HOMILY AGAINST STRIFE AND CONTENTION
A SERMON AGAINST
Contention and Brawling.
THis day (good Christian people) shall bee declared vnto you, the vnprofitablenesse and shamefull vnhonestie of contention, strife, and debate, to the intent, that when you shall see as it were in a table painted before your eyes, the euillfauourednesse and deformitie of this most detestable vice, your stomackes may bee mooued to rise against it, and to detest and abhorre that sinne, which is so much to be hated, and pernicious, and hurtfull to all men. But among all kindes of Contention, none is more hurtfull then is Contention in matters of Religion. Eschew (saith Saint Paul), foolish and vnlearned questions, knowing that they breed strife (2 Timothy 2.23). It becommeth not the seruant of GOD to fight, or striue, but to bee meeke toward all men (2 Timothy 2.24). This Contention and strife was in Saint Paul's time among the Corinthians, and is at this time among vs English men. For too many there bee which vpon the Ale-benches or other places, delight to set foorth certaine questions, not so much pertaining to edification, as to vaine-glorie, and shewing foorth of their cunning, and so vnsoberly to reason and dispute, that when neither part will giue place to other, they fall to chiding and contention, and sometime from hot-words, to further inconuenience. Saint Paul could not abide to heare among the Corinthians, these words of discord or dissention, I holde of Paul, I of Cephas, and I of Apollo (1 Corinthians 3.4): What would hee then say, if hee heard these words of Contention (which be now almost in euery mans mouth?) Hee is a Pharisee, he is a Gospeller, he is of the new sort, he is of the olde faith, he is a new broched brother, he is a good Catholike Father, hee is a Papist, he is an Heretike. O how the Church is diuided? Oh how the cities be cut and mangled? O how the coat of Christ, that was without seame, is all to rent and torne? O body mysticall of Christ, where is that holy and happy vnitie, out of the which whosoeuer is, he is not in Christ? If one member be pulled from another, where is the body? If the bodie be drawen from the head, where is the life of the bodie? Wee cannot be ioyned to Christ our head, except we be glued with concord and charitie one to another. For hee that is not of this vnitie, is not of the Church of Christ, which is a congregation or vnitie together, and not a diuision. Saint Paul saith, That as long as emulation or enuying, contention, and factions or sects be among vs, we be carnall, and walke according to the fleshly man ( 1 Corinthians 3.3). And Saint Iames saith, If yee haue bitter emulation or enuying, and contention in your hearts, glorie not of it (James 3.14): for where as contention is, there is vnstedfastnesse, and all euill deeds. And why doe we not heare Saint Paul, which prayeth vs, where as hee might command vs, saying, I beseech you in the Name of our Lord Iesus Christ, that you will speake all one thing, and that there be no dissention among you, but that you will be one whole bodie, of one mind, and of one opinion in the truth (1 Corinthians 1.10). If his desire be reasonable and honest, why doe we not grant it? if his request be for our profit, why doe we refuse it? And if we list not to heare his petition of prayer, yet let vs heare his exhortation, where he saith, I exhort you that you walke as it becommeth the vocation in which you be called, with all submission and meekenesse, with lenitie and softnesse of minde, bearing one another by charitie, studying to keepe the vnitie of the spirit by the bond of peace: For there is one Bodie, one Spirit, one Faith, one Baptisme (Ephesians 4.1-5). There is (saith he) but one Bodie, of the which he can be no liuely member, that is at variance with the other members. There is one Spirit, which ioyneth and knitteth all things in one. And how can this one Spirit raine in vs, when we among our selues be diuided? There is but one Faith, and how can we then say, He is of the old Faith, and he is of the new Faith? There is but one Baptisme, and then shall not all they which be Baptized be one? Contention causeth diuision, wherefore it ought not to be among Christians, whom one Faith and Baptisme ioyneth in an vnitie. But if wee contemne Saint Paul's request and exhortation, yet at the least let vs regard his earnest entreating, in the which hee doeth very earnestly charge vs and (as I may so speake) coniure vs in this forme and manner, If there be any consolation in Christ, if there be any comfort of loue, if you haue any fellowship of the Spirit, if you haue any bowels of pittie and compassion, fulfill my ioy, being all like affected, hauing one charitie, being of one mind, of one opinion, that nothing be done by contention, or vaineglorie (Philippians 2.1-3). Who is he that hath any bowels of pittie, that will not be mooued with these wordes so pithie? whose heart is so stonie, that the sword of these words (which be more sharpe then any two edged sword) may not cut and breake asunder? wherefore let vs endeauour our selues to fulfill Saint Paul's ioy here in this place, which shall be at length to our great ioy in another place.
How Wee Should Read the Scripture. Let vs so read the Scripture, that by reading thereof, wee may be made the better liuers, rather then the more contentious disputers. If any thing be necessary to be taught, reasoned, or disputed, let vs doe it with all meekenesse, softnesse, and lenitie If any thing shall chance to be spoken vncomely, let one beare anothers frailtie. He that is faultie, let him rather amend, then defend that which hee hath spoken amisse, lest hee fall by contention from a foolish errour into an obstinate Heresie. For it is better to giue place meekely, then to win the victorie with the breach of charitie, which chanceth when euery man will defend his opinion obstinately. If wee be the Christian men, why doe we not follow Christ, which saith, Learne of mee, for I am meeke and lowly in heart (Matthew 11.29)? A Disciple must learne the lesson of his Schoolemaster, and a seruant must obey the commandement of his Master. Hee that is wise and learned, (saith Saint Iames) let him shew his goodnesse by his good conuersation, and sobernesse of his wisedome. For where there is enuie and contention, that wisedome commeth not from GOD, but is worldly wisedome, mans wisedome and deuilish wisedome. For the wisdome that commeth from aboue from the spirit of GOD, is chaste and pure, corrupted with no euill affections: it is quiet, meeke, and peaceable, abhorring all desire & contention (James 3.13-17): it is tractable, obedient, not grudging to learne, and to giue place to them that teach better for the reformation. For there shall neuer bee an end of striuing and contention, if we contend who in contention shall be master, and haue the ouer hand: if wee shall heape errour vpon errour, if wee continue to defend that obstinately, which was spoken vnaduisedly. For trueth it is, that stifnesse in maintaining an opinion, breedeth contention, brawling, and chiding, which is a vice among all other most pernicious and pestilent to common peace and quietnesse. And it standeth betwixt two persons and parties (for no man commonly doth chide with himselfe) so it comprehendeth two most detestable vices: the one is picking of quarrelles, with sharpe and contentious words: the other standeth in froward answering, and multiplying euill wordes againe. The first is so abominable, that Saint Paul saith, if any that is called a brother, be a worshipper of idoles, a brawler, a picker of quarrels, a thiefe, or an extortioner, with him that is such a man, see that yee eate not ( 1 Corinthians 5.11).
Against quarrell picking. Now here consider that Saint Paul numbreth a scoulder, a brawler, or a picker of quarrelles, among theeues and idolaters, and many times there commeth lesse hurt of a theefe, then of a railing tongue: for the one taketh away a mans good name, the other taketh but his riches, which is of much lesse value and estimation then is his good name. And a theefe hurteth but him from whom hee stealeth: but hee that hath an euill tongue, troubleth all the towne, where hee dwelleth, and sometime the whole countrey. And a rayling tongue is a pestilence so full of contagiousnesse, that Saint Paul willeth Christian men to forbeare the company of such, and neither to eate nor drinke with them (1 Corinthians 5.11). And whereas hee will not that a Christian woman should forsake her husband, although he be an Infidell, or that a Christian seruant should depart from his Master, which is an Infidell and Heathen, and so suffer a Christian man to keepe company with an Infidell: yet he forbiddeth vs to eate or drinke with a scoulder, or quarrelpicker. And also in the first Chapter to the Corinthians, hee saith thus, Be not deceiued, for neither fornicators, neither worshippers of Idols, neither theeues, nor drunkards, nor cursed speakers shall dwell in the kingdome of heauen (1 Corinthians 6.9-10). It must needs be a great fault, that doth moue and cause the father to disherite his naturall sonne. And how can it otherwise be, but that this cursed speaking must needs be a most damnable sin, the which doeth cause GOD our most mercifull and louing Father, to depriue vs of his most blessed kingdome of heauen?
Against Froward Answering. Against the other sin that standeth in requiting taunt for taunt, speaketh Christ himselfe, saying: I say vnto you, resist not euill, but loue your enemies, and say well by them, that say euill by you, doe well vnto them that doe euill vnto you, and pray for them that doe hurt and persecute you, that you may bee the children of your Father which is in heauen, who suffereth his Sunne to rise both vpon good and euill, and sendeth his raine both vpon the iust and vniust (Matthew 5.39, 44-45). To this doctrine of Christ agreeth very well the teaching of S. Paul, that chosen vessell of GOD, who ceaseth not to exhort and call vpon vs, saying, Blesse them that curse you, blesse I say, and curse not, recompense to no man euill for euill, if it be possible (as much as lyeth in you) liue peaceably with all men (Romans 12.14, 17-18).
THE SECOND PART OF THE SERMON AGAINST CONTENTION.
IT hath beene declared vnto you in this Sermon against strife and brawling, what great inconuenience commeth thereby, specially of such contention as groweth in matters of religion: and how when as no man will giue place to another, there is none end of contention and discord: and that vnity which GOD requireth of Christians, is vtterly thereby neglected and broken: and that this contention standeth chiefly in two points, as in picking of quarrelles, and making of froward answers. Now yee shall heare Saint Paul's words, saying, Dearely beloued, auenge not your selues, but rather giue place vnto wrath, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, and I will reuenge, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemie hunger, feed him, if hee thirst, giue him drinke: bee not ouercome with euill, but ouercome euill with goodnesse (Romans 12.19-21).
An obiection. All these bee the words of Saint Paul, but they that bee full of stomacke, and set so much by themselues, that they may not abide so much as one euill word to be spoken of them, peraduenture will say: If I be reuiled, shall I stand still like a Goose, or a foole, with my finger in my mouth? Shall I be such an ideot and dizard, to suffer euery man to speake vpon me what they list, to raile what they list, to spue out all their venome against me at their pleasures? Is it not conuenient that he that speaketh euill, should be answered accordingly? If I shall vse this lenitie and softnesse, I shall both increase mine enemies frowardnesse, and prouoke other to doe like. Such reasons make they that can suffer nothing, for the defence of their impatience.
An answere. And yet if by froward answering to a froward person, there were hope to remedie his frowardnesse, hee should lesse offend that so should answere, doing the same not of ire or malice, but onely of that intent, that he that is so froward or malicious, may be reformed. But he that cannot amend an other mans fault, or cannot amend it without his owne fault, better it were that one should perish, then two. Then if he cannot quiet him with gentle words, at the least let him not follow him in wicked and vncharitable words. If he can pacifie him with suffering, let him suffer, and if not, it is better to suffer euill, then to doe euill, to say well, then to say euill. For to speake well against euill, commeth of the Spirit of GOD: but to render euill for euill, commeth of the contrary spirit. And he that cannot temper nor rule his own anger, is but weake & feeble, and rather more like a woman or a childe, then a strong man. For the true strength and manlinesse is to ouercome wrath, and to despise iniuries, and other mens foolishnesse. And besides this, he that shall despise the wrong done vnto him by his enemy, euery man shall perceiue that it was spoken or done without cause: whereas contrarily, he that doth fume and chase at it, shall helpe the cause of his aduersarie, giuing suspicion that the thing is true. And in so going about to reuenge euill, wee shew our selues to bee euil, and while we will punish and reuenge another mans follie, we double and augment our owne follie. But many pretences finde they that bee wilfull, to colour their impatience. Mine enemy, say they, is not worthy to haue gentle words or deeds, being so full of malice or frowardnesse. The lesse hee is worthy, the more art thou therefore allowed of GOD, and the more art thou commended of Christ, for whose sake thou shouldest render good for euill, because hee hath commaunded thee, and also deserued that thou shouldest so doe. Thy neighbour hath peraduenture with a word offended thee: call thou to thy remembrance with how many words and deeds, how grieuously thou hast offended thy Lord GOD. What was man, when Christ dyed for him? was hee not his enemy, and vnworthy to haue his fauour and mercie? Euen so, with what gentlenesse and patience doeth hee forbeare, and tolerate, and suffer thee, although hee is dayly offended by thee? Forgiue therefore a light trespasse to thy neighbour that Christ may forgiue thee many thousands of trespasses, which art euery day an offender. For if thou forgiue thy brother, being to thee a trespasser, then hast thou a sure signe and token, that GOD will forgiue thee, to whom all men bee debters and trespassers. How wouldest thou haue GOD mercifull to thee, if thou wilt be cruell vnto thy brother? Canst thou not finde in thine heart to doe that towards another that is thy fellow, which GOD hath done to thee, that art but his seruant? Ought not one sinner to forgiue another, seeing that Christ which was no sinner, did pray to his Father for them that without mercy and despitefully put him to death? Who, when hee was reuiled, he did not vse reuiling words againe, and when he suffred wrongfully, he did not threaten, but gaue all vengeance to the iudgement of his Father which iudgeth rightfully (1 Peter 2.23). And what crakest thou of thy head, if thou labour not to bee in the body? Thou canst bee no member of Christ, if thou follow not the steppes of Christ: (who as the Prophet saith) was ledde to death like a Lambe, not opening his mouth to reuiling (Isaiah 53.7), but opening his mouth to praying for them that crucified him, saying, Father, forgiue them, for they cannot tell what they doe (Luke 23.34). The which example, anon after Christ, Saint Steuen did follow (Acts 7.60), and after S. Paul: We be euill spoken of, (saith he) and wee speake well: wee suffer persecution, and take it patiently: Men curse vs, and we gently entreate ( 1 Corinthians 4.12-13). Thus S. Paul taught that he did, and he did that he taught. Blesse you (saith he) them that persecute you: blesse you, and curse not. Is it a great thing to speake well to thine aduersary, to whom Christ doth command thee to doe well? Dauid when Semei did call him all to naught, did not chide againe, but said patiently, Suffer him to speake euill, if perchance the Lord will haue mercy on me. Histories bee full of examples of Heathen men, that tooke very meekely both opprobrious & reprochful words, and iniurious or wrongful deedes. And shall those Heathen excell in patience vs that professe Christ, the teacher and example of all patience? Lisander, when on did rage against him, in reuiling of him, he was nothing mooued, but sayd, Goe to, go to, speake against me as much and as oft as thou wilt, and leaue out nothing, if perchance by this meanes thou mayest discharge thee of those naughty things, with the which it seemeth that thou art full laden. Many men speake euill of all men, because they can speake well of no man. After this sort, this wise man auoydeth from him, the reprochfull words spoken vnto him, imputing and laying them to the naturall sickenesse of his aduersary. Pericles when a certaine scoulder, or rayling fellow did reuile him, hee answered not a worde againe, but went into a gallery, and after towards night, when he went home, this scoulder followed him, raging still more and more, because he saw the other to set nothing by him: and after that he came to his gate (being darke night) Pericles commanded one of his seruants to light a torch, and to bring the scoulder home to his owne house. Hee did not onely with quietnesse suffer this brauler patiently, but also recompenced an euill turne with a good turne, and that to his enemie. Is it not a shame for vs that professe Christ, to be worse then Heathen people, in a thing chiefely pertayning to Christ's religion: shall philosophie perswade them more then GOD'S word shall perswade vs? shall naturall reason preuaile more with them, then religion shall with vs? shall mans wisedome leade them to those things, whereunto the heauenly doctrine cannot leade vs? What blindnesse, wilfulnesse, or rather madnesse is this (Pericles being prouoked to anger with many villanous wordes answered not a word. But we, stirred but with one little word, what foule worke doe we make? How doe wee fume, rage, stampe, and stare like mad men? Many men, of euery trifle wil make a great matter, and of the sparke of a little word will kindle a great fire, taking all things in the worst part.
Reasons to moue men from quarelpicking. But how much better is it, and more like to the example and doctrine of Christ, to make rather of a great fault in our neighbor, a small fault, reasoning with our selues after this sort. Hee spake these wordes, but it was in a suddaine heate, or the drinke spake them, and not he, or he spake them at the motion of some other, or hee spake them being ignorant of the trueth, hee spake them not against mee, but against him whom he thought me to be. But as touching euill speaking, he that is ready to speake euill against other men, first let him examine himselfe, whether he bee faultlesse and cleare of the fault which hee findeth in another. For it is a shame when hee that blameth another for any fault, is guiltie himselfe, either in the same fault, or in a greater. It is a shame for him that is blind to call another man blinde, and it is more shame for him that is whole blind to call him blinkard, that is but purblinde. For this is to see a straw in another mans eye, when a man hath a blocke in his owne eye.
Then let him consider, that he that vseth to speake euill, shall commonly be euill spoken of againe. And hee that speaketh what hee will for his pleasure, shall be compelled to heare what hee would not, to his displeasure. Moreouer, let him remember that saying, that wee shall giue an account for euery idle word (Matthew 12.36). How much more then shall we make reckoning for our sharpe, bitter, brauling and chiding words, which prouoke our brother to bee angrie, and so to the breach of his charitie?
Reasons to moue men from froward answering. And as touching euill answering, although wee bee neuer so much prouoked by other mens euill speaking, yet wee shall not follow their frowardnesse by euill answering, if wee consider that anger is a kinde of madnesse, and that hee which is angrie, is (as it were for the time) in a phrensie. Wherfore let him beware, least in his fury hee speake any thing, wherof afterward hee may haue iust cause to bee sorry. And he that will defend that anger is not fury, but that hee hath reason, euen when hee is most angry: then let him reason thus with himselfe when hee is angry; Now I am so mooued and chafed, that within a little while after I shall be otherwise minded: wherefore then should I now speake any thing in mine anger, which heereafter, when I would fainest, cannot bee changed? Wherefore shall I doe any thing, now being (as it were) out of my wit for the which, when I shall come to my selfe againe, I shall bee very sad? Why doth not reason, why doth not godlines, yea why doth not Christ obtaine that thing now of mee, which hereafter time shall obtaine of mee? If a man bee called an adulterer, vsurer, drunkarde, or by any other shamefull name, let him consider earnestly, whether hee bee so called truely or falsely: if truely, let him amend his fault, that his aduersarie may not after worthily charge him with such offences: if these things bee layd against him falsly, yet let him consider whether he hath giuen any occasion to bee suspected of such things, and so hee may both cut off that suspicion, whereof this flander did arise, and in other things shall liue more warily. And thus vsing our selues, wee may take no hurt, but rather much good, by the rebukes and slaunders of our enemie. For the reproch of an enemie may be to many men a quicker spurre to the amendment of their life, then the gentle monition of a friend. Philippus the king of Macedonie, when he was euill spoken of by the chiefe Rulers of the citie of Athens, he did thanke them heartily, because by them he was made better, both in his wordes and deedes: for I studie (sayeth hee) both by my sayings and doings to prooue them lyars.
THE THIRD PART OF THE SERMON AGAINST CONTENTION.
YEe heard in the last lesson of the Sermon against strife and brawling, how we may answere them which maintaine their froward sayings in contention, and that will reuenge with wordes such euill as other men doe them, and finally how we may according to GOD'S will order our selues, and what to consider towards them when wee are prouoked to contention and strife with rayling wordes. Now to proceede in the same matter, you shall know the right way how to disprooue and ouercome your aduersarie and enemie. This is the best way to improue a mans aduersary, so to liue, that all which shall know his honestie, may beare witnesse that he is slaundered vnworthily. If the fault, whereof he is slaundered, be such, that for the defence of his honestie, hee must needes make answere, let him answere quietly and softly, on this fashion, That those faults be layd against him falsely. For it is trueth that the wise man saith, A soft answere asswageth anger, and a hard and sharpe answere doeth stirre vp rage and furie (Proverbs 15.1). The sharpe answere of Nabal, prouoked Dauid to cruell vengeance: but the gentle wordes of Abigail quenched the fire againe that was all in a flame (1 Samuel 25.10-35). And a speciall remedie against malicious tongues, is to arme our selues with patience, meekenesse, and silence, lest with multiplying wordes with the enemie, we be made as euill as he.
An obiection. But they that cannot beare one euil word, peraduenture for their own excuse will alledge that which is written: He that despiseth his good name, is cruell.
Answere. Also we reade, Answere a foole according to his foolishnesse (Proverbs 26.5). And our Lord Iesus did holde his peace at certaine euill sayings: but to some he answered diligently. He heard men call him a Samaritane, a Carpenters sonne, a wine drinker, and he held his peace: but when he heard them say, Thou hast the deuill within thee, he answered, to that earnestly. Trueth it is indeede, that there is a time, when it is conuenient to answer a foole according to his foolishnesse, lest hee should seeme in his owne conceit to bee wise. And sometime it is not profitable to answer a foole according to his foolishnesse, lest the wise man be made like to the foole. When our infamie, or the reproach that is done vnto vs, is ioyned with the perill of many, then it is necessary in answering, to be quicke and ready. For wee read that many holy men of good zeale, haue sharpely and fiercely both spoken and answered tyrants and euill men: which sharpe words came not of anger, rancor, or malice, or desire of vengeance, but of a feruent desire to bring them to the true knowledge of GOD, and from vngodly liuing, by an earnest and sharpe rebuke and chiding. In this zeale, Saint Iohn Baptist called the Pharisees, Adders brood (Matthew 3.7): and Saint Paul called the Galathians, fooles (Galatians 3.1): and the men of Creete, he called liars, euill beasts, and sluggish bellies (Titus 1.12): and the false Apostles, he called dogges, and crafty workmen (Philippians 3.2). And his zeale is godly, and to bee allowed, as it is plainely prooued by the example of Christ, who although hee were the fountaine and spring of all meekenesse, gentlenesse, and softnesse: yet he called the obstinate Scribes and Pharisees, blinde guides, fooles, painted graues, hypocrites, Serpents, Adders brood, a corrupt and wicked generation (Matthew 23.16). Also he rebuketh Peter eagerly, saying, Get behinde mee Satan (Matthew 16.23). Likewise S. Paul reprooueth Elimas, saying, O thou full of all craft and guile, enemy to all iustice, thou ceasest not to destroy the right wayes of GOD: and now loe, the hand of the Lord is vpon thee, and thou shalt be blinde, and not see for a time (Acts 13.10-11). And Saint Peter reprehendeth Ananias very sharply, saying, Ananias, how is it that Satan hath filled thy heart, that thou shouldest lie vnto the holy Ghost (Acts 5.3)? This zeale hath beene so feruent in many good men, that it hath stirred them; not onely to speake bitter and eager words, but also to doe things, which might seeme to some to be cruell, but indeed they be very iust, charitable, and godly, because they were not done of ire, malice, or contentious minde, but of a feruent minde, to the glory of GOD, and the correction of sin, executed by men called to that office. For in this zeale our Lord Iesus Christ did driue with a whippe the buyers and sellers out of the Temple (John 2.15). In this zeale Moses brake the two Tables which hee had receiued at GOD'S hand, when hee saw the Israelites dancing about the Calfe, and caused to be killed xxiiii. M. of his owne people (Exodus 32.19). In this zeale Phinees the sonne of Eleazer, did thrust thorow with his sword, Zimri, and Cosbi, whom hee found together ioyned in the act of vncleannesse (Numbers 25.8).
But these examples are not to be followed of euery body, but as men bee called to office and set in authority. Wherefore now to returne againe to contentious words, and specially in matters of Religion, and GOD'S word (which would bee vsed with all modesty, sobernesse, and chastity) the words of S. Iames ought to be well marked, and borne in memory, where he sayth, that of contention riseth all euill. And the wise King Solomon sayth, Honour is due to a man that keepeth himselfe from contention, and all that mingle themselues therewith bee fooles (Proverbs 20.3). And because this vice is so much hurtfull to the society of a common wealth, in all well ordered cities, these common brawlers and scoulders be punished with a notable kinde of paine: as to be set on the cucking stoole, pillory, or such like. And they bee vnworthy to liue in a common wealth, the which doe as much as lieth in them, with brawling and scoulding to disturbe the quietnesse and peace of the same. And whereof commeth this contention, strife, and variance, but of pride and vaine glory? Let vs therefore humble our selues vnder the mighty hand of GOD, which hath promised to rest vpon them that be humble and low in spirit (1 Peter 5.5, Luke 1.52). If we bee good & quiet Christian men, let it appeare in our speech and tongues. If we haue forsaken the Diuell, let vs vse no more Diuellish tongues: He that hath beene a rayling scowlder, now let him bee a sober counsayler. He that hath beene a malicious slanderer, now let him bee a louing comforter. He that hath been a vaine rayler, now let him be a ghostly teacher. He that hath abused his tongue in cursing, now let him vse it in blessing. He that hath abused his tongue in euill speaking, now let him vse it in speaking well. All bitternesse, anger, rayling, and blasphemy, let it be auoyded from you. If you may, and it be possible, in no wise be angry. But if you may not be cleane voyd of this passion, then yet so temper and bridle it, that it stirre you not to contention and brawling. If you be prouoked with euill speaking, arme your selfe with patience, lenitie, and silence, either speaking nothing, or else being very soft, meeke, and gentle in answering. Ouercome thine aduersary with benefits and gentlenesse. And aboue all things, keepe peace and vnity: bee no peace breakers, but peace makers. And then there is no doubt, but that GOD the authour of comfort and peace, will grant vs peace of conscience, and such concord and agreement, that with one mouth and minde, wee may glorifie GOD the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, to whom bee all glory, now and for euer. AMEN.
HEereafter shall follow Sermons of Fasting, Praying, Almes deedes, of the Natiuity, Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Sauiour Christ: of the due receiuing of his blessed Body and Blood, vnder the forme of Bread and Wine: against Idlenesse, against Gluttony and Drunkennesse, against Couetousnesse, against Enuie, ire, and malice, with many other matters, aswell fruitfull as necessary to the edifying of Christian people, and the increase of godly liuing.
God Saue the King.
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