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1155 [1154]

K. Henry. 8. The Epistle of Volusianus for Priestes mariage.

yng how to say with the Apostle: Who is infirme and I am not infirme? these whiles they compare them selues to such as be vnder their charge, not in condition wherein they are equal, but in authority wherin they are superiours, & couet to be theyr masters, & more to rule ouer them thē to profite thē, they oppresse þe weaknes of thē by force & violēce of authoritie, & cōpel them to their obedience: which is rightly figured by þt fact, which is read in þe Gospel MarginaliaLuke. 23. of Symon Cyrenæus, whom 

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See Luke 23: 26.

the persecuters of þe Lord cōstreined to take vp þe Crosse of Christ. Whose name also doth fytly agree wt the same figure. For Symon by interpretation is called obedient. Symon then, that is to say, the obedient man is forced to beare the Crosse of the Lord, when as subiectes beyng constreyned of their maysters by the rigour either of Lordship, or authoritie, or feare of their curse, and so compelled to obey them, are driuen to susteyne the Crosse of continencie agaynst their willes: who neither do loue the Crosse which they beare, because they beare it rather to theyr destruction then to their health: neither by bearyng the Crosse do dye vnto synne, but by the bearyng therof are rather quickned vnto sinne. For therof ryse diuers other more greuous synnes. MarginaliaWhat inconuenience riseth of coacted matrimonie. For by the inhibityng of lawfull and naturall mariage with one woman, ryseth the vnnaturall and most execrable Sodomiticall fornication: ryseth also the vnlawfull and damnable defillyng of other mens wyues: ryseth furthermore cursed and whorishe filthynes and pollution: and moreouer riseth most abominable incest against all nature, with their owne kyndred, with a heape of manyfolde other filthy abominations and lecherous pollutiōs, wherby the fraile infirmitie of man is brought (no doubt) into great peril.

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Wherfore Loth beyng 

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See Genesis 19: 1-26.

delyuered from the burnyng of Sodome through the guidyng of the Lordes Aungel, and beriued of the felowship of his wyfe, whiles that he consideryng his owne infirmitie durst not ascende vnto the mountayne as the Angell badde him, did choose rather to dwell in Segor a litle Citie nere by, the Aungell thus byddyng him & speakyng vnto him: Saue thy soule and looke not behynd thee, but saue thy sefe in the mountayne lest thou also perishe. To whom Loth aunswered: I pray thee Lord, because thy seruaunt hath founde such grace in thy sight that thou wilt saue me, I can not bee saued in the mountayne, lest perhappes some euill take me and I dye: There is a litle Citie hereby whereunto I may flye and may be saued in it. MarginaliaGen. 19.

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MarginaliaLothes refusing toe go vp to the mountaine, what it meaneth. What meaneth this that Loth flying from Sodome by the commaundement of the Aungell to be saued in þe moūtayne, would not ascend vp to the hill fearyng there to perishe but dyd chose rather to dwell in Segor a small Citye nere vnto the hyll, there to be saued, but that euery faithfull man couetyng to escheue the burnyng & daūger of Sodomiticall lust, while neither hee is able to mount vp to the toppe of virginitie, and also is afeard to ascend to the moūtaine of the state of widowhode, lest he perishe therein, flyeth therfore to the state of matrimony, which is a small cōtinēcie in respect of the other two, & also nere vnto thē both. MarginaliaThe chastitie of mariage, as neare to heauen as virginitie. For after those two kyndes of continencie, this chastitie is also proued to be laudable, and is not depriued of the reward of the kyngdome of heauen.

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Vnto this chastitity he is commaunded to flye which can not otherwise cōteine, & to be saued in it, lest peraduenture if he clyme vp to the mounte, he fall into incōuenience & perish therin: that is, lest if hee shall attempt to obteine by hys owne strength the continencie whiche is not giuen vnto hym of God, the euill of incontinencie or fornication, or of some of the other euills afore rehearsed, do fall vpon hym, and so he perishe in them mortally. For there be many who while they consider not their own infirmitie, and while they stryue to achyue greater thynges thē they are hable to reach in this their clymyng doe fall headlong into worse inconuenience, and while they foolishly seeke for great thynges, doe lose the lesse, whiche before they semed to haue. Whiche wee may well vnderstand by the example of Loth aforesayde: Who what tyme he lefte the small Citie Segor, whiche he chose before to inhabite, in the whiche he sought to be saued: went vp to the mountaine and there abydyng fell into the stolne inceste of hys owne daughters, as the scripture witnesseth, saying: Loth went vp from Segor and remained in the mountayne, and his daughters gaue to their father wyne to drynke that night. And the elder of thē went and lay with her father. Whiche thyng hadde not happened vnto hym, if he hadde kept hym selfe still in Segor, where he might haue bene saued at the byddyng of the Aungel, as he hym selfe required. But because he forsoke that, whiche was graunted to hym of the Aungell, and presumed to that vppon his own will, contrary to the precept of the Aungell, whiche was not graunted: therfore he fell into great daunger of his soule and committed the greuous sinne of incest. MarginaliaEuery man ought to be contented with his own gifte.

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No otherwise doth it happen to many other, who while eyther they forsake þt thyng which is graūted them of God, or ambitiously clyme after that whiche is to them not graūted, both they lose that which they had graunted vnto thē, and fall into that whiche to them was not graunted. For diuers there be, which whyle they forsake eyther willingly or agaynst theyr will, the maryed lyfe whiche is to them lawfully permitted, and in whiche they might be saued, and striue with a presūptuous desire to lead a single life, both they lose that health and safety, whiche they might haue had in the one, and incurre great daūger in the other: so that, wherby they suppose most to gayne, by the same they lose & fall into the pit of greater ruine. Which thing S. Paule the Doctour of the Gentles well considering, and tenderly prouiding for the infirmitie of the weake Corinthiās writing to hym for counsayle touching this matter, did write to thē agayne in this wise, saying 

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1 Cor. 7: 1-3.

: As concerning the thinges wherof ye wrot vnto me, it is good for a mā not to touch a woman. Neuerthelesse to auoyd whoredome, let euery man haue his wife and let euery woman haue her husband Let the husbād geue vnto his wife due beneuolēce: likewise also the wife vnto her husband. And a litle after: withdraw not (sayth he) your selues one from an other, except it be with consent for a tyme, that you may geue your selues vnto fastyng and prayer: and afterward come together again lest Sathan tempt you for your incontinencie. Marginalia1. Cor. 7. For, as the Poet sayth, we can not all do all thinges., and as the Apostle sayth 
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2 Rom. 9: 16.

: It is not in hym that willeth nor in hym that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy. MarginaliaRom. 9. Also in an other place 
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Eph. 4: 17.

: For to euery one of vs is geuen grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. MarginaliaEphe. 4. And that euery one of vs ought to keepe and not to transgresse thys measure, he teacheth anone after saying 
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1 Cor. 7: 7.

: I wishe that all men were as I my selfe am but euery man hath his proper gift of God, one after this maner, an other after that. Marginalia1. Cor. 7.

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And that we are to be kept within our compasse and measure, and ought therewith to be content, he teacheth moreouer as followeth: Let euery man abyde in that vocation wherein he is called. And shortly after, for confirmation thereof, he repeateth the same agayne and sayth: Let euery mā wherein he is called, therein abyde with the Lord And because he perceiued that the infirmitie of man was not able to susteine the burning motions and heates of nature styrring in man, but onely by the grace of God, neyther to be hable to conquere the fleshe fightyng agaynst the spirite, according to that whiche he sayth of hymselfe in an other place: For I see an other Lawe in my members rebelling agaynst the Law of my minde, he therefore of mercy & compassion, as condescending vnto their weakenes: and not by rigor of lawe and force of commaundement, thus sayd. As also in an other place in hys Epistles hee speaketh in lyke wordes saying 

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Rom. 6: 19.

: I speake thus grosly after the maner of men, because of the infirmitie of your fleshe. MarginaliaRom. 6. And in this foresayd Epistle moreouer a little before, vsing the same maner of speache, he sath 
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1 Cor. 7: 6.

: Thus I say to you as of fauour and not of commaundement. And addyng moreouer, he sheweth 
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1 Cor. 7: 25.

: As touching virgines I haue no commaundement of the Lord: but onely do geue counsell, as one that haue found mercye with God, that I should be faythfull: Marginalia1. Cor. 7. That is, after the same mercy wherewith the Lord hath enformed and instructed me when he called me to the fayth, and made me faythfull to hym: so I likewise. do geue counsell to other and shew the same mercy to them.

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And for asmuch as both are good: to witte to haue a wife or not to haue: to haue a husband or not to haue: neyther is there any sinne in hauing wife or husband: shortly after he inferreth saying: I suppose therfore this to be good for the present necessity: I meane, that it is good for a man so to be: What meaneth this, for present necessitie? MarginaliaFor present necessitie to marye what it meaneth What is this necessitie present, but present infirmitie? or els instant necessitie, compelling to doe, as the order of necessitie requireth. Or els he meaneth by thys present necessitie, the distresse of that tyme which then was instant, & cōpelled hym so to write & so to beare wt them which was for þe auoyding of fornicatiō amongest them, & many other kindes of filthynes aboue touched whiche might haue happened. For the which fornication he tooke occasion to write vnto the Corinthians and to aunswere to their letters: and therfore he vehemently agaynst the sayd Corinthians in the former parte of the sayd Epistle vttereth these wordes 

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1 Cor. 4: 21-5: 1.

: What will you shall I come to you with a rodde? or in loue and in the spirite of meekenes? There is heard among you to be fornication, and such fornication as is not named among the Gentiles, that one should haue his owne fathers wife. & c. Marginalia1. Cor. 4. And therefore for this necessitie of auoyding such fornication, he sayth 
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1 Cor. 7: 8-9.

: It is good for a man so to be: that he whiche can not conteine should mary and take a wife. Which afterward he expoūded thus inferring: Art thou bound to a wife? seeke not to be losed. And if thou be losed from a wyie, seeke not a wife. But

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