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practised in the world. Therfore sainct Paul saieth. Whoredome and couetousnes let it be not ones named Ephe. v. amonge you. And Christ saieth of him that gyueth, occasion of synne. It wer better for him, that a mylstone wer hanged about his necke and he to be cast into the botome of the sea. Moreouer, when we vse thus rashely to slaunder men, it chaunceth oftentymes, that the parties whiche be slaundered, be made therby paste shame, vnrepentaunt and more obstinate to continew in their wicked lyfe. For by malicious slaunder many offenders be prouoked to rage, and often times brust out into these woordes. I wyll do it agayne, because men talke of it. What haue they to do wyth my dedes ? and such lyke wordes. And some of them be the worser in deede, contynuynge in theyr synnes all the dayes of theyr lyfe. Whereas yf they were gentely, secretly and frendly admonyshed, they myght be wonne and brought to the righte waye agayne. Wherfore make not the wourste of mens faultes, neyther be desyrouse to tell theym abrode, althoughe you know the thynges to be trew. But kepe the rule of Christ which sayth. Yf thy brother trespace Math. xviii. against the, go, and tell hym his faulte betwene hym and the alone, yf he heare the, thou haste wonne thy brother. But yf he heare the not, then take wyth the one or two, that in the mouthe of two or three wytnesses euerye mater may stande, yf he heare not them, tell it vnto the congregation. Yf he heare not the congregacion, let him be vnto the as an hethen, and a publycane. This is the best and moste honest waye to entreat synners, and to handle other mennes faultes. And he that wyll not vse this waye, lette hym holde his tongue. For bacbytynge and yl reportyng doth more hurt then good. And it is not' ynoughe for vs to refrayne oure owne tongue from euyll reportes, but we must also take heede, that we gyue no occasion to other so to do, that is to say, we must nether mainteyne, reioyce nor comforte theym, that
speake euyl of theyr neyghbours, but bothe with our countenance wordes and dedes, we must shew ynto theym, that we do not lyke suche communicacion, and so to stoppe the mouthes of suche bacbyters.
Now to make a briefe rehersal of such thinges as haue ben spoken heretofore, you shall vnderstande (good chyldren,) that by this eyght commaundemente are forbyd all lyes, fraudes, and all communication, wherby our neyghbours name maye be hurted, or by the whiche strife and contention maye be prouoked or continued, whether it be in courtes of law or out of courtes. Hereby also we be commaunded not to be suspicious nor to expound our neyghbours woordes or deedes to the wourst, nor maliciousely to blow abrode theyr fautes, or in tellyng of them to make them wourse then they be in dede, but we oughte alwayes to set our myndes of suche thynges as perteyne to the glory of God and profit of our neyghbour, and in all places to speake well and charitably of euery man. We must also maynteyne vnitie, peace and concorde, take all thing to the best, beare with our neyghbours frailtie, and hidde his fautes, when we can not amende them. This is the true meanyng of this precept. Wherfore good children when you shalbe demaunded, how vnderstande you the eyghte commaundement, you shall answere. We ought to feare and loue oure Lorde God aboue all thynge, and for his sake to absteyne from all liynge, backe bytyng, slaunderynge and yll reportynge, by the whiche oure neyghbours good name fame and credit may be impeched or decayed, and rather to excuse hydde or gentely to enterprete another mannes faute, then malicyously to make the wourste of the same, and wyth the loude trumpe of our tongue to blaste it abrode, to the knowlege of all the towne or place wherein we dwel.
THE NYNTH SERMON.
An exposition of the nynthe and lenth commaundemente.
Thou shalte not desire thy neyghbours house, wyfe, man seruaunt, woman seruaunte, oxe, asse, nor anye thynge that is his.
THE nynthe and tenth commaundementes good chyldren, be as it were briefe commentaries and expositions of the other commaundementes, that were spoken of before. For they declare vnto vs, that it is not ynoughe to kepe the former commaundementes in outwarde woorkes, and not to hurte our neighbour neyther in his bodye, wyfe, goodes, fame, name or estimatyon, but they declare also that we ought not to couet or desier any thinge that is our neyghbours. And they teache vs also that euell lustes and carnal desiers (whiche lurke in the secret corners of our hertes) are sinnes, for the which we should be for euer damned, yf God should rendre vnto vs after iustice, and not after his mercye. Wherfore good children, you shal here learne that euyll lustes and appetites, whiche come vnto vs euen frome oure fyrste father Adam be synnes, and that no man or woman, no not infauntes in theyr mothers wombe, do lyue wythoute
suche lustes and appetites. For the whiche cause all
men are synners, and there is not one man innocent beRoma. iii. fore God, according to the saying of S. Paul. All men
haue synned, and haue nede of the glory of God. To Psal. xiii. the whiche agreeth the prophet Dauid, saying. Al men
and women haue erred out of the right waye, there is none that doth good no not one. For this we feale in oure selues and proue by experience, that naturally we be full of yll desiers and lustes. For we delite in thinges that be pleasant to the fleshe, and abhorre all thinges that be displesant to the same. And these appetits and desires we maye perccaue to be euen in infantes which lye in their cradel. For when suche yong babes do not lye softly or be greued with thirst, hunger or colde, they crie vnpatientlye. Lykewise when we shewe them any pleasant thing to their eyes, and sodenly againe take it from them we see them wepe. And these be playne and euident tokens, that infantes newly borne, be giuen to their owne willes and appetites, and are synners, for asmuche as they transgresse this commaundement. Thou shalt not desire. And it is much necessarie for you good children, to marke dilygently and to beare away this lesson, to thentent you may therby acknowlege your awne synne. And let not the sayinges of certen vnlerned persons moue you, whiche affirme that infantes and suche as be vndre the yeres of discretion, are pure, innocent and cleane without sinne. For this opinion is not true, nor agreable to holy scripture. And they that say so, deceaue both themselues and other. For infantes are baptised for this purpose, that they by the same maye enioy remission of their synnes. And in case they neded not forgyuenes of their offences, then they had no nede to be christened. But ther be fewe that vnderstandeth this doctrine. For mans reason can not attayne to it, neither can it comprehende, how infantes should be synners by the reason of lustes and desiers, called concupiscence in the whiche they be conceiued and borne, but they that leane to their naturall witte iudgeth yong babes to be innocent and voyde of synne, because they committe no outwarde offence or actual synne. But we in this case must not iudge after our reason, but according to the worde of God, whiche euidently declareth vnto vs, that concupiscence is synne. For yf we were in dede cleane, fawtles and innocente, then oure nature woulde not so vehemently seke for those thinges whiche are pleasaunt to oure appetites, but woulde be contente with that whiche God shoulde sende vnto vs, and whatsoeuer thing dyd please God, that also should please vs. Moreouer we shulde not so much desire to auoyd suche thinges as be displeasant to the flesh, as we should desier to auoyde those thinges that be forbydde by Gods law. Also we shoulde be more willyng to suffre all kynde of afflictions, paynes and miseries (yf it were Gods will that we should so do) then contrary to his wil, to hauke and hunte for pleasures, to seke to liue idely, to hurde vp riches, purchase landes or other commodities. But now we feale in our selues, that euen from our tendre age and in oure cradels also, we be cleane contrary mynded. For we begynne to couet and lust for pleasant thynges, long before we know whether God wyll gyue them vnto vs, or no. Also we abhorre and be werye of displeasant thinges, longe before we know whether yt be Gods will that we shoulde be reliued of the same or no. Yea although we knowe Gods wil neuer so wel, yet we longe and lust for the contrarie. And this is surely a great offence. For Gods wyll ought to be fulfylled and not ours, as we desier in the Lordes Prayer. And to knowe this thing, good chyldren, is a point of high wisedom, to the which euery man doth not attain For thapostle Paule doeth confesse, that he had not knowen this synne, yf the lawe had not giuen him warnyng of it. For he sayeth, I had not knowen concupiscence, yf the lawe had not sayed: Thou