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dren, how greuouslye God doeth punyshe whores and whoremongers. Wherfore flye whoredome as the pestilence and the Deuels poyson. For God dyd forbyd whoredome and all kynde of vncleanes, when he sayde. Thou shalt not commit none adultery. And he that is a whore haunter he shall hardelye escape wedlocke breakynge. For he that in his hart excheweth adultery, shall also exchewe fornication. Wherfore if you wyl kepe this commaundement trewly, you must order your selues after this manner. Fyrst of all and chefelye you muste beware, that you committe not lecheri in acte and dede, but you muste lyue chastely and continently, vntyll suche tyme as by the healpe of God, consente of youre parentes, and counsell of youre frendes, you may be maried lawfully. And then see that you obserue truly the fayth and promise made in matrimony. Wowe not other mennes wyfes, but kepe companye with youre owne with all dewe loue and fauoure. For saynt Paule sayeth. The woman hath not power or lybertie of her owne bodye, but her husbande, lykewyse the husbande hathe not power or lybertie of his own bodye, but the wyfe. And let not one maried person be absent from the other, wyth oute an vrgente and weyghty cause, nether let the husbande suffer his wife in peryl and daungier to sytte alone withouten his company or comforte, nor the wyfe her husbande likewyse. For this withdrawyng of the one from the other, although it be but for a tyme, yet yf it be donne agaynst the wyll of eyther partie, it is syn, although both of them kepe their bodies yndefyled.
Secondarely yf you will kepe this commaundement, you muste abstayne from all fylthy wordes and vncleane communication, you must not craftely go about wyth flatery and louyng wordes to deceyue the simplicitie of young women, you must not with fayre promyses or gyftes entise theym to foly, neyther with wanton songes or vnhonest dalyance kyndle the fire of lecherie, but asmoche as is possible, you shall auoid all wanton lokes and vnchast gestures, to muche nisenes in trymmynge and deckynge youre bodyes, and apparellyng them to gorgiously, and all kyndes of craftye entycementes, whiche louers do vse to please the eyes and myndes of their peramoures, whereby they maye allure them to loue and lechery. Thyrdly you must eschewe al vncleane myndes and thoughtes. For althoughe the worlde doeth neyther see nor punishe the sinnes of our thoughtes, yet God which sercheth mennes hertes and raynes, doeth bothe sce, and punishe them. Therfore Christ sayeth. He that seeth a woman to lust after her, hath alredy commytted adultery in his harte. You muste also diligently auoyde all occasions, by the whiche suche vnlawful lustes are prouoked as surfetynge, dronkenésse, idlenesse, wanton daunsyng and suche lyke.
For Christe in thys sermon of adultery sayeth. Yf thy ryght eye gyue the an occasion to synne, pul it out and cast it from the. For it is better, that one of thi members peryshe, then that thy whole body shoulde be cast into hell. Muche more then, yf surfetynge, banketyng or suche other lyke, do gyue you occasion of synne, you ought diligently to eschew them, lest you fal into so perrellous a daunger. Fourthly you ought not only to kepe your owne bodyes and soules chast and pure frome all vncleanes, but also you muste take heede, that you gyue no occasyon, ayde or counsell to anye other, to committe adulterye, but asmuche as lieth in you, you shall studye that honest and chast liuyng may be obserued of all men. For these thynges both please God and be muche profitable to euery commen welthe. You shal therfore vnderstande this commaundement after this sorte, that you abstayne frome all adulterye and whoredome, both in hearte woorde, and dede, that you auoyd all euell occasion, bothe by your selues and by other, that we all maye leade a godly chast and pure life, that the bonde or knot of wedlocke maye not be broken or loosed. Wherby the commen wealthe maye haue plentye of good and vertuous children, whiche maye be able in tyme to come, eyther to be preachers and ministers of Goddes most holy worde, or to beare commen office in thadministracion of the commen wealth, to the glorye of God and profit of their neighbour. Wherfore good children, when ye shalbe demaunded, how vnderstande you the syxth commaundement, ye shall answere. We ought aboue all thynges to loue and dreade our Lord God, and for his sake to lyue chastly in wil, worde and dede, and euery man is bownde to loue and cheryshe his wife.
THE SEUENTH SERMON.
An exposition of the seuenth commaundemente.
Thou shalt not steale.
YE haue heard in the exposition of the syxte commaundement howe we shoulde behaue ourselfes toward our own wifes and our neighbours wifes also, by the which commaundemente, as God hathe fortified wedlocke that no man shal besige or assaut it, so by the vertue and strength of this seuenth commaundement, Thou shalt not steale, he defendeth oure neighbours goodes and riches, wherby he lyueth himselfe, his wife, children and familie. For this precepte teacheth vs, howe we should ordre our selues towardes oure neyghbours goodes, and cattel, that by fraud or stealth we conuey nothyng from him, that by violence or extorcion we take nothynge from hym, but study to defende and encrease his riches, with as good a wyl, as we would do oure owne.
And here note good children, that this worde, thefte, doeth not onely signifie open robberies, extorcions and manyfest poollyng but also all maner of craftes, and subtile wayes by the whiche we conuey our neyghbours goodes from him, contrarye to his knowledge or wyll althoughe the gyle haue neuer so fayre a coloure of vertue and honesty. And to thentent you maye the better vnderstande this thing, I shall declare it vnto you by certen examples. And firste I wyll begynne wyth maiestrates or commen officers. God hathe commaunded vs to paye to prynces and gouernours of the commen wealth, rentes, seruices, tributes, customes, toll, subsidies, pensions and other yerelye reuenewes, wherby they maye be the more able to susteyne and beare the charges of the commen administration, and also to punyshe theym that be yll, and to defende those that be good. But when the maiestrates do ouercharge theyr subiectes, and exacte more of them then is nedefull to the mayntenaunce of the commen charges, and so empouerishe and oppresse them, whom they ought from all iniury and wronge to saue and defende, then thys sore exaction is a notable and haynouse kynde of thefte, in the sight of God. Likewise it is whan they do wring monye out of theyr subiectes handes vniustly and agaynste theyr wylles. And tributes or subsidies yf they take none but suche onely as of ryght are due vnto them, yet yf they bestowe not the same as they ought to do, but wastfullye spende that monye whiche was gathered for the maintenaunce of the commen charges, and consume it in riot and vnlawful pleasures than they committe thefte before God. Also God shall iudge them theues, when for couetousnesse they leaue suche thinges vndone, which be necessarie to be done for the commen profite. As when thei appoynt not good and mete men to be rulers vnder them, byshoppes, persons, 'curates, and scholemasters, because they grudge to gyue theym an honest and sufficient lyuyng, but wyll take out of the commen sort to minister suche hygh offices, those that will serue for lest monie. And when rulers of cities be theues suffer the necessarie buildinges of the citie, as churches, yelde halles, the towne walles, commen bridges, comductes or suche lyke to decaye or fall to ruyne. For so thorow their neglygence or couetousnesse the commen money is not employed to such vses, for the which it was gathered.
Also byshoppes, pastors preachers and curates be theues, when for mennes fauour and their own lucre they hydde the truethe of Goddes woorde, and teache lyes and theyr owne dreames, and sell all thinge for monie. As of late tyme here in Englande, manye of theym had great gaynes by diriges, seruices to synge for sowles, trentals, pylgrimages, pardons and suche lyke deceytes. This kynd of deceyte, in vtteryng false ware for good, is thefte before God. For menne therby be deceyued, whiche woulde gyue no monye at all for suche marchandise, yf they were taught and warned of theyr abuses.
Likewise, lawers, aduocates, sergeants, attorneis and procters are theues before God, when they for their owne gaynes do counsell a man to wage the lawe, makynge hym to beleue that hys mater is good, when in dede they thinke it naught. Or when for monye they wil so craftely handle or plead a matter, that they wyth theyr shiftes and colors will purposely hide the truth, and make a good cause to seme bad, and a bad cause to appeare good: wherwith they shal so deceyue the iudge that they wyll cause hym vniustly to gyue sentence on theyr syde.