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precepte. Wherfore good children marke it well, and when you be asked, howe vnderstande you the fifthe commaundemente ? you shall aunswere, we ought to loue and dreade our Lorde God aboue all thinges, so that for hys sake we hurt not our neyghbour, nether in his name, goodes, cattel, life or body, but that we ayde comforte and succour him in all hys necessites troubles and afflictions.
THE SYXTH SERMON.
Thou shalt not committe adultery. IN the last sermon ye were taught, howe we should behaue ourselfes towarde oure neyghboure that we kyll hym not, nether in wyl, worde nor dede, neyther hurte hym in hys goodes or bodye. Now a man (yf he be a man in deade and no monster) nexte after his awne bodye, doth most dearly loue his wyfe, wherefore next foloweth the syxth commaundement. Thou shalt not committe adulterye, the whiche teacherh vs, how we sholde order ourselues towardes our wifes, that we shoulde loue them, not forsake them or breake the promyse of wedlocke with theim, but louingly kepe theym companye. Also that we shoulde not lust after an other mans wyfe, neyther with
faire wordes or gyftes intyse her away from her husbande, but laboure with all diligence that wemen both maried and vnmaried may kepe their chastitie vndefyled. For God himself did institute and ordeine mariage, and did halow with his awne blessyng. Wherfore we maye be sure, that this state of life pleaseth God, and that it is his will, to haue it kept without pollution or dishonestie. For God after that he had made Adam, he sayde thus. It is not good, that Adam shoulde be alone, let vs make for him an helpe. And when Adam was a sleape, the Lord toke one of his ribbes, and made a woman of the rybbe, whiche he had taken from Adam. And he brought her to Adam, and Adam sayd. This is now bone of my bones and feshe of my fleshe. For thys cause a man shal leaue his father and mother and shall be ioyned with his wife, and they shall be twayne in one fleshe. And the Lord God blessed them sayeng. Growe and increace, and replenishe the earthe, and tyll it. By this you may learne good children, that God hymself did institute mariage with hys awne worde. Wherfore there is no doubte, but that this kinde of lyfe is holy, and doth highly please God. As thapostel Paule writeth to the Hebrues. Wedlocke is honourable and the bed therin is vnspotted, but adulterers, and fornicatours God doth condemne. Furthermore God saith. Grow and increace. Here he declareth, that the fruyt of wedlocke, that is to say, children, are the gifte of God. For yf he had not commaunded thys thing by his worde, then maryed folkes could haue had no children. Wherfore ye shall by these wordes chefely learne, that ther is a great difference betwene wedlocke and the vnlawful companye bitwixt man and woman. For in mariage the acte of generation betwene the husbande and the wife is no synne (for God hath ordayned it, and it pleaseth him) but fornication and adulterye be sin which God hath forbid, and thei highly displease him. To maried folkes he hath saied: Growe, increase and fill the earth, but to horemongers and harlots he hath not saied so, but hath condemned them. Children begotten in mariage please God, but the generation of bastardes displeaseth him, and lacketh his blessyng, wherfore it is muche for the profit of the commen wealth, that wedlocke should be kepte purely and chastely, out of the whiche springeth the fruit of vertuous and honest childerne, which may proue honest men, and be mete to beare office in their cities and countreys. But where adulterye raigneth, wheryought doth both heare and see vnchastnes, there the infection of vncleanes spreadeth abrode, and doth poyson the multitude, and God at the length doth punyshe suche synnes with hunger, famyne, battayle, pestylence, and suche lyke, vntil he hath vtterly destroyed the whole realme or citie. Furthermore marke this also diligently, that the Lorde saieth. Grow, increace, replenyshe the earth and digge it. Many absteyne from mariage, because they be to careful how they shal liue, if they wer maried. Therfore our Lord God doth here plainly shew, that he will minister plentifully to maried folkes, all thinges necessarie to the maintenaunce of their life, yf thei put their trust in him, and apply their labours diligently. For he saieth, dygge, plowe or tyll the earth, as who should say, 1 haue made for youre sake all thinges that growe vpon the earth, I haue gyuen to you all kyndes of beastes, fishes, foules, that lyueth in the worlde, onely labour you that you maye purchase and possesse those my riches truly and honestly. Nowe good children consider this, that it is not in your awne libertie, whether you wyll be maried or not. And thus I speake for this purpose, that you should be the more dilygent to learne in tyme, some craft, way, or science, wherby you might kepe youre house and get your lyuing honestli, both for yourselfes, your wife and your children, for God wylleth all those to vse mariage, that can not lyue continently, and Christ speaketh in the Math. xix. gospell of saincte Mathewe of. iii. sortes of people that
lyue without maryage. Ther are some chaste,'which are so borne euen from their mothers wombe. Some ther be which are made chast by men. Other there be to whome God by a singular gift hath giuen the gift of chastite, which liue vnmaried for this purpose and entent, that they myghte the better knowe and set furth the kingdome of God. And they that haue this excellent gifte, let theim thanke God for it, for they maye lyue vnmaried. And Christ also doth praise this kind of chastitie, sayinge. Al men can not take this, he that can, let him
take it. To all other God hath commaunded to vse the Genes. i. helpe of mariage, sayinge. Growe and multiplye. And 1 Cor. vii. saincte Paule saieth. He that can not lyue continently,
let him marie, for it is better to marie then to burne.
signes, neyther in affection and priuye motion of thy hart. But I commaunde the (saieth God) that you be shamefast, chast, pure and vndefiled, whether thou be a virgin, wydow or maried. For these thre states of lyfe be holy and pure. Herein also we be commaunded, that we giue none aide nor counsel, cause or occasion to other to commit adulterie, nor gyue houserome harbour or lodging to such offenders, but as we ought to kepe our awne soules cleane from all suche vices, so it is our deutie also to monyshe and dissuad al other from suche shameful interprises, and both with threates, punyshmentes and all meanes possyble to stoppe and let them from so great abomination.
And thinke not good children, that in this commaundemente, only wedlocke breakyng is forbyd, and that other whordome or lecherie is not forbyd, as sum frantike men do thinke, that single fornication betwene vnmaried parsons is not forbyd, because God in this commaundement speaketh in expresse wordes onely of adulterers or wedlocke breakers.
But take hede good children, that ye erre not with these vngodlye wicked parsons, but know ye for a suer- . tie, that fornication, whoredome, lecherie and all kynde of vncleanes, by what so euer name or title it be called, is synne, and highly displeaseth God. For Moses sayth. There shalbe no whore among the daughters of Israel. Deut. xxiii. Also he sayeth. There shall be no whormonger among the children of Israel. And sainct Paule saith in expresse wordes. Fornication and al vnclenes let it not be Eple. v. ones named among you, as it becommeth sayntes. For this know for a suertie, that no whoremonger ether vncleane persone hath any inheritaunce in the kyngdome of Christ and God. Let no man deceaue you with vaine wordes, for suche thinges commeth the wrath of God vpon disobebient children.
By these wordes you maye easely perceyue good chil