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439 [439]

For I saye to haue them is no dampnatyon, but if ye presume vpon them, that is dampnation, if for the hauinge of them. ye shall seeme greate in your owne sighte, or if ye doo forget the common condition of manne, through the excellencye of anye thing you haue: vse therefore here in due discretion, tempered with moderation, the which cup of discretion is drawn oute of that fountaine of the Apostolike preachinge whiche sayeth: Arte thou lose from thy wife? Doo not seeke for thy wife: Arte thou bounde to thy wife? Seeke not to be losed frō her: Where also it followeth: suche as haue wiues, let them be as though they hadde them not: and they that vse the world, lette them be as not vsing it.

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Item concerning the widow. he sayeth: Let her marrye to whome she will, onlye in the Lord. Marginaliawhat it is to marry in the Lord.To marry in the Lord, is nothinge elsse but to attempt nothinge in contracting of matrimony which the Lord dooth forbid, Ieremy also sayeth: truste not in the woordes of lyes, saying the temple of the Lorde, the temple of þe Lord, the tēple of þe lord. The whych saying of Ieremy Ierom expounding sayth thus: this may agree also, and be applied vnto suche virgines, which bragge and vaunt their virginity with an impudent face, referringe chastitye when they haue a nother thing in their conscience, and knowe not howe the Apostle defy.neth the virgine, that she shoulde be holye in bodye, and also in spirite. For what auaileth the chastity of the body, if the minde inwardly be defloured? Or if it haue not the other vertues whiche the Propheticall sermon doothe describe? the whiche vertues for as muche as we see partlye to be with you, and because we are not ignoraunte, this discretion althoughe neglected in this parte, yet in the other actions of your life to be kept honestly of you, therfore we doo not dispaire, but you will also soone amend the litle lacke which is behind, and therfore wyth as muche grauity as we canne, we cease not to call vppon you: to correcte and amende this your negligence, for althoughe accordinge to the vse of oure commone callynge, a byshoppe is greater then a priest, yet Austen being lesse then Ierome, notwithstanding the good correction proceadinge from the lesser to the greater, was not to bee refused or disdayned, especially when he whiche is corrected is founde to striue agaynste the truthe, to please menne.

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For as S. Austine sayeth: wrytynge to Boniface, the disputations of al mē, be they neuer so catholike or aproued persōs, ought not to be had in sted of the canonical scriptures, so þt we may not disproue or refuse (sauing þe honor & reuerence whiche is due vnto them) anyething that is in their wrytinges, if anye thing there bee founde contrarye to truthe, and what can be found more contrary to the truth then this? When as the truth him selfe speakinge of continency not of one onlye, but of al menne together, (the noumber onlye excepted of them which haue professed continency) sayeth: he that can take, let him take, the whyche saying, these menne moued, I can not tell by what occasion, doo tourne and say: he that can not take, let him be accursed. And what canne be more folishe amonges men, then when any bishoppe or Archdeacon, runne them selues headlonge into all kinde of luste to adoultrye in incest, and also Sodometry, yet shame not to saye, that the chaste mariage of priestes doo stincke before them. And as voide of all compassyon of true rightuousnesse, doo not desyre or admonishe their clarkes, as the fellowe seruauntes to abstaine, but commaund them and inforce them as seruauntes violentlye to abstaine? Vnto the whiche imperious commaundement of theirs or counsel, (whether you wil call it) they adde also this folyshe and filthye suggestion, saying: to be more honest, priuelye to haue to doo with many wemen, then apertly in the sighte and consciences of many men, to be bound to one wife, the whiche truely they wold not say, if they were eyther of hym, or in him, which sayeth, wo to you Pharisies which doo all thinges before menne. And by the Psalmest: because to please menne, they are confounded, for the Lord hathe despised them. These be the menne, who rather ought to perswade vs, that we shoulde shame to sinne priuely in the sight of him, to whome all thinges be open, then to seeme in the syghte of men for to be cleane. These menne therefore, althoughe throughe their sinfull wickednesse, deserue no Counsell of godlinesse to be geuen them, yet we not forgettinge oure humanity, cease not to geue them councell by the aucthority of Gods woord, which seeketh al mennes saluation, desiring them by the bowels of charitye, and sayinge with the woordes of scrypture: Caste out thou hipocrite fyrste the beame out of thine owne eye, and then thou shalt see to caste out the mote of the eye of thy brother.

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Moreouer this also we desire them to attēd what the Lord sayeth of the aduouterous woman, whiche of you is wythoute sinne, lette him caste the fyrst stone against her, as though he woulde saye, if Moyses bidde you, I also bidde you. But yet I require competent ministers and executoures of the lawe. take heede what ye adde thervnto, take heede also I pray you, what you are your selues, for if (as the Scripture sayeth) thou shalte well consyder thy selfe, thou wylte neuer defame or detracte

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