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THEISTORY OF THEIFE and DEATH〈◊〉that Antient Father of the Church, Dr Joh. Thauler,〈◊〉lived at Colen in Germany in the year of•…r Lord, 1346. where he was in airaculous manner turned from his vainonverſation to an extraordinary degreef holineſs of life. •…ther, with many of his Precepts, Poſitions, andermons; but eſpecially the Means and Man­•…r how he came to be ſo highly Illuminated,•…d to the underſtanding of the ſecret Myſteries〈◊〉he Goſpel, &c.

aithfully Tranſlated out of Latine.

rinted for Lodowick Lloyd, and are to be〈…〉is Shop at the Caſtle in Cornhil, 1663.

THE HISTORY Of the Life of the ſublime and illumi­nated Divine, Dr. John Thauler, who at Colin (where he lived) was in an Extraordinary and Miracu­lous manner turned from his vain Converſation to an Extraordinary degree of Sanctity, and Holineſs of Life.

IN the year of our Lord, One thouſand three hundred forty ſix, there lived a Doctor of Divinity in Colin in Germany, a frequent Preacher exceeding­ly followed, and famous for his Doctrine far and near. A certain Layman aboun­dantly endowed and anointed with Divine Grace, hearing his fame, and being thrice warned in a Dream to go to the City where the Doctor lived, (which was at the leaſt2 thirty mile diſtance from the place, where then the Layman was) reſolved with himſelf to Travel thither, and try what it would pleaſe Divine grace to bring to paſs; then he takes his journey, arrives at the City where the Doctor lived; attentively heard him five times Preach; In which while he under­ſtood in the Spirit, that the Doctor was by nature an ingenuous Man, of a mild, ſweet, and courteous behaviour, and excellently well skilled in the Letter of the Scripture; but obſcurely and glimeringly underſtanding it, being without the Light of Divine grace. The Layman exceedingly hereupon pittying his condition, went to him, and thus entered into diſcourſe with him. Re­verend Sir, I am come above thirty miles to ſit at your feet, and hear your Doctrine, drawn by the fame of your excellent abili­ties, and already have I heard five of your Sermons; Therefore I beſeech you for Gods ſake vouchſafe while I ſtay here, to be my Confeſſor. The courteous Dr. refuſing not the motion; The Layman oft came to con­feſſion, which he performed with much ſimplicity and humility: and when ever he thought fit to receive the moſt ſacred Body of our Lord, he received it at the Doctors hands. Twelve weeks in this manner beng3 ſpent, the Layman came to the Doctor with a requeſt, which he thus uttered: Reverend Maſter, I beſeech you for Gods ſake teach us in a Sermon the moſt compendious way of attaining the higheſt degree of perfection, that this Life is capable of. What doſt thou mean Son (quoth the Doctor) to what pur­poſe would it be to Preach ſuch ſublime matters to you, who (I ſuppoſe) would hardly be able to underſtand one word? Though poſſibly (anſwered the Layman) I may not (Reverend Sir) be able to under­ſtand you, yet at leaſt I ſhall breath and pant after, and with hearty and frequent Prayers deſire thoſe things you ſhall deliver. Beſide, a great multitude of people come to­gether to hear you; now if but one of theſe ſhall rightly underſtand what you ſhall ſay, your labour will not be loſt. I but (ſaid the Doctor) if I ſhould be put upon that you deſire (good Son) it would coſt me firſt much pains and ſtudy, and a great deal of labour, to gather what would be requiſite to the buſineſs, and to digeſt it into fit method. But whatever excuſes the Doctor made, the Layman would not give over his entreaty till the Doctor paſſed his word, that he would Preach ſuch a Sermon as he de­ſired. It fell out ſhortly after that the Dr. 4Preach'd in a certain Monaſtry; And Ser­mon being ended; he told the Congrega­tion, that thoſe whom other buſineſs hindred not, might reſort thither upon the third day following; for I am deſired (quoth he) to Preach a Sermon, in which I muſt ſhew, by what means one may moſt compendiouſly come to the higheſt degree of perfection at­tainable in this Life. The third day being come, very many flocked to the place; a­mong the reſt, betimes in the morning thi­ther haſtens the Layman, that he might get a convenient place where he might the bet­ter hear, and underſtand the Doctor. The Doctor comes as he had appointed, and be­gins this following Diſcourſe.

In this following moſt excellent Diſ­courſe, there are laid down four and twenty points, by which may be known who are truly illuminated men, and true contemplators.

SO great & many things (dearly beloved) are to be handled at this time touch­ing the Argument, I lately promiſed to diſ­courſe upon, that according to my conſtant cuſtome, I cannot take the Goſpel of the day for my Text, nor uſe many Latine words.


But notwithſtanding thoſe matters that I ſhall handle, ſhall be ſuch as may be eaſily confirmed out of Scripture.

In the firſt place (beloved) I would not have you ignorant, how there are very many to be found, who attain to a clear know­ledge, underſtanding, and a rational decern­ing in Heavenly matters; but it is altogether by Images and Forms in their fancy; impreſ­ſed there ſometimes by the ſtudy of Scrip­ture, ſometimes without it. Many of theſe when this ſpeculative Light of their own in­tellect by the aforeſaid means; either by the ſtudy of Scripture, or ſome way elſe begins to ſhine, they ſit down in it, abundantly ſatis­fied; but all ſuch (queſtionleſs) are far enough from the top and higheſt degree of perfection: but if any one ſuch could be found, who had pierced and paſſed through the fore mentioned attainment, and were totally and centrally mortifyed to it, and who had got above all ſorts of Images and Forms in the fancy; Such a one would infi­nitely be more dear and acceptable to God, then an hundred thouſand of the other ſort of men, who live in their own habitual in­ſtitutions, and modes, taken up by them­ſelves, out of ſelf-will, and inſenſible and intelectual Images, ſo totally taken up with6 them, that they take no care to deny and mortifie themſelves. For indeed God is al­together hinder'd from entering into and poſſeſſing ſuch, by reaſon of their ſelf will, and their own proper working in their own ſtrength, by which they are detained in their own dearly beloved, and delighted in intel­lectual imaginations. But thoſe that have paſſed through ſuch, and by a kind of dy­ing have reſigned up themſelves to God, and have gone out of all manner of imaginary comtemplations, and finally with humble reſignation, have offer'd and given up them­ſelves, free and naked, above all intellectual imaginations, (as St. Dioniſius ſaith, that the Light of Faith requires, that a man ſhould mount above the utmoſt power and capaci­ty of reaſon, or intellect:) ſuch (I ſay) as have come to this ſtate, in them God finds a reſting place, where he may dwell and work all their works in them; when, where, and in what manner he pleaſeth: For when as God ſeeth in them no impediment, he works in them his own work, and doth act and lead them to himſelf, and in himſelf. Such men as theſe are unknown to any; becauſe there lives and converſations are hidden to all, unleſs thoſe that are of the ſame Attain­ment, State, or Complection, of which I fear7 there are very few. But to this heighth and perfection of Life, no man can attain, but by the profoundeſt and deepeſt humility, a per­ſpicuous and pure intellect, and a clear and illuminated reaſon. Although indeed (which cannot be denyed) once many intelligent Spirits which by Nature are nothing elſe but pure intelligences, fowlly erred, and fell from that eternal Unity, and were alſo for­ever ſecluded out of the Chorus of Angels; the ſame thing likewiſe happens every day to ſuch which look upon themſelves with ſelf-pleaſing flattery, and by uſurping ſelf-will, and a vain complacency in their own ſubtilty, make themſelves like thoſe fallen Angels. Wherefore (beloved) it concerns us to know, and to be able to diſtinguiſh, who are truly illuminated and wiſe Contem­plators. Truely I have found ſo far as may be gathered from Scripture; four and twen­ty Particulars which a truly illuminated Man ought to have in him: which Particulars I ſhall willingly deliver at this time, and ſo conclude.

  • 1.The Firſt Particular, even the chief Do­ctor of Doctors, and Teacher of all true Wiſdom and Knowledge; Chriſt Jeſus our Lord mentions, where he ſaith,
    John 13.
    By this ſhall all men know that you are my Diſciples,8 if you love one the other, and ſhall keep that my Commandement, which I commanded you,
    John 15.
    that you love one another even as I have loved you; as if he ſhould have ſaid; al­though ye have all knowledge, and skill, all Miſtery; if there be wanting Fidelity, and Charity, it profiteth nothing. For it is ſaid of Balaam, that he was endowed with ſo piercing and ſubtile a wit, and reaſon, that he foreſaw thoſe things which God many hundred years afterward brought to paſs, and manifeſted: but this profited him no­thing, becauſe as he ought he did not faith­fully in love adhere to the truth known; Thus much ſhall ſuffice for the firſt point.
  • 2The Second Point is this; namely, That he be free from, and totally delivered from ſelf; which notwithſtanding will never ſeem ſo to him, but rather he will always think that he ought yet more and more to be di­veſted of ſelf, and to renounce all things.
  • 3The Third thing is, That he be deeply and thoroughly reſign'd to God, in ſo much that God may not find in him the leaſt impedi­ment; but that he may work freely all his works in him, which perfection he will not raſhly aſcribe to himſelf, but will think himſelf of all men fartheſt off from it.
  • 9
  • 4The Fourth followeth, That he do totally go out of, and deny himſelf, and all thing elſe, in which he hath heretofore inordi­nately loved, ſought or intended himſelf, whether they have been things Temporal or things Eternal.
  • 5Fifthly, That he ſeek not his own or himſelf in any meaſure; either in himſelf, or any Creature.
  • 6Sixtly, That he alwayes, and in all places diligently attend, and obſerve what God re­quires of him, and what he would have him to do, and chearfully (relying upon Di­vine Grace) perform it; and ſatisfie Divine expectation; but not in the leaſt what ever, from thence arrogate to himſelf any thing.
  • 7Seventlhy, That continually without in­termiſſion he conform himſelf to Divine Will, ſo as that he will nothing elſe but what God willeth.
  • 8Eightly, That he would ſo ſtrongly and powerfully work and excerciſe himſelf in God, and by and immence force, ſtrongeſt bands of love ſo bind and unite himſelf to him, that God may not as it were do any thing in himſelf without him, nor he like­wiſe perform any thing without God.
  • 9Ninthly, That in all things which ſhall happen to him, whether they be pleaſant or10 bitter, yea in every work, in every perfor­mance, in every place, at all times, he enjoy ſenſibly Divine preſence.
  • 10Tenthly, That he receive nothing at all whether it be grateful or grievous, as from the hands of any Creature; but all things nakedly and ſimply as from the hands of God. Whatever God ſhall do, or permit to be done by Creatures, he receive it no otherways then as from God himſelf.
  • 11The Eleventh point is this, That he never ſuffer himſelf to be in any meaſure over­come, or taken with a natural delight or ſa­vour of any Creature, without true and ac­countable neceſſity.
  • 12The Twelfth point is this, That neither he be to much depreſt or overwhelm'd, nor immoderatly vexed or inwardly grieved, with any whatever adverſity which may happen to him from the truth, but alwayes conſtant­ly adhere to the truth.
  • 13The Thirteenth point, That he ſuffer not himſelf to be deceived by any falſe Light, or by any gliſtering ſhew of any Creatures; but chearfully and lovingly leave all things as he found them, making the beſt of every thing, and contending earneſtly to be made the better by every thing, and by nothing to be made worſe.
  • 11
  • 14The Fourteenth point, That he be always upon his guard, ſufficiently provided of, and armed with all ſorts of Vertues to reſiſt all Vices whatſoever, that ſo he may never be otherways then Conquerer, and in all conflicts bear away the Palm of Vi­ctory.
  • 15The Fifteenth point, That he nakedly en­deavour to underſtand and contemplate (ſo far as God permits, and he be able) truth, as it is in it ſelf, and according to it lead his Life, and ſtudy to ſatisfie and anſwer the known truth in every thing.
  • 16The Sixteenth point, That he be perfect, juſt and upright, and that he eſteem himſelf nothing leſs than ſo.
  • 17The Seventeenth point, That he be ſpa­ring in Words, yet full of inward Vigour and Life.
  • 18The Eighteenth point, That his Life be faithful, retired, humble, which by a good Example rather then Words may Preach to all, and Speak by doing.
  • 19The Nineteenth point, That he ſuffer him­ſelf willingly to be overcome by all which contend with him, and that in all things which belong to himſelf, but not in things which concern God.
  • 12
  • 20The Twentieth point, That above all things he ſeek the Glory of God, and aime at, and intend nothing elſe in all his acti­ons.
  • 21The Twenty firſt point, That he rejoyce not at all in any Priviledge, which he hath in any thing above others; but that he al­together himſelf is unworthy of the leaſt.
  • 22The Twenty ſecond point, That from his Heart he believe himſelf to be one of the moſt unprofitableſt men in the World; yet nevertheleſs, let there be always found in him great Vigour, Faith, Hope and Charity; and let him not at all value his own Wiſ­dom, nor all his works done by humane reaſon.
  • 23The Twenty third point, That in all his Words and Works he ſet before him as in a Glaſs, the Life and Doctrine of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, and that in them he continually contemplate himſelf, and as much as poſſi­ble, renounce, caſt away, and mortifie all whatſoever ſhall be found in him, unlike to the lovely Image of our Saviour.
  • 24The Twenty fourth and laſt point, That after all, he now as it were firſt begin, like a little Child as yet, to make proficiency in true profound deep and perfect humility, and think no other ways, than that he is now to13 begin to implore Divine benignity, that it would find him out a way and afford aſſi­ſtance, whereby he may become a good man. And if he be eſteemed ſo by ſome, or elſe for that cauſe he appear vile and baſe in the eyes of men; even that will be more grateful and acceptable to him, then if he ſhould enjoy the favour and good-will of all.

But I fear my beloved, leaſt I have been too tedious; Therefore theſe are the ſigns of a rational and purged ground, which the Splendour and beautiful Image of all truth doth enlighten and teach. Let every one therefore look within himſelf, and diligent­ly ſearch, whether he find within himſelf theſe twenty four Points, which if he do let him rejoyce; but if he do not, let him know that his underſtanding, though never ſo lofty and towering, nor all his ſubtile and witty works of his own reaſon, worth a ruſh; for he that is the Fountain & Pattern of all truth, can perform in him no ſupernatural work, unleſs he do prevent him by his ſingular and ſpecial grace, as we read he did to St. Paul. But this in my judgment happens veryarly in theſe our times. Finally, let the Eternal Truth our Lord God, grant that we may all be made by his grace, true Contemplators14 in true and perfect humility, to his Praiſe and Glory.


It follows how the Layman did in ſecret partly diſcover to the Doctor his hid­den Sanctity, and how he convinced him that he was yet in the night of Ig­norance, and that his Veſſel was un­clean, and that himſelf was of the number of the Phariſees.

THE fore-written Sermon being en­ded, the Layman ſtraight haſtning to his Inne, there Writes it out word for word as it was delivered by the Doctor, comes with his Notes to the Doctor, and ſaid thus to him; Reverend Sir, your Sermon I have writ out fair, and if it be not too troubleſome I will repeat it out of my Paper.

Doctor,Truly I'le very willingly hear it: then the Layman read the whole Sermon, which being done, he ſpake thus to the Doctor.

Layman.I pray Sir tell me if I have omitted any of your Words, that I may write them.

Doctor.Believe it dear Son, you have exactly taken my Sermon word for word, as15 I Preach'd it; and I'le aſſure you might I gain never ſo much I could not again write it ſo exactly and verbatim as you have done, unleſs I would take again the ſame pains which I did in the ſearch of Scrip­tures; and I profeſs I cannot now ſufficient­ly admire your happy wit and parts, and that you ſhould ſo oft make your confeſſion to me, and yet I never perceive till now. Then the Layman made as though he would take his leave of the Doctor, and ſaid to him.

Layman.I entend (Sir) God willing to return home.

Doctor.Away, away, what is it that ſhould compel you to return home, where­as you have neither Wife nor Children to take care of; and what hinders, but that, fith you have no body at home, you may as well live here as there. I'le promiſe you ſhortly (God willing) I will Preach ano­ther Sermon of the utmoſt perfection of a Spiritual Life.

Layman.I'le aſſure you Sir I came not hithet for the Sermons, but that I hoped by Gods Grace aſſiſting, I ſhould do ſome good.

Doctor.What good prethee Son did you think to do here; fith you are a ſimple Lay­man and ignorant of Scriptures, neither per­mitted16 to Preach? Pray ſtay here a while, and peradventure by Gods aſſiſtance I will give you ſuch a Sermon, as you will gladly hear.

Layman.There is ſomething Sir that I would willingly have ſpoke to you, but I doubt whether you can patiently bear it.

Doctor.Prethee Son ſpeak boldly what thou haſt to ſay; I truſt in God I ſhall pa­tiently bear it, what ever it be.

Layman.Behold Reverend Sir, you gli­ſter in your Prieſtly dignity, & lately Preach a Sermon to us full fraught, with excellent precepts; but you take no care to hold them forth in your Life and Converſation, and even now how childiſhly did you ſay to me, ſtay here and I will Preach you another Sermon that ſhall pleaſe me. But take this for certain Sir, that neither your Sermons nor any Words whatever, which can in this Life be outwardly ſpoken, can be much profitable to me. Nay I'le aſſure you, the Sermons of men do oftner do me hurt, then profit me; becauſe that oftentimes various Images (or Imaginations) do inſinuate them­ſelves into me by reaſon of thoſe Sermons, which afterwards returning home, I can hardly with much and long labour again rid my ſelf of or forget; and (Sir) if you be17 remembred, you had among others, this paſſage in your Sermon. That he ought to be free and clear from all Images (or Ima­ginations) to whom the chief Doctor and Teacher of Souls Chriſt Jeſus will vouch­ſafe to come; who I will aſſure you as oft as he is pleaſed to come to me, he teacheth me more in the ſpace of an hour, then either you (Maſter Doctor) or all the Doctors in the World, could teach me till Dooms­day.

Doctor.Prethee, dear Son, for the Lords death ſake, ſtay with me here a longer time.

Layman.Truely (Mr. Doctor) you en­force me to ſtay by this deep adjuration, and if out of obedience to God, I do yield to ſtay here, it ſhall be upon this condition, that you promiſe me faithfully, that whatever hath paſt or ſhall paſs between us, you will keep ſecret under the privacy of con­feſſion.

Doctor.That I will aſſure you (dear Son) I will willingly do, upon the condi­tion, that you will ſtay longer with me. Then the Layman after this manner ſpake to the Doctor.

Layman.Mr. Doctor, in your late before­mentioned Sermon, you delivered indeed to18 us many excellent good things; yet whilſt you were ſpeaking, ſuch a ſimilitude as this came into my head, that me thought your good diſcourſes did no otherwayes proceed from you, then as if good and generous Wine were drawn through muddy dregs.

Doctor.Prethee (Son) what meaneſt thou by this ſimilitude.

Layman.Nothing elſe (Mr. Doctor) but me thought, your Veſſel was not clean, nor rinced from dreggs; and that's the reaſon that the Letter killeth you, and (alaſs) you dayly ſuffer it, yet dayly more and more to kill you; for (as you better know) the Scri­pture ſaith, the Letter killeth, but the Spirit quickeneth and maketh alive. Nevertheleſs the ſame Letter that now doth kill you, would (if you would) quickly quicken you. But truly at preſent for your condition it is this; You are yet in the Dark, and there is no Light in you, by which you might clearly and diſtinctly underſtand the Letter, and truely as yet you belong to the number of the Phariſees.

Doctor.I profeſs (dear Son) ſince the hour I was born, I never heard from any man ſuch hard language.

Layman.Very good (Mr. Doctor) I pray where is now your Sermon? See, ſee19 how you are catch'd! but beſides, though it may be my words may ſeem hard to you; yet intruth it is ſo as I have ſaid, as I ſhall eaſily prove even from your ſelf.

Doctor.Really I would willingly ſee that, for I cannot tell that ever I cared for that generation of Phariſees,

Layman.In the firſt place (Mr. Doctor) give me leave to ſhew you how it is that the Letter killeth you; you know (dear Sir) that as ſoon as ever you came to years of diſcretion, you betook your ſelf to the ſtudy of Books, in which notwithſtanding you did onely ſeek your ſelf, and are not at all even to this day free from that vice; but truely you are (though ſecretly) in your nature, proud, and do much relie upon that know­ledge, and attribute much to that title of Doctor, wherewith you were honoured; neither have you in all theſe things purely with love and fervency of mind, ſought God onely; Neither out of love have you any Eye to his Glory in all your ſtudies, but do too too much love and ſeek your ſelf in the applauſe and favour of poor Creatures, and that eſpecially in one certain perſon, towards whom you would oft ſteal a look, and whom I fear you do inordinately love. And this is the reaſon why the Letter killeth20 you. That alſo which I ſaid is too too true likewiſe; Namely, that you poſſeſs an empty and an unclean veſſel; For indeed you do not in all your actions purely and ſingly Love God, but in many things you too well know that you ſeek and love your ſelf. And there­fore it is true that I ſaid, that your Veſſel is empty and foul with Lees; from whence it cometh to paſs, that that good and generous Wine of Heavenly Doctrine, and Divine word, although in its ſelf excellent and pure, yet paſſing through ſuch a Veſſel doth not at all reliſh to a purged mind, that heartily loves and bends towards God; neither doth it profit at all ſuch an one. That which I ſaid beſides; namely, that you did as yet ſit in midnight darkneſs, is alſo moſt true, which will evidently appear from hence, that you cannot ſay that any of the Sermons or in­ſtructions proceeded from a ſupernatural illumination or Divine Grace, but only from art and ſtudy. Laſtly, in that I did affirm you were a Phariſee, that alſo I prove to be no leſs true, although I will not ſay that you are altogether one of thoſe falſe Phariſees. But tell me (Reverend Sir) did not thoſe falſe Phariſees ſeek and love themſelves, not in all things, purely aiming at the Glory of God! And now pray conſi­der21 your ſelf, whether you are not before God a Phariſee, and not a whit better. You do not (I ſuppoſe) doubt, that there are many living this day who in Gods eſteem are no better then Phariſees, yet are ſo more or leſs, according to the condition of their lives and converſations.

When as the Layman had ſaid theſe things, the Doctor affectually embracing him, kiſſed his Cheek and ſaid; you bring that paſſage into my mind which is not unlike to my caſe, and the ſame things ſeem to have happend unto me, which did to the woman of Samaria near the Well; for you have truely laid open and told me, all my moſt hidden, and ſecret miſcarriages; but eſpecial­ly that, that I did ſometimes ſecretly caſt a glance at a certain Perſon, who yet not­withſtanding knows nothing her ſelf, ſith I never yet any way diſcovered to her that I loved her; Neither doth any man living, I am confident, ſuſpect any ſuch thing. And therefore I doubt not but this ſecret was re­vealed to you by God; wherefore I do moſt earneſtly entreat you for Chriſts paſſi­on ſake, that you would be now unto me a Spiritual Father, and accept of me a mi­ſerable ſinner for your Son.

Layman.Believe it (Reverend Sir) if you22 perſiſt thus extravagantly to talk, I will ſtay no longer here, but ſpeedily return to my Country.

Doctor.Nay, but (Son) pray do not ſo, let me entreat you to ſtay a while with me, and I will faithfully promiſe you, that you ſhall have no ſuch Language for the future: And (believe it) I am fully determined to endeavour to amend my Life and take a new courſe, and to that end, do earneſtly deſire the furtherance of your good Counſel, and whatever it be that you ſhall adviſe me, that (by the Grace of God) I will endeavour to follow and effect.

Layman.Truely (Mr. Doctor) that is very neceſſary for you to do, for knowledge of the Letter, hath miſerably puft up and ſe­duced very many learned men, ſome of them who were altogether falſe Phariſees, even to the eternal damnation of Hell; but others to a moſt grievous and horrible Purgatory. For (believe it) 'tis no ſmall matter for a Man to receive from God Almighty, ſo ſub­tile a natural underſtanding, and ſo clear a reaſon, as by them to be able to underſtand clearly Divine Scripture; yet ſo to miſpend this pretious talent, as not to ſtudy thereby to ſhape and frame his Life and Converſation, according to the Scripture.


This enſuing Diſcourſcontains a Nar­ration, what wonderful and ſtupen­dious things God did work by this Layman, and alſo how for this cauſe beſides others, he obtained ſo great Grace and Favour, becauſe God found in him an abſolute reſigned up humi­lity.

Doct.GOod Son, let me deſire you to take the pains for God ſake, to ſhew me by what means you have attained to ſo perfect a life; how you began, what have been your exerciſes, and finally by what rules you have framed your life and con­verſation.

Layman.I'le aſſure you Mr. Doctor, your deſire is altogether a ſimple one; for certainly ſhould I take it upon me to re­hearſe, or write all thoſe great things, which God Almighty within theſe ſeven years hath vouchſafed to work in me, a miſerable finner, I dare ſay you have not a Book of that Volumn as to be able to contain it all; nevertheleſs, I ſhall willingly tell you ſome things, which at this time are moſt fit for24 you. In the firſt place, it was an exceeding mercy, that God did indulge unto me even this very thing;amely, that I were en­dowed with a true profound and moſt re­ſigned up humility: For my exerciſes it will not much concern you to know what they were, that I obſerved outwardly in my Body, ſith that the diſpoſitions, natures, and complexions, are ſo divers. But this is a ſure rule, that whoſoever doth from the bottom of his heart, humbly reſign up himſelf to God, him God will lead by inward temptations, and outward occurences into ſuch exerciſes, as he knows to be moſt profitable unto him, and ſuch as (if he will) he can beſt bear; for he that is inquiſitive to know from di­vers, what are their exerciſes, is wont for the moſt part to be deceived, and led away. For each man telling his proper exerciſes, when he would fain follow and imitate, no regard being had of his own ſtrength, it's no marvel if he be thereby deceived and lead away. For it oftentimes comes to paſs, that thoſe exerciſes which are very good for one, and exceedingly helpful, may to another, if he perſiſt in the uſing of them, be pernitious and deſtructive. And hence it is, that the Devil very oft is wont with falſe ſuggeſtions to perſwade men, whom he ſees to be of a25 weak nature and conſtitution, to take upon them the moſt ſtrict and rigid excerciſes. To this end, that either thereby they may ſhor­ten their dayes, or get an infirm and crazy brain; which thing that you may the better underſtand, I will tell you briefly what hap­pened to me at the beginning of my conver­ſion. I did peruſe as it happened at that time, a Book which in the German tongue, treats of the Lives of the Saints; and when I marked each of them, their auſteir and ſtrict manner of Life, I began thus to think with my ſelf; theſe were men in this World aſwell as thou, and peradventure did never ſo grievouſly offend God as thou haſt done. Hereupon I had a great mind to imitate each of theſe Saints in ſomething or other, with as ſevere and rigorous excerciſes. Whereby in a little time I contracted ſuch exceeding weakneſs, that I were even at the point of death. But one day above the reſt it happened, that about Sun-riſing, having be­yond meaſure continued my exerciſe, that through exceeding weakneſs and wearineſs, even whilſt I were at my exerciſe, I fell faſt aſleep: my thought in my ſleep I heard a kind of voyce ſaying to me. Go to, ſelf-will'd man, if you kill your ſelf before your time, you ſhall certainly ſuffer for it moſt grievous26 puniſhment. But if thou wilt ſuffer thy ſelf to be exerciſed by God, he will do it in­finitely better then thou thy ſelf canſt do, by the counſel of the Devil. At theſe words, eſpecially at the naming of the Devil, ſuch a fear & terrour ſeized one me, that I ſudden­ly waked out of ſleep, and riſing, began to think with my ſelf, that I had taken up the foreſaid exerciſes raſhly, and without advice; wherefore immediatly I hyed me to a Wood which was cloſe by the place where I then were. There I made my caſe known in or­der, to a certain old Hermite, and entreated him that he would give me his advice. The old man having heard me out, gave me this anſwer: If thou wouldſt have me give thee counſel, you muſt firſt tell me what the manner of your Life hath been, and what have been your exerciſes. I told him as I were bidden, all my ſtrict exerciſes, and how I had read over the Lives of the Saints, and how I had a great mind to imitate them. Then he asked me, by whoſe adviſe did I do thus: I confeſſed to him, that that which I had done, I had done by no mans advice but my own, and out of my own will. If ſo ſaid he, then take it for certain, it was the Devils counſel; and therefore you had need to take great heed that you follow him27 no more, but reſign and give up your ſelf wholly to God, and he will exerciſe you far better, than either you or the De­vil can: Therefore according to this old mans advice, I inſtantly gave over my exerciſes, and did with all my heart give up my ſelf wholly to God, and left my ſelf in his hands, to exerciſe me as he thought moſt fit. Truly (Mr. Doctor) I were by nature of an ingenuous temper, and of an excellent complexion, and of a ſubtil wit, even as I perceive you are; onely in this I was ſhort of you, that I had not ſtudied the Scriptures, nor skilled them, which I perceive you do; yet notwithſtanding I was naturally inclined, with ſo ſubtil and ſublime an underſtanding, that as oft as I thought fit to make uſe of it, I found my ſelf capable and apprehenſive of very great and high matters. Hereby once it came to paſs, that by reaſon of the ſubtilty of my underſtanding. I began to think thus with my ſelf; certainly thou art natu­rally endued with ſo happy a wit & tower­ing underſtanding, that without all doubt, if thou wouldſt ſeriouſly & intenſly make uſe of it, thou wouldſt be apprehenſive of ſome extraordinary & divine matter, concerning even God himſelf. Which thoughts im­mediatly28 after their ſuggeſtion, I perceived to be the fallacious Counſel, and peſtilent Advice and Suggeſtion of the Devil: Thereupon I brokeout into theſe words, O miſchievous and malignant Connſellour, What Advice is this that thou haſt ſug­geſted to me? Verily, if we had ſuch a God as could be apprehended by rea­ſon, I ſhould not value him thus much. After this, one morning when I was rea­dy to read morning Prayers, I had an ex­ceeding vehement deſire, inſomuch that I brake forth in theſe words, and ſaid to the Lord; O moſt merciful God, if it be thy bleſſed Will, make me now by experience to feel ſomething, that may tranſcend and paſs all underſtanding and reaſon. But I had no ſooner ended theſe words, but that a vehement horrour poſ­ſeſſed me, becauſe that I ſhould dare to deſire ſo great a favour; and therefore again ſaid unto the Lord, Ah Eternal and ever to be adored Majeſty, pardon I be­ſeech thee this my raſhneſs, for it exceed­ingly repents me, to have done this: And how ſhould it be O Lord, that ſo mi­ſerable an Earth-worm as I am, and no man, ſhould ever find ſuch a thing to enter into his heart, as to dare to deſire ſo tran­ſcendent29 and excelling favour and grace; when as I know ſufficiently, and am con­vinced within my ſelf how vile I am, to how many ſins I am prone, and how that through the whole courſe of my life, I ne­ver as I ought, loved my God, or regar­ded him, but have alwayes made my ſelf by reaſon of ſin, ſo odious in the eyes of thy glory, that I know very well, that I am unworthy that the earth ſhould bear me; and therefore ſince I have preſumed to ſuffer ſuch a deſire, of ſo tranſcendent grace to ariſe in me, it is abſolutely need­ful, that my body ſhould undergo direful, and ſuffer bitter things. Having thus ſaid, I ſtrip'd my ſelf, neither did I ceaſe to ſtrike my ſelf with hard ſtripes, till the blood ran about my ſhoulders. And ſo it came to paſs, that whileſt I was revolving ſuch like thoughts in my heart, and ſpake ſuch like words even till Sun-riſing, upon a ſudden an exceeding ſhining light filled my whole Cell, and in that light I fell into an extaſie; ſo that for a time I was deprived both of my Reaſon and Senſes. But Oh! that hour ſeemed extreamly ſhort unto me. And after I came to my ſelf, I found ſo exceeding and ſupernatural im­preſſion30 preſſion & ſeal of truth upon me, that I had good reaſon to ſay with St. Peter the A­poſtle, Lord, it is good for us to be here. For (believe it) in that ſhort hour I did receive more truth, with more clear light, and certain evidence; more truth (I ſay) than what either you, Mr. Doctor, or all the Doctors in the world can teach me, e­ven till Dooms-day. But (Mr. Doctor) I ſuppoſe I have ſpoken enough already, as much as concerns your preſent ſtate and condition.


This following Diſcourſe, ſhows how the Lord was pleaſed to Convert by the means of this Layman, a certain Pa­gan that lived in a far Country. It ſhews likewiſe how the Holy Ghoſt e­ven at this day doth pour forth the ſame Virtue and Grace, upon minds that he finds apt and well prepared to receive it, that he did upon the A­poſtles at the day of Penticoſt: As alſo it ſheweth, how this Layman did at large explain theſe things to the Doctor; and how by plain and clear Reaſons he proved the Doctor to be a Phariſee, and at laſt brought him to this, that he reſolved fully with him­ſelf to take a new courſe, and amend his life.

Doctor.DEar Son, if thou haſt any thing more to ſay, I would willingly hear it; for truly I have been much taken with thoſe things which you have hitherto diſcourſed of. But above all, I intreat you again that you will ſtay with me, and by no means yet32 leave me. If you want money to defray your charges, I will willingly ſupply your want, though I do pawn my Books to take up money: only I deſire you by all means to ſtay with me.

Layman.Reverend Sir, I pray God reward you for your proffer'd Courteſie toward me. But I would have you know this, that I ſtand not in need either of yours, or any other mans Temporal goods, for God Almighty hath made me his Steward, and I have neer five thouſand Crowns which are Gods, and I would willingly ſpend them all whereſoever it ſhall be ne­ceſſary, or where ever God requireth them at my hands.

Doctor.I perceive then, if ſo, that you are Steward of a very rich and munificent Lord: But I cannot ſufficiently admire at what you even now ſpake: That neither I nor all the Doctors in the World, are able to teach you ſo much, even between this and Dooms-day, as you have in one hour lear­ned of God. Let me ask you this Que­ſtion, Did ſacred Scripture proceed and flow from the Holy Ghoſt?

Layman.Yes, they did without all doubt, and ſo the Catholick Faith teach­eth us to believe. But Mr. Doctor, it33 grieveth me that I have ſaid ſo great things unto you, and that you notwithſtanding ſhould talk ſo childiſhly. But ſee you, I will propound one Queſtion to you, and if you can by Scripture or without it reſolve me, I promiſe you I will give you on Gods behalf a thouſand Crowns.

Doctor.Prethee good Son tell me what Queſtion is that.

Layman.I would know of you (Mr. Doctor) whether you can inſtruct me how I may write a Letter in ſuch a Language, to a certain Pagan living in a far remote Coun­try. that he may be able both to read it, and underſtand it? and how the form and manner of the Letter may be ſuch, that the ſame Pagan by the reading of it, may be converted to the Faith?

Doctor.Truly (Son) I know not what to ſay to this; for ſuch kind of works as you, are even the works of the Holy Ghoſt. But I beſeech you tell me whether any ſuch thing ever happened unto you, and if you did thereby underſtand by what means this may be done? or whether you your ſelf were not he that did it?

Layman.No Mr. Doctor, it was not I that did it, but the Holy Ghoſt was pleaſed to work ſo by me an unworthy Inſtrument. 34And truly much may be ſaid touching this matter, but it were too tedious to rehearſe all; for if this whole buſineſs ſhould be written, it would even fill a Volumn. But I ſhall tell you a few paſſages, from whence you may collect the whole matter. There was a certain Pagan, a true hearted honeſt man, and in his way very juſt. This man for a long time together did cry unto Hea­ven, and daily did call upon him, who crea­ted both him & all Creatures, and did daily pray after this manner. O God, thou Eter­nal Creator of all things, behold I am born and bred up in this Country, and in the Faith of it. But I perceive the Jews have another Belief, and likewiſe the Chriſtians follow another Faith: do thou therefore O Lord, who art over all, and haſt made all things, ſhew unto me I beſeech thee by what ever means it pleaſeth thee, whether there be any other Faith better or truer than this in which I have been born and bred, that I may believe it; and I will willingly and readily obey thee, by taking upon me that Belief. But if thou ſhalt refuſe to ſig­nifie thus much unto me, and it ſhall hap­pen that I die in this Faith becauſe I know no better, ſurely this will be hard meaſure. After the Pagan had thus prayed, it came to35 paſs that a Letter was written unto him from me; which when he had read he was converted unto the Chriſtian Faith. He likewiſe did write back again a Letter to me, in which he fully ſhewed how it hap­pened unto him; which Letter I will aſ­ſure you was ſo written in our vulgar High Dutch, as I could very well read it. Many things (Mr. Doctor) remains to be ſpoken concerning this matter, but you have in brief the ſum of it.

Doctor.Truly God is wonderful in his gifts, and I will aſſure you (dear Son) theſe are ſtrange and rare matters which you have told me.

Layman.Verily I do enough fear (Mr. Doctor) that I have told you more than was fit for me to tell you. And to ſay the truth, I do perceive that I have ſpoken ſomewhat that doth ſomething trouble you, and go againſt your ſtomack. For whereas I am but a Layman, and illiterate, but you a great Dr. of ſacred Divinitie; nevertheleſs I have taken upon me by way of tutoring and teaching, to tell you ſo many things; it can­not be but this muſt ſomewhat offend you.

Doctor.Son, if you would not take it ill, I would tell you what doth diſpleaſe me.


Layman.Aſſuredly I will not take it ill, you may ſpeak all your mind freely.

Doctor.Dear Son, I cannot away with this, but do what I can it goes againſt my ſtomack, that you when as you are a Lay­man, ſhould teach me a Doctor and a Di­vine; as alſo that you ſhould call me a Phariſee.

Layman.Is there any thing more in me that doth diſpleaſe you?

Doctor.Not the leaſt I aſſure you, that I know of.

Layman.Will you give me leave pati­ently (Mr. Doctor) to ſatisfie you in theſe two things.

Doctor.Dear Son, you have not only free leave, but I again and again deſire you to do it

Layman.Pray tell me (Mr. Doctor) how it ſhould come to paſs, and by whom was it brought about, that the moſt bleſſed Virgin Katherine, when ſhe was about four­ſcore years of age, ſhould in diſcourſe and diſpute overcome fifty moſt acute Philoſo­phers, ſo as they did all moſt willingly offer themſelves to die for Chriſt? Tell me I ſay (Mr. Doctor) who was that that did this, or who ſpake there? That one ten­der Virgin ſhould overcome ſo great Philo­ſophers.


Doctor.No man doubts but that it was the Holy Ghoſt who did that.

Layman.Do you not believe (Mr. Do­ctor) that the Holy Ghoſt, is as powerful now as he was then?

Doctor.Yes I do certainly believe it.

Layman.And what hinders then, but that you may alſo believe, that the ſame Holy Ghoſt can ſpeak to you by me a miſe­rable ſinner, when as he once deigned to ſpeak by Caiphas who alſo was a ſinner. And truly if you ſo hardly bear thoſe things which I have ſpoken, hereafter I ſhall diſ­courſe with you more cautiouſly.

Doctor.I entreat you (Son) do no ſo, for I will now correct my ſelf in this matter alſo.

Layman.You ſaid moreover (Sir) that this alſo did ſomwhat gall you, that I ſhould call you a Phariſee: But when I ſaid ſo there was then ſuch an account given of it by me to you, that ought fully to have ſatisfied you. But ſith you were not content with that, I ſhall again with another Reaſon prove to you, that you are more guilty in that point than I then ſaid. Surely you know (Mr. Doctor) that our Saviour doth exhort us in one place, and ſpeaks in this manner; Beware of the Phariſees, for they bind hea­vy38 burthens and grievous to be born, and lay them upon mens ſhoulders, but they will not touch them with one of their little fingers. Now conſider and reflect upon your ſelf a little: Certainly you did lay upon our ſhoulders Twenty four Points, or Articles, which you your ſelf will hardly lightly touch. Likewiſe in another place, our Savi­our ſpeaks of the ſelf ſame Phariſees, All whatſoever they ſay unto you, that keep and do, but do not after their works, for they ſay and do not.

Doctor.Thoſe words indeed the Lord ſpake once.

Layman.That's no matter, for he ſpeaks the ſame yet continually. But ſee now (Sir) whether you have not given us moſt excel­lent Rules and Precepts, which notwith­ſtanding how much you-follow in your Life and Converſation, God knows, and you al­ſo are not ignorant; and as things ſtand with you at preſent, I do willingly follow your Doctrine, but ſhould be very loath to imitate your Life and Converſation: where­fore now I pray judge you your ſelf, whe­ther before God you are not truly a Phari­ſee; yet not of the number of thoſe falſe and impious Phariſees that deſerve Hell.

Doctor.Truly (Son) I have not what39 to anſwer, but confeſs and acknowledge my ſelf to be a ſinner. And now I deter­mine to amend my life, though I ſhould hereby incur the hazard of death. Nei­ther can I any longer defer it, but do again and again entreat and beſeech you (Son) that purely for Gods ſake you would Coun­ſel me, how I may begin a better life, and that you would alſo ſhew me by what means I may attain the higheſt perfection, which in this life may be attained.

Layman.It is very hard (good Sir) let it be ſpoken under favour, to give you any Counſel in this matter; for your life and manner of converſation which you have hetherto led, and been uſed to, you have by long cuſtom turned almoſt into another nature. So that if you ſhould deny and ceaſe from your long accuſtomed manner and courſe of life, (which of neceſſity you muſt do) it could not be, without grievous trouble and anguiſh to your nature; eſpe­cially ſith you are (if I miſtake not) about 50 years of age.

Doctor.Thereabout indeed (dear Son) I think is my age; But what then? they that came at the eleventh hour had their full wages, and received their penny. And therefore now I am fully reſolved and pur­pos'd40 in mind (though I were certain there­by to ſuffer death) from hence forward to turn over a new leaf, to change my courſe, and to renounce, deny and forſake my old fallacious life (that was onely given to ſpe­culation and curioſities of wit) and alſo to deny all vice, and all manner of ſenſua­lity; and endeavour by the grace of God, to order my life for the future after your Advice and Counſel. Wherefore I moſt earneſtly entreat, that laying aſide all delay, you would inſtruct and teach me for Gods ſake, how I may begin the reformation and amendment of my life; for I cannot en­dure it ſhould any longer be deferred or de­layed.

Layman.Well (honoured Sir) ſith there is ſuch grace conferred upon you by God, that you refuſe not to humble your ſelf, but are willing to ſubmit your ſelf to a vile poor creature. It concerns us in the firſt place to give God the honour, due to him. And ſith it muſt be, that I for Gods ſake am to give Counſel and Advice to you, I ſhall humbly ſeek Gods help; and that I may be the better able, I ſhall do it from his. love, and for the love of him. In the firſt place, truly I ſhall begin to teach you after the ſame manner as they inſtruct41 Children at School; that is, I ſhall commend to you a certain ſpiritual Alpha­bet, conſiſting of 23 Articles or Sentences, ſo many as there are letters in the Alpha­bet, with which they begin to teach Chil­dren.

Here followeth a Golden Alphabet, deli­vered by the Layman to the Doctor, that by it he might begin to mend his life. Frequently to read which, and according to lead our lives, without doubt would be exceeding profitable to us All.

A Golden Alphabet.
  • AATtempt in the fiſt place, and ſet upon a good, pure, and ſpiritual life, not triflingly or childiſhly, but ſtoutly, and with a reſolved manly mind.
  • BBoth do good, and ſhun evil, and that carefully and diligently.
  • CConſerve, and keep the moſt congruous and modeſt mean in all things.
  • DDiligently learn to bear about with you, both inwardly and outwardly, modeſty and humility.
  • EExtirpate and utterly deny for Gods ſake your own will, that ſo you may remain in union with God.
  • 42
  • FFervently, conſtantly, and ſeriouſly per­ſevere in God.
  • GGive your ſelf with joy, ſimply and ſtu­diouſly to obey, and ſhew thy ſelf willing and ready without murmuring to all, what­ever is of God.
  • HHanker not after, nor look back upon the world.
  • IInwardly accuſtom thy ſelf to ruminate and meditate in thy heart, upon divine and ſpiritual matters, and with tears bewail and deplore thy former life.
  • KKeep conſtant guard, and couragiouſly reſiſt the temptations of the Devil, the World, and the Fleſh.
  • LLeaving behind all temporal things, con­tend with a cheerful and valiant mind after Eternal.
  • MMind alwayes to preſerve a love to God, and your Neighbour.
  • NNever covet any mans goods, of what nature ſoever they be.
  • OOrderly make the beſt of all things, and never turn any thing to the worſt.
  • PPuniſhment, and remorſe for ſin, from whence ſoever it happen to you, whether from God or from Creatures, take it kind­ly, and receive it with a ſubmiſſive mind.
  • QQuietly and heartily forgive all, what43 ever they be, that have offended you, or done you any injury, in thought, word or deed.
  • RRetain with all poſſible diligence, thy chaſtity, both of Body and Soul.
  • SSeriouſly obſerve meekneſs and mildneſs in all things, and ſtudy to be made better by all things.
  • TTake heed that without guile, hypocri­ſie or fraud, you keep your Word, and ob­ſerve Faith with all men; and exerciſe your ſelf in works of charity, both bodily and ſpiritual, according to your ability.
  • VVigilantly take heed, neither in eating or in drinking, or any other matter you exceed due meaſure.
  • XXTS. Life and Doctrine revolve always in your mind, and to the utmoſt of your power imitate it, and lead your life accord­ing to it.
  • YYmportune the undefiled Virgin-mother with devout Prayers, that ſhe may be aſſi­ſting to you in the through learning this my Inſtitution.
  • ZZealouſly accuſtom your ſelf with ſevere Diſcipline, to keep under and bridle your will, and ſenſual affections; that they mildly yield to what ever God ſhall do with you, or ſuffer to happen to you.

How the Doctor ſoon, though not with­out labour, truly learn'd the Alpha­betical Inſtitution: How after­ward the Layman taught him a nea­rer way to perfection. Moreover, how the Doctor was fain to enter up­on a dying Life; and therein ſo long exerciſed himſelf, until he had overcome himſelf.

Layman.GO to now (Mr. Doctor) re­ceive this childiſh Inſtitution from God, who delivereth the ſame unto you by me an unworthy ſinner.

Doctor.To you peradventure (dear Son) this Inſtitution ſeems but childiſh; but I confeſs to you, me thinks, it is ſufficient­ly man-like: but be it what it will be, I am reſolved by the grace of God to take upon me the learning of it. But pray tell me, what time will you ſet me to learn it in.

Layman.For the honour of Chriſts five wounds, which are the ſigns of his immea­ſurable love to us, take five weeks, that ſo you may the more perfectly learn it. In which time you muſt be your own School­maſter,451. Whip your na­ked ſhoulders with Rods. and enjoyn your ſelf ſharp pen­nance, if you miſtake and happen to fail in any of theſe Articles, or to do any thing contrary to them.

Doctor.I'le follow your Counſel (Son) and undergo all your Injunctions.

Now when 3 weeks were near ſpent in this manner of living, the Layman enqui­red of the Doctor, how it was with him. To whom the Doctor anſwered, I will aſſure you dear Son, I have in theſe three weeks undergone more and ſharper pen­nance in the learning of this your Inſtitu­tion, than in all the ſtudies of my whole life paſt.

Layman.But how is it with you now (Mr. Doctor) are you skilful in the Arti­cles and Letters of the Alphabet as yet?

Doctor.How much ſoever I be Maſter of it (and by the grace of God, things go well enough with me) yet I would willingly more perfectly skill it. But moreover, I beſeech you inſtruct me further, and ſhew me yet more perfect things.

Layman.You very well know Sir, that in Schools they never ſet boyes higher Leſ­ſons, till they have well learned their firſt Elements.

Doctor.I confeſs, then (dear Son) I46 ſhould be guilty of a lye, if I ſhould ſay, I have throughly learned your Alpha­bet.

Layman.Therefore it is more adviſed for us to proceed no further, till you have perfectly learned it.

Afterward, when again about 3 weeks more were ſpent, the Doctor ſent a friend to the Layman, to deſire him to ſtep to him, who accordingly preſently came; and the Doctor ſaid to him, O Son rejoice with me, for I ſuppoſe now through the grace of God, I am pretty perfect in the Al­phabet; and if you pleaſe, I will willing­ly give you an account of it.

Layman.There is no need Sir, that you ſhould ſo do; for I doubt not of the truth of what you ſay; and do much con­gratulate you.

Maſter.Truly Son, with much dif­ficulty have I learned this Inſtitution; but now I beſeech you farther to inſtruct me.

Layman.Take it for certa in Mr. Doctor, that of my ſelf I cannot farther inſtruct you, but if it pleaſe Almighty God farther by me to inſtruct you, I hope I ſhall not be backward to do my beſt endeavour, and will be a willing, although an unworthy inſtrument of his, by whom he may do47 what he pleaſe; neither ſhall I in the leaſt advice you to any thing, but what he ſhall give in, and ſupply me with, & this I will do ſingly, & of the pure love of God, & deſire of your Salvation. And if it ſhall happen unto you, as it did to the young man in the Go­ſpel, who when he heard the Counſel of our Lord, to ſell and leave all that he had, went away ſorrowful; if (I ſay) it ſhall ſo fall out with you, I for my part will be ſolely blameleſs.

Doctor.Let not that (Son) at all trouble you, for I am fully reſolved in my mind, not to regard at all what can in this matter befall me; but purpoſe to follow and obey Gods and your Counſel.

Layman.Well (Sir) ſith you now are of ſo reſolved and ready a mind: I do in the firſt place out of charity and the love of God adviſe you, that by all means you remain obedient to your Order, and to all your Su­periours; For it cannot be but that if you enter upon the right, ſtraight and narrow way, you will be grievouſly oppreſled and vexed; and that chiefly by your Order and Bre­thren. And when this ſhall befall you, ſtraight-ways your ſubtile underſtanding, and ſenſual nature, will be deviſing many things, and urging you to go to the chief Biſhop,48 or ſome whither, and find a thouſand ways whereby to avoid this Croſs. But herein you muſt take great heed, and rather bear patiently what ever ſhall happen grievous unto you, and continually perſevere in hum­ble obedience; for truly the ſame way that our Lord ſhewed unto the fore-named young man, that way muſt you go, you muſt take up your Croſs upon your ſhoulders, and follow the Lord and Saviour, and in ſome meaſure his example, and that with true, great, and patient humility: Further­more you muſt renounce and deny that a­cute, ſubtile and pompous underſtanding, which you have acquired out of the Scri­ptures. And for a while give over all read­ing, ſtudying and preaching. And when thoſe that uſed to make their confeſſions to you, ſhall come again unto you to that end, you muſt ſhew your ſelf in ſimplicity; and confeſſion being made, immediatly with­draw from them, ſpeaking nothing, nor gi­ving them any counſel, but only ſaying, I will firſt learn how I may counſel my ſelf, and when I have well learned ſo to do, I will be ready to inpart advice to you. And if they be inquiſitive when you will preach, you may without injury to the truth, ſimply and nakedly anſwer, that at the preſent you49 are wholly taken up with another buſineſs. So by this means you will by little and little, alienate and eſtrange your ſelf from men.

Doctor.If preaching be forbid me, there is nothing then (Son) that I have to employ my ſelf in: what therefore ſhall I do?

Layman.Betake your ſelf to your Cell, and there perform your hourly Prayers, and as oft as you can, do the ſame, in Quire with others. Likewiſe every day, except ſome juſt occaſion hinder you perform Di­vine ſervice, and celebrate the Maſs. Af­terward, what ever time remains, you ſhall ſpend it in meditating of the Life, Death, and Paſſion, and example of Chriſt; diligently conſidering how unlike your Life is to His. Iſa. 32.Here call to mind, and in the bitterneſs of your Soul, think of the years, and all the time paſt, in which you have ſinfully loved your ſelf, taking notice how little your love hath been to God: and contrary-wiſe, how great his love hath been to you. Of theſe things Sir, let your ſtudy humbly be, for here­by it may ſo come to paſs, that by degrees you may attain to true humility, and change your old converſation, and antient Cuſtome into a better. Furthermore, when that time ſhall come, which God well knows; he will on a ſudden change you into a new, and50 another man. But before this regeneration can be wrought in you, you muſt firſt ſell all whatever you poſſeſs, and humbly reſign all unto God; Namely, you ought wholly to renounce and deny, all your curioſity and ſubtility of your ſences, and underſtanding; and whatever it be, by which you may ac­quire honour or delight to your ſelf; and laſtly, all that delight, which hitherto you have poſſeſt in your nature, and in which according to your nature, you have falſly, and inordinately found reſt;Luk. 7.10 and with bleſſed Mary Magdalen humbly caſt your ſelf pro­ſtrate at the Feet of your Lord. For indeed you muſt totally dye to all theſe things fore­mentioned. Now if you ſhall begin to ſet upon theſe things, you will render your ſelf a pleaſant, and acceptable ſpectacle to Al­mighty God: who indeed cannot behold theſe things without delight: and it is pro­bable, he will not leave, but will drive and compel you to ſuch tryals as were of old, that you may ſo much the more be proved, and be throughly purified as gold in a fur­nace; It may be (I ſay) he will reach out to you in ſome meaſure that cup of love, which he gave to his only begotten Son: which is, that it may ſo fall out, that what­ever you do or leave undone, yea, and your51 whole courſe of life may be diſeſteemed, and deſpiſed of all: and thoſe, who have hitherto been wont to confeſs themſelves to you, may ſtand a far off from you, as one deſtitute of ſenſe and reaſon: yes, and all your friends, and a great part of your Brethren, that live with you in your Monaſtery, may be offended and ſcandalized at your life, and may ſay one to the other, that you have taken up a ſtrange and unuſual way of life, ſuch as hath almoſt rendred you a dolt, or fool. Where­fore when as theſe things ſhall happen unto you, ſee Sir that by no means you be terri­fied, but rather triumph in your God, be­cauſe your Salvation is nigh. Notwithſtand­ing your frail nature (without doubt) will be ſomething terrified at this; but do you ſtoutly truſt in God, who will by no means forſake you. Furthermore, when you ſhall be brought into this diſtreſs, it can hardly be, but that at ſometime or other, it will come into your mind, to ask and deſire of God, that he would vouchſafe unto you ſome ſupernatural conſolation, and make you to taſte ſome ſweetneſs; which when it ſhall happen to you, be ſure ſuch a deſire is not from God; but from hence rather, that as yet, there is ſome pride lurking in your na­ture. For truly, it is great preſumption for52 any to be ſo bold, as to ask of God ſuch ſupernatural Gifts. And therefore if this ſhould befall you, that you ſhould perceive any ſuch deſire to ariſe in you; inſtantly ſet your ſelf againſt it with your whole ſtrength, and ſupreſs it with very great and humble reſignation, ſaying both with heart and voice; Ah moſt Merciful God, it doth ex­treamly, and from the bottom of my heart grieve and diſpleaſe me, and I very much lament, becauſe I perceive ſo great and high a deſire to ariſe in me; when as I clearly perceive I am altogether unworthy of ſuch great gifts; yea, and unworthy that the Earth ſhould bear me. And when you ſhall utter theſe words with your mouth, although as yet you be not ſo perfectly ſenſible in your heart; be not much terrified: but only as oft as ſuch like deſires ſhall ariſe in you, you muſt puniſh your ſelf with Rods. But if nei­ther by ſuch means, ſuch thoughts will ceaſe, then endure them as a temptation, ſo long as God pleaſeth, you ſhould bear them. Finally (worthy Sir) if you reſolve to undergo this courſe of life; you will per­ceive nothing more profitable to you, then that with a profound and couragious reſigna­tion, you humbly commit your ſelf to God in all things, which ſhall happen to you,53 whether they be ſweet, or whether they be bitter, whether they delight, or whether they torment; ſo as that you may be able truly to ſay unto God; O moſt Merciful God, and moſt worthy to be adored, although it were thy Will, that I ſhould remain in this life, and in this heavy preſſure even till the laſt day of Judgment; yet I would by no means forſake thee, but conſtantly and ever adhere, and cleave to thee. Verily Sir, I ſufficiently in the Grace of God un­derſtand, that this thought now is in your heart, that you may juſtly inwardly ſay to your ſelf, that what ever hath hitherto been ſpoken by me, is extream hard and difficult. And therefore I before made this proteſta­tion, If it ſhall happen that you ſtart aſide from what is propoſed to you, (as did that Young man fore-mentioned) then I will be free from all blame.

Maſter.It is (dear Son) very true, which you ſay; and moreover this your laſt ſpeech ſeems to me yet more hard.

Layman.And yet Sir, you intreated me, to ſhew you the neareſt way to the higheſt perfection attainable in this life. And truly, I know no way more ſecure, then that, which leads to the imitation of the example of the moſt Holy Humanity of Chriſt. 54Wherefore I ſincerely advice you, to take ſufficient time of conſideration, and betake your ſelf into your ſelf; and whatever by Divine inſpiration you ſhall underſtand, ought to be done by you, that, you may ſafely ſet upon.

Maſter.I like well (Son) your counſel, and intend to follow it: and as I ſhall be able, I will take heed by the aſſiſtance of Divine Grace to overcome my ſelf.

What afterwards befel the Doctor. How he endured grievous preſſures in his nature, and underwent the con­tempt of men, inſomuch that his ſtrength began to fail him.

ABout eight dayes after, the Doctor ſent a certain Meſſenger to the Layick, to de­ſire him to come to him; And when he was come, the Maſter ſaid to him: Ah moſt dear ſon, it can hardly be uttered, what fightings, what grief, what ſtrife, and con­tention, I have inwardly undergone both night and day, before with Gods aſſiſtance, I could ſo far attain, as that I might over­come the Devil, the Fleſh, and my own Nature. But now through the Grace of55 God I have obtained an undanted, and rea­dy mind, and alſo a true and perfect will; ſo that I will chearfully (God aſſiſting) enter upon that way, which you have taught me: and although (likely) it will be very trou­bleſome to my Nature, yet that ought pa­tiently to be endured, neither ſhall I for that cauſe draw back, but will through the Grace of God perſevere ſteady and conſtant in this purpoſed courſe.

Layman.Do you keep ſtill in your memory (Doctor) thoſe Words which I lately ſpake to you?

Maſter.Immediately after you left me, I carefully wrote them all down.

Layman.I congratulate to you Sir, & hearti­ly rejoyce with you, that you have obtain­ed ſo ready, ſo vigorous, and ſo undanted a mind; neither do I in this leſs wiſh well to you, than I do to my ſelf. Therefore now ſafely in the Name of God begin, and be­have your ſelf manlike. And ſo taking his leave, the Layick departed.

Now the Doctor obeying the inſtructi­ons, and counſel of the Layick, preſently ſet upon the work: And forthwith forbore every thing, that he was required to for­bear. In ſo much, that before a year was come about, he was as much had in con­tempt56 by all, that lived with him in the Mo­naſtery, as he was before had in eſteem, and honour; yea, and his ſpecial friends, and as many (whether men or women) as were wont to confeſs themſelves to him; finally, all that knew him, and reſpected him, be­came ſo eſtranged from him, as if they had never ſeen him: which was not a little trou­bleſome and contrary to his nature. More­over, he began to feel much infirmity and weakneſs in his head, which ſtruck him with greater terrour, than all the reſt. Wherefore by a Meſſenger he ſent for the Layman, and declared to him, all that had befallen him, and how that his natural ſtrength began to fail: but chiefly how he was not a little diſtreſſed, by reaſon of the infirmity of his head. The Layman made him this anſwer. Be not terrified Sir, but humbly reſign your ſelf to God, and put your truſt firmly in him. Truely, I hi­therto well am pleaſed, and like matters, as they ſtand with you; and indeed things are very well with you, and will be bet­ter without doubt; you well know; that he that will find the right Way, and walk therein, muſt through ſome ſufferings at leaſt, and afflictions, follow the example of Truth it ſelf; namely, our Saviour Chriſt. 57Therefore in the leaſt be not terrified at all, but leave your ſelf totally to God; for it thus heretofore befel me likewiſe. Not­withſtanding in the mean time, whileſt this infirmity is upon you, you may diſcretly ſuc­cour your Nature, by the uſe of better meat. I had made for me, when I were in the like infirmity, a certain confection of Aromatical druggs, which did comfort my head; and the like I'le get made for you. But this is certain, that I alwayes left my ſelf totally to God, to do with my Soul or Bo­dy what he pleaſed.

Maſter.But now you teach me other­wayes, & adviſe me to relieve & ſuccour my ſelf with better meat, in this my infirmity.

Layman.No man ought Sir to tempt God; ſo long as you continue in this weakneſs, God doth freely permit you to help and com­fort your nature, & eſpecially your head. Go to now Sir, & with Divine aſſiſtance go on as you have begun, joyfully reſign up your ſelf to God in all things, with true & deep humi­lity. Put your truſt in God, and wait for his grace, and whatever he then requires of you, whether it be ſweet, or whether it be bitter, be ſure to the utmoſt of your ſtrength to yield him obedience. As for my part, I pray you for Gods ſake, take it not ill,58 that I can no longer at this time abide with you. For a weighty buſineſs, com­pels me at this time to bid you fare-well. But if you cannot ſpare me altogether, ſend ſome body to that place, and there I'le be found. But it would be far better for you, if you could go on without the comfort of any mortal creature.

Maſter.Do not (I beſeech you dear Son) ſay ſo; for indeed I cannot long want you. And truly it afflicts me much, and fills my•…ind with vehement anguiſh, becauſe you now will depart from me. But ſith, as you ſay, ſo weighty a buſineſs, and which concerns God, compels you to be gone; I will con­tent, and reſign my ſelf, and bear your ab­ſence as well as I may.

Layman.Now therefore Sir, ſith you are brought under the Rod, and ſcourge of the Lord, to which alſo you have offered your ſelf willingly, it concerns you very much to lead your life diſcretly. Be care­ful therefore to give your ſelf your juſt due. And let it not diſturb you, that you are forſaken by Creatures. But if you ſhould want money, pawn ſome of your Books, and borrow upon them; but take heed that you ſell not one of them. For if I be not miſtaken, the time will come, when they59 will be all neceſſary to you. Having thus ſaid, the Layman bidding the Doctor fare-well, departed; the Doctor in the mean time weeping for his departure, and commend­ing himſelf to God.

How the Doctor was wonderfully viſi­ted, touched, and illuminated by God: and how the Layman returned to him again, and meekly exerted him, that he ſhould again take upon him the care of Preaching, which for ſome time had been omitted.

VVHen as now the Doctor had for 2. years together continued in moſt grievous temptations, together with the great contempt of all his Friends and extream poverty, inſomuch that he was compelled to borrow money, upon ſome of his Books, which he pawned; and alſo had under­gone with much humility the grievous weak­neſs of his whole nature: It came to paſs that night, which immediately goes before the day celebrated for the Converſion of St. Paul, that a moſt grievous Temptation ruſhed upon him, ſuch as the heart of man cannot60 imagine, whereby he conceived ſuch a great weakneſs of his whole nature, that that night he was not able to go forth to Morning-Prayer, but abode ſitting in his Cell, re­ſigning himſelf from the bottom of his heart to God, with huge and true humility, being deſtitute of all help and comfort from any mortal Creature whatever. And whileſt he was kept in this weakneſs, he began a­mongſt other things to meditate on the paſ­ſion of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, thinking with himſelf, with what infinite love Jeſus Chriſt did follow him; and contrariwiſe, he reflecting upon his own life, perceiving how unconſiderable his life was, if compared with the Life of Chriſt, and how as nothing his life was, compared with the immence charity of Chriſt. Great contrition, and ſorrow for all his ſins, and for all his ill ſpent and loſt time, ceazed upon him. So that with his whole affection, with heart and voice he ſaid to the Lord: Ah! mer­ciful and compaſſionate Lord God, have mer­cy, have mercy upon me for the abiſs of thy mercies ſake, becauſe I am not worthy that the earth ſhould bear me. Whileſt theſe words were in his heart and mouth, being broad awake, he heard with his bodily cars (yet ſeeing nothing) a voice ſaying61 unto him. Now receive thy peace, and put thy truſt in God; and take it for certain, that when he lived upon earth, that what­ſoever ſick perſon he cured in body, the ſame he likewiſe healed in Soul. Which words being ended, inſtantly the Doctor fell into an extaſie, and was deprived of all rational underſtanding, inſomuch that he knew not what was done unto him, where he was, or whither he was ſnatch'd. But after that he was reſtored to himſelf, he found in himſelf in his whole nature, a new and great power, and vigour; ſuch as he confeſſed he had never in all his whole life time felt by experience before; as alſo ſo clear and enlightned a diſcerning, or illuminated rea­ſon, as never was in the leaſt known to him before that time. But being amazed, he wondred with himſelf, from whence theſe things ſhould ſo ſuddenly happen unto him, and began to think thus with himſelf. Certainly thou wilt never be able to clear up this matter of thy ſelf, ſend therefore for thy Friend to come unto thee, and lay open the whole matter in order unto him. And ſo he did. The Layman being ſent for, readi­ly obeyed the Doctor, came to him forth­with; the Doctor told him every thing in order, as it happened unto him; which62 when the Layman had beard, he ſaid. How gladly, even with my whole heart Sir, do I hear this news. I know that you have firſt now truly experienced the true grace of God, and are now firſt touched in the ſu­perior powers of your mind. Know alſo, that as heretofore the Letter killed you, ſo now the ſame will quicken you, becauſe all the holy Scripture proceeded and flowed from the holy Ghoſt. Neither doubt Sir, but the knowledge of the holy Scripture will for the future very much profit you now that you have been found worthy to be illumi­nated by the light of the holy Ghoſt. For many things now will be made manifeſt to you by the Scriptures, which were altoge­ther unknown to you before. For you know, that the holy Scripture ſeemed to you, and many other Theologiſts, to be con­trary to it ſelf in many places. But he who rightly knows how to look into it, in the light of the holy Spirit (as you hence-for­ward will be able to do) ſuch a one doth plainly know, how that it agreeth with it ſelf throughout. Wherefore now you will begin wiſely to underſtand Scripture, and rightly to follow the true Pattern and Exem­pler of Truth, our Lord Jeſus Chriſt. Now al­ſo you muſt again take upon you the care of63 Preaching, which for ſome time hath been intermitted; that by the Word you may edifie and inſtruct your Neighbours. And now the time is come alſo, that you muſt fetch home your Books again, and fall to reading, and peruſing them. And be cer­tain, that hereafter, one Sermon of yours will be more profitable and fruitful, than a hundred of your former; for thoſe that ſhall hear you hereafter, will be profited and amended far more, than they have been heretofore; and that, becauſe the Word which you ſhall hereafter utter, will flow from a clean veſſel, and therefore will be very grateful and acceptable to a clean mind, and a lover of God. Furthermore, know this that as heretofore you have been by many accounted contemptible, and ap­peared to them diſpicable; ſo now you will appear to them all, an hundred times more amiable, and be more acceptable than ever heretofore. And now multitudes of peo­ple will begin to flock together to hear you; ſo that it will for this cauſe be exceeding good for you, to keep your ſelf very humble, and more carefully to watch over your ſelf. For as you know, he that hath any great Treaſure, hath the more need carefully to guard them from Robbers. And certain­ly,64 thoſe helliſh Robbers, the evil ſpirits are very much affrighted and always terrified, as often as they perceive that God Almighty hath beſtow'd upon any man ſo great a trea­ſure. And therefore be ſure, they will turn every ſtone, and make uſe of all their ſtrength and cunning, to ſteal from you, or rob you of this Treaſure. Therefore it exceedingly con­cerns you to keep it with all care and vigi­lancy. But you will be able, by no means better to preſerve it, then by a ſilent, true and profound humility. Finally, as things are with you, there is no more need that for the future, I ſhould converſe with you, as an in­ſtructer of you; No verily, I now exceeding­ly deſire to be taught by you, and intend here to remain ſo long, till I have heard di­verſe of your Sermons. And becauſe (as you have acknowledged) you have felt and ex­perienced a certain great power, and ſuch as is underſtood both in Nature and Grace; I very much deſire, if the Lord permit that you would again Preach.

Maſter.What advice therefore do you give me, (deareſt Son) for I have pawned ſeveral of my Books, and have taken up upon them, no leſs then thirty Crowns.

Layman.Send ſome body for them, and I on (Gods behalf) will redeem them, and65 will give thee ſo many Crowns; and if after you have redeemed your Books, any thing ſhall remain, you ſhall reſtore it to God: ſo the Books were brought and redeemed.

After theſe things, the Doctor cauſed it to be given out, and ſpread abroad, that upon the third day after he intended to Preach; which when it was heard, every body much wondered; and becauſe of the novelty of the thing, a huge multitude of People came to­gether. The Doctor therefore when he was come, and ſaw ſo many People come toge­ther, got up into the Pulpit, and covering his Eyes with his hood, he thus prayed to him­ſelf, O Mercyful God, of it may be pleaſing to thee, grant I may ſo ſpeak and do, as that thy moſt acceptable will may be done in me. Pre­ſently after he had ſpoken theſe Words. 2 pang of weeping without any endeavour of his, fell upon him, & he ſhed many moſt ſweet Tears; which continued ſo long, that the People began to be weary of ſo tedious ex­pectation, So that one of the crowd; ſaid with a loud voyce; How long (I pray Sir) do you intend to keep us? Now it grows late, and if you will not begin, ſay ſo, that we may riſe and go home. And when the Doctor himſelf did take notice, that the time was nigh paſt; he ſaid again unto the Lord. 66Ah Merciful Lord my God, if it be thy will ſtop theſe Tears, and grant I may Preach this Sermon! Which thing if thou deny me, I fear that thou judgeſt, I have not yet been ſufficiently derided, notwithſtanding fullfil in me all thy good pleaſure according to thy will. But whatever he ſaid, or what­ever he pray'd, he nothing at all availed: but his Tears rather more prevailed. Perceiving therefore that it was the Divine will & plea­ſure; he ſaid to the People weeping. Truly beloved, it ſufficiently grieves me that you have been ſo long in expectation. But ſo it is, that I cannot at this time bring forth one Word. When the People heard this, they aroſe and went their way. And ſtraight­way the fame of this paſſage ſpread it ſelf through the whole City; So that then again, the Doctor began to be laugh'd at, and to be had in contempt; every one ſaying; See now we perceive as clear as none-day, that he is ſtark mad, and deprived of his Reaſon and Sences. Whereupon his Brethren did ſeverely and ſolemnly ſuſpend him from his Office of Preaching, telling him that he brought upon them no ſmall damage and ſhame, ſince by his ſingular and unuſual manner of living, he had weakened his brain. Among theſe troubles, the Doctor ſent for67 the Layman, and told him in order all that had befaln him The Layman anſwered him; Be of good courage (worthy Sir) neither let any terror take hold of you: it is certain your affairs were never in ſo good plight as now they are; for the Omnipotent God will have you wholly to be his friend. And therefore it is probable, that till then ſome­thing of pride lay hid in your mind, which now God hath mortified in you; when be­ing ſet up in a high place, after the Example of Chriſt, you were derided by men. And truly you ought with a willing mind to ac­cept ſo great a Gift of God; for be confident, what remainder of ſin lay hid in you, is now wholly aboliſhed and caſt out. Wherefore Sir, be of good courage, and humbly bear with patience this your humiliation. Neither let this ſeem to you a new and unuſual mat­ter, for I have alſo known the like befal others. And take heed that you do in no wiſe condemn this burden of the Croſs, which the Lord hath ſent you. But be ad­viſed by me, to retire your ſelf from all hu­mane converſe, for this five days, in honour of the five Wounds of Chriſt. Afterwards you may ſpeak with your Pryor, and perad­venture he will permit you to Preach in ſome Monaſtry. But if he ſhall deny you, entreat68 him that he would firſt make tryal of you, and give you leave once in your Covent, to read a Lecture to your Brethren. To all which words of the Layman, the Doctor yielded obedience willingly; five days being ſpent, and leave being asked and obtained of the Pryor; The Doctor read ſo excellent a Lecture to his Brethren, that they did all exceedingly admire his excellent, Spiritual and Divine Doctrine. So that preſently it was concluded by them all in the Chapter­houſe, that they would make tryal of him once more, granting him leave once more to Preach to the People. Wherefore they gave order to one of the Brothers, who was to Preach in a certain Covent, that after Sermon he give notice to the People, that the Doctor intended the next day to Preach in that place. Therefore that Brother, after he had ended his Sermon, ſaid to the People, I am commanded to give you notice, that to morrow in the fore­none in this Place, the Doctor intends to Preach. But if any thing befal him like that which lately happened to him, impute it in no wiſe to me, ſeeing I do but what I am commanded. Yet take this for certain, that lately he read to us in our Covent, ſuch a Lecture, ſo Excellent, ſo Divine, Profound69 and Spiritual, that many of our fraternity dare ſay, they have not theſe many years heard ſo Divine and Heavenly Doctrine. But what he will do before you I know not. The next day after the Doctor went to the Monaſtry appointed (it was a Monaſtry of Virgins;) And when he was thither come, he began his Sermon as followeth.

A Rare and Devout Sermon, which the Doctor Preached in a certain Mo­naſtery after his Illumination, con­cerning Chriſt the true Bridegroom of the Soul: and how the Soul ought to follow him in True, Modeſt, Humble and Patient Reſignation: and how Chriſt doth firſt divers wayes prove the Soul, and at laſt gratiouſly re­ceiveth it. This Sermon may not unfitly be Preached upon the Feſtival of ſome Virgine.

Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go you forth to meet him,Ma. 25.

IT is now two years ago (if I be not deceived Dearly Beloved) ſince I laſt70 Preached unto you; and in that my laſt Ser­mon, I delivered to you 24 Particulars, or Articles. And as you may remember, it was my uſual cuſtom at that time to mingle many Latine Words and Sentences in my Sermons, which for the future I ſhall in no wiſe do. But when I have a mind to uſe the Latine tongue, I will do it amongſt thoſe who are skilful in that Language, and can underſtand what I have to ſay. But now for the obtaining of Divine grace and aſſiſtance, let us ſay over the Angels Salu­tation.

The Verſe which I have pitched upon for my Text (Dearly Beloved) and to which I ſhall confine my ſelf throughout my whole diſcourſe, is this: Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go you forth to meet him.

The Bridegroom, is Chriſt Jeſus; the the Spouſe, is humane nature. We there­fore all (Dearly Beloved) are called Spou­ſes of Chriſt, and we ought therefore in duty to go forth to meet him. But alas! the fault is on our part. For the true Wayes and right Pathes, which lead to meet the Bridegroom, are become very deſart and overgrown: And we, alas! do little take notice of them, and too ſeldom and very71 rarely now adayes is any one found, that entred into thoſe Pathes. But there are many other Roads, in which multitudes go aſtray. So that rarely do any now ariſe and go forth to meet the Bridegroom, as I ſhall God willing hereafter ſhew you. But now, leaſt I ſhould be too tedious, I will in ſilence paſs over. But whereas we are all called Spouſes, I muſt firſt lay open what behoveth every Spouſe to do, that ſhe may go forth to meet her Bridegroom. Firſt therefore, it is the duty of every faith­ful Spouſe, to be baſhful and modeſt, and to avoid all things that may offend her Bridegroom; as for example, ſuch as the vain glory of this fallacious and ill-reward­ing world, pride, envy, and other common ſins of the world: Alſo, all the pleaſures of corrupt nature, whether it be in profit or idleneſs, or in any other things whatever, but what are upon a true and rational ac­count neceſſary. And when the Spouſe hath rejected ſuch and the like things for the love of her Bridegroom, then ſhe beginneth ſomewhat to pleaſe her Bride­groom. Secondly, If thou wilt yet more pleaſe him, ſhe muſt humbly bow and in­cline her ſelf, and offer up her whole ſelf72 unto him, ſaying both with heart and voice, Ah moſt ſweet Lord and Bridegroom, thou knoweſt the hearts of all; therefore I do with my whole heart profeſs unto thee, that I will freely and with a willing mind do all whatever I ſhall know or be able, which thou teaching me, I ſhall ſee to be acceptable and pleaſing to thee, neither will I ever de­part from thee, but perpetually and with all my might cleave unto thee. When there­fore the Spouſe hath thus bethrothed her ſelf, the Bridegroom now turning his face, to her begins to behold her, and commands that ſome rich Jewel be given her; you will ask me what Jewel? I an­ſwer, ſuch an one as this, namely, That ſhe be ſuſſered to be exerciſed both inwardly & outwardly with divers temptations, as his manner is to do with all his ſingular and choice Friends. Then it falls out, that if the Spouſe be yet ſomewhat tender and deli­licate, ſhe ſtrait addreſſes her ſelf to her Bride­groom, ſaying. Ah my moſt merciful Lord, theſe are exceeding ſtrange and unuſual things, and too too heavy, ſuch as I never felt the like, and they make me greatly fear, how I ſhall be able to bear them, and ſubſiſt under them. Wherefore I earneſtly entreat thee, moſt dear Lord, to73 take off this burden, and free me of it. The Bridegroom anſwereth her: Tell me my beloved Spouſe, doth it ſeem equitable to you, that the Spouſe ſhould fare better then her Bridegroom, thou muſt firſt of ne­ceſſity in ſome meaſure follow him. And certainly it is altogether comely, juſt and al­ſo tollerable, that the Spouſe ſhould endure ſomething, at leaſt for the love of her Bridegroom. When this the pleaſure of the Bridegroom is made known, the Spouſe is ſtricken with terrour, and trembling, ſaith to the Bridegroom. Oh! my Lord and Bridegroom, I beſeech you be not angry with me, for I am now ready to obey thee; Therefore ſuffer what thou pleaſeſt to fall upon me, I will through the aſſiſtance of thy grace bear all for thy ſake, willingly and contentedly. When the Bridegroom hears this, he conceives a greater love to his Spouſe. And therefore beſtows upon her yet a more excellent gift, namely, that all her performances, exerciſes, wayes, and all her works, yea, and at leaſt whatever ſhe does or leaves undone, although they be all good in themſelves, yet they ſeem to her ſelf wholly unſavoury. Furthermore, ſhe ac­counts her whole time loſt, whatever ſhe ſpends it about, though that which ſhe doth74 be good; and that in all ſhe offends the Bridegroom, and continually fears that af­ter this liſe ſhe ſhall ſuffer grievous puniſh­ment for all. Furthermore, this gift is granted her, that ſhe be had in deriſion by moſt, and that her whole life and converſa­tion, as meer folly be vilified and ſet at naught by men. But by this means the Spouſe becomes much weakned in her na­ture; ſo that ſhe thinks every hour ſhe ſhall dye no other death. And whereas ſhe is yet tender, faint-hearted, and fearful, ſhe is exceeding terrified. Wherefore ſhe earneſtly calls upon her Bridegroom, ſaying. Why is it moſt ſweet Bridegroom, that thou leaveſt me in this ſad condition, when thou notwithſtanding knoweſt full well that I can­not poſſibly undergo it, but it will coſt me my life. The Bridegroom anſwers her, Why how now my choſen Spouſe, if thou wilt go forth to meet the Bridegroom, it is equitable and congruous, that thou ſhouldſt at leaſt in ſome things at firſt follow him; and travail part of the journey he went. Whereas therefore the Bridegroom ſuffered death for the love of his Bride, and endured moſt direful torments, and innumerable pains 33 years, think you it not congruous to rea­ſon, and every way fitting, that the Spouſe75 alſo out of love ſhould endure ſome hazard of death. Certainly, if your love were great & faithful toward your Bridegroom, it would eaſily ſhut out all ſuch fear from you. The Spouſe fearing, ſuch or the like, anſwers from the Bridegroom, is ceaſed upon with excee­ding great fear and ſhame: and ſpeaks thus from her moſt inward bowels, with heart and mouth to her Bridegroom. Now moſt loving Bridegroom, I fully underſtand that I have done unjuſtly and evilly: and I am even overcome with fear, and do grieve truly with my whole heart; becauſe I have not re­ſigned my ſelf faithfully unto thee, even un­to death. And behold, hence-forward I commit my whole ſelf to thee; That what­ever thy will and pleaſure is, the ſame may be mine, whether it be ſweet or whether it be bitter, whether it be health or whether it be ſickneſs, whether death or life, or what­ever it be that thy pleaſure is ſhall come up­on me, ſhall be welcome to me. And ſo for the future, I wholly renounce my own will; and ſo ſurrender and offer it up to thee, as never-more hereafter to re-call it or deſire it.

Thou alſo moſt merciful Bridegroom, do with me a ſinful wretch, whatever thou wilt, both in Time and in Eternity. For as76 much as of me is, I plainly underſtand that I am unworthy that the earth ſhould bear me. When now the Bridegroom perceives ſo reſolved, ſo conſtant & perfect a will in his Spouſe; What do you think he doth to his Spouſe? Even this,〈◊〉hath mercy on her; but how you will ask? Why thus? He will then firſt reach out to her an excellent and glorious Cup, namely this, That over and above all the preſſures, temptations and ſtraights in which already ſhe is held, he permits that far more, and far more grie­vous then ever ſhe ſuffered before to fall upon her. The Spouſe by this time under­ſtanding this to be the pleaſure of her Bride­groom, ſuffers all willingly and freely, for the love of him. And bowing her ſelf humbly to her Lord, ſaith; Even thus moſt dear Bridegroom is it moſt fitting and meet, that not what I will thou ſhouldſt will, but what thy Will and Pleaſure is that I ſhould will. Wherefore for thy ſake, I will freely and with a willing mind take off this Cup, and receive this gift of thine, let it torture and afflict my nature as much as it will; ne­vertheleſs, I accept of it as at thy hand. Whileſt therefore the Bridegroom in his E­ternal Wiſdom beholds this will and reſolu­tion in his Spouſe; ſhe is rendred above77 meaſure dear unto him. So that even out of ſuperabundant love, he permits her to ſuffer through her whole nature by the ſaid Cup of pretious affliction given unto her, until ſhe be throughly purged and cleanſed from all her ſpots, ſins, and imperfections. But then he ſaith unto her. Ariſe now my beautiful and comely Spouſe, for now thou art all fair, and there is no ſpot in thee; and with­all looks upon her ſo amiably, and kindly, as is far above all Expreſſion.

After this the Eternal Father of the Bride­groom cometh alſo to the nuptials, and joy­fully ſaith to them: Ariſe quickly make haſte. It is time that they be led to the Temple, and joyned together in a marriage league. And taking both the Bridegroom, and the Bride, leads them both together to the Temple, and joyns them mutually to himſelf, and with ſo ſtrong and great a mu­tual nuptial love doth couple and bind them one to the other; that neither in time, nor in eternity can they ever more be put aſunder, or ſeparated one from the other. Now whilſt theſe nuptials are celebrating, the Son the Bridegrom ſaith to his Father; Eternal and moſt loving Father, whom will it pleaſe you, ſhall be our Cup-bearer, and Comptroller of our nuptial Feaſts? The Father made an­ſwer,78 and ſaid: This office and buſineſs be­longs to the Holy Ghoſt, and he ſhall be the Governour of the Feaſt that day. Pre­ſently without any delay, that Magnificent, Higheſt, and Moſt adorable Cup-bearer gives the Spouſe to drink, and take off ſuch an overflowing Cup of Love, that ſhe is wholly overflowed, and drowned in Chari­ty; and altogether flowes forth, and is diſſol­ved, and melted into her Bridegroom. And falling into an Exſtaſie, ſhe becomes ſo drunk even with over much Love, that ſhe looſeth and forgetteth her ſelf, and all other Crea­tures, both ſuch as are in time, and ſuch as are in Eternity. For truly (beloved) who­ever attaineth to theſe nuptials, the ſame then firſt is arrived at the very true ſolemnity of joys indeed, and of Eternal nuptials. And whoſoever is made ſuch a Spouſe, ſuch a one is become a true Worſhipper; adoring the Father in Spirit and Truth:John 4: and the ſame hath found peace and joy in the Holy Ghoſt. For verily in theſe nuptials there is joy upon joy: as alſo there the peace is greater, and Triumphant joy more abundant in one hour, then all Creatures whether in time, or in Eternity can make. For the joy, which the Spouſe here takes in her Bridegroom, and re­ceives from him, is ſuch, and ſo great, that79 no Reaſon, no Senſe can poſſibly underſtand it, attain to it, or be capable of it. At theſe words, One cryed out with a lond voyce: It is true, it is true, it is true. And immediatly fell to the Earth, as if he had been dead. At which ſight, a certain Woman ſpake aloud to the Doctor; give over Maſter Doctor, or elſe this man will give up the Ghoſt in our arms. The Doctor anſweared? Well dearly be­loved, if it ſeems good to the Bridegroom to take away with him this Spouſe, we ought willingly to leave her to him. But be ye ſi­lent a little while, for I ſhall even now make an end.

Let us all (I beſeech you, dearly beloved) let us all with one conſent lift up our voyces unto Heaven, unto the Lord, imploring his mercy. For truly, it is a thing extreamly to be bewailed by us, that we ſhould be made ſuch Fools, ſo dull, and ſottiſh; as that, not­withſtanding we are none of us ignorant, how we are all called the Spouſes of God; yet ſcarce one of us, or very rarely, hath the courage to hazard his Nature, in manfully following the Bridegroom, until he be found worthy to be made partaker, and taſte by experience ſomewhat at leaſt of the wonder­full and moſt pleaſant ſolemnization, of theſe ſupream Triumphs, and moſt happy nuptials. 80Verily, in theſe latter times there are but few ſuch found, as do in truth go forth to meet the Bridegroom; ſuch, as of old time there were many. Wherefore it exceedingly con­cerns every one, to examine, and ſeriouſly and diligently to try himſelf; and to have a vigilant care of himſelf: For now the time draws near, and is even at the door, when the greateſt part of men will indeed have Eyes, and yet ſee not, and Ears, and yet hear not.

Wherefore now, my dearly beloved, come on, let us all do our utmoſt endeavour to come to the experiencing of theſe moſt plea­ſant, & even too too happy nuptials. B•…that I may purſue my purpoſe, & come to a con­cluſion; After that the Bridegroom and the Bride are gone aſunder, & withdrawn each from other, & the Bride again coming to her ſelf, perceives that ſhe is yet left in this time of exile, ſhe ſaith to her ſelf; Ah me miſerable wretch, am I here again? And begins to be ſomewhat ſad. But ſhe is now ſo modeſt, ſo ſunk into the depth of humility, and finally ſo perfectly, and fundamentally reſigned to her Bridegroom, that ſhe durſt in no meaſure think of the injoying, or deſiring his com­pany, for ſhe very well knows, that ſhe is altogether unworthy of it. Notwithſtanding81 the Bridegroom neglects not ever now and then to have an Eye upon his fair beloved, and deareſt Bride, knowing full well that none can comfort her but himſelf. And now in the winding up of my Diſcourſe, let me give you this caution (dearly Beloved.) Let it not ſeem ſtrange unto you, what I have ſaid unto you touching the Diſcourſe, which the Bridegroom and the Bride have with one another. Certainly no man can believe, except he have had experience of it; what ſtrange kind, and unheard of Diſcourſes the Bride hath with the Bridegroom; Neverthe­leſs the Holy Scriptures alſo oft make men­tion, how a loving and devoted Soul Diſ­courſes with the Bridegroom, and in ſuch a manner, that her words hardly will bear ſenſe with them. Which alſo ſometimes happens even at this day; namely, that the Bride uſeth ſuch expreſſions to the Bride­groom, that if any one heard them, he would certainly ſay, ſhe were either drunk or mad. But I fear (Beloved) I am too tedious.

God therefore and our Lord Jeſus Chriſt the true Bridegroom grant, that we may be all made his true Spouſes, and be able to go forth to meet him in true and great Humili­ty, and deep and perfect reſignation of our82 ſelves to him, to the Praiſe and Glory of the Almighty God.


Of certain wonderful Things, which be­fel ſome upon the Hearing the fore­going Sermon, which afterwards were underſtood. From whence we may take notice, How great things God worketh by fit Inſtruments; namely, by the Sermon of any one Illuminated Mans, much more then by the Sermons of an hundred others.

THIS Sermon being ended, the Maſter went into the Temple, diſpatched Di­vine Service, and adminiſtred the Holy Sa­crament of the Lords Body to very many good men. But in the Garden of the Mo­naſtry, there remained ſitting above fourty men. Which thing the Layman had taken notice off. And when the Sacrament was ended, coming to the Doctor, he told him of it: and taking him with him, led him to the place, where he might ſee it. But in the mean time, whilſt the Maſter was admini­ſtring the Sacrament, all were riſen, except twelve, whom they found ſitting there ſtill. 83When the Maſter ſaw this, he ſaid to the Layman: Dear Son, what ſhall we do to theſe men? Then the Layman went to them, and touched, and jogged them one by one, but they felt nothing, and ſeemed to be no otherwiſe then dead. At which the Maſter did not a little wonder, for he had never ſeen any ſuch thing in the leaſt before. And ſaith again to the Layman; Think you Son that theſe men are dead? The Layman ſmiling ſaid, if they be dead, it is the fault of you, and the Bridegroom.

Maſter.If the Bridegroom have a hand with me in the buſineſs, we ſhall eaſily find a Remedy for this evil.

Layman.You need not at all doubt Sir, but that all theſe men ſhall live yet in time; and I could wiſh, that you would ſpeak to the Holy Virgins of this Monaſtery, that they would cauſe them to be carryed with­in the firſt Cloiſters of their Monaſtery, to ſome warm place, leaſt by reaſon of the damp ground they ſhould catch harm. Ac­cordingly it was done; the Virgins very modeſtly commanding them to be carried into warm Rooms: and they told the Do­ctor, that they alſo had one of their Siſters rapped into an exſtaſie, and lying upon her Bed, whither they had carryed her as one84 dead. The Maſter anſwered them, I beſeech you (Beloved) be not troubled at this thing; but when any of them comes to themſelves, give them (if they will take it) ſome kind of warm broth. The Virgins anſwered him, That they would willingly do. And ſo the Doctor together with the Layman departed, and went together to the Doctors Cell: Where the Layman ſaid to the Doctor. What think you, Reverend Sir, did ever the like matter befal you ſince you were born? you ſee now, what great things God doth work by a fit Inſtrument. And I doubt not, but very many more will be ſenſible of this your Sermon, and what was done at it: For they will tell one another. Wherefore I ſhall like it well, if you pleaſe, that you would ſuffer theſe your weak Sons and Daughters to reſt a while. For truly, this Sermon will find them work enough for a long time. But I verily think many would reap much benefit, if you would likewiſe (God permitting) Preach to the ſecular men. For now during this time of Lent, they will more readily run to Sermons. And I believe, very many will flock together the more, becauſe of this Sermon, which you preached to day.

Maſter.If you advice me to it (dear85 Son) I will willingly follow your counſel. And (as I remember) this next Sabbath day, is the Feaſt of the Virgin S. Gar­trude.

Layman.And pray what is the Goſpel appointed for that day?

Maſter.It is concerning the Woman taken in adultry, and brought to Chriſt. But whatever the Goſpel be for that day, I in­tend not to ſtick only to that; But will eaſily take from thence ſome ſentence or other, which ſhall be the ſcope of my whole Ser­mon; and from it I will take occaſion as Divine Grace ſhall aſſiſt me, to ſet before Mens Eyes their ſins and Iniquities. Neither do I much care, what becomes of me for ſo doing. Though I eaſily believe that firſt this will be my portion; my Brethren will do what they can to expel me out of the Monaſtery; for I am reſolved neither to flat­ter them, nor any body elſe: but will ſimply ſpeak the naked truth, as the Lord ſhall en­able me: neither will I balk that, though I ſhould be therefore to ſuffer death.

Layman.Truly (I believe Sir) for theſe two or three hundred years, or more by paſt, there hath not been ſo much need, to ſpeak the naked Truth ſimply and ſeriouſly, as now in theſe our days. Wherefore be not at all86 moved with whatever can happen. For if you be not ſuffered to abide here, you may be ſome where elſe: and whereſoever you be, God will in no wiſe forſake you. The Maſter therefore gave order to one, that at the end of his Sermon he ſhould give notice to the People, that he intended to Preach the next Sabbath day, which was conſecrated to St. Gartrude. When that day came, a very great multitude of Men of divers ranks came together, to hear the Doctors Sermon. Who coming at the time appointed; Thus began his Diſcourſe.

A Sermon of the Doctors Preached to the People, in which he ſharply reproves Sin.

VVHat ſhall I ſay, or where ſhall I begin my Diſcourſe (Dearly Belo­ved) ſeeing 'tis obvious to every Eye, how ill it is with us in many things, and unleſs we amend our Lives, undoubtedly things will grow worſe, and worſe, and more dan­gerous? But before I enter upon my Diſ­courſe, I earneſtly beg this of you all; that none of you would take that grievouſly, which I ſhall ſay unto you. For truly, it is more needful at this time to ſpeak the Truth87 plainly, and openly, then it hath been any time theſe two or three hundred years, or upwards. Whereupon I have reſolved with my ſelf to reprove the Faults of us all in general, and not at all to flatter any man; but without any daubing, obſcure gloſſes, or comments, to ſpeak ſimply and nakedly, whatever the Lord ſhall teach, or ſuggeſt to me: being ready for the Love of God, to undergo any thing that ſhall be laid upon me for this cauſe. But if I ſhall be hindred by the ſhortneſs of the time, to finiſh now what I have to ſay, I ſhall at another time (if li­berty be granted me) make an end of it. Truly, I have purpoſed to handle ſo many things in this Sermon, that I will neither meddle with the Goſpel for the day, nor ſpeak any thing of bleſſed Gartrude, to whom the day is conſecrated, nor mingle any La­tine ſentences in my Diſcourſe, that ſo I may have the longer time to ſpeak what I intend. I have only taken for my Text a Verſe or two out of this days Goſpel, upon which I will