon 
a rotten reed. For God is, and must be your comfort, 
and not I. And he is a sure comforter, that (as he saicl 
unto his disciples) * never leaveth his servants in case of 
comfortless orphans, not even when he departeth from his 
disciples by death ; but both, as he promised,f sent them 
a comforter, the Holy Spirit of his Father and himself, 
and them also made sure, that to the world s end, he 
would ever dwell with them himself. And, therefore, if 
you be part of his flock, and believe his promise, how can 
you be comfortless in any tribulation, when Christ and 
his Holy Spirit, and with them their inseparable Father 
(if you put full trust and confidence in them) be never 
neither one finger breadth of space, nor one minute of 
time from you ? 

VINCENT. Oh ! my good uncle, even these same self 
words, wherewith you well prove that because of God s 
own gracious presence we cannot be left comfortless, 
make me now feel and perceive what a miss of much 
comfort we shall have when you be gone. For albeit, 
good uncle, that while you do tell me this, I cannot but 
grant it for true; yet if I now had not heard it of you, 1 
had not remembered it, nor it had not fallen in my mind. 
And over that, like as our tribulations shall in weight and 
number increase, so shall we need, not only such a good 
word or twain, but a great heap thereof, to stable and 
strength the walls of our hearts against the great scourges 
of this tempestuous sea. 

* John xiv. f Matth. ult. 

B 2 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

ANTONY. Good cousin, trust well in God, and he shall 
provide you teachers abroad convenient in every time, or 
else shall himself sufficiently teach you within. 

VINCENT. Very well, good uncle; but yet if we would 
leave the seeking of outward learning, where we may have 
it, and look to be inwardly taught only by God, then 
should we thereby tempt God, and displease him. And 
sith that I now see likelihood, that when you be gone, we 
shall be sore destitute of any such other like ; therefore 
thinketh me that God of duty bindeth me to sue to 
you now, good uncle, in this short time that we have you, 
that it may like you, against these great storms of tribu 
lation, with which both I and all mine are sore beaten 
already, and now, upon the coming of this cruel Turk, 
fear to fall in far more ; I may learn of you such plenty 
of good counsel and comfort, that I may with the same 
laid up in remembrance, govern and stay the ship of our 
kindred, and keep it afloat from peril of spiritual drown 
ing. You be not ignorant, good uncle, what heaps of 
heaviness hath of late fallen among us already, with 
which some of our poor family be fallen into such dumps, 
that scantily can any such comfort, as rny poor wit can 
give them, any thing assuage their sorrow. And now sith 
these tidings have come hither so brim of the great Turk s 
enterprise into these parts here, we can almost neither 
talk, nor think of any other thing else, than of his might 
and our mischief; there falleth so continually before the 
Co tats perse- eyen of our heart a fearful imagination of this 
S ml tow terrible thing, his mighty strength and power, 
te resein&ie& his high malice and hatred, and his incompara- 
tfee tl lf 0l fet?S l e cruelty, with robbing, spoiling, burning, and 
fee!? tffcan ^ a Y m o wa ste all the way that his army cometh. 
preoati. Then killing or carrying away the people far 

thence, far from home, and there sever the couples and 
the kindred asunder, every one far from other; some 
kept in thraldom, and some kept in prison, and some for 
a triumph tormented and killed in his presence. Then 
send his people hither and his false faith therewith, so 
that such as here are and remain still shall either both 
lose all and be lost too, or forced to forsake the faith of 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 5 

our Saviour Christ, and fall to the sect of Mahomet. 
And yet (which we more fear than all the remanent) no 
small part of our folk that dwell even here about us are 
(as we fear) falling; to him, or already confedered with 
him ; which, if it so be, shall haply keep this quarter 
from the Turk s incursion. But then shall they that turn 
to his law leave all their neighbours nothing, but shall 
have our good given them and our bodies both ; but if we 
turn as they do, and forsake our Saviour too; and then 
(for there is no born Turk so cruel to Christian ^ ffllge 
folk as is the false Christian that falleth from JrttUnmt 
the faith) we shall stand in peril if we perse- SKls San* * 
vere in the truth, to be more hardly handled folft- 
and die more cruel death by our own countrymen at 
home, than if we were taken hence and carried into 
Turkey. These fearful heaps of perils lie so heavy at our 
hearts, while we wot not into which we shall fortune to 
fall, and therefore fear all the worst, that (as our Saviour 
prophesied of the people of Jerusalem) * many wish 
among us already before the peril come, that the moun 
tains would overwhelm them, or the valleys open and 
swallow them up and cover them. Therefore, good uncle, 
against these horrible fears of these terrible tribulations, 
of which some, ye wot well, our house already hath, and 
the remanent stand in dread of, give us, while God lendeth 
you us, such plenty of your comfortable counsel as I may 
write and keep with us, to stay us when God shall call 
you hence. 

ANTONY. Ah ! my good cousin, this is an 
heavy hearing, and likewise as we that dwell fSt? 
here in this part fear that thing sore now, JJ e t 
which few years past feared it not at all ; so Jgy^J* t n f tc 
doubt I, that ere it long be, they shall fear it otSn!fnttles 
as much that think themself now very sure, &c> 
because they dwell farther off. Greece feared not the 
Turk when that I was born, and within a while after, the 
whole empire was his. The great Soudan of Syria thought 
himself more than his match, and long since you were 
born, hath he that empire too. Then hath he taken Bel- 

* Lukexxiii. 



6 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

grade, the fortress of this realm, and since hath he 
destroyed our noble young goodly king. And now strive 
an t$at ts saw there twain for us: our Lord send the grace 
?n?pa5? iS tnat tne third do g carI 7 not awa Y tne bone 
cs n an! scSS* ^ rom ^ iem k otn What should I speak of the 
mSics! " noble strong city of the Rhodes, the winning 
whereof he counted as a victory against the whole corps 
of Christendom, sith all Christendom was not able to 
defend that strong town against him ? Howbeit, if the 
princes of Christendom everywhere about would, where 
as need was, have set to their hands in time, the Turk 
had never taken any one of all those places. But partly 
dissensions fallen among ourself, partly that no man 
careth what harm other folk feel, but each part suffereth 
other to shift for itself, the Turk is in few years wonder 
fully increased, and Christendom on the other side very 
sore decayed : and all this worketh our wickedness, with 
which God is not content. 

But now, whereas you desire of me some plenty of 
comfortable things which ye may put in remembrance, 
and comfort therewith your company ; verily in the 
rehearsing and heaping of your manifold fears, myself 
began to feel, that there should much need against so 
many troubles many comfortable counsels. For surely a 
little before your coming, as I devised with myself upon 
the Turk s coming, it happened my mind to fall suddenly 
from that into the devising upon my own departing : 
wherein, albeit that I fully put my trust and hope to be a 
saved soul by the great mercy of God, yet sith no man is 
here so sure that without revelation may clean stand out 
of dread, I bethought me also upon the pain of hell. 
And after, I bethought me then upon the Turk again. 
And first methought his terror nothing, when I compared 
it with the joyful hope of heaven. Then compared I it 
on the other side with the fearful dread of hell. And 
therein casting in my mind those terrible devilish tormen 
tors, with the deep consideration of that furious endless 
fire; methought, that if the Turk with his whole host, 
and all his trumpets and timbrels too, were to kill me in 
my bed coming to my chamber door, in respect of the 



AGAINST TRIBtTLATlON. 7 

other reckoning I regard him not a rush. And yet when 
I now heard your lamentable words, laying forth as it 
were present before my face the heap of heavy sorrowful 
tribulation, that beside those that are already fallen, are in 
short space like to follow, I waxed therewith myself sud 
denly somewhat aflight. 

And therefore I well allow your request in this behalf 
that you would have store of comfort aforehand ready by 
you to resort to, and to lay up in your heart as a triacle 
against the poison of all desperate dread that might rise 
of occasion of sore tribulation. And herein shall I be 
glad, as my poor wit will serve me, to call to mind with 
you such things, as I before have read, heard, or thought, 
upon, that may conveniently serve us to this purpose. 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER I. 



That the Comforts devised ~by the old Paynim Philoso 
phers were insufficient, and the cause wherefore. 

IRST shall you, good cousin, understand 
this, that the natural wise men of this 
world, the old moral philosophers, la 
boured much in this matter, and many 
natural reasons have they written, whereby 
they might encourage men to set little by 
such goods, or such trusts either, the going or the 
srfie cause of coming whereof are the matter and the cause 
mtuiatton. o f tribulation : as are the goods of fortune, 
riches, favour, friends, fame, worldly worship, and such 
other things; or of the body, as beauty, strength, 
agility, quickness, and health. These things (ye wot 
well) coming to us, are matter of worldly wealth ; 
and taken from us by fortune, or by force, or by fear 
of losing them, be matter of adversity and tribulation. 
at trtimia. ^ or tr ^ Du l at i n seemeth generally to signify 
tion is gene- nothing else but some kind of grief, either 
pain of the body or heaviness of the mind. 
Now the body not to feel that it feeleth, all the wit in 
the world cannot bring about. But that the mind should 
not be grieved, neither with the pain that the body feeleth 
nor with occasions of heaviness offered and given unto 
the soul itself, this thing laboured the philosophers very 
much about, and many goodly sayings have they toward 
the strength and comfort against tribulation, exciting men 
to the full contempt of all worldly loss, and despising of 
sickness, and all bodily grief, painful death and all. How- 
beit in very deed, for any thing that ever I read in them, 
I never could yet find that ever those natural reasons 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 9 

were able to give sufficient comfort of themself. For they 
never stretch so far, but that they leave untouched, for 
lack of necessary knowledge, that special point which is 
not only the chief comfort of all, but, without which also, 
all other comforts are nothing : that is, to wit, the re 
ferring of the final end of their comfort unto &f)e cfcfef an 
God, and to repute and take for the special s i )ecial <** 
cause of comfort, that by the patient sufferance of their 
tribulation they shall attain his favour, and for their pain 
receive reward at his hand in heaven. And for lack of 
knowledge of this end, they did (as they needs must) 
leave untouched also the very special mean, without 
which we can never attain to this comfort ; that is, to 
wit, the gracious aid and help of God to move, 
stir, and guide us forward, in the referring mean of ail 
all our ghostly comfort, yea, and our worldly c 
comfort too, all unto that heavenly end. And therefore, 
as I say, for the lack of these things, all their comfortable 
counsels are very far insufficient. Howbeit, though they 
be far unable to cure our disease of themself, and there 
fore are not sufficient to be taken for our physicians, 
some good drugs have they yet in their shops, for which 
they may be suffered to dwell among our apothecaries, 
if their medicines be not made of their own brains, but 
after the bills made by the great physician God, pre 
scribing the medicines himself, and correcting the faults 
of their erroneous receipts. For without this way taken 
with them, they shall not fail to do, as many bold blind 
apothecaries do, which either for lucre, or of a foolish 
pride, give sick folk medicines of their own devising, and 
therewith kill up in corners many such simple folk, as 
they find so foolish to put their lives in such lewd and 
unlearned blind bayards hands. 

We shall, therefore, neither fully receive these philoso 
phers reasons in this matter, nor yet utterly refuse them ; 
but using them in such order as shall beseem them, the 
principal and the effectual medicines against these dis 
eases of tribulation shall we fetch from that high, great 
and excellent physician, without whom we could never 
be healed of our very deadly disease of damnation. For 



10 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

our necessity wherein, the Spirit of God spiritually 
speaketh of himself to us, and biddeth us of all our 
health give him the honour; and therein thus saith to 
us, Honora medicum ; propter necessitatem etenim ordina- 
vit eum Altissimus,* Honour thou the physician, for him 
hath the high God ordained for thy necessity. There 
fore, let us require the high physician, our blessed Saviour 
Christ, whose holy manhood God ordained for our neces 
sity, to cure our deadly wounds with the medicine made 
of the most wholesome blood of his own blessed body : 
that likewise as he cured by that incomparable medicine 
our mortal malady, it may like him to send us and put 
in our minds such medicines at this time, as against the 
sickness and sorrows of tribulations may so comfort and 
strength us in his grace, as our deadly enemy the devil 
may never have the power by his poisoned dart of mur 
mur, grudge, and impatience, to turn our short sickness 
of worldly tribulation into the endless everlasting death 
of infernal damnation. 

* Eccl. xxxviii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 



11 




CHAPTER II. 



That for a foundation men must needs begin with Faith. 

ITH all our principal comfort must come of 
God, we must first presuppose in him to 
whom we shall with any ghostly counsel 
ive any effectual comfort, one ground to 
egin withal, whereupon all that we shall 
build must be supported and stand: that 
is, to wit, the ground and foundation of faith, 
without which had ready before, all the spiri- tie founuatton 
tual comfort that any man may speak of can of al1 comfort - 
never avail a fly. For likewise as it were utterly vain to 
lay natural reasons of comfort to him that hath no wit, 
so were it undoubtedly frustrate to lay spiritual causes of 
comfort to him that hath no faith. For except a man first 
believe that Holy Scripture is the word of God, , 

, i i * 1 / Vt 1 ^* C to 01 " Of 

and that the word ot (jrod is true, how can a @o& is most 
man take any comfort of that that the Scrip- tnte * 
tures telleth him therein ? Needs must the man take little 
fruit of the Scripture, if he either believe not that it were 
the word of God, or else ween that, though it were, it 
might yet be for all that untrue. This faith, as it is more 
faint, or more strong, so shall the comfortable words of 
Holy Scripture stand the man in more stead, or less. 

This virtue of faith can neither any man give himself, 
nor yet any one man another : but though men may 
with preaching be ministers unto God therein, and the 
man with his own free-will obeying freely the inward 
inspiration of God be a weak worker with Almighty God 
therein; yet is the faith indeed the gracious gift of God 
himself. For, as St. James saith, Omne datum optimum, 



12 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

et omne donum perfectum desursum est, descendens a patre 
luminum* Every good gift and every perfect gift is given 
from above, descending from the Father of lights. There 
fore, feeling our faith by many tokens very faint, let us 
pray to him that giveth it, that it may please him to 
help and increase it. And let us first say with the man in 
the Gospel, Credo Domine, adjuva incredulitatem meam 
I believe, good Lord, but help thou the lack of my belief. 
And after, let us pray with the Apostles, Domine, adauge 
nobisfidem Lord increase our faith. And, finally, let us 
consider by Christ s saying unto them, that if we would 
not suffer the strength and fervour of our faith to wax 
lukewarm, or rather key-cold, and in manner lose his 
vigour by scattering our minds abroad about so many 
trifling things, that of the matters of our faith we very 
seldom think, but that we would withdraw our thought 
from the respect and regard of all worldly fantasies, and 
so gather our faith together into a little narrow room, 
and like the little grain of a mustard seed,f which is of 
nature hot, set it in the garden of our soul, all weeds 
pulled out for the better feeding of our faith ; then shall 
it grow, and so spread up in height, that the birds, that 
is, to wit, the holy angels of heaven, shall breed in our 
soul and bring forth virtues in the branches of our faith. 
And then with the faithful trust, that through the true 
belief of God s word we shall put in his promise, we 
shall be well able to command a great mountain J of tri 
bulation to void from the place where it stood in our 
heart ; whereas, with a very feeble faith and a faint, we 
shall be scant able to remove a little hillock. And, there 
fore, for the first conclusion, as we must of necessity 
before any spiritual comfort presuppose the foundation 

Draper in ttt- ^ ^ a * tn SO S ^ no man can g^ ve us faith, but 
tuia tion must only God, let us never cease to call upon God 



ne^er cease. 



VINCENT. Forsooth, my good uncle, methinketh that 
this foundation of faith, which (as you say) must be laid 
first, is so necessarily requisite, that without it all 

* Jacob, i. f Mattb. xvii. J Mar. xi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 13 

spiritual comfort were utterly given in vain. And, there 
fore, now shall we pray God for a full and a fast faith. 
And I pray you, good uncle, proceed you farther in the 
process of your matter of spiritual comfort against tribu 
lation. 

ANTONY. That shall I, cousin, with good will. 



14 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER III. 



The first Comfort in Tribulation may a man take in this, 
when he feeleth in himself a desire and longing to be 
comforted by God. 



WILL in my poor mind assign for the 
first comfort the desire and longing to 
be by God comforted. And not without 
some reason call I this the first cause of 
comfort. For like as the cure of that 
person is in a manner desperate, that 
hath no will to be cured; so is the discomfort of that 
person desperate, that desireth not his own comfort. 

And here shall I note you two kinds of folk that are 
in tribulation and heaviness. One sort, that will seek for 
no comfort; another sort, that will. And yet of those 
that will not are there also two sorts. For first, one sort 
there are that are so drowned in sorrow, that they fall 
into a careless deadly dulness, regarding nothing, think 
ing almost of nothing, no more than if they lay in a 
lethargy, with which it may so fall that wit and remem 
brance will wear away, and fall even fair from them. 
And this comfortless kind of heaviness in tribulation is 
the highest kind of the deadly sin of sloth. Another sort 
are there that will seek for no comfort, nor yet none 
receive, but are in their tribulation (be it loss or sickness) 
so testy, so furnish, and so far out of all patience, that 
it booteth no man to speak to them : and these are in a 
manner with impatience as furious, as though they were 
in half a phrenzy, and may, with a custom of such 
fashioned behaviour, fall in thereto full and whole. And 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 15 

this kind of heaviness in tribulation is even a mischievous 
high branch of the mortal sin of Ire. 

Then is there, as I told you, another kind of folk, 
which fain would be comforted. And yet are they of two 
sorts too. One sort are those that in their sorrow seek 
for worldly comfort ; and of them shall we now speak the 
less, for the divers occasions that we shall after have to 
touch them in more places than one. But this will I 
here say, that I learned of St. Bernard : He that in tri 
bulation turneth himself unto worldly vanities, to get 
help and comfort by them, fareth like a man that in peril 
of drowning catcheth whatsoever cometh next to hand, 
and that holdeth he fast, be it never so simple a stick ; 
but then that helpeth him not, for that stick he draweth 
down under the water with him, and there lie they 

drowned both together. So surely if we cus- _ 

, , r J r . . , f)e Derp tuft of 

torn ourself to put our trust of comfort in the au bain botnty 

delight of these peevish worldly things, God * 
shall for that foul fault suffer our tribulation to grow so 
great, that all the pleasures of this world shall never bear 
us up, but all our peevish pleasure shall in the depth of 
tribulation drown with us. 

The other sort is, I say, of those that long and desire 
to be comforted of God. And, as I told you before, they 
have an undoubted great cause of comfort, even in that 
point alone, that they consider themselves to desire and 
long to be by Almighty God comforted. This mind of theirs 
may well be cause of great comfort unto them for two 
great considerations. The one is, that they see themself 
seek for their comfort where they cannot fail to find it. 
For God both can give them comfort, and will. He can, 
for he is almighty : he will, for he is all good, and hath 
himself promised, Petite, et acdpletis Ask, and ye shall 
have.* He that hath faith (as he must needs have that 
shall take comfort) cannot doubt, but that God will surely 
keep his promise. Arid therefore hath he a great cause 
to be of good comfort, as I say, in that he considereth, 
that he longeth to be comforted by him, which his faith 
maketh him sure will not fail to comfort him. 

* Matth. vii. 



16 A DIALOGUE OP COMFORT 

But here consider this, that I speak here of him that in 
tribulation longeth to be comforted by God ; and it is he 
that referreth the manner of his comforting to God, hold 
ing himself content, whether it be by the taking away or 
the minishment of the tribulation itself, or by the giving 
him patience and spiritual consolation therein. For of 
him that only longeth to have God take his trouble from 
him, we cannot so well warrant that mind for a cause of so 
great comfort. For both may he desire that, that never 
inindeth to be the better ; and may miss also the effect of 
his desire, because his request is haply not good for 
himself. And of this kind of longing and requiring we 
shall have occasion farther to speak hereafter. But he 
which referring the manner of his comfort unto God, 
desireth of God to be comforted, asketh a thing so lawful 
and so pleasant unto God, that he cannot fail to speed : 
and therefore hath he (as I say) great cause to take com 
fort in the very desire itself. 

Another cause hath he to take of that desire a very 
great occasion of comfort. For sith his desire is good, 
and declareth unto himself that he hath in God a good 
faith, it is a good token unto him that he is not an object 
cast out of God s gracious favour, while he perceiveth 
that God hath put such a virtuous well ordered appetite 
Mttjeteot pro- in his mind. For as every evil mind cometh 
goToVtS of the world, and ourself, and the devil; so is 
min&. every such good mind either immediately, or by 

the mean of our good angel, or other gracious occasion, 
inspired into man s heart by the goodness of God himself. 
And what a comfort then may this be unto us, when we by 
that desire perceive a sure undoubted token, that toward 
our final salvation our Saviour is himself so graciously 
busy about us. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 17 




CHAPTER IV. 



That Tribulation is a mean to draw men to that good 
mind, to desire and long for the Comfort of God. 

INCENT. FORSOOTH, good uncle, this 
good mind of longing for God s comfort 
is a good cause of great comfort indeed : 
our Lord in tribulation send it us ! But 
by this I see well, that wo may they be 
which in tribulation lack that mind, and 
that desire not to be comforted by God, but are either of 
sloth or impatience discomfortless, or of folly seek for 
their chief ease and comfort anywhere else. 

ANTONY. That is, good cousin, very true, as long as 
they stand in that state. But then must you consider, 
that tribulation is yet a mean to drive him from that state. 
And that is one of the causes for which God sendeth it 
unto man. For albeit that pain was ordained 
of God for the punishment of sins (for which 
they that can never now but sin, can never be but ever 
punished in hell), yet in this world, in which his high 
mercy giveth men space to be better, the punishment by 
tribulation that he sendeth, serveth ordinarily for a mean 
of amendment. 

St. Paul * was himself sore against Christ, till Christ 
gave him a great fall and threw him to the ground, and 
Btrake him stark blind : and with that tribulation he 
turned to him at the first word, and God was his physi 
cian, and healed him soon after both in body and soul 
by his minister Ananias, and made him his blessed 
apostle. 

* Act. . 



18 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

Some are in the beginning of tribulation very stubborn 
and stiff against God, and yet at length tribulation bring- 
eth them home. The proud king Pharaoh* did abide 
and endure two or three of the first plagues, and would 
not once stoop at them. But then God laid on a sorer 
lash that made him cry to him for help, and then sent he 
for Moses and Aaron, f and confessed himself a sinner, 
and God for good and righteous, and prayed them to 
pray for him, and to withdraw that plague, and he would 
let them go. But when his tribulation was withdrawn, 
then was he naught again. So was his tribulation occa 
sion of his profit, and his help again cause of his harm. 
For his tribulation made him call to God, and his help 
made hard his heart again. Many a man that in an 
easy tribulation falleth to seek his ease in the pastime of 
worldly fantasies, findeth in a greater pain all those com 
forts so feeble, that he is fain to fall to the seeking of 
God s help. And therefore is, I say, the very tribulation 
itself many times a mean to bring the man to the taking 
of the afore-remembered comfort therein : that is, to wit, 
to the desire of comfort given by God, which desire of 
God s comfort is, as I have proved you, great cause of 
comfort itself. 

* Exod. vii. t Exod. viii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 19 



CHAPTER V. 

The special mean to get this first Comfort in Tribulation. 




, though the tribulation itself be 
a mean oftentimes to get man this first 
comfort in it, yet itself sometime alone 
bringeth not a man to it. And therefore 
sith without this comfort first had, there 
can in tribulation none other good comfort 
come forth, we must labour the means that this first com 
fort may come. And thereunto seemeth me, that if the 
man of sloth, or impatience, or hope of worldly comfort, 
have no mind to desire and seek for comfort of God; 
those that are his friends that come to visit and comfort 
him must afore all things put that point in his mind, and 
not spend the time (as they commonly do) in trifling and 
turning him to the fantasies of the world. They must 
also move him to pray God put this desire in his mind, 
which when he getteth once he then hath the first com 
fort, and without doubt (if it be well considered), a com 
fort marvellous great. His friends also, that thus counsel 
him, must unto the attaining thereof help to pray for him 
themself, and cause him to desire good folk to help him 
to pray therefor. And then, if these ways be taken for 
the getting, I nothing doubt but the good ness of God shall 
give it. 



c 2 



20 A DIALOGUE OP COMFORT 




CHAPTER VI. 



It sufficeth not that a man have a desire to be comforted by 
God only by the taking away of the Tribulation. 

INCENT. VERILY methinketh, good un 
cle, that this counsel is very good. For 
except the person have first a desire to be 
comforted by God, else can I not see what 
it can avail to give him any further counsel 
of any spiritual comfort. Howbeit, what 
if the man have this desire of God s comfort, that is to 
wit, that it may please God to comfort him in his tribula 
tion by taking that tribulation from him; is not this a 
good desire of God s comfort, and a desire sufficient for 
him that is in tribulation ? 

ANTONY. No, cousin, that is it not. I touched before 
a word of this point, and passed it over, because I thought 
it would fall in our way again, and so wot I well it will 
ofter than once. And now am I glad that you move it 
me here yourself. A man may many times well and with 
out sin desire of God the tribulation to be taken from 
him ; but neither may we desire that in every case, nor 
yet very well in no case (except very few), but under a 
certain condition, either expressed or implied. For tri- 

&e atbets bulations are (ye wot well) of many sundry 
fcUitts of tt li>u ! . , 11 f i 

rations, kinds : some by loss ot goods or possessions ; 

some by the sickness of ourself, and some by the loss 
of friends, or by some other pain put unto our bodies ; 
some by the dread of losing those things that we fain 
would save, under which fear fall all the same things that 
we have spoken before. For we may fear loss of goods 
or possessions, or the loss of our friends, their grief and 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 21 

trouble, or our own ; by sickness, imprisonment, or other 
bodily pain we may be troubled with the dread of death, 
and many a good man is troubled most of all with the 
fear of that thing, which he that most need hath fearest 
least of all, that is to wit, the fear of losing through 
deadly sin the life of his silly soul. And this last kind of 
tribulation, as the sorest tribulation of all, though we 
touched here and there some pieces thereof before, yet 
the chief part and the principal point will I reserve, to 
treat apart effectually that matter in the last end. 

But now, as I said, where the kinds of tribulation are 
so divers, some of these tribulations a man may pray God 
take from him, and take some comfort in the trust that God 
will so do. And therefore against hunger, sickness, and 
bodily hurt, and against the loss of either body or soul, 
men may lawfully many times pray to the goodness of 
God, either for themself or their friend. And toward this 
purpose are expressly prayed many devout orisons in the 
common service of our Mother Holy Church. And 
toward our help in some of these things serve some of the 
petitions in the Pater-noster* wherein we pray daily for 
our daily food, and to be preserved from the fall in temp 
tation, and to be delivered from evil. But yet may we 
not alway pray for the taking away from us of every kind 
of temptation. For if a man should in every sickness 
pray for his health again, when should he shew himself 
content to die and to depart unto God ? And that mind 
must a man have, ye wot well, or else it will not be well. 

One tribulation is it to good men, to feel in themselt 
the conflict of the flesh against the soul, the rebellion of 
sensuality against the rule and governance of reason, the 
relics that remain in mankind of old original sin, of which 
St. Paul so sore complaineth in his Epistle to the Ro 
mans, f And yet may we not pray, while we stand in this 
life, to have this kind of tribulation utterly taken from 
us. For it is left us by God s ordinance to strive against 
it, and fight withal, and by reason and grace to master it, 
and use it for the matter of our merit. For the salvation 
of our soul may we boldly pray; for grace may we boldly 
* Matth. vi. f Rom. vii. 



22 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

pray; for faith, for hope, and for charity, and for every 
such virtue as shall serve us to heaven-ward. But as for 
all other things before remembered, in which is conceived 
the matter of every kind of tribulation, we may never well 
make prayers so precisely but that we must express or 
imply a condition therein ; that is to wit, that if God see 
the contrary better for us, we refer it whole to his will, 
and instead of our grief taking away, pray that God may 
send us of his goodness either spiritual comfort to take it 
gladly, or strength at leastwise to bear it patiently. For 
if we determine with ourself that we will take no comfort 
in nothing, but in the taking of our tribulation from us ; 
then either prescribe we to God, that we will he shall no 
better turn do us, though he would, than we will ourself 
appoint him ; or else do we declare that what thing is 
best for us, ourself can better tell than he. 

And therefore, I say, let us in tribulation desire his 
comfort and help, and let us remit the manner of that 
comfort unto his own high pleasure ; which, when we do, 
let us nothing doubt, but that like as his high wisdom 
better seeth what is best for us than we can see ourself, so 
shall his high sovereign goodness give us that thing that 
shall indeed be best. For else if we will presume to stand to 
our own choice, except it so be that God offer us the choice 
himself (as he did to David in the choice of his own 
punishment, after his high pride conceived in the number 
ing of his people*), we may foolishly choose the worst ; 
and by the prescribing unto God ourself so precisely what 
we will that he shall do for us (except that of his gracious 
favour he reject our folly), he shall for indignation grant 
us our own request, and after shall we well find that it 
shall turn us to harm. 

How many men attain health of body, that were better 
for their souls health their bodies were sick still ! How 
many get out of prison, that hap on such harm abroad as 
the prison should have kept them from ! How many that 
have been loth to lose their worldly goods, have in keeping 
of their goods soon after lost their lives ! So blind is our 
mortality, and so unaware what will fall, so unsure also 

* 2 Re<r. xxiv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 23 

what manner of mind we will have to-morrow, that God 
could not lightly do man a more vengeance than in this 
world to grant him his own foolish wishes. What wit 
have we (poor fools) to wit what will serve us, when the 
blessed Apostle himself in his sore tribulation,* praying 
thrice unto God to take it away from him, was answered 
again by God in a manner that he was but a fool in asking 
that request,but that the help of God s grace in that tribula 
tion to strengthen him was far better for him, than to take 
the tribulation from him ? And therefore, by experience 
perceiving well the truth of that lesson, he giveth us good 
warning not to be bold of our own minds when we require 
aught of God, nor to be precise in our askings, but refer 
the choice to God at his own pleasure. For his own Holy 
Spirit so sore desireth our weal, that, as men say, he 
groaneth for us in such wise as no tongue can tell. Nos 
autem (saith St. Paul)f quid oremus ut oportet, nescimus ; 
sed ipse Spiritus postulat pro nobis gemitibus inenarrabilibus, 
We, what we may pray for that were behoveable for us, 
cannot ourself tell : but the Spirit himself desireth for us 
with unspeakable groanings. 

And therefore, I say, for conclusion of this point, let 
us never ask of God precisely our own ease by delivering 
us from our tribulation, but pray for his aid and comfort, 
by which ways himself shall best like ; and then may we 
take comfort, even of our such request. For both be we 
sure that this mind cometh of God, and also be we very 
sure that as he beginneth to work with us, so (but if 
ourself flit from him) he will not fail to tarry with us ; and 
then, he dwelling with us, what trouble can do us harm ? 
Si Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos? If God be with us 
(saith St. Paul), who can stand against us ? J 

* 2 Cor. xii. f Rom.viii. % Rom.viii. 




24 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



CHAPTER VII. 



A great Comfort it may be in Tribulation, that every Tri 
bulation is, if we our self will, a thing either medicinable 
or else more than medicinable. 

INCENT. You have, good uncle, well 
opened and declared the question that I 
demanded you, that is to wit, what manner 
of comfort a man might pray for in tri 
bulation. And now proceed forth, good 
uncle, and shew us yet farther some other 
spiritual comfort in tribulation. 

ANTONY. This may be, thinketh me, good cousin, 
great comfort in tribulation, that every tribulation which 
any time falleth unto us is either sent to be medicinable, 
if men will so take it ; or may become medicinable, if 
men will make of it ; or is better than medicinable, but if 
we will forsake it. 

VINCENT. Surely, this is very comfortable, if we may 
well perceive it. 

ANTONY. These three things that I tell you, we shall 
consider thus. Every tribulation that we fall in, cometh 
either by our own known deserving deed bringing us 
thereunto, as the sickness that followeth our intemperate 
surfeit, or the prison ment or other punishment put upon 
a man for his heinous crime ; or else is it sent us by God 
without any certain deserving cause open and known 
unto ourself, either for punishment of some sins past 
(certainly we know not for which), or for preserving us 
from some sins, in which we were else like to fall, or, 
finally, for no respect of the man s sin at all, but for the 
proof of his patience and increase of his merit. In all the 
former cases tribulation is (if he will) medicinable : in 
this last case of all it is better than medicinable. 




AGAINST TRIBULATION. 25 



CHAPTER VIII. 



The declaration larger concerning them that fall in Tribu 
lation by their own known fault, and that yet such Tri 
bulation is medicinable. 



IN CENT. THIS seemeth me very good, 
good uncle, saving that it seemeth some 
what brief and short, and thereby methink- 
eth somewhat obscure and dark. 

ANTONY. We shall therefore, to give it 
light withal, touch every member somewhat 
more at large. One member is, you wot well, of them 
that fall in tribulation through their own certain well- 
deserving deed open and known unto themself, as where 
we fall in a sickness following upon our own gluttonous 
feasting, or a man that is punished for his own open fault. 
These tribulations, lo ! and such other like, albeit that 
they may seem discomfortable, in that a man may be 
sorry to think himself the cause of his own harm ; yet 
hath he good cause of comfort in them, if he consider 
that he may make them medicinable for himself, if he 
himself will. For whereas there was due to that sin 
(except it were purged here) a far greater punishment 
after this world in another place ; this worldly tribulation 
of pain and punishment, by God s good provision for him 
put upon him here in this world before, shall by the 
mean of Christ s passion (if the man will in true faith 
and good hope, by meek and patient sufferance of his 
tribulation, so make it), serve him for a sure medicine, to 
cure him and clearly discharge him of all the sickness and 
disease of those pains, that else he should suffer after. 

For such is the great goodness of Almighty God, that 
he punisheth not one thing twice. And albeit so, that 
this punishment is put unto the man, not of his own 



26 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

election and free choice, but so by force as he would fain 
avoid it, and falleth in it against his will, and therefore 
seemeth worthy no thank ; yet so far passeth the great 
goodness of God the poor imperfect goodness of man, 
that though men make their reckoning one here with 
another such, God yet of his high bounty in man s 
account toward him alloweth it far otherwise. For 
though that otherwise a man fall in his pain by his own 
fault, and also first against his will, yet as soon as he 
confesseth his fault, and applieth his will to be content 
to suffer that pain and punishment for the same, and 
waxeth sorry, not for that only that he shall sustain such 
punishment, but for that also that he hath offended God, 
and thereby deserved much more : our Lord from that 
time counteth it not for pain taken against his will, but it 
shall be a marvellous good medicine and work (as a 
willingly taken pain) the purgation and cleansing of his 
soul, with gracious remission of his sin, and of the far 
greater pain that else had been prepared therefor per- 
adventure in hell for ever. For many there are undoubt 
edly, that would else drive forth and die in their deadly 
sin, which yet in such tribulation, feeling their own frailty 
so effectually, and the false flattering world failing them 
so fully, turn goodly to God and call for mercy, and by 
grace make virtue of necessity, and make a medicine of 
their malady, taking their trouble meekly, and make a 
right godly end. 

Consider well the story of Achan, that committed sacri 
lege at the great city of Hierico, whereupon God took a 
great vengeance upon the children of Israel, and after 
told them the cause, and bade them go seek the fault and 
try it out by lots ; when the lot fell upon the very man 
that did it, being tried by the falling first upon his tribe, 
and then upon his house, and finally upon his person, he 
might well see that he wasdeprehended and taken against 
his will, but yet, at the good exhortation of Josue,* say 
ing unto him, Fill mi, da gloriam Domino Deo Israel, et 
confitere, ac indica mihi quidfeceris, ne abscondas, Mine 
own son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and con- 
* Josue vii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 27 

fess, and shew me what thou hast done, hide it not ; he 
confessed humbly the theft and meekly took his death 
therefor, and had, I doubt not, both strength and com 
fort in his pain, and died a very good man : which, if he 
had never come in tribulation, had been in peril never 
haply to have had just remorse thereof in all his whole 
life, but might have died wretchedly, and gone to the devil 
eternally. And thus made this thief a good medicine of 
his well-deserved pain and tribulation. Consider the well- 
converted thief that hung on Christ s right hand.* Did 
riot he (by his meek sufferance and humble knowledge of 
his fault, asking forgiveness of God, and yet content to 
suffer for his sin) make of his just punishment and well- 
deserved tribulation a very good special medicine to cure 
him of all pain in the other world, and win him eternal 
salvation ? And thus, I say, that this kind of tribulation, 
though it seem the most base and the least comfortable, 
is yet (if the man will so make it) a very marvellous 
wholesome medicine ; and may therefore be to the man 
that will so consider it, a great cause of comfort and 
spiritual consolation. 

* Lucse xxiii. 




28 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



CHAPTER IX. 

T7ie second point, that is to wit, of that Tribulation that -is 
sent us by God, without any open certain deserving 
cause known to ourself, and that this kind of Tribulation 
is medicinable, if men will so take it, and therefore great 
occasion of Comfort. 

INCENT. VERILY, mine uncle, this first 
kind of tribulation have you to my mind 
opened sufficiently, and therefore I pray 
you resort now to the second. 

ANTONY. The second kind was, you 
wot well, of such tribulation as is so sent 
us by God, that we know no certain cause deserving the 
present trouble, as we certainly know that upon such a 
pursuit we fall in such a sickness ; or as the thief knoweth 
that for such a certain theft he is fallen into such a cer 
tain punishment. But yet sith we seldom lack faults 
against God, worthy and well deserving great punish 
ment: indeed we may well think, and wisdom it is so to 
do, that with sin we have deserved it, and that God for 
some sin sendeth it, though we certainly know not ourself 
for which. And, therefore, as yet thus far forth is this 
kind of tribulation somewhat in effect in comfort to be 
taken like unto the other : for this, as you see, if we thus 
\vill take it, well reckoning it to be sent for sin, and suf 
fering it meekly therefor, is medicinable against the pain 
in the other world to come for our sins in this world past, 
which is, as I shewed you, a cause of right great comfort. 
But yet may then this kind of tribulation be to some men 
of more sober living, and thereby of the more clear con 
science, somewhat a little more comfortable. For though 
they may none otherwise reckon themselves than sinners 
(for as St. Paul saith,* Nihil mihi conscius sum, sed non 

1 Cor. iv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 29 

in hoc justificatus sum, My conscience grudgeth me not 
of any thing", but yet am I not thereby justified; and as 
St. John saith,* Si dixerimus, quin peccatum non lidbemus, 
ipsi nos seducimus et veritas in nobis non est, If we say 
that we have no sin in us, we beguile ourself, and 
truth is there not in us), yet forasmuch as the cause is 
to them not so certain, as it is to the other afore remem 
bered in the first kind, and that it is also certain, that 
God sometime sendeth tribulation for keeping and pre 
serving a man from such sin as he should else fall in, 
and sometime also for exercise of patience and increase 
of merit, great cause of increase in comfort have those 
folk of the clearer conscience in the fervour of their tri 
bulation, in that they may take the comfort of double 
medicine, and of that is the kind which we shall finally 
speak of that I call better than medicinable. But as I 
have before spoken of this kind of tribulation, how it is 
medicinable in that it cureth the sin past, and purchaseth 
remission of the pain due therefor; so let us somewhat 
consider, how this tribulation sent us by God is medi 
cinable, in that it preserve thus from the sins into which 
we were else like to fall. 

If that thing be a good medicine that restoreth us our 
health when we lose it ; as good a medicine must this 
needs be that preserveth our health while we have it, and 
suffereth us not to fall into the painful sickness that must 
after drive us to a painful plaster. Now seeth God 
sometime that worldly wealth is with one (that is yet good) 
coming upon him so fast, that foreseeing how much weight 
of worldly wealth the man may bear, and how much will 
overcharge him, and enhance his heart up so high that 
grace shall fall from him low; God of his goodness, I 
say, preventeth his fall, and sendeth him tribulation by 
time while he is yet good, to gar him ken his Maker, and 
by less liking the false flattering world, set a cross upon 
the ship of his heart, and bear a low sail thereon, that 
the boisterous blast of pride blow him not under the 
water. 

Some young lovely lady, lo ! that is yet good enough, 

* 1 Joan. i. 



30 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



another warn- seeth a storm come toward her, that 

pie no less would (if her health and her fat feeding 
Sj&flJSSt should a little longer last) strike her into 
some lecherous love, and, instead of her old 
acquainted knight, lay her abed with a new acquainted 
knave. But God loving her more tenderly than to suffer 
her fall into such shameful beastly sin, sendeth her in 
season a goodly fair fervent fever, that maketh her bones 
to rattle, and wasteth away her wanton flesh, and beauti- 
fieth her fair fell with the colour of a kite s claw, and 
maketh her look so lovely, that her lover would have little 
lust to look upon her, and make her also so lusty, that if 
her lover lay in her lap, she should so sore long to break 
unto him the very bottom of her stomach, that she should 
not be able to refrain it from him, but suddenly lay it all 
in his neck. 

Did not (as I before shewed you) the blessed Apostle 
himself confess,* that the high revolution that God had 
given him, might have enhanced him into such high pride 
that he might have caught a foul fall, had not the provi 
dent goodness of God provided for his remedy? And 
what was his remedy, but a painful tribulation, so sore 
that he was fain thrice to call to God to take the tribula 
tion from him : and yet would not God grant his request, 
but let him lie so long therein, till himself, that saw more 
in St. Paul than St. Paul saw in himself, wist well the 
time was come in which he might well without his harm 
take it from him. And thus you see, good cousin, that 
tribulation is double medicine, both a cure of the sin past 
and a preservative from the sin that is to come. And 
therefore in this kind of tribulation is there good occasion 
of a double comfort; but that is (I say) dive rsly to sundry 
divers folks, as their own conscience is with sin cumbered 
or clear. Howbeit I will advise no man to be so bold as 
to think that their tribulation is sent them to keep them 
from the pride of their holiness. Let men leave that kind 
of comfort hardly to St. Paul till their living be like; but 
of the remnant may men well take great comfort and 
good beside. 

* 2 Cor. xit. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 31 



CHAPTER X. 




Of the third hind of Tribulation, which is not sent a man 
for his sin, but for exercise of his patience and increase 
of his merit, whch is better than medicinable. 



INCENT. THE third kind, uncle, that 
remaineth now behind, that is to wit, which 
is sent a man by God, and not for his sin 
neither committed nor which would else 
come, and therefore is not medicinable but 
sent for exercise of our patience and in 
crease of our merit, and therefore better than medicinable: 
though it be as you say, and as indeed it is, better for the 
man than any of the other two kinds in another world, 
where the reward shall be received : yet can I not see by 
what reason a man may in this world, where the tribula 
tion is suffered, take any more comfort therein than in 
any of the other twain that are sent a man for his sin ; 
sith he cannot here know whether it be sent him for sin 
before committed, or sin that else should fall, or for 
increase of merit and reward after to come ; namely, sith 
every man hath cause enough to fear and think that his 
sin already past hath deserved it, and that it is not with 
out peril a man to think otherwise. 

ANTONY. This that you say, cousin, hath place of truth 
in far the most part of men, and therefore must they not 
envy nor disdain (sith they may take in their tribulation 
consolation for their part sufficient) that some other that 
more be worthy, take yet a great deal more. For, as I 
told you, cousin, though the best man must confess 
himself a sinner, yet be there many men (though to the 



32 A DIALOGUE OP COMFORT 

multitude few) that for the kind of their living, and 
thereby the clearness of their conscience, may well and 
without sin have a good hope that God sendeth them 
some great grief for exercise of their patience, and for 
increase of their merit ; as it appeareth, not only by St. 
Paul* in the place before remembered, but also by the 
holy man Job,f which in sundry places of his dispicions 
with his burdenous comforters letted not to say, that the 
clearness of his own conscience declared and shewed to 
himself that he deserved not that sore tribulation that he 
then had. Howbeit, as I told you before, I will not 
advise every man at a venture to be bold upon this 
manner of comfort. But yet some men know I such, as 
I durst (for their more ease and comfort in their great 
and grievous pains) put them in right good hope, that 
God sendeth it unto them not so much for their punish 
ment, as for exercise of their patience. And some tribu 
lations are there also that grow upon such causes, that in 
these cases I would never let, but always would without 
any doubt give that counsel and comfort to any man. 

VINCENT. What causes, good uncle, be those? 
mt causes of ANTONY. Marry, cousin, wheresoever a man 

SoslSf SS falleth in tribulation for the maintenance of 
rise of jattcnce. justice, or for the defence of God s cause. For 
if I should hap to find a man that had long lived a very 
virtuous life, and had at last happed to fall into the Turks 
hands, and there did abide by the truth of his faith, and 
with the suffering of all kind of torments taken upon his 
body, still did teach and testify the truth, if I should in his 
passion give him spiritual comfort, might I be bold to tell 
him no farther, but that he should take patience in his 
pain, and that God sendeth it him for his sin, and that he 
is well worthy to have it although it were yet much more ? 
He might then well answer me and such other comforters, 
as JobJ answered his, Consolatores onerosi omnes vos estis, 
-Burdenous and heavy comforters be you. Nay, I would 
not fail to bid him boldly, while I should see him in his 
passion, cast sin, and hell, and purgatory, and all upon 
the devil s pate, and doubt not, but like as if he gave over 

* 2 Cor. iii. f J ob v *- xx & xxx - Job x*i. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 33 

his hold, all his merit were lost, and he turned to misery ; 
so if he stand and persevere still in the confession of his 
faith, all his whole pain shall turn all into glory. 

Yea, more shall I yet say than this : that if there were 
a Christian man that had among those infidels committed 
a very deadly crime, such as were worthy death, not by 
their laws only, but by Christ s too, as manslaughter or 
adultery, or such other thing like, if when he were taken 
he were offered pardon of his life, upon condition that he 
should forsake the faith of Christ ; if this man would now 
rather suffer death than so do, should I comfort him in 
his pain but as I would a malefactor? Nay, this man, 
though he should have died for his sin, dieth now for 
Christ s sake, while he might live still, if he would for 
sake him. The bare patient taking of his 
death should have served for satisfaction of his SuP ^ 
sin through the merit of Christ s passion, I Jj}J fs * J p jf n 
mean, without help of which no pain of our of man can & 
own could be satisfactory. But now shall s 
Christ for his forsaking of his own life in the honour of 
his faith, forgive the pain of all his sins of his mere 
liberality, and accept all the pain of his death for merit 
of reward in heaven, and shall assign no part thereof to 
the payment of his debt in purgatory, but shall take it all 
as an offering, and requite it all with glory ; and this 
man among Christian men, all had he been before a 
devil, nothing after would, I doubt, to take him for a 
martyr. 

VINCENT. Verily, good uncle, methinketh this is said 
marvellously well, and it specially delighteth and com- 
forteth me to hear it, because of our principal fear that 
I first spake of, the Turks cruel incursion into this coun 
try of ours. 

ANTONY. Cousin, as for the matter of that fear, I 
purpose to touch last of all, nor I meant not here to 
speak thereof, had it not been for that the vehemency of 
your objection brought it in my way. But rather would 
1 else have put some example for this place, of such as 
suffer tribulation for maintenance of ri^ht and justice, 



34 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

any manner of matter. For surely if a man may (as in 
deed he may) have great comfort in the clearness of his 
conscience, that hath a false crime put upon him, and by 
false witness proved upon him, and he falsely punished, 
and put to worldly shame and pain therefor ; 
Sst!ce tttf<m fw an hundred times more comfort may he have 
in his heart, that where white is called black, 
and right is called wrong, abideth by the truth, and is 
persecuted for justice. 

VINCENT. Then if a man sue me wrongfully for my 
own land, in which myself have good right, it is a com 
fort yet to defend it well, sith God shall give me thank 
therefor. 

ANTONY. Nay, nay, cousin, nay : there walk you 
somewhat wide; for there you defend your own right for 
your temporal avail. And sith St. Paul counselleth,* 
Non vosmetipsos defendentescharissimi, Defend not your 
self, my most dear friend : and our Saviour counselled!,^ 
Si quis vult tecum judicio contender -e, et tunicam tuam 
tollere, dimitte ei et pallium, If a man will strive with 
thee at the law, and take away thy coat, leave him thy 
gown too : the defence, therefore, of our own right asketh 
no reward. Say, you speed well, if you get leave ; look 
hardly for no thank. But, on the other side, if you do as 
St. Paul biddeth,J Non quce sua sunt sinyuli consider antes, 
sed ea qucB aliorum, Seek not for your own profit, but for 
ether folks ; and defend, therefore, of pity, a poor widow, 
or a poor fatherless child, and rather suffer sorrow by 
some strong extortioner, than suffer them take wrong : 
or, if you be a judge, and will have such zeal to justice 
that you will rather abide tribulation by the malice of 
some mighty man, than judge wrong for his favour ; such 
tribulations, lo ! be those that are better than only medi- 
cinable, and every man upon w ? hom they fall may be 
bold so to reckon them, and in his deep trouble may well 
say to himself the words that Christ hath taught him for 
his comfbrt,^ Beati misericordes, quoniam ipsi misericor- 
diam consequentur , Blessed be the merciful men, for 
they shall have mercy given them ; Beati qui persecutio- 
* Rom.xii. t Matth. v. J Phil. ii. Matth. v. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 35 

item patiuntur propter justitiam, quoniam ipsorum est 
reynum ccelorum, Blessed be they that suffer persecution 
for justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Here is 
an high comfort, lo ! for them that are in that case. 
And in this case their own conscience can shew it them, 
and so may fulfil their hearts with spiritual joy, that the 
pleasure may far surmount the heaviness and the grief of 
all their temporal trouble. But God s nearer cause of 
faith against the Turks hath yet a far passing comfort, 
that by many degrees far excelleth this, which (as I have 
said) I purpose to treat last. And for this time this suf- 
ticeth, concerning the special comfort that men may take 
in this third kind of tribulation. 



36 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XL 



Another kind of Comfort yet in the base hind of Tribula 
tion sent for our sin. 

INCENT. OF truth, good uncle, albeit 
that every of these kinds of tribulations 
have cause of comfort in them as you have 
well declared, if men will so consider them : 
yet hath this third kind above all a special 
prerogative therein. 
ANTONY. That is undoubtedly true; but yet is there 
not, good cousin, the most base kind of them all, but that 
it hath more causes of comfort than I have spoken of yet. 
For I have, you wot well, in that kind that is sent us for 
our sins, spoken of none other comfort yet but twain: 
that is to wit, one, that it refraineth us from sin that else 
we would fall in, and in that serveth us through the merit 
of Christ s passion as a mean by which God keepeth us 
from hell ; and serveth for the satisfaction of such pain, 
as else we should endure in purgatory. Hovvbeit there is 
therein another great cause of joy besides this. For 
surely those pains here sent us for our sins, in whatsoever 
wise they happen unto us, be our sin never so sore, nor 
never so open and evident unto ourself and all the world 
too; yet if we pray for grace to take it meekly and pa 
tiently, and confessing to God that it is far over too little 
for our fault, beseech him yet, nevertheless, that sith we 
shnll come hence so void of 11 good works whereof we 
should have any reward in heaven, to be not only so 
merciful to us, as to take that our present tribulation in 
relief of our pains in purgatory, but also so gracious unto 
us, as to take our patience therein for a matter of merit 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 37 

and reward in heaven : I verily trust, and nothing doubt 
it, but that God shall of his high bounty grant us our 
boon. For likewise as in hell pain serveth only for 
punishment without any manner of purging, because all 
possibility of purging is past; and in purgatory punish 
ment serveth for only purging, because the place of 
deserving is past ; so while we be yet in this world, in 
which is our place and our time of merit and well deserv 
ing, the tribulation that is sent us for our sin here shall 
(if we faithfully so desire), beside the cleansing and purg 
ing of our pain, serve us also for increase of reward. And 
so shall, I suppose and trust in God s goodness, all such 
penance and good works, as a man willingly performeth 
enjoined by his ghostly father in confession, or which he 
willingly farther doth of his own devotion beside. 

For though man s penance, with all the good works that 
he can do, be not able to satisfy of themself for the least 
sin that we do ; yet the liberal goodness of God through 
the merit of Christ s bitter passion, without which all our 
works could neither satisfy nor deserve, nor yet do not 
in deed neither merit nor satisfy so much as a spoonful 
to a great vesselful, in comparison of the merit and satis 
faction that Christ hath merited and satisfied for us him 
self: this liberal goodness of God, I say, shall yet at our 
faithful instance and request cause our penance and tribu 
lation, patiently taken in this world, to serve us in the 
other world, both for release and reward, tempered after 
such rate as his high goodness and wisdom shall see con 
venient for us, whereof our blind mortality cannot here 
imagine nor devise the stint. And thus hath yet even 
the first kind of tribulation and the most base, though not 
fully so great as the second, and very far less than the 
third, far greater cause of comfort yet, than I spake of 
before. 



38 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XII. 

A certain objection against the things aforesaid. 



INCENT. VERILY, good uncle, this liketh 
me very well ; but yet is there (ye wot well) 
some of these things now brought in 
question. For as for any pain due for our 
sin to be minished in purgatory by the 
patient sufferance of our tribulation here ; 
there are, ye wot well, many that utterly deny that, and 
rana sa? tiies affirm for a sure truth, that there is no purga- 
notsoget?] tory at all. And then is (if they say true) 
the cause of that comfort gone, if the comfort that 
we should take be in vain and need not. They say, ye 
wot well also, that men merit nothing at all, but God 
giveth all for faith alone, and that it were sin and sacrilege 
to look for reward in heaven, either for our patience and 
glad suffering for God s sake, or for any other good deed ; 
and then is there gone (if this be thus) the other cause of 
our farther comfort too. 

ANTONY. Cousin, if some things were as they be 
not, then should some things be as they shall not. I 
cannot indeed say nay, but that some men have of late 
brought up some such opinions, and many more than 
these besides, and have spread them abroad. And, 
albeit that it is a right heavy thing to see such variances 
in our belief rise and grow among ourself, to the great 
encouraging of the common enemies of us all, whereby 
they have our faith in derision, and catch hope to over 
whelm us all : yet do these three things not a little 
comfort my mind. 

The first is, That in some communications had of late 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 39 

together, bath appeared good likelihood of some good 
agreement to grow together in one accord of our faith. 

The second, That in the meanwhile till this may come 
to pass, contentious dispicions with uncharitable beha 
viour are prohibited and forbidden in effect upon all 
parts : all such parts, I mean, as fell before to fight for it. 

The third is, That all Germany, for all their divers 
opinions, yet as they agree together in profession of 
Christ s name, so agree they now together in preparation 
of a common power in defence of Christendom against 
our common enemy the Turk. And I trust to God that 
this shall not only help us here to strength us in this 
war, but also that as God hath caused them to agree 
together in the defence of the contrary mind, shall in 
reason have no cause to be discontented. 

For first, as for purgatory, though they 
i i , i i .1 "i. $uttjatorp. 

think there be none, yet since they deny not 

that all the corps of Christendom by so many hundred 
years have believed the contrary ; and among ^ surcst 

them all the old interpreters of Scripture, flroumjann 
/ i A iii st3D in EH 

from the Apostles days down to our own matters of 

time, of whom they deny not many for holy contral 
saints ; that I dare not believe these men against all those, 
these men must of their courtesy hold my ^ oto to(SElp 
poor fear excused. And I beseech our Lord {J*,Jj Dln s j|j, a " 
heartily for them, that when they depart out 
of this wretched world, they find no purgatory at all: so 
God keep them from hell. 

And as for the merit of man in his good m etlt i* man 
works, neither are they that deny it full 
agreed among themself, nor any man is there almost of 
them all that, sith they began to write, hath not some 
what changed and varied from himself; and for the more 
part are thus far agreed with us, that like as we grant 
them that no good work is aught worth to heavenward 
without faith, and that no good work of man is reward- 
able in heaven of his own nature, but through the mere 
goodness of God that list to set so high a price upon so 
poor a thing ; and that this price God setteth through 
Christ s passion, and for that also that they be his own 



40 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

works with us (for good works to God-ward worketh no 
man without God work with him), and as we grant them 
also that no man may be proud of his works for his own 
imperfect working, and for that in all that man may do, 
he can do God no good, but is a servant unprofitable,* 
and doth but his bare duty ; as we, I say, grant unto 
them these things, so this one thing or twain do they 
grant us again, that men are bound to work good works 
if they have time and power; and that whoso worketh 
in true faith most, shall be most rewarded. But then set 
they thereto, that all his reward shall be given him for 
his faith alone, and nothing for his works at all, because 
his faith is the thing (they say) that forceth him to work 
well. 

Strive will I not with them for this matter now, but 
yet this I trust to the great goodness of God, that if the 
question hang on that narrow point, while Christ saith in 
the Scripture^ in so many places, that men shall in 
heaven be rewarded for their works, he shall never suffer 
our souls that are but meari-witted men, and can under 
stand his words but as himself hath set them, and as 
old holy saints have construed them before, and as all 
Christian people this thousand year have believed, to be 
damned for lack of perceiving such a sharp subtle thing; 
specially sith some men that have right good wits, and 
are beside that right well learned too, can in no wise 
perceive, for what cause or why these folk that from good 
works take away the reward, and give the reward all 
whole to faith alone, give the reward to faith, rather than 
to charity. For this grant they themself, that faith serv- 
eth of nothing but if she be companied with her sister 
charity. And then saith the Scripture too : J Fides, Spes, 
Charitas: tria hcec, major autem horum est Charitas, Of 
these three virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, of all these 
it (s three the greatest is Charity, and therefore as 
greater ttian worthy to have the thank as Faith. Howbeit, 
as I said, I will not strive therefor, nor indeed, 
as our matter standeth, I shall not greatly need. For if 
they say, that he which sufTereth tribulation or martyr- 
* Lucse x^ii. f Matth. v. J 1 Cor. xiii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 41 

dom for the faith, shall have high reward, not for his 
work but for his well-working faith ; yet sith that they 
grant that have it he shall, the cause of high comfort 
in the third degree standeth, and that is, you wot well, 
the effect of all my purpose. 

VINCENT. Verily, good uncle, this is truly driven and 
tried unto the uttermost, as it seemeth me. And there 
fore, 1 pray you, proceed at your pleasure. 



42 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



CHAPTER XIII. 



That a man ought to be comfortable to himself, and have 
good hope, and be joyful also in Tribulation, appeareth 
well by this, that a man hath great cause of fear and 
heaviness that continueth alway still in wealth, disconti 
nued with no Tribulation. 



NTONY. COUSIN, it were a long work to 
peruse every comfort that a man may well 
take of tribulation. For as many comforts 
(you wot well) may a man take thereof as 
there be good commodities therein ; and 
that be there surely so many, that it would 

be very long; to rehearse and treat of them. 
._ * ~, i-iii 

But me seemeth we cannot lightly better per 
ceive what profit and commodity, and thereby 
what comfort they may take of it that have it, than if we 
well consider what harm the lack is, and thereby what 
discomfort the lack thereof should be to them that never 
have it. 

So is it now, that all holy men agree, and all the 
Scripture is full, and our own experience proveth at our 
eye, that we be not come into this wretched world to 
dwell here, nor have not (as St. Paul saith)* our dwelling 
city here, but we be seeking for the city that is to come ; 
and therefore St. Paul sheweth us that we do seek for it, 
as they that are good folk, and fain would come thither, 
do. For surely whoso setteth so little thereby that he 
listeth not to seek therefor, it will, I fear me, be long ere 
he come thereat, and marvellous great grace if he ever 
come thither. Sic currite, saith St. Paul,t ut comprehen- 
* Heb. xiii. t 1 Cor. ix. 




AGAINST TRIBULATION. 43 

datis, Run so, that you may get it. If it must then be 
gotten with running, when shall he come at it that list 
not once step toward it? Now because that this world is, 
as I tell you, not our eternal dwelling, but our little while 
wandering, God would that we should in such wise use 
it, as folk that were weary of it ; and that we should in 
this vale of labour, toil, tears, and misery, not look for 
rest and ease, game, pleasure, wealth, and felicity. For 
they that so do fare like a foul fellow, that a mn ^ ^ a 
going towards his own house where he should true compart- 
be wealthy, would for a tapster s pleasure be- s 
come an hostler by the way and die in a stable, and never 
come at home. And would God that those that drown 
themselves in the desire of this world s wretched wealth, 
were not yet more fools than so ! 

But, alas ! their folly as far passeth the foolishness of 
that other fond fellow, as there is distance between the 
heighth of heaven and the very depth of hell. For our 
Saviour saith, Vce vobis qui ridetis nunc, quia lugebitis et 
flebitis, Wo may you be that laugh now, for you shall 
wail and weep.* Est tempusflcndi (saith the Scripture) et 
est tempus ridendi, There is time of weeping and there is 
time of laughing. f But, as you see, he setteth the weep 
ing time before ; for that is the time of this wretched 
world, and the laughing time shall come after in heaven. 
There is also a time of sowing, and a time of reaping too. 
Now must we in this world sow, that we may in the 
other world reap ; and in this short sowing time of this 
weeping world, must we water our seed with the showers 
of our tears ; and then shall we have in heaven a merry 
laughing harvest for ever. Euntes ibant et flebant (saith 
the prophet) mittentes semina sua, They went forth and 
sowed their seeds weeping.J But what, saith he, shall 
follow thereof? Venientes autem venient cum exultatione, 
portantes manipulos suos, They shall come again more 
than laughing, with great joy and exultation, with their 
handfuls of corn in their hands. Lo, they that in their 
going home towards heaven sow their seed with weeping, 
* Luc. vi. f Eccl. iii. J Psalm cxxv. 



44 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

shall at the day of judgment come to their bodies again, 
with everlasting plenty, laughing. 

And for to prove that this life is no laughing time, but 
rather the time of weeping; we find that our Saviour 
himself wept twice or thrice, but never find we that he 
laughed so much as once. I will not swear that he never 
did, but at the least wise he left us no ensample of it. 
But, on the other side, he left us ensample of weeping.* 
Of weeping have we matter enough, both for our own 
sins, and for other folks too ; for surely so should we do, 
bewail their wretched sins, and not be glad to detract 
ontfnttai them, nor envy them neither. Alas ! silly 
Kifwnfm souls, what cause is there to envy them that 
cnbteo. are ever wealthy in this world, and ever out of 

tribulation? which (as Job saith) ducunt in bonis dies 
suoSj et in puncto ad inferna descendunt, lead all their 
days in wealth, and in a moment of an hour descend into 
their graves, and be painfully buried in hell.f St. Paul 
saith unto the Hebrews, that God those that he loveth, 
he chastiseth. Et flagellat omnem filiwn quern recipit, 
And he scourgeth every son of his that he receiveth.J 
St. Paul saith also, Per multas tribulationes oportet nos 
introire in regnum Dei, By many tribulations must we 
go into the kingdom of God. And no marvel, for our 
Saviour Christ said so himself unto his two disciples that 
were going unto the castle of Emmaus, An nesciebatis, 
quid oportebat Christum pati, et sic introire in regnum 
suum ? Knew you not, that Christ must suffer, and so 
go into his kingdom ?|| And would we, that are servants, 
look for more privilege in our Master s house than our 
Master himself? Would we get into his kingdom with 
ease, when he himself got not into his own but by pain ? 
His kingdom hath he ordained for his disciples, and he 
saith unto us all, Qui vult esse meus discipulus, tollat 
crucem suam, et sequatur me, If any man will be 
my disciple, let him learn of me to do as I have 

* [Our Saviour wept upon the city of Jerusalem, Luc. xix. Upon La 
zarus, John ii. And in his passion, Heb. v.] 

f Job xxi. J Hebrse. xii. Act. xiv. || Lucse xxiv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 45 

done,* take his cross of tribulation upon his back and 
follow me. He saith not here, lo ! let him laugh, and 
make merry. 

Now, if heaven serve but for Christ s disciples, and 
they be those that take their cross of tribulation ; when 
shall these folk come there, that never have tribulation ? 
And if it be true that St. Paul saith, that God chastiseth 
all them that he loveth, and scourgeth every child whom 
he receiveth,f and to heaven shall none come but such as 
he loveth and receiveth, when shall they then come thither 
whom he never chastiseth, nor never doth vouchsafe to 
file his hands upon them, nor give them so much as one 
lash ? And if we cannot (as St. Paul saith we cannot) 
come to heaven but by many tribulations,;]: how shall they 
come thither then, that never have none at all ? Thus see 
we well by the very Scripture itself, how true the words 
are of old holy saints, that with one voice in a manner 
say all one thing, that is to wit, that we shall not have 
both continual wealth in this world and in the other too. 
And therefore, sith they that in this world without any 
tribulation enjoy their long continual course of never in 
terrupted prosperity, have a great cause of fear and dis 
comfort lest they be far fallen out of God s favour, and 
stand deep in his indignation and displeasure, while he 
never sendeth them tribulation, which he is ever wont to 
send them whom he loveth ; they therefore, I say, that 
are in tribulation, have on the other side a great cause 
to take in their grief great inward comfort and spiritual 
consolation. 

* Matth. xvi. [Luke.] f Heb. xii. Act. xiv. 



46 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XIV. 

A certain objection, and the answer thereto. 



INCENT. VERILY, good uncle, this seem- 
eth so, indeed. Howbeit, yet, methink 
you say very sore in some things concern 
ing such persons as are in continual pros 
perity ; and they be, you wot well, not a 
few, and those are they also that have the 
rule and authority of this world in their hand. And I 
wot well, that when they talk with such great cunning 
men, as can (I trow) tell the truth ; and when they ask 
them whether (while they make merry here in earth all 
their life) they may not yet for all that have heaven after 
too ; they do tell them, yes, yes, well enough : for I have 
heard them tell them so myself. 

ANTONY. I suppose, good cousin, that no very wise 
man, and specially none that very good is therewith, will 
tell any man fully of that fashion. But surely such as 
so say to them, I fear me that they flatter 
them, either for lucre or fear. Some of them a 
think peradventure thus : This man maketh much of 
me now, and giveth me money also to fast, and watch, 
and pray for him ; but so I fear me would he do no more, 
if I should go tell him now, that all that I do for him will 
not serve him, but if he go fast, and watch, and pray for 
himself too. For if I should see thereto and say farther, 
that my diligent intercession for him should (I trust) be 
the mean that God should the sooner give him grace to 
amend, and fast, and watch, and pray, and take affliction 
in his own body for the bettering of his sinful soul, he 
would be wondrous wroth with that. For he would be 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 47 

loth to have any such grace at all as should make him go 
leave off any of his mirth, and so sit and mourn for his 
sin. Such mind as this, lo ! have there some 
of those that are not unlearned, and have 
worldly wit at will, which tell great men such 
tales as perilously beguile them, rather than the flatterer 
that so telleth them would with a true tale jeopard to leese 
his lucre. 

Some are there also that such tales tell them for con 
sideration of another fear. For seeing the man so sore 
set on his pleasure that they despair any amendment of 
him whatsoever they should shew him, and then seeing 
also beside that the man doth no great harm, but of a 
gentle nature doth some good men some good ; they pray 
God themself to send him grace, and so they let him lie 
lame still in his fleshly lusts ad probaticam piscinam, eoopec- 
tantes aquce mo turn,* at the pool that the Gospel speaketh 
of beside the Temple, wherein they washed the sheep for 
the sacrifice, and they tarry to see the water stirred. And 
when his good angel coming from God shall once begin 
to stir the water of his heart, and move him to the lowly 
meekness of a simple sheep, then if he call them to 
him they will tell him another tale, and help to bear him 
and plunge him into the pool of penance over the hard 
ears. But in the meanwhile, for fear lest when he would 
wax never the better he would wax much the worse, and 
from gentle, forsooth, sweet, and courteous, wax angry, 
rough, froward, and sour, and thereupon be troublous and 
tedious to the world ; to make fair weather withal, they 
give him fair words for the while, and put him in good 
comfort, and let him for the remanent stand at his own 
adventure. And in such wise deal they with him as the 
mother doth sometime with her child, which, when the 
little boy will not rise in time for her, but lie still a-bed 
and slug, and when he is up weepeth because he hath 
lain so long, fearing to be beaten at school for his late 
coming thither ; she telleth him then that it is but early 
days, and he shall come time enough, and biddeth him 
go, good son, I warrant thee, I have sent to thy master 
* Joan. v. 



48 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

myself, take thy bread and butter with thee, thou shalt 
not be beaten at all. And thus (so she may send him 
merry forth at the door, that he weep not in her sight at 
home) she studieth not much upon the matter, though he 
be taken tardy, and beaten when he cometh to school. 
Surely thus, I fear me, fare there many friars and States 
chaplains too, in comfort giving to great men when they 
be loth to displease them. 1 cannot commend their thus 
doing, but surely I fear me thus they do. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 49 




CHAPTER XV. 

Other objections. 

INCENT. BUT yet, good uncle, though 
some do thus, this answereth not full the 
matter. For we see that the whole Church 
in the Common Service useth divers col 
lects, in which all men pray specially for 
the princes and the prelates, and generally 
every man for other, and for himself too, that God would 
vouchsafe to send them all perpetual health and pros 
perity. And I can see no good man pray God send 
another sorrow, nor no such prayers are put in the priest s 
portasse, as far as I can hear. 

And yet if it were as you say, good uncle, that per 
petual prosperity were to the soul so perilous, and tribu 
lation thereto so fruitful ; then were (as me seemeth) 
every man bounden of charity, not only to pray God send 
their neighbour sorrow, but also to help thereto themself. 
And when folk are sick, not pray God send them health, 
but when they come to comfort them they should say, 
I am glad, good gossip, that you be so sick, I pray God 
keep you long therein. And neither should any man 
give any medicine to another, nor take any medicine 
himself neither ; for by the minishing of the tribulation, 
he taketh away part of the profit from his soul, which 
can with no bodily profit be sufficiently recompensed. 

And also this wot you well, good uncle, that we read 
in holy Scripture of men that were wealthy and rich, and 
yet were good withal.* Solomon was, you wot well, the 

* 2 Keg. x. 
E 



50 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

richest and the most wealthy king that any man could in 
his time tell of, and yet was he well-beloved with God. 
Job was also no beggar perdie, nor no wretch otherwise, 
nor lost his riches and his wealth, for that God would not 
that his friend should have wealth, but for the show of 
his patience, to the increase of his merit, and confusion 
of the devil. And for proof that prosperity may stand 
with God s favour, Reddidit Deus Job omnia duplicia ; 
God restored him double of all that ever he lost, and 
gave him after long life to take his pleasure long.* 

Abraham was eke, you wot well, a man of great sub 
stance, and so continued all his life in honour and in 
wealth ; *f* yea, and when he died, too, he went into 
such wealth that Lazarus, which died in tribulation and 
poverty, the best place that he came to, was that rich 
man s bosom. J Finally, good uncle, this we find at our 
age, and every day we prove it by plain experience, that 
many a man is right wealthy, and yet therewith right 
good, and many a miserable wretch as evil as he is 
wretched. And therefore it seemeth hard, good uncle, 
that between prosperity and tribulation the matter should 
go thus, that tribulation should be given alway by God 
to those that he loveth for a sign of salvation, and pros 
perity sent for displeasure as a token of eternal damna 
tion. 

* Job xlii. f Gen. xiii. + Luc. xvi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 51 




CHAPTER XVI. 

The answer to the objections. 

NTONY. EITHER I said not, cousin, or 
else meant I not to say, that for an un 
doubted rule worldly prosperity were alway 
displeasant to God, or tribulation evermore 
wholesome to every man. For well wot I, 
that our Lord giveth in this world unto either 
sort of folk, either sort of fortune. Et facit solem suum 
oriri super bonos et malos, et pluit super justos et injustos ; 
He maketh his sun to shine both upon the good and 
the bad, and his rain to rain both on the just and the 
unjust.* And on the other side, Flagellat omnem filium 
quern recipit ; He scourgeth every son that he receiveth.i- 
And yet he beateth not only good folk that he loveth, 
but Multaflagellapeccatoris too, There are many scourges 
for sinners also.J He giveth evil folk good fortune in this 
world, both to call them by kindness, and if they thereby 
come not, the more is their unkindness ; and yet where 
wealth will not bring them, he giveth them sometime sor 
row. And some that in prosperity cannot to God creep 
forward, in tribulation toward him they run apace. Mul- 
tiplicatfs sunt infirmitates eorum, postea acceleraverunt ; 
Their infirmities were multiplied (saith the prophet) and 
after that they made haste. 

To some that are good men God sendeth wealth here 
also, and they give him great thank for his gift, and he 
rewardeth them for the thank too. To some good folk 

* Matth. y. f Hebrae. xii. J Psal. xxxii. Psal. XY. 

E 2 



52 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

he sendeth sorrow, and they thank him thereof too. If 
God should give the goods of this world only to evil folk, 
then would men ween that God were not the Lord thereof. 
If God would give the goods only to good men, then 
would folk take occasion to serve him but for them. 
Some will in wealth fall into folly. Homo cum in honore 
esset, non intellexit : comparatus estjumentis insipientibus, 
et similis factus est illis ; When man was in honour his 
understanding failed him; then was he compared with 
beasts, and made like unto them.* Some man with tri 
bulation will fall into sin, and therefore, saith the pro 
phet: Non relinquet Dominus virgam peccatorum super 
sortem justorum, ut non extendant justi ad iniquitatem 
manus suas ; God will not leave the rod of wicked men 
upon the lot of righteous men, lest the righteous perad- 
venture hap to extend and stretch out their hands to ini 
quity .f So say I not nay, but that in either state, wealth 
or tribulation may be matter of virtue and matter of vice 
also : but this is the point, lo ! that standeth here in ques 
tion between you and me ; not whether every prosperity 
be a perilous token, but whether continual wealth in this 
world without any tribulation be a fearful sign of God s 
indignation. And therefore this mark that we must shoot 
at, set up well in our sight, we shall now mete for the 
shot, and consider how near toward, or how far off, your 
arrows are from the prick. 

VINCENT. Some of my bolts, uncle, will I now take up 
myself, and prettily put them under my belt again. For 
some of them, I see well, be not worth the meting ; and 
no great marvel, though I shoot wide, while I somewhat 
mistake the mark. 

ANTONY. Those that make toward the mark and light 
far too short, when the shot is mete shall I take up for 
you. 

1. To prove that perpetual wealth should be no evil 
token, you lay first, that for princes arid prelates, and 
every man for other, we pray all for perpetual prosperity, 
and that in the common prayers of the Church too. 
* Psal. xlviii. t Psal. cxxiv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 53 

2. Then say you, secondly, that if prosperity were so 
perilous, and tribulation so profitable, every man ought 
then to pray God to send other sorrow. 

3. Thirdly, you furnish your objections with ensani- 
ples of Solomon, Job, and Abraham. 

4. And, fourthly, in the end of all, you prove by ex 
perience of our own time daily before our face, that some 
wealthy folk are good, and some needy very naught. 
That last bolt I think, lo ! that sith I say the same my 
self, you be content to take up, it lieth so far wide. 

VINCENT. That will I with a good will, uncle. 

ANTONY. Well, do so then, good cousin, and we shall 
mete for the remnant. First must you, cousin, be sure 
that you look well to the mark, and that can you not do, 
but if you know what thing tribulation is. For sith that 
it is one of the chief things that we principally speak of, 
but if you consider well what that is, you may miss the 
mark again. I suppose now, that you will ^m^t W6u> 
agree, that tribulation is every such thing as lation is - 
troubleth and grieveth a man, either in body or mind, 
and is, as it were, the prick of a thorn, a bramble, or a 
brier thrust into his flesh, or into his mind. And surely, 
cousin, the prick that very sore pricketh the mind, as far 
almost passeth in pain the grief that paineth the body, 
as doth a thorn that is sticking in the heart pass and 
exceed in pain the thorn that is thrust in the heel. Now, 
cousin, if tribulation be this that I call it, then shall you 
soon consider this, that there be more kinds of tribula 
tion than you peradventure thought on before. And 
thereupon it followeth also, that sith every kind of tribu 
lation is an interruption of wealth, and prosperity (which 
is but of wealth another name) may be discontinued by 
more ways than you would afore have weened ; then say 
I thus unto you, cousin, that sith tribulation is not only- 
such pangs as pain the body, but every trouble also that 
grieveth the mind, many good men have many tribula 
tions that every man marketh not, and consequently their 
wealth interrupted therewith, when other men are not 
ware. For trow you, cousin, that the temptations of the 
devil, the world and the flesh, soliciting the mind of a 



54 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

good man unto sin, is not a great inward trouble and 
secret grief to his heart ? 

To such wretches as care not for their conscience, but 
like unreasonable beasts, follow their foul affections, many 
of these temptations be no trouble at all, but matter of 
their bodily pleasure. But unto him, cousin, that stand- 
eth in dread of God, the tribulation of temptation is so 
painful, that to be rid thereof, or sure of the victory 
therein (be his substance never so great) he would gladly 
give more than half. Now, if he that careth not for God 
think this trouble but a trifle, and with such tribulation, 
prosperity not interrupted; let him cast in his mind, if 
himself hap upon a fervent longing for the thing which get 
he cannot (and as a good man will not), as per case his 
pleasure of some certain good woman that will not be 
naught, and then let him tell me whether the ruffle of his 
desire shall so torment his mind, as all the pleasures that 
he can take beside shall, for lack of that one, not please 
him of a pin. And I dare be bold to warrant him that 
the pain in resisting, and the great fear of falling, that 
many a good man hath in his temptation, is an anguish 
and a grief every deal as great as his. 

Now say I farther, cousin, that if this be true, as in 
very deed true it is, that such trouble is tribulation, and 
thereby consequently an interruption of prosperous 
wealth ; no man precisely meaneth to pray for other to 
keep him in continual prosperity without any manner of 
discontinuance or change in this world. For that prayer, 
without other condition added or implied, were inordinate, 
and were very childish. For it were to pray, that either 
they should never have temptation ; or else, that if they 
had, they might follow it and fulfil their affection. Who- 
dare, good cousin, for shame, or for sin, for himself, or 
for any man else, make this manner kind of prayer? 
Besides this, cousin, the Church, you wot well, adviseth 
every man to fast, and watch, and pray, both for taming 
of his fleshly lusts, and also to mourn and lament for his 
sin before committed, and to bewail his offences done 
against God, and (as they did at the city of Nineveh,* and 

* Jonse iii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 55 

as the prophet David did,* for their sin) put affliction to 
their flesh. And when a man so doth, cousin, is this no 
tribulation to him because he doth it himself? For I wot 
well you would agree that it were, if another man did it 
against his will. Then is tribulation, you wot well, tribu 
lation still, though it be taken well in worth; yea, and 
though it be taken to with very right good will, yet is 
pain, you wot well, pain, and therefore so is it though a 
man do it himself. Then, sith the Church adviseth every 
man to take tribulation for his sin; whatsoever words 
you find in any prayer, they never mean (you may be 
fast and sure) to pray God to keep every good man, nor 
every bad man neither, from every manner kind of tribu 
lation. 

Now he that is not in some kind of tribulation, as 
peradventure in sickness or in loss of goods, is not yet 
out of tribulation, if he have his ease of body or of mind 
unquieted, and thereby his wealth interrupted with 
another kind of tribulation, as is either temptation to a 
good man, or voluntary affliction, either of body by 
penance, or of mind by contrition and heaviness for his 
sin and offence against God. And thus, I say, that for 
precise perpetual wealth and prosperity in this world, that 
is to say, for the perpetual lack of all trouble and all 
tribulation, there is no wise man that either prayeth for 
himself or for any man else. And thus answer I your 
first objection. 

Now, before I meddle with your second, your third will 
I join to this. For upon this answer will the solution of 
your ensamples conveniently depend. As for Solomon 
was,f as you say, all his days a marvellous wealthy king, 
and much was he beloved with God, I wot well, in the 
beginning of his reign ; but that the favour of God per 
severed with him, as his prosperity did, that cannot I tell. 
And therefore will I not warrant it; but surely we see that 
his continual wealth made him fall, first into such wan 
ton folly in multiplying wives to an horrible number,J 
contrary to the commandment of God given in the law of 
Moses ; and secondly, taking to wife among other such 
* 2 Reg. xii. et xxiv. f 2 Reg. x. J Reg. xi. 



56 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

as were infidels, contrary to another commandment of 
God s written law also ; that finally, by the mean of his 
miscreant wife, he fell into maintenance of idolatry him 
self; and of this find we no amendment or repentance, 
as we find of his father. And therefore, though he were 
buried where his father was, yet whether he went to the 
rest that his father did, through some secret sorrow for 
his sin at last, that is to say, by some kind of tribulation, 
I cannot tell, and am content therefore to trust well, and 
pray God he did so, but surely we be not sure. And 
therefore the ensample of Solomon can very little serve 
you ; for you might as well lay it for a proof that God 
favoureth idolatry, as that he favoureth prosperity; for 
Solomon was, you wot well, in both. 

As for Job, sith our question bangeth upon prosperity 
perpetual,* the wealth of Job that was with so great adver 
sity so sore interrupted, can (as yourself seeth) serve you 
for no ensample. And that God gave him here in this 
world all thing double that he lost, little toucheth my 
matter, which deny not prosperity to be God s gift, and 
given to some good men too, namely, such as have tribu 
lation too. But in Abraham, cousin, I suppose is all your 
chief hold, because that you not only shew riches and 
prosperity perpetual in him through the course of all his 
whole life in this world, but that after his death also, 
Lazar,~j- the poor man that lived in tribulation, and died 
from pure hunger and thirst, had after his death his place 
of comfort and rest in Abraham, the wealthy, rich man s 
bosom. But here must you consider, that Abraham had 
not such continual prosperity, but that it was discontinued 
with divers tribulations. 

1. Was it nothing to him, trow you, to leave his own 
country, and at God s sending, J to go into a strange land, 
which God promised him and his seed for ever, but in all 
his whole life he gave himself never a foot ? 

2. Was it no trouble that his cousin Loth and himself 
were fain to part company,^ because their servants could 
not agree together ? 

3. Though he recovered Loth again from the three 

* Job xlii. f [Luc. xvi.] J Gen. xii. Gen. xiii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 57 

kings,* was his taking no trouble to him, trow you, in 
the meanwhile? 

4. Was the destruction of the five cities-}- no heaviness 
to his heart ? A man would ween yes, that readeth in the 
story what labour he made to save them. 

5. His heart was, I dare say, in no little sorrow, when 
he was fain to let Abimelech, the king, have his wife,J 
whom (though God provided to keep undefiled and 
turned all to wealth), yet was it no little woe to him in 
the meantime. 

6. What continual grief was it to his heart many a 
long day, that he had no child of his own body begotten : 
he that doubteth thereof shall find it in Genesis of his 
own moan made to God. 

7. No man doubteth but Ismael was great comfort unto 
him at his birth : || and was it no grief then, when he 
must cast out the mother and the child both? 

8. Isaac, that was the child of promission, although 
God kept his life that was unlooked for; yet, while the 
loving- father bound him, and went about to behead him, 
and offer him up in sacrifice : ^j who but himself can con 
ceive what heaviness his heart had then? I would ween 
in my mind (because you speak of Lazar) that Lazar s 
own death panged him not so sore. Then, as Lazarus s 
pain was patiently borne, so was Abraham s taken not 
only patiently, but (which is a thing much more merito 
rious) of obedience, willingly. And therefore, though 
Abraham had not (as he did, indeed) far excelled Lazar 
in merit of reward for many other things beside, and 
specially for that he was a special patriarch of the faith, 
yet had he far passed him even by the merit of tribula 
tion, well taken here for God s sake too. And so serveth 
for your purpose no man less than Abraham. 

But now, good cousin, let us look a little longer here 
upon the rich Abraham and Lazar the poor, and as we 
shall see Lazar set in wealth somewhat under the rich 
Abraham, so shall we see another rich man lie full low 
beneath Lazar, crying and calling out of his fiery couch 

* Gen. xiv. t Gen. xv. J Gen. xx. 

Gen. xv. || Gen, xvi. and xxi. fl Gen. xxii. 



58 A DIALOGUE OP COMFORT 

that Lazar might with a drop of water falling from his 
finger s end, a little cool and refresh the tip of his 
burning tongue. Consider well now what Abraham 
answered to the rich wretch :* Fill, recordare quia re- 
cepisti bona in vita tua, et Lazarus similiter mala : nunc 
autem hie consolatur, tu vero cruciaris ; Son, remember 
that thou hast in thy life received wealth, and Lazar in 
likewise pain; but now receiveth he comfort, and thou 
sorrow, pain, and torment. Christ describeth his wealth 
and his prosperity, gay and soft apparel, with royal 
delicate fare, continually day by day. Epulabatur (saith 
our Saviour) quotidie splendide ; He did fare royally 
every day.f His wealth was continual, lo ! no time of 
tribulation between. And Abraham telleth him the same 
tale, that he had taken his wealth in this world, and 
Lazarus likewise his pain : and that they had now 
changed each to the clean contrary : poor Lazar from 
tribulation into wealth, and the rich man from his con 
tinual prosperity into perpetual pain. Here was laid 
expressly to Lazar no very great virtue by name, nor to 
this rich glutton no great heinous crime, but the taking 
of his continual ease and pleasure without any tribulation 
or grief, whereof grew sloth and negligence to think 
upon the poor man s pain. For that ever himself saw 
Lazarus, and wist him die for hunger at his door, that 
laid neither Christ nor Abraham to his charge. And 
therefore, cousin, this story, lo ! of which by occasion of 
Abraham and Lazar you put me in remembrance, well 
declareth what peril is in continual worldly wealth, and 
contrariwise what comfort cometh of tribulation. And 
thus as your other ensamples of Solomon and Job nothing 
for the matter further you; so your ensample of rich 
Abraham and poor Lazarus hath not a little hindered 
vou. 

I 

* Luc. xvi. f Ibidem. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 



59 



CHAPTER XVII. 



An answer to the second objection. 




INCENT. SURELY, uncle, you have shaken 
mine ensamples sore, and have in your 
meting of your shot moved me these ar 
rows, methinketh, farther off from the 
prick than methought they stack when I 
shot them. And I shall therefore now be 
content to take them up again. But yet me seemeth 
surely, that my second shot may stand. For of truth, if 
every kind of tribulation be so profitable, that it be good 
to have it, as you say it is : I cannot see wherefore any 
man should either wish or pray, or any manner of thing 
do, to have any kind of tribulation withdrawn, either 
from himself or any friend of his. 

ANTONY. I think in very deed tribulation so good 
and profitable, that I should haply doubt as you do 
wherefore a man might labour or pray to be delivered of 
it, saving that God which teacheth us the one, teacheth 
us also the other. And as he biddeth us take our pain 
patiently, and exhort our neighbours to do also the same : 
so biddeth he us also not let to do our devoir, to remove 
the pain from us both. And then when it is God that 
teacheth both, I shall not need to break my brain in 
devising wherefore he would bid us do both, the one 
seeming to resist the other. If he send the scourge of 
scarcity and of great famine, he will we shall bear it 
patiently ; but yet will he that we shall eat our meat 
when we can hap to get it. If he send us the plague 
of pestilence, he will that we shall patiently take it ; but 



60 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

yet will he that we let us blood, and lay plasters to draw 
it, and ripe it, and lance it, and get it away. Both these 
points teacheth God in Scripture in more than many 
places. Fasting is better than eating, and more thank 
hath of God ; and yet will God that we shall eat. Pray 
ing is better than drinking, and much more pleasant to 
God ; and yet will God that we shall drink. Waking in 
good business is much more acceptable to God than 
sleeping ; and yet will God that we shall sleep. 

God hath given us our bodies here to keep, 
Cfte reason j -n i , i i 

tofjp tonup and will that we maintain them to do him 

SIMMS* service with, till he send for us hence. Now 
a to tie tem- can we not tell surely how much tribulation 
may mar it, or peradventure hurt the soul also ? 
Wherefore the apostle, after that he had commanded the 
Corinthians to deliver to the devil the abominable forni- 
cator that forbare not the bed of his own father s wife :* 
yet after that he had been awhile accursed and punished 
for his sin, the apostle commanded them charitably to 
receive him again and give him consolation. Ne forte 
abundantiori tristitia absorbeatur ; Lest peradventure the 
greatness of his sorrow should swallow him up.f And 
therefore when God sendeth the tempest, he will that the 
shipmen shall get them to their tackling, and do the best 
they can for themself, that the seas eat them not up. 
For help ourselves as well as we can, he can make his 
plague as sore, and as long lasting, as himself list. And 
as he will that we do for ourselfj so will he that we do 
for our neighbours too : and that we shall be in this 
world each to other piteous, and not sine affectione, for 
which the apostle rebuketh them that lack their tender 
affections here : so that of charity sorry should we be for 
their pain too, upon whom (for cause necessary) we be 
driven ourself to put it. And whoso saith, that for pity 
of his neighbour s soul he will have none of his body, let 
him be sure that (as St. John saith) he that loveth not 
his neighbour whom he seeth, loveth God but a little 
whom he seeth not.J So that he that hath no pity of 
the pain that he seeth his neighbour feel afore him, 
* 1 Cor. v. f [2 Cor. ii.] J 1 Joan. iv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 61 

pitieth little (whatsoever he say) the pain of his soul that 
he seeth not. 

God sendeth us also such tribulation sometime, be 
cause his pleasure is to have us pray unto him for help. 
And therefore, when St. Peter was in prison, the Scrip 
ture sheweth that the whole Church without intermission 
prayed incessantly for him ; and that at their fervent 
prayer God by miracle delivered him.* When the disci 
ples in the tempest stood in fear of drowning, they prayed 
unto Christ and said, Salva nos, JDomine, perimus ; Save 
us, Lord, we perish.t And then at their prayer he shortly 
ceased the tempest. And now see we proved often, that 
in sore weather or sickness, by general processions God 
giveth gracious help. And many a man in his great pain 
and sickness by calling upon God is marvellously made 
whole. This is God s goodness, that because on s g ou* 
in wealth we remember him not, but forget to ness - 
pray to him, sendeth us sorrow and sickness to force us to 
draw toward him, and compelleth us to call upon him 
and pray for release of our pain. Whereby when we 
learn to know him, and seek to him, we take a good 
occasion to fall after into farther grace. 

* Act. xii. t Matth. viii. 



62 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XVIII. 



Of them that in Tribulation seek not unto God, but some 
to the flesh, and some to the world, and some to the devil 
himself. 



INCENT. VERILY, good uncle, with this 
good answer I am well content. 

ANTONY. Yea, cousin, but many men 
are there with whom God is not content, 
which abuse this great goodness of his, 
whom neither fair treating, nor hard hand- 
&j), ijoto true ling, can cause to remember their Maker ; but 
in wealth they be wanton and forget God, and 
follow their lust, and when God with tribulation draw- 
eth them toward him, then wax they wode, and draw 
back all that ever they may, and rather run and seek 
help at any other hand, than to go fet it at his. Some 
for comfort seek to the flesh, some to the world, and 
some to the devil himself. Some man that in worldly 
prosperity is very dull, and hath deep stepped into many 
a sore sin, which sins, when he did them, he counted for 
a notable P ar ^ f n ^ s pleasure : God willing of his good- 

SSung ness to ca ^ *^ e man to S race > casteth a re- 
aim tioto it morse into his mind among after his first 
K2?tK sleep, and maketh him lie a little awhile and 
jmeri men. bethink him. Then beginneth he to remember 
his life, and from that he falleth to think upon his death, 
and how he must leave all this worldly wealth within a 
while behind here in this world, and w r alk hence alone, 
he wotteth not whither, nor how soon he shall take his 
journey thither, nor can tell what company he shall meet 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 63 

there. And then beginneth he to think that it were good 
to make sure, and to be merry, so that he be wise there 
with, lest there hap to be such black bugs indeed as folks 
call devils, whose torments he was wont to take for poets 
tales. Those thoughts, if they sink deep, are a sore tribu 
lation. And surely if he take hold of the grace that God 
therein offereth him, his tribulation is whole- ar.niwiatton 
some and shall be full comfortable, to remem- to & otesome - 
ber that God by this tribulation calleth him, and biddeth 
him come home out of the country of sin that he was 
bred and brought up so long in, and come into the land 
of behest that floweth with milk and honey. And then 
if he follow this calling (as many one full well doth) 
joyful shall his sorrow be, and glad shall he be to change 
his life, leave his wanton lusts, and do penance for his 
sins, bestowing his time upon better business. 

But some men now, when this calling of God another sort of 
causeth them to be sad, they be loth to leave JJJ ^"Se 
their sinful lusts that hang in their hearts, * 
and specially if they have any such kind of living as they 
must needs leave off, or fall deeper in sin : or if they have 
done so many great wrongs that they have many mends 
to make, that must (if they follow God) minish much 
of their money, then are these folk (alas !) wofully 
bewrapped. For God pricketh upon them of his great 
goodness still, and the grief of this great pang pincheth 
them at the heart, and of wickedness they wry away, and 
for this tribulation they turn to their flesh for help, and 
labour to shake off this thought, and then they mend 
their pillow, and lay their head softer, and ptarfc tfifs 
essay to sleep; and when that will not be, meu - 
then they find a talk awhile with them that lie by them. 
If that cannot be neither, then they lie and long for day, 
and then get them forth about their worldly wretchedness 
the matter of their prosperity, the selfsame sinful things 
with which they displease God most, and at length with 
many times using this manner God utterly casteth them 
off. And then they set nought neither by God nor devil. 
Peccator cum in profundum venerit, contemnit ; When the 



64 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

sinner cometh even into the depth,* then he contemneth 
and setteth nought by nothing, saving worldly fear that 
may fall by chance, or that needs must (they wot well) 
fall once by death. But alas ! when death cometh, then 
cometh again his sorrow ; then will no soft bed serve, nor 
no company make him merry. Then he must leave his 
outward worship and comfort of his glory, and lie pant 
ing in his bed as it were on a pin-bank ; then cometh his 
fear of his evil life and of his dreadful death. Then 
cometh the torment of his cumbered conscience, and fear 
of his heavy judgment. Then the devil draweth him to 
despair with imagination of hell, and suffereth him not 
then to take it for a fable. And yet if he do ; then 
findeth it the wretch no fable. Ah ! wo worth the while 
that folk think not of this in time. 

God sendeth to some man great trouble in his mind, 
and great tribulation about his worldly goods, because he 
would of his goodness take his delight and his confidence 
from them. And yet the man withdraweth no part of 
his fond phantasies, but falleth more fervently to them 
than before, and setteth his whole heart like a fool more 
upon them : and then he taketh him all to the devices of 
his worldly councillors, and without any counsel of God, 
Cfic tofsc men or an y trust put in him, maketh many wise 
of tins tooria. wa ys as he weeneth, and all turn at length into 
folly, and one subtle drift driveth another to naught. 
[3n& no tijej) Some have I seen even in their last sickness 
not so?] s it U p i n their death-bed underpropped with 

pillows, take their playfellows to them, and comfort them 
selves with cards, and this (they said) did ease them well 
to put phantasies out of their heads : and what phantasies 
trow you ? Such as I told you right now, of their own 
lewd life and peril of their soul, of heaven and of hell that 
irked them to think of, and therefore cast it out with card 
Wstatfttee* P la y as lo ?S as ever they might, till the pure 
too true tottti pangs of death pulled their heart from their 
play, and put them in a case they could not 
reckon their game. And then left they their gamners, 

* Prover. xviii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 65 

and slyly slunk away; and long was it not ere they 
gasped up the ghost. And what game they then came 
to, that God knoweth, and not I. I pray God it were 
good, but I fear it very sore. 

Some men are there also, that do (as did king Saul) in 
tribulation go seek unto the devil.* This king had com 
manded all such to be destroyed, as used the false 
abominable superstition of this ungracious g a(ngt cona 
witchcraft and necromancy, and yet fell he to turns ana 
such folly afterward himself, that ere he went to 
to battle he sought unto a witch, and besought her to 
raise up a dead man to tell him how he should speed. f Now 
had God shewed him before by Samuel, that he should 
come to nought, and he went about none amendment, 
but waxed worse and worse, so that God list not to look 
to him. And when he sought by the prophets to have 
answer of God, there came none answer to him, which 
thing he thought strange. And because he was not with 
God heard at his pleasure, he made suit to the devil, 
desiring a woman by witchcraft to raise up dead Samuel ; 
but speed had he such thereof, as commonly they have 
all, that in their business meddle with such matters. For 
an evil answer had he, and an evil speed thereafter, his 
army discomfited and himself slain. And as it is re 
hearsed in Paralipomenon,J one cause of his fall was, 
for lack of trust in God, for which he left to take counsel 
of God, and fell to seek counsel of the witch against 
God s prohibition in the law, and against his own good 
deed, by which he punished and put out all witches so 
late afore. 

Such speed let them look for, that play the same part, 
as I see many do, that in a great loss send to 
such a conjurer to get their gear again: and 
marvellous things there they see sometime, but never 
groat of their good again. And many a fond fool there 
is, that when he lieth sick, will meddle with no physic 
in no manner wise, nor send his water to no cunning 

* 1 Reg. xxvii. f 1 Reg. xv. 

J Lib. i. cap. 10. [1 Heg. xxviii. Levi. xix. xx.j 

F 



66 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

g man, but send his cap or his hose to a wise 
woman, otherwise called a witch. Then send- 
eth she word again, that she hath spied in his hose where, 
when he took no heed, he was taken with a sprite be 
tween two doors as he went in the twilight, but the sprite 
would not let him feel it in five days after ; and it hath 
all the while festered in his body, and that is the grief 
that paineth him so sore. But let him go to no leech- 
craft, nor any manner of physic, other than good meat 
and strong drink, for syrups should souse him up. But 
he shall have five leaves of valerian that she 

Ufiarm.] enchanted with a charm, and gathered with 
her left hand : let him lay those five leaves to his right 
thumb, not bind it fast to, but let it hang loose thereat 
by a green thread : he shall never need to change it, look 
it fall not away, but let it hang till he be whole, and he 
shall need no more. 

In such wise witches, and in such mad medicines have 
many fools more faith a great deal, than in God. And 
thus, cousin, as I tell you, all these kind of folk that in 
their tribulation call not upon God, but seek for their 
help and for their ease otherwhere, to the flesh and the 
world, and some to the flinging fiend himself; the tribu 
lation that God s goodness sendeth them for good, them- 
self by their folly turn unto their harm. And they that 
on the other side seek unto God therein, both comfort 
and profit they greatly take thereby. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 67 




CHAPTER XIX. 

Another Objection, with the Answers thereunto. 

INCENT. I LIKE well, good uncle, all 
your answers herein; but one doubt yet 
remaineth there in mind, which riseth 
upon this answer that you make, and that 
doubt soiled, I will as for this time, mine 
own good uncle, encumber you no farther. 
For methink I do you very much wrong, to give you 
occasion to labour yourself so much in matter of some 
study, with long talking at once. I will therefore at 
this time move you but one thing, and seek other time 
at your more ease for the remnant. My doubt, good 
uncle, is this. I perceive well by your answers [JFour no t a tic 
gathered and considered together, that you will Hitngs.] 
well agree, that a man may both have worldly wealth, 
and yet well go to God. And that on the other side, a 
man may be miserable and live in tribulation, and yet go 
to the devil. And as a man may please God by patience 
in adversity, so may he please God by thanksgiving in 
prosperity. 

Now sith you grant these things to be such, that either 
of them both may be matter of virtue, or else matter of 
sin, matter of damnation, or matter of salvation ; they 
seem neither good nor bad of their own nature, but things 
of themself equal and indifferent, turning to good or the 
contrary, after as they be taken. And then if this be 
thus, I can perceive no cause why you should give the 
pre-eminence unto tribulation, or wherefore you should 

F 2 



68 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

reckon more cause of comfort therein than you should 
reckon to stand in prosperity, but rather a great deal 
less, by in manner half, sith in prosperity the man is well 
at ease, and may also by giving thank to God get good 
unto his soul, whereas in tribulation, though he may merit 
by patience, as in abundance of worldly wealth the other 
may by thank; yet lacketh he much comfort that the 
wealthy man hath, in that he sore is grieved with heavi 
ness and pain : besides this also, that a wealthy man well 
at ease may pray to God quietly and merrily, with ala 
crity and great quietness of mind, whereas he that lieth 
groaning in his grief cannot endure to pray nor think 
almost upon nothing, but upon his pain. 

ANTONY. To begin, cousin, where you leave ; the 
prayers of him that is in wealth, and him that is in woe, 
if the men be both nought, their prayers be both like. 
For neither hath the one list to pray, nor the other 
neither. And as the one is let with his pain, so is the 
other with his pleasure, saving that the pain stirreth him 
some time to call upon God in his grief, though the man 
be right bad, where the pleasure pulleth his mind another 
way, though the man be merely good. And this point I 
think there are very few that can (if they say true) say 
that they find it otherwise. For in tribulation, 
which cometh, you wot well, in many sundry 
kinds, any man that is not a dull beast, or a 
desperate wretch, calleth upon God, not hourly, 
but right heartily, and setteth his heart full whole upon 
his request, so sore he longeth for ease and help of his 
heaviness. But when men are wealthy and well at their 
ease, while our tongue pattereth upon our prayers apace ; 
good God, how many mad ways our mind wandereth the 
while ! Yet wot I well, that in some tribulation such 
sore sickness there is, or other grievous bodily pain, that 
hard it were for a long prayer of matins : and yet some 
that be a-dying say full devoutly the seven Psalms, and 
other prayers, with the priest at their anealing ; but those 
that for the grief of their pain cannot endure to do it, or 
that be more tender, and lack that strong heart and 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 69 

stomach that some other have, God requireth 6oB re?u(ret j ) 
no such long prayers of them. But the lifting no mote ttjan 
up of the heart alone, without any word at all, ness^atfW. 
is more acceptable to him of one in such case, 
than long service so said, as folk use to say it in health. 
The martyrs in their agony made no long prayers aloud, 
but one inch of such a prayer so prayed in that pain, was 
worth a whole ell and more, even of their own prayers 
prayed at some other time. 

Great learned men say, that Christ, albeit i^ ri ^ 
he was very God, and as God, was in eternal nwtftti.] 
equal bliss with his Father, yet as man merited not for us 
only, but for himself too ; for proof whereof they lay in 
these words the authority of St. Paul : Christus humili- 
avit semetipsum factus obediens usque ad mortem, mortem 
autem crucis : propter quod et Deus exaltavit ilium, et dona- 
vit illi nomen quod est super omne nomen: ut in nomine Jesu 
omne genu flectatur, ccelestium, terrestrium et infernorum, 
et omnis lingua confiteatur, quia Dominus Jesus Christus 
in gloria est Dei patris, Christ hath humbled himself, 
and became obedient unto the death, and that unto the 
death of the cross, for which thing God hath also ex 
alted him, and given him a name which is above all 
names : that in the name of Jesus every knee be 
bowed, both of the celestial creatures, and the terrestrial, 
and the infernal too : and that every tongue shall confess 
that our Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God his 
father.* 

Now if it so be, as these great learned men upon such 
authorities of Holy Scripture say, that our Saviour so 
merited as man, and as man deserved reward, not for us 
only, but for himself also : then were there in his deeds, 
as it seemeth, sundry degrees and differences of deserving, 
and not his maundy-like merit, as his Passion, nor his 
sleep-like merit, as his watch and his prayer, no nor his 
prayers peradventure all of like merit neither. But though 
there none was, nor none could be in his most blessed 
person but excellent, and incomparably passing the prayer 
of any pure creature : yet were his own not all alike, 
* Philip, ii. 



70 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

Cfte c$tef kut some one far above some other. And then 
Drapers of if it thus be, of all his holy prayers, the chief 
seemeth me those that he made in his great 
agony and pain of his bitter passion. The first, when he 
fell thrice prostrate in his agony, when the heaviness of 
his heart with fear of death at hand, so painful and so 
cruel as he well beheld it, made such a fervent commotion 
in his blessed body, that the bloody sweat of his holy 
flesh dropped down on the ground.* The other were the 
painful prayers that he made upon the cross, where for 
CWst s a ^ the torment that he hanged in of beating, 
psiRs.] nailing, and stretching out all his limbs, with 
the wresting of his sinews, and breaking of his tender 
veins, and the sharp crown of thorn so pricking him into 
the head, that his blessed blood streamed down all his 
face : in all these hideous pains, in all their cruel despites, 
yet two very devout and fervent prayers he made.-f- The 
one for their pardon that so despiteously put him to his 
pain, and the other about his own deliverance, commend 
ing his own soul unto his holy Father in heaven. These 
prayers of his (among all that ever he made) made in his 
Draper in tri- mos t pain, reckon I for the chief. And these 
tuiatton is prayers of our Saviour at his bitter passion, 
M and of his holy martyrs in the fervour of their 
torment, shall serve us to see that there is no prayer made 
at pleasure so strong and effectual as in tribulation. 

Now come I to the touching of the reason that you 
make, where you tell me that I grant you, that both in 
wealth and in woe some men may be nought, and offend 
God, the one by impatience, the other by fleshly lust ; 
and on the other side, both in tribulation and prosperity 
too, some man may also do very well, and deserve thank of 
God by thanks given to God, as well of his gift of riches, 
worship, and wealth, as of need and penury, prisonment, 
sickness, and pain : and that therefore you cannot see for 
what cause I should give any pre-eminence in comfort 
unto tribulation, but rather allow prosperity for the thing 
more comfortable : and that not a little, but in manner 
by double, sith therein hath the soul comfort, and the 
* Luc. xxii. f Luc. xxiii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 71,, 

body both : the soul by thank (for his gift) given unto 
God ; and then the body, by being well at ease, where 
the person pained in tribulation, taketh no comfort but in 
his soul alone. First, as for your double comfort, cousin, 
you may cut off the one. For a man in prosperity, 
though he be bounden to thank God of his gift, wherein 
he feeleth ease, and may be glad also that he giveth 
thank to God ; yet for that he taketh his ease here hath 
he little cause of comfort, except that the sensual feeling 
of bodily pleasure you list to call by the name of comfort. 
Nor I say not nay, but that sometime men use so to take 
it, when they say, this good drink comforteth well my 
heart. But comfort, cousin, is properly taken aajiiatts 
by them that take it right, rather for the con- wmfort. 
solation of good hope that men take it in their heart of 
some good growing toward them, than for a present 
pleasure, with which the body is delighted and tickled for 
the while. 

Now though a man without patience can have no 
reward for his pain, yet when his pain is patiently taken 
for God s sake, and his will conformed to God s pleasure 
therein, God rewarded the sufferer after the rate of his 
pain, and this thing appeareth by many a place in Scrip 
ture, of which some have I shewed you, and yet shall I 
shew you more. But never found I any place in Scripture 
that I remember, in which, though the wealthy man 
thanked God for his gift, our Lord promised any reward 
in heaven, because the man took his ease and pleasure 
here. And therefore, sith I speak but of such comfort as 
is very comfort indeed, by which a man hath hope of 
God s favour and remission of his sins, with minishing 
of his pains in purgatory, or reward else in heaven : and 
such comfort cometh of tribulation, and for tribulation 
well taken, but not for pleasure, though it be well taken; 
therefore of your comfort that you double by prosperity, 
you may, as I told you, cut very well away the half. 
Now why I give prerogative in comfort unto tribulation 
far above prosperity, though a man may do well in both : 
of this thing will I shew you causes two or three. 



,72 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

First, as I before have at length shewed you, out of 
all question continual wealth interrupted with no tribula- 
conttnuai tion is a very discomfortable token of ever- 
mfs^auKt? lasting damnation. Whereupon it folio weth, 
tomfortdbie. that tribulation is one cause of comfort unto 
a man s heart, in that it dischargeth him of the discom 
fort that he might of reason take of overlong lasting 
wealth. Another is, that the Scripture much commend- 
eth tribulation, as occasion of more profit, than wealth 
and prosperity, not to them only that are therein, but to 
them too that resort unto them. And therefore, saith 
Ecclesiastes : Melius est ire ad domum luctus, quam ad 
domum convivii. In ilia enim finis cunctorum admonetur 
hominum, et vivens cogitat quid faturum sit ; Better it is 
to go to the house of weeping and wailing for some man s 
death, than to the house of a feast. For in the house of 
heaviness is a man put in remembrance of the end of 
every man, and while he yet liveth, he thinketh what 
shall come after.* And after yet he farther saith : Cor 
sapientum, ubi tristitia est : et cor stultorum, ubi Icetitia ; 
The heart of wise men is there as heaviness is, and the 
heart of fools is there as in mirth and gladness.^ And 
verily, there as you shall hear worldly mirth seem to be 
commanded in Scripture, it is either commonly spoken, 
as in the person of some worldly disposed people, or un- 
derstanden of rejoicing spiritual, or meant of some small 
moderate refreshing of the mind, against an heavy dis 
comfortable dulness. Now whereas prosperity was to 
the children of Israel promised in the old law as a 
special gift of God : that was for their imperfection at 
that time, to draw them to God with gay things and 
pleasant, as men to make children learn give them cake- 
bread and butter. For, as the Scripture maketh men 
tion, that people were much after the manner of children 
in lack of wit, and in waywardness. And therefore was 
their master Moses called Pcedagogus^ that is, a teacher 
of children ; or (as they call such a one in the grammar- 
schools), an usher or a master of the petits. For, as St, 
* Eccles. vii. f Ibidem. \ [Moses.] 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 73 

Paul saith : Nihil ad perfectum duocit leoo ; The old law 
brought nothing to perfection.* And God also threaten- 
eth folk with tribulation in this world for sin, not for 
that worldly tribulation is evil, but for that we should be 
well ware of the sickness of sin, for fear of the thing to 
follow : which though it be indeed a very good whole 
some thing, if we will take it, is yet because it is painful 
the thing that we be lothe to have. 

But this I say yet again and again, that as for far the 
better thing in this world toward the getting of the very 
good that God giveth in the world to comet [Scripture ats- 
the Scripture undoubtedly so commendeth {JoSiS"*** 
tribulation, that in respect and comparison tocaitif] 
thereof it discommendeth this worldly wretched wealth 
and discomfortable comfort utterly. For to what other 
thing soundeth the words of Ecclesiastes that I rehearsed 
you now : that it is better to be in the house of heavi 
ness, than to be at a feast ?t Whereto soundeth this com 
parison of his, that the wise man s heart draweth thither 
as folk are in sadness; and the heart of a fool is there 
as he may find mirth ? Whereto draweth this threat of 
the wise man, that he that delighted in wealth shall fall 
into woe ? Risus (saith he) dolore miscebitur, et extrema 
gaudii luctus occupat ; Laughter shall be mingled with 
sorrow, and the end of mirth is taken up with heaviness. 
And our Saviour saith himself: V<B vobis qui ridetis, quia 
lugebitis et flebitis ; Woe be to you that laugh; for you 
shall weep and wail. But he saith on the other side : 
Beati qui lugent, quoniam illi consolabuntur ; Blessed are 
they that weep and wail, for they shall be comforted. || 
And he saith unto his disciples : Mundus gaudebit, vos au- 
tem dolebitis : sed tristitia vestra vertetur in gaudium ; 
The world shall joy, and you shall be sorry : but your 
sorrow shall be turned into joy.^f And so is it, you wot 
well, now. And the mirth of many that then were in 
joy, is now turned all to sorrow. And thus you see by 
the Scripture plain, that in matter of very comfort, tribu- 

* Heb. vii. f [Eccles. vii.] J Proverb, xiv. 

Luc. vi. || [Luc. vi.] ^f Joan. xvi. 



74 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

lation is as far above prosperity, as the day is above the 
night. 

Another pre-eminence of tribulation over wealth in 
occasion of merit and reward, shall well appear upon 
certain considerations well marked in them both. Tribu- 
ffjoto trttuia- lation meriteth in patience, and in the obedient 
turn tnerttetti. conforming of the man s will unto God, and in 
thanks given to God for his visitation. 

toj If you reckon me now against these, many 

man tnaj> other good deeds that a wealthy man may do ; 
as by riches, give alms; by authority, labour in 
doing many men justice, or if you find farther any such 
other thing like : first, I say, that the patient person in 
tribulation hath in all these virtues of the wealthy man 
an occasion of merit too, which the wealthy man hath not 
aafien uotoer a g amwar d, m the fore-rehearsed virtues of his. 
lacKfti), goon For it is easy for the person that is in tribula- 
bui is accepter i[on to be well willing to do the self-same, if 
he could ; and then shall his good will, where the power 
fEDe goon totu ^ ac ^eth, go very near to the merit of the deed. 
goetfc near to But now is not the wealthy man in a like case 
with the will of patience, and conformity, and 
thanks given to God for tribulation : sith it is not so 
ready for the wealthy man to be content to be in the tri 
bulation that is the occasion of the patient s desert, as for 
the troubled person to be content to be in prosperity to 
do the good deeds that the wealthy man doth. 

Besides this, all that the wealthy man doth, though 
he could not do them without those things that are ac 
counted for wealth, and called by that name, as not do 
great alms without great riches, nor do these many men 
right by his labour, without great authority: yet may 
he do these things, being not in wealth indeed, as where 
he taketh his wealth for no wealth, nor his 
riches for no riches, nor in heart setteth by 
neither nother, but secretly liveth in a contrite 
heart and a life penitential, as many times did the pro- 
[jaabto.] phet David being a great king, so that worldly 
wealth was no wealth to him. And therefore is not of 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 75 



necessity worldly wealth the cause of those 

good deeds, sith he may do them, and doth them 

best indeed, to whom the thing that worldly folk call 

wealth, is yet for his godly-set mind (drawn from the 

delight thereof) no pleasure in manner nor no wealth 

at all. 

Finally, whensoever the wealthy man doth those good 
virtuous deeds, if we consider the nature of them right, 
we shall perceive, that in doing of them, he doth ever 

for the rate and portion of those deeds minish 

/ i r ,,i IT . fflaaoriuip 

the matter of his worldly wealth, as in giving tocaitfi is mf- 

great alms he departeth with so much of his ?e3S/V w 
worldly goods, which are in that part the JJJJJ 8 000 
matter of his wealth. In labouring about the 
doing of many good deeds, his labour minisheth his quiet 
and his rest. And for the rate of so much, it minisheth 
his wealth, if pain and wealth be each to other contrary, 
as I ween you will agree they be. 

Now whosoever then will well consider the thing, he 
shall, I doubt not, perceive and see therein that in 
these good deeds that the wealthy man doth, though 
he do them by that, that his wealth maketh him able, 
yet in the doing of them he departeth (for the por 
tion) from the nature of wealth, toward the nature of 
some part of tribulation : and therefore, even in those 
good deeds themself that prosperity doth, doth in 
goodness the prerogative of tribulation above wealth ap 
pear. 

Now if it hap, that some man cannot perceive this 
point, because the wealthy man for all his alms abideth 
rich still, and for all his good labour abideth still in his 
authority; let him consider, that I speak but after the 
portion. And because the portion of all that he giveth 
of his goods is very little in respect of that he leaveth ; 
therefore is the reason happily with some folk little per 
ceived. But if it so were that he went forth with giving, 
till he had given out all and left himself nothing, then 
would a very blind man see it. For as he were from 
riches come to poverty, so were he from wealth willingly 
fallen into tribulation. And between labour and rest 



76 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

the reason goeth all alike : which who so can consider 
shall see, that for the portion in every good deed done 
by the wealthy man, the matter is all one. Then sith we 



Cfiree tilings fte ^ aVe somewnat weighed the virtues of pros- 
matter of merit perity, let us consider on the other side the 
!ion aforenamed things that are the matter of 
merit and reward in tribulation, that is, to wit, patience, 
conformity, and thanks. 

Patience Patience the wealthy man hath not, in that 

he is wealthy. For if he be pinched in any 
point wherein he taketh patience, in that part he suffered! 
some tribulation, and so not by his prosperity, but by his 
tribulation, hath the man that merit. Like is it if we 
would say, that the wealthy man hath another virtue in 
the stead of patience, that is to wit, the keeping of himself 
from pride and from such other sins as wealth would 
bring him to. For the resisting of such motions is, as I 
before told you, without any doubt a minishing of fleshly 
tuaerft grotoefy wealth, and is a very true kind, and one of the 
Xat?5jMfie tfis most P r fi ta bl e kinds of tribulation. So that 
winfsijtag of all that good merit groweth to the wealthy 
llt * )<] man, not by his wealth, but by the minishing 
of his wealth with wholesome tribulation. The next 
colour of comparison is in the other twain ; that is to wit, 
in the conformity of man s will unto God, and in thanks 
given unto God. For like as the good man in tribulation 

conformu sent n * m ^7 God, conformeth his will to God s 
aimtfttSsJS? will in that behalf, and giveth God thank 
therefor; so doth the wealthy man in his 
wealth which God giveth him conform his will to God s 
will in that point : sith he is well content to take it of his 
gift, and giveth God again also right hearty thank there 
for. And thus, as I said, in these two things may you 
catch most colour to compare the wealthy man s merit 
with the merit of tribulation. 

But yet that they be not matches, you may soon see by 
this. For in tribulation can there none conform his will 
unto God s, and give him thank therefor, but such a man 
as hath in that point a very special good mind. But he 
that is very nought, or hath in his heart but very little 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 77 

-good, may well be content to take wealth at God s hand, 
and say, Marry, I thank you, Sir, for this m suc j, tfiete 
with all my heart, and will not fail to love au wound. 
you well, while you let me fare no worse. Confitebitur 
tibi, cum benefeceris ei.* Now if the wealthy man be 
very good, yet in conformity of his will and thanks given 
to God for his wealth, his virtue is not like yet to his 
that doth the same in tribulation. For as the Philoso 
phers said in that thing very well of old,f VMm ^^ 
Virtue standeth in things of hardness and dif- tur circa fttffi- 
ficulty. And then, as I told you, much less c(Ua 
hardness and much less difficulty there is by a great deal 
to be content and conform our will to God s will, and to 
give him thank too for our ease, than for our pain; for 
our wealth than for our woe. And therefore is the con 
forming of our will unto God s, and the thanks that we 
give him for our tribulation, more worthy thank again, 
and more reward meriteth in the very fast wealth and 
felicity of heaven, than our conformity with our thanks 
given for and in our worldly wealth here. 

And this thing saw the devil, when he said to our Lord 
of Job, that it was no marvel though Job had a reverent 
fear unto God,J God had done so much for him, and 
kept him in prosperity. But the devil wist well it was 
an hard thing for Job to be so loving, and so to give 
thanks to God in tribulation and adversity, and therefore 
was he glad to get leave of God to put him in tribulation, 
and thereby trusted to cause him murmur and grudge 
against God with impatience. But the devil had there a 
fall in his own turn. For the patience of Job in the short 
time of his adversity gat him much more favour and 
thank of God, and more is he renowned in Scripture, and 
commended there for that than for all the goodness of his 
long prosperous life. Our Saviour saith himself also, that 
if we say well by them, or yield them thank that do us 
good, we do no great thing therein, and therefore can we 
with reason look for no great thank again. And thus 

* Psal. xxviii. f Ethic, ii. 

J Job. i. [Luc. vi. Matth. v.] 



78 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

have I shewed you, lo ! no little pre-eminence that tribu 
lation hath in merit, and therefore no little pre-eminence 
of comfort in hope of heavenly reward, above the virtues 
(the merit and cause of good hope and comfort) that 
cometh of wealth and prosperity. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 79 




CHAPTER XX. 

A summary Commendation of Tribulation. 

ND therefore, good cousin, to finish our 
talking for this time, lest I should be too 
long a let unto your other business, if we 
lay first for a sure ground a ^ f 0ltnl ,ation 
very fast faith, whereby we be- of fait i>- 
lieve to be true all that the Scripture saith 
understanden truly, as the holy doctors declare it, and as 
the Spirit of God instructeth his Catholic church ; then 
shall we consider tribulation as a gracious gift c _ ecul(ar 
of God, a gift that he gave specially his special BOOH properties 
friends, the thing that in Scripture is highly c 
commended and praised, a thing whereof the contrary 
long continued is perilous, a thing which but if God send 
it, men have need by penance to put upon themself and 
seek it, a thing that helpeth to purge our sins passed, a 
thing that preserveth us from sins that else would come, 
a thing that causeth us to set less by the world, a thing 
that exciteth us to draw more toward God, a thing that 
much minisheth our pains in purgatory, a thing that 
much increaseth our final reward in heaven, the thing by 
which our Saviour entered his own kingdom, the thing 
with which all his apostles followed him thither, the thing 
which our Saviour exhorteth all men to, the thing without 
which (he saith) we be not his disciples, the thing with 
out which no man can get to heaven. 

Whoso these things thinketh on and re- $ to profitatie 
membereth well, shall in his tribulation neither trl<)Ulation ls - 
murmur nor grudge ; but first by patience take his pain 
in worth, and then shall he grow in goodness and think 



80 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

himself well worthy. Then shall he consider that God 
sendeth it for his weal, and thereby shall he be moved to 
give God thank therefor. Therewith shall his grace in 
crease, and God shall give him such comfort, by consi 
dering that God is in his trouble evermore near unto him, 
(Quia Deus juxta est Us qui tribulato sunt corde ; God 
is near, saith the prophet, to those that have their heart 
in trouble) :* that his joy thereof shall minish much of 
his pain, and he shall not seek for vain comfort else 
where, but specially trust in God, and seek for help of 
sssijat |e ttjat mm > submitting his own will wholly to God s 
is in trffiuiatiim pleasure, and pray to God in his heart, and 

pray his friends pray for him, and specially 
the priests, as St. James biddetn,t and begin first with 
confession, and make us clean to God and ready to de 
part, and be glad to go to God, putting purgatory to his 
pleasure. 

If we thus do, this dare I boldly say, we shall never 
live here the less of half an hour, but shall with this 
comfort find our hearts lighted, and thereby the grief of 
our tribulation lessed, and the more likelihood to recover 
and to live the longer. Now if God will we shall hence, 
then doth he much more for us. For he that this way 

taketh, cannot go but well. For of him that 
nfceSjta is loth to leave this wretched world, my heart 

is much in fear lest he die not well. Hard it 
is for him to be welcome that cometh against his will, 
that saith to God when he cometh to him, Welcome 

my maker, maugre my teeth. But he that 

- so loveth him that he longeth to go to 
mss to me.] him, m y heart cannot give me but he shall 
be welcome, all were it so, that he should come ere 
he were well purged. For charity covereth a multi 
tude of sins, and he that trusteth in God cannot be 
confounded. And Christ saith, He that cometh to me, 
1 will not cast him out.J And therefore let us never 
make our reckoning of long life; keep it while we 
may, because God hath so commanded. But if 

* Psal. xxxiv. t Jacob! x. 

J Proverb, x, [And Proverb, iv.] Johan. vi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 81 

God give the occasion that with his good will we may go, 
let us be glad thereof, and long to go to him. And then 
shall hope of heaven comfort our heaviness, and out of 
our transitory tribulation shall we go to everlasting glory, 
to which, my good cousin, I pray God bring us both. 

VINCENT. Mine own good uncle, I pray God reward 
you, and at this time will I no longer trouble you. I 
trow I have this day done you much tribulation with my 
importune objections of very little substance. And you 
have even shewed me an ensample of sufferance, in bear 
ing my folly so long and so patiently. And yet shall I 
be so bold upon you farther, as to seek some time to talk 
forth of the remnant, that most profitable point of tri 
bulation, which you said you reserved to treat of last of 
all. 

ANTONY. Let that be hardily very shortly, cousin, 
while this is fresh in mind. 

VINCENT. I trust, good uncle, so to put this in re 
membrance, that it shall never be forgotten with me. Our 
Lord send you such comfort as he knoweth to be best. *" 

ANTONY. That is well said, good cousin, anifTpray 
the same for you and for all our^other friends that have 
need of comfort, for whom, I think, more than for your 
self, you needed of some counsel. 

VINCENT. I shall with this good counsel, that I have 
heard of you, do them some comfort, I trust in God : to 
whose keeping I commit you. 

ANTONY. And I you also. Farewell, mine own good 
cousin. 



82 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



BOOK II. 




IN CENT. IT is to me, good uncle, no 
little comfort, that as I came in here I 
heard of your folk, that you have had since 
my last being here (God be thanked !) 
meetly good rest, and your stomach some 
what more come to you. For verily, al 
beit I had heard before, that in respect of the great grief 
that for a month s space had holden you, you were a 
little before my last coming to you somewhat eased and 
relieved (for else would riot I for no good have put you 
to the pain to talk so much as you then did) ; yet after 
my departing from you, remembering how long we tar 
ried together, and that while we were all that while in 
talking all the labour was yours, in talking so long toge 
ther without interpausing between, and that of matter 
studious and displeasant, all of disease and sickness, and 
other pain and tribulation ; I was in good faith very sorry, 
and not a little wroth with myself for mine own oversight, 
that I had so little considered your pain, and very feared 
I was (till I heard other word) lest you should have waxen 
weaker, and more sick thereafter. But now I thank our 
Lord that hath sent the contrary : for else a little cast 
ing back were in this great age of yours no little danger 
and peril. 

ANTONY. Nay, nay, good cousin, to talk much (except 
some other pain let me) is to me little grief. A fond old 
man is often as full of words as a woman. It is, you wot 
well, as some poets paint us, all the last of an old fool s 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 83 

life to sit well and warm with a cup and a roasted crab, 
and drivel, and drink, and talk. But in earnest, cousin, 
our talking was to me great comfort, and nothing dis- 
pleasant at all. For though we commenced of sorrow 
and heaviness, yet was the thing that we chiefly thought 
upon, not the tribulation itself, but the comfort that may 
grow thereon. And therefore am I now very glad that 
you be come to finish up the remnant. 

VINCENT. Of truth, my good uncle, it was comfort 
able to me, and hath been since to some other of your 
friends, to whom, as my poor wit and remembrance 
would serve me, I did, and not needless, report and re 
hearse your most comfortable counsel. And now come 
I for the remnant, and am very joyful that I find you so 
well refreshed, and so ready thereto. But this one thing, 
good uncle, I beseech you heartily, that if for delight 
to hear you speak in the matter I forget myself and you 
both, and put you to too much pain, remember you your 
own ease, and when you lust to leave, command me to 
go my way and to seek some other time. 

ANTONY. Forsooth, cousin, many words, if a man 
were weak, spoken, as you said right now, without in- 
terpausing, would peradventure at length somewhat weary 
him. And therefore wished I the last time after you 
were gone, when I felt myself (to say the truth) even a 
little weary, that I had not so told you still a long tale 
alone, but that we had more often interchanged words, 
and parted the talking between us, with ofter inter- 
parling upon your part, in such manner as learned men 
use between the persons whom they devise disputing in 
their famed dialogues. But yet in that point 1 soon ex 
cused you, and laid the lack even where I found it, and 
that was even upon mine own neck. For I remembered 
that between you and me it fared, as it did once between 
a nun and her brother. Very virtuous was 
this lady, and of a very virtuous place in a 
close religion, and therein had been long, in all which 
time she had never seen her brother, which was in like 
wise very virtuous, and had been far off* at an university, 
and had there taken the degree of doctor in divinity. 
G 2 



84 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

When he was come home he went to see his sister, as 
he that highly rejoiced in her virtue. So carne she to the 

frate that they call, I trow, the locutory, and after their 
oly watch-word spoken on both sides, after the manner 
used in that place, the one took the other by the tip 
of the finger (for hand would there be none wrongen 
through the grate), and forthwith began my lady to give 
her brother a sermon of the wretchedness of this world, 
and the frailty of the flesh, and the subtle flights of the 
wicked fiend, and gave him surely good counsel, saving 
somewhat too long, how he should be well ware in his 
living, and master well his body for saving of his soul ; 
and yet, ere her own tale came all at an end, she began 
to find a little fault with him, and said : " In good faith, 
brother, I do somewhat marvel that you, that have been 
at learning so long, and are doctor, and so learned in 
the law of God, do not now at our meeting (seeing we 
meet so seldom), to me that am your sister and a simple 
unlearned soul, give of your charity some fruitful exhor 
tation. For I doubt not but you can say some good 
thing yourself." " By my troth, good sister," quoth her 
brother, " I can not for you. For your tongue hath never 
ceased, but said enough for us both." And so, cousin, I 
remember, that when I was fallen in, I left you little 
space to say aught between. But now, will I, therefore, 
take another way with you ; for I shall of our talking 
drive you to the one- half. 

VINCENT. Now forsooth, uncle, this was a merry tale. 
But now if you make me talk the one-half, then shall 
you be contented far otherwise than there was of late a 
kinswoman of your own, but which I will not tell 
you ; guess her an you can. Her husband another mmp 
had much pleasure in the manner arid beha- est - 
viour of another honest man, and kept him therefore 
much company ; by the reason whereof he was at his 
mealtime the more often from home. So happened it 
on a time, that his wife and he together dined or supped 
with that neighbour of theirs, and then she made a merry 
quarrel to him for making her husband so good cheer 
out a-door, that she could not have him at home. " For- 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 85 

sooth, mistress," quoth he (as he was a dry merry man), 
" in my company nothing keepeth him but one; serve 
you him with the same, and he will never be from you." 
"What gay thing may that be?" quoth our cousin then. 
" Forsooth mistress," quoth he, " your husband loveth 
well to talk, and when he sitteth with me, I let him have 
all the words." " All the words ! " quoth she. " Many that 
I am content, he shall have all the words with a good 
will, as he hath ever had. For I speak them not all to 
myself, but give them all to him ; and for aught that I 
care for them, he shall have them still. But otherwise to 
say, that he shall have them all, you shall rather keep him 
still, than he shall get the one-half at my hands." 

ANTONY. Forsooth, cousin, I can soon gues which 
of our kin she was. I would we had none therein (for 
all her merry words) that less would let their husbands 
to talk. 

VINCENT. Forsooth she is not so merry, but she is as 
good. But where you find fault, uncle, that I speak not 
enough, I was in good faith ashamed, that I spake so 
much, and moved you such questions, as I found upon 
your answer (might better have been spared) they were 
so little worth. But now sith I see you be so well con 
tent, that I shall not forbear boldly to shew my folly, I 
will be no more shamefast, but ask you what me list. 



86 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER I. 



Whether a man may not in Tribulation use some worldly 
recreation for his Comfort. 

ND first, good uncle, ere we proceed far 
ther, I will be bold to move you one 
thing more of that we talked when I was 
here before. For when I revolved in my 
mind again the things that were con 
cluded here by you, methought ye would 
in nowise, that in any tribulation men should seek for 
comfort either in worldly thing or fleshly, which mind, 
uncle, of yours, seemeth somewhat hard. For a merry 
tale with a friend refresheth a man much, and without 
any harm lighteth his mind, and amendeth his courage 
and stomach ; so that it seemeth but well done to take 
such recreation. And Solomon saith, I trow, that men 
should in heaviness give the sorry man wine, to make 
him forget his sorrow.* And St. Thomas saith, that 
proper pleasant talking, which is called EvrpaTrtXiarf is 
a good virtue, serving to refresh the mind, and make it 
quick and lusty to labour and study again, where con 
tinual fatigation would make it dull and deadly. 

ANTONY. Cousin, I forgat not that point, but I longed 
not much to touch it. For neither might I well utterly 
forbid it, where the cause might hap to fall that it should 
not hurt; and on the other side if the case so should fall, 
methought yet I should little need to give any counsel 
to it. Folk are prone enough to such fantasies of their 

* Proverb, xxxi. t Second. 2, q. 168, art. 2. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 87 

own mind. You may see this by ourself, which coming 
now together, to talk of is earnest sad matter as men 
can devise, were fallen yet even at the first into wanton 
idle tales. And of truth, cousin, as you know very well, 
myself are of nature even half a gigglot and more. I 
would I could as easily mend my fault, as I can well 
know it; but scant can I refrain it, as old a fool as 
I am. 

Howbeit so partial will I not be to my fault, as to 
praise it; but for that you require my mind in the matter, 
whether men in tribulation may not lawfully seek recrea 
tion, and comfort themself with some honest mirth : first, 
agree that our chief comfort must be in God, and that 
with him we must begin, and with him continue, and with 
him end also : a man to take now and then Jjoncst 



some honest worldly mirth, I dare not be so 
sore as utterly to forbid it, sith good men and well- 
learned have in some case allowed it, specially for the 
diversity of divers men s minds. For else, if we were all 
such, as would God we were ! and such as natural wis 
dom would we should be, and is not all clean excusable 
that we be not in deed : I would then put no doubt, but 
that unto any man the most comfortable talk- ^ 

, ill i r OUt tJtOStCOttt 

ing that could be were to hear or heaven: fortatie taift 
whereas now, God help us! our wretchedness ojJJ an& e ijea> 
is such, that in talking a while thereof, men * en - 
wax almost weary, and as though to hear of heaven were 
an heavy burden, they must refresh themself after with a 
foolish tale. Our affection toward heavenly joys waxeth 
vronderful cold. If dread of hell were as far gone, very 
few would fear God : but that yet a little sticketh in our 
stomachs. Mark me, cousin, at the sermon, and com 
monly towards the end, somewhat the preacher speaketh 
of hell and heaven. Now, while he preacheth of the pains 
of hell, still they stand yet and give him the hearing ; but 
as soon as he cometh to the joys of heaven, they be 
busking them backward and flock-meal fall away. It is 
in the soul somewhat as it is in the body. Some are 
there of stature, or of evil custom, come to that point, 
that a worse thing sometime steadeth them more than 



88 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

a better. Some man, if he be sick, can away with no 
wholesome meat, nor no medicine can go down with him, 
but if it be tempered with some such thing for his fan 
tasy, as maketh the meat or the medicine less wholesome 
than it should be. And yet while it will be no better, 
we must let him have it so. Cassianus, that very vir 
tuous man, rehearseth in a certain collection of his,* that 
a certain holy father, in making of a sermon, spake of 
heaven and heavenly things so celestially, that much of 
his audience with the sweet sound thereof began to 
forget all the world, and fall asleep. Which, when the 
father beheld, he dissembled their sleeping, and suddenly 
said unto them, I shall tell you a merry tale. At which 
word, they lifted up their heads and harkened unto that. 
And after the sleep therewith broken, heard him tell on 
of heaven again. In what wise that good father rebuked 
them their untoward minds, so dull unto the thing that 
all our life we labour for, and so quick and lusty toward 
other trifles, I neither bear in mind, nor shall here need 
to rehearse. But thus much of the matter sufficeth for 
our purpose, that whereas you demand me whether in 
tribulation men may not sometime refresh themself with 
worldly mirth and recreation ; I can no more say, but he 
that cannot long endure to hold up his head and hear 
talking of heaven, except he be now and then between 
(as though to hear of heaven were heaviness) refreshed 
with a merry foolish tale, there is none other remedy, 
but you must let him have it. Better would I wish it, 
but 1 cannot help it. 

Howbeit, let us by mine advice at the leastwise make 
arte rfjjfit use those kinds of recreation as short and as seld 
of recreation. as we caru Let them serve us but for sauce, 
and make them not our meat : and let us pray unto God, 
and all our good friends for us, that we may feel such 
a savour in the delight of heaven, that in respect of the 
talking of the joys thereof, all worldly recreation be but 
a grief to think on. And be sure, cousin, that if we 
might once purchase the grace to come to that point, we 
never found of worldly recreation so much comfort in 
* Lib. v. cap. 31. 



-AGAINST TRIBULATION. 

a year, as we should find in the bethinking us of heaven 
in less than half an hour. 

VINCENT. In faith, uncle, I can well agree to this: 
and I pray God bring us once to take such a savour in 
it. And surely, as you began the other day, by faith 
must we come to it, and to faith, by prayer. But now 
I pray you, good uncle, vouchsafe to proceed in our prin 
cipal matter. 



90 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER II. 

Of the short uncertain life in extreme age or sickness. 



NTONY. COUSIN, I have bethought me 
somewhat upon this matter since we were 
last together. And I find it, if we should 
go some way to work, a thing that would 
require many more days to treat thereof 
than we shall haply find meet thereto, in 
so few as myself ween that I have now to live, while 
every time is not like with me, and among many painful, 
in which I look every day to depart, my mending days 
coming very seld and are very shortly gone. For surely, 
a berp BOOH si* cousin, I cannot liken my life more meetly now 
mtutuDc. than to the snuff of a candle that burneth 
within the candlestick s nose. For as the snuff sometime 
burneth down so low, that whoso looketh on it would 
ween it were quite out, and yet suddenly lifteth a flame 
half an inch above the nose and giveth a pretty short 
light again, and thus playeth divers times, till at last ere 
it be looked for out it goeth altogether : so have I, cousin, 
divers such days together, as every day of them I look 
even for to die : and yet have I then after that time such 
few days again, as you see me now to have yourself, in 
which a man would ween that I might yet well continue. 
But I know my lingering not likely to last long, but out 
will my snuff suddenly some day within a while, and 
therefore will I with God s help, seem I never so well 
amended, nevertheless reckon every day for my last, 
a probert. For though that to the repressing of the bold 
courage of blind youth, there is a very true proverb, that 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 91 

as soon cometh a young sheep s skin to the market as an 
old ; yet this difference there is at least between them, 
that as the young man may hap sometime to die soon, so 
the old man can never live long. And therefore, cousin, 
in one matter here, leaving out many things that I would 
else treat of, I shall for this time speak but of very few. 
Howbeit, if God hereafter send me moe such days, then 
will we, when you list, farther talk of moe. 




92 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



CHAPTER III. 



Hedivideth Tribulation into three hinds, of which three the 
last he passeth shortly over. 

LL manner of tribulation, cousin, that any 
man can have, as far as for this time 
cometh to my mind, falleth under some one 
at the least of these three kinds, either it 
is such as himself willingly taketh, or se 
condly such as himself willingly suffereth, 
or finally such as he cannot put from him. This third kind 
I purpose not much more to speak of now. For thereof 
shall, as for this time, suffice those things, that we 
treated between us this other day. What kind of tribula 
tion this is, I am sure yourself perceive. For sickness, 
imprisonment, loss of goods, loss of friends, or such 
bodily harm as a man hath already caught, and can in 
nowise avoid, these things and such like are the third 
kind of tribulation that I speak of, which a man neither 
willingly taketh in the beginning, nor can, though he 
would, put afterward away. Now think I, that as to the 
man that lacketh wit and faith, no comfort can serve, 
whatsoever counsel be given : so to them that have both, 
I have as for this kind said in manner enough already. 
And considering, that suffer it needs he must, while he 
can by no manner of mean put it from him, the very ne- 
ixtttssits cess ity is na tf counsel enough, to take it in good 
inatetf) worth and bear it patiently, and rather of his 
tue patience to take both ease and thank, than by 
fretting and fuming to increase his present pain, and by 
murmur arid grudge fall in farther danger after by dis 
pleasing of God with his froward behaviour. And yet, 
albeit that I think that that which is said sufficeth, yet 
here and there shall I, in the second kind, shew some 
such comfort as shall well serve unto this last kind too. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 93 




CHAPTER IV. 



HE first kind also will I shortly pass over 
too. For the tribulation that a man wil 
lingly taketh himself, which no man 
putteth upon him against his own will, is 
(you wot well) as I somewhat touched the 
last day, such affliction of the flesh, or ex 
pense of his goods, as a man taketh himself, or willingly 
bestoweth in punishment of his own sin and for devotion to 
God. Now in this tribulation needeth he no man to 
comfort him. For while no man troubleth him but him 
self, which feeleth him far forth he may conveniently bear, 
and of reason and good discretion shall not pass that, 
wherein if any doubt arise, counsel needeth, and not 
comfort ; the courage that for God s sake and his soul s 
health kindleth his heart and enflameth it thereto, shall 
by the same grace that put it in his mind, give him such 
comfort and joy therein that the pleasure of his soul shall 
pass the pain of his body : yea, and while he hath in 
heart also some great heaviness for his sin, yet when he 
considereth the joy that shall come of it, his soul shall 
not fail to feel then that strange case, which my body felt 
once in a great fever. 

VINCENT. What strange case was that, uncle ? 
ANTONY. Forsooth, cousin, even in this same bed (it 
is now more than fifteen years ago) I lay in a tertian, and 
had passed, I trow, three or four fits : but after fell there 
one fit on me out of course, so strange and so & strange et of 
marvellous, that I would in good faith have a * mr - 
thought it impossible. For I suddenly felt myself verily 
both hot and cold throughout all my body, hot in some 



94 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

part the one, and in some part the other, for that had been, 
you wot well, no very strange thing to feel the head hot 
while the hands were cold ; but the self-same parts, I say, 
so God my soul save ! I sensibly felt, and right painfully 
too, all in one instant both hot and cold at once. 

VINCENT. By my troth, uncle, this was a wonderful 
thing, and such as I never heard happen any man else in 
my days ; and few men are there, of whose mouths I could 
have believed it. 

ANTONY. Courtesy, cousin, peradventure, letteth you 
to say, that you believe it not yet of my mouth neither ; 
and surely for fear of that, you should not have heard it 
of me neither, had there not another thing happed me 
soon after. 

VINCENT. I pray you, what was that, good uncle ? 

ANTONY. Forsooth, cousin, this I asked a physician 
or twain, that then looked unto me, how this should be 
possible ; and they twain told me both that it could not 
be so, but that I was fallen into some slumber, and 
dreamed that I felt it so. 

VINCENT. This hap, hold I, little causeth you to tell 
the tale the more boldly. 

ANTONY. No, cousin, that is true, lo. But then 
happed there another, that a young girl here in this town, 
whom a kinsman of hers had begun to teach physic, told 
me, that there was such a kind of fever indeed. 

VINCENT. By our Lady ! uncle, save for the credence 
of you, that tale would I not yet tell again upon that hap 
of a maid. For though I know her now for such as I durst 
well believe her, it might hap her very well at that time to 
lie, because she would you should take her for cunning. 

ANTONY. Yea, but there happed there yet another hap 
thereon, cousin, that a work of Galen, De Differentiis 
Febrium, is ready to be sold in the booksellers shops. 
In which work she shewed me then that chapter where 
Galen saith the same. 

VINCENT. Marry, uncle, as you say, that hap happed 
well; and that maid hath (as hap was) in that one point 
more cunning than had both our physicians besides, and 
hath, I ween, at this day in many points more. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 95 

ANTONY. In faith so ween I too : and that is well 
wared on her; for she is very wise and well learned, and 
very virtuous too. But see now, what age is, lo ! I have 
been so long in my tale, that I have almost forgotten 
for what purpose I told it. Oh ! now I remember me, 
lo. Likewise I say, as myself felt my body then both 
hot and cold at once ; so he, that is contrite and heavy 
for his sin, shall have cause for to be, and shall indeed be, 
both sad and glad, and both twain at once, and shall do, 
as I remember holy St. Hierome biddeth : Et doleas, et 
de dolore gaudeas. Both be thou sorry, saith he, and be 
thou of thy sorrow joyful also. 

And thus, as I began to say, of comfort to be given 
unto him that is in this tribulation, that is to wit, in fruit 
ful heaviness and penance for his sin, shall we none heed 
to give other than only to remember and consider Well 
the goodness of God s excellent mercy, that infinitely 
passeth the malice of all men s sin, by which he is ready 
to receive every man, and did spread his arms abroad upon 
the cross, lovingly to embrace all them that will come, 
and even there accepted the thief at his last end that 
turned not to God till he might steal no longer, and yet 
maketh more feast in heaven at one that from sin turneth, 
than of ninety and nine good men that sinned not at all.* 
And therefore of that first kind will I make no longer 
tale. 



Luc. 



96 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER V. 



An Objection concerning them that turn not to God, till 
they come at the last cast. 

INCENT. FORSOOTH, uncle, this is unto 
that kind comfort very great, and so great 
also, that it may make many a man bold to 
abide in his sin, even unto his last end, 
trusting to be then saved, as that thief 
was. 

ANTONY. Very sooth you say, cousin, that some 
wretches are there such, that in such wise abuse the great 
goodness of God, that the better that he is, the worse 
again be they. But, cousin, though there be more joy 
made of his turning that from the point of perdition 
cometh to salvation, for pity that God had and his saints 
all, of the peril of perishing that the man stood in : 
yet is he not set in like state in heaven as he should have 
been, if he had lived better before, except it so fall that 
he live so well after, and do so much good, that he therein 
outrun in the shorter time those good folk that yet did 
not so much in much longer, as is proved in the blessed 
apostle St. Paul,* whiclT of a persecutor became an 
apostle, and last of all came in unto that office, and yet in 
the labour of sowing the seed of Christ s faith, outran all 
the remnant so far forth, that he letted not to say of 
himself, Abundantius illis omnibus labor avi, I have la 
boured more than all the remnant have. But yet, my 
cousin, though God (I doubt not) be so merciful unto 
them, that at any time in their life turn and ask his 
* i Cor. xv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 97 

mercy and trust therein, though it be at the last end of 
a man s life, and hireth him as well for heaven, that 
cometh to work in his vineyard toward night, at such 
time as workmen leave work and go home (being then in 
will to work if the time would serve), as he hireth him 
that cometh in the morning : yet may there no man 
upon the trust of this parable be bold all his life to lie 
still in sin. For let him remember, that into God s vine 
yard there goeth no man, but he that is called thither. 
Now, he that in hope to be called toward night, will sleep 
out the morning, and drink out the day, is full likely 
to pass at night unspoken to, and then shall he with 
shrewd rest go supperless to bed. 

They tell of one that was wont alway to say, that all 
the while he lived he would do what he list, for three 
words, when he died, should make all safe enough. But 
then so happed it, that long ere he were old, his horse 
once stumbled upon a broken bridge, and as he laboured 
to recover him, when he saw it would not be, but down 
into the flood headlong needs he should : in a sudden 
flight he cried out in the falling, Have all to the devil ! 
And there was he drowned with his three words ere he 
died, whereon his hope hung all his wretched life. And, 
therefore, let no man sin in hope of grace : for grace 
cometh but at God s will, and that mind may be the let, 
that grace of fruitful repenting shall never after be offered 
him, but that he shall either graceless go linger on care 
less, or with a care fruitless, fall into despair. 



98 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER VI. 



An Objection of them that say, that Tribulation of penance 
needeth not, but is a superstitious folly. 

INCENT. FORSOOTH, uncle, in this point 
methinketh you say very well. But there 
are they some again that say on the tother 
side, that heaviness of our sins we shall 
need none at all, but only change our pur 
pose and intend to do better, and for all 
that which is passed, take no thought at all. 
And as for fasting or other affliction of the 
of our time. body, they say we should not do it but only 
to tame the flesh, when we feel it wax wanton and begin 
to rebel. For fasting, they say, serveth to keep the body 
in a temperance. But for to fast for penance, or to do 
any other good work, alms-deed and other, toward satis 
faction for our own sin ; this thing they call plain injury 
to the passion of Christ, by which only are our sins for 
given freely without any recompense of our own. And 
they that would do penance for their own sins, look to 
be their own Christs, and pay their own ransoms, and 
Efjese reasons save their souls themself. And with these 
5[J 8 5ia? tjltt reasons i n Saxony, many cast fasting off, 
Saionp. and all other bodily affliction, save only where 

need requireth to bring the body to temperance. For 
other good, they say, can it none do to ourself; and 
then to our neighbour can it do none at all, and there 
fore they condemn it for superstitious folly. Now, heavi 
ness of heart and weeping for our sins, this they reckon 
shame almost and womanish peevishness. Howbeit 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 99 

(thanked be God !) their women wax there g ttc $ ma nnfsi 
now so mannish, that they be not peevish, nor fj""^^ not 
so poor of spirit, but that they can sin on as oil 
men do, and be neither afraid, nor ashamed, nor weep 
for their sins at all. And surely, mine uncle, I have mar 
velled much the less ever since that I heard the manner 
of their preachers there. For, as you remember, when I 
was in Saxony, these matters were in manner but in u 
mammering, nor Luther was not then wed yet, nor reli 
gious men out of their habit, but suffered (where those 
were that would be of the sect) freely to preach what they 
would to the people. And forsooth, I heard a religious 
man there myself, one that had been reputed and taken 
for very good, and which, as far as the folk perceived, 
was of his own living somewhat austere and sharp, but 
his preaching was wonderful. Methink I hear him yet, 
his voice was so loud and shrill, his learning less than 
mean. But whereas his matter was much part against 

fasting and all affliction for any penance. 

i i i 11 j J i J * rtgfit i3ro- 

which he called men s inventions, he cried tcstant preacft- 

ever out upon them, to keep well the laws of tns> 
Christ. Let go their peevish penance, and purpose then 
to mend, and seek nothing to salvation but the death 
of Christ. For he is our justice, and he is ^ ese fte ^ 
our Saviour, and our whole satisfaction for all tjjat sap, ioi 
our deadly sins. He did full penance for us ? SjeSV 
all upon his painful cross, he washed us there <R ^ lst - 
all clean with the water of his sweet side, and brought 
us out of the devil s danger with his dear precious blood. 
Leave, therefore, leave, I beseech you, these inventions 
of men, your foolish Lenten fasts, and your peevish 
penance, minish never Christ s thank, nor look to save 
yourself. It is Christ s death, I tell you, that must save 
us all : Christ s death, I tell you, yet again, and not your 
own deeds. Leave your own fasting, therefore, and lean 
to Christ alone, good Christian people, for Christ s dear 
bitter passion. 

Now so loud and so shrill he cried Christ gg,?^^ 
in their ears, and so thick he came forth with pit *J? pretence 
Christ s bitter passion, and that so bitterly 

H 2 



100 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

spoken, with the sweat dropping down his cheeks, that 
I marvelled not though I saw the poor women weep. 
For he made my own hair stand up upon my head ; and 
with such preaching were the people so brought in, that 
some fell to break their fasts on the fasting days, not 
of frailty or of malice first, but almost of devotion, lest 
they should take from Christ the thank of his bitter pas 
sion. But when they were a while nuselled in that point 
first, they could abide and endure after many things more, 
with which had he then begun, they would have pulled 
him down. 

(Sou sens tts ANTONY. Cousin, God amend that man, 
tetter preac^ whatsoever he be, and God keep all good folk 
from such manner of preachers ! Such one 
preacher much more abuseth the name of Christ and of 
his bitter passion, than five hundred hazarders that in 
their idle business swear and forswear themselves by his 
j^ibe fwn&rcB holy bitter passion at dice. They carry the 
?c? r SiaspiSeme minds of the people from the perceiving of 
mucfas^nc ^eir craft, by the continual naming of the 
sucf) preacher, name of Christ: and crying his passion so 
shrill into their ears, they forget that the Church hath 
ever taught them, that all our penance without Christ s 
true &oo passion were not worth a pease. And they 
ma ^e the people ween, that we would be 
saved by our own deeds without Christ s 
death : where we confess, that his only passion meriteth 
incomparably more for us, than all our own deeds do : 
but his pleasure is, that we shall also take pain our own 
self with him, and therefore he biddeth all that will be 
his disciples, take their crosses upon their backs as he did, 
and with their crosses follow him.* 

And where they say, that fasting serveth but for tem 
perance, to tame the flesh and keep it from wantonness, 
I would in good faith have weened that Moses had not 
been so wild/t that for the taming of his flesh he should 
have need to fast whole forty days together.^ No nor 
holy neither, nor yet our Saviour himself which began, 

* Marc. xv. Matth. xvi. Luc. ix. f Exod. xxxiv. 

J 3 Reg. xix. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 101 

and the apostles followed, and all Christendom have 
kept the Lenten forty days fast, that these folk call now 
so foolish. King Achab* was not disposed to be wanton 
in his flesh, when he fasted and went clothed in sack 
cloth and all besprent with ashes. Nor no more was in 
Ninive the king and all the city,-f- but they wailed, and 
did painful penance for their sin, to procure God to pity 
them and withdraw his indignation. Anna J that in her 
widowhood abode so many years with fasting and pray 
ing in the Temple till the birth of Christ, was not, I 
ween, in her old age so sore disposed to the wantonness 
of her flesh, that she fasted all therefor. Nor St. Paul 
that fasted so much, fasted not all therefor neither. The 
Scripture is full of places that prove fasting not to be the 
invention of man, but the institution of God, and that it 
hath many mo profits than one. And that the fasting 
of one man may do good to another, our Saviour sheweth 
himself, where he saith, that some kind of devils cannot 
be by one man cast out of another, Nisi in oratione et 
jejunio, without prayer and fasting.j] 

And therefore I marvel that they take this way against 
fasting and other bodily penance, and yet much more I 
marvel, that they mislike the sorrow and heaviness and 
displeasure of mind that a man should take in forethink- 
ing of his sin. The prophet saith : Scindite cor da vestra, 
et non vestimenta, Tear your hearts (he saith) and not 
your clothes. ^1 And the prophet David saith : Cor con- 
tritum et humiliatum, Dem, non despicies, A contrite 
heart and an humbled,** that is to say, a heart broken, 
torn, and with tribulation of heaviness for his sins laid 
alow under foot, shalt thou not, good Lord, despise. 
He saith also of his own contrition : Laboravi in gemitu 
meo, lavabo per singulas nodes lectum meum, lachrymis 
meis stratum meum rigabo, I have laboured in my wail 
ing, I shall every night wash my bed with my tears, my 
couch will I water.ft But what should I need in this 
matter to lay forth one place or twain ? The Scripture 
is full of those places, by which it plainly appeareth, that 

* 3 Reg. xii. f Jonze iii. I Luc. iii. 2 Cor. xi. 

|| Marc. ix. fl Joel ii. ** Psal. 1. ft Psal. vi. 



102 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

God looketh of duty, not only that we should amend and 
<&o& totiietf) tis be better in the time to come, but also be 
anf tt i?to?fUtt? sorr y> and weep, and bewail our sins com- 
s(ns - mitted before, and all the holy doctors be full 

and whole of that mind, that men must have (for their 
sins) contrition and sorrow in heart. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 103 




CHAPTER VII. 



What if a man cannot weep, nor in his heart be sorry for 
his sin. 



INCENT. FORSOOTH, uncle, yet seemeth 
me this thing somewhat a sore sentence, 
not for that I think otherwise, but that 
there is good cause and great, wherefore 
a man so should : but for that of truth 
some man cannot be sorry and heavy for 
his sin that he hath done, though he never so fain would. 
But though he can be content for God s sake, to forbear 
it from thenceforth, yet for every sin that is passed can 
he not only not weep, but some were haply so wanton, 
that when he happeth to remember them, he can scantly 
forbear to laugh. Now, if contrition and sorrow of heart 
be requisite of necessity to remission ; many a man 
should stand, as it seemeth, in a very perilous case. 

ANTONY. Many so should indeed, cousin, and indeed 
many so do. And the old saints write very sore in this 
point. Howbeit, Misericordia Domini super omnia opera 
ejus, The mercy of God is above all his works,* and he 
standeth bound to no common rule. Et ipse cognovit 
jigmentum suum, et propitiatur infirmitatibus nostris, 
And he krioweth the frailty of this earthen vessel that 
is of his own making, and is merciful, and hath pity and 
compassion upon our feeble infirmities,f and shall not 
exact of us above that thing that we may do. But yet, 
cousin, he that findeth himself in that case, g ote toell ^ (s 
in that he is minded to do well hereafter, let BOD counsel. 
* Psal. cxliv. f Psal. cii. 



104 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

him give God thanks that he is no worse: but in that 
he cannot be sorry for his sin past, let him be sorry 
hardly that he is no better. And as St. Jerome biddeth 
him that for his sin sorroweth in his heart, be glad and 
rejoice in his sorrow : so would I counsel him that cannot 
be sad for his sin, to be sorry yet at the least that he 
cannot be sorry. 

Besides this, though I would in nowise any man should 
despair, yet would I counsel such a man, while that 
affection lasteth, not to be too bold of courage, but live in 
double fear. First, for it is a token either of faint faith, 
or of a dull diligence. For surely if we believe in God, 
and therewith deeply consider his High Majesty with the 
peril of our sin, and the great goodness of God also : 
either should dread make us tremble and break our stony 
heart, or love should for sorrow relent it into tears. Be 
sides this, I can scant believe, but sith so little misliking 
of our old sin is an affection not very pure and clean, and 
none unclean thing shall enter into heaven ; cleansed shall 
it be and purified, before that we come thither. And, 
therefore, would I farther advise one in that case, the 
(Goon counsel counsel which M. Gerson giveth every man, 



wseesi sons t ^ iat s ^ ^ e k O( ty and the soul together make 
m our stns. the whole man, the less affliction that he 
feeleth in his soul, the more pain in recompense let him 
put upon his body, and purge the spirit by the affliction 
of the flesh. And he that so doth, I dare lay my life, 
shall have his hard heart after relent into tears, and his 
soul in an wholesome heaviness and heavenly gladness 
too, specially if, which must be joined with every good 
thing, he join faithful prayer therewith. 

But, cousin, as I told you the other day before, in these 
matters with these new men will I not dispute. But 
NO tntsaom to surely for mine own part I cannot well hold 
opinions.^? w ^ them. For, as far as mine own poor wit 
tofip- can perceive, the Holy Scripture of God is very 

plain against them, and the whole corps of Christendom 
in every Christian region, and the very places in which 
they dwell themselves, have ever unto their own days 
clearly believed against them, and all the old holy doctors 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 105 

have evermore taught against them, and all the old holy 
interpreters have construed the Scripture against them. 
And, therefore, if these men have now perceived so late, 
that the Scripture hath been misunderstanden all this 
while, and that of all those old holy doctors no man could 
understand it; then am I too old at this age to begin to 
study it now. And trust these men s cunning, cousin, 
that dare I not, in nowise, sith I cannot see nor perceive 
no cause, wherefore I should think, that these men might 
not now in the understanding of Scripture, faarfc toeii tfjts 
as well be deceived themself, as they bear us reason - 
in hand, that all those other have been all this while 
before. 

Howbeit, cousin, if so it be, that their way be not 

wronsj. but that they have found out so easy 

* ,i , , , J , (ftljrlst fiiinself 

a way to heaven, as to take no thought, but sattfi, tijat tfje 

make merry, nor take no penance at all, but sit H ot to j f c a ^ n 
them down and drink well for our Saviour s Jj}^*" 0113 an 
sake, sit cock-a-hoop and fill in all the cups at 
once, and then let Christ s passion pay for all the shot, I 
am not he that will envy their good hap, but surely counsel 
dare I give no man, to adventure that way with them. But 
such as fear lest that way be not sure, and take upon them 
willingly tribulation of penance, what comfort they do 
take and well may take therein, that have I somewhat 
told you already. And sith these other folk sit so merry 
without such tribulation ; we need to talk to them, you 
wot well, of no such manner comfort. And therefore of 
this kind of tribulation will I make an end. 



106 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER VIII. 



Of that kind of Tribulation which, though they not wil 
lingly take, yet they willingly suffer. 



INCENT. VERILY, good uncle, so may 
you well do : for you have brought it unto 
very good pass. And now I require you to 
come to that other kind, of which you pur 
posed alway to treat last. 

ANTONY. That shall I, cousin, very 
gladly do. The other kind is this, which I rehearsed 
second, and sorting out the other twain, have kept it for 
the last. This kind of tribulation is, you wot well, of 
them that willingly suffer tribulation, though of their 
own choice they took it not at the first. 
STrmptatfon. This kind, cousin, divide we shall into 

Persecution. twain. The first might we call temptation : 
the second, persecution. But here must you consider 
that I mean not every kind of persecution, but that kind 
only which, though the sufferer would be loth to fall in, 
yet will he rather abide it and suffer, than by the flitting 
from it fall in the displeasure of God, or leave God s 
pleasure unprocured. Howbeit, if we consider these two 
things well, temptation and persecution, we may find 
that either of them is incident to the other. For 
both by temptation the devil persecuteth us, and by 
persecution the devil also tempteth us ; and as persecution 
is tribulation to every man, so is temptation tribulation to a 
good man. Now, though the devil, our spiritual enemy, 
fight against man in both, yet this difference hath the 



.4 GAINST TRIBULATION. 107 

common temptation from the persecution, that ^ ototetn 1 1{ 
temptation is, as it were, the fiend s train, and 8itters e S!mpX> 
persecution his plain open fight. And, there- secutton - 
fore, will I now call all this kind of tribulation here by 
the name of temptation, and that shall I divide into two 
parts. The first shall I call the devil s trains ; the other, 
his open fight. 



108 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER IX. 

First, of Temptation in general as it is common to both. 

,O speak of every kind of temptation par 
ticularly by itself, this were, you wot well, 
in manner an infinite thing. For under 
that, as I told you, fall persecutions and 
all. And the devil hath of his trains a 
thousand subtle ways, and of his open fight 
as many sundry poisoned darts. He tempteth us by the 
Sunurp fcin&s world, he tempteth us by our own flesh, he 
of temptation, tempteth us by pleasure, he tempteth us by 
pain, he tempteth us by our foes, he tempteth us by our 
friends, and, under colour of kindred, he maketh many 
times our next friends our most foes. For as our Saviour 
saith, Inimici hominis, domestici ejus t A man s own fami 
liar friends are his enemies.* But in all manner of so 
divers temptations, one marvellous comfort is this, that 
with the more we be tempted, the gladder have we cause 
to be. For St. James saith, Omne gaudium existimate, 
fratres mei, quum in tentationes varias incideritis, Esteem 

it and take it, saith he, my brethren, for a 
netnarbellous ... / n i r 11 A j- 

comfort tn all thing ol all joy, when you rail into divers and 

temptation. sundry manner of temptations.f And no mar 
vel ; for there is in this world set up as it were a game of 
3ii)is motor is wrestling, wherein the people of God come in 
a torestung. on the one side, and on the tother side come 
mighty strong wrestlers and wily, that is, to wit, the devils, 
the cursed proud damned spirits. For it is not our flesh 
alone that we must wrestle with, but with the devil too. Non 

* Matth. x. f Jacob! i. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 109 

est nobis colluctatio adversus carnem et sanyuinem, sed ad 
versus principes et potestates, adversus mundi rectores tene- 
brarum harum, contra spiritualia nequitice in ccelestibus, 
Our wrestling is not here, saith St. Paul, against flesh and 
blood, but against the princes and potentates of these 
dark regions, against the spiritual ghosts of the air.* But 
as God (unto them that on his part give his adversary the 
fall) hath prepared a crown : so he that will not wrestle, 
shall none have. For, as St. Paul saith : Qui certat in 
agone, non coronabitur, nisi qui leyitime certaverit, There 
shall no man have the crown, but he that doth his devoir 
therefor, f according to the law of the game. And then, as 
holy St. Bernard saith : How couldest thou fight or 
wrestle therefor, if there were no challenger against thee, 
that would provoke thee thereto ? And, therefore, may it 
be a great comfort, as St. James saith, to every man that 
feeleth himself challenged and provoked by temptation ; 
for thereby perceiveth he, that it cometh to his course to 
wrestle, which shall be (but if he willingly will play the 
coward or the fool) the matter of his eternal reward in 
heaven. 

* Ephes. vi. f 2 Tim. ii. 



110 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER X. 

A special Comfort in all Temptation. 

UT now must this needs be to man an 
inestimable comfort in all temptation, if 
his faith fail him not, that is, to wit, that 
he may be sure that God is alway ready 
to give him strength against the devil s 
might, and wisdom against the devil s 
trains. For as the prophet saith: Fortitudo mea et laus 
mea Dominus, et factus est mihi in salutem, My strength 
and my praise is our Lord; he hath been my safeguard.* 
And the Scripture saith : Pete a Deo sapientiam et dabit 
tibi, Ask wisdom of God, and he shall give it thee.t 
Ut possitis (as St. Paul saith) deprehendere omnes artes, 
That you may spy and perceive all the crafts. A great 
comfort may this be in all kinds of temptation, that 
(Soft s ass(st= ^ oc ^ na th so his hand upon him that is will- 
ance tn tempta- ing to stand, and will trust in him, and call 
upon him, that he hath made him sure by 
many faithful promises in holy Scripture, that either he 
shall not fall, or if he sometime through faintness of 
faith stagger and hap to fall, yet if he call upon God 
betimes, his fall shall be no sore bruising to him, but as 
the Scripture saith: Justus si ceciderit, non collidetur, 
quia Dominus supponit manum suam, The just man, 
though he fall, shall not be bruised, for our Lord holdeth 
under his hand.J 

The prophet expresseth a plain comfortable promise 

* Psal. cxvii. f Jacob! i. I Psal. xxxvi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. Ill 

of God against all temptation, where he saith: Qui 
habitat in adjutorio Altissimi, in protectione Dei ccdi com- 
morabitur, Whoso dwelleth in the help of the highest 
God, he shall abide in the protection or defence of the 
God of heaven.* Who dwelleth now, good cousin, in the 
help of the high God ? Surely he that through a good 
faith abideth in the trust and confidence of God s help, 
and neither for lack of that faith and trust 
in his help falleth desperate of all help, nor 
departeth from the hope of his help to seek 
himself help (as I told you the other day) of ^ tn fjtin - 
the flesh, the world, or the devil. 

Now, he then that by fast faith and sure hope dwelleth 
in God s help, and hangeth always thereupon, never fall 
ing from that hope; he shall, saith the prophet, ever 
abide and dwell in God s defence and protection ; that is 
to say, that while he faileth not to believe well and hope 
well, God will never fail in all temptation to defend him. 
For unto such a faithful well-hoping man the prophet 
in the same psalm saith farther: Scapulis suis obumbrabit 
tibi, et sub pennis ejus sperabis, With his shoulders shall 
he shadow thee, and under his feathers shalt thou trust. f 
Lo, here hath every faithful man a sure promise, that in 
the fervent heat of temptation or tribulation, for (as I 
have said divers times before) they be in such wise coin 
cident, that every tribulation the devil useth for tempta 
tion to bring us to impatience, and thereby to murmur, 
grudge, and blaspheme, and every kind of temptation is 
to a good man that fighteth against it, and will not fol 
low it, a very painful tribulation. In the fervent heat, I 
say therefore, of every temptation, God giveth the faith 
ful man (that hopeth in him) the shadow of his holy 
shoulders, which are broad and large, suffi- <gon s S fl OU i, 
cient to refrigerate and refresh the man in 6ers - 
that heat, and in every tribulation he putteth his shoulders 
for a defence between. And then what weapon of the 
devil may give us any deadly wound, while that impene 
trable pavice of the shoulder of God standeth oa s padtcr i 
alway between ? 

* Psal. xc. f Psal. xc. 



112 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

Then goeth the verse farther, and saith unto such a 
faithful man, et sub pennis ejus sperabis, thy hope shall 
be under his feathers; that is, to wit, for the good hope 
thou hast in his help, he will take thee so near him into 
Co* is out Dm ^ s P rotect i n > tnat as the hen, to keep her 
to ftecp us from young chickens from the kite, nestleth them 
together under her own wings: so fro the 
devil s claws, the ravenous kite of this dark air, the God 
of heaven will gather his faithful trusting folk near unto 
his own sides, and set them in surety very well and warm 
under the covering of his own heavenly wings. And of 
this defence and protection our Saviour spake himself 
unto the Jews (as mention is made in the Gospel of St. 
Matthew), to whom he said in this wise : Hierusalem, 
Hierusalem, quce occidis prophetas, et lapidas eos qui ad 
te missi suntj quoties volui congregare te sicut gallina con- 
gregat pullos suos sub alas, et noluisti ? That is to say, 
Hierusalem, Hierusalem, that killest the prophets, and 
stonest to death them that are sent unto thee, how often 
would I have gathered thee together, as the hen gather- 
eth her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest 
aaiionrs of not?* Here are words, cousin Vincent, words 
peat comfort. o f no little comfort unto every Christian man : 
by which we may see, with how tender affection God of 
his great goodness longeth to gather under the protec 
tion of his wings, and how often like a loving hen he 
clocketh home unto him even those chickens of his that 
wilfully walk abroad in the kite s danger, and will not 
come at his clocking, but ever the more he clocketh for 
them, the farther they go from him. And, therefore, can 
we not doubt, if we will follow him, and with faithful 
hope come run unto him, but that he shall in all matter 
of temptation take us near unto him, and set us even 
under his wings, and then are we safe, if we will tarry 
there. For against our will can there no power pull us 
thence, nor hurt our souls there. Pone me (saith the 
prophet) juxta te, et cujusvis manus pugnet contra me, Set 
me near unto thee, and fight against, me whose hand 
that will.f And to shew the great safeguard and surety 

* Matth. xxiii. f Job xvii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 

that we shall have, while we sit under his heavenly fea 
thers, the prophet saith yet a great deal farther : In vela- 
mento alarum tuarum exultatio, that is, to wit, that we 
shall not only (when we sit by his sweet side under his 
holy wing) sit in safeguard ; but that we shall also under 
the covering of his heavenly wings, with great exultation 



rejoice.* 



* Psal. xxi. 



114 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XI. 

Of four kinds of Temptations, and therein both the parts 
of that hind of Tribulation that men willingly suffer, 
touched in two verses of the Psalter. 

>OW in the two next verses following, the 
prophet briefly comprehendeth four kinds 
of temptation, and therein all the tribula 
tion that we shall now speak of, and also 
some part of that which we have spoken 
of before. And therefore I shall perad- 
venture, except any farther thing fall in our way, with 
the treating of those two verses, finish and end all our 
matter. The prophet saith in the psalrn : Scuto circun- 
dabit te veritas ejus, non timebis a timore nocturno. A 
sagitta volante in die, a negotio perambulante in tenebris, 
ab incursu et dcemonio meridiano : The truth of God shall 
compass thee about with a pavice, thou shalt not be 
afraid of the night s fear, nor of the arrow flying in the 
day, nor of the business walking about in darknesses, 
nor of the incursion or invasion of the devil in the mid 
day.* First, cousin, in these words The truth of God 
shall compass thee about with a pavice, the prophet for 
the comfort of every good man in all temptation and in all 
tribulation, beside those other things that he said before, 
that the shoulders of God shall shadow them, and that 
also they should sit under his wing, here saith he farther, 
The truth of God shall compass thee with a pavice, that 
is, to wit, that as God hath faithfully promised to protect 
and defend those that faithfully will dwell in the trust of 
* Psal. xc. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 115 

his help; so will he truly perform it. And thou that 
such one art, will the truth of his promise defend, not 
with a little round buckler that scant can cover the head, 
but with a long large pavice that covereth all along the 
body, made, as holy St. Bernard saith,* broad above with 
the Godhead, and narrow beneath with the manhead, so 
that this pavice is our Saviour Christ himself. And yet 
is this pavice not like other pavices of this world, which 
are not made but in such wise as, while they defend one 
part, the man may be wounded upon another : but this 
pavice is such, that (as the prophet saith) it shall round 
about inclose and compass thee, so that thine enemy 
shall hurt thy soul on no side. For, scuto (saith he) 
circundabit te veritas ejus t with a pavice shall his truth 
environ and compass thee round about. And then conti 
nently following, to the intent that we should see that it 
is not without necessity that the pavice of God should 
compass us about upon every side, he sheweth in what, 
wise we be by the devil with trains and assaults, by four 
kinds of temptations and tribulations, environed upon 
every side. Against all which compass of temptations 
and tribulations, that round compassing pavice of God s 
truth, shall in such wise defend us and keep us safe, that 
we shall need to dread none of them all. 

* Bernard, in Psal. xc. 



116 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XII. 

The first kind of the four Temptations. 

IRST he saith : Non timebis timore noc- 
turno, Thou shalt not be afraid of the 
fear of the night. By the night is there 
in Scripture some time understood tribula 
tion, as appeareth in the xxxivth chapter 
of Job : Novit enim Deus opera eorum, 
idcirco inducet noctem, God hath known the works of 
them, and therefore shall he bring night upon them, that 
is, to wit, tribulation for their wickedness.* And well 
you wot, that the night is of the nature of itself very 
discomfortable and full of fear. And therefore by the 
night s fear, here I understand that tribulation by which 
the devil, through the sufferance of God, either by himself, 
or other that are his instruments, tempteth good folk to 
impatience, as he did Job. But he that, as the prophet 
saith, dvvelleth and continueth faithfully in the hope of 
God s help, shall so be beclipped in on every side with the 
shield or pavice of God, that he shall have no need to be 
afeared of such tribulation that is here called the night s 
fear. 

B$e night s And it may be also conveniently called the 

night s fear for two causes. The one, for that 

many times the cause of his tribulation is unto him that 

suffereth it dark and unknown ; and therein varieth it 

and differeth from that tribulation, by which the devil 

tempteth a man with open fight and assault for a known 

good thing, from which he would withdraw him, or for 

* Job xxxiv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 117 

some known evil thing, into which he would drive him by 
force of such persecution. Another cause, for which it is 
called the night s fear, may be for that the night is so far 
out of courage, and naturally so casteth folk in fear, that 
of every thing whereof they perceive any manner dread, 
their phantasy doubleth their fear, and maketh them often 
ween that it were much worse than indeed it is. The 
prophet saith in the Psalter : Posuisti tenebras et facta 
est nox, in ipsa pertransibunt omnes bestice sylvce. Catuli 
leonum rugientes, qucerentes a Deo escam sibi : Thou hast, 
good Lord, set the darkness, and made was the night, 
and in the night walk all the beasts of the wood. The 
whelps of the lions roaring and calling unto God for their 
meat.* 

Now, though that the lions whelps walk 
about roaring in the night and seek for their mgeips 
prey, yet can they not get such meat as they noto> 
would alway, but must hold themself content with such 
as God suffereth to fall in their way. And though they 
be not ware thereof, yet of God they ask it, and of him 
they have it. 

And this may be comfort to all good men in omfott aBa(nst 
their night s fear, in their dark tribulation, UK nfuflrs fear. 
that though they fall into the claws or the teeth of 
those lions whelps, yet shall all that they can do not pass 
beyond the body, which is but as the garment of the 
soul. For the soul itself, which is the substance of the 
man, is so surely fenced in round about with the shield or 
pavice of God, that as long as he will abide faithfully in 
adjutorio Altissimi (in the hope of God s help), the lions 
whelps shall not be able to hurt it. For the great lion him 
self could never be suffered to go farther in the tribulation 
of Job,f than God from time to time gave him leave. 
And therefore the deep darkness of the midnight maketh 
men that stand out of faith and out of good hope in God, 
to be in their tribulation far in the greater fear, for lack 
of the light of faith, whereby they might perceive that 
the uttermost of their peril is a far less thing than they 
take it for. But we be so wont to set so much by our 
* Psal. ciii. f Job i. 



118 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

body which we see and feel, and in the feeding and fos 
tering whereof we set our delight and our wealth, and so 
little, alas ! and so seld we think on our soul, because we 
cannot see that but by spiritual understanding, and most 
specially by the eye of our faith (in the meditation whereof 
we bestow, God wot, little time), that the loss of our body 
we take for a sorer thing and for a greater tribulation a 
great deal than we do the loss of our soul. 

And whereas our Saviour biddeth us,* that we should 
not fear these lions whelps that can but kill our bodies, 
and when that is done, have no farther thing in their 
power wherewith they can do us harm, but biddeth us 
stand in dread of him, which when he hath slain the 
body, is able then beside to cast the soul into everlasting 
fire ; we be so blind in the dark night of tribulation, for 
the lack of full and fast belief of God s word, that whereas 
in the day of prosperity we very little fear God for our 
soul, our night s fear of adversity maketh us very sore to 
fear the lion and his whelps, for dread of loss of our 
bodies. And whereas St. Paul in sundry places sheweth 
us, that our body is but as the garment of the soul ; yet 
the faintness of our faith to the Scripture of God maketh 
us with the night s fear of tribulation more to dread, not 
only the loss of our body than of our soul : that is, to wit, 
of the clothing, than of the substance that is clothed 
therewith : but also of the very outward goods that serve 
for the clothing of the body. And much more foolish are 

we in that dark night s fear, than were he that 
SuafntSltt- could forget the saving of his body, for fear of 

losing his old rain-beaten cloak, that is but 
the covering of his gown or his coat. 

Now consider farther yet, that the prophet in the fore- 
remembered verses saith not, that in the night walk only 
the lions whelps, but also, omnes bestice sylvarum, all 
the beasts of the wood. Now wot you well, that if a man 
walk through the wood in the night, many things may 
make him afraid, which in the day he would not be afraid 
a whit, for in the night every bush to him that waxeth 
once afraid, seemeth a thief. 

* Matth. x. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 119 

I remember, that when I was a young man, 
I was once in the war with the king, then my 
master (God assoil his soul!) and we were camped within 
the Turk s ground many a mile beyond Belgrade, which 
would God were ours now, as well as it was then ! But 
so happed it, that in our camp about midnight, there 
suddenly rose rumours and a skry that the Turk s whole 
army was secretly stealing upon us, wherewith our noble 
host was warned to arm them in haste, and set themself 
in array to fight. And then were scurrers of ours that 
brought these sudden tidings, examined more leisurely by 
the council, what surety or what likelihood they had 
perceived therein. Of whom one shewed, that by the 
glimmering of the moon he had espied and perceived and 
seen them himself, coming on softly and soberly in a long 
range, all in good order, not one farther forth than the 
other in the forefront, but as even as the thread, and in 
breadth farther than he could see in length. His fellows 
being examined said that he was somewhat pricked forth 
before them, and came so fast back to tell it them that 
they thought it rather time to make haste and give warn 
ing to the camp, than to go nearer unto them : for they 
were not so far off, but that they had yet themself somewhat 
an imperfect sight of them too. Thus stood we watching 
all the remnant of the night, evermore hearkening when 
we should hear them come, with " Hush, stand still, me- 
think I hear a trampling;" so that at last many of us 
thought we heard them ourself also. But when the day 
was sprongen, and that we saw no man, out was our 
scurrer sent again, and some of our captains with him, to 
shew them whereabout the place was in which he per 
ceived them. And when they came thither they found 
that great fearful army of the Turks so soberly coming 
on, turned (God be thanked !) into a fair long hedge, 
standing even stone still. 

And thus fareth it in the night s fear of tribulation, in 
which the devil to bear down and overwhelm with dread 
the faithful hope that we should have in God, casteth in 
our imagination much more fear than cause. For while 
there walk in the night not only the lions whelps, but 



120 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

over that, all the beasts of the wood ; beside the beasts 
that we hear roaring in the dark night of tribulation, and 
fear it for a lion, we sometime find well afterward in the 
day, that it was no lion at all, but a seely rude roaring 
ass : and the thing that on the sea seemeth sometime a 
rock, is indeed nothing else but a mist. Howbeit, as the 
prophet saith : He that faithfully dwelleth in the hope of 
God s help, the pavice of his truth shall so fence him in 
round about, that be it an ass colt, or a lion^s whelp, a 
rock of stone, or a mist, non timebit a timore nocturno, 
the night s fear thereof shall be nothing dread to fear 
at all. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 121 




CHAPTER XIII. 

Of Pusillanimity. 

JHEREFORE find I, that in this night s 
fear one great part thereof is the fault of 
Pusillanimity, that is, to wit, feeble and 
faint stomach, by which a man for faint 
heart is afraid where he needeth not; by 
reason whereof he fleeth oftentimes for fear 
of that thing of which if he fled not, he should 
take no harm : and some man doth sometime by 
his fleeing make his enemy bold on him which would (if he 
fled not, but durst abide thereby) give over and flee from 
him. This fault of pusillanimity maketh a man in his 
tribulation for feeble heart first impatient, and afterward 
oftentimes driveth him by impatience into a contrary 
affection, making him forwardly stubborn and angry 
against God, and thereby to fall into blasphemy, as do 
the damned souls in hell. This fault of pusillanimity and 
timorous mind letteth a man also many times from the 
doing of many good things, which (if he took a good 
stomach to him in the trust of God s help) he were well 
able to do : but the devil casteth him in a cowardice, and 
maketh him take it for humility, to think himself inno 
cent and unable thereto, and therefore to leave the good 
thing undone, whereof God oflereth him occasion, and 
had made him meet and convenient thereto. 

But such folk have need to lift up their hearts and call 
upon God, and by the counsel of other good ghostly folk 
cast away the cowardice of their own conceit, which the 
night s fear by the devil hath framed in their phantasy, 



122 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

and look in the Gospel* upon him which laid up his 
talent and left it unoccupied, and therefore utterly lost 
it, with a great reproach of his pusillanimity, by which 
he had weened he should have excused himself, in that 
he was afraid to put it forth in ure and occupy it. And 
all this fear cometh by the devil s drift, wherein he taketh 
occasion of the faintness of our good and sure trust in 
God. And therefore let us faithfully dwell in the good 
hope of his help, and then shall the pavice of his truth 
so compass us about, that of this night s fear we shall 
have no scare at all. 

* Matth. xxv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 123 




CHAPTER XIV. 

Of the Daughter of Pusillanimity, a Scrupulous Conscience. 

JHIS pusillanimity bringeth forth by the 
night s fear, a very timorous daughter, a 
seely wretched girl, and ever puling, that 
is called Scrupulosity, or a scrupulous con 
science. This girl is a meetly good puz 
zle in a house, never idle, but ever occu 
pied and busy : but albeit she have a very t 
gentle mistress that loveth her well, and is 
well content with that she doth, or if it be not all well 
(as all cannot be always well), content to pardon her as 
she doth other of her fellows, and so letteth her know 
that she will ; yet can this peevish girl never cease whin 
ing and puling for fear lest her mistress be alway angry 
with her, and that she shall shrewdly be shent. Were 
her mistress, ween you, like to be content with this con 
dition ? Nay, verily. I knew such one my- 

ir. i J . J J a proper tale, 

self, whose mistress was a very wise woman, 

and (which thing is in woman rare) very mild, and also 
meek, and liked very well such service as she did her in 
her house, but this continual discomfortable fashion of 
hers she so much misliked, that she would sometime say, 
"Eh ! what aileth this girl? The elvish urchin weeneth I 
were a devil, I trow. Surely if she did me ten times 
better service than she doth, yet with this fantastical fear 
of hers I would be loth to have her in my house." 

Thus fareth, lo ! the scrupulous person, which frameth 
himself many times double the fear that he hath cause, 
and many times a great fear where there is no cause at 



124 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



all, and of that which is indeed no sin, maketh a venial, 
and that that is venial, imagineth to be deadly. And yet 
for all that falleth in them, being namely such of their 
own nature as no man long liveth without, and then he 
feareth that he be never full confessed, nor never full 
contrite, and then that his sins be never full forgiven 
SEfie common him ; and then he confesseth, and confesseth 
SruJSotts cr- a gai n > and cumbereth himself and his con- 
sons, fessor both; and then every prayer that he 
saith, though he say it as well as the frail infirmity of 
the man will suffice, yet is he not satisfied, but if he 
say it again, and yet after that again. And when he 
hath said one thing thrice, as little is he satisfied with 
the last, as with the first ; and then is his heart evermore 
in heaviness, unquiet, and in fear, full of doubt and dul- 
ness, without comfort or spiritual consolation. 

With this night s fear the devil sore troubleth the mind 
of many a right good man, and that doth he, to bring 
him to some great inconvenience : for he will, if he can, 
drive him so much to the fearful minding of God s rigor 
ous justice, that he will keep him from the comfortable 
remembrance of God s great mighty mercy, and so make 
him do all his good works wearily, and without consola 
tion and quickness. 

Moreover, he maketh him take for sin something that 
is none, and for deadly, some such as are but venial, to 
the intent that, when he shall fall in them, he shall by 
reason of his scruple sin, where else he should not, or sin 
deadly (while his conscience in the deed doing so gave 
him), whereas else indeed he has but offended venially. 
Yea, and farther, the devil longeth to make all his good 
works and spiritual exercise so painful and so tedious 
unto him, that with some other subtle suggestion or false 
wily doctrine of a false spiritual liberty^ he should for 
the false ease and pleasure that he should suddenly find 
therein, be easily conveyed from that evil fault into a 
much worse, and have his conscience as wide and as large 
after, as ever it was narrow and strait before. For better 
is yet of truth a conscience a little too strait, than a little 
too large. My mother had, when I was a little boy, a 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 125 

good old woman that took heed to her children, they 
called her Mother Maud: I trow, you have heard of 
her. 

VINCENT. Yea, yea, very much. 

ANTONY. She was wont, when she sat by 
the fire with us, to tell us that were children tale - 
many childish tales. But as Plinius saith, that there is 
no book lightly so bad, but that some good thing a man 
may pick out thereof ;* so think I there is no tale so 
foolish, but that yet in one matter or other, to some pur 
pose it may hap to serve. For I remember me that 
among other of her fond childish tales, she told us once, 
that the ass and the wolf came on a time to confession 
to the fox. The poor ass came to shrift in the Shrove 
tide, a day or two before Ash Wednesday ; but the wolf 
would not come to confession until he saw first Palm 
Sunday past, and then foded yet forth farther until Good 
Friday came. The fox asked the ass before he began 
Benedicite, wherefore he came to confession so soon be 
fore Lent began. The poor beast answered him again; 
for fear of deadly sin, and for fear he should lose his part 
of any of those prayers that the priest in the cleansing 
days prayeth for them that are confessed already. There 
in his shrift he had a marvellous great grudge in his in 
ward conscience, that he had one day given his master 
a cause of anger, in that that with his rude roaring before 
his master arose, he had awaked him out of his sleep, 
and bereaved him out of his rest. The fox for that fault, 
like a good discreet confessor, charged him to do so no 
more, but lie still and sleep like a good son himself, till 
his master were up and ready to go to work, and so 
should he be sure, that he should not wake him no 
more. 

To tell you all the poor ass s confession, it were a long 
work, for every thing that he did was deadly sin with 
him, the poor soul was so scrupulous. But his wise wily 
confessor accounted them for trifles, as they were indeed, 
and sware afterward unto the bageard, that he was so 
weary to sit so long and hear him, that saving for the 

* Lib. Hi. epist. 5. 



126 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

manners sake, he had lever have sitten all the while at 
breakfast with a good fat goose. But when it came to 
the penance giving, the fox found that the most weighty 
sin in all his shrift was gluttony, and therefore he dis 
creetly gave him in penance, that he should never for 
greediness of his own meat do any other beast any harm 
or hinderance, and then eat his meat, and study for no 
more. 

Now, as good Mother Maud told us, when the wolf 
came to confession to Father Reynard (for that was, she 
said, the fox s name) upon Good Friday, his confessor 
shook his great pair of beads upon him almost as big as 
bowls, and asked him wherefore he came so late? " For 
sooth, Father Reynard," quoth the wolf, " I must needs 
tell you the truth : I come (you wot well) therefor, I 
durst come no sooner, for fear lest you would for my 
Sucf) Btostip g^ttony have given me in penance to fast 

tartars ina&e some part of this Lent." " Nay. nay," quoth 
ttje preparation ^ ,, *V ,, T J> J \^ f 

to seisin an& rather r ox, "I am not so unreasonable : for 

I fast none of it myself. For I may say to 
thee, son, between us twain here in confession, it is no 
commandment of God this fasting, but an invention of 
man. The priests make folk fast and put them to pain 
about the moonshine in the water, and do but make folk 
fools : but they shall make me no such fool, I warrant 
thee, son. For I eat flesh all this Lent, myself I. How- 
beit, indeed, because I will not be occasion of slander, I 
therefore eat it secretly in my chamber, out of sight of 
all such foolish brethren as for their weak scrupulous 
conscience would wax offended withal, and so would I 
counsel you to do." " Forsooth, Father Fox," quoth the 
wolf, " and so I thank God I do, so near as I can. For 
when I go to my meat, I take none other company with 
me, but such sure brethren as are of mine own nature, 
whose consciences are not weak, I warrant you, but their 
stomachs as strong as mine." " Well then, no force," 
quoth Father Fox. 
ucf) sure tnow- But when he heard after by his confession, 

that ne was so & reat a ravener > tnat ne de- 
voured and spent sometime so much victual 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 127 

at one meal, as the price thereof would well find some 
poor man with his wife and children almost all the week; 
then he prudently reproved that point in him, and 
preached him a process of his own temperance, which 
never used, as he said, to pass upon himself the value 
of sixpence at a meal, no nor yet so much neither. " For 
when I bring home a goose," quoth he, " not out of the 
poulter s shop, where folk find them out of their 
feathers ready plucked, and see which is the fullest and 
yet for sixpence buy and choose the best, but out of the 
housewife s house at the first hand, which may somewhat 
better cheap afford them, you wot well, than the poulter 
may, nor yet cannot be suffered to see them plucked, 
and stand and choose them by day, but am fain by night 
to take at adventure, and when I come home, am fain 
to do the labour to pluck her myself: yet for all this, 
though it be but lean, and I ween not well worth a groat, 
serveth it me somewhat, for all that, both dinner and 
supper too. And therefore, as for that you live of raven, 
therein can I find no fault : you have used it so long, 

that I think you can do none other. And 

,, ~ r> 11 PI-!- i futet counsel 

therefore were it folly to forbid it you, and for a tooiesf) 

(to say the truth) against good conscience too. conscicnce - 
For live you must, I wot well, and other craft can you 
none; and therefore, as reason is, must you live by that. 
But yet, you wot well, too much is too much, and mea 
sure is a merry mean, which I perceive by your shrift 
you have never used to keep. And therefore, surely, this 
shall be your penance : that you shall all this year now 
pass upon yourself the price of sixpence at a meal, as 
near as your conscience can guess the price." 

Their shrift have I shewed you, as Mother Maud shewed 
it to us. But now serveth for our matter the conscience 
of them both, in the true performing of their penance. 
The poor ass after his shrift, when he waxed anhungered, 
saw a sow lie with her pigs well lapped in new straw, 
and near he drew and thought to have eaten of the straw. 
But such his scrupulous conscience began therein to 
grudge him. For while his penance was, that for greedi 
ness of his meat he should do none other body harm ; he 



128 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

thought he might not eat one straw thereof, lest for lack 
of that straw some of those pigs might hap to die for 
cold. So held he still his hunger, till one brought him 
meat. But when he should fall thereto, then fell he yet 
in a far farther scruple ; for then it came in his mind that 
he should yet break his penance, if he should eat any of 
that either, sith he was commanded by his ghostly father, 
that he should not for his own meat hinder any other 
beast. For he thought, that if he eat not that meat, 
some other beast might hap to have it, and so should 
he by the eating of it peradventure hinder some other. 
And thus stood he still fasting, till when he told the 
cause, his ghostly father came and informed him better, 
and then he cast off that scruple, and fell mannerly to 
his meat, and was a right honest ass many a fair day 
after. 

The wolf now coming from shrift clean soiled from 
his sins, went about to do, as a shrewd wife once told 
her husband that she would do, when she came from 
shrift. " Be merry, man," quoth she, " now; 
for this day I thank God, was I well shriven, 
and purpose now therefore to leave off all mine old shrewd 
ness and begin afresh." 

VINCENT. Ah, well, uncle, can you report her so? 
That word heard I her speak, but she said it in sport to 
make her good man laugh. 

ANTONY. Indeed it seemed she spake it half in sport. 
For, that she said she would cast away all her shrewd 
ness, therein I trow she sported; but in that she said 
she would begin it all afresh, her husband found that 
good earnest. 

VINCENT. Well, I shall shew her what you say, I 
warrant you. 

ANTONY. Then will you make me make my word 
good ; but whatsoever she did, at the least wise so fared 
now this wolf, which had cast out in confession all his 
old raven, and then hunger pricked him forward, that 
(as the shrewd wife said) he did indeed begin all afresh. 
But yet the prick of conscience withdrew and held him 
back, because he would not for breaking of his penance, 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 129 

take any prey for his mealtide that should pass the price 
of sixpence. It happed him then as he walked prowl 
ing for his gear about, he came where a man had in 
few days before cast off two old, lean, and lame horses, 
so sick, that no flesh was there almost left on them, and 
the one, when the wolf came by, could scant stand upon 
his legs, and the other already dead, and his skin ripped 
off and carried away. And as he looked upon them, sud 
denly he was first about to feed upon them, and whet 
his teeth on their bones. But as he looked aside, he 
spied a fair cow in a close walking with her young calf 
by her side. And as soon as he saw them, his conscience 
began to grudge him against both these two horses. And 
then he sighed, and said unto himself: "Alas! wicked 
wretch that I am, I had almost broken my penance ere 
I was ware. For yonder dead horse, because I never 
saw no dead horse sold in the market, and I should even 
die therefor, by the way that my sinful soul shall to, I 
cannot devise what price I should set upon him, but in 
my conscience I set him far above sixpence, and there 
fore, I dare not meddle with him. Now, then, is yonder 
quick horse of likelihood worth a great deal of money : 
for horses be dear in this country, specially such soi t 
amblers ; for I see by his face he trotteth not, nor can 
scant shift a foot. And therefore, I may not meddle with 
him, for he very far passeth my sixpence. But kine this 
country here hath enough, but money have they very 
little; and therefore, considering the plenty of the kine, 
and the scarcity of the money, as for yonder peevish cow 
seemeth unto me in my conscience worth not past a 
groat, an she be worth so much. Now, then, as for her 
calf, is not so much as she by half. And therefore, while 
the cow is in my conscience worth but fourpence, my 
conscience cannot serve me for sin of my soul to praise 
her calf above twopence, and so pass they not sixpence 
between them both. And therefore, them twain may I 
well eat at this one meal, and break not my penance at 
all." And therefore, so he did, without any scruple of 
conscience. 

If such beasts could speak now, as Mother Maud said 



130 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

they could then, some of them would, I ween, tell a tale 
almost as wise as this. Wherein save for the minishing of 
old Mother Maud s tale, else would a shorter process 
have served : but yet as peevish as the parable is, in this 
it serveth for our purpose, that the night s fear of a con 
science somewhat scrupulous, though it be painful and 
troublous to him that hath it, like as this poor ass had 
here, is less harm yet, than a conscience over large, or 
such as for his own fantasy the man list to frame himself, 
now drawing it narrow, now stretching it in breadth, 
a cijebmi con- after the manner of a cheverel point, to serve 
science. on every side for his own commodity, as did 

here the wily wolf. But such folk are out of tribulation, 
and comfort need they none, and therefore are they out of 
our matter. But those that are in the night s fear of their 
own scrupulous conscience, let them be well ware, as I 
said, that the devil, for weariness of the one, draw them 
not into the other; and while he would flee from Scylla, 
drive him into Charybdis. He must do as doth a ship 
a gooa stmiit- that should come into an haven, in the mouth 
tu&e. whereof lie secret rocks under the water on 

both sides. If he by mishap entered in among them that 
are on the one side, and cannot tell how to get out : he 
must get a substantial, cunning pilot that so can con 
duct him from the rocks on that side, that yet he bring 
him not into those that are on the other side, but can 
guide him in the midway. 

Let them, I say therefore, that are in the 
Counsel fora > - J , . 

scrupulous con- troublous iear or their own scrupulous con 
science, submit the rule of their conscience to 
the counsel of some other good man, which, after the 
variety and the nature of the scruples, may temper his 
advice. Yea, although a man be very well learned him 
self, yet let him in this case learn the custom used among 
physicians. For be one of them never so cunning, yet in 
his own disease and sickness he never useth to trust all 
an example of * himself, but sendeth for such of his fellows 
ptjjjstctans. as he knoweth meet, and putteth himself in 
their hands for many considerations, whereof they assign 
the causes, and one of the causes is fear, whereof upon 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 131 

some tokens he may conceive in his own passion a great 
deal more than needeth ; and then were it good for his 
health, that for the time he knew no such thing at all. I 
knew once in this town one of the most cunning men in 
that faculty, and the best expert, and therewith the most 
famous too, and he that the greatest cures did upon other 
men, and yet when he was himself once very sore sick, I 
heard his fellows that then looked unto him, of all which 
every one would in their own disease, have used his help 
before any other man, wish yet that for the time of his own 
sickness, being so sore as it was, he had known no physic 
at all, he took so great heed unto every suspicious token, 
and feared so far the worst, that his fear did him some 
time much more harm, than the sickness gave him cause. 
And therefore, as I say, whoso hath such a trouble of 
his scrupulous conscience, let him for a while forbear 
the judgment of himself, and follow the counsel of some 
other, whom he knoweth for well learned and virtuous, 
and specially in the place of confession (for there is God 
specially present with his grace, assisting his holy sacra 
ment), and let him not doubt to acquiet his mind, and 
follow that he there is bidden, and think for a while less 
of the fear of God s justice, and be more merry in the 
remembrance of his mercy, and persevere in prayer for 
grace, and abide and dwell faithfully in the sure hope of his 
help. And then shall he find without any doubt, that the 
pavice of God s truth shall, as the prophet saith, so com 
pass him about, that he shall not need to dread this 
night s fear of scrupulosity, but shall have afterward his 
conscience stablished in good quiet and rest. 



132 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



CHAPTER XV. 




Another kind of the night s fear, another daughter of Pu 
sillanimity, that is, to wit, the horrible temptation, by 
which some folk are tempted to kill and destroy themself. 



INCENT. VERILY, good uncle, you have 
in my mind, well declared these kinds of 
the night s fear. 

ANTONY. Surely, cousin, but yet are there 
many more than 1 can either remember, or 
find : howbeit, one yet cometh to my mind 
now, of which I before nothing thought, and which is yet, 
in mine opinion, of all other fears the most horrible : that 
is, to wit, cousin, where the devil tempteth a man to kill 
and destroy himself. 

VINCENT. Undoubtedly this kind of tribu 
te most i)orrf= J , 
tie fear anu se* lation is marvellous and strange, and the 

temptation. temptation is of such a sort, that some men 
have opinion, that such as fall once in that fantasy, can 
never after full cast it off. 

ANTONY. Yes, yes, cousin, many a hundred, or else 
God forbid ! But the thing that maketh men so say, is 
because that of those which finally do destroy themself, 
there is much speech and much wondering, as it is well 
worthy : but many a good man, and many a good woman, 
hath sometime, yea divers years each after other, conti 
nually been tempted thereto, and yet have by grace and 
good counsel, well and virtuously withstanden it, and 
been in conclusion clearly delivered of it, and their tri 
bulation nothing known abroad, and therefore nothing 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 133 

talked of. But surely, cousin, an horrible sore trouble it 
is to any man or woman that the devil tempteth there 
with. Many have I heard of, and with some have I 
talked myself, that have been sore encumbered with that 
temptation, and marked have I not a little the manner of 
them. 

VINCENT. I require you, good uncle, shew me some 
what of such things as you perceive therein. For first, 
where you call this kind of temptation the daughter of 
Pusillanimity, and thereby so near of kin to the night s 
fear : methinketh, on the other side, that it is rather a thing 
that cometh of a great courage and boldness, when they 
dare their own hands put themself to death, from which 
we see almost every man shrink and flee, and that many 
such, as we know by good proof and plain experience for 
men of great heart and of an exceeding hardy courage. 

ANTONY. 1 said, cousin Vincent, that of pusillanimity 
causeth this temptation, and very truth it is that indeed it 
so doth. But yet I meant it not, that of only faint heart 
and fear it cometh and groweth alway. For the devil 
tempteth sundry folks by sundry ways. But the cause 
wherefore I spake of none other kind of that temptation, 
than of only that which is the daughter that the devil 
begetteth upon Pusillanimity, was for that, that those other 
kinds of that temptation fall not under the nature of tribu 
lation and fear, and therefore fall they far out of our matter 
here, and are such temptations as only need counsel, and 
not comfort or consolation, for that the persons therewith 
tempted be with that kind of temptation not troubled in 
their mind, but verily well content, both in the tempting 
and following. For some have there been, cousin, such, 
that they have been tempted thereto by mean of a foolish 
pride, and some by the mean of anger, without 
any dread at all, and very glad to go thereto : y*nfn m 
to this I say not nay. But whereas you ween, JJJJ** * some " 
that none fall thereto by fear, but that they 
have all a strong mighty stomach : that shall you well see 
the contrary, and that peradventure in those of whom you 
would ween the stomach most strong, and their heart 
and courage most hardy. 



134 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

VINCENT. Yet is it marvel, uncle, tome, that it should 
be as you say it is, that this temptation is unto them that 
do it for pride or for anger no tribulation, nor that they 
should need, in so great a distress and peril both of body 
and soul to be lost, no manner of good ghostly comfort 
at all. 

ANTONY. Let us therefore, cousin, consider a sample 
or two, for thereby shall we the better perceive it. There 
was here in Buda, in king Ladislaus days, a good, poor, 
etije carpenter s honest man s wife : this woman was so fiendish, 
tolfe - that the devil perceiving her nature, put her 

in the mind that she should anger her husband so sore, 
that she might give him occasion to kill her, and then he 
should be hanged for her. 

VINCENT. This was a strange temptation indeed. 
What the devil should she be the better then? 

ANTONY. Nothing, but that it eased her shrewd sto 
mach before, to think that her husband should be hanged 
after. And peradventure if you look about the world and 
consider it well, you shall find more such stomachs than 
a few. Have you never heard no furious body plainly 
say, that to see some such man have a mischief, he would 
with good will be content to lie as long in hell as God 
liveth in heaven ? 

VINCENT. Forsooth, and some such have I heard of. 

ANTONY. This mind of his was not much less mad 
than hers, but rather haply the more mad of the twain : 
for the woman peradventure did not cast so far peril 
therein. But to tell you now to what good pass her 
charitable purpose came : as her husband (the man was a 
carpenter) stood hewing with his chip-axe upon a piece of 
timber, she began after her old guise so to revile him, 
that the man waxed wrath at last, and bade her get in or 
he would lay the helve of his axe about her back, and 
said also, that it were little sin even with that axe-head to 
chop off that unhappy head of hers that carried such an 
ungracious tongue therein. At that word the devil took 
his time, and whetted her tongue against her teeth, and 
when it was well sharped, she sware unto him in very 
fierce anger: " By the mass, whoreson husband, I would 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 135 

thou wouldst : here lieth my head, lo ! (and therewith 
down she laid her head upon the same timber log) if thou 
smite it not off, I beshrevv thy whoreson heart." With 
that, likewise, as the devil stood at her elbow, so stood (as 
I heard say) his good angel at his, and gave him ghostly 
courage, and bade him be bold and do it. And so the 
good man up with his chip-axe, and at a chop chopped 
off her head indeed. There were standing other folk by, 
which had a good sport to hear her chide, but little they 
looked for this chance, till it was done ere they could let 
it. They said they heard her tongue babble in her head, 
and call whoreson, whoreson, twice after the head was 
from the body. At the leastwise afterward unto the king 
thus they reported all, except only one, and that was a 
woman, and she said that she heard it not. 

VINCENT. Forsooth, this was a wonderful work. What 
became, uncle, of the man? 

ANTONY. The king gave him his pardon. 

VINCENT. Verily he might in conscience do no less. 

ANTONY. But then was it farther almost at another 
point, that there should have been a statute made, that in 
such case there should never after pardon be granted, but 
the truth being able to be proved, no husband should 
need any pardon, but should have leave by the law to fol 
low the sample of the carpenter, and do the same. 

VINCENT. How happed it, uncle, that the good law 
was left unmade? 

ANTONY. How happed it? As it happeth, cousin, 
that many more be left unmade as well as it, and within 
a little as good as it too, both here, and in other countries, 
and sometime some worse made in their stead. 
But (as they say) the let of that law was the 
queen s grace, God forgive her soul ! it was the greatest 
thing, I ween, good lady, that she had to answer for when 
she died. For surely, save for that one thing, she was a 
full blessed woman. But letting now that law pass, this 
temptation in procuring her own death was unto this car 
penter s wife no tribulation at all, as far as ever men could 
perceive : for it liked her well to think thereon, and she 
even longed therefor. And therefore, if she had before 



136 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

told you or me her mind, and that she would so fain 
bring it so to pass, we could have had no occasion to 
comfort her as one that were in tribulation : but marry, 
counsel her (as I told you before) we well might, to refrain 
and amend that malicious devilish mind of hers. 

VINCENT. Verily that is truth; but such as are well 
willing to do any purpose that is so shameful, will never 
tell their mind to nobody for very shame. 

ANTONY. Some will not indeed, and yet are there 
some again, that be their intent never so shameful, find 
some yet whom their heart serveth them to make of their 
another strange counsel therein. Some of my folk here can 
tase - tell you, that no longer than even yesterday, 

one that came out of Vienna shewed us among other 
talking, that a rich widow (but I forgot to ask him where 
it happed) having all her life an high proud mind and a 
fell, as those two virtues are wont alway to keep com 
pany together, was at debate with another neighbour of 
hers in the town, and on a time she made of her counsel 
a poor neighbour of hers, whom she thought for money 
she might induce to follow her mind. With him secretly 
she brake, and offered him ten ducats for his labour, to 
do so much for her as in a morning early to come to her 
house, and with an axe unknown privily to strike off her 
head. And when he had so done, then convey the bloody 
axe into the house of him with whom she was at debate, 
in some such manner wise as it might be thought that 
he had murdered her of malice, and then she thought 
she should be taken for a martyr. And yet had she 
further devised, that another sum of money should after 
be sent to Rome, and that there should be means made 
to the Pope, that she might in all haste be canonized. 
This poor man promised, but intended not to perform it. 
Howbeit, when he deferred it, she provided the axe her 
self, and he appointed with her the morning when he 
should come and do it. But then set he such other folk, 
as he would should know her frantic phantasy, in such 
place appointed as they might well hear her and him talk 
together. And after that he had talked with her thereof 
what he would, so much as he thought was enough, he 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 137 

made her lie down, and took up the axe in his one hand, 
and with the tother hand he felt the edge, and found a 
fault that it was not sharp, and that, therefore, he would 
in no wise do it, till that he. had ground it sharper; he 
could not else (he said) for pity, it would put her to so 
much pain : and so full sore against her will for that 
time she kept her head still. But because she would not 
suffer any more to deceive her so and fode her forth with 
delays, ere it was very long after she hanged herself with 
her own hands. 

VINCENT. Forsooth, here was a tragical story, whereof 
I never heard the like. 

ANTONY. Forsooth, the party that told it me, sware 
that he knew it for a truth. And himself is, I promise 
you, such as I reckon for right honest, and of substantial 
truth. Now, here she letted not, as shameful a mind as 
she had, to make one of her counsel yet : and as I re 
member, another too, whom she trusted with the money 
that should procure her canonization. And here, I wot 
well, that her temptation came not of fear, but of high 
malice and pride. But then was she so glad in the plea 
sant device thereof, that (as I shewed you) she took it 
for no tribulation. And therefore, comforting of her 
could have no place : but if men should any thing give 
her toward her help, it must have been (as I told you) 
good counsel. And therefore, as 1 said, this kind of 
temptation to a man s own destruction, which requireth 
counsel and is out of tribulation, was out of our matter, 
that is to treat of comfort in tribulation. 



138 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XVI. 



Of him that were moved to kill himself by illusion of the 
devil, which he reckoned for a revelation. 

UT lest you might reject both these sam 
ples, weening they were but feigned tales, 
1 shall put you but in remembrance of 
one, which I reckon yourself have read in 
the Collations of Cassianus.* And if you 
have not, there may you soon find it : for 
myself have half forgotten the thing, it is so long since 
I read it. But this much I remember, that he telleth 
there of one that was many days a very holy man in his 
living, and among the other virtuous monks and ankers 
that lived there in wilderness was marvellously much 
esteemed, saving that some were not all out of fear of 
him, lest his revelations, whereof he told many by him 
self, would prove illusions of the devil: and so proved 
it after indeed. For the man was by the devil s subtle 
suggestions brought into such an high spiritual pride, 
that in conclusion the devil brought him to that horrible 
point, that he made him to kill himself, and as far as 
my mind giveth me now without new sight of the book, 
he brought him to it by this persuasion, that he made 
him believe, that it was God s will he should so do, and 
that thereby should he go straight to heaven. And then 
if it were by that persuasion, with which he took very 
great comfort in his own mind himself, then was it (as I 
said) out of our case here, and needed not comfort, but 
counsel against giving credence to the devil s persuasion. 
* Collat. 2, cap. 5. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 139 

But marry, if he made him first perceive, how he had 
been deluded, and then tempted him to his own death 
by shame arid despair, then was it within our matter, lo. 
For then was his temptation fallen down from pride to 
pusillanimity, and was waxen that kind of the night s 
fear that I spake of, wherein a good part of the counsel 
that were to be given him, should have need to stand in 
good comforting ; for then was he brought into right sure 
tribulation. 

But as I was about to tell you, strength of heart and 
courage is there none therein, not only for that very 
strength, as it hath the name of virtue in a reasonable 
creature, can never be without prudence; but also for 
that, as I said, even in them that seem men of most 
hardiness, it shall well appear to them that well weigh 
the matter, that the mind, whereby they be led to destroy 
themself, groweth out of pusillanimity and very foolish 
fear. Take for example, Cato Uticensis, who <g- ato t {. 
in Africa killed himself after the great victory &. 
that Julius C0esar had. St. Austin well declareth in his 
work De Civitate Dei* that there was no strength nor 
magnanimity therein, but plain pusillanimity and impo- 
tency of stomach, whereby he was forced to the destruc 
tion of himself, because his heart was too feeble to bear 
the beholding of another man s glory, or the suffering of 
other calamities, that he feared should fall on himself. So 
that (as St. Austin well proveth) that humble deed is no 
act of strength, but an act of the mind either drawn 
from the consideration of itself with some devilish phan 
tasy, wherein the man hath need to be called home with 
good counsel, or else oppressed by faint heart and fear, 
wherein a good part of the counsel must stand in lifting 
up his courage with good consolation and comfort. 

And therefore, if we found any such religious person, 
as was that father which Cassian writeth of, that were 
of such austere and apparently ghostly living, that he 
were with such, as well knew him, reputed for a man of 
singular virtue, and that it were perceived, that he had 
many strange visions appearing unto him : if it should 
* Lib. i. cap. 22 et 23. 



140 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

now be perceived after that, that the man went about 
secretly to destroy himself, who so should hap to come 
to the knowledge thereof, and intended to do his devoir 
in the let : first must he find the means to search and 
find out, whether the man be in his manner and in his 
countenance, lightsome, glad, and joyful, or dumpish, 
heavy, and sad : whether he go thereabout, as one that 
were full of the glad hope of heaven, or as one that had 
his breast farced full of tediousness and weariness of the 
world. If he were founden of the first fashion, it were 
a token that the devil hath by his fantastical apparitions 
purled him up in such a peevish pride, that he hath 
finally persuaded him by some illusion shewed him for 
the proof, that God s pleasure is that he shall for his 
sake with his own hands kill himself. 

VINCENT. What if a man so found it, uncle? What 
counsel should a man give him then ? 

ANTONY. That were somewhat out of our purpose, 
cousin : sith, as I told you before, the man were not then 
in sorrow and tribulation, whereof our matter speaketh, 
but in a perilous merry mortal temptation. So that if 
we should beside our own matter that we have in hand, 
enter into that too, we might hap to make a longer work 
between both, than we could well finish this day. How- 
beit, to be short, it is soon seen, that therein the sum 
and effect of the counsel must in manner rest in giving 
him warning of the devil s sleights, and that must be 
done under such sweet, pleasant manner, as the man 
should not abhor to hear it. For while it could lightly 
be none other, but that the man were rocked and sung 
asleep by the devil s craft, and thereby his mind occupied 
as it were in a delectable dream, he should never have 
good audience of him, that would rudely and boisterously 
shog him and wake him, and so shake him out thereof. 
Therefore, must you fair and easily touch him, and with 
some pleasant speech awake him so, that he wax not 
wayward, as children do that are waked ere they list to 
rise. But when a man hath first begun with his praise 
(for if he be proud, ye shall much better please him with 
a commendation than with a Dirige), then after favour 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 141 

won therewithal, a man may little and little insinuate 
the doubt of such revelations, not at the. first as it were 
for any doubt of his, but of some other that men in some 
other places talk of. And peradventure it shall not mis- 
content himself, to shew great perils that may fall therein 
in another man s case (rather than his own) and shall 
begin to preach upon it. 

Or if you were a man that had not so very a scrupulous 
conscience of an harmless lie devised to do good withal, 
which kind St. Austin, though he take alway for sin, yet 
he taketh it but for venial, and St. Hierome* (as by divers 
places in his books appeareth) taketh not fully for so 
much : then may you feign some secret friend of yours to 
be in such case, and that yourself somewhat fear his 
peril, and have made of charity this voyage for his sake 
to ask this good father s counsel. And in that communi 
cation may you bring in these words of St. John : Nolite 
omni spiritui credere, sed probate spiritus si ex Deo sunt ) 
Give not credence unto every spirit, but prove the spirits 
whether they be of God :t and these words of St. Paul : 
Angelus Sathance transfigurat se in angelum lucis, The 
angel of Sathan transfigureth himself into the angel of 
light.J You shall take occasion the better, if they hap to 
come in on his own side, but yet not lack occasion neither, 
if those texts (for lack of his offer) come in upon your 
own ; occasion, I say, shall you not lack to inquire, by 
what sure and undeceivable tokens a man may discern 
the true revelations from the false illusions, whereof a 
man shall find many both here and there in divers other 
authors, and whole together diverse goodly treatises of 
that good godly doctor, M. John Gerson, en- erson e fro- 
titled, De Probations Spirituum. As, if the Sptnt. 
party be natural wise, or any thing seem fantastical; or 
whether the party be poor-spirited, or proud, which will 
somewhat appear by his delight in his own praise : or if 
of wiliness, or of another pride for to be praised of hu 
mility, he refuse to hear thereof yet: any little fault 
found in himself, or diffidence declared, and mistrust of 
his own revelations, and doubtful tokens told, whereof 
* Ad Consent, de Mendac. f 1 Joan. iv. + 2 Cor. xi. 



142 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

himself should fear lest they be the devil s illusions : 
such things (as M. Gerson saith) will make him to spit 
out somewhat of his spiteful spirit, if the devil lie in his 
breast. 

Or if the devil be yet so subtle, that he keep himself 
close in his warm den, arid blow out never a hot word, 
yet is it to be considered, what end his revelations draw 
to, whether to any spiritual profit to himself or other 
Cofcens of false folk, or only to vain marvels and wonders. 
illusions. Also, whether they withdraw him from such 

other good, virtuous business, as by the common rules of 
Christendom, or any rules of his profession, he was wont 
to use, or was bound to be occupied in. Or whether he 

fall into any singularity of opinions against 
Sue!) Illusions ,10- J r R - 

ta&e some jew- the scripture or (jrod, or against the common 

faith of Christ s Catholic Church. Many 
other tokens are there in that work of M. Gerson spoken 
of, to consider by, whether the person neither having 
revelations of God, nor illusions from the devil, do either 
for winning of money, or worldly favour, feign his reve 
lations himself to delude the people withal. 

But now for our purpose, if among any of the marks, 
by which the true revelations may be known from the 
false illusions, that man himself bring forth for one mark 
the doing or teaching of any thing against the Scripture 
of God, or the common faith of the church; then have 
you an entry made you, by which when you list you may 
enter into the special matter, wherein he can never well 
flit from you. Or else may you yet, if you list, feign that 
your secret friend, for whose sake you come to him for 
counsel, is brought into that mind by a certain apparition 
shewed unto him (as himself saith) by an angel ; as you 
fear, by the devil; that he can be by you none otherwise 
persuaded as yet, but that the pleasure of God is, that he 
shall go kill himself : and that if he so do, then shall he 
be thereby so specially participant of Christ s passion, 
that he shall forthwith be carried up with angels into hea 
ven. For which he is so joyful, that he firmly purposeth 
upon it, no less glad to do it, than another man would be 
glad to void it. And therefore may you desire his good 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 143 

counsel, to instruct you with some good substantial 
advice, wherewith you may turn him from his error, that 
he be not (under hope of God s true revelation) in body 
and soul destroyed by the devil s false illusion. If he 
will in this thing study and labour to instruct you, the 
things that himself shall find out of his own invention, 
though they be less effectual, shall peradventure more 
work with himself toward his own amendment, sith he 
shall of likelihood better like them, than shall double so 
substantial things told by another man. If he be loth 
to think upon that side, and therefore shrink from the 
matter; then is there none other way, but adventure after 
the plain fashion to fall into the matter and shew what 
you hear, and to give him counsel and exhortation to the 
contrary; but if you list to say, that thus and thus hath 
the matter been reasoned already between your friend 
and you, and therein may you rehearse such things, as 
should prove that the vision which moveth him is no true 
revelation, but a very false illusion. 

VINCENT. Verily, uncle, I well allow this, that a man 
should as well in this thing, as every other wherein he 
longeth to do another man good, seek such a pleasant 
way as the party should be likely to like, or at the least 
wise to take well in worth his communication : and not 
so to enter in thereunto, as he, whom he would help, 
should abhor him and be loth to hear him, and there 
fore take no profit by him. But now, uncle, if it come 
by the one way or the other, to the point that hear me 
he will, or shall; what be the reasons effectual with 
which I should by counsel convert him? 

ANTONY. All those, by which you may make him per 
ceive that himself is deceived, and that his visions be no 
Godly revelations, but very devilish illusions. And those 
reasons must you gather of the man, of the matter, and 
of the law of God, or of some one of these. 

1. Of the man: if you can peradventure shew him, 
that in such a point or such, he is waxen worse since 
such revelations have haunted him than he was before, 
as in those that are deluded, whoso be well acquainted 
with them shall well mark and perceive. For they wax 



144 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

more proud, more wayward, more envious, suspicious, 
went tokens misjudging, and depraving other men, with 
of (Hustons. the delight of their own praise, and such other 
spiritual vices of the soul. 

2. Of the matter may you gather, if it have happed 
his revelations before to prove false, or that they be 
things rather strange than profitable. For that is a 
ojfoj-s mfraeies. & ooc * mar ^ between God s miracles and the 
&f)e Benti s devil s wonders. For Christ and his saints 

have their miracles alway tending to fruit and 
profit : the devil, and his witches, and necromancers, all 
their wonderful works draw to no fruitful end, but to a 
fruitless ostentation and show, as it were a juggler that 
would, for a show before the people, play masteries at a 
feast. 

3. Of the law of God you must draw your reasons, in 
shewing by the Scripture that the thin^ which he weeneth 
God by his angel biddeth, God hath his own mouth for 
bidden.* And that is, you wot well, in the case that we 
speak of, so easy to find, that I need not to rehearse it 
unto you, sith there is plain among the Ten Command 
ments forbidden the unlawful killing of any man: and 
therefore of himself, as St. Austin saith, and all the 
Church teacheth, except himself be no man.f 

VINCENT. This is very true, good uncle, nor I will not 
dispute upon any glosing of that prohibition. But sith 
we find not the contrary, but that God may dispense with 
that commandment himself, and both license and com 
mand also, if himself list, any man to go kill either 
another man or himself either : this man that is now by 
such a marvellous vision induced to believe that God so 
biddeth him, and therefore thinketh himself in that case 
of that prohibition discharged, and charged with the con 
trary commandment; with what reason may we make 
him perceive that his vision is but an illusion, and not a 
true revelation ? 

ANTONY. Nay, cousin Vincent, you shall not need in 
this case to require those reasons of me : but taking the 
Scripture of God for a ground in this matter, you know 
* Deut. v. f August, de Civitat. Dei, lib. i. cap. 26. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 145 

very well yourself, you shall go somewhat a shorter way 
to work, if you ask this question of him, that sith God 
hath forbidden the thing once himself, though he may 
dispense therewith if he will, yet sith the devil may feign 
himself God, and with a marvellous vision delude one, 
and make as though God did it, and sith the devil also 
is more likely to speak against God s commandment than 
God against his own; you shall have good cause, I say, 
to demand of the man himself, whereby he knoweth that 
his vision is God s true revelation, and not the devil s 
false delusion. 

VINCENT. Indeed, uncle, I think, that would be an 
hard question for him. May a man have, uncle, in such 
a thing even a very sure knowledge in his own mind ? 

ANTONY. Yea, cousin, God may cast into the mind of 
a man, I suppose, such an inward light and understand 
ing that he cannot fail but be sure thereof. And yet he 
that is deluded by the devil may think himself as sure, 

nd yet be deceived indeed. And such a dif- ,, 

f J . ,, , J f)e similitude 

lerence is there in a manner between them, as of Breaming 

is between the sight of a thing while we be an5 toafeinfl 
waking and look thereon, and the sight with which we 
see a thing in our sleep, while we dream thereof. 

VINCENT. This is a pretty similitude, uncle, in this 
thing ; and then is it easy for the monk that we speak of, 
to declare how he knoweth his vision for a true revela 
tion and not a false delusion, if there be so great differ 
ence between them. 

ANTONY. Not so easy, cousin, yet, as you ween it 
were. For how can you now prove unto me that vou be 

10 * 

awake r 

VINCENT. Marry lo: do I not now wag my hand, 
shake my head, and stamp with my feet here in the 
floor? 

ANTONY. Have you never dreamed ere this, that you 
have done the same ? 

VINCENT. Yes, that have I, and more too than that. 
For I have ere this in my sleep dreamed that I doubted 
whether I were awake or asleep, and have in good faith 
thought that I did thereupon even the same things that 

L 



146 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

I do now indeed, and thereby determined that I was not 
Sttcti ureams asleep. And yet have I dreamed in good faith 
pe a ntVto Ul St|e?s farther, that I have been afterward at dinner, 
too. and there making merry with company, have 

told the same dream at the table and laughed well thereat, 
that (while I was asleep) I had by such means of moving 
the parts of my body, and considering thereof, so verily 
though myself waking. 

ANTONY. And will you not now as soon, trow you, 
when you wake and rise, laugh as well at yourself, when 
you see that you lie now in your warm bed asleep again 
and dream all this time, while you ween so verily that you 
be waking and talking of these matters with me ? 

VINCENT. God s Lord, uncle, you go now merrily to 
work with me indeed, when you look and speak so sadly, 
and would make me ween I were asleep. 

ANTONY. It may be that you be so, for any thing that 
you can say or do, whereby you may with any reason 
that you can make drive me to confess, that yourself be 
sure of the contrary : sith you can do nor say nothing 
now, whereby you be sure to be waking, but that you 
have ere this, or hereafter may, think yourself so surely 
to do the selfsame things indeed, while you be all the 
while asleep, and nothing do but lie dreaming. 

VINCENT. Well, well, uncle, though I have ere this 
thought myself awake, while I was indeed asleep : yet for 
all this I know well enough that I am awake now, and 
so do you too, though I cannot find the words by which 
I may with reason enforce you to confess it, but that 
alway you may drive me off by the sample of my dream. 

ANTONY. This is, cousin, as me seemeth very true. 
And likewise seemeth me the manner and difference be 
tween some kinds of true revelations, and some kind of 
arft tneii tfits f a ^ se illusions, as it standeth between the 
comparison of things that are done waking, and the things 
areaming an an& that in our dreams seem to be done while we be 
iKelftf true s l ee P m g : tnat is > to wit, that he which hath 

tti a wan?to tnat ^^ ^ reve l at on f rom ^^ as sure f 
false opinions the truth, as we be of our own deed while we be 
*nn tarsus. wa king. And he that is illuded by the devil, is 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 147 

in such wise deceived, and worse too, than be they by their 
dream, and yet reckoneth himself as sure for the time 
as the other, saving that the one falsely weeneth and the 
other truly knoweth. But I say not, cousin, that this 
kind of sure knowledge cometh in every kind of revela 
tion. For there are many kinds, whereof were too long 
to talk now : but I say that God doth, or may do, to 
man in some thing certainly send some such. 

VINCENT. Yet then may this religious man, of whom 
we speak, when I shew him the Scripture against his 
revelation (and therefore call it an illusion), bid me with 
reason go care for myself. For he knoweth well and 
surely himself, that his revelation is good and true, and 
not any false illusion, sith for all the general command 
ment of God in the Scripture, God may dispense where 
he will, and when he will, and may command him to do 
the contrary, as he commanded Abraham to kill his own 
son,* and as Sampson had by inspiration of God com 
mandment to kill himself with pulling down the house 
on his own head at the feast of the Philistines.-]- Now, if 
I would do then, as you bade me right now, go tell him 
that such apparitions were illusions, and that sith God s 
word is in the Scripture against him plain for the prohibi 
tion, he must prove me the truth of his revelation, whereby 
I may know that it is not a false illusion; then shall he 
ask me again whereby that I can prove myself to be 
awake and talk with him, and not to be asleep and dream 
so, sith in my dream 1 may as surely ween so, as I 
know that I do so. And thus shall he drive me to the 
same bay, to which I would bring him. 

ANTON if. This is well said, cousin, but yet could he 
not scape you so. For the dispensation of God s com 
mon precept (which dispensation he must say that he hath 
by his private revelation) is a thing of such sort as sheweth 
itself nought and false. For it never hath had any 
sample like since the world began till now, that ever man 
hath read or heard of among faithful people commended 
First in Abraham, as touching the death of his son, God 
intended it not, but only tempted the towardness of the 
* Gen. xxii. f Judic. xvi. 

L 2 



148 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

father s obedience. In Sampson all men make not the 
matter very sure whether he be saved or not, but yet therein 
some matter and cause appeareth. For the Philistines being 
enemies to God, and using Sampson for their mocking- 
stock in scorn of God,* it is well likely that God gave 
him the mind to bestow his own life upon the revenging 
of the displeasure that those blasphemous Philistines did 
unto God. And that appeareth mostly clear by this, that 
though his strength failed him when he wanted his hair, 
yet had he not, as it seemeth, that strength evermore at 
hand while he had his hair, but at such times as it pleased 
God to give it him. Which thing appeareth by these 
words that the Scripture in some place of that matter 
saith : Irruit virtus Domini in Sampsonem the power or 
might of God rushed into Sampson. f And so therefore, 
while this thing that he did in the pulling down of the 
house was done by the special gift of strength then at 
that point given him by God ; it well declareth, that the 
strength of God, and therewith the spirit of God, entered 
into him therefor. 

St. Austin also rehearseth, that certain holy, virtuous 
virgins, in time of persecution, being by infidels God s 
enemies pursued upon to be deflowered by force,J ran 
into a water and drowned themself, rather than they 
would be bereaved of their virginity. And albeit that he 
thinketh, that it is not lawful for any other maid to 
follow their sample, but rather suffer other to do her any 
manner violence by force, and commit sin of his own 
upon her against her will, than wilfully, and thereby sin 
fully, herself become an homicide of herself; yet he 
thinketh, that in them it happed by the special instinct of 
the Spirit of God, that (for causes seen unto himself) 
would rather that they should avoid it with their own 
temporal death than abide the defiling and violation of 
their chastity. But now this good man neither hath any of 
God s enemies to be by his own death revenged on : nor 
any woman that violently pursueth him by force to be 
reave him of his virginity : nor never find we, that God 

* August, de Civitat. Dei, lib. i. cap. 21. f Judic. xr. 

J August, de Civitat. Dei, lib. i. cap. 26. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 149 

proved any man s obedient mind by the commandment of 
his own slaughter of himself. Therefore is his case both 
plain against God s open precepts, and the dispensation 
strange and without sample, no cause appearing, nor well 
imaginable ; but if he would think that God could no 
longer live without him, nor take him to him in such 
wise as he doth other men, but command him to come by 
a forbidden way, by which without other cause we never 
heard that ever he had any man else before. 

Now where you think, that if you should after this bid 
him tell you by what way he knoweth that his intent 
riseth upon a true revelation, and not upon a false illusion, 
he would bid you then again tell him by what means you 
know, that you be talking with him, well waking, and not 
dream it sleeping: you may tell him again that men thus 
talk together as you do, and in such manner of wise as 
they may prove and perceive that they so do by the 
moving of themself, and with putting the question thereof 
unto themself for their pleasure. And the marking and 
considering thereof is in waking a daily common thing that 
every man doth, or may do when he will. And when they 
do it, they do it but of pleasure. But in sleep it happeth 
very seld that men dream that they so do, nor in their 
dream never put they question but for doubt. And 
therefore it is more reason that sith his revelation is such 
also that happeth so seld, and after happeth that men 
dream of such, than have such in deed ; therefore it is 
more reason (you may tell him) that he shew you in such 
a rare thing, and a thing more like a dream, whereby he 
knoweth that himself is not asleep, than you in such a 
common thing among folk that are waking, and so seldom 
happing in a dream, should need to shew him whereby 
you know that you be not asleep. Besides this himself, 
to whom you should shew it, seeth and perceiveth the 
thing that he would bid you prove, but the thing that 
he would make you believe (the truth of his revelation 
which you bid him prove) you see not, he wotteth well 
himself. And therefore ere you believe it against the 
Scripture, it were well consonant unto reason that he 
should shew you whereby he knoweth it for a true 



150 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

waking revelation, and not for a false dreaming delu 
sion. 

VINCENT. Then shall he peradventure say to me again, 
that whether I believe him, or not, maketh him no mat 
ter : the thing toucheth himself, and not me. And himself 
is in himself as sure, that it is a true revelation, as that he 
can tell that hedreameth not buttalketh with me waking. 

ANTONY. Without doubt, cousin, if he abide at that 
point, and can be by no reason brought to do so much as 
doubt, and can by no means be shogged out of his dead 
sleep, but will needs take his dream for a very truth, and 
aaaaisersin as some by night rise and walk about their 
tfittt sutp. chamber in their sleep, will so rise and hang 
himself: I can then no other ways see, but either bind 
him fast in his bed, or else essay whether that might hap 
to help him with which the common tale goeth, that a 
carver s wife in such a frantic phantasy holp her husband. 
To whom when he told he would upon a Good Friday 

, needs have killed himself for Christ s sake, as 
Bfje carber tfiat . . . 

tooum be cruet* Christ was killed tor him, she would not m 

firt " vain plead against his mind, but well and 

wisely put him in remembrance, that if he would die for 
Christ as Christ died for him, it were then convenient for 
him to die even after the same fashion. And that might 
not be by his own hands, but by the hand of some other : 
for Christ, pardie, killed not himself. And because her 
husband should need to make no more of counsel (for that 
would he not in no wise) she offered him, that for God s 
sake she would secretly herself crucify him on a great 
cross, that he had made to nail a new carved crucifix 
upon. Whereof when he was very glad, yet she bethought 
her, that Christ was bounden to a pillar and beaten first, 
and after crowned with thorns. Whereupon when she 
had (by his own assent) bound him fast to a post, she left 
not beating, with holy exhortation to suffer so much and 
so long, that ere ever she left work and unbound him, 
praying him nevertheless that she might put on his head, 
and drive it well down, a crown of thorns that she had 
writhen for him and brought him : he said, he thought 
this was enough for that year ; he would pray God to for- 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 151 

bear him of the remnant, till Good Friday come again. 
But when it came again the next year, then was his lust 
past : he longed to follow Christ no farther. 

VINCENT. Indeed, uncle, if this help him not, then will 
nothing help him, I trow. 

ANTONY. And yet, cousin, peradventure the devil 
might make him toward such a purpose first gladly suffer 
other pain, yea and minish his feeling too therein, that he 
may thereby the less fear his death : and yet are there 
peradventure sometime such things, and many more, to 
be essayed. For as the devil may hap to make him suffer, 
so may he hap to miss, namely, if his friends fall to prayer 
for him against his temptation : for that can himself never 
do, while he taketh it for none. But for conclusion, if 
the man be surely proved so inflexibly set upon the pur 
pose to destroy himself as commanded thereto by God, 
that no good counsel that men can give him, nor any 
other thing that man may do to him, can refrain him, but 
that he would surely shortly kill himself: then, except 
only good prayer made by his friends for him, 
I can find no farther shift, but either have him 
ever in sight, or bind him fast in his bed. And 
so must he needs of reason be content to be 
ordered. For though himself take his phantasy for a 
true revelation, yet sith he cannot make us perceive it for 
such, likewise as he thinketh himself by his secret com 
mandment bounden to follow it, so must he needs agree, 
that sith it is against the plain open prohibition of God, we 
be by the plain open precept bound to keep him from it. 

VINCENT. In this point, uncle, I can go no farther. 
But now if he were on the other side perceived to mind 
his destruction, and to go thereabout without heaviness 
of heart, thought and dulness, what way were there to 
be used with him then ? 

ANTONY. Then were his temptation, as I told you 
before, properly pertaining to our matter. For _ 

,1 . J l Ml- 1 SOrE an * 1 

then were he in a sore tribulation, and a very perilous temp. 
perilous: for then were it a token, that the tat(on< 
devil had either by bringing him into some great sin, 
brought him into despair, or peradventure by his revela- 



152 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

tions fouiiden false and reproved, or by some secret sin 
of his deprehended and divulged, cast him both in despair 
of heaven through fear, and in a weariness of this life for 
shame, sith he seeth his estimation lost among other folk, 
of whose praise he was wont to be proud. And there 
fore, cousin, in such case as this is, the man is to be fair 

handled and sweetly, and with dulce and ten- 
(SooO counsel . / 

anii comfort in der loving words to be put in good courage, 

and comforted in all that men godly may. 
And here must they put him in mind, that if he despair 
not, but pull up his courage and trust in God s great 
mercy, he shall have in conclusion great cause to be glad 
of this fall. For before he stood in greater peril than he 
was ware of, while he took himself for better than he was, 
and God, for favour that he bare him, hath suffered him to 
fall deep into the devil s danger, to make him thereby know 
what he was while he took himself for so sure. And 
therefore as he suffered him then to fall for a remedy 
against over-bold pride, so will God now (if the man 
meeken himself, not with unfruitful despair, but with 
fruitful penance) so set him up again upon his feet, and 
so strengthen him with his grace, that for this one fall 
that the devil has given him, he shall give the devil an 
hundred. 

And here must he be put in remembrance of Mary 
Magdalen, of the prophet David, and specially of St. 
Peter, whose high bold courage took a foul fall, and yet 
because he despaired not of God s mercy, but wept and 
called upon it, how highly God took him into his favour 
again, in his Holy Scripture is well testified, and well 
through Christendom known. And now shall it be 
charitably done, if some good virtuous folk, such as him 
self esteemeth, and hath afore longed to stand in estima 
tion with, do resort sometime unto him, not only to give 
him counsel, but also to ask advice and counsel of him 
in some cases of their own conscience, to let him thereby 
perceive, that they no less esteem him now, but rather 
more than they did before, sith they think him now by 
this fall better expert of the devil s craft, and thereby not 
only better instructed himself, but also better able to give 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 153 

good advice and counsel to others. This thing will, in my 
mind, well amend and lift up his courage from the peril 
of that desperate shame. 

VINCENT. Methinketh, uncle, that this were a perilous 
thing. For it may peradventure make him set the less 
by his fall, and thereby cast him into his first pride, or 
into his other sin again, the falling whereinto drove him 
into this despair. 

ANTONY. I do not mean, cousin, that every fool shall at 
adventure fall in hand with him; for so, lo, might it hap 
to do harm indeed. But, cousin, if a cunning physician 
have a man in hand, he can well discern, when, ^^ a tojse 
and how long, some certain medicine is neces- rttsuiw ts 
sary, which at another time ministered, or at 
that time overlong continued, might put the patient in 
peril. For if he have his patient in an ague, to the cure 
whereof he needeth his medicines (in their working) cold : 
yet if he hap, ere that fever be full cured, to fall into 
some such other disease, as except it were holpen with 
hot medicines were likely to kill the body before the 
fever could be cured : he would for awhile have his 
most care to the cure of that thing wherein were most 
present peril, and when that were once out of jeopardy, 
do the more exact diligence after, about the farther 
cure of the fever. And likewise, if the ship were in 
peril to fall into Scylla, the fear of falling into Charybdis 
on the other side shall never let any wise master thereof 
to draw him from Scylla toward Charybdis ^ t teist S J,( PB 
first of all, in all that ever he may. But when master. 
he hath him once so far away from Scylla that he seeth 
himself safe out of that danger, then will he begin 
to take good heed to keep him well from the other. 
And in likewise when this man is falling down to despair 
and to the final destruction of himself, a good, wise, 
spiritual leech will first look unto that, and by good com 
fort lift up his courage : and when he seeth that peril 
well past, care for the cure of his other faults after. 
Howbeit, even in the giving of his comfort, he may find 
ways enough in such wise to temper his words, that the 
man may take occasion of good courage, and yet far from 



154 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

occasion giving of new recidivation into his former sin : 
sith the great part of his counsel shall be to courage him 
to amendment, and that is, pardie, far from falling to sin 
again. 

VINCENT. I think, uncle, that folk fall into this un 
gracious rnind through the devil s temptation by many 
more means than one. 

ANTONY. That is, cousin, very true. For the devil 
taketh his occasions as he seeth them fall meet for him. 
Some he stirreth to it through weariness of themself after 
some great loss, some for fear of bodily harm, and some, 
as I said, for fear of worldly shame. One wist I myself, 
Tffote tfjfs ei which had been long reputed for an honest 
ample. man, which was fallen in such a phantasy, 

that he was well near worn away therewith. But what 
he was tempted to do, that would he tell no man, but he 
told unto me that he was sore cumbered, and that it 
alway ran in his mind that folk s phantasies were fallen 
from him, and that they esteemed not his wit as they 
were wont to do, but ever his mind gave him that the 
people began to take him for a fool. And folk, of truth, 
did nothing so at all, but reputed him both for wise and 
honest. 

Ctoootijer Two other knew I that were marvellously 
examples, afraid that they should kill themself, and 
could tell me no cause wherefore they so feared it, 
but only that their own mind so gave them. Neither 
loss had they any had, nor no such thing toward them, 
nor none occasion of any worldly shame : the one in body 
very well liking and lusty, and wondrous weary were they 
both twain of that mind, and alway they thought that do 
it they would not for nothing, but nevertheless they ever 
feared they should. And wherefore they so both feared, 
neither of them both could tell ; and the one, lest he 
should do it, desired his friends to bind him. 

VINCENT. This is, uncle, a marvellous strange manner. 

ANTONY. Forsooth, cousin, I suppose that many of 

them are in this case. The devil, as I said before, 

seeketh his occasions. For as St. Peter saith : Adversa- 

rius vester diabolus quasi leo rugiens circuit, qucerens quern 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 155 

dcvoret:* Your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, 
goeth about, seeking whom he may devour. He marketh 
therefore well the state and the condition that every man 
standeth in, not only concerning their outward things, as 
lands, possessions, goods, authority, fame, favour, or 
hatred of the world, but also men s complexions within 
them, as health or sickness, good humour or bad, by 
which they be light-hearted or lumpish, strong-hearted or 
faint and feeble of spirit, bold, hardy, or timorous, and 
fearful of courage. And after as these things minister 
him matter of temptation, so useth he himself in the 
manner of his temptation. 

Now likewise as in such folk that are full of young, 
warm, lusty blood and other humours, exciting the flesh 
to filthy, voluptuous living, the devil useth to make these 
things his instruments in tempting them and in provoking 
them thereunto : and when he findeth some folk full of hot 
blood and choler, he maketh those humours his instru 
ments to set their hearts on fire in wrath and very fierce 
furious anger : so when he findeth some folk which 
through some dull melancholious humours are naturally 
disposed to fear, he casteth sometime such a fearful 
imagination in their mind, that without help of God they 
can never cast it out of their hearts. 

Some, at the sudden falling of some horrible thought 
into their mind, have not only had a great abomination 
thereat (which abomination they well and virtuously had 
thereat), but the devil using their melancholious humour 
(and thereby their natural inclination to fear) for his in 
strument, hath caused them to conceive therewith such a 
deep dread beside, that they ween themself with that 
abominable thought, to be fallen into such an outrageous 
sin, that they be ready to fall into despair of grace, 
weening- that God hath given them over for ever : whereas 
that thought (were it never so horrible and never so 
abominable) is yet unto them that never like it, but even 
still abhor it, and strive still there against, matter of con 
flict and merit, and not any sin at all. 

Some have, with holding a knife in their hands, sud- 
* 1 Pet. v. 



156 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

denly thought upon the killing of themself, and forthwith 
in devising what an horrible thing it were, if they should 
mishap so to do, have fallen into a fear that they should 
do so indeed, and have with often thinking thereon im 
printed that fear so sore in their imagination, that some of 
them have not after cast it off without great difficulty, and 
some could never in their life be rid thereof, but have 
after in conclusion miserably done it indeed. But like 
wise as where the devil useth the blood of a man s own 
body toward his purpose in provoking him to lechery, 
the man must, and doth, with grace and wisdom, resist 
it : so must that man do, whose melancholious humours 
the devil abuseth toward the casting of such a desperate 
dread into his heart. 

VINCENT. I pray you, uncle, what advice were to be 
given him in such case ? 

ANTONY. Surely methinketh his help standeth in 
two things, counsel and prayer. First, as concerning 
counsel, likewise as it may be that he hath two things 

that hold him in his temptation ; that is, to wit, 
f)e mean fioto . . \ . 1,1 

to resist tins some evil humours or his own body, and the 

cursed devil that abuseth them to his perni 
cious purpose : so must he need against them twain the 
counsel of two manner of folk : that is, to wit, physicians 
for the body and physicians for the soul. The bodily 
physician shall consider what abundance the man hath of 
these evil humours that the devil maketh his instruments 
of, in moving the man toward that fearful affection, and 

as we ^ ^ ^^ convenient, and medicines 



pro= meet therefor, to resist them, as by purgations 
to disburden the body of them. Nor let no 
man think strange that I would advise a man to take 
counsel of a physician for the body in such a spiritual 
passion. For sith the soul and the body be so knit and 
joined together, that they both make between them one 
person ; the distemperance of either other engendereth 
sometime the distemperance of both twain. 

And therefore, like as I would advise every man in 
every sickness of the body, to be shriven and seek of a 
good spiritual physician the sure health of his soul, 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 157 

which shall not only serve against peril that may perad- 
venture farther grow by that sickness than in e ^ stly anlj 
the beginning men would ween were likely : but toinip jftpsfc 
the comfort thereof and God s favour increasing ** ea 
therewith, shall also do the body good (for which cause 
the blessed apostle exhorteth men,* that they should in 
their bodily sickness induce the priests, and saith, that it 
should do them good both in body and soul), so would I 
sometime advise some men in some sickness of the soul, 
beside their spiritual leech, take also some counsel of the 
physician for the body. Some that are wretchedly dis 
posed, and yet long to be more vicious than they be, go 
to physicians and poticaries, and inquire what things may 
serve to make them more lusty to their foul fleshly 
delight : and were it then any folly upon the other side, if 
he that feeleth himself against his will much moved unto 
such uncleanness, should inquire of the physician what 
things, without minishing of his health, were meet for 
the minishment of such foul fleshly motion ? Of spiritual 
counsel, the first is to be shriven, that by reason of his 
other sins the devil have not the more power upon him. 

VINCENT. I have heard some say, uncle, that when 
such folk have been at shrift, their temptation hath been 
more brim upon them than it was before. 

ANTONY. That think I very well : but that rtebtrtue of 
is a special token that shrift is wholesome for wnfesston - 
them, while the devil is with that most wroth. You find 
in some places of the Gospel, that the devil the person 
(whom he possessed) did most trouble when he saw that 
Christ would cast him out.f We must else let the devil 
do what he will, if we fear his anger : for with every good 
deed will he wax angry. Then is it in his shrift to be 
shewed him, that he not only feareth more than he 
needeth, but also feareth where he needeth not, and over 
that, is sorry of that thing whereof (but if he will will 
ingly turn his good into his harm) he hath more cause to 
be glad. First, if he have cause to fear, yet feareth he 
more than he needeth ; for there is no devil so diligent to 
destroy him as God is to preserve him, nor no devil so near 

* Jacob, v. f Marc. ix. 



158 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

him to do him harm as God is to do him good : nor all the 
devils in hell so strong to invade and assault him as God 
is to defend him, if he distrust him not, but faithfully put 
his trust in him. He feareth also when he needeth not. 
For where he dreadeth that he were out of God s favour, 
because such horrible thoughts fall into his mind, he 
must understand that sith they fall into his mind against 
his will, they be therefore not imputed unto him. He is 
finally sad of that he may be glad : for sith he taketh such 
thoughts displeasantly, and striveth and fighteth against 
them, he hath thereby a good token that he is in God s 
favour, and that God assisteth him and helpeth him, 
and may make himself sure, that so will God never cease 
to do, but if himself fail and fall from him first. And over 
that, this conflict that he hath against his temptation, 
shall (if he will not fall where he needeth not) be an 
occasion of his merit, and a right great reward in heaven : 
and the pain that he taketh therein shall for so much 
(as M. Gerson well sheweth) stand him in stead of his 
purgatory. 

The manner of the fight against this tempta- 
tion mus ^ stand in three things : that is, to 
W ^> * n res i stm g an d in contemning, and in 
the invocation of help. 

Resist must a man for his own part by reason, con 
sidering what a folly it were to fall where he needeth not, 
while he is not driven to it in avoiding any other pain, or 
in the hope of winning any manner of pleasure : but 
contrariwise should by that pain lose everlasting bliss 
and fall into everlasting pain : and if it were in avoiding 
of other great pain, yet could he void none so great 
thereby, as he should thereby fall into. He must also 
consider, that a great part of this temptation is in effect 
but the fear of his own phantasy, the dread that he hath 
lest he shall once be driven to it. Which thing he may 
be sure, that, but if himself will of his own folly, all the 
devils in hell can never drive him to, but his own foolish 
asfrnfitttuje of imagination may. For like as some man going 
t&t triage, over an high bridge, waxeth so afraid through 
his own phantasy, that he falleth down indeed, which were 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 159 

else able enough to pass over without any danger; and 
as some man shall upon such a bridge, if folk call upon 
him, * You fall, you fall," fall with the phantasy that 
he taketh thereof, which bridge, if folk looked merrily 
upon him, and said, there is no danger therein, he would 
pass over well enough, and would not let to run thereon, 
if it were but a foot from the ground : thus fareth it in 
this temptation. The devil findeth the man of his own 
fond phantasy afraid, and then crieth he in the ear of his 
heart, "Thou fallest, thou fallest," and maketh the fond 
man afraid, that he should at every foot fall indeed. And 
the devil so wearieth him with that continual fear (if he 
give the ear of his heart unto him), that at the last he 
draweth his mind from the due remembrance of God, and 
then driveth him to that deadly mischief indeed. 

Therefore, like as against the vice of the flesh, the vic 
tory standeth not all whole in the fight, but fu^ t te flooB 
sometime also in the flight (saving that it sometime. 
is indeed the part of a wise warrior s fight, to atofsetoarrfor. 
flee away from his enemies trains), so must a man in this 
temptation too, not only resist it alway with reasoning 
there against, but sometime set it clean at right nought, 
and cast it off when it cometh, and not once regard it, 
nor so much as vouchsafe to think thereon. Some folk 
have been clearly rid of such pestilent phantasies with 
very full contempt thereof, making a cross upon their 
hearts and bidding the devil avaunt, and sometime laugh 
him to scorn too, and then turn their mind unto some 
other matter. Arid when the devil hath seen that they 
have set so little by him, after many essays, made in such 
times as he thought most meet, he hath given that temp 
tation quite over, both for that the proud spirit cannot 
endure to be mocked, and also lest with much tempting 
the man to the same, whereunto he could not in con 
clusion bring him, he should much thereby increase his 
merit. 

The final fight is by invocation of God both by praying 
for himself, and desiring others also to pray for him, both 
poor folk for his alms, and other good folk for their 



160 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

charity, specially good priests in the holy sacred service 
of the Mass, and not only them, but also his own good 
angel, and other holy saints, such as his devotion stand- 
eth specially unto. And if he be learned, let him use the 
Litany with the holy suffrages that follow, which is a 
srdeiLttanpisa prayer in the church of marvellous old anti- 
berj? ouj prajer. quity, not made first, as some ween it were, 
by that holy man St. Gregory, which opinion rose of that, 
that in the time of a great pestilence in Rome, he caused 
the whole city to go in solemn procession therewith ; but 
it was in use in the church many years before St. Gre 
gory s days, as well appeareth by the books of other holy 
doctors and saints that were dead hundreds of years 
before St. Gregory was born. And holy St. Bernard 
Draper to an* giveth counsel, that every man should make 
ueisanu saints. su jt to angels and saints, to pray for him to 
God in the things that he would have sped at his holy 
hand.*" If any man will stick at that, and say it needs 
not, because God can hear us himself, and will also say 
that it is perilous so to do, because they say we be not so 
counselled by no Scripture ; I will not dispute the matter 
here. He that will not do it, I let him not to leave it 
undone. But yet for mine own part, I will as well trust 
to the counsel of St. Bernard, and reckon him for as good 
and as well learned in the Holy Scripture, as any man 
that I hear say the contrary : and better dare I jeopard 
my soul with the soul of St. Bernard than with his that 
findeth that fault in his doctrine. 

Unto God himself every man counselleth to have re 
course above all, and in this temptation to have special 
remembrance of Christ s passion, and pray him for the 
honour of his death, the ground of man s salvation, to 
keep the person thus tempted from that damnable death. 
Special verses may there be drawn out of the Psalter 
against the devil s wicked temptations, as for example : 
Exurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus, et fugiant qui 
oderunt eum a facie ejus .-f- And many others, which are 

* Bernard, Serm. de tripl. genere bonorum, et Serm. in Festo Omnium 
Sanctorum, et alias ssepe. t Psal. btvii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 161 

in such horrible temptation to God most pleasant, and to 
the devil very terrible : but none more terrible, nor none 
more odious to the devil, than the words with which our 
Saviour drove him away himself: Vade Sathana* nor 
no prayer more acceptable unto God, nor more effectual 
for the matter, than those words which our Saviour hath 
taught himself, Ne nos inducas in tentationem, scd libcra 
nos a malo.-\- And I doubt not, by God s grace, but he 
that in such a temptation will use good counsel and 
prayer, and keep himself in good virtuous busi- Gt ^ MUWV& 
ness and good virtuous company, and abide fapaJ- 
in the faithful hope of God s help, shall have the truth 
of God (as the prophet saith in the verse afore rehearsed) 
so compass him about with a pavice, that he shall not 
need to dread this night s fear of this wicked temptation. 
And thus \vill I finish this piece of the night s fear, and 
glad am I that we be past it, and come once unto the day 
to those other words of the prophet : A sagitta volants 
in die: for methinketh I have made it a long night. 

* Matth. iv. f Matth. vi. 



162 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XVII. 



Of the arrow flying in the day, which is, the spirit of 
pride in prosperity. 

INCENT. FORSOOTH, uncle, so have you : 
but we have not slept in it, but been very 
well occupied. But now I fear, except you 
make here a pause till you have dined, you 
shall keep yourself from your dinner over 
long. 

ANTONY. Nay, my cousin, for both brake I my fast 
even as you came in, and also you shall find this night 
and this day like a winter day and a winter night. For 
as the winter hath short days, and long nights, so shall 
you find that I made not this fearful night so long, but I 
shall make you this light courageous day as short. And 
so shall the matter require well of itself indeed. For in 
these words of the prophet : Scuto circumdabit te veritas 
ejus, a sagitta volante in die, The truth of God shall 
compass thee round about with a pavice, from the arrow 
flying in the day,* I understand the arrow of pride, with 
which the devil tempteth a man, not in the night, that is 
to wit, in tribulation and adversity (for that time is too 
discomfortable and too fearful for pride), but in the day, 
that is, to wit, in prosperity ; for that time is lightsome, 
lusty, and full of courage. 

Mat tooriuip But surel y this worldly prosperity, wherein 
prosperity ts. a man so rejoiceth, and whereof the devil 
rnaketh him so proud, is but even a very short winter day. 

* Psal. xc. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 163 

For we begin many full poor and cold, and up we fly like 
an arrow that were shot up into the air : and yet when 
we be suddenly shot up into the highest, ere we be well 
warm there, down we come unto the cold ground again, 
and then even there stick we still. And yet for the short 
while that we be upward and aloft : Lord ! how lusty 
and how proud we be, buzzing above busily like as u 
bumble bee flieth about in summer, never 
ware that he shall die in winter: and so fare 
many of us, God help us ! For in the short winter day 
of worldly wealth and prosperity, this flying arrow of the 
devil, this high spirit of pride, shot out of the devil s bow 
and piercing through our heart, beareth us up in our 
affection aloft into the clouds, where we ween we sit upon 
the rainbow and overlook all the world under us, ac 
counting in the regard of our own glory such other poor 
souls, as were perad venture wont to be our fellows, for 
silly poor pigmies and ants. But this arrow of pride, fly 
it never so high into the clouds, and be the man that it 
carrieth up so high, never so joyful thereof: yet let him 
remember, that be this arrow never so light, it hath yet 
an heavy iron head. And therefore fly it never so high, 
down must it needs come at last, and on the r<*wne*t 
ground must it light, and falleth sometime not tweafaii. 
in a very cleanly place : and then the pride turneth into 
rebuke and shame, so that there is then all the glory 
gone. 

Of this arrow speaketh the wise man in the fifth chap 
ter of Sapience, where he saith in the person of them that 
in pride and vanity passed the time of this present life, 
and after that so spent, passed hence into hell : Quid 
profuit nobis superbia? aut divitiarumjactantia quid con- 
tullt nobis ? Transierunt omnia ilia tanquam umbra, etc. 
aut tanquam sagitta emissain locum destinatum : divisus aer 
continue in se reclusus est, ut ignoretur transitus illius : tic 
et nosnati continue desivimus esse, et virtutis quidem nulluni 
signum valaimus ostendere : in malignitate autem nostra 
consumpti sumus. Talia dixerunt in inferno hi qui pecca- 
verunt :* What hath pride profited us, or what good hath 

* Sapien. v. 
M 2 



164 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

the glory of our riches done us ? Passed are all these 
things like a shadow, &c., or like an arrow shot out into 
the place appointed : the air that was divided, is by-and- 
by returned into the place, and in such wise closed up 
again, that the way is not perceived in which the arrow 
went : and in likewise \ve, as soon as we were born, be by- 
and-by vanished away, and have left no token of any good 
virtue behind us, but are consumed, and wasted, and come 
to nought in our own malignity. They, lo, that have lived 
here in sin, such words have they spoken when they lay 
in hell. 

Here shall you, good cousin, consider, that whereas the 
Scripture here speaketh of the arrow shot into his place 
appointed or intended; in the shooting of this arrow of 
pride there be divers purposings and appointings. For 
ox~otr tfje sfjot the proud man hath no certain purpose or ap- 
of urine. pointraent at any mark, butt, or prick upon 
the earth whereat he determineth to shoot, and there to 
stick and tarry : but ever he shooteth as children do that 
love to shoot up a cope high, to see how high their arrow 
can fly up. But now doth the devil intend and appoint a 
certain prick surely set in a place, into which he pur- 
poseth (fly this arrow never so high, and the proud heart 
therein) to have them light both at last : and that place 
is even in the very pit of hell. There is set the devil s 
rijcmarfcor well-acquainted prick, and his very just mark, 
imttof priue. ^ o ^ u upon which prick with his pricking shaft 
of pride he hath by himself a plain proof and experience 
that (but if it be stopped by some grace of God in the 
way) the soul that flieth up therewith, can never fail to 
fall. For when himself was in heaven, and began to fly up 
a cope high with that lusty flight of pride, saying : Ascen 
dant super astra, etponam solium meum ad latera aquilonis, 
et similis ero Altis&imo,* I will fly up above the stars, and 
set my throne on the side of the north, and will be like 
unto the Highest : long ere he could fly half so high, as 
in his heart he said he would, he was turned from a 
glorious bright angel into a black deformed devil ; and 
from flying any farther upward, down was he thrown 

* Isaise xiv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 165 

into the deep dark dungeon of hell. Now may it per- 
adventure, cousin, seem, that sith this kind of 
temptation of pride is no tribulation or pain ; 1LucWer s fall< 
all this that we speak of this arrow of pride flying forth 
in the day of prosperity were beside our matter. 

VINCENT. Verily, mine uncle, and so seemed it unto 
me, and somewhat was I minded so to say to you too : 
saving that, were it properly pertaining to the present 
matter, or somewhat digressing therefrom, good matter 
met bought it was, and such as 1 had no lust to let. 

ANTONY. But now must you, cousin, consider, that 
though prosperity be contrary to tribulation, yet unto 
many a good man the devil s temptation unto pride in 
prosperity, is a greater tribulation, and more need hath of 
good counsel and good comfort both, than he, that never 
felt it, would ween. And that is the thing, cousin, that 
maketh me speak thereof, as of a thing proper to this 
matter. For, cousin, as it is a thing right hard to touch 
pitch,* and never file the fingers, to put flax unto fire, and 
yet keep it from burning, to keep a serpent in thy bosom, 
and yet be safe from stinging, to put young men with 
young women, without danger of foul fleshly desires : so 
is it hard for any person, either man or woman, agi^ is 
in great worldly wealth and much prosperity, &aB"ous. 
so to withstand the temptations of the devil, and the 
occasions given by the world, that they should keep 
themself from the deadly desire of ambitious glory. 
Whereupon there followeth, if a man fall thereto, an 
whole flood of ail unhappy mischief, arrogant manner, 
high sullen solemn port, overlooking the poor in word 
and countenance, displeasant and disdainous behaviour, 
ravine, extortion, oppression, hatred, and cruelty. 

How many a good man, cousin, coming into great 
authority, casting in his mind the peril of such occasions 
of pride as the devil taketh of prosperity to make his in 
struments of, wherewith to move men to such high point 
of presumption, as en^endereth so many great inconve 
niences, and feeling the devil therewith offering to them- 

* Eccles. xiii. 



166 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

self suggestions thereunto, they be sore troubled there 
with, and somewhat so fraid thereof, that even in the 
day of prosperity they fall into the night s fear of pusil 
lanimity, and doubt overmuch lest they should misuse 
themself, leave the things undone, wherein they might 
use themself well, and mistrusting the aid of God in hold 
ing them upright in their temptations, give place to the 
devil in contrary temptations. Whereby for faint heart, 
they leave off good business wherein they were well occu 
pied, arid under pretext (as it seemeth to themself) of 
humble heart and meekness, and serving God in contem 
plation and silence, they seek their own ease and earthly 
rest unaware, wherewith (if it so be) God is not well 
content. Howbeit, if it so be that a man feel himself 
such indeed, as by the experience that he hath of himself, 
he perceiveth that in wealth and authority he doth his 
own soul harm, and cannot do therein the good that to 
his part appertained!, but seeth the things that he should 
set his hand to sustain decay through his default, and 
fall to ruin under him, and that to the amendment thereof 
ooft counsel ne leaveth his own duty undone; then would I 
in tuts case. j n anywise advise him, to leave off that thing, 
be it spiritual benefice that he have, parsonage or bishopric, 
or temporal room and authority, and rather give it over 
quite, and draw himself aside and serve God, than take 
the worldly worship and commodity for himself, with the 
incommodity of them whom his duty were to profit. But 
on the other side, if he see not the contrary, but that 
he may do his duty conveniently well, and feareth no 
thing, but only that the temptation of ambition and pride 
may turn peradventure his good purpose and make him 
decline unto sin, I say not nay, but that well done it is, to 
stand in moderate fear alway, whereof the Scripture 
saith : JBeatus homo, qui semper est pavidus Blessed is 
the man that is alway fearful :* and St. Paul saith : Qui 
stat, videat ne cadat He that standeth, let him look that 
he fall not :f yet is over much fear perilous, and draweth 
toward the mistrust of God s gracious help, which immo- 
* Proverb, xxvhi. f 1 Cor. x. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 167 

derate fear and faint heart Holy Scripture forbiddeth, 
saying : Noli esse pusillanirnis Be not feeble hearted or 
timorous.* 

Let such a man therefore temper his fear with good 
hope, and think, that sith God hath set him in that place 
(if he think that God hath set him therein), God will 
assist him with his grace to the well using thereof: how- 
beit, if he came thereto by simony or by some such evil 
mean, then were that thing one good reason, wherefore 
he should the rather leave it off. But else, let him con 
tinue in his good business, and against the devil s provo 
cation unto evil, bless himself, and call unto God, and 
pray; and look what thing the devil tempteth, to lean the 
more toward the contrary. Let him be piteous and com 
fortable to those that are in distress and affliction : I 
mean not, let every malefactor pass forth unpunished, and 
freely run out and rob at covers, but in his heart be sorry 
to see, that of necessity for fear of decaying the common 
weal, men are driven to put malefactors to pain. And 
yet where he findeth good tokens and likelihood of 
amendment, there, in all that he may, help that mercy be 
had : there shall never lack desperately disposed wretches 
enough beside, upon whom, for ensample, justice may 
proceed. Let him think in his own heart every poor 
beggar his fellow. 

VINCENT. That will be very hard, uncle, for an 
honourable man to do, when he beholdeth himself richly 
apparelled, and the beggar rigged in his rags. 

ANTONY. If here were, cousin, two men 
that were beggars both, and afterward a great fmp o7 1 
rich man would take the one unto him, and tCGflars - 
tell him, that for a little time he would have him in his 
house, and thereupon arrayed him in silk, and gave him a 
great bag by his side filled even full of gold, but giving 
him this knot therewith, that within a little while, out he 
should in his old rags again, and bear never a penny with 
him. If this beggar met his fellow now, while his gay 
gown were on, might he not for all his gay gear take hiiii 
for his fellow still ? And were he not a very fool, if for a 
* Eccles. viii. 



168 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

wealth of a few weeks he would ween himself far his 
better ? 

VINCENT. Yes, by my troth, uncle, if the difference of 
their state were none other. .*"*. 

ANTONY. Surely, cousin, methinketh that in this world 
between the richest and the most poor the difference is 
scant so much. For let the highest look on the most base, 
and consider how poor they came both into this world, 
and then coi .sider farther therewith how rich soever he be 
now, he shall yet within a while, peradventure less than 
one week, walk out again as poor as that beggar shall ; 
and then, by my troth, methinketh this rich man much 
more than mad, if for the wealth of a little while, haply 
less than one week, he reckon himself in ear- 
tftan"? Scgp?s nest any better than the beggar s fellow. And 
less than this can no man think that hath any 
natural wit, and will use it. 

But now a Christian man, cousin, that hath the light of 
faith, cannot fail to think in this thing much farther. For 
he will think not only upon his bare coming hither, and 
his bare going hence again, but also upon the dreadful 
judgment of God, and upon the fearful pains of hell, and 
the inestimable joys of heaven. And in the considering 
of these things he will call to remembrance, that perad 
venture when this beggar and he be both departed hence, 
the beggar may be suddenly set up in such royalty, that 
well were himself that ever he was born, if he might be 
made his fellow. And he that well bethinketh him, 
cousin, upon these things, I verily think that the arrow of 
pride flying forth in the day of worldly wealth shall never 
so wound his heart that ever it shall bear him up one 
foot. 

But now to the intent he may think on such things the 
better, let him use often to resort to confession, and there 
open his heart, and by the mouth of some good virtuous 
ghostly father have such things oft renewed in his remem- 
Specfai fiooir brance. Let him also choose himself some 

counsel aptnst secret solitary place in his own house, as far 
pntte, *c. f . J \ . 

from noise a : nd company as he conveniently 

can, and thither let him sometime secretly resort alone, 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 169 

imagining himself as one going out of the world,^ even 
straight unto the giving up of his reckoning unto God of 
his sinful living. "Then let him there before an altar, or 
some pitiful image of Christ s bitter passion (the behold 
ing whereof may put him in remembrance of the thing, 
and move him to devout compassion), kneel down or fall 
prostrate, as at the feet of Almighty God, verily believing 
him to be there invisibly present, as without any doubt he 
is. There let him open his heart to God, and confess his 
faults such as he can call to mind, and pray God of for 
giveness. Let him also call to remembrance the benefits 
that God hath given him either in general among other- 
men, or privately to himself, and give him humble hearty 
thanks therefor. There let him declare unto God the 
temptations of the devil, the suggestions of the flesh, the 
occasions of the world, and of his worldly friends, 
much worse many times in drawing a man from God 
than are his most mortal enemies. Which thing our 
Saviour witnesseth himself, where he saith : Inimici ho- 
minis domestid ejus, The enemies of a man are they that 
are his own familiars.* There let him lament and bewail 
unto God his own frailty, negligence, and sloth in resist 
ing and withstanding of temptations, his readiness and 
pronity to fall thereunto. There let him beseech God of 
his gracious aid and help, to strength his infirmity withal, 
both in keeping him from falling, and when he by his 
own fault misfortuneth to fall, then with the helping 
hand of his merciful grace to lift him up and set him on 
his feet in the state of his grace again, and let this man 
not doubt but that God heareth him, and granteth him 
gladly this boon : and so dwelling in the faithful trust of 
God s help, he shall well use his prosperity, and perse 
vere in his good profitable business, and shall have 
therein the truth of God so compass him about with a 
pavice of his heavenly defence, that of the devil s arrow 
flying in the day of worldly wealth, he shall not need to 
dread. 

VINCENT. Forsooth, uncle, I like this good counsel 
well, and I would ween that such as are in prosperity and 

* Matth. x. 



170 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

take such order therein, may do both to themself, and 
other folk about, much good. 

ANTONY. I beseech our Lord, cousin, put this and 
better in the mind of every man that needeth it. And 
now will I touch one word or twain of the third tempta 
tion, whereof the prophet speaketh in these words : A 
negotio perambulante in tenebris, From the business 
walking in the darknesses : and then will we call for our 
dinner, leaving the last temptation (that is to wit, Ab 
incursu et d&monio meridiano, From the incursion, and 
the devil of the mid-day), till afternoon, and then shall we 
therewith, God willing, make an end of all this matter. 

VINCENT. Our Lord reward you, good uncle, for your 
good labour with me. But for our Lord s sake take good 
heed, uncle, that you forbear not your dinner over long. 

ANTONY. Fear not that, cousin, I warrant you, for 
this piece will I make you but short. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 171 




CHAPTER XVIII. 



Of the devil named Negotium, that is to wit, Business 
walking about in the darknesses. 



>HE prophet saith in the said psalm, Qui 
habitat inadjutorio Altissimi, in protectione 
Dei cce.li commorabitur. Scuto circumda- 
bit te veritas ejus, non timebis, $fc. A ne- 
gotio perambulante in tenebris, He that 
dvvelleth in the faithful hope of God s help, 
he shall abide in the protection or safeguard of the God 
of heaven ; and thou that art such one,"shall the truth of 
him so compass about with a pavice, that thou shalt not 
be afraid of the business walking about in the darknesses. 
Ncgotium is here, cousin, the name of a devil that is ever 
full of business, in tempting folk to much evil business. 
His time of tempting is in the darknesses. For you wot 
well, that beside the very full night, which is Ctoo 6arft= 
the deep dark, there are two times of dark- nesses, 
nesses. The one, ere the morning wax light ; the other, 
when the evening waxeth dark. Two times of like man 
ner darkness are there also in the soul of man : the one, 
ere the light of grace be well in the heart sprung-en up; 
the other, whenlhe light of grace out of the soul begin- 
neth to walk fast away. 

In these two darknesses this devil, that is O je irebil caiteu 
called Business, walketh about, and such fond Business. 
folk as will follow him he carrieth about with him, and 
setteth them a work with many manner bumbling busi 
ness. He setteth, I say, some to seek the pleasures of 
the flesh in eating, drinking, and other filthy delight, and 
some he setteth about the incessant seeking for these 



172 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

worldly goods : and if such busy folk, whom this devil, 
called Business (walking about in the darknesses) setteth 
a work with such business, our Saviour saith in the Gospel, 
Qui ambulat in tenebris, nescit quo vadit, He that 
walketh in darknesses witteth not whither he goeth.* 
And surely in such case are they: for they neither wot 
which way they go, nor whither. For verily they walk 
tffieinfsmajeof round about, as it were in a round maze ; when 
tj)e tool-in. they ween themself at an end of their business, 
they be but at the beginning. For is not the going 
about the serving of the flesh a business that jiath no 
end, but evermore from the end cometh to the beginning 
again? For go they never so full fed to bed, yet ever 
more on the morrow as new be they to be fed again as 
they were the day before. Thus fareth it by the belly ; 
thus fareth it by those parts that are beneath the belly. 
And as for covetise, it fareth like the fire, the more wood 
that cometh thereto, the more fervent and the more greedy 
it is. 

But now hath this maze a centre or middle place, into 
which sometime they be conveyed suddenly when they 
ween they were not yet far from the brink. The centre 
or middle place of this maze is hell, and into that place 
be there busy folk that with this devil of 
tt*;et$t|jftf Business walk about this busy maze in the 
sudjacentre. darknesses, suddenly sometime conveyed, no 
thing ware whither they be going, and even while they 
ween that they were not far walked from the beginning, 
and that they had yet a great way to walk about before 
they should come to the end. But of these fleshly folk 
walking in this pleasant busy maze, the Scripture de- 
clareth the end : Ducunt in bonis dies suos, et in puncto 
ad inferna descendunt, They lead their life in plea 
sure, and at a pop down they descend into hell.f Of 
the covetous man saith St. Paul : Qui volunt divites fieri, 
incidunt in temptationem et in laqueum diaboli, et desi- 
deria multa inutilia et nociva, quce mergunt homines in 
interitum et perditionem, They that long to be rich do 
fall into temptation and into the grin of the devil, and 
* Johan. xii. f Job xxi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 173 

into many desires unprofitable and harmful, which drown 
men unto death and into destruction.* So, here is the 
middle place of this busy maze, the grin of the devil, the 
place of perdition and destruction that they fall and be 
caught and drowned in ere they be ware. The covetous 
rich man also that our Saviour speak eth of in the Gospel, 
that had so great plenty of corn that his barns would not 
receive it, but intended to make his barns larger, and said 
to himself that he would make merry many days, had 
weened (you wot well) that he had yet a great way yet to 
walk. But God said unto him, Stulte, hac nocte tollcnt 
a te animam iuam : qua? autem parasti, cujus erunt ? Fool, 
this night shall they take thy soul from thee, and then all 
this good that thou hast gathered, where shall itbe?t 
Here you see that he fell suddenly into the deep centre of 
this busy maze, so that he was fallen full and whole 
therein long ere ever he had weened he should have 
come near thereto. 

Now this wot I very well, that those that are walking 
about in this busy maze take not their business for any 
tribulation, and yet are many of them forwearied as sore, 
and us sore panged and pained therein, their pleasures 
being so short, so little, and so few, and their displea 
sures and their griefs so great, so continual, and so many, 
that it maketh me think upon a good worshipful man, 
which, when he divers times beheld his wife, what pain 
she took in straight binding up her hair to make her a fair 
large forehead, and with straight bracing in her body to 
make her middle small, both twain to her great pain for 
the pride of a little foolish praise : he said unto her, " For 
sooth, madam, if God give you not hell, he BototMnssurf| 
shall do you great wrong, ror it must needs iaotes te tiure 
be your own of very right : for you buy it very n 
dear, and take very great pain therefor." 

They that now lie in hell for their wretched living 
here, do now perceive their folly in their more pain 
that they took here for the less pleasure. There con 
fess they now their folly, and cry out, Lassati sumus 
in via iniquitatis, We have been wearied in the way 

* 1 Tim. vi. f Luc. xii. 



174 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

of wickedness.* And yet while they were walking therein, 
they would not rest themself, but run on still in their 
weariness, and put themself still unto more pain and 
more, for that little peevish pleasure, short and soon gone, 
that they took all that labour and pain for, beside the 
everlasting pain that followed it for their farther advan 
tage after. 

a notable sap So ne ^P me God, and none otherwise but as 
tng ant a true. I verily think, that many a man buyeth hell 
here with so much pain, that he might have heaven with 
less than the one-half. But yet, as I say, while these 
fleshly and worldly busy folk are walking about in this 
round busy maze of the devil that is called Business that 
walketh about in these two times of darkness, their wits 
are so by the secret enchantment of the devil bewitched, 
that they mark not the great long miserable weariness 
and pain that the devil maketh them take and 
llso< endure about nought, and therefore they take 
it for no tribulation : so that they need no comfort. And 
therefore it is not for their sakes that I speak all this, 
saving that it may serve them for counsel toward the 
perceiving of their own foolish misery, through the good 
help of God s grace beginning to shine upon them again. 

But there are very good folk and virtuous that are in 
the daylight of grace, and yet because the devil temptetli 
them busily to such fleshly delight, and sith they see 
plenty of worldly substance fall unto them, and feel the 
devil in likewise busily tempt them to set their heart there 
upon, they be so troubled therewith, and begin to fear 
thereby, that they be not with God in the light, but with 
this devil that the prophet calleth Negotium, that is to 
say, Business, walking about in the two times of daft 
ness. Howbeit, as I said before of those good folk and 
gracious that are in the worldly wealth of great power 
arid authority, and thereby feel the devil s arrow of pride: 
so say I now here again of these that stand in dread of 
fleshly foul sin and covetise, sith they be but tempted 
therewith and follow it not, albeit that they do well to 
stand ever in moderate fear, lest with waxing over bold, 

* Sap.v. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 175 

and setting the thing over light, they might peradventure 
mishap to fall in thereto : yet sore to vex and trouble 
themself with the fear of loss of God s favour therefor, is 
without necessity, and not alway without peril. For, as 
> I said before, it withdraweth the mind of a man far from 
spiritual consolation of the good hope that he should 
have in God s help. And as for these temptations, while 
he that is tempted follovveth them not, the fight against 
them serveth a man for matter of merit and reward in 
heaven, if he not only flee the deed, the consent and the 
declaration, but also (in that he conveniently may) flee 
from all the occasions thereof. And this point is in those 
fleshly temptations a thing eth to perceive, and orarnai tcmpta- 
rneetly plain enough. But in these worldly secn S t a Sco"c r 
businesses pertaining unto covetise, thereon is ttse, enoj?, &c. 
the thing somewhat more dark, and in the perceiving 
more difficulty, and very great troublous fear doth there 
oftentimes arise thereof in the hearts of very good folk 
when the world falleth fast unto them, because of the sore 
words and terrible threats, that God in Holy Scripture 
speaketh against those that are rich : as where St. Paul 
saith : Qui volunt divites fieri, incidunt in teutationem, et 
in laqueum diaboli, They that will be rich tail into temp 
tation, and into the grin of the devil.* And where our 
Saviour saith himself : Fucilius est cumelum per foramen 
acus transirc, quam diviteni intrure in regnum Dei, It is 
more easy tor a camel, or, as some say (for so camelus 
signifieth in the Greek tongue), for a great cable-rope, to 
go through a needle s eye, than for a rich man to enter 
into the kingdom of God : ( no marvel now though good 
folk that fear God take occasion of great dread at so 
dreadful words, when they see worldly goods fall unto 
them, and some stand in doubt whether it be lawful for 
them to keep any goods or no. But evermore in all 
these places of Scriptures, the having of the worldly 
goods is not the thing that is rebuked and threatened, 
but the affection the haver unlawfully beareth thereto. 
For where St. Paul saith, Qui volunt divites fieri, &c. 
They that will be made rich, &c., he speaketh not of the 

* 1 Tim. vi. f Luc. xviii. 



176 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

having, but of the will and desire and affection to have, 

ESUjat tfjfng fs anc * tne l n g m g f r & f r tnat cannot be 
aamnatu in lightly without sin. For the thing that folk 
so sore long for, they will make many shifts to 
get, and jeopard themself therefor. And to declare that* 
the having of riches is not forbidden, but the inordinate 
affection of the mind sore set thereupon, the prophet saith : 
Divitice si affluant, nolite cor apponere, If riches flow unto 
you, set not your hearts thereupon.* And albeit that our 
Lord, by the said ensample of the camel, or the cable- 
rope, to come through the needle s eye, said that it is not 
only hard, but also impossible, for a rich man to enter 
into the kingdom of heaven : yet he declared, that though 
the rich man cannot get into heaven of himself, yet God, 
he said, can get him in well enough. For unto man, he 
said, it was impossible, but not unto God ; for unto God, 
he said, all things are possible. And yet over that, he told 
of which manner rich men he meant that could not get into 
the kingdom of heaven, saying: Filioli, quam difficile est 
conjidentes in pecuniis in regnum Dei introire ! My 
babes, how hard is it for them that put their trust and 
confidence in their money, to enter into the kingdom of 
God ! t 

VINCENT. This is, I suppose, uncle, very true, and 
else God forbid ! For else were the world in a full hard 
case, if every rich man were in such danger and peril. 

ANTONY. That were it, cousin, indeed ; and so, I 
ween, is it yet. For I fear me that to the multitude, 

CTis is too true there ^ e ver .Y ^ ew > Du ^ tnat tne y l n g sore to 
tioto-a-naps. be rich : and of those that long so to be, very 
few reserved also, but that they set their hearts very sore 
thereon. 

VINCENT. That is, uncle, I fear me, very true, but yet 
not the thing that I was about to speak of, but the thing 
that I would have said was this : that I cannot well per 
ceive (the world being such as it is, and so many poor 
people therein) how any man may be rich, and keep him 
rich without any danger of damnation therefor. For all 
the while that he seeth poor people so many that lack, 
* Psal. Ixi. t Marc. x. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 177 

while himself hath to give them, and whose necessity 
(while he hath wherewith) he is bound in such case of 
duty to relieve, so far forth that holy St. Ambrose saith, 
that whoso that die for default where we might help 
them, we kill them ourself :* I cannot see but that every 
rich man hath great cause to stand in great fear of 
damnation, nor 1 cannot perceive, as I say, how he can 
be delivered of that fear, as long as he keepeth his riches. 
And therefore though he might keep his riches, if there 
lacked poor men, and yet stand in God s favour therewith, 
as Abraham did, and many another holy rich man since; 
yet in such abundance of poor men as there be now in 
every country, any man that keepeth any riches, it must 
needs be that he hath an inordinate affection thereunto, 
while he giveth it not out unto the poor needy persons, that 
the duty of charity bindeth and straineth him to. And 
thus, uncle, in this world at this day, meseemeth your 
comfort unto good men that are rich and troubled with 
fear of damnation for the keeping, can very scantly serve. 

ANTONY. Hard it is, cousin, in many manner things, 
to bid or forbid, affirm or deny, reprove or allow, a matter 
nakedly proposed and set forth, or precisely to say, this 
tiling is good, or this thing is nought, without considera 
tion of the circumstances. Holy St. Austin telleth of a 
physician that gave a man a medicine in a certain disease 
that holp him.f The selfsame man, at another time in 
selfsame disease, took the selfsame medicine himself, and 
had thereof more harm than good; which thing when he 
shewed unto the physician, and asked him whereof that 
harm should hap ; ""that medicine," quoth he, " did thee 
no good but harm, because thou tookest it when I gave 
it thee not." This answer St. Austin very well alloweth, 
for that though the medicine were one, yet might there 
be peradventure in the sickness some such difference as 
the patient perceived not, yea or in the man himself, or 
in the place, or in the time of the year. Many things 
might make the lot, for which the physician would not 
then have given him the selfsame medicine that he gave 
him before. To peruse every circumstance that might, 

* In Luc. lib. viii. cap. 18. f Ad Marcellinum, Epistola v. 

N 



178 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

cousin, in this matter be touched, and were to be con 
sidered and weighed, would indeed make this part of this 
devil of Business a very busy piece of work and a long. 
But I shall a little open the point that you speak of, and 
shall shew you what I think therein, with as few words 
as I conveniently can, and then will we go to dinner. 

First, cousin, he that is a rich man, and keepeth all 
his good, he hath, I think, very good cause to be very 
fraid indeed. And yet I fear me, that such folk fear it 

least; for they be very far from the state of 
STfie state of i -r i i -n n i 

tjjftn tijat tp good men sith it they keep still all, then are 

they very far from charity, and do (you wot 
well) alms, either little or none at all. But now is our 
question, cousin, not in what case the rich man standeth 
that keepeth all, but whether we should suffer men to 
stand in a perilous dread and fear for the keeping of any 
great part. For if that by the keeping still of so much 
as maketh a rich man still, they stand in the state of 
damnation ; then are the curates bounden plainly to tell 
them so, according to the commandment of God given 
unto them all in the person of Ezekiel : * Si dicente me ad 
impium, morte morieris, non annunciaveris ei, fyc. If 
when I say to the wicked man, thou shalt die, thou do 
not shew it to him, nor speak i unto him, that he may be 
turned from his wicked way and may live, he shall soothly 
die in his wickedness, and his blood shall I verily require 
of thy hand. 

But, cousin, though God invited men unto the follow- 
ober* ing of himself in wilful poverty, by the leaving 
* of all together at once for his sake, as the 
tmn g whereby with being out of the solicitude 
of worldly business, and far from the desire of 
earthly commodities, they may the more speedily get 
and attain the state of spiritual affection, and the hungry 
desire and longing for celestial things ; yet doth he not 
command every man so to do upon the peril of damna 
tion. For where he saith,f Quinon renunciaverit omnibus 
quce possidet nonpotest esse meus discipulus, He that for- 
saketh not all that ever he hath, cannot be my disciple, 

* Ezek. xxxiii. f Luc. xiv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 179 

he declareth well by other words of his own in the self 
same place a little before, what he meaneth. For there 
saith he more, Si quis venit ad me, et non odit patrem 
suum, et matrem, et uxorem, etfilios, et fratres, et sorores, 
adhuc autem et animam suam, non potest esse mem disci- 
pulus, He that cometh to me, and hateth not his father, 
and his mother, and his wife, and his children, and his 
brethren, and his sisters, yea and his own life too, cannot 
be my disciple.* Here meaneth our Saviour <jtj, rist . g tm 
Christ, that none can be his disciple, but if he fisctpie. 
love him so far above all his kin, and above his own life 
too, that for the love of him, rather than to forsake him, 
he shall forsake them all. And so meaneth he by those 
other words, that whosoever do not so renounce and for 
sake all that ever he hath in his own heart and affection, 
that he will rather lose it all, and let it go every whit, 
than deadly displease God with the reserving of any one 
part thereof, he cannot be Christ s disciple; sith Christ 
teacheth us to love God above all thing. And g^^ tt is to 
he loveth not God above all thing, that con- lode 00 atooe 
trary to God s pleasure keepeth any thing that 
he hath. For that thing he sheweth himself to set more 
by than by God, while he is better content to lose God 
than it. But, as I said, to give away all, or that no man 
should be rich or have any substance, that find I no com 
mandment of. 

There are, as our Saviour saith, in the house of his 
Father many mansions,-f- and happy shall he be that shall 
have the grace to dwell even in the lowest. It seemeth 
verily by the Gospel, that those, which for God s sake 
patiently suffer penury, shall not only dwell above those 
in heaven, that live here in plenty in earth, but also that 
heaven in some manner of wise more properly belongeth 
unto them, and is more specially prepared for ^ eaben 
them, than it is for the rich, by that, that God ?arc& specially 
in the Gospel counselleth the rich folk to buy in for tfie poor 
a manner heaven of them, where he saith unto the rich 
man, Facite vobis amicos de Mammona iniquitatis, ut cum 
defeceritis, recipiant vos in ceterna tabernacula, Make you 
* Luc. xiv. f Johan. xiv. 

N 2 



180 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

friends of the wicked riches, that when you fail here they 
may receive you into everlasting tabernacles.* But now 
although this be thus, in respect of the riches and the 
poverty compared together, yet they being good men both, 
there may be some other virtue beside, wherein the rich 
man may so peradventure excel, that he may be in heaven 
far above the poor man that was here in earth in other 
virtues far under him, as the proof appeareth clearly in 
Lazarus and Abraham.*f- 

Nor I say not this, to the intent to comfort rich men in 
heaping up of riches, for a little comfort is sent enough 
thereto for them. They be not so proud-hearted and 
obstinate, but that they would, I ween, to that counsel be 
with right little exhortation very conformable. But I 
ffanrtort for say this, for that those good men, to whom 
BOOB ricfi men. Q O( J gjveth substance and the mind to dispose 
it well, and yet not the mind to give it all away at once, 
but for good causes to keep some substance still, should 
not despair of God s favours for the not doing of the 
thing which God hath given them no commandment of, 
nor drawn by any special calling thereunto. 

Zaccheus, lo, that climbed up into the tree 
for desire that he had to behold our Saviour, 
at such time as Christ called aloud unto him, and said, 
" Zaccheus, make haste and come down, for this day 
must I dwell in thy house," J he was so glad thereof, and 
so touched inwardly with special grace to the profit of his 
soul, that whereas all the people murmured much that 
Christ would call him and be so familiar with him, as of 
his own offer to come unto his house, considering that 
ufiucans ^ ie ^ knew n ^ m ^ or ^ ne c ^ ie ^ of the publicans, 
that were customers or toll- gatherers of the 
emperor s duties, all which whole company were among 
the people sore infamed of raven, extortion, and bribery, 
and then Zaccheus, not only the chief of that fellowship, 
but also grown greatly rich, whereby the people accounted 
him in their own opinion, for a man very sinful and 
nought; he forthwith by the instinct of the Spirit of God, 
in reproach of all such temerarious bold and blind judg- 
* Luc. xvi. f Ibidem. % Luc. xix. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 181 

ment given upon a man, whose inward mind and sudden 
change they cannot see, shortly proved them all deceived, 
and that our Lord had at those few words outwardly 
spoken to him, so touched him, that his grace so wrought 
in his heart within that whatsoever he was before, he was 
then unwares unto them all, suddenly waxen good. For he 
made haste and came down, and gladly received Christ, 
and said : " Lo, Lord, the one half of my goods here I 
give unto poor people, and yet over that, if I have in any 
thing deceived any man, here am I ready to recompense 
him fourfold as much." 

VINCENT. This was, uncle, a gracious hearing : but 
yet I marvel me somewhat, wherefore Zaccheus used his 
words in that manner of order. For methinketh, he 
should first have spoken of making restitution unto those 
whom he had beguiled, and then speak of giving his 
alms after. For restitution is, you wot well, institution is 
duty ; and a thing of such necessity, that of Butff - 
in respect of restitution, alms-deed is but voluntary. 
Therefore it might seem, that to put men in mind of 
their duty in making restitution first, and doing their 
alms after, Zaccheus should have said more conveniently, 
if he had said first, that he would make every man resti 
tution whom he had wronged, and then give naif in alms 
of that that remained after : for only that might he call 
clearly his own. 

ANTONY. This is true, cousin, where a man hath not 
enough to suffice for both. But he that hath, is not 
bound to leave his alms ungiven to the poor man that is 
at his hand, and peradventure calleth upon him, till he go 
seek up all his creditors, and all those that he hath 
wronged, so far peradventure asunder, that leaving the one 
good deed undone the while, he may before they come 
together, change that good mind again, and do neither 

the one nor the other. It is good alway, there- 

/. e Ebcr Botng 



/. i j p i i e Ebcr Botng 

fore, to be doing some good out or hand, some QOO& out 

while we think thereon : grace shall the better o * aBt1 
stand with us, and increase also to go the farther in the 
other after. And this I answer, if the man had there 
done the one out of hand, the giving (I mean) half in alms, 



182 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

and not so much as speak of restitution, till after ; 
whereas now, though he spake the one in order before 
the other, and yet all at one time, the thing remained still 
in his liberty, to put them both in execution after such 
order as he should then think expedient. 

But now, cousin, did the Spirit of God temper the 
tongue of Zaccheus in the utterance of these words, in 
such wise, as it may well appear the saying of the wise 
man to be verified in them, where he saith, Domini est 
gubernare linguam, To God it belongeth to govern the 
tongue.* For here when he said he would give half of 
his whole good unto poor people, and yet beside that, not 
only recompense any man whom he had wronged, but more 
than recompense him by three times as much again; he 
double reproved the false suspicion of the people that 
accounted him for so evil, that they reckoned in their 
mind all his good gotten in effect with wrong, because he 
rae people s was S rown t substance in that office which 
suspicions some* was commonly misused extorciously. But his 
time false. j i i 1.1,1 -c i_ i 

words declared, that he was rite enough in his 

reckoning, that if half his goods were given away, yet 
were he well able to yield every man his duty with the 
other half, and yet leave himself no beggar neither : for he 
said not, he would give all away. 

aaaottm o& Would God, cousin, that every rich Chris- 
tfies toouiu tn= tian man that is reputed ri^ht worshipful, yea 
and (which yet in my mind more is) reckoned 
for right honest too, would and were able, to do the thing 
that little Zaccheus the same great publican (were he 
Jew, or were he Paynim) said ! that is to wit, with less 
than half his goods recompense every man whom he has 
wronged four times as much ; yea, yea, cousin, as much 
for as much, hardly, and then they that receive it shall be 
content (I dare promise for them) to let the other thrice 
as much go, and forgive it, because it was one of the hard 
points of the old law, whereas Christian men must be full 
of forgiving, and not use to require and exact their 
amends to the uttermost. 

But now for our purpose here, notwithstanding that he 
* Prover. xvi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 183 

promised not, neither to give away all, nor to become a 
beggar neither, no nor yet to leave of his office neither : 
which albeit that he had not used before peradventure in 
every point so pure, as St. John Baptist had taught them 
the lesson, Nihil amplius, quam constitutum est vobis, 
faciatis, Do no more than is appointed unto you ;* yet 
forasmuch as he might both lawfully use his substance that 
he minded to reserve, and lawfully might use his office too, 
in receiving the prince s duty according to Christ s express 
commandment, Reddite quce sunt Ccesaris, Ccesari, 
Give the emperor those things that are his,f refusing all 
extortion and bribery beside, our Lord well allowing his 
good purpose, and exacting no farther forth of him con 
cerning his worldly behaviour, answered and said, Hodie 
salus facta est huic domui, eo quod et ipse filius sit 
Abrahcp, This day is health come to this house, for that 
he too is the son of Abraham.]; 

But now forget I not, cousin, that in effect thus far you 
condescend unto me, that a man may be rich, and yet not 
out of the state of grace, nor out of God s favour. How- 
beit you think, that though it may be so at some time, or 
in some place, yet at this time, and in this place, or any 
such other like, wherein be so many poor people, upon 
whom they be (you think) bounden to bestow their good, 
they can therefore keep no riches with good conscience. 
Verily, cousin, if that reason would hold, I ween the world 
was never such anywhere in which any man might have 
kept any substance without the danger of damnation. As 
for since Christ s days to the world s end, we have the 
witness of his own words, that there hath never $ folfe sj)au 
lacked poor men, nor never shall. For he said tjmnetoriacfc. 
himself, Pauper es semper habebitis vobiscum, quibus cum 
vultis, benefacere potestis, Poor men shall you alway 
have with you, whom, when you will, you may do good 
unto.^ So that, as 1 tell you, if your rule should hold, 
then were there, 1 ween, no place in no time since Christ s 
days hitherto, nor (as I think) in as long before that 
neither, nor never shall there hereafter, in which there 

* Luc. iii. tMarc. x n. J Luc. xix. 

Matth. xxvi. ; Marc. xiv. 



184 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

could any man abide rich without the danger of eternal 
damnation, even for his riches alone, though he demeaned 
fffieremnst ^ never so well. But, cousin, men of sub- 
Smcn SOme stance must tnere needs be ; for else shall you 
have more beggars, pardie, than there be, and 
no man left able to relieve another. For this think I in 
my mind a very sure conclusion, that if all the money 
that is in this country, were to-morrow next brought toge 
ther out of every man s hand, and laid all upon one heap, 
and then divided out unto every man alike, it would be 
on the morrow after worse than it was the day before. 
For I suppose when it were all equally thus divided among 
all, the best should be left little better than a beggar 
almost is now : and yet he that was a beggar before, all 
that he shall be the richer for that he should thereby 
receive, shall not make him much above a beggar still, 
but many one of the rich men, if their riches stood but in 
moveable substance, shall be safe enough from riches 
haply for all their life after. 

Men cannot, you wot well, live here in this world, but 
if that some one man provide a mean of living for some 
other many. Every man cannot have a ship of his own, 
nor every man be a merchant without a stock : and these 
things, you wot well, must needs be had ; nor every man 
cannot have a plough by himself. And who might live 
by the tailor s craft, if no man were able to put a gown 
to make ? Who by masonry ? Or, who could live a 
carpenter, if no man were able to build neither church, 
nor house? Who should be makers of any manner of 
cloth, if there lacked men of substance to set sundry sorts 
a work? Some man that hath but two ducats in his 
house, were better forbear them both and leave himself 
not a farthing, but utterly lose all his own, than that 
some rich man, by whom he is weekly set a work should 
of his money lose the one half: for then were himself like 

STijetfcfi man s to lack work. For surely the rich man s sub- 
sutstanre is ., ,, . J P .<, , 

tiie par man s stance is the wellspnng of the poor mans 

living. And therefore, here would it fare by 
K &cn 3t ^ ne P oor man, as it fared by the woman in one 
*88s. of jEsop s fables, which had an hen that laid 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 185 

her every day a golden egg; till on a day she thought she 
would have a great many eggs at once, and therefore she 
killed her hen, and found but one or twain in her belly, 
so that for covetise of those few, she lost many. 

But now, cousin, to come to your doubt, how it may be 
that a man may with conscience keep riches with him, 
when he seeth so many poor men upon whom he may 
bestow it : verily that might he not with conscience do, if 
he must bestow it upon as many as he may. And so 
must of truth every rich man do, if all the poor folk that 
he seeth be so specially by God s commandment com 
mitted unto his charge alone, that because our Saviour 
saith, Omni petenti te, da, Give every man that asketh 
thee, therefore should he be bound to give out still to 
every beggar that will ask him, as long as any penny 
lasteth in his purse. But verily, cousin, that saying hath 
(as other places in Scripture have) need of interpretation. 
For as holy St. Austin saith: Though Christ say, Give every 
man that asketh thee, he saith not yet, give them all that 
they will ask thee. But surely all were one, if he meant to 
bind me by commandment, to give every man without ex 
ception somewhat; for so should I leave myself nothing. 

Our Saviour in that place of St. Luke, msfl&not 
speaketh both of the contempt that we should imte miip 
in heart have of these worldly things, and also CTlulunMr - 
of the manner that men should use toward their enemies. 
For there he biddeth us love our enemies, give good words 
for evil, and not only suffer injuries patiently, both by 
taking away our goods and harm done unto our bodies, 
but also be ready to suffer the double and over that, to do 
them good again, that do us the harm. And among these 
things, he biddeth us give every man that asketh, mean 
ing, that in the thing that we may conveniently do a man 
good, we should not refuse it, what manner of man soever 
he be, though he were our mortal enemy, namely where 
we see, that but if we help him ourself, the person of the 
man should stand in peril of perishing. And therefore 
saith St. Paul, Si esurierit inimicus tuus, da illi cibum, 
If thine enemy be an hungered give him meat.* But now, 
* Rom. xii. 



186 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

though I be bound to give every manner of man in some 
manner of his necessity, were he my friend, or my foe, 
Christian man, or heathen; yet am I not unto all men 
bound alike, nor unto any man in every case alike. But, 
as I began to tell you, the differences of the circumstances 
make great change in the matter. 

St. Paul saith, Qui non providet suis, est infideli 
deterior, He that provideth not for those that are his, is 
ro tfiese must worse than an infidel.* Those are ours that are 
toe erst Qfoe. belonging to our charge, either by nature, or 
law, or any commandment of God. By nature, as our 
children ; by law, as our servants in the household. So 
that albeit these two sorts be not ours all alike, yet would 
I think that the least ours of the twain, that is to wit, our 
utB to scr- servants, if they need and lack, we be bounden 
Hants. t o i oo k to them, and provide for their need, 

and see so far forth as we may, that they lack not the 
things that should serve for their necessity, while they 
dwell in our service. Meseemeth also, that if they fall 
sick in our service, so that they cannot do the service that 
we retain them for; yet may we not in any wise turn them 
?hen out of doors, and cast them up comfortless while 
they be not able to labour and help themself ; for this 
were a thing against all humanity. And surely, if he 
were but a wayfaring man that I received into my house 
as a guest, if he fall sick therein, and his money gone, I 
reckon myself bounden to keep him still, and 
lote< rather to beg about for his relief than cast him 
out in that case to the peril of his life, what loss soever 
I should hap to sustain in keeping of him. For when 
God hath by such chance sent him to me, and there once 
matched me with him, I reckon myself surely charged 
with him, till I may without peril of his life be well and 
conveniently discharged of him. 

By God s commandment are in our charge, our parents. 
For by nature we be in theirs, sith (as St. Paul saith) it is 
not the children s part to provide for the parents, but the 
Sutp to cf)* parents to provide for the children :[ provide, 
lWBt I mean, conveniently due learning, or good oc- 

* Tim. v. f 2 Cor. xii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 187 

cupations to get their living by, with truth and the 
favour of God, but not to make provision for $ oitmi 
them of such manner of living, as to Godward 
they should live the worse for ; but rather if they see by 
their manner that too much would make them nought, the 
father should then give them a great deal the less. But 
although that nature put not the parents in the charge of 
the children ; yet not only God commandeth, but the 
order of nature also compelleth, that the chil- ju atpt opa- 
dren should both in reverent behaviour honour Ients - 
their father and mother, and also in their necessity main 
tain them. And yet as much as God and nature both 
bindeth us to the sustenance of our own father, his need 
may be so little, though it be somewhat, and a frem d 
man s so great, that both God and nature also 
would, I should in such unequal need, relieve 
that urgent necessity of a stranger, yea my foe, and God s 
enemy too, the very Turk or Saracen, before a little need 
(and unlikely to do great barm) in my father, and my 
mother too : for so ought they both train themself to be 
well content I should. But now, cousin, out of the case 
of such extreme needs well perceived and known unto 
myself, I am not bounden to give every beggar that will 
ask, nor to believe every faitor that I meet in J3t scre tt n <n 
the street, that will say himself that he is very BWnaaims. 
sick, nor to reckon all the poor folk committed by God 
only so to my charge alone, that none other man should 
give them nothing of his, till I have first given out all 
mine, nor am not bounden neither to have so evil opinion 
of all other folk save myself, as to think, that but if I 
give help the poor folk shall all fail at once; for God 
hath left in all this quarter no more good folk now, but 
me. I may think better by my neighbours, and worse 
by myself than so, and yet come to heaven by God s 
grace well enough. 

VINCENT. Marry, uncle, but some man will peradven- 
ture be right well content in such cases, to think his 
neighbours very charitable, to the intent that he may 
think himself at liberty to give nothing at all. 

ANTONY. That is, cousin, very true, so will there some 



188 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

be content either to think, or make as though they thought. 
But those are they that are content to give nought, 
because they be nought. But our question is, cousin, 
not of them, but of good folk, that by the keeping of 
worldly goods and keeping thereof may stand with the 
state of grace. Now think I, cousin, that if a man keep 
auamnabie riches about him for a glory and royalty of the 
state of rtcties. world, in consideration whereof he taketh a 
great delight, arfid liketh himself therefor the better, 
taking the poorer for the lack thereof as one far worse 
than himself, such a mind is very vain, foolish, proud, and 
such a man is very naught indeed. 

on ^ e otner side, if there be a man 



tDerc tuere manp such (as would God there were many!) that 
hath unto riches no love, but having it fall 
abundantly unto him, taketh to his own part no great 
a perfect Qoott pleasure thereof, but as though he had it not, 
state tn riches, keepeth himself in like abstinence and penance 
privily, as he would do in case he had it not, and in such 
things as he doth openly bestow somewhat more liberally 
upon himself in his house after some manner 
of the world, lest he should give other folk 
ccas i n to marvel and muse and talk of his 
fa- manner, and misreport him for an hypocrite, 
therein between God and him doth truly pro 
test and testify, as did the good Queen Hesther,* that he 
doth it not for any desire thereof in the satisfying of his 
own pleasure, but would with as good will or better, forbear 
the possession of riches, saving for the commodity that 
other men have by its disposing thereof, as percase in 
keeping of a good household in good Christian order and 
fashion, and in setting other folk a work with such things 
as they gain their living the better by his means, this 
man s having of riches I might (methinketh) in merit 
match in a manner with another man s forsaking of all, 
if there were none other circumstances more pleasant 
unto God farther added unto the forsaking beside, as 
percase for the more fervent contemplation by reason of 
the solicitude of all worldly business left off, which was 
* Hester, xiv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 189 

the thing that made Mary Magdalene s part the better.* 
For else would Christ have caused her much more thank, 
to go about and be busy in helping her sister Martha to 
dress his dinner, than to take her stool, and sit down at 
her ease, and do nought. 

Now, if he that have this good and riches by him, 
have not haply fully so perfect mind, but somewhat loveth 
to keep himself from lack, and not so fully as a pure 
Christian fashion requireth, determined to abandon his 
pleasure; well, what will you more? The man is so 

much the less perfect than I would he were, , 

,, ,, C. , ,, i >n , aseconU an& 

and haply than himself would wish, ir it were less perfect 

as easy to be it, as to wish it. But yet not by $Utc inricf)es 
and bye in the state of damnation, no more than he that 
forsaking all and entering into religion, is not yet alway 
so clear departed from all worldly affections, as himself 
would very fain he were and much bewaileth that he is 
not. Of whom some man that hath in the world willingly 
forsaken the likelihood of right worshipful rooms, hath 
afterward had much ado to keep himself from the desire 
of the office of cellarer or sexton, to bear yet at the least 
wise some rule and authority, though it were but among 
the bells. But God is more merciful to man s imperfec 
tion, if the man know it, and knowledge it, and mislike it, 
and little and little labour to amend it, than to reject and 
cast off him, that after as his frailty can bear and suffer, 
hath a general intent and purpose to please him, and to 
prefer or set by nothing in all this world before him. 

And therefore, cousin, to make an end of this piece 
withal; A negotio perambulante in tenebris, Of this 
devil, I mean, that the prophet calleth Business walking 
in the darkness : if a man have a mind to serve God and 
please him, and rather lose all the good he hath than 
wittingly do deadly sin, and would withal murmur or 
grudge give it every whit away, in case that 
God should so command him, and intend to te kept 
take it patiently, if God would take it from 
him, and glad would be to use it unto God s pleasure, and 
do his diligence to know and to be taught, what manner 



190 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

using thereof God would be pleased with ; and therein 
from time to time be glad to follow the counsel of good 
virtuous men, though he neither give away all at once nor 
give every man that asketh him neither (let every man 
fear and think in this world, that all the good that he 
doth, or can do, is a great deal too little), but yet for all 
that fear, let him dwell therewith in the faithful hope of 
God s help. And then shall the truth of God so com 
pass him about (as the prophet saith) with a pavice, that 
he shall not so need to dread the trains and the tempta 
tions of this devil that the prophet calleth Business, 
walking about in the darknesses, but that he shall for all 
the having of riches and worldly substance, so avoid his 
trains and his temptations, that he shall in conclusion by 
the great and almighty mercy of God, get into heaven 
well enough. And now was I, cousin, about lo, after 
this piece thus ended, to bid them bring in our dinner, but 
now shall I not need, lo ; for here they come with it 
already. 

VINCENT. Forsooth, good uncle, God disposeth and 
timeth your matter and your dinner both, I trust. For 
the end of your tale (for which our Lord reward you !) 
and the beginning here of your good dinner too (from 
which it were more than pity that you should any longer 
have tarried) meet even at the close together. 

ANTONY. Well, cousin, now will we say grace, and 
then for a while will we leave talking, and essay how our 
dinner shall like us, and how fair we can fall to feeding. 
Which done, you know my customable guise (for manner 
I may not call it, because the guise is unmannerly) to bid 
you not farewell, but steal away from you to sleep. But, 
you wot well, I am not wont at afternoon to sleep long, 
but even a little to forget the world. And when I wake, 
I will again come to you, and then is (God willing) all 
this long day ours, wherein we shall have time enough, 
to talk more than shall suffice for the finishing of this 
one part of our matter, which only now remaineth. 

VINCENT. I pray you, good uncle, keep your custom 
able manner, for manner may you call it well enough. 
For as it were against good manner, to look that a man 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 191 

should kneel down for courtesy, when his knee is sore ; 
so is it very good manner, that a man of your age, 
aggrieved with such sundry sicknesses beside, that suffer 
you not alway to sleep when you should, let his sleep not 
slip away, but take it when he may. And I will, uncle, 
in the meanwhile steal from you too, and speed a little 
errand, and return to you again. 

ANTONY. Tarry while you will, and when you have 
dined, go at your pleasure, but I pray you tarry not long. 

VINCENT. You shall not need, uncle, to put me in 
mind of that ; I would as fain have up the remnant of our 
matter. 



192 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




BOOK III. 



The Third and Last Book of Consolation and Comfort in 
Tribulation. 



INCENT. SOMEWHAT have I tarried the 
longer, uncle, partly for that I was loth to 
come over soon lest my soon coming might 
have happed to have made you wake too 
soon : but specially by the reason that I was 
letted with one that shewed me a letter 
dated at Constantinople, by which letter it appeareth, 
that the Great Turk prepareth a marvellous 
mighty army, and yet whither he will there- 
tijanone. with, that can there yet no man tell. But I 
fear in good faith, uncle, that his voyage shall be hither. 
Howbeit, he that wrote the letter, saith that it is secretly 
said in Constantinople, that great part of his army shall 
be shipped and sent either into Naples, or into Sicily. 

ANTONY. It may fortune, cousin, that the letter of the 
Venetian dated at Constantinople, was devised at Venice. 
From thence come there some among, and sometime from 
Rome too, and sometime also from other places, letters 
all found full of such tidings, that the Turk is ready to 

oatenoiieittes do some & Teat ex P loit - Which tidings they 
are sometimes blow about for the furtherance of some such 
affairs, as they then have themself in hand. The 
Turk hath also so many men of arms in his retinue at his 
continual charge, that lest they should lie still and do 
nothing, but peradventure fall in devising of some novel 
ties among themself, he is fain yearly to make some 
assemblies and some changing of them from one place 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 



193 



unto another, and past time sort asunder, that they wax 
not over well acquainted by dwelling over long together. 
By these ways also he maketh those that he mindeth 
suddenly to invade indeed, the less to look therefor, and 
thereby the less preparation to make before, while they 
see him so many times make a great visage of war when 
he mindeth it not ; but then at one time or other they 
suddenly feel it, when they fear it not. Howbeit, full 
likely, cousin, it is of very truth, that unto this realm of 
Hungary he will not fail to come. For neither is there 
any country through Christendom, that lieth for him so 
meet, nor never was there any time till now, in which he 
might so well and surely win it. For now call we him in 
ourself(God save us!) as ^Esop telleth, that # te tfc para- 
the sheep took in the wolf unto them, to keep gj jjjg. 1 * 11 
them from the dogs. 

VINCENT. Then are there very like, good uncle, all 
these tribulations to fall upon us here, that I spake of 
in the beginning of our first communication here the 
other day. 

ANTONY. Very truth it is, cousin, that so there will of 
likelihood in a while, but not forthwith all at the first. 
For while he cometh under the colour of aid Cj) . g fe tf)f 
for the one against the other, he will some- ngijt practice of 
what see the proof, before he fully shew him- * 
self. But in conclusion, if he be able to get it for him, 
you shall see him so handle it, that he shall not fail to 
get it from him, and that forthwith out of hand, ere ever 
he suffer him settle himself over sure therein. 

VINCENT. Yet say they, uncle, that he useth not 
to force any man to forsake his faith. 

ANTONY. Not any man, cousjp ? They say more than 
they can make good, that tell you so. He maketh a 
solemn oath among the ceremonies of that feast, in 
which he first taketh upon him his authority, that he 
shall, in all that he possibly may, minish the sn, e cwt s 
faith of Christ, and dilate the faith of Ma- oat|) - 
hornet. But yet hath he not used to force every whole 
country at once to forsake their faith. For of some 
countries hath he been content only to take a tribute 



194 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

yearly, and let them live there as they list. Out of some he 
taketh the whole people away, dispersing them for slaves 
among many sundry countries of his, very far from their 
own, without any suffrance of regress. Some country so 
great and populous, that they cannot well be carried and 
conveyed thence, he destroyeth the gentlemen, and 
giveth their lands, part to such as he bringeth, and part 
to such as willingly will deny their faith, arid keepeth the 
&ade not otfier ot>ner * n sucn misery, that they were in man- 
Curfts none M ner as good to be dead at once. In rest he 
suffereth also no Christian man almost, but 
those that resort as merchants, or those that offer them- 
self to serve him in his war. 

But as for those Christian countries, that he useth not 
for only tributaries, as he doth Chio, Cyprus, or Candy, 
but reckoneth for clear conquest, and utterly taketh for 
his own, as Morea, Greece, and Macedonia, and such 
other like (and as I verily think, he will Hungary, if he 
get it), in all those useth he Christian people after sundry 
fashions. He letteth them dwell there indeed, because 
they were too many to carry all away, and too 
tian tfatfloifc many to kill them all too ; but if he should 
sometfmes a "na e ^ aer leave the land dispeopled and desolate, 
trics me un * or e ^ se some ther countries of his own, from 
whence he should (which would not well be 
done) convey the people thither, to people that land 
withal : there, lo, those that will not be turned from 
their faith, of which God keepeth (lauded be his holy 
name !) very many, he suffereth to dwell still in peace. 
But yet is their peace for all that not very peaceable. 
For lands he suffereth them to have none of their own ; 
office or honest room they bear none : with occasions of 
his wars he filleth them with taxes and tollages unto the 
bare bones, their children he chooseth where he list in 
their youth, and taketh them from their parents, convey 
ing them whither he list, where their friends never see 
them after, and abuseth them as he list. Some young 
maids he maketh harlots, some young men he bringeth 
up in war, and some young children he causeth to be 
gelded, not their stones cut out, as the custom was of old, 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 195 

but cutteth off their whole members by the body : how 
few scape and live, he little forceth ; for he will have 
enough. And all that he so taketh young to any use of 
his own, are betaken unto such Turks or false renegades 
to keep, that they be turned from the faith of Christ 
every one, or else so handled, that as for this world they 
come to an evil chieving. For beside many other con 
tumelies and despites that the Turks and the false rene 
gade Christians many times do to good Christian people 
that still persevere and abide by the faith ; they find the 
mean sometime to make some false shrews ^ ote t ^ lg prac . 
say, that they heard such a Christian man ttce practtscn 
speak opprobrious words against Mahomet, 
and upon that point falsely testified, will they take occa 
sion to compel him forsake the faith of Christ, and turn 
unto the profession of their shameful superstitious sect, 
or else will they put him to death with cruel intolerable 
torments. 

VINCENT. Our Lord, uncle, for his mighty mercy keep 
those wretches hence ! For by my troth, if they hap to 
come hither, methink I see many more tokens than one, 
that we shall have of our own folk here ready to fall in 
unto them. For like as before a great storm agoo&simm- 
the sea begin neth sometime to work and roar tm - 
in itself, ere ever the winds wax boisterous; so methink 
I hear at mine ear, some of our own here among us, 
which within these few years could no more have borne 
the name of a Turk, than the name of a devil, srfietoorst foitt 
begin now to find little fault therein, yea and JSKSuinenn 
some to praise them too, little and little as faults. 
they may, more glad to find fault, at every state of 
Christendom, priests, princes, rites, ceremonies, sacra 
ments, laws, and customs, spiritual, and temporal, and all. 
ANTONY. In good faith, cousin, so begin we to fare 
here indeed, and that but even now of late. For since the 
title of the Crown hath come in question, the good rule of 
this realm hath very sore decayed, as little while as it is. 
And undoubtedly Hungary shall never do well, a otep point of 
as long as it standeth in this case, that men s 
minds hearken after novelties, and have their 

o 2 



196 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

hearts hanging upon a change. And much the worse I 
like it, when their words walk so large toward the favour 
of the Turk s sect, which they were ever wont to have in 
so great abomination, as every true minded Christian man, 
and Christian woman too, must have. I am of such age 
as you see, and verily from as far as I can remember, it 
hath been marked and often proved true, that when chil 
dren have in Buda fallen in a phantasy by themself to 
draw together, and in their playing make as it were corses 
carried to church, and sing after their childish fashion 
the tune of the Dirige, there hath great death there 
shortly followed after. And twice or thrice I may 
remember in my days, when children in divers parts of 
this realm have gathered themself in sundry companies, 
and made, as it were, parties and battles, and after their 
battles in sport, wherein some children have yet taken 
great hurt, there hath fallen very battle and very deadly 
war indeed. 

These tokens were somewhat like your ensample of the 
sea, sith they be (of things that after follow) tokens fore 
going through some secret motion or instinct, whereof 
the cause is unknown. But by St. Mary ! cousin, these 
Hote Hie itfec tokens like I much worse, these tokens, I say, 
tola faour not of children s plays, nor of children s songs, 
Ss in * Jpian- but old shrews large open words, so boldly 
spoken in the favour of Mahomet s sect, in 
this realm of Hungary that hath been ever hitherto a 
very sure key of Christendom. And out of doubt, if 

Hungary be lost, and that the Turk have it 
flote torll tfjts f -i - i in -i 

point, anu con- once fast in his possession, he shall ere it be 

tot? tn ru? 1 l n g after, have an open ready way into almost 
anttKroSt. l ^ e remnant f a ^ Christendom : though he 
ants practice win it not all in a week, the great part will be 
IiinQS won after, I fear me, within very few years. 

VINCENT. But yet evermore I trust in Christ, good 
uncle, that he shall not suffer that abominable sect of his 
mortal enemies in such wise to prevail against his Chris 
tian countries. 

ANTONY. That is very well said, cousin. Let us have 
our sure hope in him, and then shall we be very sure, 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 197 

that we shall not be deceived. For either shall we have 
the thing that we hope for, or a better thing in the stead. 
For as for the thing itself that we pray for, and hope to 
have, God will not alway send us. And therefore, as I 
said in our first communication, in all thing (save only for 
heaven) our prayer nor our hope may never be too pre 
cise, although the thing be lawful to require. Verily if we 
people of the Christian nations were such, as would God 
we were i I would little fear all the preparations that the 
Great Turk could make; no nor yet being as bad as we 
be, I nothing doubt at all, but that in conclu- * oraurtat 
sion, how base soever Christendom be brought, arurfcs aim fa 
it shall spring up again, till the time be come 
very near to "the day of doom, whereof some 
tokens as methinketh are not come yet. But spring up 
somewhat before that time shall Christendom aplu 
be straited sore, and brought into so narrow a compass, 
that according unto Christ s words, Filius hominis veniens, 
putas, inveniet fidem in terra? When the Son of Man 
shall come again,* that is to wit, to the day of general 
judgment, weenest thou that he shall find faith in the 
earth ? As who say, but a little. For as appeareth in 
the Apocalypse f and other places of Scripture,^ the 
faith shall be at that time so far faded, that he shall for 
the love of his elect, lest they should fall and perish too, 
abridge those days and accelerate his coming. But, as I 
say, methink I miss yet in my mind some of those tokens 
that shall by the Scripture come a good while before that. 
And among other the coming of the Jews, and the 
dilating of Christendom again before the world come to 
that straight. So that, I say, for mine own mind, I little 
doubt, but that this ungracious sect of Ma- BotfiKurks 

hornet shall have a foul fall, Christendom ana famics 

, n , ? . sflall Ijator a 

spring and spread, nower, and increase again, fait at last. 

Howbeit that pleasure and comfort shall they see, that 
shall be born after that we be buried (I fear me) both 
twain. For God giveth us great likelihood, Curts anft ^ 
that for our sinful wretched living, he goeth rcticsar 
about to make these infidels, that are his s 

* Luc. xviii. f Apocal. i. J Matth. xxiy. 



198 A DIALOGUE OF COMFOUT 

open professed enemies, the sorrowful scourge of correc 
tion over evil Christian people, that should be faithful, 
and of truth are his falsely professed friends. And 
surely, cousin, albeit that methinketh I see divers evil 
tokens of this misery coming to us, yet can there not in 
my mind be a worse prognostication thereof, than this 
ungracious token that you note here yourself. For 
undoubtedly, cousin, this new manner here of men s 
favourable fashion in their language toward these ungra 
cious Turks, dcclareth plainly, that not only their minds 
giveth them, that hither in shall he come, but also that 
they can be content, both to live under him, and over 
that, from the true faith of Christ to fall into Mahomet s 
false abominable sect. 

VINCENT. Verily, my uncle, as I go more about than 
an ijeabp sear- J ou > so mus ^ I needs more hear (which is an 
tnginbecu. heavy hearing in my ear) the manner of men 
in this matter, which increaseth about as here. I trust in 
other places of this realm by God s grace it is otherwise. 
But in this quarter here about us, many of these fellows 
that are met for the war, first were wont, as it were in 
sport, and in a while after half between game and earnest, 
and by our Lady ! now not far from fair flat earnest 
grfjese srurfcs indeed, talk as though they looked for a day, 
ISeStMr wnen with a turn unto the Turk s faith they 
flap, should be made masters here of true Chris 

tian men s bodies, and owners of all their goods. 

ANTONY. Though I go little abroad, cousin, yet hear I 
sometime, when I say little, almost as much as that. But 
while there is no man to complain to for the redress, 
what remedy but patience, and fain to sit still, and hold 
my peace ? For of these two that strive whether of them 
both shall reign upon us, and each of them calleth him 
self king, and both twain put the people to pain : the one 
is, you wot well, too far from our quarter here to help us 
in this behalf. And the other, while he looketh 
^r the Turk s aid, either will not, or well dare 
not (* ween ) ^ n( l an Y fault with them that 
favour the Turk and his sect. For of Turks 
natural this country lacketh none now, which 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 199 

are here conversant under diverse pretexts, and of every 
thing advertise the Great Turk full surely. And there 
fore, cousin, albeit that I would advise every roan, pray 
still and call unto God to hold his gracious hand over us, 
and keep away this wretchedness, if his pleasure be : yet 
would I farther advise every good Christian body to 
remember and consider, that it is very likely to come, and 
therefore make his reckoning and cast his e ^ fo foregee 
pennyworths before, and every man and every anu forecast ttje 
woman appoint with God s help in their own 
mind before hand, what thing they intend to do, if the 
very worst fall. 



200 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER I. 



Whether a man should cast in his mind and appoint in his 
heart before, that if he were taken with Turhs, he would 
rather die than forsake the faith. 

INCENT. WELL fare your heart, good 
uncle, for this good counsel of yours. For 
surely methinketh that this is marvellous 
good. But yet heard I once a right cun 
ning and a very good man say, that it 
were great folly, and very perilous too, 
that a man should think upon any such thing, or imagine 
any such case in his mind, for fear of double peril that 
may follow thereupon. For either shall he be likely to 
answer himself to the case put by himself, that he will 
rather suffer any painful death, than forsake his faith, 
and by that bold appointment, should he fall in the fault 
of St. Peter * that of oversight made a proud promise, and 
soon had a foul fall ; or else were he likely to think that 
rather than abide the pain, he would forsake God indeed, 
and by that mind should he sin deadly through his own 
folly, whereas he needeth not, as he that shall peradven- 
ture never come in the peril to be put thereunto. And 
that therefore it were most wisdom never to think upon, 
any such manner case. 

ANTONY. I believe well, cousin, that you have heard 

some man that would so say. For I can shew almost as 

much as that left of a good man and a great solemn 

doctor in writing. But yet, cousin, although I should 

* Johan. xiii. ; Luc. xxii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 201 

hap to find one or two more, as good men and as learned 
too, that would both twain say and write the neorttoo 
same, yet would I not fear for my part to g^iggt, 
counsel my friend to the contrary. For, tic trustee " 
cousin, if his mind answer him, as St. Peter answered 
Christ, that he will rather die than forsake him, though 
he say therein more unto himself, than he should be per- 
adventure able to make good, if it came to the point, yet 
perceive I not that he doth in that thought any deadly 
displeasure unto God, nor St. Peter, though he said more 
than he did perform, yet in his so saying offended not 
God greatly neither. But his offence was, when he did 
not after so well, as he said before. But now may this 
man be likely never to fall in the peril of breaking that 
appointment, sith of some ten thousand that so shall 
examine themself, never one shall fall in that peril, and 
yet to have that good purpose all their life, seemeth me no 
more harm the while, than a poor beggar that hath never 
a penny, to think that if he had great substance, he 
would give great alms for God s sake. 

But now is all the peril, if the man answer himself, that 
he would in such case rather forsake the faith of Christ 
with his mouth, and keep it still in his heart, than for 
the confessing of it to endure a painful death. For by 
this mind falleth he in deadly sin, which while he never 
cometh in the case indeed, if he never had put himself 
the case he never had fallen in. But in good faith me- 
thinketh, that he which upon that case put unto himself 
by himself, will make himself that answer, hath the habit 
of faith so faint and so cold, that to the better 
knowledge of himself, and of his necessity to 
pray for more strength of grace, he had need 
to have the question put him, either by himself, or some 
other man. 

Besides this, to counsel a man never to think on the 
case, is in my mind as much reason as the medicine that I 
have heard taught one for the tooth-ache, to a tncttfctne for 
go thrice about a churchyard, and never think tfic toot{)=adjc. 
upon a fox-tail. For if the counsel be not given them, it 
cannot serve them ; and if it be given them, it must put 



202 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

that point of the matter in their mind, which by and by 
to reject, and think therein neither one thing or other, is 
a thing that may be sooner bidden than obeyed. I ween 
also that very few men can escape it, but that though 
they would never think thereon by themself, yet in one 
place or other, where they shall hap to come in company, 
they shall have the question by adventure so proposed 
and put forth, that like as while he heareth one talking 
to him, he may well wink if he will but he 
tim7an&cann!t cannot make himself sleep : so shall he, whe 
ther he will or no, think one thing or other 
therein. 

Finally, when Christ spake so often and so plain of 
the matter, that every man should upon pain of damna 
tion, openly confess his faith,* if men took him and by 
dread of death would drive him to the contrary ; it 
seemeth me in a manner implied therein, that we be bound 
retfcs conditionally to have evermore that mind, 
actually sometime, and evermore habitually, 
tnat if tne case so should fall, then, (with God s 
help), so we wou ld. And where they find in 
tt)tnfeanimo the thinking thereon, their hearts agrise, and 
shrink in the remembrance of the pain that 
their imagination representeth to the mind, then must 
they call to mind and remember the great pain and 
torment that Christ suffered for them, and heartily pray 
for grace that if the case should so fall, God should 
give them strength to stand. And thus with exercise of 
such meditation, though men should never stand full out 
of fear of falling, yet must they persevere in good hope, 
and in full purpose of standing. 

And this seemeth me, cousin, so far forth the mind, 

that every Christian man and woman must needs have, 

Note tijis nuts ^at methinketh that every curate should often 

of curates anif counsel all his parishioners, and every man and 

woman, their servants and their children, even 

beginning in their tender youth, to know this point, and to 

think thereon, and little and little from their very childhood 

to accustom them dulcely and pleasantly in the meditation 

* Matth. x. ; Luc. xii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 203 

thereof, whereby the goodness of God shall not fail so to 
aspire the grace of his Holy Spirit into their hearts in 
reward of that virtuous diligence, that through such 
actual meditation, he shall confirm them in such a sure 
habit of spiritual faithful strength, that all the devils in 
hell with all the wrestling that they can make, shall never 
be able to wrest it out of their heart. 

VINCENT. By my troth, uncle, methinketh you say 
very well. 

ANTONY. I say surely, cousin, as I think. And yet 
all this have I said, concerning them that dwell in such 
places, as they be never like in their lives to come in the 
danger to be put to the proof. Howbeit many a man 
may ween himself farther therefrom, that yet ^ oto manp are 
may fortune by some one chance or other, to nom faiien m 
fall in the case that either for the truth of aniiSKo? 
faith, or for the truth of justice (which go fersfcutjon m 
almost alike) he may tall in the case. JJut faitf) or justice. 
now be you and I, cousin, and all our friends w 
here, far in another point. For we be so likely to fall in 
the experience thereof so soon, that it had been more 
time for us (all other things set aside) to have devised 
upon this matter, and firmly to have settled ourself upon 
a fast point long ago, than to begin to commune and 
counsel upon it now. 

VINCENT. In good faith, uncle, you say therein very 
truth, and would God it had come sooner in my mind ; but 
better is yet late, than never. And I trust God shall yet 
give us respite and time, whereof, uncle, that we lose no 
part, I pray you proceed now with your good counsel 
therein. 

ANTONY. Very gladly, cousin, shall I now go forth in 
the fourth temptation, which only remaineth to be treated 
of, and properly pertaineth whole unto this present pur 
pose. 



204 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



CHAPTER II. 



Of the fourth temptation, which is persecution for the 
faith, touched in these words of the prophet, Ab incursu 
et daemonic meridiano. 




fourth temptation, cousin, that the pro 
phet speaketh of in the foreremembered 
psalm, Qui habitat in arljutorio Altissimi, 
&c. is plain open persecution, which is 
touched in these words, Ab incursu et dee- 
monio meridiano. And of all his temptations 

this is the most perilous, the most bitter, sharp, 
&f)ts tnnpta* , , . -pi i , i 

<m most peril- and most rigorous. ror whereas in other temp 
tations he useth either pleasant allectives unto 
sin, or other secret sleights and trains, and cometh in the 
night and stealeth on in the dark unaware, or in some 
other part of the day flieth and passeth by like an arrow, 
so shaping himself sometime in one fashion, sometime in 
another, and so dissimuling himself and his high mortal 
malice, that a man is thereby so blinded and beguiled, 
that he may not sometime perceive well what he is. In 
SffiJDo seetij not this temptation, this plain open persecution for 
tftS f&SSr* tne f aitll he cometh even in the very mid-day, 
imuaac ncbii ? that is to wit, even upon them that have an 
high light of faith shining in their heart, and openly suf- 
fereth himself so plainly be perceived, by his fierce, 
furious, malicious persecution against the faithful Chris 
tian, for hatred of Christ s true Catholic faith, that no 
man having faith can doubt what he is. For in this 
temptation he sheweth himself such as the prophet 
nameth him, Dcemonium meridianum, the midday devil : 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 205 

he may be so lightsomely seen with the eye of a faithful 
soul, by his fierce furious assault and incursion. For 
therefore saith the prophet, that the truth of God shall 
compass that man round about, that dwelleth in the 
faithful hope of his help with a pavice, Ab incursu tt 
dcemonio meridiano, from the incursion and the devil of 
the midday, because this kind of persecution is not a 
wily temptation, but a furious force and a terrible incur 
sion.* In other of his temptations he stealeth on like a 
fox : but in this Turk s persecution for the 
faith he runneth on roaring with assault like a a,3 ptna lum 
ramping lion. 

This temptation is of all temptations also the most 
perilous. For whereas in temptations of prosperity, he 
useth only delectable allectives to move a man to sin, and 
in other kinds of tribulations and adversity he useth only 
grief and pain to pull a man into murmur, impatience, 
and blasphemy : in this kind of persecution for the faith 
of Christ he useth both twain, that is to wit, both his 
allectives of quiet and rest by deliverance from death and 
pain, with other pleasures also of this present life : and 
beside that, the terror and infliction of intolerable pain 
and torment. In other tribulation, as loss, or sickness, 
or death of our friends, though the pain be peradventure 
as great and sometime greater too ; yet is not the peril 
nowhere nigh half so much. For in other tribulations, as 
I said before, the necessity that the man must of fine 
force abide and endure the pain, wax he never so wroth 
and impatient therewith, is a great reason and occasion to 
move him to keep his patience therein, and be content 
therewith, and thank God thereof, and of necessity to 
make a virtue that he may be rewarded for. But in this 
temptation, this persecution for the faith (I mean, riot by 
fight in the field, by which the faithful man standeth at 
his defense, and putteth the faithless in half the fear, arid 
half the harm too), but where he is taken and in hold, 
and may for the forswearing or the denying of his faith 
be delivered arid suffer to live in rest, and sometime in 
great worldly wealth also : in this case, I say, this thing, 
* 1 Pet, v. 



206 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

that he needeth not to suffer this trouble and pain but he 
will, is a marvellous great occasion for him, to fall into 
the sin that the devil would drive him to, that is to wit, 
the forsaking of his faith. Arid therefore as 1 say, of all 
the devil s temptations is this temptation, this persecution 
for the faith, the most perilous. 

VINCENT. The more perilous, uncle, that this tempta 
tion is (as indeed of all temptations the most perilous it 
is) the more need have they that stand in peril thereof, 
to be before with substantial advice and good counsel 
well armed against it, that we may with the comfort and 
consolation thereof the better bear that tribulation when 
it cometh, and the better withstand the temptation. 

ANTONY. You say, cousin Vincent, therein very truth, 
and I am content to fall therefor in hand therewith. But 
forasmuch, cousin, as methinketh, that of this tribulation 
somewhat you be more frail than I, and of truth some 
what more excusable it is in you, than it were in me, 
my age considered, and the sorrow that I have suffered 
already with some other considerations on my part beside : 
rehearse you therefore the griefs and pains that you 
think in this tribulation possible to fall unto you : and I 
shall against each of them give you counsel and rehearse 
you such occasion of comfort and consolation, as my poor 
wit and learning can call to my mind. 

VINCENT. In good faith, uncle, I am not all thing 
afraid in this case only for myself, but well you wot I 
have cause to care also for many more, and that folk of 
sundry sorts men and women both, and that not all of 
one age. 

ANTONY. All that you have cause to fear for, cousin, 
for all them have I cause to fear with you too, sith all 
your kinsfolks and allies within a little be likewise unto 

me. Howbeit to say the truth, every man 
a BOOK rare for , . A i r- i ,1 r i 

ktnsfoifc ano hath cause in this case to tear, both for him 
self and also for every other. For sith, as 
the Scripture saith, Unicuique dedit Deus curam de 
proximo suo, God hath given every man cure and charge 
of his neighbour/* there is no man that hath any spark 

* Eccles. xvii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 207 

of Christian love and charity in his breast, but that in a 
matter of such peril as this is, wherein the soul of man 
standeth in so great danger to be lost, he must needs care 
and take thought, not for his friends only, but also for 
his very foes. We shall therefore, cousin, not 6oto C j, ari . 
rehearse your harms or mine that may befall tabipsaiD. 
in this persecution, but all the great harms in general, 
as near as we can call to mind, that may hap unto any 
man. 



208 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER III. 



ITH a man is made of the body and the 
soul, all the harm that any man may take, it 
must needs be in one of these two; either 
immediately, or by the mean of some such 
thing as serveth for the pleasure, weal, 
or commodity of the one of these two. 
As for the soul, first we shall need no rehearsal of any 
harm, that by this kind tribulation may attain thereto : 
but if that by some inordinate love and affection that 
tffie farm of tne so "l t> ear to tne D ciy> she consent to 
tfcesoui. slide from the faith, and thereby do her harm 

herself. Now remain there the body, and these outward 
things of fortune, which serve for the maintenance of the 
body, and minister matter of pleasure to the soul also, 
through the delight that she hath in the body, for the 
while that she is matched therewith. Consider then first 
the loss of these outward things, as somewhat the less in 
weight, than is the body itself. In them what may a 
man lose, and thereby what pain may he suffer? 
an tfjese losses VINCENT. He may lose, uncle (of which I 
SeSluTe? should somewhat lose myself), money, plate, 
t>H>- and other moveable substance. Those offices, 

authority, and finally all the lands of his inheritance for 
ever, that himself and his heirs perpetually might else 
enjoy. And of all these things, uncle, you wot well, that 
myself have some, little in respect of that that some 
other have here, but somewhat more yet, than he that 
hath most here would be well content to lose. Upon the 
loss of these things follow neediness and poverty, the 
pain of lacking, the shame of begging : of which twain I 
wot not well which is the most wretched necessity, be- 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 209 

side the grief and heaviness of heart in beholding good 
men and faithful, and his dear friends, bewrapped in like 
misery, and ungracious wretches and infidels, and his 
most mortal enemies, enjoy the commodities that himself 
and his friends have lost. Now for the body very few 
words shall serve us. For therein I see none other harm 
but loss of liberty, labour, imprisonment, painful and 
shameful death. 

ANTONY. There needeth not much more, cousin, as 
the world is now. For I fear me that less than a fourth part 
of this will make many a man so stagger in his faith, and 
some man fall quite therefrom, that yet at this day, before 
he come to the proof, weeneth himself that he $ totruets 
would stand very fast. And I beseech our tjistmunotn? 
Lord, that all they that so think, and would yet, when 
they were brought to the point, fall therefrom for fear or 
for pain, may get of God the grace to ween still as they 
do, and not to be brought to the assay, where pain or fear 
should shew them then (as it shewed St. Peter *) how far 
they be deceived now. But now, cousin, against these 
terrible things, what way shall we take in giving men 
counsel or comfort ? 

If the faith were in our days as fervent as it hath been 
ere this in times past, little counsel and little ftrt , fnt 
comfort would suffice. We should not much faitij of oia 
need with words and reasoning to extenuate t( 
and minish the vigour and asperity of the pains ; but the 
greater, the more bitter that the passion were, the more 
ready was of old time the fervour of faith to suffer it. 
And surely, cousin, I doubt it little in my mind, but that 
if a man had in his heart so deep a desire and love, 
longing to be with God in heaven, to have the fruition of 
his glorious face, as had these holy men that were mar 
tyrs in the old time, he would no more now stick at the 
pain that he must pass between, than at that time those 

old holy martyrs did. But alas ! our faint and 

/ i i /. i i i /-iii Kfie faint anu 

feeble faith with our love to God, less than feeble fattij 

lukewarm, by the fiery affection that we bear " 

to our own filthy flesh, maketh us so dull in the desire of 

* Luc. xxii. 



210 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

heaven that the sudden dread of every bodily pain 
woundeth us to the heart, and striketh our devotion stark 
dead. And therefore doth there every man, cousin (as I 
said before), much the more need to think upon this thing 
many a time and oft aforehand, ere any such peril fall : 
and by much devising thereupon, before they see the 
cause to fear it, while the thing shall not appear so terri 
ble unto them, reason shall better enter, and through 
grace working with their diligence, engender and set 
sure, not a sudden slight affection of suffrance for God s 
sake, but by a long continuance a strong deep-rooted 
habit, not like a reed ready to wave with every wind, nor 
like a rootless tree, scant set up on end, in a loose heap of 
light sand, that will with a blast or two be blown down. 



CHAPTER IV. 



OR if we now consider, cousin, these causes 
of terror and dread that you have recited, 
which in his persecution for the Faith this 
midday devil may by these Turks rear 
against us, to make his incursion with : we 
shall well perceive, weighing them well 
with reason, that albeit somewhat they be indeed, yet 
every part of the matter pondered, they shall well appear 
in conclusion things nothing so much to be dread and 
fled from, as to folk at the first sight they do suddenly 
seem. 




AGAINST TRIBULATION. 211 




CHAPTER V. 

Of the loss of the goods of fortune 



OR first to begin at these outward goods, 
that neither are the proper goods of the 
soul, nor of the body, but are called the 
goods of fortune, that serve for the suste 
nance and commodity of man for the short 
season of this present life, as worldly sub 
stance, offices, honour, and authority, what fffie flMte 0( 
great good is there in these things of themself, fortune. 
for which they were worthy so much as to bear the name, 
by which the world of a worldly favour customably calleth 
them ? For if the having of strength make a man strong, 
and the having of heat make a man hot, and the having 
of virtue make a man virtuous : how can these things be 
verily and truly good, which he that hath them, may by 
the having of them as well be the worse as the better, 
and (as experience proveth) more often is the worse than 
the better ? When should a good man greatly rejoice in 
that, that he daily seeth most abound in the hands of 
many that be nought? Do not now this great asijat great 
Turk and his bassas in all these advancements Ss r *o S mount 
of fortune, surmount very far above any aloft nom; 
Christian estate, and any lords living under him? And 
was there not yet hence upon a twenty year ago, the 
great Soudan of Syria, which many a year together bare 
as great a part as the great Turk, and after in one sum 
mer unto the great Turk that whole empire was lost ? 
And so may all his empire now, and shall hereafter by 
r 2 



212 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

ott sena once God s grace be lost unto Christian men s 
tfjattas ! hands likewise, when Christian people shall be 
mended, and grow into God s favour again. But when 
that whole kingdom and mighty great empires are of so 
little surety to stand, and be so soon translated from one 
man unto another; what great thing can you or I, yea, 
or any lord the greatest in this land, reckon himself to 
have by the possession of an heap of silver or gold, white 
and yellow metal, not so profitable of their own nature 
(save for a little glistering) as the rude rusty metal of 
iron? 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 213 




CHAPTER VI. 



Of the unsurety of lands and possessions. 

ANDS and possessions many men yet much 
more esteem than money, because the lands 
seem not so casual as money is or plate, 
for that though their other substance may 
be stolen and taken away, yet evermore 
they think that their land will lie still 
where it lay. But what are we the better, nan& anu pos- 
that our land cannot be stirred, but will lie s 
still where it lay, while ourself may be removed, and not 
suffered to come near it ? What great difference is there 
to us, whether our substance be moveable or immoveable, 
sith we be so moveable ourself, that we may be removed 
from them both, and lose them both twain, saving that 
sometime in the money is the surety some- m one8 j ettet 
what more. For when we be fain ourself to flee, tjan lana some* 
we may make shift to carry some of our money t 
with us, where of our land we cannot carry one inch. If 
our land be a thing of more surety than our money, how 
happeth it then, that in this persecution, we be more fraid 
to lose it ? For if it be a thing of more surety, then can it 
not soon be lost. In the translation of these two great 
empires, Greece first, sith myself was born, and after, 
Syria, since you were born too, the land was lost before 
the money was found. 

Oh ! cousin Vincent, if the whole world were a ^ erficl(on 
animated with a reasonable soul, as Plato had 
weened it were, and that it had wit and understanding to 



214 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

mark and perceive all thing : Lord God ! how the ground, 
on which a prince buildeth his palace, would loud laugh his 
lord to scorn, when he saw him proud of his possession, 
and heard him boast himself that he and his blood are for 
ever the very lords and owners of that land ! For then 
would the ground think the while in himself: Oh, thou 
silly poor soul, that weenest thou were half a god, and 
art amid thy glory but a man in a gay gown : I that am 
the ground here, over whom thou art so proud, have had 
an hundred such owners of me as thou callest thyself, 
more than ever thou hast heard the names of. And 
iLanaeD men s some of them that proudly went over my head, 
lie now low in my belly, and my side lieth over 
them : and many one shall, as thou doest now, call him 
self mine owner after thee, that neither shall be sib to thy 
blood, nor any word bear of thy name. Who aught your 
castle, cousin, three thousand years ago ? 

VINCENT. Three thousand, uncle ! Nay, nay, in any 
thing Christian, or heathen, you may strike off a third 
part of that well enough, and as far as I ween half of the 
remnant too. In far fewer years than three thousand it 
may well fortune, that a poor ploughman s blood may 
come up to a kingdom, and a king s right royal kin on 
5Tf)(s cast fwtf) tne otner side fall down to the plough and 

fallen to some cart: and neither that king know that ever he 
tings antt to /. ., ., . . 

manp gentle* came from the cart, nor that carter know that 

ever he came from the crown. 

ANTONY. We find, cousin Vincent, in full authentic 
stories, many strange chances as marvellous as that, 
come about in the compass of very few years in effect. 
And be such things then in reason so greatly to be set 
by, that we should esteem the loss so great, when we see 
that in the keeping our surety is so little? 

VINCENT. Marry, uncle, but the less surety that we 
have to keep it, sith it is a great commodity to have it, 
the fearder by so much, and the more loth we be to 
forego it. 

ANTONY. That reason shall I, cousin, turn against 
yourself. For if it be so, as you say, that sith the things 
be commodious, the less surety that you see you have of 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 215 

the keeping, the more cause you have to be afraid of the 
losing ; then on the other side, the more that a thing is 
of his nature such, that the commodity thereof bringeth a 
man little surety, and much fear, that thing of reason the 
less have we cause to love. And then the less cause that 
we have to love a thing, the less cause have we to care 
therefor, or fear the loss thereof, or be loth to go there 
from. 



CHAPTER VII. 



These outward goods or gifts of fortune are two manner 
ivise to be considered. 



;E shall yet, cousin, consider in these out 
ward goods of fortune, as riches, good 
name, honest estimation, honourable fame 
and authority : in all these things we shall, 
I say, consider, that either we love them 
and set by them, as by things commodious 
unto us for the state and condition of this present life, or 
else as things that we purpose by the good use thereof to 
make them matter of our merit with God s help in the 
life after to come. Let us then first consider them as 
things set by and beloved for the pleasure and commodity 
of them for this present life. 




216 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER VIII. 



The little commodity of riches being set by, but for this 
present life. 

>OW riches loved and set by for such, if we 
consider it well, the commodity that we 
take thereof is not so great, as our own 
fond affection and phantasy maketh us 
imagine it. It maketh us, I say not nay, 
go much more gay and glorious in sight, 
a a arci g armsne d with silk, but cloth is within a 
little as warm. It maketh us have great 
plenty of many kind of delicate and delicious victual, 
and thereby to make more excess. But less exquisite, 

Delicate fare anc * ^ 6SS su P er fl uous f are > with fewer surfeits 
and fewer fevers growing thereon to, were 
within a little as wholesome. Then the labour in the 
getting, the fear in the keeping, the pain in the parting 
from, do more than counterpoise a great part of all the 
pleasure and commodity that they bring. Besides this, 
the riches is the thing that taketh many times from his 
master, all his pleasure and his life too. For many a man 
is for his riches slain, and some that keep their riches as 
a thing pleasant and commodious for their life, take none 
other pleasure in a manner thereof in all their life, than 
as though they bare the key of another man s coffer, and 
rather are content to live in neediness miserably all their 
Barters an& days, than they could find in their heart to 
Diners of mones. m inish their hoard, they have such phantasy 
to look thereon. Yea and some men for fear lest thieves 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 



217 



should steal it from them, be their own thieves and steal 
it from themself, while they dare not so much as let it lie 
where themself may look thereon, but put it in a pot, and 
hide it in the ground, and there let it lie safe till they die, 
and sometime seven year after. From which place if the 
pot had been stolen *away five year before his death, all 
the same five year that he lived after, weening alway that 
his pot lay safe still, what had he been the poorer, while 
he never occupied it after ? 

VINCENT. By my troth, uncle, not one penny, for 
aught that I perceive. 



218 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER IX. 



The little commodity of fame being desired but for worldly 
pleasures. 

NTON Y. LET us now consider good name, 
honest estimation, and honourable fame. 
For these three things are of their own 
nature one, and take their difference, in 
effect, but of the manner of the common 
speech in diversity of degrees. For a good 
a BOOO name, name may a man have, be he never so poor. 
honest estima- Honest estimation in the common taking of 
* on - the people belongeth not unto any man but him 

that is taken for one of some countenance and behaviour, 
and among his neighbours had in some reputation. In 
honourable the word of honourable fame, folk conceive 
fame. ^he renown of great estates, much and far 

spoken of by reason of their laudable acres. Now all 
this gear used as a thing pleasant and commodious for this 
present life, pleasant it may seem to him that fasteneth 
his phantasy therein, but of the nature of the thing itself, 
I perceive no great commodity that it hath. I say, of 
the nature of the thing itself; because it may be by chance 
some occasion of commodity, as if it hap that for the good 
name the poor man hath, as for the honest estimation 
that a man of some haviour and substance standeth 
in among his neighbours, or for the honourable fame 
wherewith the great estate is renowned, if it hap, I say, 
that any man bearing them better, will therefore do them 
therefor any good. And yet as for that, like as it may 
sometime so hap (and sometime so happeth it indeed) so 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 219 

may it hap sometime on the other side (and on the other 
side so it sometime happeth indeed) that such folk are 
of some other envied and hated, and as readily ffinftp antt 5ate 
by them that envy them and hate them take folloto imt - 
harm, as they take by them that love them, good. 

But now to speak of the thing itself in his own proper 
nature, what is it but a blast of another man s mouth, as 
soon passed, as spoken ? Whereupon he that setteth his 
delight, feedeth himself but with wind, whereof be he 
never so full, he hath little substance therein : and many 
times shall he much deceive himself. For he shall ween 
that many praise him, that never speak word of him, and 
they that do, say yet much less than he weeneth, and far 
more seldom too. For they spend not all the day, he may 
be sure, in talking of him alone, and whoso commend 
him most, will yet, I ween, in every four and twenty 
hours, wink and forget him at once. Besides this, that 
while one talketh well of him in one place, another sitteth 
and sayeth as shrewdly of him in another ; and finally some 
that most praise him in his presence, behind his back 
mock him as fast, and loud laugh him to scorn, and some 
time slily to his own face too. And yet are there some 
fools so fed with this fond phantasy of fame, j, fl j or iaus 
that they rejoice and glory to think how they fools - 
be continually praised all about, as though all the world 
did nothing else day nor night but ever sit and sing, 
SanctuSj sanctus, sanctus, upon them. 



220 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



CHAPTER X. 



Of Flattery. 




ND unto this pleasant phrenzy of much 
foolish vain-glory, be there some men 
brought sometime by such as themselves 
do in a manner hire to flatter them ; and 
would not be content if a man should do 
otherwise, but would be right angry, not 
only if a man told them truth when they do nought 
indeed, but also if they praise it but slenderly. 

VINCENT. Forsooth, uncle, this is very truth. I have 
been ere this, not very long ago, where I saw so proper 
experience of this point, that I must stop your tale for so 
long, while I tell you mine. 

ANTONY. I pray you, cousin, tell on. 
VINCENT. When I was first in Almaine, uncle, it 
a notable et- na PP e d me to be somewhat favoured with a 
ample of flat- great man of the church, and a great state, 
one of the greatest in all that country there. 
And indeed whosoever might spend as much as he might 
in one thing and other, were a right great state in any 
country of Christendom. But glorious was he very far 
above all measure, and that was great pity, for it did 
harm, and made him abuse many great gifts that God 
had given him. Never was he satiate of hearing his own 
praise. So happed it one day, that he had in a great au 
dience, made an oration in a certain manner, wherein he 
liked himself so well, that at his dinner he sat him 
thought on thorns, till he might hear how they that sat 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 

with him at his board, would commend it. And when he 
had sitten musing a while, devising (as I thought after) 
on some pretty proper way, to bring it in withal ; at last, 
for lack of a better (lest he should have letted the matter 
too long) he brought it even bluntly forth, and asked us all 
that set at his board s end (for at his own mess in the 
midst there set but himself alone), how well we liked his 
oration that he had made that day. But in faith, uncle, 
when that problem was once proposed, till it was full 
answered, no man I ween eat one morsel of meat more : 
every man was fallen in so deep a study, for the finding 
of some exquisite praise. For he that should have 
brought out but a vulgar and common commendation, 
would have thought himself shamed for ever. 

Then said we our sentences by row as we sat, from the 
lowest unto the highest in good order, as it had been a 
great matter of the common weal in a right solemn 
council. When it came to my part (I will not say it for 
no boast, uncle), methought, by our Lady ! for my part 
I quit myself pretty well. And I liked myself the better, 
because methought my words (being but a stranger) went 
yet with some grace in the Almaine tongue, wherein, letting 
my Latin alone, me listed to shew my cunning. And I 
hoped to be liked the better, because I saw that he that 
sat next me, and should say his sentence after me, was an 
unlearned priest : for he could speak no Latin at all. But 
when he came forth for his part with my lord s commen 
dation, the wily fox had been so well accus- Batters accus 
tomed in court with the craft of flattery, that tomclj tncourt - 
he went beyond me too far. And then might I see by 
him, what excellency a right mean wit may come to in 
one craft, that in all his whole life studieth and busieth 
his wit about no more but that one. But I made after a 
solemn vow to myself, that if ever he and I were matched 
together at that board again, when we should fall to our 
flattery I would flatter in Latin, that he should not con 
tend with me no more. For though I could be content 
to be outrun of a horse, yet would I no more abide it to 
be outrun of an ass. But, uncle, here began now the 
game : he that sat highest, and was to speak the last, 



222 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

was a great beneficed man, and not a doctor only, but 
also somewhat learned indeed in the laws of the church. A 
world it was to see, how he marked every man s word that 
spake before him, and it seemed that every word, the 
more proper that it was the worse he liked it, for the 
cumbrance that he had to study out a better to pass it. 
The man even sweat with the labour, so that he was fain 
in the while now and then to wipe his face. Howbeit in 
conclusion, when it came to his course, we that had 
spoken before him, had so taken all up among us before, 
that we had not left him one wise word to speak after. 

ANTONY. Alas ! good man, among so many of you, 
some good fellow should have lent him one. 

VINCENT. It needed not, as hap was, uncle, for he 
found out such a shift, that in his flattering he passed us 
all the many. 

ANTONY. Why, what said he, cousin? 

VINCENT. By our Lady ! uncle, not one word. But 
like, as I trow, Plinius telleth,* that when Timanthes, the 
painter, in the table that he painted of the sacrifice and 
the death of Iphigenia, had in the making of the sorrow 
ful countenances of the other noblemen of Greece that 
beheld it, spent out so much of his craft and his cunning, 
that when he came to make the countenance of king 
Agamemnon her father, which he reserved for the last, 
lest if he had made his visage before, he must in some of 
the other after, either have made the visage less dolorous 
than he could, and thereby have forborne some part of 
his praise, or doing the uttermost of his craft, might have 
happed to make some other look more heavily for the 
pity of her pain than her own father, which had been yet 
a far greater fault in his painting, when he come, I say, 
to the making of his face therefore last of all, he could 
devise no manner of new heavy cheer and countenance 
for her father, but that he had made there already in 
some of the other a much more heavy before, and therefore 
to the intent that no man should see what manner coun 
tenance it was that her father had, the painter was fain to 
paint him, holding his face in his handkercher : the like 
Natural. Hist. lib. 35, cap. 10. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 223 

pageant in a manner played us here this good ancient 
honourable flatterer. For when he saw that he 
could find no word of praise that would pass assemJfen to 
all that had been spoken before already, the patnUnB 
wily fox would speak never a word, but as he were 
ravished unto heavenward with the wonder of the wisdom 
and eloquence that my lord s grace had uttered in that 
oration, he fet a long sigh with an oh ! from the bottom 
of his breast, and held up both his hands, and lifted up 
his head, and cast both his eyes up into the welkin, and 
wept. 

ANTONY. Forsooth, cousin, he played his part very 
properly. But was that great prelate s oration any thing 
praiseworthy ? For you can tell, I see, well. For you 
would not, I ween, play as Juvenal* merrily describeth 
the blind senator, one of the flatterers of Tiberius the 
emperor, that among the remnant so magnified the great 
fish that the emperor had sent for them to shew them, 
which this blind senator (Montanus, I trow, 
they called him), marvelled of as much as any 
that marvelled most : and many things he spake thereof, 
with some of his words directed thereunto, looking him 
self toward the left side, while the fish lay on his right 
side : you would not, I trow, cousin, have taken upon 
you to praise it so, but if you had heard it. 

VINCENT. I heard it, uncle, indeed, and to say the 
truth it was not to dispraise. Howbeit surely somewhat 
less praise might have served it, by more a great deal than 
the half. But this am I sure, had it been the worst that 
ever was made, the praise had not been the less of one 
here. For they that used to praise him to his face, never 
considered how much the thing deserved, but how great 
a laud and praise themself could give his good grace. 

ANTONY. Surely, cousin, as Terence saith,f such folks 
make men of fools even stark mad, and much cause have 
their lords to be right angry with them. 

VINCENT. God hath indeed, and is, I ween : but as 
for their lords, uncle, if they would after wax angry with 
them therefor, they should in my mind do them very great 
* Satyr. 4. -f In Eunucho. 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

wrong, when it is one of the things that they specially 
dHattews Kept k ee P tnem f r - For those that are of such 
anttfeftfortije vainglorious mind (be they lords, or be they 
meaner men) can be much better content to 
have their devices commended, then amended ; and re 
quire they their servants and their friend never so spe 
cially to tell them the very truth, yet shall he better 
please them if he speak them fair, than if he tell them 
truth. For they be in the case that Martial speaketh of, 
in an epigram unto a friend of his that required his judg 
ment, how he liked his verses, but he prayed him in any 
wise, to tell him even the very truth. To whom Martial * 
made answer in this wise : 

" The very truth of me thou dost require. 
The very truth is this, my friend dear, 
The very truth thou wouldst not gladly hear." 

And in good faith, uncle, the selfsame prelate that I told 
you my tale of, I dare be bold to swear it (I know it so 
surely) had on a time made of his own drawing a certain 
another treaty, that should serve for a league between that 
country and a great prince. In which treaty, 
himself thought that he had devised his articles so wisely, 
and indited them so well, that all the world would allow 
them. Whereupon longing sore to be praised, he called 
unto him a friend of his, a man well learned, and of good 
worship, and very well expert in those matters, as he that 
had been divers times ambassador for that country, and 
had made many such treaties himself. When he took 
him the treaty, and that he had read it, he asked him 
how he liked it, and said : But I pray you heartily tell 
me the very truth. And that he spake so heartily, that 
the tother had weened he would fain have heard the truth, 
and in trust thereof he told him a fault therein. At the 
hearing whereof, he swore in great anger, By the mass ! 
thou art a very fool. The other afterward told me, that 
he would never tell him truth again. 

ANTONY. Without question, cousin, I cannot greatly 
blame him: and thus themself make every man mock 
* Martialis, lib. 8, ad Gallicum. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 225 

them, flatter them, and deceive them : those, I say, that 
are of such vainglorious mind. For if they be content to 
bear the truth, let them then make much of those that tell 
them the truth, and withdraw their care from them that 
falsely flatter them, and they shall be more truly served 
than with twenty requests, praying men to tell them 
truth. King Ladislaus, our Lord assoil his 
soul, used much this manner among his ser- att : 
vants. When any of them praised any deed of his, or 
any condition in him, if he perceived that they said but 
the truth, he would let it pass by uncontrolled. But 
when he saw that they set to a gloss upon it for his 
praise of their own making beside, then would he shortly 
say unto them : " I pray thee, good fellow, when thou 
ssiyest grace at my board, never bring in Gloria Patri 
without a sicut erat ; that is to wit, even as it ^i ovta?atrt 
was, and none otherwise : and lift me not up umo a sicut 
with no lies, for I love it not." If men would ei 
use this way with them, that this noble king used, it 
would minish much of their false flattery. 

I can well allow, that men should commend (keeping 
them within the bounds of truth) such things & a tofui prats- 
as they see praiseworthy in other men, to give tnfl> 
them the greater courage to the increase thereof. For men 
keep still in that point one condition of children, that praise 
must prick them forth ; but better it were to do well, and 
look for none. Howbeit, they that cannot find in their 
heart to commend another man s good deed, shew themself 
either envious, or else of nature very cold and dull. But 
out of question, he that putteth his pleasure in the praise 
of the people hath but a fond phantasy. For if his finger 
do but ache of an hot blain, a great many men s mouths 
blowing out his praise, will scantly do him among them 
all half so much ease, as to have one little boy to blow 
upon his finger. 



226 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XT. 



The little commodity that men have of rooms, offices, and 
authority, if they desire them but for their worldly 
commodity. 

ET us now consider in likewise, what great 
worldly wealth ariseth unto men by great 
offices, rooms, and authority : to those 
worldly-disposed people, I say that desire 
them for no better purpose. For of them 
that desire them for better, we shall speak 
after anon. The great thing that they chief 
like all therein, is that they may bear a rule, 
command and control other men, and live uncommanded 
and uncontrolled themself. And yet this commodity took I 
so little heed of, that I never was ware it was so great, till a 
a men-stale gd friend of ours merrily told me once, that 
his wife once in a great anger taught it him. 
For when her husband had no list to grow greatly upward 
in the world, nor neither would labour for office of 
authority, and over that forsook a right worshipful room 
when it was offered him, she fell in hand with him (he told 
me) and all to rated him, and asked him ; " What will you 
do, that you list not to put forth yourself, as other folks 
do? Will you sit still by the fire, and make goslings 
in the ashes with a stick, as children do? Would God 
I were a man, and look what I would do ! " " Why, 
wife," quoth her husband, " what would you do ? " 
"What? By God! go forward with the best of them. 
For, as my mother was wont to say (God have mercy on 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 227 

her soul !) it is ever better to rule, than to be ruled. And 
therefore by God ! I would not, I warrant you, &mtw, loot 
be so foolish to be ruled where I might rule." rule - 
" By my troth, wife," quoth her husband, " in this, I 
dare say, you say truth. For I never found you willing 
to be ruled yet." 

VINCENT. Well, uncle, I wot where you be now well 
enough. She is indeed a stout master woman: 
and in good faith for aught that I can see, tunccB tut 
even that same womanish mind of hers is the toomanis ^ 
greatest commodity that men reckon upon, in rooms and 
offices of authority. 

ANTONY. By my troth and inethinketh very few there 
are of them that attain any great commodity therein. 
For first there is in every kingdom but one that can have 
an office of such authority, that no man may command 
him or control him. No officer can there crrommanuer s 
stand in that case, but the king himself, which common wcs. 
only uncontrolled or uncommanded, may control and 
command all. Now of all the remnant, each is under 
him : and yet beside him almost every one is under more 
commanders and comptrollers too, than one. And some 
man that is in a great office, commandeth fewer things 
and less labour to many men that are under him, than 
some one, that is over him, commandeth him alone. 

VINCENT. Yet it doth them good, uncle, that men 
must make courtesy to them, and salute them with reve 
rence, and stand barehead before him, or to some of them 
kneel peradventure too. 

ANTONY. Well, cousin, in some part they do but play 
at gleek, receive reverence, and to their cost pay honour 
again therefor. For except, as 1 said, only a king, 
the greatest in authority under him, receiveth not so 
much reverence of no man, as according to reason himself 
doth honour to him. Nor twenty men s courtesies do 
him not so much pleasure as his own once kneeling doth 
him pain, if his knee hap to be sore. And 1 wist once a 
great officer of the king s say (and in good faith, I ween, 
he said but as he thought) that twenty men standing 
barehead before him, kept not his head half so warm, as to 



228 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

keep on his own cap. Nor he never took so much ease 
with their being barehead before him, as he caught once 
grief with a cough that came upon him, by standing bare- 
head long before the king. 

But let it be, that these commodities be somewhat such 
as they be, yet then consider whether that any incommo- 
OTojnmanUEts dities be so joined therewith, that a man were 
tncommoufttes. almost as good lack both, as have both. 
Goeth all thing evermore as every one of them would have 
it ? That were as hard as to please all the people at once 
with one weather, while in one house the husband would 
have fair weather for his corn, and his wife would have 
rain for her leeks. So while they that are in authority be 
not all evermore of one mind, but sometime variance 
among them, either for the respect of profit, or for con 
tention of rule, or for maintenance of matters, sundry 
parts for their sundry friends : it cannot be that both the 
parts can have their own mind, nor often are they con 
tent which see their conclusion quail, but ten times they 
take the missing of their mind more displeasantly than 
other poor men do. And this goeth not only to men of 
mean authority, but unto the very greatest. The princes 
themself cannot have, you wot well, all their will. For 
how were it possible, while each of them almost would, if 
he might, be lord over the remnant? Then many men 
under their princes in authority are in the case, that privy 
$rtbp mauce tn malice and envy many bear them in heart, that 
courts. falsely speak them fair, and praise them with 

their mouths, which when there happeth any great fall 
unto them, bawl, and bark, and bite upon them like dogs. 

Finally, the cost and charge, the danger and peril of 

war, wherein their part is more than a poor man s is, sith 

the matter more dependeth upon them, and many a poor 

ploughman may sit still by the fire, while they must rise 

and walk. And sometime their authority falleth by 

change of their master s mind : and of that see we daily 

in one place or other ensamples such, and so many, that 

princes- set- ^ ie P araD ^ e f the philosopher can lack no 

uants te tut testimony, which likened the servants of ^reat 

counters. J . , & , 

princes unto the counters with which men do 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 229 

cast a count. For like as the counter that standeth some 
time for a farthing, is suddenly set up and standeth for a 
thousand pound, arid after as soon set down, and eftsoon 
beneath to stand for a farthing again : so fareth it, lo ! 
sometime with those that seek the way to rise and grow 
up in authority, by the favour of great princes, m ^ is up 
that as they rise up high, so fall down again as aiottnotn? 
low. 

Howbeit, though a man escape all such adventures, and 
abide in great authority till he die, yet then at the least 
wise every man must leave at the last : and that which 
we call at last, hath no very long time to it. Let a man 
reckon his years that are passed of his age, ere ever he 
can get up aloft ; and let him when he hath it a Sttre recfeon , 
first in his fist, reckon how long he shall be in s- 
like to live after, and I ween, that then the most part shall 
have little cause to rejoice, they shall see the time likely 
to be so short that their honour and authority by na 
ture shall endure, beside the manifold chances whereby 
they may lose it more soon. And then when they see 
that they must needs leave it, the thing which they did 
much more set their heart upon, than ever they had rea 
sonable cause : what sorrow they take therefor, that shall 
I not need to tell you. 

And thus itseemeth unto me, cousin, in good faith, that 
sith in the having the profit is not great, and the displea 
sures neither small nor few, and of the losing so many 
sundry chances, and that by no mean a man can keep it 
long, and that to part therefrom is such a painful grief: I 
can see no very great cause, for which, as an high worldly 
commodity, men should greatly desire it. 



230 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XII. 



That these outward goods desired but for worldly wealth, 
be not only little good for the body, but are also much 
harm for the soul. 

ND thus far have we considered hitherto, 
in these outward goods that are called the 
gifts of fortune, no farther but the slender 
commodity that worldly-minded men have 
by them. But now if we consider farther 
what harm to the soul they take by them 
that desire them but only for the wretched wealth of this 
world : then shall we well perceive, how far more happy 
is he that well loseth them, than he that evil findeth them. 

These things though they be such, as are of their own 
nature indifferent, that is to wit, of themself, things 
neither good nor bad, but are matter that may serve to 
the one or the other, after as men will use them : yet 
need we little to doubt it, but that they that desire them 
but for their worldly pleasure, and for no farther godly 
purpose, the devil shall soon turn them from things indif 
ferent unto them, and make them things very nought. For 
n g itrtfffe . though that they be indifferent of their nature, 
rent tc not so yet cannot the use of them lightly stand indif 
ferent, but determinately must either be good 
or bad. And therefore he that desireth them but for 
worldly pleasure, desireth them not for any good. And 
for better purpose than he desireth them, to better use is 
he not likely to put them : and therefore not unto good, 
but consequently to naught. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 231 

As for ensample, first consider it in riches : he that 
longeth for them, as for things of temporal commodity, 
and not for any godly purpose, what good they shall do 
him St. Paul declareth, where he writeth unto Timothy : 
Qui volant divites fieri, incidunt in tentationem, et in la- 
queum diaboli, et desideria multa inutilia et nociva, qu(B 
mergunt homines in interitum et perditionem, They that 
long to be rich, fall into temptation, and into the grin of the 
devil, and into many desires unprofitable and noyous, which 
drown men into death and perdition.* And the Holy 
Scripture saith also in the book of the Proverbs : Qui 
congregat thesauros, impingetur ad laqueos mortis, He 
that gathereth treasure, shall be shoved into the grins of 
death.f So that whereas by the mouth of St. Paul God 
saith, that they shall fall into the devil s grin, he saith in 
the tother place, that they shall be pushed and shoved in 
by violence. And of truth, while a man desireth riches 
not for any good godly purpose, but for only worldly 
wealth, it must needs be, that he shall have little con 
science in the getting, but by all evil ways that he can 
invent, shall labour to get them. And then shall he 
either niggardly heap them up together, which is (you 
wot well) damnable, or wastefully misspend them about 
worldly pomp, pride, and gluttony, with occasion of many 
sins more, and that is yet much more damnable. 

As for fame and glory desired but for worldly pleasure, 
doth unto the soul inestimable harm. For that setteth 
men s hearts upon high devices and desires of such things 
as are imm oderate and outrageous, and by the help of 
false flatteries puff up a man in pride, and make a brittle 
man lately made of earth, and that shall again shortly be 
laid full low in earth, and there lie and rot, 
and turn again into earth, take himself in the carttji/poas 
meantime for a god here upon earth, and ween noto 
to win himself to be lord of all the earth. This maketh 
battles between these great princes, and with cfjerootof 
much trouble to much people and great effu- toars - 
sion of blood, one king to look to reign in five realms, that 
cannot well rule one. For how many hath now this great 
* 1 Tim. vi. t Cap. xxi. 



232 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

Turk, and yet aspireth to more? And those that he hath, 
he ordereth evil, and yet himself worse. 

These offices and rooms of authority, if men desire them 

only for their worldly phantasies, who can look that ever 

they shall occupy them well, but abuse their authority, 

and do thereby great hurt? For then shall they fall 

from indifferency, and maintain false matters of their 

searing ana friends, bear up their servants and such as 

ioistennu. depend upon them, with bearing down of other 

innocent folk, not so able to do hurt, as easy to take 

harm. 

Then the laws that are made aainst male 



factors shall they make as an old philosopher 
said, to be much like unto cobwebs, in which the little 
gnats and flies stick still and hang fast, but the great 
bumble bees break them and fly quite through. And 
then the laws that are made as a buckler in the defence 
of innocents, those shall they make serve for a sword to 
cut and sore wound them with, and therewith wound they 
their own souls sorer. And thus you see, cousin, that of 
all these outward goods, which men call the goods of for 
tune, there is never one that unto them which long there 
for, not for any godly purpose but only for their worldly 
wealth, hath any great commodity to the body, and yet 
are they all in such case (besides that) very deadly destruc 
tion unto the soul. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 233 




CHAPTER XIII. 



Whether men desire these outward goods for their only 
worldly wealth, or for any good virtuous purpose, this 
persecution of the Turk against the faith will declare, 
and the comfort that both twain may take in the losing 
them thus. 



INCENT. VERILY, good uncle, tin s thing 
is so plainly true, that no man may with 
any good reason deny it, and I ween, 
uncle, also, that there will be no man say 
nay. For I see no man that will for very 
shame confess, that he desireth riches, 
honour, and renown, offices and rooms of authority, for 
his own worldly pleasure. For every man would fain seem 
as holy as a horse. And therefore will every 
man say, and would it were so believed too, tDomosecm 
that he desireth these things (though for his * ols> 
worldly wealth a little so) yet principally to merit thereby 
through doing some good therewith. 

ANTONY. This is, cousin, very sure so, that so doth 
every man say. But first he that in the desire thereof 
hath his respect therein unto his worldly wealth (as 
you say) but a little so, so much (as himself 
weeneth were but a little) may soon prove a Vers tm 
great deal too much. And many men will say so too, 
that have indeed their principal respect unto their worldly 
commodity, and unto godward therein little or nothing 
at all. And yet they pretend the contrary, and that unto 
their own harm, Quia Deus non irridetur y God cannot 



234 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

be mocked.* And some peradventure know not well 
their own affection themself, but there lieth more imper 
fection secrete in their affection than themself are well 
ware of, which only God beholdeth. And therefore saith 
the prophet unto God, Imperfectum meum viderunt oculi 
tui, Mine imperfection have thine eyes beholden. *f* For 
which the prophet prayeth, Ab occultis meis munda me, 
Domine, From my hid sins cleanse thou me, good 
Lord.J 

But now, cousin, this tribulation of the Turk, if he so 
persecute us for the faith, that those that will forsake their 
faith shall keep their goods, and those shall lose their 
goods that will not leave their faith : this manner of per- 
$ crsfcution is secution, lo, shall like a touchstone try them, 
a touchstone. and g | iew ^ f e jg ne( j f rom t h e true-minded, 

and teach also them, that ween they mean better than 
they do indeed, better to discern themself. For some 
there are that ween they mean well, while they frame 
themself a conscience, and ever keep still a great heap of 
superfluous substance by them, thinking ever still that 
they will bethink themself upon some good deed, whereon 
they will well bestow it once, or else their executors 
shall. But now if they lie not unto themself, but keep 
their goods for any good purpose to the pleasure of God 
indeed, then shall they in this persecution for the plea 
sure of God, in the keeping of his faith, be glad to depart 
from them. 

And therefore as for all those things, the loss, I mean, 
of all those outward things that men call the gifts of for 
tune, this is methinketh in this Turk s persecution for the 
faith, consolation great and sufficient, that sith every 
man that hath them, either setteth by them for the world 
or for God : he that setteth by them for the world hath 
(as I have shewed you) little profit by them to the body, 
and great harm unto the soul ; and therefore may well, 
srote tfjiscom- if ne be wise, reckon that he winneth by the 
fort loss, although he lost them but by some com 

mon chance ; and much more happy then, while he loseth 
them by such a meritorious mean. 

* Gal, vi. f Psal. cxxxviii. J Ibidem, xviii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 235 

And on the tother side, he that keepeth them for some 
good purpose, intending to bestow them for the pleasure 
of God, the loss of them in this Turk s persecution for 
keeping of the faith, can be no manner grief unto him ; 
sith that by his so parting from them, he bestoweth them 
in such wise unto God s pleasure, that at that time when 
he loseth them, by no way could he bestow them unto 
his high pleasure better. For though it had been peradven- 
ture better to have bestowed them well before, yet sith he 
kept them for some good purpose, he would not have left 
them unbestowed if he had forknown the chance. But 
being now prevented so by persecution, that he cannot 
bestow them in that other good way that he would, yet 
while he parteth from them because he will not part from 
the faith, though the devil s escheator vio- ^ BeMl>g ?gj 
lently take them from him, yet willingly he creators. 
giveth them to God. 



236 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XIV. 



Another cause, for which any man should be content to 
forego his goods in the Turk s said persecution. 

INCENT. I CANNOT in good faith, uncle, 
say nay to none of this. Arid indeed unto 
them that by the Turk s overrunning of the 
country were happed to be spoiled and 
robbed, and all their substance, moveable 
and unmoveable, bereft and lost already, 
their persons only fled and safe : I think that these con 
siderations (considered therewith that, as you lately said, 
their sorrow could not amend their chance) might unto 
them be good occasion of comfort, and cause them, as 
you said, to make a virtue of necessity. But in the case, 
uncle, that we now speak of, that is to wit, where they 
have yet their substance untouched in their own hands, 
and that the keeping or the losing shall hang both in 
their own hands by the Turk s offer upon the retaining or 
renouncing of the Christian faith : here, uncle, I find it, 
as you said, that this temptation is most sore and most 
^etosucfi perilous. For I fear me that we shall find 
fountt, ti)E more few (of such as have much to lose) that shall 
find in their hearts so suddenly to forsake their 
goods with all those other things afore rehearsed, where 
upon all their worldly wealth dependeth. 

ANTONY. That fear I much, cousin, too. But thereby 
shall it well, as I said, appear, that seemed they never so 
good and virtuous before, and flattered they themself 
with never so gay a gloss of good and gracious purpose 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 237 

that they kept their goods for, yet were their hearts 
inwardly in the deep sight of God, not sound and sure, 
such as they should be, and as peradventure <8 & s stg&t 
some had themself weened they had been, pttimp 
but like a purse-ring of Paris, hollow, light, and counter 
feit indeed. And yet they being such, this would I fain 
ask one of them, and I pray you, cousin, take you his 
person upon you, and in this case answer for him; what 
letteth, would I ask you (for we will take no small man 
for a sample in this part, nor him that had little to lose, 
for such one were methink so far from all fame, that 
would cast away God for a little, that he were $ et $ oto mani , 
not worthy to talk with), what letteth I say sucti are note, 
therefore your lordship, that you be not gladly content, 
without any deliberation at all, in this kind of persecu 
tion, rather than to leave your faith, to let go all that 
ever you have at once ? 

VINCENT. Sith you put it, uncle, unto me : to make 
the matter more plain, that I should play that great 
man s part that is so wealthy, and hath so much to lose; 
albeit I cannot be very sure of another man s mind, nor 
what another man would say, yet as far as my own mind 
can conjecture, I shall answer in his person what I ween 
would be his let. And therefore to your question I answer, 
that there letteth me the thing that yourself may lightly 
guess, the losing of the manifold commodities which 1 now 
have : riches and substance, lands and great possessions of 
inheritance, with great rule and authority here in my 
country. All which things the great Turk granteth me to 
keep still in peace, and have them enhanced too, so that 
I will forsake the faith of Christ. Yea, I may say to you, 
I have a motion secretly made me farther, to {t 

keep all this yet better cheap, that is to wit, ttccvse) also 
not be compelled utterly to forsake Christ, nor n 
all the whole Christian faith, but only some such parts 
thereof, as may not stand with Mahomet s law, and only 

f ranting Mahomet for a true prophet, and serving the 
urk truly in his wars against all Christian kings, I shall 
not be letted to praise Christ also, and to call him a good 
man, and worship him and serve him too. 



238 A DIALOGUE OP COMFORT 

ANTONY. Nay, nay, ray lord, Christ hath not so great 
need of your lordship, as rather than to lose your service, 

he would fall at such covenants with you, to 
oU s sermce -, -.11 i -i 

Boetijnotat take your service at halves, to serve him and 

his enemy both. He hath given you plain 
warning already by St. Paul, that he will have in your 
service no parting fellow. Quce societas lucis ad tene- 
bras? Quce autem conventio Christi ad Belial? What 
fellowship is there between light and darkness, between 
Christ and Belial ? * And he hath also plainly shewed 
you himself by his own mouth : Nemo potest duobus 
dominis servire ; No man may serve two lords at once.f 
He will have you believe all that he telleth you, and do 
all that he biddeth you, and forbear all that he forbiddeth 
you, without any manner exception. Break one of his 
commandments, and break all. Forsake one point of his 
faith, and forsake all, as for any thank you get for the 
remnant. And therefore if you devise as it were inden- 
inotntures tures between God and you, what thing you 
toitD ffion. w in do for him, and what thing you will not 
do, as though he should hold him content with such 
service of yours, as yourself list to appoint him : if you 
make, I say, such indentures, you shall seal both the 
parts yourself, and you get thereto none agreement of 
him. And this I say though the Turk would make such 
an appointment with you as you speak of, and would 
when he had made it, keep it, whereas he would not, I 
warrant you, leave you so, when he had brought you so 
an& fia&e ifjej? f ar forth, but would little and little after ere he 
not Done so? j e ft vou> ma k e you jeny Christ altogether, and 
take Mahomet in his stead. And so doth he in the 
beginning, when he will not have you believe him to be 
God. For surely if he were not God, he were no good 
man neither, while he plainly said he was God. But 
though he would never go so far forth with you, yet Christ 
will (as I said) not take your service to halves, but will 
that you should love him with all your whole heart. And 
because that while he was living here fifteen hundred 
year ago, he foresaw this rnind of yours that you have 
* 2 Cor. vi. f Luc. vi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 239 

now, with which you would fain serve him in some such 
fashion, as you might keep your worldly substance still, 
and rather forsake his service, than put all your substance 
from you : he telleth you plain fifteen hundred year ago his 
own mouth, that he will no such service of you, saying, 
Nonpotestis Deo servire, et Mammonce, You cannot serve 
both God and your riches together.* 

And therefore this thing stablished for a plain conclu 
sion, which you must needs grant, if you have faith, (and 
if you be gone from that ground of faith already then is all 
your disputation, you wot well, at an end. For whereto 
should you then rather lose your goods than forsake your 
faith, if you have lost your faith and let it go already ?) this 
point, I say therefore, put first for a ground between us 
both twain agreed, that you have yet the faith still, and 
intend to keep it alway still in your heart, and are but in 
doubt, whether you will lose all your worldly substance 
rather than forsake your faith in your only word : now 
shall I reply to the point of your answer, wherein you tell 
me the loathness of the loss, and the comfort of the 
keeping letteth you to forego them, and moveth you 
rather to forsake your faith. I let pass all that I have 
spoken of the small commodity of them unto your body, 
and of the great harm that the having of them doth to 
your soul. And sith the promise of the Turk, made unto 
you for the keeping of them, is the thing that moveth you 
and raaketh you thus to doubt, I ask you first, whereby 
you wot that when you have done all that he will have 
you do against Christ to the harm of your soul, whereby 
wot you, 1 say, that he will keep you his promise in these 
things that he promiseth you, concerning the retaining of 
your well-beloved worldly wealth for the pleasure of your 
body? 

VINCENT. What surety can a man have of such a great 
prince but his promise, which for his own honour it 
cannot become him to break ? 

ANTONY. I have known him, and his father before 
him too, break more promises than five, as 
great as this is that he should here make with 
* Matth. vi. 



240 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

you. Who shall come and cast it in his teeth, and tell 
him it is a shame for him to be so fickle and so false of 
his promise ? And then what careth he for those words, 
that he wotteth well he shall never hear? Not very 
much, although they were told him to. If you might 
come after and complain your grief unto his own person 
yourself, you should find him as shamefast as a friend of 
mine (a merchant) found once the Soudan of Syria, to 
whom (being certain years about his merchandise in that 
faorc suco country) he gave a great sum of money for a 
ou&ans note, certain office meet for him there for the while, 
which he scant had granted him and put in his hand, but 
that ere ever it were ought worth unto him the Soudan 
suddenly sold it to another of his own sect, and put our 
Hungarian out. Then came he to him, and humbly put 
him in remembrance of his grant passed his own mouth 
and signed with his own hand. Whereunto the Soudan 
answered him with a grim countenance : " I will thou wit 
it, losel, that neither my mouth nor my hand shall be 
master over me, to bind all my body at their pleasure, but 
I will so be lord and master over them both, that what 
soever the one say, or the other wit, I will be at mine own 

. liberty to do what me list myself, and ask 
Suet) lorOs ana J , , , , A , Al J f 

masters lie them both no leave. And therefore go get 

thee hence out of my countries, knave." Ween 
you now, my lord, that Soudan and this Turk, being both 
of one false sect, you may not find them both like false of 
their promise? 

VINCENT. That must I needs jeopard, for other surety 
can there none be had. 

ANTONY. An unwise jeoparding, to put 

an untotsc \to- your soul in peril of damnation for the keep- 
parUing to trust r n , r ,., , 1-^1 

Kurfctsij pro= ing or your bodily pleasures, and yet without 

surety thereof must jeopard them too. But 
yet go a little farther, lo ; suppose me that ye might be 
very sure, that the Turk would break no promise with 
you : are you then sure enough to retain all your substance 
still ? 

VINCENT. Yea, then. 

ANTONY. What if a man should ask you, how long? 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 241 

VINCENT. How long ? As long as I live. 

ANTONY. Well, let it be so then. But yet as far as 
I can see, though the great Turk favour you never so 
much, and let you keep your goods as long as ever you 
live, yet if it hap, that you be at this day fifty year old, 
all the favour that he can shew you cannot make you one 
day younger to-morrow, but every day shall you wax 
older than other. And then within a while must you, for 
all his favour, lose all. 

VINCENT. Well, a man would be dad for _ 
11 ,. ,1 i i i i t i? i ** fl^at reason 

all that, to be sure not to lack while he liveth. tnttti most men 

ANTONY. Well then, if the great Turk give noto - 
you your good, can there then in all your life no other 
take them from you again ? 

VINCENT. Verily, I suppose, no. 

ANTONY. May he not lose this country again unto 
Christian men, and you with the taking of this way fall 
in the same peril then, that you would now eschew ? 

VINCENT. Forsooth, I think, that if he get it once, he 
will never after lose it again in our days. 

ANTONY. Yes, by God s grace : but yet if he lose it 
after your days, there goeth your children s inheritance 
away again. But be it now that he could never lose it, ; 
could none take your substance from you then ? 

VINCENT. No, in good faith, none. 

ANTONY. No ? None at all ? Not God ? 

VINCENT. God ? What, yes, pardie : who doubteth of 
that? 

ANTONY. Who? Marry he that doubteth whether 
there be any God, or no. And that there lacketh not 
some such the prophet testifieth, where he saith : Dixit 
insipiens in corde suo, non est Deus, The fool hath said 
in his heart, there is no God.* With the mouth the 
most foolish will forbear to say it unto other folk, but in 
the heart they let not to say it softly to themself. And 
I fear me there be many more such fools than mms fte suc j, 
every man would ween there were, and would foo{s - 
not let to say it openly too, if they forbore it not more for 
dread of shame of men, than for any fear of God. 

* Psal. xiii. et xxxii. 



242 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

But now those that are so frantic foolish as to ween 
there were no God, and yet in their words confess him 
(though that as Paul saith,* in their deeds they deny 
him) we shall let them pass, till it please God to shew 
himself unto them, either inwardly betime, by his merci- 
oosfietoEtf) ^ g race > or e ^ se outwardly (but over late for 
imnseifttoo them) by this terrible judgment. But unto 
you, my lord, sith you believe and confess (like 
as a wise man should) that though the Turk keep you 
promise in letting you keep your substance, because you 
do him pleasure in the forsaking of your faith ; yet God 
(whose faith you forsake, and therein do him displeasure) 
may so take them from you, that the great Turk with all 
the power he hath, is not able to keep you : then why 
will you be so unwise, with the loss of your soul to please 
the great Turk for your goods, while you wot well, that 
God, whom you displease therewith, may take them from 
you too ? 

Beside this, sith you believe there is a God, you cannot 
but believe therewith, that the great Turk cannot take 
your good from you without his will or sufferance, no more 
than the devil could from Job. And think you then, that 
if he will suffer the Turk take away your good, albeit that 
by the keeping and confessing of his faith you please him ; 
he will when you displease him by forsaking his faith, 
suffer you of those goods that you get or keep, thereby to 
rejoice and enjoy any benefit? 

VINCENT. God is gracious, and though that men offend 
him, yet he suffereth them many times to live in pros 
perity long after. 

ANTONY. Long after? Nay by my troth, my lord, 
that doth he no man. For how can that be, that he 
should suffer you live in prosperity long after, when your 
whole life is but short in all together, and either almost 
half thereof, or more than half (you think yourself, t 
dare say), spent out already before? Can you burn 
Cfits iKe ts Kite ou t half a short candle, and then have a long 
a siiott canme. one left of the remn ant ? There cannot in this 
world be a worse mind, than a man to delight and take 

* Titumi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 243 

comfort in any commodity that he taketh by sinful mean. 
For it is very straight way toward the taking of boldness 
and courage in sin, and finally to fall into infidelity, and 
think that God careth not nor regardeth not what thing 
men do here, nor what mind we be of. But, unto such 
minded folk speaketh Holy Scripture in this wise ; Noli 
dicere, peccavi, et nihil mihi accidit tristl : patiens enim 
redditor est Dominm, Say not, I have sinned, and yet 
hath happed me no harm : for God suffereth before he 
strike.* But, as St. Austin saith, the longer that he tar- 
rieth ere he strike, the sorer is the stroke when he 
striketh. And therefore if ye will well do, reckon your 
self very sure, that when you deadly displease God for the 
getting or the keeping of your good, God shall not suffer 
those goods to do you good, but either shall he take them 
shortly from you, or suffer you to keep them for a little 
while to your more harm : and after shall he, when you 
east look therefor, take you away from them. And then 
what an heap of heaviness will there enter into & $eap of 
your heart, when you shall see that you shall so i)?abmess. 
suddenly go from your goods and leave them here in the 
earth in one place, and that your body shall be put in the 
earth in another place : and (which then shall be most 
heaviness of all) when you shall fear (and not without 
great cause) that your soul shall first forthwith, and after 
that (at the final judgment) your body too, be driven 
down deep toward the centre of the earth into the fiery 
pit and dungeon of the devil of hell, there to tarry in tor 
ment world without end ? What goods of this world can 
any man imagine, whereof the pleasure and commodity 
could be such in a thousand year, as were able to recom 
pense that intolerable pain that there is to be suffered in 
one year, yea in one day or in one hour either ? And then 
what a madness is it, for the poor pleasure of your worldly 
goods of so few years, to cast yourself both body and 
soul into the everlasting fire of hell, whereof is not 
minished the mountenance of a moment by the lying there 
the space of an hundred thousand years ! And therefore 
our Saviour in few words concluded and confuted all 
* Eccles. v. 
B 2 



244 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

these follies of them, that for the short use of this worldly 
substance forsake him and his faith, and sell their souls 
unto the devil for ever, where he saith : Quid prodest 
homini, si universum mundum lucretur, animce vero suce 
detrimentum patiatur? What availeth it a man, if he 
won all the whole world, and lost his soul ? * This were, 
methinketh, cause and occasion enough to him that had 
never so much part of this world in his hand, to be 
content rather to lose it all, than for the retaining or 
increasing of his worldly goods, to lose and destroy his 
soul? 

VINCENT. This is, good uncle, in good faith very true, 
and what other thing any of them (that would not for this 
be content) have for to allege in reason for the defence of 
their folly, that can I not imagine, nor list not in this 
matter to play their part no longer. But I pray God 
give me the grace to play the contrary part indeed, and 
that I never for any goods or substance of this wretched 
world, forsake my faith toward God, neither in heart, nor 
tongue, as I trust in his great goodness I never shall. 

* Matth. xvi., Marc, viii., Luc. ix. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 245 




CHAPTER XV. 

This kind of Tribulation trieth what mind men have to 
their goods, which they that are wise will at the fame 
thereof see well and wisely laid up safe before. 

NTONY. METHINKETH, cousin, that this 
persecution shall not only, as I said before, 
try men s hearts when it cometh, and 
make them know their own affections, 
whether they have a corrupt, greedy, co 
vetous mind, or not : but also the very 
fame and expectation thereof may teach them this lesson, 
ere ever the thing fall upon them itself, to their no little 
fruit, if they have the wit and the grace to take it in time 
while they may. For now may they find sure places to 
lay their treasures in, so that all the Turk s army shall 
never find it out. 

VINCENT. Marry, uncle, that way they will, I warrant 
you, not forget, as near as their wits will serve them. 
But yet have I known some, that have ere this thought that 
they had hid their money safe and sure enough, digging 
full deep in the ground, and have missed it yet when 
they came again, and have found it digged out, and car 
ried away to their hands. 

ANTONY. Nay, from their hands, I ween you would 
say. And it was no marvel. For some such have I 
known too, but they have hid their goods foolishly, in 
such places as they were well warned before that they 
should not. And that were they warned by him, that 
they well knew for such one, as wist well enough what 
would come thereon. 

VINCENT. Then were they more than mad. But did 



246 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

he tell them too, where they should have hid it to have it 
sure? 

ANTONY. Yea, by St. Mary, did he. For else had he 
told them but half a tale. But he told them a whole tale, 
bidding them, that they should in no wise hide their trea 
sure in the ground. And he shewed them a good cause : 
for there thieves use to dig it out, and steal it away. 

VINCENT. Why, where should they hide it then, said 
he ? For thieves may hap to find it out in any place. 

ANTONY. Forsooth he counselled them to hide their 
treasure in heaven, and there lay it up, for there it shall 
nip true men lie safe. For thither he said there can no thief 
come to ijeanen. come) till he have left his theft and be waxen 
a true man first. And he that gave this counsel, wist 
what he said well enough. For it was our Saviour him 
self, which in the Gospel of St. Matthew saith : Nollte 
thesaurare vobis thesauros in terra y ubi cerugo et tinea 
demolitur, et ubi fares effodiunt etfurantur. Thesaurizate 
autem vobis thesauros in ccelo, ubi neque aerugo, neque tinea 
demolitur, et ubi fures non effodiunt nee furantur. Ubi 
enim est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum: Hoard not up 
for you treasures in earth, where the rust and the moth 
fret it out, and where the thieves dig it out, and steal it 
away. But hoard up your treasures in heaven, where 
neither the rust nor the moth fret them out, and where 
thieves dig them not out, nor steal them away. For 
where as is thy treasure, there is thy heart too.* If we 
would well consider these words of our Saviour Christ, we 
should, as methink, need no more counsel at all, nor no 
more comfort neither, concerning the loss of our temporal 
substance in this Turk s persecution for the faith. For 
here our Lord in these words teacheth us where we may 
lay up our substance safe, before the persecution come. 

sa safe anu sure ^ we P u * ^ in ^ ^ e P oor men s bosoms, there 
place foe ttea shall it lie safe. For who would go search a 
beggar s bag for money ? If we deliver it to 
the poor for Christ s sake, we deliver it unto Christ him 
self. And then what persecutor can there be so strong, 
as to take it out of his hand ? 

* Matth. vi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 247 

VINCENT. These things are, uncle, undoubtedly so 
true, that no man may with words wrestle ^^ of Uft 
therewith. But yet ever there hangeth in a a sou tempta- 
man s heart a loathness to lack a living. 

ANTONY. There doth indeed, in theirs, that either 
never or but seldom hear any good counsel there against. 
And when they hear it, hearken it but as they would an 
idle tale, rather for a pastime, or for the manner sake, 
than for any substantial intent or purpose to follow good 
advertisement, and take any fruit thereby. But verily, if 
we would not only lay our ear, but also our 
heart thereto, and consider that the saying of ingot oo s 
our Saviour Christ is not a poet s fable, nor toortr 
an harper s song, but the very holy word of Almighty God 
himself, we would, and well we might, be full sore ashamed 
in ourself, and full sorry too, when we felt in our affection 
those words to have in our hearts no more strength and 
weight, but that we remain still of the same dull mind, as 
we did before we heard them. 

This manner of ours, in whose breasts the great good 
counsel of God no better settleth nor taketh no better 
root, may well declare us that the thorns, and the briers, 
and the brambles of our worldly substance grow so thick, 
and spring up so high in the ground of our hearts, that 
they strangle, as the Gospel saith,* the word of God that 
was sown therein. And therefore is God very good Lord 
unto us, when he causeth like a good husbandman his 
folk to come afield (for the persecutors be his folk to this 

purpose) and with their hooks and their stock- ^ 

, , floto fs Soft s 

ing-irons grub up these wicked weeds and toee&tng ana 

bushes of our earthly substance, and carry flrub()in8 ttmr - 
them quite away from us, that the word of God sown in 
our hearts may have room therein, and a glade round 
about for the warm sun of grace to come to it and make 
it grow. For surely these words of our Saviour shall we 
find full true : Ubi thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum, 
Where as thy treasure is, there is also thy heart.-)- If we 
lay up our treasure in earth, in earth shall be our hearts. 
If we send our treasure into heaven, in heaven shall we 
* Matth.xiii. t Ibidem vi. 



248 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

(greatest com- have our hearts. And surely the greatest 
fort. comfort that any may have in this tribulation, 

is to have his heart in heaven. If thy heart were indeed 
out of this world and in heaven, all the kinds of torment 
that all this world could devise, could put thee to no pain 
here. Let us then send our hearts hence thither, in such 
manner as we may (by sending thither our worldly sub 
stance) please God. And let us never doubt it but we 
shall (that once done) find our hearts so conversant in 
heaven, with the glad consideration of our following the 
gracious counsel of Christ, that the comfort of his Holy 
Spirit (inspired us therefor) shall mitigate, minish, assuage, 
and in a manner quench the great furious fervour of the 
pain that we shall hap to have by his loving sufferance for 
our farther merit in our tribulation. 

a goou stmiii- And therefore, like as if we saw that we should 
tune, anD true b e within a while driven out of this land, and 
fain to flee into another, we would ween that 
man were mad, which would not be content to forbear his 
goods here for the while, and send them into that land 
before him, where he should live all the remnant of his 
life : so may we verily think yet ourself much more mad 
(seeing that we be sure it cannot be long ere we shall be 
sent spite of our teeth out of this world) if the fear of a 
little lack, or the love to see our goods here about us, and 
the loathness to part from them for this little while 
which we may keep them here, shall be able to let us 
from that sure sending them before us into the tother 
world, in which we may be sure to live wealthily with 
them, if we send them thither, or else shortly leave them 
here behind us, and then stand in great jeopardy, there to 
live wretches for ever. 

VINCENT. In good faith, uncle, methink that concern 
ing the loss of these outward things, these considerations 
are so sufficient comforts, that for mine own part, save 
only grace well to remember them, I would methink 
desire no more. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 249 




CHAPTER XVI. 



Another Comfort and Courage against the loss of worldly 
Substance. 



NTONY. MUCH less than this may serve, 
cousin, with calling and trusting upon 
God s help, without which, much more 
than this cannot serve. But the fervour 
of the Christian faith so sore fainteth now 
adays, and decayeth, coming from hot 
unto lukewarm, and from lukewarm almost to jp a(t {, sore fte , 
key-cold, that men must now be fain as at a C3 ^ ElJ - 
fire that is almost out, to lay many dry sticks thereto, 
and use much blowing thereat. But else would I ween, 
by my troth, that unto a warm faithful man one thing 
alone, whereof we spake yet not a word, were comfort 
enough in this kind of persecution against the loss of all 
his goods. 

VINCENT. What thing may that be, uncle ? 
ANTONY. In good faith, cousin, even the orfjnst s tutifui 
bare remembrance of the poverty that our $ *> crt s- 
Saviour willingly suffered for us. For I verily suppose, 
that if there were a great king that had so tender love to 
a servant of his, that he had (to help him out of danger) 
forsaken and left of all his worldly wealth and royalty, 
and become poor and needy for his sake : the servant 
could scant be found that were of such an 5uc ^ ft(lc 0(l . 
unkind villain courage, that if himself came {J J^JJJf 
after to some substance, would not with better 
will lose it all again, than shamefully to forsake such 
a master. And therefore, as I say, I do surely suppose, 



250 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

that if we would well remember and inwardly consider 
the great goodness of our Saviour Christ toward us, not 
yet being his poor sinful servants, but rather his adver 
saries and his enemies, and what wealth of this world that 
he willingly forsook for our sake, being indeed universal 
king thereof, and so having the power in his own hand to 
have used it, if he had would, instead whereof (to make 
us rich in heaven) he lived here in neediness and poverty 
all his life, and neither would have authority, nor keep 
neither lands nor goods : the deep consideration and 
earnest advisement of this one point alone, were able to 
make any kind Christian man or woman well content 
rather for his sake again to give up all that ever God 
an (s tut lent na ^ n en ^ them (and lent them hath he all that 
to us. ever they have) than unkindly and unfaithfully 

jForsafting of to forsake him. And him they forsake, if that 
for fear they forsake the confession of his 
Christian faith. 

And therefore to finish this piece withal, concerning the 
dread of losing our outward worldly goods, let us con 
sider the slender commodity that they bring, with what 
labour they be bought, how little they abide with whom 
soever they be longest, what pain their pleasure is 
mingled withal, what harm the love of them doth unto 
the soul, what loss is in the keeping (Christ s faith refused 
for them), what winning in the loss, if we lose them for 
God s sake, how much more profitable they be well given 
than evil kept, and finally, what unkindness it were, if we 
would not rather forsake them for Christ s sake, than 
unfaithfully forsake Christ for them, which, while he 
lived, for our sake forsook all the world, beside the suffer 
ing of shameful and painful death, whereof we shall 
speak after: if we these things, I say, will consider well, 
and will pray God with his holy hand to print them in 
our hearts, and will abide and dwell still in the hope of 
his help : his truth shall (as the prophet saith) so compass 
us about with a pavice, that we shall not need to be 
afraid ab incursu et dcemonio meridiano, of this incursion 
of the mid-day devil, this open plain persecution of the 
Turk, for any loss that we can take by the bereaving from 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 251 

us of our worldly goods, for whose short and small plea 
sure in this life forborne, we shall be with heavenly sub^ 
stance everlastingly recompensed of God in joyful bliss 
and glory. 




CHAPTER XVII. 



Of bodily Pain, and that a man hath no cause to take 
discomfort in persecution, though he feel himself in an 
horror at the thinking upon the bodily pain. 



INCENT. FORSOOTH, uncle, as for these 
outward goods, you have so farforth said, 
that no man can be sure what strength he 
shall have, or how faint and how feeble he 
may hap to find himself when he shall 
hap to come to the point, and therefore I 
can make no warrantise of myself, seeing that St. Peter 
so suddenly fainted at a woman s word and so cowardly 
forsook his master, for whom he had so boldly fought 
within so few hours afore, and by that fall in forsaking 
well perceived that he had been rash in his promise, and 
was well worthy to take a fall for putting so full trust in 
himself: yet in good faith methinketh now (and God 
shall I trust help me to keep this thought still), that if 
the Turk should take all that I have unto my very shirt 
(except I would forsake my faith) and offer it me all 
again with five times as much thereto to fall into his sect, 
I would not once stick thereat, rather to forsake it every 
whit than of Christ s holy faith to forsake any one point. 
But surely, good uncle, when I bethink me farther on the 



252 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

grief and the pain that may turn unto my flesh, here find 
I the fear that forceth my heart to tremble. 

ANTONY. Neither have I cause to marvel thereof, nor 
you, cousin, cause to be dismayed therefor. The great 
horror and fear that our Saviour had in his own flesh 
against his painful passion, maketh me little to marvel, 
and may well make you take that comfort too, that for 
no such manner of grudging felt in your sensual parts, 
the flesh shrinking at the meditation of pain and death, 
your reason shall give over, but resist it and manly 
master it. And though you would fain flee from the 
painful death, and be loth to come thereto ; yet may the 
iKemtatton of meditation of his great grievous agony move 
(jurist s apns. y OU> an( | himself shall, if you so desire him, 
not fail to work with you therein, and get and give you 
the grace, that you shall submit and conform your will 
therein unto his, as he did unto his Father, and shall 
thereupon be so comforted with the secret inward inspi 
ration of his Holy Spirit, as he was with the personal pre 
sence of the angel that after his agony came and comforted 
him, 1 * that you shall as his true disciple follow him, and 
with good will without grudge do as he did, and take 
your cross of pain and passion on your back, and die for 
the truth with him, and thereby reign with him crowned 
in eternal glory. And this, I say, to give you warning 
of the thing that is truth, to the intent when a man 
feels such an horror of death in his heart, he should not 
thereby stand in outrageous fear that he were falling. 
For many a such man standeth for all that fear full fast, 
and finally better abideth the brunt, when God is so good 
unto him as to bring him thereto, and encourage him 
therein, than doth some other that in the beginning 
feeleth no fear at all. And yet may it be, and most often 
so it is, that God having many mansions, and all wonderful 
wealthful in his Father s house, f exalteth not every good 
<$ man man up to the glory of a martyr, but foreseeing 
meet to tea their infirmity, that though they be of good 
will before, and peradventure of right good 
courage too, would yet play St. Peter, if they were brought 

* Luc. xxii. f Johan. xiv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 253 

to the point, and thereby bring their souls into the peril 
of eternal damnation: he provideth otherwise for them, 
before they come thereat, and either findeth a <g i, tDcm&cr- 
way that men shall not have the mind to lay *|Winrt. 
any hands upon them, as he found for his disciples,* when 
himself was willingly taken, or that if they set hand on 
them, they shall have no power to hold them, as he 
found for St. John the Evangelist, f which let his sheet 
fall from him, whereupon they caught hold, and fled him 
self naked away, and scaped from them ; or, though they 
hold him and bring him to prison too, yet God sometime 
delivereth them thence, as he did St. Peter,J and some 
time he taketh them to him, out of prison into heaven, 
and suffered! them not to come to their torment at all, as 
he hath done by many a good holy man. And some he 
suffereth to be brought into the torments, and yet he suf 
fereth them not to die therein, but live many years after, 
and die their natural death, as he did by St. John the 
Evangelist and by many another more, as we may well 
see both in sundry stories,^ and in the epistles of St. Cy 
prian also. || 

And therefore which way God will take with us, we 
cannot tell : but surely if we be true Christian men, this 
can we well tell, that without any bold warrantise of our- 
self, or foolish trust in our strength, we be bound upon 
pain of damnation, that we be not of the contrary mind, 
but that we will with his help (how loth soever we feel 
our flesh thereto) rather yet than forsake him or his faith 
afore the world (which if we do, he hath promised to for 
sake us before his Father,^ and all the holy company of 
heaven), rather, I say, than we would so do, we would with 
his help endure and sustain for his sake all the tormentry 
that the devil with all his faithless tormentors in this 
world could devise. And then when we be of this mind, 
and submit our will unto his, and call and pray for his 
grace, we can tell well enough that he will never suffer 

* Matth. xxvi. f Marc. xiv. J Actor, xii. 

Theodor. Hist. lib. Hi. c. 16 ; Euseb. Hist. lib. iii. c. 25 ; De Blandina 
et aliis, Hist. Eccl. lib. v. cap. 2. 

|| Lib. ii. epist. 6, et lib. iv. epist. 5. IF Luc. xii. 



254 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

them to put more upon us than his grace will make us 
able to bear, but will also with their temptation 
provide for us a sure way. 

For Fidelis Deus (saith St. Paul) qui non patitur vos 
tentari, supra id quod potestis, sed dat etiam cum tenta- 
tatione proventum, God is, saith the apostle, faithful, 
which suffereth you not to be tempted above that you 
may bear, butgiveth also with the temptation a way out.* 
For either, as I said, he will keep us out of their hands 
(though he before suffer us to be feared with them to 
prove our faith withal, that we may have by the examina 
tion of our own mind, some comfort in hope of his grace, 
and some fear of our own frailty to drive us to call for 
grace), or else if we fall in their hands, so that we fall not 
from him, nor cease to call for his help, his truth shall, as 
the prophet saith, so compass us about with a pavice, 
that we shall need not to fear this incursion of this midday 
devil. For either shall these Turk s tormentors that shall 
enter into this land and persecute us, either they shall, I 
say, not have the power to touch our bodies at all, or 
else the short pain that they shall put into our bodies, 
shall turn us to eternal profit both in our souls and in our 
bodies too. 

And therefore, cousin, to begin with, let us be of good 
comfort. For sith we be by our faith very sure that 
Holy Scripture is the very word of God, and that the 
word of God cannot be but very true, and that we see 
that both by the mouth of his holy prophet, and by the 
mouth of his blessed apostle also, God hath made us so 
faithful promise, both that he will not suffer us to be 
tempted above our power, but will both provide a way out 
for us, and that he will also round about so compass us 
with his pavice, and defend us, that we shall have no 
cause to fear this midday devil with all his persecution : 
we cannot now but be very sure (except we be very 
shamefully cowardous of heart, and toward God in faith 
out of measure faint, and in love less than lukewarm, or 
waxen even key-cold), we may be very sure, I say, that 
either God shall not suffer the Turks to invade this land, 
1 Cor. x. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 255 

or, if they do, God shall provide such resistance that they 
shall not prevail : or, if they do prevail, yet if we take 
the way that I have told you, we shall by their persecu 
tion take little harm or rather no harm at all, but that 
that shall seem harm, shall indeed be to us no harm at all, 
but good. For if God make us and keep us good men (as 
he hath promised to do, if we pray therefor) then saith 
Holy Scripture : Bonis omnia cooper antur in bonum, 
Unto good folk all things turn them to good.* 

And therefore, cousin, sith that God knoweth what 
shall hap, and not we, let us in the meanwhile with a 
good hope in the help of God s grace, have a good pur 
pose with us of sure standing by his holy faith against all 
persecutions. From which if we should (which our Lord 
forbid) hereafter either for fear of pain, or for lack of 
grace (lost in our own default) mishap to decline : yet had 
we both won the well-spent time in this good purpose 
before, to the minishment of our pain, and were also much 
the more likely, that God should lift us up after our fall, 
and give us his grace again. Howbeit, if this persecu 
tion come, we be by this meditation and well-continued in 
tent and purpose before, the better strengthened and con 
firmed, and much the more likely for to stand indeed. And 
if it so fortune (as with God s grace at men s good 
prayers and amendment of our evil lives, it may fortune 
full well) that the Turk shall either be well jrjjetoapto 
withstanden and vanquished, or perad venture JltrR^aSi 
not invade us at all : then shall we, pardie, iemtcs. 
by this good purpose get ourself of God a very good cheap 
thank. And on the other side, while we now think 
thereon (as not to think thereon, in so great likelihood 
thereof, I ween no wise man can) if we should for the fear 
of worldly loss, or bodily pain, framed in our own minds, 
think that we would give over, and to save our goods and 
our lives, forsake our Saviour by denial of his faith, then 
whether the Turk come, or come not, we be gone from 
God the while. And then if they come not indeed, or 
come and be driven to flight, what a shame should this 
* Rom. viii. 



256 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

be to us before the face of God, in so shameful cowardous 

wise to forsake him for fear of that pain that 
gjouj man? sucg f . i 

cotoartts fie we never telt, nor never was falling towards 

VINCENT. By my troth, uncle, I thank you. Me- 
think, that though you never said more in the matter, yet 
have you even with this that you have (of the fear of bodily 
pain in this persecution) spoken here already, marvel 
lously comforted my heart. 

ANTONY. I am glad, cousin, if your heart have taken 
comfort thereby. But and if you so have, give God the 
thank, and not me, for that work is his, and not mine. 
For neither am I able any good thing to say, but by him, 
nor all the good words in this world, no not the holy 
words of God himself, and spoken also with his own holy 
mouth, can be able to profit the man with the sound 
entering at his ear, but if the spirit of God therewith 
inwardly work in his soul ; but that is his goodness ever 
ready to do, except the let be through the untowardness of 
our own froward will. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 257 




CHAPTER XVIII. 



Of Comfort against bodily Pain, and first against Captivity. 

ND therefore now being somewhat in com 
fort and courage before, whereby we may 
the more quietly consider every thing, 
which is somewhat more hard and difficile 
to do, when the heart is before taken up 
and oppressed with the troublous affection 
of heavy sorrowful fear: let us examine the weight and 
substance of these bodily pains, as the sorest part of this 
persecution which you rehearsed before, which were (if I 
remember you right) thraldom, imprisonment, painful and 
shameful death. And first let us, as reason is, begin with 
the thraldom, for that was, I remember, the first. 

VINCENT. I pray you, good uncle, say then somewhat 
thereof. For methinketh, uncle, that captivity 
is a marvellous heavy thing, namely when they 
shall, as they most commonly do, carry us far from home, 
into a strange uncouth land. 

ANTONY. I cannot say nay, but that some grief it is, 
cousin, indeed. But yet as unto me not half so much as 
it would be, if they could carry me out into any such 
unknown country, that God could not wit where, nor find 
the mean how to come at me. But in good faith, cousin, 
now, if my transmigration into a strange country should 
be any great grief unto me, the fault should be much in 
myself. For sith I am very sure that whithersoever men 
convey me, God is no more verily here, than he shall be 
there : if I get (as I may, if I will) the grace to set my 
whole heart on him, and long for nothing but him, it can 

s 



258 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

then make no great matter to my mind, whether they 
carry me hence or leave me here. And then if I find my 
mind much offended therewith, that I am not still here in 
mine own country, I must consider that the cause of my 
grief is my own wrong imagination, whereby I beguile 
myself with an untrue persuasion, weening that this were 
mine own country, whereas of truth it is not so. For as 
St. Paul saith, Non habemus hie civitatem manentem, sed 
futuram inquirimus, We have here no city nor dwelling 
country at all, but we look for one that we shall come 
to.* And in what country soever we walk in this world, 
aaefie ail pu- we ^> e Dut as pilgrims and wayfaring men. And 
srtms. if [ should take any country for my own, it 

must be that country to which I come, and not the 
country from which I came. That country that shall be 
aa&fjtcf) is our to me then for a while so strange, shall yet, 
otuti county. pardie, be no more strange to me, nor longer 
strange to me neither, than was mine own native country 
when I came first into it. And therefore if that point of my 
being far from hence be very grievous to me, and that I 
find it a great pain, that I am not where I would be : that 
grief shall great part grow for lack of sure setting and 
settling my mind in God, where it should be ; which fault 
of mine when I mend, I shall soon ease my grief. Now 
as for all the other griefs and pains that are in captivity, 
thraldom, and bondage ; I cannot deny but many there are 
and great. Howbeit they seem yet somewhat (what say 
I somewhat, I may say a great deal) the more, because 
we took our former liberty for more or a great deal, than 
indeed it was. Let us therefore consider the matter 
thus. 

aaitjat ts cap- Captivity, bondage, or thraldom, what is it 
ttcup. b ut the violent restraint of a man, being so 

subdued under the dominion, rule, and power of another, 
that he must do what the other list to command him, 
and may not at his liberty do such things as he list him 
self. Now when we shall be carried away with a Turk, 
and be fain to be occupied about such things as he list to 
set us ; here shall we lament the loss of our liberty, and 
* Heb. xiii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 259 

think we bear an heavy burden of our servile condition 
And so to do (I grant well) we shall have many times great 
occasion. But yet should we, I suppose, set thereby 
somewhat the less, if we would remember well, what 
liberty that was that we lost, and take it for no smomis 
larger than it was indeed. For we reckon, as m v- 
though we might before do what we would: but therein 
deceive we ourself. 

For what free man is there so free, that can be suffered 
to do what him list? In many things God hath restrained 
us by his high commandment, and so many that of those 
things which else we would do, I ween it be more than 
the half. Howbeit, because (God forgive us!) 
we let so little therefor, but do what we list, kttetij unit 
as though we heard him not, we reckon our nott1 
liberty never the less for that. But then is our liberty 
much restrained by the laws made by men, for the quiet 
and politic governance of the people. And these would, I 
ween, let our liberty but a little neither, were it not for 
fear of the pains that fall thereupon. Look then whether 
other men, that have authority over us, command us never 
no business which we dare not but do, and tfjesiabersof 
therefore do it full oft full sore against our wills. t * e ttorHl! 
Of which things some service is sometime so painful and 
so perilous too, that no lord can lightly command his 
bondman worse, nor seldom doth command him half so 
sore. Let every free man that reckoneth his liberty to 
stand in doing what he list, consider well these points, 
and I ween he shall then find his liberty much less, than 
he took it for before. 

And yet have I left untouched the bondage, that almost 
every man is in that boasteth himself for free; &$ t tonnage of 
the bondage, I mean, of sin. Which to be a sfn - 
very bondage, I shall have our Saviour himself to bear me 
good record. For he saith : Omnis qui facit peccatum, 
servus est peccati, Every man that committeth sin, 
is the thrall, or the bondsman of sin.* And then, if 
this be thus (as it must needs so be, sith God saith it is 
so), who is there then that may make so much boast of his 

* Johan. viii. 

s 2 



260 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

liberty, that he should take it for so sore a thing and so 
strange, to become through chance of war bond unto a 
man, while he is already through sin become willingly 
thrall and bond unto the devil? Let us look well, how 
many things and of what vile wretched sort the devil 
driveth us to do daily through the rash braids of our blind 
affections, which we be for our faultful lack of grace fain to 
follow, and are too feeble to refrain, and then shall we 
find in our natural freedom our bond service such, that 
aafiattonft never was there any man lord of any so vile a 
naturaim" villain, that ever would for very shame com- 
now- mand him so shameful service. And let us in 

the doing of our service to the man that we be slave unto, 
remember what we were wont to do about the same time 
of the day, while we were at our free liberty before, and 
were well likely, if we were at liberty to do the like again : 
and we shall peradventure perceive, that it were better for 
us to do this business than that. 

Now shall we have great occasion of comfort, if we con 
sider, that our servitude (though in the count of the world 
it seem to come by chance of war) cometh yet in very 
deed unto us, by the provident hand of God, and that for 
our great good, if we will take it well, both in remission of 
sins, and also matter of our merit. The greatest grief 
that is in bondage or captivity is this, as I trow, that we be 
forced to do such labour as with our good will we would 
not. But then against that grief Seneca teacheth us a 
good remedy : Semper da operam, ne quid invitus facias, 
Endeavour thyself evermore, that thou do nothing against 
thy will : but the thing that we see we shall needs do, let 
us use alway to put our good will thereto. 

VINCENT. That is, uncle, soon said : but it is hard to 
do. 

ANTONY. Our froward mind rnaketh every 

jFolK are fro* , . . , , . * 

toaro unto all good thing hard, and that unto our own more 

hurt and harm. But in this case, if we will be 
good Christian men, we shall have great cause gladly to be 
content for the great comfort that we may take thereby, 
while we remember that in the patient and glad doing of our 
service unto the man for God s sake, according to his high 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 261 

commandment by the mouth of St. Paul, Servi, obedite 
dominis carnalibus,* we shall have our thank and our 
whole reward of God. Finally, if we remember the great 
humble meekness of our Saviour Christ himself, that he 
being very Almighty God, Humiliavit semetipsum, formam 
servi accipiens, Humbled himself, and took the form of a 
bondman or a slave,f rather than his father should forsake 
us : we may think ourself very unkind caitives, and very 
frantic fools too, if rather than to endure this worldly 
bondage for a while, we would forsake him that hath by his 
own death delivered us out of everlasting bondage of the 
devil, and will for our short bondage give us everlasting 
liberty. 

VINCENT. Well fare you, good uncle, this is very well 
said. Albeit that bondage is a condition that every man 
of any courage would be glad to eschew, and very loth to 
fall in, yet have you well made it open that it is a thing 
neither so strange, nor so sore, as it before seemed unto 
me, and specially far from such, as any man that any wit 
hath, should for fear thereof shrink from the confession 
of his faith. And now, I pray you, somewhat speak of 
imprisonment. 

* Ephes. vi. f Philip, ii. 



262 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




CHAPTER XIX. 

Of Imprisonment, and Comfort there against. 



NTONY. THAT shall I, cousin, with good 
will. And first, if we would consider, what 
thing imprisonment is of his own nature, 
we should not, methink, have so great 
horror thereof. For of itself it is, pardie, 
but a restraint of liberty, which letteth 
a man from going whither he would. 

VINCENT. Yes, by St. Mary, uncle, me- 
[tnt thinketh it is much more sorrow than so. For 
beside the let and restraint of liberty, it hath many more 
displeasures and very sore griefs knit and adjoined there 
unto. 

ANTONY. That is, cousin, very true indeed. And 
those pains, among many sorer than those, thought I not 
after to forget. Howbeit, I purposed now, to consider 
first imprisonment but as imprisonment only, without any 
other incommodity beside. For a man may be, pardie, 
imprisoned, and yet not set in the stocks, nor collared fast 
by the neck, and a man may be let walk at large where 
he will, and yet a pair of fetters fast riveted on his legs. 
For in this country, ye wot well, and in Seville and For- 
tingale too, so go there all the slaves. Howbeit, because 
that for such things men s hearts have such horror thereof, 
albeit I am not so mad as to go about to prove that 
bodily pain were no pain ; yet sith that because of these 
manner of pains, we so specially abhor the state and con 
dition of prisoners, we should, methink, well perceive 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 263 

that a great part of our horror groweth of our own phan 
tasy, if we would call to mind and consider the state and 
condition of many other folk, in whose state and condi 
tion we would wish ourself to stand, taking them for no 
prisoners at all, that stand yet for all that in much part of 
the selfsame points that we abhor imprisonment for. Let 
us therefore consider these things in order. 

And first, as I thought to begin, because those other 
kinds of griefs that come with imprisonment, are but 
accidents thereunto, and yet neither such kinds of acci 
dents as be either proper thereunto, but that they may 
(almost all) fall unto a man without it, nor are not such 
accidents thereunto, as are inseparable therefrom, but that 
imprisonment may fall to a man, and none of all them 
therewith : we will, I say, therefore begin with the consi 
dering what manner pain or commodity we should reckon 
imprisonment to be of itself, and of his own nature alone. 
And then in the course of our communication, you shall, 
as you list, increase and aggrieve the cause of your horror 
with the terror of those painful accidents. 

VINCENT. I am sorry that I did interrupt your tale. 
For you were about, I see well, to take an orderly way 
therein. And as yourself have devised, so I beseech you 
proceed. For though I reckon imprisonment much the 
sorer thing by sore and hard handling therein, yet reckon 
I not the imprisonment of itself any less than a thing 
very tedious, all were it used in the most favourable man 
ner that it possibly might. For, uncle, if it were a great 
prince that were taken prisoner upon the field, and in the 
hand of a Christian king, which use in such case (for the 
consideration of their former state, and the mutable 
chance of the war) to shew much humanity to a prince s tm= 
them, and in very favourable wise entreat them P rfsolunEUt - 
(for these infidel emperors handle oftentimes the princes 
that they take more villanously than they do the poorest 
men, as the great Tamberlane * kept the great Turk when 
he had taken him, to tread on his back alway while he leapt 
on horseback) ; but, as I began to say by the sample of a 
prince taken prisoner, were the imprisonment never so 
* Sabellic. JEnead ix. lib. ix. 



264 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

favourable, yet were it in ray mind no little grief in itself 
for a man to be pinned up, though not in a narrow cham 
ber, but although his walk were rio-ht large, and right 
fair gardens too therein, it could not but grieve his heart 
to be restrained by another man within certain limits and 
bounds, and lose the liberty to be where him list. 

ANTONY. This is, cousin, well considered of you. For 
in this you perceive well, that imprisonment is of itself, 
and his own very nature alone, nothing else but the 
retaining of a man s person within the circuit of a certain 
space, narrower or larger, as shall be limited to him, 
restraining his liberty from the further going into any 
other place. 

VINCENT. Very well said, as methinketh. 

ANTONY. Yet forgot I, cousin, to ask you one ques 
tion. 

VINCENT. What is that, uncle? 

ANTONY. This, lo : if there be two men kept in two 
several chambers of one great castle, of which two cham 
bers the one is much more large than the other : whe 
ther be they prisoners both, or but the one that hath the 
less room to walk in ? 

VINCENT. What question is it, uncle, but that they be 
prisoners both, as I said myself before, although the one 
lay fast locked in stocks, and the other had all the whole 
castle to walk in ? 

ANTONY. Methinketh verily, cousin, that you say the 
truth. And then if imprisonment be such a thing as 
yourself here agree it is, that is to wit, but a lack of 
liberty to go whither we list : now would I fain wit of 
you, what any one man you know, that is at this day out 
of prison ? 

VINCENT. What one man, uncle? Marry I know 
almost none other. For surely prisoner am I none 
acquainted with, that I remember. 

ANTONY. Then I see well, you visit poor prisoners 
seld. 

VINCENT. No by my troth, uncle, I cry God mercy. 
I send them sometime my alms, but, by my troth, I love 
not to come myself where I should see such misery. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 265 

ANTONY. In good faith, cousin Vincent, though I say 
it before you, you have many good conditions : but surely 
though I say it before you too, that condition is none of 
them. Which condition if you would amend, then should 
you have yet the more good conditions by one. And, 
peradventure, by more than three or four. For I assure 
you, it is hard to tell how much good to a ^^ Q00& in 
man s soul the personal visiting of poor pri- otstttns pn 
soners doth. But now sith you can name me 
none of them that are in prison, I pray you name some 
one of all them, that you be (as you say) better ac 
quainted with, men, I mean, that are out of prison. For I 
know, methink, as few of them, as you know of the 
other. 

VINCENT. That were, uncle, a strange case. For 
every man is, uncle, out of prison, that may go where he 
will, though he be the poorest beggar in the town. And 
in good faith, uncle (because you reckon imprisonment 
so small a matter of itself ), the poor beggar that is at his 
liberty, and may walk where he will, is as me seemeth in 
better case, than is a king kept in prison, that cannot go 
but where men give him leave. 

ANTONY. Well, cousin, whether every way-walking 
beggar be by this reason out of prison or no, we shall con 
sider farther when you will. But in the meanwhile, I can by 
this reason see no prince that seemeth to be out of prison. 
For if the lack of liberty to go where a man will, be impri 
sonment, as yourself say it is, then is the great Turk, by 
whom we so fear to be put in prison, in prison ^^ not ^ 

already himself. For he may not go where he cat srurtt tn 

11 c i -i.i i i -L r prison, i)e 

will : for an he might, he would into Portin- tooinc overrun 

gale, Italy, Spain, France, Almaine, and Eng- alL 
land, and as far on another quarter too, both Prester 
John s land and the great Cham s too. Now the beggar 
that you speak of, if he be, as you say he is by reason of 
his liberty to go where he will, in much better case than 
a king kept in prison, because he cannot go but where 
men give him leave.: then is that beggar in better case, 
not only than a prince in prison, but also than many 
a prince out of a prison too. For I am sure there is 



266 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

many a beggar that may without let, walk farther upon 
a beggar in other men s ground, than many a prince at his 
tetter case tfian best liberty may walk upon his own. And as 
for walking out abroad upon other men s, that 
prince might hap to be said nay, and holden fast, where that 
beggar with his bag and his staff would be suffered to go 
forth and hold on his way. But forasmuch, cousin, as 
neither the beggar nor the prince is at free liberty to 
1 r(nces rannot wa ^ where they will, but that if they would 
toff 11 " 11 wa ^ ^ n some ?l ace > "either of them both 
should be suffered, but men would withstand 
them and say them nay : therefore if prisonment be (as 
you grant it is) a lack of liberty to go where we list, I 
cannot see, but, as I say, the beggar and the prince, 
whom you reckon both at liberty, be by your own reason 
restrained in prison both. 

VINCENT. Yea but, uncle, the one and the other 
have way enough to walk : the one in his own ground, 
the other in other men s, or in the common highway, 
where they may walk till they be both weary of walking 
ere any man say them nay. 

ANTONY. So may, cousin, that king that had, as your 
self put the case, all the whole castle to walk in ; and 
yet you say not nay, but that he is a prisoner for all that, 
though not so straitly kept, yet as verily prisoner, as he 
that lieth in the stocks. 

VINCENT. But they may go at the leastwise to every 
place that they need, or that is commodious for them, 
and therefore they do not will to go but where they may 
go, and therefore be they at liberty to go where they will. 

ANTONY. Me needeth not, cousin, to spend the time 
about the impugning every part of this answer. For 
letting pass by, that though a prisoner were with his 
keeper brought into every place where need required : yet 
sith he might not when he would, go where he would for 
his only pleasure, he were, you wot well, a prisoner still; 
and letting pass over also this, that it were to this beggar 
need, and to this king commodious, to go into divers places, 
where neither of them both may come : and letting pass 
also, that neither of them both is lightly so temperately 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 267 

determined, but that they both fain so would do indeed, if 
this reason of yours put them out of prison, and set them 
at liberty, and make them free (as I will well grant it doth, 
if they so do) indeed ; that it is to wit, if they no will to go, 
but where they may go indeed : then let us look on our 
other prisoners, inclosed within a castle, and we shall find 
that the straitest kept of them both, if he get the wisdom 
and the grace to quiet his own mind, and hold wnsum ana 
himself content with that place, and long not fmaSut of" 
(like a woman with child for her lusts)to be gad- rison - 
ding out anywhere else, is by the same reason of yours, 
while his will is not longing to be anywhere else, he is, I 
say, at his free liberty, to be where he will, and so is out 
of prison too. 

And on the other side, if though his will be not long- 
ins; to be anywhere else, yet because that if his will so 
were, he should not so be suffered, he is therefore not at 
his free liberty, but a prisoner still : so sith your free 
beggar that you speak of, and the prince that you call 
out of prison too, though they be (which I ween very few 
be) by some special wisdom, so temperately disposed, 
that they have not the will to be, but where intemperate 
they see they may be suffered to be, yet sith StSnu 
that if they would have that will, they could not tn P rtson - 
then be where they would, they lack the effect of free 
liberty, and be both twain in prison too. 

VINCENT. Well, uncle, if every man universally be by 
this reason in prison already after the very property of 
imprisonment, yet to be imprisoned in this special manner, 
which manner is only commonly called imprisonment, is 
a thing of great horror and fear, both for the straitness of 
the keeping and the hard handling that many men have 
therein, of all which griefs, and pains, and displeasures, 
in this other general imprisonment that you speak of, we 
feel nothing at all. And therefore every man ubhorreth 
the one, and would be loth to come into it: and no man 
abhorreth the other, for they feel no harm, nor find no 
fault therein. Wherefore, uncle, in faith though I cannot 
find answers convenient, wherewith to avoid your argu 
ments, yet to be plain with you, and tell you the very 



268 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

truth, my mind findeth not itself satisfied in this point : but 
ever methinketh, that these things, wherewith you rather 
convince and conclude me, than induce a credence and 
persuade me, that every man is prison already, be but 
sophistical phantasies: and that (except those that are 
commonly prisoners) other men are not in prison at all. 

ANTONY. Well fare thy heart, good cousin Vincent. 
There was in good faith no word that you spake since we 
talked of those matters, that half so well liked me, as 
these that you speak now. For if you had assented in 
words, and in your mind departed unpersuaded, then if 
the thing be true that I say, yet had you lost the fruit. 
And if it be peradventure false, and myself deceived 
therein, then while I should ween that it liked you too, 
you should have confirmed me in my folly. For in good 
faith, cousin, such an old fool am I, that this thing, in 
the persuading whereof unto you, I had weened I had quit 
me well, and when I have all done, appeareth to your 
mind but a trifle and a sophistical phantasy, myself have 
so many years taken for so very substantial truth, that as 
yet my mind cannot give me to think it any other. 
Wherefore lest I play as the French priest played, that 
had so long used to say Dominus with the second sylla 
ble long, that at the last he thought it must needs be so, 
and was ashamed to say it short, to the intent that you 
may the better perceive me, or I the better myself, we shall 
here between us a little more consider the thing, and 
hardily spit well on your hands, and take good hold, and 
give it not over against your own mind. TFor then were 
we never the nearer. 

VINCENT. Nay, by my troth, uncle, that intend I not, 
nor nothing did yet since we began. And that may you 
well perceive by some things, which without any great 
cause, save for the satisfaction of mine own mind, I 
repeated and debated again. 

ANTONY. That guise, cousin, hold on hardily still. 
For in this matter 1 purpose to give over my part, except 
I make yourself perceive, both that every man univer 
sally is a very prisoner in very prison, plainly without 
any sophistication at all ; and that there is also no prince 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 269 

living upon earth, but he is in worse case prisoner by this 
general imprisonment that I speak of, than is many a 
lewd simple wretch, by the special imprisonment that you 
speak of. And over this, that in this general imprison 
ment that I speak of, men are for the time that they be 
therein so sore handled and so hardly, and in such painful 
wise, that men s hearts have with reason great cause as 
sore to abhor this hard handling that is in this imprison 
ment, as the other that is in that. 

VINCENT. By my troth, uncle, these things would I 
fain see well proved. 

ANTONY. Tell me then, cousin, by your troth, if there 
were a man h rst attainted of treason or of felony, and 
after judgment given of his death, and that it were 
determined that he should die, only the time of his execu 
tion delayed till the king s farther pleasure known, and 
he thereupon delivered to certain keepers, and $ bcrp p ri . 
put up in a sure place, out of which he could soner - 
not scape, were this man a prisoner or no? 

VINCENT. This man, quod he ? Yea marry that he 
were in very deed, if ever any man were. 

ANTONY. But now, what if for the time that were 
mean between his attainder and his execution, he were so 
favourably handled that he were suffered to do what he 
would, as he was while he was abroad, and to have the 
use of his lands and his goods, and his wife and his chil 
dren license to be with him, and his friends leave at 
liberty to resort unto him, and his servants not forbidden 
to abide about him ; and add yet thereunto, that the 
place were a great castle royal, with parks and other 
pleasures therein a very great circuit about; yea add yet 
an ye will, that he were suffered to go and ride also, 
both when he would, and whither he would, only this one 
point alway provided and foreseen, that he should ever be 
sorely seen to and safely kept from scaping, so that took 
he never so much of his own mind in the meanwhile all 
other ways, save scaping, yet he well knew that scape he 
could not, and that when he were called for, to execution 
and to death he should ; now, cousin Vincent, what 
would you call this man ? A prisoner, because he is 



270 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

kept for execution? Or no prisoner, because be is in tbe 
meanwhile so favourably handled, and suffered to do all 
that he would, save scape ? And I bid you not here be 
hasty in your answer, but advise it well, that you grant no 
such thing in haste, as you would after mislike by leisure, 
and think yourself deceived. 

VINCENT. Nay by my troth, uncle, this thing needeth 
no study at all in my mind, but that for all this favour 
shewed him, and all his liberty lent him, yet being con 
demned to death, and being therefor kept, and kept with 
such sure watch laid upon him, that he cannot scape : he 
is all that while a very plain prisoner still. 

ANTONY. In good faith, cousin, methinketh you say 
very true. But then one thing must I yet desire you, 
cousin, to tell me a little farther. If there were another 
laid in prison for a fray, and through the jailer s displea 
sure were bolted and fettered, and laid in a low dungeon 
in the stocks, where he might hap to lie peradventure for 
a while, and abide in the mean season some pain, but no 
danger of death at all, but that out again he should come 
well enough: whether of these two prisoners stood in 
worse case, he that hath all this favour, or he that is thus 
hardly handled ? 

VINCENT. By our Lady ! uncle, I ween the most part 
of men, if they should needs choose, had lever be such 
prisoners in every point, as he that so sorely lieth in the 
stocks, than in every point such, as he that at such 
liberty walketh about the park. 

ANTONY. Consider then, cousin, whether this thing 
seem any sophistry to you, that I shall shew you now. 
For it shall be such as seemeth in good faith substan 
tially true to me. And if it so hap that you think other 
wise, I will be very glad to perceive which of us both is 
beguiled. For it seemeth to me, cousin, first, that every 
man coming into this world here upon earth, as he is 
created by God, so cometh he hither by the providence of 
God. Is this any sophistry first, or not ? 

VINCENT. Nay verily, this is very substantial truth. 

ANTONY. Now take I this also for very truth in my 
mind, that there cometh no man nor woman hither into 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 271 

the earth, but that ere ever they come quick into the 
world out of the mother s womb, God condem- an must txe 
neth them unto death by his own sentence once< 
and judgment for the original sin that they bring with 
them contracted in the corrupted stock of our forefather 
Adam. Is this, think you, cousin, verily thus, or not? 

VINCENT. This is, uncle, very true indeed. 

ANTONY. Then seemeth this true farther unto me, that 
God hath put every man here upon the earth, under so 
sure and under so safe keeping, that of all the whole 
people living in this wide world, there is neither 
man, woman, nor child, would they never so Sttt tseoirs 
far wander about and seek it, whereby they prison - 
may scape from death. Is this, cousin, a fond imagined 
fancy, or is it very truth indeed ? 

VINCENT. Nay, this is no imagination, uncle, but a 
thing so clearly proved true, that no man is so mad to say 
nay. 

ANTONY. Then need I no more, cousin. For then is 
all the matter plain and open evident truth, which I said 
I took for truth. Which is yet more a little now, than I 
told you before, when you took my proof yet but for a 
sophistical phantasy, and said, that for all my reasoning, 
that every man is a prisoner, yet you thought, that 
except those whom the common people call prisoners, 
there is no man a very prisoner indeed. And now you 
grant yourself again for very substantial truth, that every 
man is here (though he be the greatest king upon earth) 
set here by the ordinance of God in a place, be it never 
so large, a place, I say, yet (and you say the same) out 

of which no man can scape, but that therein is 

. j i f i Sfflic ut all 

every man put under sure and safe keeping, to au s oers prt 

be readily set forth, when God calleth for him, s 
and that then he shall surely die. And is not then, cousin, 
by your own granting before, every man a very prisoner, 
when he is put in a place to be kept, to be brought forth 
when he would not, and himself wot not whither? 

VINCENT. Yes, in good faith, uncle, I cannot but well 
perceive this to be so. 

ANTONY. This were, you wot well, true, although a 



272 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

man should be but taken by the arm, and in fair manner 
led out of this world unto his judgment. But now, while 
we well know that there is no king so great, but that all 
the while he walketh here, walk he never so loose, ride 
he with never so strong an army for his defence, yet him 
self is very sure (though he seek in the mean season 
pastime can- some other pastime to put it out of his mind) 
not put tt out yet is he very sure, I say, that scape can he 
not ; and very well he knoweth, that he hath 
already sentence given upon him to die, and that -verily 
die he shall, and that himself (though he hope upon 
long respite of his execution), yet can he not tell how 
dfooisinuert, soon. And therefore, but if he be a fool, he 

tijut ttiir not , . , - ._ 

tftfs i can never be without fear, that either on the 

morrow, or on the selfsame day, that grisly, cruel hang- 
Seat?) tfie c man > Death, which, from his first coming in, 
nrraioang- hath ever hoved aloof, and looked toward him, 
and ever lain in await on him, shall amid 
mong all his royalty, and all his main strength, neither 
kneel before him, nor make him any reverence, nor with 
any good manner desire him to come forth but rigorously 
and fiercely gripe him by the very breast, and make all 
his bones rattle, and so by long and divers sore torments, 
ztinganu strike him stark dead in this prison, and then 
co!!w\oj)1s cause his body to be cast into the ground in 
same mention, a foul pit, within some corner of the same, 
there to rot and be eaten with the wretched worms of 
the earth, sending yet his soul out farther unto a more 
fearful judgment, whereof at his temporal death his 
success is uncertain ; and therefore, though, by God s 
a srconti an& grace, not out of good hope, yet for all that, 
Kmcnt ft? * n ^ meanwn ^ e > m ver Y sore dread and fear, 
princes ant ail. and peradventure, in peril inevitable of eternal 
fire, too. 

Methinketh therefore, cousin, that, as I told you, this 
keeping of every man in this wretched world for execu 
tion of death, is a very plain imprisonment indeed, and 
that as I say such, that the greatest king is, in this 
prison, in much worse case, in all his wealth, than many 
a man is by the other imprisonment, that is therein sore 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 273 

and hardly handled. For where some of those lie not 
there attainted, nor condemned to death, the greatest 
man of this world, and the most wealthy in this universal 
prison, is laid in to be kept undoubtedly for death. 

VINCENT. But yet, uncle, in that case, is the other 
prisoner too; for he is as sure that he shall die too, 
pardie. 

ANTONY. That is very truth, cousin, indeed, and well 
objected too. But then must you consider, that he is 
not in danger of death by reason of that prison into 
which he is put, peradventure but for a light fray ; but 
his danger of death is by the other imprisonment, by 
which he is prisoner in the great prison of this whole 
earth, in which prison all the princes thereof be prisoners 
as well as he. If a man condemned to death were put 
up in a large prison, and while his execution were 
respited, he were, for fighting with his fellows, put up 
in a strait place (part of the same), he is in danger of 
death in the strait prison, but not by the being in that, 
for therein he is but for the fray, but his deadly imprison 
ment was the other (the larger, I say) into which he 
was put for death : so the prisoner that you speak of, is 
beside that narrow prison, a prisoner of the broad world, 
and all the princes thereof therein prisoners with him. 
And by that imprisonment, both they and he in like 
danger of death, not by that strait imprisonment that is 
commonly called imprisonment, but by that imprison 
ment which (because of the large walk) men call it 
liberty, and which prison you thought therefore but a 
phantasy sophistical to prove it any prison at all. 

But now may you, methinketh, very plainly perceive 
that this whole earth is not only for all the whole kind 
of man a very plain prison indeed, but also that every 
man without exception, even those that are most at their 
liberty therein, and reckon themselves great lords and 
possessioners of very great pieces thereof, and thereby 
wax with wantonness so forgetful of their own state 
that they ween they stand in great wealth, do stand, 
for all that indeed, by the reason of their imprisonment 
in this large prison of the whole earth, in the selfsame 

T 



274 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

condition that others do stand ; which in the narrow 
prisons, which only be called prisons, and which only be 
reputed prisons in the opinion of the common people, 
stand in the most fearful and in the most odious case, 
that is, to wit, condemned already to death. And now, 
cousin, if this thing that I tell you seem but a sophistical 
phantasy to your mind, I would be glad to know what 
moveth you so to think. For in good faith, as I have 
etfctomatfc told you twice, I am no wiser, but that I 
tijtsmttf). verily ween that the thing is thus of very 
plain truth, in very deed. 




CHAPTER XX. 



INCENT. IN good faith, uncle, as for 
thus far forth, I not only can make with 
any reason no resistance thereagainst, but 
also see very clearly proved, that it can be 
none otherwise ; but that every man is in 
this world a very prisoner, sith we be all 
put here into a sure hold to be kept till we be put to 
execution, as folk already condemned all to death. But 
yet, uncle, that strait keeping, collaring, bolting, and 
stocking, with lying in straw or on the cold ground 
(which manner of hard handling is used in these special 
prisonments that only be commonly called by that name), 
must needs make that imprisonment which only among 
the people beareth that name, much more odious and 
dreadful, than the general imprisonment wherewith we 
be every man universally prisoned at large, walking 
where we will round about the wide world. In which 
broad prison, out of those narrow prisons, there is with 
the prisoners no such hard handling used. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 275 

ANTONY. I said, I trow cousin, that I purposed to 
prove you farther yet, that in this general prison, the 
large prison, I mean, of this whole world, folk be for the 
time that they be therein as sore handled and as hardly, 
and wrenched and wronged and breaked in such painful 
wise, that our hearts (save that we consider it not) have 
with reason good and great cause to grudge thereagainst; 
and (as far forth as pertaineth only to the respect of pain) 
as much horror to conceive against the hard handling 
that is in this prison, as the other that is in that. 

VINCENT. Indeed, uncle, truth it is that this you said 
you would prove. 

ANTONY. Nay, so much said I not, cousin, but I said 
I would if I could, and if I could not, then would I 
therein give over my part. But that trust I, cousin, I 
shall not need to do, the thing seemeth me so plain. 
For, cousin, not only the prince and king, but east^itttun^ 
also (though he have both angels and devils an&tatior. 
that are jailors under him, yet) the chief jailor over this 
whole broad prison the world, is, as I take it, God. And 
that, I suppose, you will grant me too. 

VINCENT. That will I not, uncle, deny. 

ANTONY. If a man be, cousin, committed unto prison, 
for no cause but to be kept, though there lie never so 
great charge upon him, yet his keeper, if he be good and 
honest, is neither so cruel that would pain the man of 
malice, nor so covetous that would put him to pain to 
make him seek his friends, and to pay for a pennyworth 
of ease. Else, if the place be such that he be sure to 
keep him safe otherwise, or that he can get surety for 
the recompense of more harm than he seeth he should 
have, if he scaped ; he will never handle him in any such 
hard fashion as we most abhor imprisonment for. But 
marry, if the place be such as the keeper cannot other 
wise be sure, then is he compelled to keep him after the 
rate the straiter. And also, if the prisoner be unruly, 
and fall to fighting with his fellows, or do some other 
manner of shrewd turn, then useth the keeper to punish 
him sundry wise in some of such fashions as yourself 
have spoken of. So is it now, cousin, that God, tha 

T 2 



276 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

chief jailor, as I say, of this broad prison the world, is 

neither cruel nor covetous. And this prison is also so 

sure and so subtly builded, that albeit that it lieth open 

on every side without any wall in the world, yet 

wander we never so far about therein, the way 

to get out at shall we never find : so that he needeth neither 

to collar us, nor to stock us, for any fear of scaping away. 

And therefore (except he see some other cause than our 

only keeping for death), he letteth us in the meanwhile 

(for as long as he list to respite us) walk about in 

the prison, and do therein what we will, using 

?eiatJm B Bia ourself in such wise, as he hath (by reason 

(Son s bill. an( j revelation) from time to time told us his 

pleasure. 

And hereof it cometh, lo, that by reason of this favour 
aaiji> tne for- f r a time we wax, as I said, so wanton, that 
act tins prison. we forget where we be ; weening that we were 
lords at large, whereas we be indeed (if we would well 
consider it) even silly poor wretches in prison. For of 
aafiat canting truth, our very prison this earth is: and yet 
tn prison. thereof we cant us out (partly by covenants 
that we make among us, and part by fraud, and part by 
violence too) divers parts diversely to ourself, and 
change the name thereof from the odious name of prison, 
and call it our own land and livelihood. Upon our 
efiat rule toe prison we build, our prison we garnish with 
fcctp m prison, gold, an( j m ake it glorious. In this prison 
they buy and sell, in this prison they brawl and chide, 
in this prison they run together and fight ; in this they 
dice, in this they card, in this they pipe and revel, in 
this they sing and dance. And in this prison many a 
man reputed right honest, letteth not for his pleasure in 
the dark privily to play the knave. And thus while God 
the king, and our chief jailor too, suffereth us and letteth 
us alone, we ween ourself at liberty, and we abhor the 
state of those whom we call prisoners, taking ourselves 
for no prisoners at all. 

In which false persuasion of wealth, and forgetfulness 
of our own wretched state (which is but a wandering 
about for a while in this prison of the world, till we be 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 277 

brought unto the execution of death), while we forget 
with our folly both ourself and our jail, and our uncler- 
jailors, angels and devils both, and our chief-jailor God 
too, God that forgetteth not us, but seeth us all the 
while well enough, and being sore discontent <8 & sects an 
to see so shrewd rule kept in the jail (beside JjfjpJJg 1 ^ 
that he sendeth the hangman Death, to put fits prisoners. 
to execution here and there, sometimes by the thousands 
at once), he handleth many of the remnant, whose exe 
cution he forbeareth yet unto a farther time, even as 
hardly, and punisheth them as sore in this common 
prison of the world, as there are any handled in those 
special prisons, which for the hard handling used (you 
say) therein, your heart hath in such horror, and so sore 
abhorreth. 

VINCENT. The remnant will I not gainsay; for methink 
I see it so indeed. But that God, our chief jailor in this 
world, useth any such prisonly fashion of punishment, 
that point I must needs deny. For I neither see him lay 
any man in the stocks, or strike fetters on his legs, or so 
much as shut him up in a chamber either. 

ANTONY. Is he no minstrel, cousin, that playeth not 
on a harp? Maketh no man melody, but he that 
playeth on a lute? He may be a minstrel and make 
melody, you wot well, with some other instrument, some 
strange-fashioned, peradventure, that never was seen 
before. God our chief jailor, as himself is invisible, so 
useth he in his punishment invisible instruments : and 
therefore not of like fashion as the other jailors do, but 
yet of like effect, and as painful in feeling, as those. For 
he layeth one of his prisoners with an hot fever, # oVe ffttcrs 
as evil at his ease in a warm bed, as the other & asues, &c. 
jailor layeth his upon the cold ground. He wringeth by 
the brows with a megrim, he collareth them by the neck 
with a quinsy, he bolteth them by the arms with a palsy, 
that they cannot lift their hands to their heads : he ma- 
nacleth their hands with the gout in their fingers, he 
wringeth them by the legs with a cramp in their shins, 
he bindeth them to the bed-board with the crick in 
the back, and layeth one there along, and as unable to 



278 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

rise, as though he lay by the feet fast in the stocks. 
Some prisoner of another jail singeth, clanceth in his two 
fetters, and feareth not his feet for stumbling at a stone ; 
while God s prisoner, that hath but his one foot fettered 
with the gout, lieth groaning on a couch, and quaketh 
and crieth out, if he fear there would fall on his foot no 
more but a cushion. 

And therefore, cousin, as I said, if we consider it well, 
we shall find this general prison of the whole earth a place 
in which the prisoners be as sore handled as they be in 
the other. And even in the other, some make as merry 
too, as there do some in this that are very merry at large 
out of that. And surely, like as we ween ourself out of 
prison now ; so if there were some folk born and brought 
up in a prison, that never came on the wall, nor looked 
out of the door, nor never heard of other world abroad, 
but saw some, for shrewd turns done among themself, 
locked up in straiter room, and heard them only called 
prisoners that were so served, and themself ever called 
free folk at large ; the like opinion would they have there 
of themself then, that we have here of ourself now. And 
when we take ourself for other than prisoners now, as 
verily we be deceived now as those prisoners should there 
be then. 

VINCENT. I cannot, uncle, in good faith, say nay, but 
that you have performed all that you have promised. 
But yet sith that for all this there appeareth no more, 
but as they be prisoners, so be we too ; and that as some 
of them be sore handled, so be some of us too ; sith we wot 
well for all this, that when we come to those prisons, we 
shall not fail to be in a straiter prison than we be now, 
and to have a door shut upon us where we have none 
shut on us now, this shall we be sure of at the least 
wise, if there come no worse ; and then may there come 
worse, you wot well, it cometh there so commonly : 
wherefore for all this, it is yet little marvel though men s 
hearts grudge much thereagainst. 

ANTONY. Surely, cousin, in this you say very well. 
Howbeit somewhat had your words touched me the 
nearer, if I had said that imprisonment were no displea r 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 279 

sure at all. But the thing that I say, cousin, for our 
comfort therein is, that our phantasy frameth us a false 

opinion, by which we deceive ourself, and take 

.r J . ur oton pttan- 

it for sorer than it is. And that do we, by tasp uccetoetti 

the reason that we take ourself before, for us 
more free than we be, and prisonment for a stranger thing 
to us than it is indeed. And thus far forth, as I said, 
have I proved truth in very deed. But now the incom- 
modities that you repeat again (those, 1 say, that are 
proper to the imprisonment of their own nature, that is, 
to wit, to have less room to walk in, and to have the door 
shut upon us) these are, methink, so very slender and 
slight, that in so great a cause as to suffer for God s sake, 
we might be sore ashamed so much as once to think upon 
them. 

Many a good man there is, you wot well, which with 
out force at all, or any necessity wherefore he should so 
do, suflfereth these two things willingly of his own choice, 

with much other hardness more, holy monks. 

fil ^, / Close prison. 

1 mean, or the Charterhouse order, such as never 

pass their cells, but only to the church set fast by their cells, 
and thence to their cells again; and S. Bridget s order; 
and S. Clare s much like, and, in a manner all close reli 
gious houses. And yet ancres and ancresses most specially, 
all whose whole room is less than a merely large chamber; 
and yet are they there as well content many long years 
together, as are other men, and better too, that walk 
about the world. And therefore you may see, that the 
loathness of less room, and the door shut upon us, while 
so many folk are so well content therewith, and will for 
God s love live so to chuse, is but an horror enhanced of 
our own phantasy. 

And indeed I wist a woman once, that came a putts tau 
into a prison to visit of her charity a poor anlimie - 
prisoner there, whom she found in a chamber (to say the 
truth) meetly fair, and at the leastwise it was strong 
enough. But with mats of straw the prisoner had made 
it so warm, both under the feet and round about the 
walls, that in these things for the keeping of his health 
.she was on his behalf glad and very well comforted. But 



280 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

among many other displeasures that for his sake she was 
sorry for, one she lamented much in her mind, that he 
should have the chamber door shut upon him by night, 
and made fast by the jailor that should shut him in. For 
by my troth, quod she, if the door should be shut upon 
me, I would ween it would stop up my breath. At that 
word of hers, the prisoner laughed in his mind ; but he 
durst not laugh aloud, nor say nothing. to her, for some 
what indeed he stood in awe of her, and had his finding 
there much part of her charity for alms ; but he could not 
but laugh inwardly, while he wist well enough that she 
used on the inside to shut every night full surely her own 
chamber to her, both door and windows too, and used not 
to open them of all the long night. And what difference 
then, as to the stopping of the breath, whether they were 
shut up within, or without ? 

And so surely, cousin, these two things that you speak 
of, are neither other of so great weight, that in Christ s 
cause ought to move a Christian man, and the one of the 
twain is so very a childish phantasy, that in a matter 
almost of three chips (but if it were in chance of fire) 
should move any man as much as think thereof. 

As for those other accidents of hard handling therein, so 
mad am I not to say they be no grief; but I say, that our 
fear may imagine them much greater grief than they be. 

And I say, that such as they be, many a man endureth 
them ; yea and many a woman too, that after fare full 
well. 

And then would I wit what determination we take, 
whether for our Saviour s sake to suffer some pain in our 
bodies (sith he suffered in his blessed body so great pains 
for us) or else to give him warning and be at a point, rather 
utterly to forsake him than suffer any pain at all. He 
that cometh in his mind unto this latter point (from which 
kind of unkindness God keep every man !) comfort he 
none needeth, for he will flee the need; and counsel, 
ifgracefiesont ^ ^ ear > ava ^ e th him little, if grace be so far 
counsel adaiietti gone from him. But on the other side, if 
rather than forsake our Saviour, we determine 
ourself to suffer any pain at all ; I cannot then see that 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 281 

the fear of hard handling should any thing stick with us, 
and make us so to shrink, as we would rather a P o& uetmni- 
forsake his faith, than to suffer for his sake so nat(on - 
much as imprisonment; sith the handling is neither such 
in prison, but that many men many years, and many 
women too, live therewith and sustain it, and afterward 
yet fare full well. And yet that it may well fortune, that 
beside the very bare imprisonment, there shall happen us 
no hard handling at all, nor that same haply but for a 
short while neither, and yet beside all this peradventure 
not at all. And specially sith, which of all these ways 
shall be taken with us, lieth all in his will for whom be 
content to take it, and which for that mind of ours 
favoureth us, and will suffer no man to put more pain 
unto us than he well wotteth we shall be well able to 
bear. For he will give us the strength thereto himself, 
as you have heard his promise already by the mouth of 
St. Paul, Fidelis Deus, qui non patietur vos tentari supra 
id quod potestis ferre, sed dat etiam cum tentatione pro- 
ventum ; God is faithful, which suffereth you not to be 
tempted above that you may bear, but giveth also with 
the temptation a way out.* But now, if we have not 
lost our faith already, before we come to forsake it for 
fear; we know very well by our faith, that by the forsaking 
of our faith, we fall into the state to be cast into the 
prison of hell, and that can we not tell how soon. 
But as it may be, that God will suffer us to live a while 
here upon earth, so may it be, that he will throw us 
into that dungeon beneath, before the time that the 
Turk shall once ask us the question. And therefore if 
we fear imprisonment so sore, we be much more than 
mad if we fear not most the far more sore. For out of 
that prison shall no man never get, and in this other shall 
no man abide but a while. In prison was Joseph, while 
his brethren were at large, and yet after were his bre 
thren fain to seek upon him for bread.f In prison was 
Daniel, and the wild lions about him :J and yet even 
there God kept him harmless, and brought him safe out 
again. If we think, that he will not do the like for us, 
* 1 Cor. x. t Gen. xxxix. et xlii. J Daniel vi. 



282 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

let us not doubt but he will do for us either the like, or 
better. For better may he do for us, if he suffer us 
there to die. 

St. John the Baptist was, ye wot well, in prison,* 1 while 
Herod and Herodias sat full merry at the feast, and the 
daughter of Herodias delighted them with her dancing, 
till with her dancing she danced off St. John s head. And 
now sitteth he with great feast in heaven at God s board, 
while Herod and Herodias full heavily sit in hell burning 
both twain, and to make them sport withal, the devil 
Won suet) with the damsel dance in the fire afore them. 
seis C B?n?e a ? Finally, cousin, to finish this piece with, our 
men sijea&s. Saviour was himself taken prisoner for our 
sake, and prisoner was he carried, and prisoner was 
he kept, and prisoner was he brought forth before Annas.-f- 
And prisoner from Annas carried unto Caiphas. f Then 
prisoner was he carried from Caiphas unto Pilate, 
and prisoner was he sent from Pilate to king Herod : 
prisoner from Herod unto Pilate again. || And so kept as 
prisoner to the end of his passion. The time of his 
imprisonment, I grant well, was not long ; but as for 
hard handling (which our hearts most abhor) he had as 
much in that short while, as many men among them all 
in much longer time. And surely then, if we consider of 
what estate he was, and therewith that he was prisoner in 
such wise for our sake, we shall I trow (but if we be worse 
than wretched beasts) never so shamefully play the 
unkind cowards, as for fear of imprisonment sinfully to 
forsake him; nor so foolish neither, as by forsaking of 
him, to give him the occasion again to forsake us, arid 

with the avoiding of an easier prison, fall into 
C5reat foils to i A j * .1 

fleeing an easi a worse, and instead or a prison that cannot 

keep us long, fall into that prison, out of which 



son, o nto 

stoorseanoa we can never come, whereas the short impri- 

loiiQcr. i i TI 

sonment would win us everlasting liberty. 

* Matth. xiv. f Ibidem xxvi. J Johan. xviii. 

Luc. xxiii. || Matth. xxvii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 283 




CHAPTER XXI. 



The Fear of shameful and painful Death. 

INCENT. FORSOOTH, uncle (our Lord 
reward you therefor !) if we feared not 
farther beside imprisonment the terrible 
dart of shameful and painful death ; as for 
imprisonment, I would verily trust, that 
remembering those things, which I have 
here heard of you, rather than I should forsake the faith 
of our Saviour, I would with the help of grace never 
shrink thereat. But now are we come, uncle, with much 
work at the last, unto the last and uttermost point, of the 
dread that maketh incursum et dcemonium meridianum, 
this incursion of this midday devil, this open invasion of 
the Turk, and his persecution against the faith, seem so 
terrible unto men s minds, that although the respect of 
God vanquisheth all the remnant of the troubles that we 
have hitherto perused, as loss of goods, lands and liberty, 
yet when we remember the terror of shameful and painful 
death, that point so suddenly putteth us in oblivion of all 
that should be our comfort, that we feel (all men I fear 
me for the most part) the fervour of our faith wax so cold, 
and our hearts so faint, that we find ourself at the point 
to fall even therefrom for fear. 

ANTONY. To this I say not nay, cousin, ^ tsmtst 
but that indeed in this point is the sore pinch, pinctjtsin 
And yet you see for all this, that even this 
point too taketh increase or minishment of dread after the 
difference of the affections that are before fixed and 



284 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

rooted in the mind, so farforth, that you see some man set 
so much by his worldly substance, that he less feareth the 
loss of his life than the loss of lands : yea some man 
shall you see that abideth deadly torment, and such as 
some other had lever die than endure, rather than he 
would bring out the money that he hath hid. And I 
doubt not but you have heard of many by right authentic 
stories, that (some for one cause, some for another) have 
not letted willingly to suffer death, divers in 
c- divers kinds : and some both with despiteful 
mttcs" !3 0o lso rebuke and painful torment too. And therefore, 
as I say, we may see, that the affection of the 
mind toward the increase or decrease of dread, maketh 
much of the matter. 

Now are the affections of men s minds imprinted by 
affections divers means. One way, by the mean of the 
an?so5e s ?e bodily senses moved by such things, pleasant 
sonatieanu or displeasant, as are outwardly through sensi 
ble worldly things offered and objected unto 
them. And this manner of receiving the impression of 
affections is common unto men and beasts. Another 
manner of receiving affections, is by the mean of reason, 
which both ordinately tempereth those affections, that the 
bodily five wits imprint, and also disposeth a man many 
times to some spiritual virtues, very contrary to those 
affections that are fleshly and sensual. And those reason 
able dispositions be affections spiritual and proper to 
the nature of man, and above the nature of beasts. 
Now as our ghostly enemy the devil enforceth himself 
to make us lean to the sensual affections and beastly; 

u so doth Almighty God of his goodness by his 
4Gr00u motions TT , . . . / 1 . . ,- . , 

from<&o&, ann Holy Spirit inspire us good motions, with aid 

and help of his grace, toward the other affec 
tions spiritual, and by sundry means instructeth our rea 
son to lean unto them, and not only to receive them as 
engendered and planted in our soul, but also in such 
Hotc H)is nccp w ^ se water them with the wise advertisement of 

motnitp, ana godly counsel and continual prayer, that they 
tt)e fruit of con- & J , , , . * J , , , i J 

tmuai prascr, may be habitually radicate, and surely take 

deep root therein. And, after as the one 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 285 

kind of affection or the other beareth the strength in our 
heart, so be we stronger or feebler against the terror of 
death in this cause. And therefore will we, cousin, essay 
to consider, what things there are for which we have cause 
in reason to master that affection fearful and sensual : 
and though we cannot clean avoid it and put it away, yet 
in such wise to bridle it at the least that it run not out so 
far, like an headstrong horse, that spite of our teeth it 
carry us out unto the devil. Let us therefore now consi 
der and weigh well this thing that we dread so sore, that 
is to wit, shameful and painful death. 



CHAPTER XXII. 



Of Death, considered by himself alone, as a bare leaving of 
this life only. 



ND first, I perceive well by these two 
things that you join unto death, that is to 
wit, shameful and painful ; you would 
esteem death so much the less, if he should 
come alone without either shame or pain. 

VINCENT. Without doubt, uncle, a great 
deal the less. But yet though he should come without 
them both by himself; whatsoever I would, I wot well, 
many a man would be for all that, very loath to die. 

ANTONY. That I believe well, cousin, and the more 
pity it is. For that affection happeth in very Cfim Iacfeg 
few, but that either the cause is lack of faith, matte men loatf) 
lack of hope, or finally lack of wit. They that to * ic 




286 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

believe not the life to come after this, and ween themself 
herein wealth, are loath to leave this ; for then they think 
they lose all. And thereof cometh the manifold foolish 
unfaithful words, which are so rife in over many men s 
mouths, This world we know, and the other we 
ScatJenlsJ lanS hnow not, and that some say in sport, and think 
tnfiere sue* in earnest, The devil is not so black as he is 
painted , and, Let him be as black as he ivill, 
he is no blacker than a crow, with many other such foolish 
phantasies of the same sort. 

Some that believe well enough, yet through the lewd- 
ness of living, fall out of good hope of salvation, and then 
though they be loath to die, I very little marvel. Howbeit, 
some that purpose to mend, and would fain have some 
time left them longer to bestow somewhat better, may 
peradventure be loath to die also by-and-by. And that 
ooo- toiiitome manner loathness (albeit a very good will gladly 
meritorious. to die, and to be with God, were in my mind so 
thankful that it were well able to purchase as full remis 
sion both of sin and pain, as peradventure he were like if 
he lived to purchase in many years penance), yet will I 
Some loatfjnrss not say, but that such kind of loathness to die 
tomeaiiotoaoie. ma y b e before God allowable. Some are there 
also, that are loath to die, that are yet very glad to die, 
and long for to be dead. 

VINCENT. That were, uncle, a very strange case. 

ANTONY. The case, I fear me, cousin, falleth not very 
often, but yet sometime it doth. As where there is any 
man of that good mind as St. Paul was, which for the 
longing that he had to be with God, would fain have been 
dead, but for the profit of other folk was content to live 
here in pain, and defer and forbear for the while his ines 
timable bliss in heaven. Desiderium habens dissolvi et 
esse cum Christo, multo magis melius : Permanere autem 
in carne, necessarium propter vos* But of all these kinds 
of folk, cousin, that are loath to die (except the first kind 
only that lacketh faith), there is, I suppose, none but that 
except the fear of shame, or sharp pain joined unto death, 
should be the lot, would else for the bare respect of death 
* Philip, i. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 287 

alone, let to depart hence with good will in this case of 
the faith, well witting by his faith, that his death taken for 
the faith should cleanse him clean of all his sins, and 
send him straight to heaven. And some of these (namely 
the last kind) are such, that shame and pain both joined 
unto death were unlikely to make them loath death, or 
fear death so sore, but that they would suffer death in 
this case with good will, sith they know well that the 
refusing of the faith for any cause in this world (were the 
cause never so good in sight) should yet sever them from 
God, with whom (save for other folks profit) they so 
fain would be. And charity can it not be, for the profit 
of the whole world, deadly to displease him that made it. 

Some are there, I say also, that are loath to die for lack 
of wit, which albeit that they believe the world that is ta 
come, and hope also to come thither, yet they love so 
much the wealth of this world, and such things as delight 
them therein, that they would fain keep them as long as 
ever they might, even with tooth and nail. And when 
they may be suffered in no wise to keep it no longer, but 
that death taketh them therefrom ; then if it may be no 
better, they will agree to be (as soon as they be hence) 
hanced up unto heaven, and be with God by-and-by. 
These folk are as very idiot fools, as he that 
had kept from his childhood a bag full of siidj mots 6c 
cherrystones, and cast such a phantasy thereto, n 
that he would not go from it, for a bigger bag filled full 
of gold. 

These folk fare, cousin, as ^Esop telleth in a fable that 
the snail did. For when Jupiter (whom the a ro erfatle 
poets feign for the great God) invited all the aninoeii ap- e> 
poor worms of the earth unto a great solemn Jl(el1 
feast that it pleased him (I have forgotten upon what 
occasion) upon a time to prepare for them, the snail kept 
her at home and would not come thereat. And when 
Jupiter asked her after, wherefore she came not at his 
feast, where he said she should have been welcome, and 
have fared well, and should have seen a goodly palace, 
and been delighted with many goodly pleasures : she 
answered him, that she loved no place so well as her own 



288 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

bouse. With which answer Jupiter waxed so angry, that 
he said, sith she loved her house so well, she should 
never after go from home, but should ever after bear her 
house upon her back, wheresoever she went. And so 
hath she done ever since, as they say, and at the least 
wise I wot well she doth so now, and hath done as long 
time as I can remember. 

VINCENT. Forsooth, uncle, I would ween the tale were 
not all feigned. For I think verily, that so much of your 
tale is true. 

ANTONY. ^Esop meant by that feigned fable to touch 
the folly of such folk, as so set their phantasy upon some 
small simple pleasure, that they cannot find in their 
hearts to forbear it, neither for the pleasure of a better 
man, nor for the gaining of a better thing. By which 
jFrotoarir affec- their fond froward fashion they sometime fall 
tm. i n great indignation, and take thereby no little 

harm. And surely such Christian folk as by their foolish 
affection, which they have set like the snail upon their own 
house here, this earth, cannot for the loathness of leaving 
that house, find in their heart with their good will to go 
to the great feast that God prepareth in heaven, and of 
his goodness so gently calleth them to, be like, I fear me 
(but if they mend that mind in time), to be served as the 
snail was, and yet much worse too. For they be like to 
torcfctjeu have their house here (the earth), bound fast 
snails! upon their backs for ever, and not walk there 

with where they will, as the snail creepeth about with 
hers, but lie fast bound in the midst with the foul fire of 
hell about them. For into this folly they bring themself 

by their own fault, as the drunken man 
IDrunfearts 1 of- , >. . ,. . f . , , 
fences not ei- bnngeth himself into drunkenness, whereby 

the evil that he doth in his drunkenness is not 
forgiven him for his folly, but to his pain imputed to his 
fault. 

VINCENT. Surely, uncle, this seemeth not unlikely, 
and by their fault they fall into such folly 

SlSUjat follp IS . , f i , -n i i r 11 i i ii- 

tt, to be toorwis indeed. And yet if this be folly indeed, there 
are then some folk fools, that ween themself 
right wise. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 289 

ANTONY. That ween themself wise ? Marry, I never 
saw fool yet that thought himself other than wise. For 
as it is one spark of soberness left in a drunken emitst fools 
head, when he perceiveth himself drunk, and ttftrtttjraseit 
getteth him fair to bed, so if a fool perceive tt 
himself a fool, that point is no folly but a little spark of 
wit. But now, cousin, as for those kind of fools, sith 
they be loath to die for the love that they bear to their 
worldly phantasies, which they should by their death 
leave behind them and forsake ; they that would for that 
cause rather forsake the faith than die, would rather for 
sake it than lose their worldly goods, though there were 
offered them no peril of death at all. And then as touch 
ing those that are of that mind, we have, you wot well, 
said as much as yourself thought sufficient this afternoon 
here before. 

VINCENT. Verily, that is, uncle, very true : and now 
have you rehearsed, as far as I can remember, all the 
other kinds of them that would be loath to die for any 
other respect, than the grievous qualities of shame and 
pain joined unto death. And of all those kinds, except 
the kind of infidelity, whom no comfort can help, but 
counsel only to the attaining of faith, which faith must be 
to the receiving of comfort presupposed and made ready 
before, as you shewed in the beginning of our communi 
cation the first day that we talked of the matter; but 
else, I say, except that one kind, there is none of the 
remnant of those that were before untouched, which were 
likely to forsake their faith in this persecution for the 
fear and dread of death, save for those grievous qualities 
(pain I mean, and shame), that they see well would come 
therewith. And therefore, uncle, I pray you give us some 
comfort against those twain. For in good faith, if death 
should come without them in such a case as this is, where 
by the losing of this life we should find a far better : 
mine own reason giveth me, that save for the other griefs 
going before the change, there would no man that wit 
hath, any thing stick at all. 

ANTONY. Yes (peradventure) suddenly before they 
gather their wits unto them, and therefore well weigh the 



290 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

matter. But they, cousin, that will consider the matter 
well, reason grounded upon the foundation of faith, shall 
shew them very great substantial causes, for which the 
dread of those grievous qualities that they see shall come 
with death (shame, I mean, and pain also) shall not so 
sore abash them, as sinfully to drive them therefrom. 
For the proof whereof let us first begin at the considera 
tion of the shame. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



Of the Shame that is joined with the Death in the Perse 
cution for the Faith. 




can any faithful wise man dread the 
death so sore for any respect of shame, 
when his reason and his faith together may 
shortly make him perceive, that there is 
therein no piece of very shame at. all ? For 
how can that death be shameful that is 
Co me so no glrius? Or how can it be but glorious to 
die for the faith of Christ (if we die both for 
the faith, and in the faith joined with hope 
an( * cnarit y)> while the Scripture so plainly 
saith, Pretiosa in conspectu Domini mors sanc 
torum ejus, Precious is in the sight of God, the death of 
his saints.* Now if the death of his saints be glorious 
in the sight of God, it can never be shameful in very deed, 
how shameful so ever it seem here in the sight of men. 
For here we may see and be sure, that not at the death of 

* Psal, cxv. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 291 

St. Stephen only * (to whom it liked him to shew himself 
with the heaven open over his head) but at the death also 
of every man that so dieth for the faith, God with his 
heavenly company beholdeth his whole passion, and verily 
looketh on.-f- 

Now if it so were, cousin, that you should be brought 
through the broad high street of a great long a gooftlj? com= , 
city, and that all along the way that you were 9ison. 
going, there were on the one side of the way a rabble of 
ragged beggars and madmen that would despise you and 
dispraise you with all the shameful names that they could 
call you, and all the villanous words that they could say 
to you : and that there were then along the other side of 
the same street where you should come by a goodly 
company standing in a fair range, a row of wise and 
worshipful folk, allowing and commending you, more 
than fifteen times as many as that rabble of ragged 
beggars and railing madmen are : would you let your way 
by your will, weening that you went unto 
your shame for the shameful jesting and rail- 
ing of those mad foolish wretches, "or hold on 
your way with a good cheer and a glad heart, 
thinking yourself much honoured by the laud 
and approbation of that other honourable sort? 

VINCENT. Nay by my troth, uncle, there is no doubt, 
but I would much regard the commendation of those 
commendable folk, and not regard of a rush the railing of 
all these ribalds. 

ANTONY. Then, cousin, can there no man that hath 
faith, account himself shamed here by any manner death 
that he suffereth for the faith of Christ, while how vile 
and how shameful soever it seem in the sight here of a 
few worldly wretches, it is allowed and approved for very 
precious and honourable in the sight of God, and all the 
glorious company of heaven, which as perfectly stand and 
behold it, as these peevish people do, and are in number 
more than an hundred to one : and of that hundred, 
every one an hundred times more to be regarded and 
esteemed, than of the other an hundred such whole 
* Act. vii. f 1 Cor. iv. 

u 2 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

rabbles. And now if a man would be so mad, as for fear 
of the rebuke that he should have of such rebukeful beasts, 
he would be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ : then 
with fleeing from a shadow of shame, he should fall into a 
very shame and a deadly painful shame indeed. For then 
hath our Saviour made a sure promise, that he will shew 
himself ashamed of that man before the Father of Heaven 
and all his holy angels, saying : Qui me erubuerit et meos 
sermones, hunc Filius Hominis erubescet, quum venerit in 
majestate sua, et Patris, et sanctorum Angelorum ; He that 
is ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of 
Man be ashamed, when he shall come in the majesty of 
himself, and of his Father, and of the holy Angels.* And 
what manner a shameful shame shall that be 
e ^ en ^ a man s cheeks glow sometimes for 
shame in this world, they will fall on fire for 
shame when Christ shall shew himself ashamed of them 
there. 

To suffer the tiling for Christ s faith, that we worldly 
wretched fools ween were villany and shame, the blessed 
Apostles reckoned for great glory. For they, when they 
were with despite and shame scourged, and thereupon 
commanded to speak no more of the name of Christ, went 
their way from the council joyful and glad that God had 
vouchsafed to do them the worship, to suffer shameful 
despite for the name of Jesu. And so proud were they 
of that shame and villaftous pain put unto them, that for 
all the forbidding of that great council assembled, they 
ceased not every day to preach out the name of Jesu 
still, not in the Temple only, out of which they were fet 
and whipped for the same before, but also to double it 
with, went preaching that name about from house to 
house too. 

J would, sith we regard so greatly the estimation of 
worldly folk, we would among many naughty things that 
they use, regard also some such as are good. For it is a 
another coin- manner among them in many places, that some 
parisnn. by handicraft, some by merchandise, some by 

other kind of living, rise and come forward in the world. 
* Luc. is. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 293 

And commonly folk are in youth set forth to convenient 
masters, under whom they be brought up and grow. But 
now whensoever they find a servant such, as disdaineth to 
do such things as he, that his master, did while he was 
servant himself; that servant every man accounteth for 
a proud unthrift, never like to come to good proof. Let 
us so mark and consider this, and weigh well therewithal, 
that our master Christ, not the master only, but the 
maker too of all this whole world, was not so proud to 
disdain for our sakes the most villanous and most shame 
ful death after the worldly account that then was used in 
the world, and the most despiteful mocking therewith 
joined to most grievous pain, as crowning him with sharp 
thorns that the blood ran down about his face : then they 
gave him a reed in his hand for a sceptre, and kneeled 
down to him, and saluted him like a king in scorn, and 
beat then the reed upon the sharp thorns about his holy 
head. Now saith our Saviour, that the disciple or ser 
vant is not above his Master.* And therefore sith our 
Master endured so many kinds of painful shame, very 
proud beasts may we well think ourself, if we disdain to 
do as our Master did: and whereas he through shame 
ascended into glory,f we would be so mad, that we rather 
will fall into everlasting shame, both before heaven and 
hell, than for fear of a short worldly shame, to follow him 
into everlasting glory. 

* Luc. vi. t Johan. xiii. 



294 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



CHAPTER XXIV. 



Of painful Death to be suffered in the Turk s Persecution 
for the Faith. 

INCENT. IN good faith, uncle, as for the 
shame, ye shall need to take no more 
pain. For I suppose surely, that any man 
that hath reason in his head shall hold 
himself satisfied with this. But of truth, 
uncle, all the pinch is in the pain. For as 
for shame, I perceive well now, a man may with wisdom 
so master it, that it shall nothing move him at all, so far- 
forth, that it is almost in every country become a common 
proverb, that shame is as it is taken. But by God, 
uncle, all the wisdom in this world can never so master 
pain, but that pain will be painful, spite of all the wit in 
this world. 

ANTONY. Truth is it, cousin, that no man can with all 
the reason he hath, in such wise change the nature of 
pain, that in the having of pain he feel it not. For, but 
ifcotopain is no if it be felt, it is pardie, no pain. And that is 
pa(n - the natural cause, cousin, for which a man may 

have his leg stricken off by the knee and grieve him not, 
if his head be off but half an hour before. But reason 
may make a reasonable man (though he would not be so 
foolish as causeless to fall therein) yet upon good causes, 
either of gaining some kind of great profit, or avoiding 
some kind of great loss, or eschewing thereby the suffer 
ing of far greater pain, not to shrink therefrom, and 
refuse it to his more hurt and harm, but for his far 
greater advantage and commodity, content and glad to 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 295 

sustain it. And this doth reason alone in many cases, 
where it hath much less help to take hold of, than it hath 
in this matter of faith. For well you wot, to take a sour 
and a bitter potion is great grief and displeasure, and to 
be lanced and to have the flesh cut is no little pain. Now 
when such things shall be ministered unto a child, or to 
some childish man either, they will by their own wills 
rather let their sickness or their sore grow on to their 
more grief till it become incurable, than abide the pain of 
the cutting in time, and that for faint heart, joined with 
lack of discretion. But a man that hath more wisdom, 
though he would without cause no more abide the pain 
willingly, than would the other : yet sith reason sheweth 
him what good he shall have by the suffering, and what 
harm by the refusing, this maketh him well content, and 
glad also to take it. 

Now then, if reason alone be sufficient to move a man to 
take pain for the gaining of some worldly rest or pleasure, 
and for the avoiding of another pain, though peradven- 
ture more, yet durable but for a short season : why should 
not reason grounded upon the sure foundation of faith, 
and holpen also forward with aid of God s grace (as it is 
ever ready undoubtedly, when folk for a good mind in 
God s name common together thereon, our Saviour saying 
himself: Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo, 
ibi et ego sum in media eorum, Where there are two or 
three gathered together in my name, there am I also even 
in the very midst of them *), why should not then reason, 
I say, thus furthered with faith and grace, be Keag(m fan fto 
much more able to engender in us first such mud) tp tatttj 
an affection, and after by long and deep medi 
tation thereof, so to continue that affection, that it shall 
turn into an habitual fast and deep-rooted purpose of 
patient suffering the painful death of this body here in 
earth, for the gaining of everlasting wealthy life in heaven, 
and avoiding of everlasting painful death in hell ? 

VINCENT. By my troth, uncle, words can I none find 
that should have any reason with them (faith alway pre 
supposed, as you protested in the beginning for a ground), 
* Matth. xviii. 



296 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

words, I say, can I none find, wherewith I might reason 
ably counterplead this that you have said here already. 
But yet I remember the fable that .ZEsop 
telleth of a great old hart that had fled from a 
little bitch, which had made sure after him, and chased 
him so long that she had lost him, and as he hoped, more 
than half given him over. By occasion thereof, having then 
some time to talk, and meeting with another of his fel 
lows, he fell in deliberation with him, what were best for 
him to do, whether to fun on still and flee farther from 
her, or turn again and fight with her. Whereunto the 
other hart advised him to flee no farther lest the bitch 
might hap to find him again at such time, as he should 
with the labour of farther fleeing be fallen out of breath 
and thereby all out of strength too, and so should he be 
killed lying where he could not stir him, whereas if he 
would turn and fight he were in no peril at all. For the 
man with whom she hunteth is more than a mile behind 
her, and she is but a little body scant half so much as 
thou, and thy horns may thrust her through before she can 
touch thy flesh by more than ten times her tooth length. 
Now by my troth, quod the other hart, I like your 
counsel well, and methink that the thing is even soothly 
such as you say. But I fear me, when I hear once that 
urchin bitch bark, I shall fall to my feet and forget alto 
gether. But yet an you will go back with me, then 
methink we shall be strong enough against that one 
bitch, between us both. Whereunto the other hart agreed, 
and so they both appointed them thereon. (Here it must 
ttn n be known of some man that can skill of hunt 
ing, whether that we mistake not our terms. 
For then are we utterly ashamed, ye wot well. And I am 
so conning, that I cannot tell whether among them a bitch 
be a bitch or no, but as I remember, she is no bitch, but a 
brach. This is an high point in a low house. Beware of 
barking, for there lacketh another hunting term. At a fox 
it is called crying. I wot not what they call it at an hart, 
but it shall make no matter.)* But even as they were 

* What is within the parentheses does not occur in the folio edition of the 
author s works. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 297 

about to bask them forward to it, the bitch had found the 
foot again, and on she came yearning toward the place. 
Whom as soon as the harts heard, they go to both twain 
apace. And in good faith, uncle, even so I fear me, it 
would fare by myself and many other too, which < r eat darts flee 
though we think it reason that you say, and in fwt atitcf). 
our minds agree that we should do as you say, yea and do 
peradventure think also, that we would indeed do as you 
say: yet as soon as we should once hear these hell 
hounds, these Turks come yelping and bawling upon us, 
our hearts should soon fall as clean from us, as those other 
harts flee from the hounds. 

ANTONY. Cousin, in those days that ^Esop speaketh 
of, though those harts and other brute beasts more, had (if 
he say sooth) the power to speak and talk, and in their talk 
ing, power to talk reason too : yet to follow reason, and rule 
theinself thereby, thereto had they never given them the 
power. And in good faith, cousin, as for such things as 
pertain towards the conducting of reasonable men to 
salvation, I think without the help of grace, a eason toit * flttt 
men s reasoning shall do little more. But then grace can &o 
are we sure, as I said afore, that as for grace, 
if we desire it, God is at such reasoning alway <Sracetseber 
present, and very ready to give it : and but if r 
that men will afterward willingly cast it away, he is ever 
still as ready to keep it, and from time to time glad to 
increase it. And therefore biddeth us our Lord by the 
mouth of the prophet, that we should not be 
like such brutish and unreasonable beasts, as msiSSfe^ana 
were those harts, and as are horses and mules. 5?asts Utfs * 
Nolite fieri sicut equus et mulus, quibus non est 
intellectus, Be not like a horse and a mule, that hath no 
understanding.^ 

And therefore, cousin, let us never dread but that if we 
will apply our minds to the gathering of comfort and 
courage against such persecutions, and hear reason, and 
let it sink into our heart, and call it not out again, vomit it 
not up, nor even there choke it up and stifle it an Eim sur(e(t 
with pampering in and stuffing up our stomachs 

* Psal. xxxi. 



298 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

with a surfeit of worldly vanities : God shall so well 
work therewith, that we shall find great strength therein, 
and not in such wise have all such shameful coward- 
ous hearts, as to forsake our Saviour, and thereby lose 
our own salvation, and run into eternal fire, for fear of 
death joined therewith, though bitter and sharp, yet short 
for all that, and in a manner a momentary pain. 

VINCENT. Every man, uncle, naturally grudgeth at 
pain, and is very loath to come to it. 

ANTONY. That is very truth, nor no man biddeth any 
man to go run into it. But that if he be taken, and may 
not flee, then we say that reason plainly telleth us, that we 
should rather suffer and endure the loss and the shorter 
here, than in hell the sorer, and so far the longer too. 

VINCENT. I heard, uncle, of late, where such a reason 
was made, as you make me now, which reason seemeth 
undoubted and inevitable unto me : yet heard I late, as I 
say, a man answer it thus. He said, that if a man in his 
persecution should stand still in the confession of his 

faith, and thereby fall into painful tormentry, 
Sn objection, i i , j , i_^,i_i_ 

he might peradventure hap for the sharpness 

and bitterness of the pain, to forsake the Saviour even in 
the midst, and die there with his sin, and so be damned 
for ever ; whereas by the forsaking of the faith in the 
beginning betime, and for the time, and yet not but in 
word neither, keeping it still nevertheless in his heart, a 
man may save himself from that painful death, and after 
ask mercy, and have it, and live long, and do many good 
deeds, and be saved as St. Peter was. 

ANTONY. That man s reason, cousin, is like a three- 
a totterin footed stool, so tottering on every side, that 
stool tfiat mans whoso sit thereon may soon take a foul fall. 
loto> For those are the three feet of this tottering 
stool : fantastical fear, false faith, false flattering hope. 
Fantastical First, this is a fantastical fear, that the man 
fear. conceiveth that it should be perilous to stand 

in the confession of the beginning, lest he might after 
wards through the bitterness of pain fall to the forsaking, 
and so die there in the pain therewith out of hand, and 
thereby be utterly damned : as though that, if a man by 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 299 

pain were overcome, and so forsook his faith, God could 
not, or would not, as well give him grace to repent again, 
and thereupon give him forgiveness, as him that forsook 
his faith in the beginning, and did set so little by him, 
that he would rather forsake him than suffer for his sake 
any manner pain at all : as though the more pain that a 
man taketh for God s sake, the worse would God be to 
him. If this reason were not unreasonable, then should 
our Saviour not have said, as he did : Nolite timere eos 
qui occidunt corpus, et post hcec non habent amplius quid 
faciant, Fear not them that may kill the body, and after 
that have nothing that they can do farther.* For he should 
by this reason have said : Dread and fear them that may 
slay the body ; for they may by the torment of painful 
death (but if thou forsake me betimes in the beginning 
and so save thy life, and get of me thy pardon and for 
giveness after) make thee peradventure forsake me too 
late, and so be damned for ever. The second foot of 
this tottering stool, is a false faith. For it is jpaiseanu 
but a feigned faith for a man to say to God fe fl nrtl fa(t $- 
secretly that he believeth him, trusteth him, and loveth 
him ; and then openly, where he should to God s honour 
tell the same tale, and thereby prove that he doth so, 
there to God s dishonour (as much as in him is) flatter 
God s enemies, and do them pleasure and worldly wor 
ship, with the forsaking of God s faith before the world : 
and he is either faithless in his heart too, or else wotteth 
well that he doth God this despite, even before his own 
face. For except he lack faith, he cannot but know that 
our Lord is everywhere present ; and while he so shame 
fully forsaketh him, full angrily looketh on. 

The third part of this tottering stool, is false jr a j se flatter- 
flattering hope. For sith the thing that he doth, in a ftope. 
when he forsaketh his faith for fear, is by the mouth of God 
(upon the pain of eternal death) forbidden, though the 
goodness of God forgiveth many folk the fault, yet to be 
the bolder in offending for the hope of forgiving,, is a very 
false pestilent hope, wherewith a man flattereth himself 
toward his own destruction. He that in a sudden braid 
* Luc. xii. Matth. x. 



300 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

a latofui dope. ^ r ^ ear > or other affection unadvisedly falleth, 

and after in labouring to rise again, comforteth 

himself with hope of God s gracious forgiveness, walketh 

in the ready way toward his salvation. But he that, with 

the hope of God s mercy to follow, doth encourage him- 

a Dangerous self to sin, and therewith oflfendeth God first (I 

tope, have no power to shut the hand of God from 

giving out his pardon where he list, nor would, if I could, 
but rather help to pray therefor, but yet) I very sore fear, 
that such a man may miss the grace to require it in such 
effectual wise, as to have it granted. Nor I cannot sud 
denly now remember any sample or promise expressed in 
Holy Scripture, that the offender in such a kind shall have 
the grace offered after in such wise to seek for pardon, 
that God hath (by his other promises of remission pro 
mised to the penitents) bound himself to grant it. But 
this kind of presumption under pretext of 

^resumption, j^^ seemet h ra ther to draw near on the one 
side as despair doth on the other side, toward the 
Sfn against tjje abominable sin of blasphemy against the 
&oip@ijost. Holy Ghost. Against which sin concerning 
either the impossibility, or, at the least, the great diffi 
culty of forgiveness, our Saviour hath shewed himself in 
the twelfth chapter of St. Matthew, and in the third of 
St. Mark, where he saith, that blasphemy against the 
Holy Ghost shall never be forgiven, neither in this world, 
nor in the world to come.* 

f >t Jeter s ^ n ^ wnere the man that you spake of, took 
fan ana rising in his reason a sample of St. Peter which for 
sook our Saviour, and gat forgiveness after; 
let him consider again on the other side, that he forsook 
him not upon the boldness of any such sinful trust, but 
was overcome and vanquished upon a sudden fear. And 
yet by that forsaking St. Peter wan but little. For he did 
but delay his trouble for a little while, you wot well. For 
beside that he repented forthwith very sore that he so 
had done, and wept therefor by-and-by full bitterly, he 
came forth at the Whitsuntide ensuing, and confessed 
his Master again,*)* and soon after that he was imprisoned 
* Matth. xii. Marc. iii. f Act. ii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 301 

therefor : and not ceasing; so, was thereupon scourged 
for the confession of his faith, and yet after that impri 
soned again afresh ; and being from thence delivered, 
stinted not to preach on still, until that after manifold 
labours, marvels, and troubles, he was at Rome crucified, 
and with cruel torment slain.* And in likewise I ween, I 
might in a manner well warrant that there shall no 
man (which denieth our Saviour once, and after attaineth 
remission) scape through that denying, one penny the 
better cheap, but that he shall, ere he come in heaven, 
full surely pay therefor. 

VINCENT, He shall peradventure, uncle, work it out 
afterward, in the fruitful works of penance, prayer, and 
almsdeeds done in true faith, and due charity, and attain 
in such wise forgiveness well enough. 

ANTONY. All his forgiveness goeth, cousin, you see 
well, but by perhaps. But as it may be, perhaps yea : so 
it may be, perhaps nay. And where is he then ? And 
yet you wot well, by no manner hap he shall never hap 
finally to scape from death, for fear of which he forsook 
his faith. 

VINCENT. No, but he may die his natural death, and 
scape that violent death, and then he saveth himself 
from much pain, and so winneth therewith much ease. 
For evermore a violent death is painful. 

ANTONY. Peradventure he shall not avoid a violent 
death thereby. For God is without doubt displeased, 
and can bring him shortly to a death as violent by some 
other way. Howbeit, I see well that you reckon that 
whoso dieth a natural death, dieth like a wanton even all 
at his ease. You make me remember a man that was 
once in a galley subtle with us on the sea, 

which while the sea was sore wrought, arid the 

i i . , . 

waves rose very high, and he came never on 

the sea afore, and lay tossed hither and thither, the poor 
soul groaned sore, and for pain he thought he would very 
fain be dead, and ever he wished, Would God I were on 
land, that I might .die in rest! The waves so troubled 
him there, with tossing him up and down, to and fro, that 

* Act.v. 



302 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

he thought that trouble letted him to die, because the 
waves would not let him rest : but if he might get once 
to land, he thought he should then die there even at his 
ease. 

VINCENT. Nay, uncle, this is no doubt, but that 
death is to every man painful. But yet is not the 
natural death so painful, as the violent, 
f natural ann ANTONY. By my troth, cousin, methinketh 
btoient utatj). t | iat t [ ie d ea th which men call commonly 
natural, is a violent death to every man whom it fetcheth 
hence by force against his will, and that is every man 
which, when he dieth, is loath to die, and fain would yet 
live longer if he might. Howbeit, how small the pain is 
in the natural death, cousin, fain would I wit who hath 
told you. As far as I can perceive, those folk that com 
monly depart of their natural death, have ever one 
C8e pain of disease and sickness or other, whereof if the 
natural ncatf). p a j n o f t j ie w hole W eek or twain, in which they 
lie pining in their bed, were gathered together into short 
a time, as a man hath his pain that dieth a violent death ; 
it would, I ween, make double the pain that it is. So 
that he that naturally dieth, ofter suffereth more pain 
than less, though he suffer it in a longer time. And then 
would many a man be more loath to suffer so long in 
lingering pain, than with a sharper to be sooner rid. And 
yet lieth many a man more days than one in well near as 
great pain continually, as is the pain that with the 
violent death riddeth the man in less than half an hour; 
except a man would ween that whereas the pain is great, 
to have a knife cut his flesh in the outside from the skin 
inward, the pain would be much less, if the knife might 
on the inside begin, and cut from the midst outward. 
Some we hear in their deathbeds complain, that they 
think they feel sharp knives cut a-two their heartstrings. 
Some cry out and think they feel within the brainpan, 
their head pricked even full of pins. And they that lie 
in a pleurisy think that every time they cough, they feel 
a sharp sword swap them to the heart. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 303 




CHAPTER XXV. 



The consideration of the Pain of Hell, in which we fall, if 
we forsake our Saviour, may make us set all the painful 
death of the world at right nought. 



OWBEIT, what should we need to make 
any such comparison between the natural 
death and the violent? For the matter 
that we be in hand with here may put it 
out of doubt, that he which for fear of 
the violent death forsaketh the faith of 
Christ, putteth himself in the peril to find his natural 
death more painful a thousand times. For his natural 
death hath his everlasting pain so suddenly knit unto it, 
that there is not one moment of an hour e ebcriastfng 
between, but the end of the one is the begin- tteat * anlj ? a n - 
ning of the other that after shall never have end. And 
therefore was it not without great cause, that Christ gave 
us so good warning before, when he said as St. Luke 
rehearseth : Dico vobis amicis meis, ne terreamini ab iis 
qui occidunt corpus, et post hcec non habent amplius quid 
faciant. Ostendam autem vobis quern timeatis. Timete 
eum, qui postquam occiderit, habet potestatem mittere in 
gehennam : Ita dico vobis, hunc timete, I sav to you that 
are my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, 
and which when that is done, are able to do no more, 
But I shall shew you, whom you shall fear : Fear him, 
that when he hath killed, hath in his power farther to 
cast him, whom he killeth, into everlasting fire : So I 



304 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

say to you, be afraid of him.* God meaneth not here, 
that we should nothing dread at all any man that can but 
kill the body, but he meaneth that we should not in such 
wise dread any such, that we should for dread of them, 
displease him that can everlastingly kill both body and 
soul with a death ever dying, and that shall yet never die. 
And therefore he addeth and repeateth in the end again, 
the fear that we should have of him, and saith : Ita dico 
vobis, hunc timete, So I say to you, fear him. 

Oh, good God ! cousin, if a man would well weigh 
these words and let them sink, as they should do, down 
deep into his heart, and often bethink himself thereon, it 
would, I doubt not, be able enough, to make us se-t at. 
nought all the great Turk s threats, and esteem him not a 
straw, but well content to endure all the pain that all the 
world could put upon us (for so short while as all they 
were able to make us dwell therein) rather than by the 
shrinking from those pains (though never so sharp, yet 
but short) to cast ourself into the pain of hell an hundred 
thousand times more intolerable, and whereof there shall 

a toofuiJeatt) never come an en d- A woful death is that 
death, in which folk shall evermore be dying, 
and never can once be dead. Whereof the Scripture saith, 
Desiderabunt mori, et mors fugiet ab eis, They shall call, 
and cry for death, and death shall flee from them.f Oh, 
good Lord, if one of them were now put in the choice of 
both, they would rather suffer the whole year together 
the most terrible death that all the Turks in Turkey 
could devise, than the death that they lie in for the 
space of half an hour. In how wretched folly fall then 
these faithless or feeble faithed folk, that to avoid the 
pain so far the less and so short, fall in the stead thereof 
into pain a thousand thousand times more horrible, and 
of which terrible torment, they be sure they shall never 
have end ! This matter, cousin, lacketh, as I believe, 
but either full faith or sufficient minding. For I think, on 
my faith, if we have the grace verily to believe it, and 
often to think well thereon, the fear of all the Turk s 
persecution (with all that this midday devil were able to 
* Luc. xii. f Apocal. ix. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 305 

make them do in the forcing us to forsake our faith) 
should never be able to turn us. 

VINCENT. By my troth, uncle, I think it is as you say. 
For sure if we would as oft think on these pains of hell, 
as we be very loath to do, and seek us peevish pastimes of 
purpose to put such heavy things out of our thought : 
this one point alone were able enough to make, I think, 
many a martyr. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



The Consideration of the Joys of Heaven should make us for 
Christ s sake abide and endure any painful Death. 

NTONY. FORSOOTH, cousin, if we were 
such as we should be, I would scant for 
very shame (in exhortation to the keeping 
of Christ s faith) speak of the pains of 
hell. I would rather put us in mind of the 
joys of heaven, the pleasure whereof we 
should be more glad to get, than we should be to flee and 
scape all the pains in hell. But surely God in that thing, 
wherein he may seem most rigorous, is marvellous merci 
ful to us, and that is (which many men would little ween) 
in that he provided hell. For I suppose very 0oB merc(ful 
surely, cousin, that many a man and woman m proowng 
too, of whom there sit some now, and more 
shall hereafter sit, full gloriously crowned in heaven, had 
they not first been afraid of hell, would toward heaven 
never have set foot forward. But yet undoubtedly were 
it so, that we could as well conceive in our hearts the 




306 



A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 



marvellous joys of heaven, as we conceive the fearful, 
pains of hell (howbeit sufficiently we can conceive nei 
ther), but if we could in our imagination draw as much 
toward the perceiving of the one, as we may toward the 
consideration of the other, we would not fail to be far 
more moved and stirred to the suffering for Christ s sake 
in the world, for the winning of those heavenly joys, than 
for the eschewing of all these infernal pains. But foras 
much as the fleshly pleasures be far less pleasant, than 
the fleshly pains are painful ; therefore we fleshly folk 
that are so drowned in these fleshly pleasures, and in the 
desire thereof, that we can have almost no manner savour 
or taste in any pleasure spiritual, have no cause to marvel 
that our fleshly affections be more abated and refrained 
by the dread and terror of hell, than affections 
sures let tfj?" spiritual imprinted in us, and pricked forward 
J5JiJ fojl. w " with the desire and joyful hope of heaven. 
Howbeit if we would somewhat set less by the 
filthy voluptuous appetites of the flesh, and would by 
withdrawing from them, with help of prayer through the 
grace of God, draw nearer to the secret inward pleasure 
of the spirit, we should by the little sipping that our 
hearts should have here now, and that sudden taste 
thereof, have such an estimation of the incomparable and 
uncogitable joy, that we shall have (if we will) in heaven 
by the very full draught thereof, whereof it is written, 
Satiabor quum apparuerit gloria tua, I shall be satiate, 
satisfied or fulfilled, when thy glory, good Lord, shall 
appear,* that is to wit, with the fruition of the sight of 
God s glorious majesty face to face : that the desire, 
expectation, and heavenly hope thereof, shall more 
encourage us, and make us strong to suffer and sustain 
for the love of God and salvation of our soul, than ever 
we could be moved to suffer here worldly pain by the 
terrible dread of all the horrible pains that damned 
wretches have in hell. 

Wherefore in the meantime for lack of such experi 
mental taste, as God giveth here sometime to some of his 
special servants, to the intent we may draw toward the 

* Psal. xvi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 307 

spiritual exercise too, for which spiritual exercise God with 
that gift, as with an earnest-penny of their whole reward 
after In heaven, comforteth them here in earth : let us not 
so much with looking to have described what manner of 
joys they shall be, as with hearing what our Lord telleth 
us in Holy Scripture,* how marvellous great they shall be, 
labour by prayer to conceive in our hearts such a fervent 
longing for them, that we may for attaining to them, 
utterly set at nought all fleshly delight, all worldly plea 
sures, all earthly losses, all bodily torments and pain. 
Howbeit some things are there in Scripture, expressed of 
the manner of the pleasures and joys that we caetojsot 
shall have in heaven, as where, Fulgebuntjusti ^ aden - 
sicut sol, et qui erudiunt ad justitiam, tanquam scintilla in 
arundineto discurrunt, Righteous men shall shine as 
the sun, and shall run about like sparks of fire among 
reeds.f 

Now tell some carnal-minded man of this -_., 

ill i 1*1 VLaTUal mm Set 

manner of pleasure, and he shall take little little t>s tfie 
pleasure therein, and say he careth not to have t 
his flesh shine, he, nor like a spark of fire to skip about 
in the sky. Tell him, that his body shall be impassible, 
and never feel harm : yet if he think then therewith, that 
he shall never be an hungered, nor athirst, and shall 
thereby forbear all his pleasure of eating and drinking, and 
that he shall never have lust to sleep, and thereby lose 
the pleasure that he was wont to take in slugging, and 
that men and women shall there live . together as angels, 
without any manner mind or motion unto the carnal act 
of generation, and that he shall thereby not use there his 
old filthy voluptuous fashion, he will say, he ffioto maHp sap 
is better at ease already, and would not give sonoto - 
this world for that. For as St. Paul saith, Animalis 
homo nonpercipit ea qua sunt SpiritusDei, stultitia enim est 
illi, A carnal man feeleth not the things that be of the 
Spirit of God, for it is foolishness to him.J But when the 
time shall come, that these foul filthy pleasures shall be 
so taken from him, that it shall abhor his $ n softness a 
heart once to think on them, whereof every lcasurcs ccasf - 
* Esai. Ixiv. ; 1 Cor. iv. t Sap. iii. J 1 Cor. ii. 

X 2 



308 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

man hath among a certain shadow of experience in the 
fervent grief of a sore painful sickness, while the stomach 
can scant abide to look upon any meat, and as for the 
acts of the other foul filthy lust, is ready to vomit, if it 
happen him to think thereon. When men shall, I say, 
after this life, feel that horrible abomination in their heart 
at the remembrance of these voluptuous pleasures (of 
which abomination sickness hath here a shadow) for 
e frttnessasiia- wmcn voluptuous pleasures he would here 
Bob of "i)eii= be loath to change with the joys of heaven. 

When he shall, I say, after this life have his 
fleshly pleasures in abomination, and shall of those 
heavenly joys, which he set here so little by, have there 
a glimmering, though far from a perfect sight : oh, good 
God ! how fain will he then be, with how good will and 
how glad will he then give this whole world, if it were 
his, to have the feeling of some little part of these joys ! 
And therefore let us all that we can, conceive now such 
delight in the consideration of them as we should have 
often in our eyes by reading, often in our ears by hearing, 
often in our mouths by rehearsing, often in our hearts 
by meditation and thinking upon those joyful words of 
Holy Scripture, by which we learn, how wonderful huge 
and great those spiritual heavenly joys are, of which 
our carnal hearts have so feeble and so faint a feeling, 
and our dull worldly wits so little able to conceive so 
much as a shadow of the right imagination. A shadow 
I say : for as for the thing as it Ts, that cannot only- 
no fleshlv carnal phantasy conceive, but over that, no 
spiritual ghostly person (peradventure) neither, that here 
is living still in this world. For sith the very substance 
essential of all the celestial joys standeth in blessed 
beholding of the glorious Godhead face to face, there may 
no man presume or look to attain it in this life. For 
God hath so said himself, Non videbit me homo, et vivet, 

There shall no man here living, behold me.* 
<aofc, not tn oto And therefore we may well know, that for the 
" state of this life, we be not only shut from the 

fruition of the bliss of heaven, but also that 

* Exod. xxxiii. 



AGAINlVT TRIBULATION. 309 

the very best man living here upon earth (the best man, 
I mean, being no more but a man) cannot, I ween, attain 
the right imagination thereof, but those that are very 
virtuous, are yet in a manner as far therefrom, as the born 
blind man from the right imagination of colours. 

The words that St. Paul rehearseth of the prophet 
Esay prophesying of Christ s incarnation, may properly 
be verified by the joys of heaven : Oculus non vidit, nee 
auris audivit, nee in cor hominis ascendit, quce prceparavit 
Deus diligentibus se* For surely for the state of this 
world, the joys of heaven are by man s mouth unspeak 
able, to man s ears not audible, to man s heart uncogita- 
ble, so farforth excel they all that ever any man can by 
natural possibility think on. And yet where the joys of 
heaven be such, prepared for every saved soul, our Lord 
saith yet by the mouth of St. John, that he will give his 
holy martyrs, that suffer for his sake, many a 

i i i / TI i i IT _. Utto iin 5 jjaOE 

special kind or joy. ror he saith, Vincenti special jmo- 
dabo edere de ligno vita, To him that over- Batidcs< 
cometh I shall give him to eat of the tree of life.f And 
also he that overcometh shall be clothed in white 
clothes, and I shall confess his name before my Father, 
and before his angels. And also he saith, Fear none of 
those things that thou shalt suffer, &c. ; but be faithful 
unto the death, and I shall give thee the crown of life. 
He that overcometh, shall not be hurt of the second 
death. He saith also, Vincenti dabo manna absconditum, 
et dabo illi calculum conditum, et in calculo nomen novum 
scriptum, quod nemo scit nisi qui accipit, To him that 
overcometh, will I give manna secret and hid. And I 
will give him a white suffrage, and in his suffrage a new 
name written, which no man knoweth but he that 
receiveth it. They used of old in Greece (where St. John 
did write) to elect and choose men unto honourable 
rooms, and every man s assent was called his asugra 
suffrage, which in some places was by the 
voices, in some places by hands, and one kind of those 
suffrages was by certain things that are in Latin called 
calculi, because that in some places they used thereto 
* Isaise vi. ; 1 Cor.ii. f Apocal. ii. 



310 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

round stones. Now saith our Lord that unto him which 
overcometh he will give a white suffrage.* For those 
that wore white signified approving, as the black signified 
reproving. And in these suffrages did they use to write the 
name of him to whom they gave their voice. And now 
saith our Lord, that to him that overcometh he will in 
the suffrage give him a new name, which no man knoweth 
but he that receiveth it. He saith also : He that over- 
i- cometb, I will make him a pillar in the temple 

of my God, and he shall go no more out 

thereof. And I shall write upon him the name 
of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new 
Jerusalem which descendeth from heaven from my God, 
and I shall write upon him also my new name. If we 
would dilate and were able to declare these special gifts, 
with yet other more specified in the second and third 
chapter of the Apocalypse ; there would it appear how 
aiitjese tops f ar tnese heavenly joys shall surmount above 
jassaajDoruis all the comfort that ever came in the mind of 

any man living here upon earth. The blessed 
apostle St. Paul, that suffered so many perils, and so 
many passions, he that saith of himself that he hath been 
In laborious pluribus, in carceribus abundantius, in plagis, 
frc. In many labours, in prison ofter than other, in 
stripes above measure, at point of death often times. Of 
the Jews had I five times forty stripes save one : thrice 
have I been beaten with rods, once was I stoned : thrice 
have I been in shipwreck : a day and a night was I in the 
depth of the sea : in my journies oft have I been in peril 
of floods, in peril of thieves, in perils by the Jews, in 
perils by the Paynims, in perils in the city, in perils in 
desert, in perils in the sea, in perils by false brethren, in 
labour and misery, in many nights watch, in hunger and 
thirst, in many fastings, in cold and nakedness, beside 
these things that are outward my daily instant labour, I 
mean my care and solicitude about all the churches.t And 
yet saith he more of his tribulations, which for length I let 
pass. This blessed apostle, I say, for all these tribula 
tions that himself suffered in the continuance of so many 

* Apocal. iii. f 2 Corf xi. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 

years, calleth yet all the tribulations of this world but 
light and short as a moment in respect of the weighty 
glory that it after this world winneth us. Id enim quod 
in prcesenti est momentaneum, et leve tribulationis nostrce, 
supra modum in sublimitate ceternum glorice pondus opera- 
tur in nobis, non contemplantibus nobis quce videntur, 
sed quce non videntur. Qua enim videntur, temporalia 
sunt, quce autem non videntur, ceterna sunt, This same 
short and momentary tribulation of ours that is in this 
present time, worketh within us the weight of glory 
above measure in sublimitate on high, we beholding not 
those things that we see, but those things that we see 
not. For these things that we see, be but temporal things : 
but those things that are not seen are eternal.* Now 
to this great glory can there no man come headless. Our 
head is Christ,f and therefore to him must we be joined, 
and as members of his must we follow him, if we will 
come thither. He is our guide to guide us thither, and is 
entered in before us. And he therefore that will enter in 
after, Debet sicut ille ambulavit, et ipse ambu- ^ ^ ^ 
lare, The same way that Christ walked, the lotoVn tp tntm= 
same way must he walk.J And what was the Jf*JJJ f a ;y e n * ot 
way by which he walked into heaven, himself ^J^^j 
sheweth what way it was that his Father had 
provided for him, where he said unto the two disciples, 
going toward the castle of EmausJ Nonne hcec oportuit 
pati Christum, et ita intrare in gloriam suam ? Know ye 
not that, Christ must suffer passion, and by that way 
enter into his kingdom ? Who can for very shame 
desire to enter into the kingdom of Christ a notable saj?- 
with ease, when he himself entered not into (nfll 
his own without pain. 

* 2 Cor. iv. f Ephes. v. J 1 Joaan. ii. Luc. ult. 



312 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 




THE LAST CHAPTER. 



The Consideration of the painful Death of Christ is sufficient 
to make us content to suffer painful Death for his sake. 

URELY, cousin, as I said before, in bear 
ing the loss of worldly goods, in suffering 
of captivity, thraldom, and imprisonment, 
and in the glad sustaining o f worldly 
shame, that if we would in all these points 
deeply ponder the sample of our Saviour 
himself, it were of itself alone sufficient to encourage every 
kind Christian man and woman, to refuse none of all those 
calamities for his sake. So say I now for 
?oo{ f ies a cr?p- painful death also, that if we could and would 
pains* (KiJrtStS w ^ ^ ue compassion conceive in our minds a 
right imagination and remembrance of Christ s 
bitter painful passion,* of the many sore bloody strokes 
that the cruel tormentors with rods and whips gave him 
upon every part of his holy tender body, the scornful 
crown of sharp thorns beaten down upon his holy head, 
so strait and so deep, that on every part his blessed blood 
issued out and streamed down his lovely limbs drawn 
and stretched out upon the cross, to the intolerable pain 
of his forbeaten and sore beaten veins and sinews, 
new feeling with the cruel stretching and straining pain, 
far passing any cramp in every part of his blessed body 
at once : then the great long nails cruelly driven with 
hammers through his holy hands and feet, and in this 
horrible pain lift up and let hang with the peise of all his 
* Johan. xix. ; Matth. xxvii. ; Marc. xv. ; Luc. xxiii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 

body, bearing down upon the painful wounded places, so 
grievously pierced with nails, and in such torment (with 
out pity, but not without many despites) suffered to be 
pined and pained the space of more than three long hours, 
till himself willingly gave up unto his Father his holy 
soul: after which yet to shew the mightiness of their 
malice, after his holy soul departed, they pierced his holy 
heart with a sharp spear, at which issued out the holy 
blood and water whereof his holy sacraments have ines 
timable secret strength : if we would, I say, remember 
these things in such wise, as would God we would, I 
verily think and suppose that the consideration of his 
incomparable kindness could not in such wise fail to 
inflame our key-cold hearts, and set them on fire in his 
love, that we should find ourself not only content, but 
also triad and desirous, to suffer death for his sake, that 
so marvellous lovingly letted not to sustain so far passing 
painful death for ours. 

Would God we would here to the shame of our cold 
affection again toward God, for such fervent love, and 
inestimable kindness of God toward us : would God we 
would, I say, but consider what hot affection many of 
these fleshly lovers have borne, and daily do jpiessip loners 
bear to those upon whom they doat ! How a 
many of them have not letted to jeopard their lives, and 
how many have willingly lost their lives indeed without 
either great kindness shewed them before (and afterward, 
you wot well, they could nothing win), but even that it 
contented and satisfied their mind, that by their death 
their lover should clearly see how faithfully they loved? 
The delight whereof, imprinted in their phantasy, not 
assuaged only, but counterpeised also (they thought) all 
their pain. Of these affections with the wonderful dolor 
ous effects following thereon, not only old written stories, 
but over that I think in every country Christian and 
heathen both, experience giveth us proof enough. And is 
it not then a wonderful shame for us for the dread of 
temporal death, to forsake our Saviour that willingly 
suffered so painful death, rather than he would forsake 
us, considering that beside that he shall for our suffering 



314 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

so highly reward us with everlasting wealth ? Oh ! if he 
that is content to die for her love, of whom he looketh 
mi pe lobers after for no reward, and yet by his death goeth 
looit on tfjis. f r om her, might by his death be sure to come 
to her, and ever after in delight and pleasure to dwell 
with her : such a lover would not let here to die for her 
twice. And how cold lovers be we then unto God, if 
rather than die for him once we will refuse him and for 
sake him for ever that both died for us before, and hath 
also provided that if we die here for him, we shall in 
heaven everlastingly both live and also reign with him. 
For, as St. Paul saith, if we suffer with him, we shall 
reign with him.* 

liaanj? fife tou= How many Romans, how many noble cou- 
itngte for fame. ra g es o f other sundry countries have willingly 
given their own lives, and suffered great deadly pains, 
and very painful deaths for their countries, and the 
respect of winning by their deaths the only reward of 
worldly renown and fame? And should we then shrink 
to suffer as much for eternal honour in heaven and ever- 
fistinate fiere- ^ as ^ m g gl r y ? The devil hath some also so 
ties ate for obstinate heretics that endure wittingly painful 
at{joi?cl &o nlr death for vain glory : and is it not more than 
sgnfe for true s hame, that Christ shall see his Catholics for 
sake his faith, rather than suffer the same for 
heaven and very glory ? Would God, as I many times 
have said, that the remembrance of Christ s kindness in 
suffering his passion for us, the consideration of hell that 
we should fall in by forsaking of him, the joyful medita 
tion of eternal life in heaven, that we shall win with this 
short temporal death patiently taken for him, had so 
deep a place in our breast, as reason would they should, 
and as (if we would do our devoir toward it, and labour 
for it, and pray therefor) I verily think they should. 
a notable point ^ or tnen should they so take up our mind, 
llmomt^S ta an( * ray i s h ^ a ^ another way, that as a man 
fear an& pain of hurt in a fray feeleth not sometime his wound 
nor yet is not ware thereof, till his mind fall 
more thereon, so farforth, that sometime another man 

* Rom. viii. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 315 

sheweth him that he hath lost an hand, before he perceive 
it himself: so the mind ravished in the thinking deeply of 
those other things, Christ s death, hell and 
heaven, were likely to minish and put away of 
our painful death four parts of the feeling * JJj 
either of the fear, or of the pain. For fear of 
this am I very sure, if we had the fifteenth part of the 
love to Christ, that he both had, and hath unto us, all 
the pain of this Turk s persecution could not keep us from 
him, but that there would be at this day as many martyrs 
here in Hungary, as have been afore in other countries of 
old. And of this point put I no doubt, but that if the 
Turk stood even here, with all his whole army about him, 
and every of them all were ready at hand with all the 
terrible torments that they could imagine, and (but if we 
would forsake the faith) were setting their torments to us, 
and to the increase of our terror, fell all at once in a 
shout, with trumpets, tabrets, and timbrels all blown up 
at once, and all their guns let go therewith, to make us a 
fearful noise, if there should suddenly then on the other 
side the ground quake and rive atwain, and the devils rise 
out of hell, and shew themself in such ugly shape as damned 
wretches shall see them, and with that hideous howling 
that those hellhounds should screech, lay hell open on 
every side round about our feet, that as we 
stood we should look down into that pestilent 
pit, and see the swarm of silly souls in the 
terrible torments there, we would wax so fraid 
of the sight, that as for the Turk s host, we should scantly 
remember we saw them. And in good faith for all that, yet 
think I farther, that if there might then appear the great 
glory of God, the Trinity in his high marvellous majesty, 
our Saviour in his glorious manhood, sitting on his throne 
with his immaculate mother, and all the glorious com 
pany calling us there unto them, and that yet our way 
should be through marvellous painful death, ^acfeoffaftft 
before we could come at them, upon the sight, {ftss maStii us 
I say, of that glory there would I ween be no stnrtnt to run 
man that once would shrink thereat, but every 
man would run on toward them, in all that ever he 



316 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

might, though there lay for malice to kill us by the way, 
both all the Turk s tormentors, and all the devils too. 
And therefore, cousin, let us well consider these things, 
and let us have sure hope in the help of God, and I then 
doubt not but that we shall be sure, that as the prophet 
saith, the truth of his promise shall so compass us with a 
pavice, that of this incursion of this midday devil, this 
Turk s persecution, we shall never need to fear. For 
either if we trust in God well, and prepare us therefor, 
the Turk shall never meddle with us, or else if he do, 
harm shall he none do us, but instead of harm, inesti 
mable good. Of whose gracious help wherefore should 
we so sore now despair, except we were so mad men 
as to ween, that either his power or his mercy were 
oft can an worn out already, when we see so many a thou- 
notti matte mar* sand holy martyrs by his holy help suffered 

as much before, as any man shall be put to 
now? Or what excuse can we have by the tenderness of 
Some torn as our ^ esn when we can be no more tender 
ttnoetofoio, than were many of them, among whom were 
as toe be noto. , J n ,v i i i 

not only men ot strength, but also weak 

women and children. And sith the strength of them all 
stood in the help of God, and that the very strongest of 
them all was never able of themself, and with God s help 
the feeblest of them all was strong enough to stand 
against all the world, let us prepare ourself with prayer, 
with our whole trust in his help, without any trust in our 
own strength ; let us think thereon and prepare us in our 

. . minds thereto long: before ; let us therein con- 
H&e must not . & , . 

seetpersccu- torm our will unto his, not desiring to be 

jrfi e tf&ts tre brought unto the peril of persecution (for it 
martsmom. seemeth a proud high mind to desire martyr 
dom) but desiring help and strength of God, if he suffer 
us to come to the stress, either being sought, formed, or 

brought out against our wills, or else being by 
Sfatfae perse? n ^ s commandment (for the comfort of our cure) 
to ?? antt " Ot bounden to abide, let us fall to fasting, to 

prayer, to almsdeed in time, and give that unto 
God that may be taken from us. 

If the devil put in our mind the saving of our land and 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 317 

our goods, let us remember that we cannot save them long. 
If he fear us with exile and fleeing from our country, let 
us remember that we be born into the broad 
world (and not like a tree to stick still in one fK aufnot 
place), and that whithersoever we go God shall {JJ^ to one 
go with us. If he threaten us with captivity, 
let us tell him again, better is it to be thrall unto man a 
while for the pleasure of God, than by displeasing of God 
be perpetual thrall unto the devil. If he threat us with 
imprisonment, let us tell him, we will rather be man s 
prisoners a while here on earth, than by forsaking the 
faith be his prisoners for ever in hell. If he put in our 
minds the terror of the Turks, let us consider his false 
sleight therein ; for this tale he telleth us, to make us 
forget him. But let us remember well, that in respect of 
himself the Turk is but a shadow, nor all that they can all 
do, can be but a fleabiting in comparison of the mischief 
that he goeth about. The Turks are but his tormentors, 
for himself doth the deed. Our Lord saith in the Apoca 
lypse, Ecce missurus est diabolus aliquos ex vobis in car- 
cerem, ut tentemini, The devil shall send some of you to 
prison, to tempt you.* He saith not that man shall, but 
that the devil shall himself. For without question, the 
devil s own deed it is, to bring us by his temptation with 
fear and force thereof into eternal damnation. And 
therefore saith St. Paul, Non est nobis colluctatio adversus 
carnem et sanguinem, sed, fyc. Our wrestling is not 
against flesh and blood, but against the princes and 
powers, and ghostly enemies that be rulers of these 
darknesses, c/t- Thus may we see, that in such perse 
cutions, it is the midday devil himself that _ 

, i . * II 5Tl)C UEOtl plOT 

maketh such incursion upon us, by the men self toortetj) tp 
that are his ministers, to make us fall for fear. w 
For till we fall, he can never hurt us. And therefore 
saith St. James, Hesistite diabolo, et fugiet a vobis, 
Stand against the devil, and he shall flee from you. For 
he never runneth upon a man to seize on him with his 
claws, till he see him down on the ground willingly fallen 
himself. For his fashion is to set his servants against us, 
* Apocal. iii. t Ephes. vi. 



318 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT 

and by them to make us for fear, or for impatience to fall, 
cfie uon sets an< ^ mmse lf m the meanwhile compasseth us, 
tits secants to running and roaring like a rampant lion about 

us, looking who will fall, that he then may 
devour him. Adversarius vester diabolus (saith St. Peter) 
tanquam leo rugiens circuit qucerens quern devoret, Your 
adversary the devil like a roaring lion, runneth about in 
circuit, seeking whom he may devour.* The devil it is 
therefore, that (if we for fear of men will fall) is ready to 
run upon us, and devour us. And is it wisdom then, so 
much to think upon the Turks that we forget the devil ? 

What madman is he, that when a lion were 
te abroa& 01 fear about to devour him, would vouchsafe to 
noyotsttna regard the biting of a little foisting cur? 

Therefore when he roareth out upon us by the 
threats of mortal men, let us tell him, that with our 
inward eye we see him well enough, and intend to stand 
and fight with him, even hand to hand. If he threaten 
us, that we be too weak, let us tell him that our captain 
Christ is with us, and that we shall fight with his 
strength that hath vanquished him already, and let us 
fence us with faith, and comfort us with hope, and smite 
a fiwbranfl of the devil in the face with a firebrand of charity. 

For surely if we be of that tender loving mind 
that our master was, and not hate them that kill us, but 

etsrcu P*^ tnem anc ^ P ra y f r tnem > ^h sorrow for 

to?sa s t e ?e the peril that they work to thernself ; that fire 

praMS. of charity thrown in his face, striketh the devil 

suddenly so blind, that he cannot see where to 

fasten a stroke on us. 

When we feel us too bold, remember our own feeble 
ness. When we feel us too faint, remember Christ s 
strength. In our fear, let us remember Christ s painful 
agony, that himself would (for our comfort) suffer before 
his passion, to the intent that no fear should make us 
despair. And ever call for his help, such as himself list 
to send us, and then we need never to doubt, but that 
Cfie last an& either he shall keep us from the painful death, 
test tomfort. or g^u no t f ai } so to strength us in it, that he 

* lPet.v. 



AGAINST TRIBULATION. 319 

shall joyously bring us to heaven by it. And then doth he 
much more for us, than if he kept us from it. For as God 
did more for poor Lazar,* in helping him patiently to die 
for hunger at the rich man s door, than if he had 
brought him to the door all the rich glutton s dinner: so 
though he be gracious to a man, whom he delivereth out 
of painful trouble, yet doth he much more for a man, if 
through right painful death he deliver him from this 
wretched world into eternal bliss. From which whosoever 
shrink away with forsaking of his faith, and falleth in 
the peril of everlasting fire, he shall be very sure to 
repent it ere it be long after. For I ween that whenso 
ever he falleth sick next, he will wish that fljanp |aae ana 
he had been killed for Christ s sake before. * tols * W*- 
What folly is it then for fear to flee from that death, 
which thou seest thou shalt shortly after wish thou hadst 
died? Yea, I ween, almost every good Christian man 
would very fain this day, that he had been for Christ s 
faith cruelly killed yesterday, even for the desire of 
heaven, though there were no hell. But to fear, while 
the pain is coming, there is all our let. But then if we 
would remember hell pain on the other side, c $ eBmtest 
into which we fall while we flee from this, let, ann nmens 
then should this short pain be no let at all. * ! 
And yet should we be more pricked forward, if we were 
faithful, by deep considering of the joys of heaven, of 
which the apostle saith, J\ r on sunt condigna passiones 
hujus temporis ad futuram gloriarn, quce revelabitur in 
nobis, The passions of this time be not worthy of the 
glory that is to come, which shall be shewed in us.f 
We should not, I ween, cousin, need much eo{ 
more in all this whole matter, than that one ucnij top pass- 
text of St. Paul, if we would consider it well. e 
For surely, mine own good cousin, remember that if it were 
possible for me and you alone, to suffer as much trouble, 
as the whole world doth together all, that were not 
worthy of itself to bring us to the joy which we hope to 
have everlastingly. And therefore I pray you let the 
consideration of that joy put out all worldly trouble out of 

* Luc. xvi. f Rom. viii. 



320 A DIALOGUE OF COMFORT AGAINST TRIBULATION. 

your heart, and also pray that it may do the same in me. 
And even thus will I, good cousin, with these words make 
a sudden end of my whole tale, and bid you farewell. 
For now I begin to feel myself somewhat weary. 

VINCENT. Forsooth, good uncle, this is a good end : 
and it is no marvel though you be waxen weary. For I 
have this day put you to so much labour, that saving for 
the comfort that yourself may take of your time so well 
bestowed, and for the comfort that I have myself taken, 
and more shall, I trust, for your good counsel given ; 
else would I be very sorry to have put you to so much 
pain. But now shall our Lord reward and recom 
pense you therefor, and many shall, I trust, pray for you. 
For to the intent that the more may take profit by you, I 
purpose, uncle, as my poor wit and learning will serve me, 
to put your good counsel in remembrance, not in our 
language only, but in the Almaine tongue too. And 
thus praying God to give me arid all other that shall 
read it, the grace to follow your good counsel therein, I 
shall commit you to God. 

ANTONY. Sith you be minded, cousin, to bestow so 
much labour thereon, I would it had happed you to fetch 
the counsel at some wiser man that could have given you 
better. But better men may set more things, and better 
also, thereto. And in the meantime, I beseech our Lord to 
breathe of his Holy Spirit into the reader s breast, which 
inwardly may teach him in heart, without whom, little 
availeth all that all the mouths of the world were able to 
teach in men s ears. And thus, good cousin, farewell, 
till God bring us together again, either here, or in heaven ! 
Amen ! 



FINIS. 



J. & H. COX (BROTHERS;, Printers, /4 & 75, Great Queen Street, 
Lincoln s- Inn Fields. 



A CATALOGUE OF VALUABLE WORKS 

PUBLISHED BY 

CHARLES DOLMAN, 

61, NEW BOND STREET, LONDON. 



THE LETTERS AND OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS OF MARY STUART, 
QUEEN OF SCOTLAND, Collected from the original MSS. preserved in 
the State Paper Office of London, and the principal Archives and Libraries 
of Europe, together with a Chronological Summary. By PRINCJ? 
ALEXANDER LABANOFF, Dedicated by special permission to her Majesty, 
QUEEN VICTORIA. Recently published in Seven Volumes 8vo., price 4. 4s. 

This important collection, the result of many years research, contains 
upwards of Seven Hundred and Thirty Letters and Official Documents is-j 
tied by MARY QUKEN OF SCOTS, of which more than Four Hundred and\ 
Thirty have been hitherto unknown, and serve to throw new light not only | 
m the life of the unfortunate Mary, but also on the general history of 
Europe in the Sixteenth Century. 

The greater part of these letters are written in French, many in the 
English or Scottish Dialects, a few in Latin, and some in Italian. They are 
low published with the most scrupulous fidelity from the originals, with 
vhich every document has been diligently collated ; but in order to render 
he work more accessible to the general reader, a digest or summary has 
)een prefixed to each letter, so as to supply the place of a translation ; in 
iddition to which is added, a Glossary of English, Scotch, and French 
vords that have become obsolete. 

Fifty Copies have been printed on Large Paper, in Inapl. 8vo., very 
few of which remain for sale. 

" We never saw a more carefully edited book. More patient exactness, 
i more praiseworthy elaborate fidelity, we could not possibly have desired, 
it were yet impossible for the most inveterate foe of Mary to look patiently 
:hrough these volumes, without feeling his hostility give way 011 some very 
mportant points, and without a desire to sift the whole evidence again, 
md rejudge the case. We heartily recommend this valuable collection to 
he best attention of the students of history." Examiner, May 10, 1845. 

" We must in justice say that we have never seen a mass of historical 
documents more faithfully edited, lucidly arranged, and impartially illus- 
rated than the collection before us. Prince Labanoff s integrity is eq\ial 
o his zeal ; he has ever kept in view the principal of giving the truth, the 
whole truth, and nothing but the truth ; he has reserved for a separate 
publication his own views of the evidence he has collected, and he nowhere 
allows the conclusions which he has formed to influence either his state 
ments or his comments." Athenaum, April and May, 1845. 

" Seven hundred and thirty letters are now collected and printed in 
regular series, forming the most valuable contribution which perhaps the 
history of any country ever received. It is a work of rare information and 
of national interest." Edinburgh Advertiser, June 10, 1845. 

" We heartily recommend these volumes to general attention, as one of 
the most valuable contributions ever offered to British literature by a 
foreign hand." Quarterly Review, December, 1845. 



CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 



Recently published, price 14s., in one vol., 8vo., with a Frontispiece. 

By CHARLES KIRKPATRICK SHARPE, Esq., 

Exhibiting Queen Elizabeth dancing before Sir Roger Aston, Ambas 
sador from James the First, and an unique Coin of Queen Mary upon the 
Title. 

LETTERS OF MARY STUART, QUEEN OF SCOTLAND, selected 
from the " Recueil des Lettres de Marie Stuart" and preceded by the 
Chronological Summary of Events during the Reign of the Queen of 
Scotland, by PRINCE A. LABANOFF. Translated with Notes and an Intro 
duction, by WILLIAM TURNBULL, Esq., F.S.A., Scot. 

*** It may, perhaps, be necessary to state, that the whole of the 
Letters in this volume are now, for the first time, presented to the public 
in English, and that none of them are to be found in the Collection of 
Letters edited by Miss Strickland. 

" We appiove heartily of this design, to give the cream of this important 
work to the general reader in a form intelligible to all ; for though the 
learned must be delighted with it in its original language, yet the antique 
and foreign obscurity of the greater portion of it necessarily excluded very 
many from its satisfactory perusal." Literary Gazette, May, 1845, p. 327. 

Of the admirable abstract which Mr. Turnbull has here made of the 
Prince s voluminous "Collections," we cannot speak in terms of too 
earnest praise. 

"It is difficult to say whether the narrative or autobiographical interest, 
or historical importance, of this work be the more difficult sufficiently to 
appreciate." Sun, August 30, 1845. 



Recently published, the Fourth Edition of 
A HISTORY OF ENGLAND, FROM THE FIRST INVASION OF 

THE ROMANS. BY JOHN LINGARD, D.D. 
In Thirteen Volumes, Small Octavo, price 5s. each, cloth lettered. 
** This edition of this valuable and important work is printed uni 
form in size with the works of SCOTT, BYRON, MOORE, EDGEWORTH, 
SOUTHEY, and others ; and is enriched with a Portrait of the Author, 
from a painting by Lover, and by thirteen Plates engraved on steel, by 
GOODALL, from the designs made expressly for this edition, by Harvey, 
into all of which actual scenery has been introduced. 

The Public are respectfully informed, that this edition has received the 
most searching and extensive revision by the learned author, who has in 
serted additional matter in the text, as well as the notes, fully equal to 
the extent of another volume. 

" Dr. Lingard never evinces partiality ; he may be accused of it by those 
whose eyes are distorted by the blemish they deprecate, but by none others. 
He never perverts facts, and the arguments with which he supports the 
opinions which he draws from the narration of events are ever cogent and 
perspicuous. With a keen, searching, undeviating truthfulness, he has 
rescued our annals from much of the misrepresentation which the exaggera 
tions of partisanship have created, from much of the obscurity which the 
fantastic ingenuity of antiquaries has caused, and from many of the sophis 
tical conclusions of speculative theorists. This is no slight boon to have 
conferred both on the present and the future, but the task has been well 
and ably performed ."-- Oxford and Cambridge Revieiv, January, 1846. 



CHARLES DOLMAN. 61, NEW BOND STREET. 



THE HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES OF THE ANGLO-SAXON 
CHURCH, containing an Account of its Origin, Government. Doctrines, 
Worship, Revenues, and Clerical and Monastic Institutions. By JOHN 
LINGARD, D.D. In 2 vols. 8vo. price 1. 4s. cloth lettered. 

* This is an augmented edition of a work long since published by Dr. 
Lingard, and scarcely so well known as it deserves to be ; but it is so com 
pletely recast, and contains so large a proportion of fresh matter, that it 
may be considered as virtually a new book. If we were asked from what 
source one could obtain the greatest Insight into the national mind and 
ways of thought of the Christian Anglo-Saxons, we should have no hesita 
tion in referring the inquirer to these pages. As a narration of facts, and 
expounder of the inferences more immediately to be drawn from them, 
there is no writer of the present day who excels the diligent, accurate, and 
eloquent historian of England." Morning Chronicle, January 30. 

" Of the Monastic Institutions among the Anglo-Saxons, Dr. Lingard 
has written in a spirit of candour and fairness ; he points out the abuses to 
which such communities are liable, and does not conceal the fact that such 
abuses frequently prevailed. On the other hand, he contends that the 
monks were foremost in communicating the knowledge of the industrial 
arts, and the taste for the fine arts, which are the most efficient agents of 
civilization. In particular, he shows how much was accomplished, by 
their exertions in improving the cultivation of the soil. Dr. Lingard 
minutely describes the rites and ceremonies of the Anglo-Saxons, and 
incidentally throws light on their domestic habits and usages."- 

Athtnoeum, February S, 1845. 

A NEW VERSION OF THE FOUR GOSPELS; with Notes, 
Critical and Explanatory. By a CATHOLIC. In 1 vol. 8vo. price 
10s. 6d. in boards. 

Amongst the principal reasons which haA T e led to this New Version, 
are, first, to shew, in opposition to the Protestant principle, that the 
Scriptures are the sole rule of faith, " The impracticability of draw 
ing from the narratives of the FOUR EVANGELISTS, -without the aid 
of oral testimony or tradition, all their knowledge of Christian faith or 
Chritian practice." Vide PREFACE. 

2ndly. To present a new translation from the Original Greek, with 
explanatory and interesting notes; which, in removing the defects 
that exist in the present versions, and offering a more elegant transla 
tion of these divinely- inspired books, should render them more intel 
ligible and attractive, and thus create a more general attention to 
their perusal. 

CATECHETICAL INSTRUCTIONS on the Doctrines and 
Worship of the Catholic Church. By JOHN LINGARD, D.D. 

A New Edition, revised, in 18mo. price Is. 

This work contains a short exposition of Catholic doctine and 
Catholic practice, vith the chief authorities on which that doctrine 
and practice are founded. 

Also, another Edition of the same, in larger type, I2mo. price 1 s. 6d 

"A beautiful little volume, written with all that sobriety of style, power 
of language, and force of logic for which the venerable author is so remark 
able." Tablet, Oct. 31, 1340. 



CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 



THE CHURCH HISTORY OF ENGLAND, from the year 1500 to 
1688, CHIEFLY WITH REGARD TO CATHOLICS, by CHARLES DODD, 
with Notes, and a Continuation to the Beginning of the Present Century, 
by the Rev. M. A. TIERNEY, F.R.S., F.S.A. 

Vols. I. to V. are published, price 12s. each in cloth. 

The work of HUGH TOOTLE, better known under the assumed name of 
CHARLES DODD, stands alone among the compilations of Catholic History. 
Commencing with the period of her first misfortunes in this country, the 
writer accompanies the ancient Church in all the vicissitudes of her course, 
during the next two centuries. He marks the origin of the Reformation in 
the wayward passions of Henry : mourns, with religion, over the ruined 
altars and desecrated shrines of Edward s reign : watches their alternate 
rise and fall under the sister sovereigns, Mary and Elizabeth ; and, tracing 
the various calamities of his Catholic countrymen under the dynasty of the 
Stuarts, closes his work with the closing fortunes of that unhappy family. 
The readers of Dodd are aware that his history is divided into eight parts, 
corresponding with the eight reigns over which it extends. Of these parts, 
each is again divided into the three other parts of History, Biography, and 
Records ; and these are still farther subdivided into an indefinite number of 
articles, according to the variety of the subjects to be treated, or to the rank 
of the several persons whose lives are to be recorded. It is needless to point 
out the inconvenience of this complex and disjointed arrangement. To 
remedy this defect, it is proposed, in the present edition, to place the work 
under the two grand divisions of History and Biography ; to print the History 
in the earlier, the Biography in the latter volumes ; to subjoin to each an 
Appendix, containing its own records properly arranged : and to insert a 
reference in the notes to each article of that appendix, according as its 
subject arises in the course of the narrative. It is only requisite to add, that 
the lives, in the biographical part, will be methodically disposed ; that the 
authorities, both of Dodd and of the Editor, will be carefully stated in the 
notes ; and that a General Index to the contents of the whole work will be 
given at the end of the Continuation. 

To be completed in Fourteen Volumes. Fifty Copies printed on large 
Paper in royal 8vo. price 21s. each volume, cloth. 

N.B. Subscribers names may be transmitted to the Publisher through 
any Bookseller in the Country. 

The HISTORY and Antiquities of the Castle and Town of ARUN- 
DEL, including the Biography of its Earls, from the Conquest to the 
present Time. By the Rev. M. A. TIERNEY, F.R.S., F.S.A., Chap 
lain to his Grace the Duke of Norfolk. In 2 vols., royal 8vo., illus 
trated with numerous engravings, Etchings, and Pedigrees, price 
1. 12s., cloth boards. 

" When we say that more than one-half of this work is Biography, and 
that Biography immediately connected with the general history of Eng 
land, it will be perceived that this is a work of a more attractive charac 
ter than can generally be assigned to topography." Gentleman s M?.$a- 
zine. 

A LETTER to the Very Rev. G. CHANDLER, D.C.L., Dean of 
Chichester, and Rector of All Souls, Langham Place, &c., &c., con 
taining some remarks on his Sermon, preached in the Cathedral 
Church of Chichester, on Sunday, October 15, 1843, "on the occasion 
of publicly receiving into the Church a convert from the Church of 
Rome." By the Rev. M. A. TIEBNEY, F.R.S., F.S.A. 8vo.. price Is G<1. 



CHARLES DOLMAN 61, NEW BOND STREET. 5 

C, Dolman having purchased from the executors of the late CHARLES 
BUTLER, Esq., the whole remaining stock and property of the greater part 
of this celebrated Author s works, is enabled to offer them for sale at the 
prices annexed. 

HISTORICAL MEMOIRS of the ENGLISH, IRISH, and the 
SCOTTISH CATHOLICS since the REFORMATION; with a succinct 
account of the principal events in the Ecclesiastical History of this 
country antecedent to that period, and in the Histories of the Established 
Church, and the Dissenting and Evangelical Congregations ; and some 
Historical Minutes respecting the Temporal Power of the Popes ; the 
Separatists from the Church of Rome before the Reformation ; the society 
of Jesus; and the Guelphic Family. By CHARLES BUTLER Esq., of Lin 
coln s Inn. Third edition, revised and considerably augmented, in 4 vols. 
8vo. cloth boards. Price 1. 16s. 

The REMINISCENCES OF CHARLES BUTLER, Esq. Volume I. 
fourth edition, with a Letter on Ancient and Modern Music. Volume II. 
with an Essay on the Mystical Devotions of Catholics and Protestants ; a 
Correspondence between Dr. Parr and Mr. Butler ; and Considerations on 
the present proceedings for the reform of the English Courts of Equity, &c. 
2 vols. 8vo. cluth boards. Price 10s. 6d. 

Volume II. separate, cloth boards. Price 4s. 6d. 

VINDICATION of the " BOOK of the ROMAN CATHOLIC 
CHURo H," against the Rev. George Townsend s " Accusations of History 
against the Church of Rome;" with notices of some charges brought 
against the " Book of the Roman Catholic Church," in the publications of 
Dr. Phillpotts, Dr. Todd, Blanco White, and Dr. Southey. By CHARLES 
BUTLER, Esq. ; with copies of Dr. Phillpotts s Fourth Letter to Mr. 
Butler, containing a charge against Dr. Lingard ; a Letter of Dr. Lingard 
to Mr. Butler in reply to the charge : a further crimination of Dr. Lingard 
by Dr. Phillpotts ; and Dr. Lingard s vindication of himself against this 
crimination ; and several other documents. 8vo. cloth boards. Price 6s. 

The LIFE of ERASMUS, with Historical Remarks on the State of 
Literature between the Tenth and Sixteenth Centuries. By CHARLES 
BUTLER, Esq. 8vo. cloth boards. Price 5s. 6d. 

The LIFE of HUGO GROTIUS, with Brief Minutes of the Civil, 
Ecclesiastical, and Literary History of the Netherlands. To which is 
added, in two appendixes, some Account of the Formularies, Confessions of 
Faith, or Symbolic Books of the Roman Catholic, Greek, and principal 
Protestant Churches, with an Account of the Attempts made at different 
times for the reunion of Christians. By CHARLES BUTLER, Esq. 8vo. 
4s. 6d. cloth boards. 

LIFE of HENRY FRANCIS D AGUESSEAU, Chancellor of France ; and 
of his Ordonnances for consolidating and amending certain portions of the 
French Law ; and an Historical and Literary Account of the Roman and 
Canon Law. By CHARLES BUTLER, Esq. 8vo. 3s. 6d. cloth boards. 
Just published, price 2s. with a Frontispiece, 

REFLECTIONS on the PASSION OF OUR DIVINE LORD, in Verse, 
by the Rev. J. A. HEARN. Dedicated to the Right Rev. Dr. Griffiths, Bishop 
of Olena. The profits of this poem are to be appropriated to the poor 
funds of the Sisters of Mercy, Queen s-square, and the Brothers of St. 
Vincent de Paul, London. Fifty copies will be printed on large paper, and 
illustrated with five plates by Overbeck. 



CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 



Now in course of publication, in Monthly Parts. 2s. each, large 8vo., double 

columns, but with a type similar to that used in the First Edition 

MORES CATHOLICI ; OR AGES OF FAITH. 

The Mores Catholici, from, the prodigious extent of information, se 
lected out of the most recondite and time-forgotten sources, and con 
densed in its pages by an elegance of diction and purity of style peculiar 
to itself, stands unrivalled in the literature of the age. * The principal ob 
ject of this work being to exhibit the influence of Catholic Christianity 
over the civilized world during the Middle Ages, when, in so far as is 
practicable to humanity, there was but one fold and one Shepherd, the 
author has brought to bear upon his subject an intimate and thorough ac 
quaintance, not merely with classical and modern erudition, but with all 
the literary stores of Europe, accumulated for centuries past. 

It is expected to be completed in about 36 Parts, and will form three 
very large handsome volumes. 

N M. A few copies have been taken off on royal quarto. 

The following new and beautifully printed editions of Office Books from 
the celebrated press of P. J. Hanicq, of Mechlin. 

BREVIARIUM ROMANUM ex decreto SS. Concilii Tridentini resti- 
tutum S. Pii V. Pont. Max. jussu editum Clemente VIII. et Urbani VIII. 
auctor. recog. cum officiis sanctorum novissime per summos Pontifices 
usque ad hanc diem concessis. 4 vols. 32mo. beautifully printed in red 
and black types, with the Propria pro Anglia, price 1. Is. 

PONTIFICALE ROMANUM CLEMENTIS VIII. AC URBANI VIII. 
jussu editum, inde vero a BENEDICTO XIV. recognitum et castigatum cum 
additionibus a sacra Rituum Congregatione ad probatis. 3 vols. 8vo. most 
beautifully printed in large clear types, in red and black, and illustrated 
with plates, price 1. 

RITUALE ROMANUM PAULI V PONT. MAX. jussu editum atque a 
felicis recordationis Benedicto XIV auctum et castigatum, in quo, quag 
Parochis ad administrationera sacramentorum, benedictiones, et con- 
jurationes necessaria censenter, accurate sunt posita. 1 vol. 18mo. clearly 
printed in red and black types, price 3s. 6d. 

THE OFFICE of the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, for the three titties of 
the year, according io the ROMAN BREVIARY, printed in large clear type, 
red and black, the Rubrics throughout being in English, and the Office in 
Latin, in ISnio. price 3s. 6d. 

HOR^E DIURN & BREVIARII ROMANI. 32mo. red and black type. 

MISSALE ROMANUM. Large Folio. | Beautifully printed m 
Idem. Small Folio. ^ red and black type, 

idem. 12mo. J 

With constant supplies of all Hanicq s editions of Church Office Books, 
Ac* on sale at the lowest prices. Also, 

A COMPLETE CATALOGUE of BOOKS in various Languages, and 
embracing all classes of Literature, now on sale at 61, New Bond-street, in 
which will be found many very rare ENGLISH CATHOLIC works, as 
well as early printed Books, Illuminated Manuscripts, and FATHERS of 
the CHURCH, including some recent importations from the Continent, 
purchases at same, &c. 

Gentlemen desirous of receiving this Catalogue are respectfully requested 
to favour C. DOLMAN with their names and directions in order to insure it 
being forwarded. 



CHARLES DOLMAN, 61, NEW BOND STREET. 7 

BUTLER (REV. ALB AN) .The LIVES of the FATHERS, 
Martyrs, and other Principal Saints. With a Preface by the Right 
Rev. Dr. Doyle, and containing all the Chronological Centenary 
Tables and General Indexes formerly attached to the twelve volume 
Edition, in two large volumes,, royal 8vo., price d^l. Is., cloth, 
lettered. 

The same on fine and large paper, 2 vols., imperial 8 vo., price l 10s., 
cloth lettered. 

The same, illustrated with forty-two engravings on India paper, 
bound in 4 volumes, imperial 8vo., cloth lettered, 5?2. 2s. 

CONTINUATION of the REV. ALBAN BUTLER S LIVES 
OF THE SAINTS to the Present time, with Bibliographical 
Accounts of the Holy Family, Pope Pius VI., Cardinal Ximenes, 
Cardinal Bellarmine, Bartholomew de Martyribus, and St. Vincent de 
Paul, with Historical Minutes of the Society of Jesus. By CHARLES 
BUTLEK, Esq., 8vo., cloth boards, 5s. 

The TRUTHS of the CATHOLIC RELIGION, proved from 
Scripture alone, in a Series of Lectures. By THOMAS BUTLER, D.D. 
In 2 vols., 12mo., price 5s. 

The DUBLIN REVIEW, Vols. I to XVI. 

This Periodical, from the commencement in 1836 down to June, 
1844, inclusively, published at 9. 12s. in parts, is now offered, in sets 
of Sixteen Volumes, handsomely bound in green cloth and lettered, 
for only FOUR GUINEAS, for cash payment. 

N.B. Persons desirous of availing themselves of this opportunity 
of procuring a copy, are respectfully requested to make early appli 
cation, as only a limited number of sets can be made up. 

HIERURGIA, or the HOLY SACRIFICE of the MASS, with 
Notes and Dissertations elucidating its Doctrines and its Ceremonies. 
By DANIEL ROCK, D.D. In 2 vols., 8vo, with above 40 Plates,, price 
1.8s., cloth lettered. 

In the Second Part are treated at length Transubstantiation, 
Relics, Invocations of Saints and Angels, Purgatory, the use of Holy 
Water, Lights, and Incense, the Dyptichs, &c., with Appendixes 
containing " Extracts from Ancient Liturgies," &c. 

N.B. A few copies taken off with the Plates on India Paper, price 
l. 14s., cloth lettered. 

The EVIDENCES and DOCTRINES of the CATHOLIC 
CHURCH; shewing that the former are no less convincing than the 
latter are propitious to the happiness of society. By the Most Rev. 
JOHN MACHALE, D. D., Archbishop of Tuam. Second Edition 
revised, with additional notes. In 1 vol. 8vo., cloth lettered, price 12s. 

Recently published, on one large Folio Sheet, price 2s. 6d. 

The ECCLESIASTICAL CHART of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, being 
an Historical View of the Catholic Church in every Age and Country, 
from the Apostles days to the present time. Compiled by JAMES AUSTIN 

M NAMARA. 



8 CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 

Just published, price Five Shillings and sixpence, cloth lettered. 

POVERTY AND THE BARONET S FAMILY; a Catholic Story, by 
the late HENRY DIGBY BESTE, Esq., M. A., Fellow of St. Mary Mag 
dalen College, Oxford ; Originator of the Religious Opinions of " Modern 
Oxford." 

"Pride, or prudery, or delicacy, or love of ease, keep one half of the 
world out of the way of observing what the other half suffer." PALEY. 



In Octavo, price Eightpence. 

MEMORIALE RITUUM, pro aliquibus prestantioribus, sacris func- 
tionibus, persolvendis in minoribus ecclesiis Parochialibus. Benedict! XIII. 
jussu primo editum. Superiorura Permissu. 

WORKS BY THE 

RIGHT REV. NICHOLAS WISEMAN, D.D. 

BISHOP OF MELIPOTAMTJS. 

LECTURES on the PRINCIPAL DOCTRINES and PRAC 
TICES of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, delivered at St. Mary s, 
Moorfields, during the Lent of 1836. Second Edition, entirely 
revised and corrected by the Author. Two volumes in one, 12mo., 
price 5s. 6d., cloth. 

TWELVE LECTURES on the CONNECTION between 
SCIENCE and REVEALED RELIGION, with Map and Plates. 
The second Edition, in one vol., 8vo., price 12s., cloth lettered. 

LECTURES on the REAL PRESENCE of JESUS CHRIST in 
the Blessed Eucharist. Delivered in the English College, Rome. 
Part I. Scriptural Proofs, 8vo., price 8s. 6d., cloth boards. Part II. 
Proofs from Tradition, preparing for Press. 

A REPLY to DR. TURTON. Philalethes Cantabrigiensis, the 
British Critic, and the Church of England Quarterly Review, on the 
Catholic Doctrine of the Eucharist. In 8vo., price 6s. boards. 

FOUR LECTURES on the OFFICES and CEREMONIES of 
HOLY WEEK, as Performed in the Papal Chapels, delivered in 
Rome in the Lent of 1837. Illustrated with Nine Beautiful Engrav 
ings, and a Plan of the Papal Chapels. In 8vo., price 8s. 6d., in cloth 
boards. 

A LETTER addressed to the Rev. J. H. NEWMAN, upon some 
Passages in his Letter to the Rev. Dr. JELF. Fourth Edition, 8vo., Is. 

REMARKS on a Letter from the Rev. W. PALMER, M.A., of 
Worcester College, Oxford. In 8vo., price 2s. 6d. 

A LETTER on CATHOLIC UNITY, addressed to the Right HOP 
the Earl of Shrewsbury. In 8vo., Is. 

Just published, the Second Edition, price 2s. 6d., cloth lettered. 

The LIVES of St. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI, St. FRANCIS DE 
GIROLAMO, St JOHN JOSEPH of the CROSS, St. PACIFICUS 
of SAN SEVERING, and St. VERONICA GIUL1ANA, whose 
Canonization took place on Trinity Sunday, 26th of May, 1839. Edited 
by the Right Rev. Dr. WISEMAN. 



CHARLES DOLMAN, 61, NEW BOND STREET. 9 

CONTRASTS; or, a PARALLEL, between the NOBLE 
EDIFICES of the MIDDLE AGES, and the Corresponding Build 
ings of the Present Day, setting forth the present decay of pure taste. 
Accompained by appropriate text. By A. WELBY PUGIN, Architect. 
In 1 vol. 4to. Price 1. 10s. j cloth lettered. The Second Edition, 
much enlarged. 

This edition, which contains several new and additional illustrations both 
on copper and wood, has been carefully purged of all the original errors, 
and many seeming inconsistencies explained, and the text has also been 
considerably enlarged. 

THE PRESENT STATE OF ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHI 
TECTURE in ENGLAND. By A. WELBY PUGIN, Esq. Illus 
trated with Nineteen Engravings on Wood and Sixteen on Copper. 
8vo., price 9s., cloth. Republished from the Dublin Review. 



THE ENGLISH CATHOLIC LIBRARY, 

Being a Republication of some of the rare Controversial and Devo 
tional Writings of the 15th and 16th Centuries. 

The First Volume consists of 

A SEARCH MADE into MATTERS OF RELIGION, by 
FRANCIS WALSIXGHAM, Deacon of the Protestant Church, before his 
change to the Catholic. Wherein is related how first he fell into his 
doubts, and how, for final resolution thereof, he repaired unto his 
Majesty, who remitted him to the L. of Canterbury, and he to other 
learned men ; and what the issue was of all those Conferences. Form 
ing a thick volume, crown 8vo., hansomely printed, price 8s. 

The Second Volume, price 3s. contains two rare works, entitled, 
A SHORT and PLAIN WAY to the CHURCH, composed many 
years since by that eminent divine, Mr. RICHARD HUDDLESTON, of 
the English Congregation, of the Order of St. Benedict ; to which is 
annexed King Charles II. s papers found in his closet, with an account of 
what occurred on his death-bed in regard to religion ; and a summary 
of occurences relating to his miraculous preservation after the defeat of 
Ais army at Worcester. Published by his nephew, Mr. John Huddleston, 
Priest of the same congregation. 

And 

ERASTUS SENIOR scholastically demonstrating this conclusion, 
that (admitting their Lambeth records for true) those called Bishops 
here in England are no Bishops, either in order or jurisdiction, or 
so much as legal: in answer to Mason, Heylin, and Bramhall. By 
PETER TALBOT, Archbishop of Dublin, first printed in 1662. 

The Third Volume is now at press, and will consist of some portion 
of the works of SIR THOMAS MORE. 

The Publisher respectfully solicits all persons who may be desirous 
of supporting the undertaking to forward their names to bini at 
No. 61, New Bond street, London, either direct or through the 
medium of their Booksellers. 



CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 



Just Published, price 3s. 6d., cloth lettered, 
THORNBERRY ABBEY. 

A TALE OF 

THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH. 

Recently published, in 1 vol. 8vo., price 12s., cloth lettered, 

COLLECTIONS TOWARDS ILLUSTRATING the BIO- 
GRAPHY of the SCOTCH, ENGLISH, and IRISH MEMBERS 
oi the SOCIETY of JESUS. By the REV. DR. OLIVER. 



The LIFE and INSTITUTE of the JESUITS. By the Rev. 
Father DE RAVIGNAN, of the Company of Jesus. Carefully translated 
from the Fourth Edition of the French. By CHARLES SEAGER, M. A., 
price Is. 6d. 

Recently published, in Two Volumes Octavo, with plates, cloth let 
tered, price e^l. 

HISTORY of IRELAND, from the earliest Period to the Year 
1245, when the ANNALS of BOYLE, which are adopted and embodied 
as the running text authority, terminate : with a brief essay on the 
Native Annalists and other sources for illustrating Ireland, and full 
Statistical and Historical Notices of the BARONY of BOYLE. By 
JOHN D ALTON, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, M.R.I.A., &c., &c., &c. 

BRENAN (Rev. M. J. O.S.F.) An Ecclesiastical History of 
Ireland, from the Introduction of Christianity into that country to the 
y-ar 1829. Dublin, 1810. 2 vols., 8vo.. cloth, 15s. 

The ANGLICAN CHURCH, the CREATURE and SLAVE of 
the STATE. Being a refutation of certain Puseyite claims advanced 
on behalf of the Established Church, in a series of Lectures delivered 
before the Academy of the Catholic Religion, by the Rev. P. COOPER, 
of the Church of the Conception, Dublin, Prebendary, &c. 8vo. price 
4s. 6d. boards. 

The FLOWERS of HEAVEN; or, the Examples of the Saints, 

Proposed to the Imitation of Christians. Translated from the French, 
n 



i 1 vol., 18mo., cloth lettered, price 2s. 6d. 
The SINNER S COMPLAINTS to 



to GOD; being Devout Enter 
tainments of the Soul with God, fitted for all States and Conditions of 
Christians, by the Rev. JOHN GOTHER. A new Edition, in 1 voL, 
12ino., price 4s. 6d., cloth lettered. 

The GARDEN of the SOUL, or Manual of Spiritual Exercises 
and Instructions, stereotype edition, Is., neatly bound in cloth. 

The same, also in cloth, stiffened covers, for cheap distribution, at 
only lOd. 

Approbation. We, the undersigned, Vicar- Apostolic in the London 
District, approve of this edition of the Garden of the Soul, and recom 
mend it to the use of the Faithful. THOMAS, Bishop of Olena, V.A.L.D. 

Just Published, price One Shilling in cloth, or Is. 6d. bound in leather, 
THE OFFICE AND THE MASSES FOR THE DEAD; 

WITH THE ORDER OF BURIAL, 

From the Roman Breviary, Missal and Ritual in Latin and English. 
Handsomely printed, uniform with the Miss il and Vespers. 



CHARLES DOLMAN, 61, NEW BOND STREET. 11 

THE YOUNG COMMUNICANTS, by the Authoress of 
" Geraldine, a Tale of Conscience," with the approbation of the Right 
Rev. D. Griffiths, V. A. L., 18mo. price 2s. cloth. 

FATHER OSWALD, a Genuine Catholic Story, 1 vol. 12mo. 
price 6s. cloth lettered. 

" This Story, as a Religious Novel, is Avell put together, and must 
not only prove interesting to those minds who seek Sacred Litera 
ture, but to the general reader, and we strongly recommend a perusal." 
Blackwood s Lady s Magazine. 

A JOURNEY from LA TRAPPE to ROME. By the late. 
Reverend Father MARIE-JOSEPH DE GERAMB, Abbot and Procu 
rator of La Trappe. 12mo. price 6s. cloth. 

HISTORY of the LIFE of ST. JANE FRANCES DE 
CHANTAL, Foundress of the Order of the Visitation, collected 
from original Documents and Records. By the Rev. W. H. COOMBES, 
D.D. 2 vols. 8vo. price 12s. 

A SHORT HISTORY of the PROTESTANT REFORMA 
TION, principally as to its Rise and Progress in England, in a Series 
of Conferences held by the most eminent Protestant Historians of the 
present and former times. Edited by the Rev. H. SMITH. 12mo. 
price 3s. 6d. 

ILLUSTRATIONS of the CORPORAL and SPIRITUAL WORKS of 
MERCY, in SIXTEEN Designs, engraved in outline, with descriptive 
Anecdotes, in Four Languages, and a Sketch of the Order of Mercy, by a 
Sister of the Religious Order of Our Lady of Mercy. 1 vol. oblong 4to. 
Handsomely bound in cloth and lettered. Price 10s. 6d. 

The JUVENILE COMPANION to the ATLAS, with some His 
torical Notes. 18mo., Is. 6d., cloth lettered. 

This useful little work was printed for the use of the convent at 
Winchester, and will be found of great utility to all who are engaged 
in rudimental instruction. 

A CATECHISM of the HISTORY of ENGLAND, by a Lady. 
18mo.j Is. 



Lately republished, a new and very neat edition in 24mo., good 
type, of 

The CATECHISM, or CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE; by way of 
Question and Answer, illustrated by the Sacred Text and Tradition. 

N.B. This Catechism was composed by the Rev. A. Clinton. 

A NEW SERIES of READING LESSONS, from words of Two 
Letters and upwards, for the use of the Catholic Schools. Price 5>s. 
the set of Fifty-eight Lessons. 



CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 



LIFE and TIMES of SIR THOMAS MORE, illustrated from 
his own Writings and Contemporary Documents. By W. J.WALTER. 
With Portrait. Small 8vo. 3s. 

A GOLDEN TREATISE of MENTAL PRAYER, vith divers 
Spiritual Rules and Directions, no less profitable than necessary for 
all sorts of people. First composed by the Venerable Blessed Father 
PETER DE ALCANTARA, of the Seraph ical Order of St. Francis, 
beatified the 18th of April, 1622. Translated into English by G.iies 
Willoughby. To which is prefixed a brief relation of the Life and 
Death of the same Father, written by Giles Willoughby, of the same 
Order and observance. 18mo. With a Portrait of the Venerable 
Author, and Engaved Title. 2s. 6d. cloth lettered. 
Also, uniform with the above, 

SOLILOQUIES j or, the DOCUMENTS of CHRISTIAN 
PERFECTION, composed by the Venerable and Famous Father 
Paul of St. Magdalen (HENRY HEATH), of the Seraphic Order of 
the Friars Minors, at Douay, crowned with Martyrdom, at London, 
llth of April, 1643. Faithfully translated out of the Sixth and last 
Latin Edition into English, and published at Douay, in 1674, and 
illustrated with a Portrait of Father Paul. 18mo., with fine Portrait, 
and Engraved Title. 2s. 6d. cloth lettered. 

EULES of a CHRISTIAN LIFE, selected from the most 
approved Spiritual Writers. By the Rev. C. PREMORD, A.M., L.L. 
Second Edition, revised and corrected ; and to which are added t 
11 Letters on Matrimony on the Choice of a State of Life and on 
Monastic Institutions." In 2 vols. I2mo. 10s. cloth. 

AN AMICABLE DISCUSSION on the CHURCH of EN 
GLAND, and on the Reformation in general. Translated from 
the French of the " Discussion Amicale," by the Right Rev. Dr. 
TREVERNE, Bishop of Strasbourg, by the Rev. W. Richmond. In 
2 vols. 8vo. boardSj l.ls. 

CONSIDERATIONS on the EUCHARIST, viewed as the Gene- 
ative Dogma of Catholic Piety, translated from the French of the 
Abbe Ph. Gerbet, by a Catholic Clergyman. In 12mo. price 4s. 6d. 
cloth lettered. 

MERRYE ENGLANDE; or, the GOLDEN DAIES of GOODE 
QUEENE BESSE. 12mo. price 4s. 6d. boards. 

GERALDINE: a TALE of CONSCIENCE, by E. C. A. A new 
Edition, 1 vol. foolscap 8vo. uniform with the Standard Novels, 
price 6s. 

" Considered as a romance, or rather as a novel instinct with genuine 
poesy, the poesy of action and of feeling, \re confess that we no sooner get 
to the end of it than we immediately wish to begin it over again. Con 
sidered as a composition, we commend it heartily to the student of style 
the English is elegant and finished ; is polished to the last delicacy of re 
fined elaboration. These are great merits; but greater are behind. For 
as a book of principle and of sentiment we have not words sufficiently to 
express our respect for a morality so pure and so exalted as tnat which it 
V^ry charmingly inculcates. Oxford and Cambridge Review, Oct., 1845, 



CHARLES DOLMAN 61, NEW BOND STREET- 

Just published, in 8vo. price 2s. 

A BRIEF PLEA for the OLD FAITH and the OLD TIMES 
of MERRIE ENGLAND: when MEN had leisure for LIFE, and 
time to DIE; addressed principally to the Industrial Classes of his 
Fellow Countrymen and Women, by their sincere well-wisher, 
FRANK FAIEPLAY. 

DID the EARLY CHURCH in IRELAND ACKNOWLEDGE 
the POPE S SUPREMACY? Answered in a Letter to LORD 
JOHN MANNERS from DANIEL ROCK, D. D. In Svo. price 3s. 6d. 
boards. 

LETTER from the EARL of SHREWSBURY to AMBROSE 
LISLE PHILLIPS, Esq., descriptive of the Estatica of Caldaro 
and Addolorata of Capriana, being a Second Edition, Revised and 
Enlarged; to which is aided the relation of three successive visits 
to the Estatica of Monte Sansavino in May, 1842. 8vo. price 
2s. 6d. boards. 

A MANUAL OF INSTRUCTIONS ON PLAIN-CHANT, OR 
GREGORIAN MUSIC, with Chants, as used in Rome, for High 
Mass, Vespers, Complin, Benediction, Holy Week, and the Litanies. 
Compiled chiefly from Alfieri and Berti; with the approbation of the 
Right Reverend Vicars Apostolic. By the Rev. JAMES JONES. 
Beautifully printed in red and black type, in small quarto, price 2s. 6d. 

APPROBATION. 

To the Rev. James Jones. " We approve of the Manual of In 
structions on Plain-Chant, or Gregorian Music, with the Chants, as 
used in Rome, for Higta Mass. Vespers, Complin, Benediction, Holy 
Week, and the Litanies, compiled by you chiefly from Alfieri and 
Berti, and permit the use of it in our respective districts. 

^Thomas, Bishop of Cambyso- >^George,Bp.of Tloa, V.A. Lanc.D. 

polis, V. A.C.D. ||<James,Bp. of Samaria, Coadjutor. 

^Nicholas, Bp. of Melipota- AThomas Joseph, Bp. of Apollonia, 

mus, Coadjutor. V.A. Welsh D. 

AThomas,Bp.of Olena,V.A.L.D. *Francis,Bp. of Abydos, V.A.N.D. 
Ajohn, Bp. of Trachis, V.A. Y.D. AWilliam,Bp. of Longo, Coadjutor. 
>|< William, Bishop of Ariopolis^Charles., Bp. of Pella, V. A.W.D. 
V.A.E.D. 

"September, 1845." 

" A perfect vade-mecum for the Priest and the Choir, where the Grego 
rian chant is preferred, as it always ought to be, to the unauthorized variety 
which prevails in most of our chapels and churches. The book is very 
neatly, nay, beautifully printed. We augur for it a deservedly extensive 
sale." Tablet, 25th October, 1845. 

" This book ought to be in the hands of every priest ; and by him forced 
into the hands of every chorister in his church." Dolman s Magazine for 
November. 

THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, translated from the Ger 
man of the Rev. J. J. lo. DOLLINGER, D.D., Professor of Theology in 
the Royal University of Munich, by the Rev. EDWARD Cox, D.D. 
President of St. Edmund s College. To be completed in seven or 
eight volumes. Vols. 1 to 4 are published, price dtl. 14s. in cloth. 



CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 



SERMONS. 

CATHOLIC PULPIT, containing Sermons for all the Sundays 
and Holidays in the year. 2 vols., 8vo., 11s., bds. 

SERMONS on various Moral and Religious Subjects for all the 
Sundays and some of the Festivals of the year, by the Rev. JAMES 
ARCHER, D.D. 2 vols., 8vo., l. Is., boards. 

SERMONS for FESTIVALS, and a second series of Sermons for 
every Sunday in the year, by the Rev. JAMES ARCHER, D.D., 2 vols., 
8vo., 18s., boards. 

FOUR MISCELLANEOUS SERMONS, by the Rev. JAMES 
ARCHER. D.D., forming one thin volume, 8vo., 2s. 6d., boards. 

SERMONS on the GOSPELS for every Sunday in the year, by 
the Rev. JAMES WHEELER. 2 vols., 8vo., 18s. 

SERMONS for the DIFFERENT SUNDAYS of the year and 
some of the Festivals, and on other important subjects, by the Rev. 
Thomas White, arranged from his MSS. by the Rev. JOHN LINGARD, 
D.D. 2 vols., 8vo., 18s. boards. 

PEACH (Rev. Edward), A Series of Familiar Discourses for every 
Sunday and Festival of the Year. 2 vols., 8vo., boards, 10s. 



THE VESPERS BOOK, for the USE of the LAITY. 
According to the Roman Breviary, with the Offices of the English 
Saints, and all the New Offices in their respective places. Newly 
arranged and translated by the Rev. F. C. HUSENBETH, with the 
approbation of all the Right Rev. the Vicars- Apostolic of England. 
Second Edition, price 4s., bound in coloured leather. 

APPROBATIONS. 

We approve of the " Vespers Book for the use of the Laity," newly 
arranged and translated by the Rev. F. C. Husenbeth, and permit the 
publication and use of it in our respective Districts. 

^Nicholas, Bp. of Melipotamus, 
Coadjutor. 

3hn. Bp. of Trachis, V.A.Y.D. 
homas, Bp. of Olena, V.A.L.D. 
eorge, Bp. of Tloa, V.A.L.D. 
homas Joseph, Bp. of Apol- 

lonia, V.A. Welsh D. 
>|<Francis, Bp. of Abydos, V.A.N.D. 



^William, Bp. of Ariopolis, 
V.A.E.D 

Augustin, Bp. of Siga, 



^Thomas, Bp. of Cambysopolis. 
V.A.C.D. 

June 2 5th, 1841. 



The NEW MONTH of MARY; or, Reflections for each Day of 
the Month, on the different Titles applied to the Holy Mother of God 
in the Litany of Loretto: principally designed for the Month of May. 
By the Very Rev. P. R. KENRICK. In 18mo., price Is. 6d. 

THE DEVOTION OF CALVARY, or Meditations on the Passion of 
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, from the French of Father J. CRASSET 
of the Society of Jesus. 

Done up in a neat wrapper, price One Shilling. 



CHARLES DOLMAN, 61, NEW BOND STREET. 15 



SYMBOLISM, OR, EXPOSITION OF THE DOCTRINAL DIF 
FERENCES BETWEEN CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS. As 
evidenced by their Symbolical Writings. By JOHN A. MOEHLER, D.D., 
Dean of Wurzburg, and late Professor of Theology at the University of 
Munich. Translated from the German, with a Memoir of the Author, 
preceded by an Historical Sketch of the State of Protestantism and 
Catholicism in German for the last hundred years, by JAMES BURTON- 
ROBERTSON, Esq., translator of Schlegel s Philosophy of History." In 
2 vols. 8vo. price 18s. boards. 

" MOEHLER SYMBOLISM" is indisputably the most powerful defence of 
Catholicism that has appeared in modern times, and, as such, is deserving 
of the most serious attention. It also tends, at the same time, towards a 
mutual reconciliation of the two parties, by exposing unreservedly, though 
dispassionately, their differences on points of faith; the arguments being 
reduced, as it were, almost to a simple comparison of the authentic docu 
ments, of the different confessions. This celebrated work has already 
passed through FIVE Editions in Germany. 

Just published, in three Volumes, price 10s. Gd. each, cloth lettered, 
THE FAITH OF CATHOLICS on certain Points of Contro 
versy, Confirmed by Scripture, and attested by the Fathers of the 
first five centuries of the Church. Revised and greatly enlarged, by 
the Rev. J. WATERWORTH. 

CONTENTS. 

VOLUME THE FIRST. The Rule of Faith; the Authority of the 
Church; the Marks of the Church. Unity, Visibility, Indefectibility, 
Apostolicity, Catholicity, Sanctity; the Roman Catholic Church; the 
Scriptures; the Church, the Expounder of the Scriptures; Private 
Judgment: Apostolical Tradition; the Councils. 

VOLUME THE SECOND. The Primacy of St. Peter and of his 
Successors; Baptism; Confirmation; the Eucharist; Discipline of the 
Secret; the Liturgies; Communion in One Kind; Sacrifice of the 
Mass. 

VOLUME THE THIRD. Penance, Contrition, Confession, Satisfac 
tion; Indulgences; Purgatory; Extreme Unction; Holy Orders; 
Celibacy of the Clergy; Matrimony; Relics; Invocation of Angels 
and Saints; Precepts of the Church; Fast of Lent; Ceremonies; 
Sign of the Cross; Holy Water, General Index. 

The FLOWERS of PIETY, selected from approved sources, and 
adapted for general use. 48mo., cloth, Is.; roan, gilt edges, 2s. 

The DIAMOND CATHOLIC MANUAL, containing Spiritual 
Exercises and Devotions, with the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin 
and English. 48mo., cloth. 10d.; roan tuck, or roan embossed, Is. 6d. 

The DEVOUT COMMUNICANT, or Pious Meditations and 
Aspirations for three days before and after receiving the Holy Eucha 
rist. To which is added, a method of visiting the Blessed Sacrament 
with fervent Prayers and Acts of Devotion. By the Rev. P. BAKER, 
O.S.F. Price Is. 6d., bound in cloth, a new edition, in large type. 



16 



CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 



The MISSAL for the USE of the LAITY: With the Masses for 
all the Days throughout the year, according to the Roman Missal; 
and those for the English Saints in their respective places. Newly 
arranged and in great measure translated by the Rev. F. C. HUSEN- 
BETH. Fourth Edition, improved, with a Supplement, containing the 
New Masses recently authorised for England. Price 5s. 6d., em 
bossed roan, gilt edges, and 7s. calf gilt. 

APPROBATIONS. 

We approve of the " Missal for the use of the Laity," prepared by 
the Rev. F. C. Husenbeth, and permit the use of it in our respective 
Districts. 



^William, Bp. 
V.A.E.D. 



of Ariopolis 



>hn, Bp. of Trachis, V.A.Y.D. 
homas, Bp. of Olena, V.A.L.D. 
eorge, Bp. of Tloa, Y. A.L.D. 
homas Joseph, Bp. of Apol- 

lonia, V.A. Welsh D. 
^Francis, Bp. of Abydos, V.A.N.D. 



JPeter Augustin, Bp. of Siga, 

V.A.W.D. 
|<Thomas, Bp. of Cambysopolis, 

V.A.C.D. 
^Nicholas Bp. of Melipotamus, 

Coadjutor. 
January 12, 1843. 

N.B. The Missal may be had either with or without Plates, at the 
option of the Purchaser. Some copies are kept bound in the ancient Mo 
nastic Style of the Middle Ages, from designs by A. Welby Pugin, Esq. 
and adorned with brass corners and clasps in the same style ; and also 
some are splendidly bound in rich velvet, with metal gilt corners and 
clasps. 

ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE MISSAL. 

Twelve plates by Overbeck, 5s. the 
Set, or separately 6d. each, viz. 

The Nativity 

The Saviour seated, bearing the 
Cross 



Plates designed by A. Welby Pugin, 

2s. the Set, containing 
The Celebration of High Mass 
The Crucifixion 

The Adoration of the Shepherds 
The Annunciation 
The Resurrection 
The Descent of the Holy Spirit 

N.B. Copies are kept on Sale 
with an Illuminated Title in gold 
and colours, designed by A. W. 
Pugin, Esq., in every style of bind- 
ing. 



The Death of St. Joseph 

The Assumption of the B.V.M. 

The Last Supper 

The Mount of Olives 

Jesus stript of his Garments 

The Crucifixion 

The Entombment 

The Resurrection 

The Ascension 

The Descent of the Holy Spirit. 



DESCRIPTION of the CHAPEL of the ANNUNZIATA 
DELL ARENA, or, GIOTTO S CHAPEL, in PADUA. By 
Mrs. CALLCOTT, Illustrated with Twelve Drawings by the late Sir 
AUGUSTUS CALLCOTT. 

This work was privately printed for the Author in 1839, and is now ; 
for the first time offered for sale, price 7s. 6d., in imperial quarto, 
both lettered. 



CHARLES POLMAN, 61, NEW BOND STREET. 17 

DOLMAN S SERIES 

OF 

HISTORICAL CATECHISMS, 

IN THE PRESS, 
To be Ready Shortly, Price Sixpence, 

A CATECHISM OP 

THE HISTORY OF GERMANY, 

By A. M. S. 

Also, 
A CATECHISM OF 

THE HISTORY OF FRANCE, 

By A. M. S. 

SEVERAL OTHERS ARE IN ACTIVE PREPARATION. 

NOTICE. 

*** Some years back the publication of a SERIES OF HISTORICAL 
CATECHISMS was commenced with a Catechism of the History of 
England, published in 1840, after which the design was, from various 
causes, interrupted and delayed; but is now resumed with the intention, 
of proceeding actively with the Series. 



THE FLOWERS OF HEAVEN, or the Examples of the Saints pro 
posed to the imitation of Christians ; translated from the French of Abbe 
ORSINI. 

1 vol. 18mo., neat in cloth, lettered, price 2s. 6d. 



MANUAL OF CATHOLIC MELODIES, or a compilation of Hymns 
Anthems, Psalms, &c., with appropriate Airs and Devotional Exercises, for 
the ordinary occasions of Catholic piety and worship. 

1 vol. 12mo., price 7s., done up neatly in cloth. 



Just Published, in post octavo, handsomely bound in Crimson Cloth, 
Price 7s. 6d., and Gilt, 8s. 6d. ; 

Elegantly bound in Crimson Morocco, suitable for 
Christmas Presents, 15s. ; 

TALES OF THE CENTURY; 

OR 

SKETCHES OF THE " ROMANCE OF HISTORY," 

BETWEEN THE YEARS 1746 AND 1846. 
BY 

SORIFSKI. & r,n,\!?r.T?s pnwAun STUART. 



CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 



DOLMAN S 
MAGAZINE, AND MONTHLY MISCELLANY 



Edited by the Rev. EDWARD PRICE, 
Aided by occasional contributions from 



The Rev. DR. LINGARD, 
" Rev. DR. ROCK, 

" Rev.M.A.TlERNEY,F.S.A.,F.R.S. 

J. R. BESTE, Esa., 

L. S. BUCKINGHAM, Esa., 



C. E. JERNINGHAM, Esa. 
JOHX KEEGAN, Esa., 
C. KENT, Esa., 
W. TURNBULL, Esa., 
and others. 



Vols. I. to IV, being completed, may be had, bound in cloth and lettered, 
price 10s. 6d. each, or 1 10s. for the set. 

Published Monthly, price 2s. 



The LIFE and PASSION of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST 
illustrated in Twelve Plates, engraved on steel from the designs of 
FREDERICK OVERBECK. 

Proofs on India paper, price 10s. the set; single plates Is. each. 
Plain prints, price 5s. the set; single plates, 6d. each. 

LIST OF THE PLATES. 



The Nativity 

The Saviour seated, bearing the 



Jesus stript of his Garments 
The Crucifixion 
The Entombment 



Cross 

The Death of St. Joseph The Resurrection 

The Assumption of the B. V. M. j The Ascension 

The Last Supper The Descent of the Holy Spirit. 

The Mount of Olives 

Also a beautiful Engraving from the design of Frederic Overbeck, 
of the 

DEAD CHRIST and the BLESSED VIRGIN, engraved by 
LEWIS GRUNER. Proofs on India paper, 4s. ; plain prints, Is. 6d. 

THE GOOD SHEPHERD, by Frederic Overbeck, engraved by 
LEWIS GURNER. Proofs on India paper, 3s.; plain prints, Is. 6d. 



Just Published, the Second Edition, enlarged, price Is. 
THE CHILD S PRAYER-BOOK, by a MOTHER. 



CHARLES DOLMAN, 61, NEW BOND STREET. 



AT PRESS. 

The SPIRITUAL EXERCISES of St. IGNATIUS. Trans- 
ated from the Latin by C. SEAGER, M.A., with a Preface by the 
Right Rev. N. WISEMAN, D.D., Bishop of Melipotamus. 

IN THE PRESS. 

A SELECTION of ESSAYS and ARTICLES from the " Dublin Re- 
iew," by the Right Rev. Dr. WISEMAN, Bishop of Melipotamus. 

PART I. THEOLOGICAL. 

1st. ON PROTESTANTISM. On the Oxford Controversy Tracts for the 
Times Anglican Theory of Dogmatic Authority Anglican Claims of 
Apostolical Succession Catholic and Anglican Churches Froude s Re 
mains Protestantism of the Anglican Church The Anglican System 
The Fourth of October. 

2nd. ON CATHOLIC TOPICS. Catholicity in England Catholic Ver 
sion of Scripture Christian Inscription Prayer and Prayer-books 
National Holy Days Minor Rites and Offices Ancient and Modern 
Christianity. 

PART II. MISCELLANEOUS. 

1st. HISTORICAL. Authority of Holy See in America St. Elizabeth 
f Hungary Pope Boniface VIII. Persecution in Prussia Russia. 

2nd. ON ITALY. Religions in Italy Italian Guides and Tourists Su- 
jerficial Travelling Italian Gesticulation Roman Forum. 

To form Two Volumes. 8vo. 

Subscribers names received by C. DOLMAN, 61, New Bond-street, and all 

other Booksellers. 



Just Published, in 8vo. price 2s. 6d. 

REMARKS upon certain ANGLICAN THEORIES of UNITY, 
by EDWARD HEALEY THOMPSON, M. A. 

Just Published, in two Volumes, 12mo., price 10s., cloth lettered, 
TALES EXPLANATORY OF THE SACRAMENTS. 

By the Authoress of 

GERALDINE, A TALE OF CONSCIENCE, 
Containing 

1. The Vigil of St. Laurence. 

2. Blanche s Confirmation. 

3._The Sister Penitents. 

4. The Altar at Woodbank. 

5. Clyff Abbey, or the Last Anointing. 

6. The Priest of Northumbria; an Anglo-Saxon Tale. 

7. The Spousal Cross. 



CATALOGUE OF BOOKS. 



IN THE PRESS. 

THE HISTORY OF SAINT BERNARD, 

PART THE FIRST. 

THE MONASTIC ORDER PREVIOUS TO ST. BERNARD. 

BY 

CHARLES COUNT DE MONTALEMBERT, 

Translated from the French 

BY C. F. AUDLEY, Esa. 

In Two Volumes, 8vo. 



Now in course of publication, 
In Weekly Numbers Price One Shilling, beautifully illustrated, 

THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS. Written anew from Ancient Docu. 
raents and Traditions, by a Society of Catholic clergymen and writers 
under the direction of a committee, appointed by his Grace the Archbishoj 
of Paris, translated from the French under the superintendence of M. 
Sullivan. Each page is illustrated with numerous engravings, representing 
the principal incidents in the life of each saint. 

The first page contains a splendid steel engraving, and all the othei 
pages are embellished with wood-cut illustrations. Each number, printec 
upon superfine vellum paper, contains the life of a saint, in eight quart< 
pages, in a neatly stitched ornamental cover. 

Now in course of publication, in monthlv parts, price 2s., each, a new 
and elegant edition, in large quarto, of the 

HOLY CATHOLIC BIBLE. Translated from the Latin Vul 
gate. Diligently Compared with the Hebrew, Greek, and other 
editions, in divers languages. The Old Testament, first published by 
the English College at Douay, A.D. 1609; and the New Testament, first 
published by the English College at Rheims, A.D. 1582; with useful 
Notes, selected from the most eminent Commentators and the most 
able and judicious critics. 

BY THE KBV. GEORGE LEO HAYDOCK. 

Enriched with superb Engravings. Published with the approbation ol 
the Right Rev. Dr. Scott, Bishop of Eretria and Vicar- Apostolic in 
the Western District of Scotland, and the Right Rev. Dr. Murdoch, 
Bishop of Castabala, Coadjutor. 

The work will be embellished with splendid Engravings on Steel 
and will be completed in about Twenty-five Parts, at 2s. each, 

" We hail the appearance of this quarto edition of the Holy Scriptures 
with great satisfaction. Such a one has been long wanted amongst us 
The notes are very ample ; equal, in bulk, to one-third of the text Thej 
are selected from the best authorities those ot Dr. Challoner being re 
tainpd entire. The type is large and clear ; and the engraving on steel o; 
the Madonna della Seggiola, gives high promise of the illustrations thai 
are to follow. We shall watch this publication with interest ; and do no) 
doubt that the excellent style in which it is put forth, and its cheapness 
will entitle it to the support of all Catholics. Who would be without o 
large Catholic Bible when such an one can be obtained on such terms?" 
Dolman s Magazine for November. 

N.B. Other Editions of the Holy Bible will be found in C. Dolmans 
General Catalogue. 



H!M^~> 



: t t 









More, Sir. T. 

A dialogue of comfort 

against tribulation. 



PR 

am- 

.D6