« AnteriorContinuar »
give unto the holy man answer. Then St. Germain said to him, “I charge thee, in the name of the Lord God, that thou and thine depart from this palace, and resign it and the rule of thy hand to him that is more worthy of this room than thou art." The which all thing by power Divine was observed and done ; and the said herdman, by the holy bishop's authority, was set into the same dignity ; of whom afterward descended all the kings of Britain.
More, a zealous professor of the Catholic faith, was Lord Chancellor of Henry VIII., and, when this monarch wished to divorce his wife Catharine, he opposed his sovereign, from conscientious scruples, and consequently perished on the scaffold. He wrote partly in Latin and partly in English. In the former, he wrote a curious work, under the title of “ Utopia,” describing an imaginary pattern country and people. “In his imaginary island, all are contented with the necessaries of life ; all are employed in useful labor ; no man desires in clothing any other quality than durability ; and there is no need of working more than six hours a day.” Criminals are punished with slavery, the continual sight of their misery being considered more effectual than death to deter others from crime. Instead of any severe punishment, he would so improve the morals and condition of the people as to take away the temptation to crime. In war, the glory of a general is in proportion to the fewness of the enemies slain in gaining a victory.
THE UTOPIAN IDEA OF PLEASURE. AMONG those who pursue sophisticated pleasures, the Utopians reckon those whom I mentioned before, who think themselves really the better for having fine clothes; in which they think they are doubly mistaken, both in the opinion that they have of their clothes, and in the opinion that they have of themselves; for, if you consider the use of clothes, why should a fine thread be thought better than a coarse one ? And yet that sort of men, as if they had some real advantages beyond others, and did not owe it wholly to their mistakes, look big, and seem to fancy themselves to be the more valuable on that account, and imagine that a respect is due to them, for the sake of a rich garment, to which they would not have pretended, if they had been
more meanly clothed; and they resent it as an affront, if that respect is not paid to them. It is also a great folly, to be taken with these outward marks of respect, which signify nothing; for what true or real pleasure can one find in this, that another man stands bare, or makes legs to him ? Will the bending another man's thighs give you ease ? And will his head's being bare cure the madness of yours? And yet, it is wonderful to see how this false notion of pleasure bewitches many, who delight themselves with the fancy of their nobility, and are pleased with this conceit, that they are descended from ancestors who have been held for some successions rich, and that they have had great possessions ; for this is all that makes nobility at present; yet they do not think themselves a whit the less noble, though their immediate parents have left none of this wealth to them, or though they themselves have squandered it all away.
The Utopians have no better opinion of those who are taken with gems and precious stones, and who account it a degree of happiness next to a Divine one, if they can purchase one that is very extraordinary, especially if it be of that sort of stones that is then in greatest request; for the same sort is not at all times of the same value, with all sorts of people; nor will men buy it, unless it be dismounted and taken out of the gold. And the jeweller is made to give good security, and required solemnly to swear that the stone is true, that by such an exact caution, a false one may not be bought, instead of a true one; wherein if you were to exercise it, your eye would find no difference between that which is counterfeit and that which is true, so that they are all one to you, as much as if you were blind.
And can it be thought that they who heap up a useless mass of wealth, not for any use that it is to bring them, but merely to please themselves with the contemplation of it, enjoy any true pleasure in it? The delight they find is only a false shadow of joy. Those are no better, whose error is somewhat different from the former, and who hide it, out of fear of losing it; for what other name can fit the hiding it in the earth, or rather the restoring it to it again, it being thus cut off from being useful, either to its owner or to the rest of mankind ? And yet, the owner, having hid it carefully, is glad, because he thinks he is now sure of it. And in case one should come to steal it, the owner, though he might live perhaps ten years after that, would, all that while after the theft, of which he knew nothing, find no difference between his having it or losing it; for both ways it was equally useless to him.
But, of all pleasures, the Utopians esteem those to be the most valuable that lie in the mind; and the chief of these are those that arise out of true virtue, and the witness of a good conscience. They account health the chief pleasure that belongs to the body; for they think that the pleasures of eating and drinking, and all the other delights of the body, are only so far desirable as they give or maintain health.
HUGH LATIMER. –1555. Latimer distinguished himself as a zealous reformer, and was treated as a heretic by Cardinal Wolsey. He was appointed Bishop by Henry VIII. ; but during the latter part of this reign, he suffered imprisonment. He was liberated, and became popular at court, in the time of Edward VI. ; but in Mary's reign he suffered at the stake, exclaiming to his fellow-martyr, “ Be of good comfort, Doctor Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” Though he had an opportunity of escape, he readily obeyed the summons to trial. His sermons are remarkable for familiarity and drollery.
[Extracts from Sermons.)
HASTY JUDGMENT. Here I have occasion to tell you a story that happened at Cambridge. I went with Master Bilney, or, rather, Saint Bilney, that suffered death for God's word's sake, to visit the prisoners in the tower at Cambridge. Among other prisoners, there was a woman, that was accused that she had killed her child; which act she plainly and steadfastly denied, and could not be brought to confess the act; which denying caused us to search for the mother, and so we did. And at length we found that her husband loved her not, and therefore he sought means to take her out of the way. The matter was thus. A child of hers had been sick for the
a year, and so decayed, as it were, in a.consumption. At length, it died in harvest-time; she went to her neighbors, and other friends, to desire their help to prepare the child for burial; but there was nobody at home —every man was in the field. The woman, in a heaviness and trouble of spirit, went, and being herself alone, prepared the child for burial. Her husband coming home, not having great love towards her, accused her of the murder, and so she was taken and brought to Cambridge. But, as far forth as I could learn, through earnest inquisition, I thought, in my conscience, the woman was not guilty, all the circumstances well considered.
Immediately after this, I was called to preach before the king; and his majesty, after the sermon was done, did most familiarly talk with me, in a gallery. Now, when I saw my time, I kneeled down before his majesty, opening the whole matter, and afterwards most humbly desired his majesty to pardon that woman; for I thought, in my conscience, she was not guilty. The king most graciously heard my humble request, insomuch that I had a pardon for her, on my retiring homeward. At length the time came when the woman looked to suffer. I came, as I was wont to do, to instruct her. She made great moan to me. So we travailed with this woman till we brought her to a good opinion, and at length showed her the king's pardon, and let her go.
This tale I told you by this occasion :— that though some women be very unnatural, and forget their children, yet when we hear anybody so report, we should not be too hasty in believing the tale, but rather suspend our judgments till we know the truth.
CAUSE AND EFFECT.
HERE, now, I remember an argument of Master More's, which he bringeth in a book he made against Bilney; and here, by the way, I will tell you a merry toy.
Master More was once sent in commission into Kent, to help to try out, if it might be, what was the cause of Goodwin sands, and the shelf that stopped up Sandwich haven. Thither cometh Master More, and calleth the country before him, such
as were thought to be men of experience, and men that could, of likelihood, best certify him of that matter concerning the stopping of Sandwich haven. Among others, came in before him an old man with a white head, and one that was thought to be little less than a hundred years old. When Master More saw this aged man, he thought it expedient to hear him say his mind in this matter; for, being so old a man, it was likely that he knew most of any man in that presence and company. So Master More called that old, aged man unto him, and said, “Father, tell me, if ye can, what is the cause of this great rising of the sands and shelves here about this haven, the which stop it up, so that no ships can arrive here ? Ye are the eldest man that I can espy in all this company; so that, if any man can tell any cause of it, ye, of likelihood, can say most of it, or, at leastwise, more than any man here assembled.” Yea, forsooth, good master,” quoth this old man; “ for I am well-nigh a
I hundred years old, and no man here in this company, anything near unto my age.” “Well, then,” quoth Master More, "how say you, in this matter? What think ye to be the cause of these shelves and flats that stop up Sandwich haven?” “ Forsooth, sir,” quoth he, “I am an old man; I think that Tenderden steeple is the cause of Goodwin sands; for I am an old man, sir," quoth he; "and I may remember the building of Tenderden steeple, and I may remember when there was no steeple at all there. And before that Tenderden steeple was in building, there was no manner of speaking of any flats or sands that stopped up the haven; and therefore I think that Tenderden steeple is the cause of the destroying and decay of Sandwich haven.” And so to my purpose : preaching God's word is the cause of rebellion, as Tenderden steeple was the cause that Sandwich haven was decayed.
GOD WILLS THAT ALL SHOULD LIVE IN THE ORDER
HE HATH ORDAINED. We read a pretty story of St. Anthony, who, being in the wilderness, led there a very hard and strait life, insomuch that none at that time did the like; to whom came a voice from