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640 [584]

Actes and Monuments Of the Churche.

owne, no man was chargeable or bourdenus vnto others, they wrought with their handes to get that which might sustayne the body, the spirit and mind not let and hindred from god. what so euer did superabound more then was necessary for their sustentation, as by the restraint of their delitious and delicat fare, much did redounde of the labours of their handes it was with such deligence destributed vnto the poore and nedy, as it was not with greater diligence gotten by them whiche did geue the same.

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For they by no meanes wente aboute to haue aboundance lieng by them, but sought al meanes possible that nothing should remaine by them more then sufficiente, besides this no man was forced to any extremity, whiche he could not beare or suffer, no mā had any thing laid vpon him, which he refused, neither was he condempned of the rest which confessed him selfe vnable to imitate or follow: they had al waies in theyre minde howe commendable a thinge loue and charity was, they remembred that all thinges are cleane vnto them which ar clean, therfore they did not refuse or reiect any kindes of meate as poluted or defiled: But all their hole industry and labour was applied to subdew lust and concupiscence, and to retaine loue amongest bretheren. Many of them did drinke no wine, yet notwithstandinge they thought not them selues defiled therwithal. For vnto such as were sicke and deseased who could not recouer the helth of their body without the same, they did most gentelly permit it. And wheras many folishely refused the same, they brotherly admonished them to take hede that they became not rather the weaker then þe holier, thorow their vaine supersticion. hetherto I haue repeted that which Saint Augustin writeth of þe Mōkes in his time wherby I wold as it were paint out in a table, what manner of monkery their was in the old time that all men might vnderstand how greate difference there is betwene that and the mōkery in these oure latter dayes. For he woulde haue all extreme compulsion to be taken away in such thinges as by the worde of God are left to vs at liberty. Marginaliaprecepts of men more cruelly exacted then the precepts of God. But now a dayes there is nothinge more seuerely and cruelly exacted. For they say it is a remedylesse offence if any doo but neuer so litle swarue frō theyr prescript order in couler or kind of garment, or in any kind of meate or in anye other friuolous or vaine ceremonye.

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Saint Augustine doth straitly affirme that it is not lawfull for monkes to liue idell vpon other mens labour, he plainly denieth that in his time their was any such example of any well ordered monestary: but our monkes dooconstitnte the princypall part of holynes in idellnes, which they call a contemplatiue life, wherfore the state of monkery of thold time & of these our dayes is in all pointes so diuers þt scarse can any thing be more vnlike I will not say vtterly contrary. for our monkes not content with that godlines to the study and desir wherof Christ commaundeth all his continually to be intentiue, they imagin a new kind of godlynes, I know not what, by the mediatiō wherof they are more perfect, then all other. but it is a most pestilent error MarginaliaIdellnes and pleasur the weapons of the auncient enemy (which al godly menne oughte to abhore) to faine anye other rule of perfection then that common rule deliuered vnto the whole vniuersal church, which we suppose to be sufficiently aproued in the refutation of tharticle before passed. now I also passe ouer the scilence the greate blasphemye wherby they compare their monastical confession vnto baptisme. I also holde my peace that they doo dissipate and deuide the Communion of the Church, when as they doo seperate them selues from the lawful societye and felowship of the faithfull, and claime vnto them selues a peculier ministerye and priuate administration of the Sacramentes, but as Sainte Augustine witnesseth, it was so farre of that the monckes in times paste hadde anye seuerall Church or administration of the Sacraments, that they come to all solempne congregations communicated and receiued the Sacraments with others, and were a parte and portyon of the common people. Allbeit that they dwelte a sonder. But if that a manne maye touche the manner of theese oure monkes, what shall I call the cloisters in these our daies, other wise then brothell houses, swine sties, and dennes of discorde, besides that I will passe ouer their Fayres and markettes, whiche in these latter dayes, they doo make of their reliques of martirs to builde vp Sodome againe. Wherfore I conclude that this their kinde of life whyche they claime vnto them selues is vtterlye wycked and naughtes, the whyche is not establyshed or grounded vpon anye certaine callinge of God, neyther allowed by him, wherefore I maye be bolde to saye that it is vnlawfull because their conscience hath nothing wherby to sustaine it selfe before God, and whatsoeuer is not of faith is sinne.

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And furthermore so longe as they doo entangle and bynde them selues wyth so manye and so peruerse and wicked kinde of worshippynge, as the Monckerye nowe a dayes dooth containe in it, I maye well saye that they are not consecrated vnto God, but vnto the deuel, for why, was it lawful for the prophets to say that Isralites did offer their children vnto wicked sprites and not vnto God only for

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thys
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