John Hooper, The Seconde Booke of Tertullian unto his wyf (1550)
|¶ The seconde
booke of Tertulli=
an vnto his wyf, trans=
lated into Englyshe,
wheri is conteined most
godly cousel how those
that be vnmaryed, may
chose vnto them selfes
godly companyons, and
so to liue quyertly in this
world and blessedlye in
the worlde to come.
¶Let wedlocke be had in
† To the christian Reader, John Hoper wysheth grace & knowledge in the Lorde.
The more of importaunce & weyghte the mater is, a ma takethe in hande: with the more circumspectyon and advised counsel he shoulde begyn the same: lest the thyng lyghtly & unadvisedly begon, myght eyther constrayne the autour with shame to leave, and forsake utterlye hys facte, eyther with anxite and troble of mynde to persever and contynewe in the same. Therefore it was wyselye counceled by wyse men when they sayed: before thou begynne any thyng aske the counsell, and the put the thyng councelled | upon in fact. With this maketh also that elegant & wyse proverbe,
Dimidium facti qui bene cepit, habet.
That is to say, he hath halfe ended his purpose, that begineth wel. But in the lyfe of manne what is more waightie, grave, excellent, or wateth more circumspection, good counsel, ernest prayer unto god the Matrimonye? What and thou shouldest begyn it unwyslye, and ungodly: how many inconveniece and troubles should there folow? I leave the nombre of testymonies, and examples, and commende the unto experyence. We see daylye moste petifull and lamentable alienations, and separacions not onlye of the mynde but lykewyse of the bodye, by meanes as well of frowardnes and morosyte of condicions as of filthy adulterye, and unlawful divorcementes. To succour and helpe so great evelles in |[A.iii] the begynning of matrymonye required counsel, and not such as perswadeth & copelleth the moost part of persons to marye for fond, fleshely, or avaricious affection: but holye, iuste, prudent and well aproved counsell that teacheth at the begynnyng to beholde wysely the condicions of hym or her that is wyshed for in Mariage: and so in tyme wyth wysedome take, or leave, him or her accordigly, with tyme tyme advised upon: And then appoynte hym selfe (yf anye thynge shulde happen after the Mariage contrarie to hys expectacyon and hope that he or she had of others helthe, manners, or condicions, that breaketh not afterward matrimonie) with pacience, and tolleraunce to beare them, until death separat the one from the other, or God redresse and amende the faultes and maners to be redressed and a|mended. But before man or woma marie, this is requisite to be done that every one and of everye sece and kinde examine him selfe whether he can with a good conscience live sole and unmaryed or not. Yf he can, it is the mynde of the holy ghost and of sayncte Paule that he so remayne in purite, & cleanes of life in body and soule to the glory of God. i. Cor.vii and the commodyties of this trewe and unfained chastite be infinite and woderful, but not geve to all men. And great hede muste be taken here, lest under the pretext, and name of chaste and sole lyfe lye hyd most damnable hordome and adulteri. In case thou be gyltie and fyndest in thy selfe the daunger of adustion, and burnynge of concupysence it is the comaundement of God thou mary i.Cor.vii. Wyth this commaundement no man can dyspence, nor no | vowe of what efficacie, strength, or estimacio so ever it be: for obedience unto the commaundement is better then al the vowes, or sacrifice of the lawe.
And when thou hast thus advisedly apoynted thy selfe to maryage see thou first chose thy make or companio, before thou love, lest thou happen to be deceaved with blinde love which sodenly entred, and sodenly perisheth agayne.
Measure not thy chose, from ryches, bewtie, age, parentage, or from such like: but from vertwe, godlynesse, wit, discreacion, & tractablenesse of condicions. The first condycyons be not to be refused in case they be well placed in a man or woman that hath them with the feare of God, where that lacketh: they be better refused, then taken. And because we may be deceaved under the shewe of vertue and hap|[A.iiii]pen upon a woman of frowarde codicions and troublous, whe we thynke our selves best bestowed: and also the woman many tymes hoping to have matcht with an honest man, where as she afterward findeth her selfe utterly deceaved: farther bothe manne and woman many tymes are charged and in daunger to love the rich, the faire, and so prefer them before the good and vertuous. The fyrst election & begynning of Matrymony ought to be from some prayer, in the whiche suche as woulde marie shuld aske of God, a godly companyon from whom onely it is gyven Prover. After diligente prayer shoulde be like inquisicion of what fayth the partye is that is desired in Matrymonye: for as dyversytye of religyon betwene one man and hys wyfe is daungerous, so is it forbydden by God Deut.vii.Ios.|[A.b]xxiii. Therfore Abraha the father of the faythfulles bounde his servaunte by an othe that he shoulde not take any of the doughters of Canaan for hys sonne Isaac. And Isaac commaundeth Jacob hys sonne to beware of the same Gene.xxviii. The contempte and violacion of thys comaundemet brought the children of Israel into greate daunger Judic.iii. And Salomo the kynge into Idolatrye.iii.Reg.xi. Therfore saynct Paule saythe i.Cor.vii. That it is lawful to marye whom we wyll, so it be in the Lord, as it never can be where as the persone to be Maryed abhorrithe (as saynt Ambrose sayth) the autoure of Matrimonye. It is not ynough for the man or the woman, that wyl mary, to chose such a one as beareth the name of Christ, but he or she must diligently serch what the practyse and obedyence | of hys coversation is to the name of Christianite. And when such a one is founde, then chose and love honestlye, seke wyth the counsel of thy wife frendes, and neglecte not the suffragies, nor consente of the parentes and frendes of the person thou sekest: and commende then, all the successe to God, and desyre hys wyll to be done. Thys is the onely way to begynne Matrimony if it shal ever prosper wel. But out alas howe farre be men nowe adayes from thys maner of waye towardes mariage. This is now accompted folyshnes and supersticion. And in the place of these vertues is entred many unlawful and ungodlye meanes, some bye & sell theyr children: yea from the cradell and maketh mariages betwene those, that hath not the use of reason to iudge what maryage is. Another sort seketh howe with | flattery, collusion, defraude, & gile: yea by the meanes of baudes and unhonest persones alure the sonne and daughter to a contracte wyth out the knowledge, advyse, and consent of the parentes, and thynketh it good ynough so they agre wythin them selves. Another sort wher as they se, the mairage they covet to be above theyr reach they solicitate theyr frendes letters and boroweth, many an honest comedacion in their maysters or fredes letters which they never pay after, to the person that honest comendacions pertayneth. I do not condemne nor disalower the reporte and lawde of an honeste ma or woman, nor thynke it not against the worde to make mencion trewly of the persones vertue and faculties that is wished for in matrymony, as Abrahams servaunte dyd, so it be done trewly & without fraude. | But in case the commendacions & good will of the suter can not prevayle, I would not that the commaundemente of anye frende that #weth for an other, shoulde forse or compell the free parson agaynst his or her will. Nether where as this meanes can avayle, with tortoure or compulsion of perswatio to constrayne or induse the unarmed, and evel feced minde, of him, or her that of it selfe for vertue coulde no way admitte such a coiunction and matrimonie. If it be wel begon the lorde wil prosper it in grace and goodnes. If the contrarye, he wil sure at lengthe punishe it, as it is to be seene how the whole worlde for violating of matrimonie was drouned, Sodome burnte. Amonge other faultes and crymes that brought the children of Israel into Captivitie the leste was not the breakynge of Mariage: But it is not ynoughe to begynne Matrimony iustlye, it must so contynewe, and ende, if it be of God. This shall be donne, incase boothe, feare the Lorde, and eche knowe his duetie to the other. And to thende it may the better and soner be put in experience, it shal not be a lost laboure al together for the christiane reader to see the godlye writynges of this olde and grave writer Tertulliane that here lived for. 1340 sithens. This seconde book to his wife, before foure yeres past, I translated at the desyre of a godlye frende of mynem beyng bothe then, in a straunge countrie. And when I had done in the translation, I commended unto him the iudgement thereof: so that with his labours and myne he sende it into London to a godlye, and vertuous widowe his mother by the lawe, who thankfullye toke it for | the tyme of her lyfe. And sithens her departure the godly man hath geven the same godlye concell to others that be unmaried . And now withyng good to al, through this realme that he cannot speake withal, thought it good to commit the same (for a farther use thereof) to the prynte.
Prayinge god, that it maye do as muche good to all unmaried, & maried persones, as bothe he and I most hartely praye for, in the Lorde. Amen.
¶ A leter directed, unto a certayne godlye and vertuous wyddowe of London, wrytten by the husband of a daughter of hers.
Ryghte wourshypful, and intierly beloved mother, with moste erneste, and hartie desire, I besech our hevenlye father, almightie God, for to encrease the knowledge of his deare sonne, our saviour Jesus Chryste, in you. And thorowe hys holy spyryt the trewe comforter, for to assyst and comfort you, in thys your present hevynesse, for the departig of my good father your husband, and to councell you what is beste | for you to do, in the estate that ye be now in. &c. For, as for my comforte, or counsell specyallye, which ye desyred to have, is over slender, for to do you anye greate good, in so waightye a matter.
Never thelesse, good mother, oute of the love that I do beare unto your soule healthe specyally, and consyderynge howe much I am bounde unto you. Firste for givynge of youre consente, that I myght mary your doughter, my beloved wyfe. Then for the greate kyndenesse (to your greate coste, & charge) that ye have shewed us two, in the keping, and overseinge of our sonne, in our absence, and for manyfolde other benefytes, and pleasure donne unto us, by oure good father your husbande, and you, at divers times besydes: I have caused a good frende of myne here, mayster John Hoper, | [B.i] for to translate and wryte out in to Englyshe, a lytle treatyse compiled in lattin by that very chrysten and godly doctor, Tertulian ( a Martyr also of Jesus Christe, as some do wryte) now aboute. xiii.hundred and lxxxx. yeares agonne. And so muche the soner, have I sente you the saide treatyse, rather then annye other thynge, gathered after myne owne mynde, out of the holy scriptures: because that no man should dryve you, from the folowing of the same, as from a new found doctryne, devysed but yesterday, out of some fonde fellowes brayne. For yt is one, of the cavylacyons, where with the dyvell goeth aboute, for to let the goynge forwarde, of the verytie manye tymes: even for to move men to beleve, that the olde truth, is the new learning, | yea new fangled heresy, and I wote neate what.
The occasyon why I have nowe sente you, this aforesaide treatyse, called the seconde boke of Tertulian, unto hys wyfe: And not rather translated hys fyrste boke, in whiche he instructeth hys wyfe, howe she shoulde behave herselfe, and order her lyving after hys death: Is that in his sayde first boke or treatise, he exhorteth her, for to contynewe, styll a widdowe in any wife: yea and that requireth he, of her so earnestly, & so straightely, that he (but in it no doubt he erryd greatly) semeth plainly to affirme, and to go aboute, to make her beleve, that yf she maryed againe with any man, she should commyt synne. But here in thys other treatyse, he semeth after my mynde, rather by decla|[B.ii]rynge unto her, what maner of husbande, yt she shoulde chose to her (to say none other, but a very Christen and godly person) 15 if that after she were once free, fro the yoke of matrymony, she had not the gyfte of god, to folowe S. Paules counsell, which is: to abyde styl unmaried, and not to seke another husbande, yf she wer once losyde from one, and not in daunger of fornicacion, shorow the burning incontiencye of the corruptyble fleshe.
But now I doubte not, but that if some ma, shuld heare this saide treatise reade unto you: he woulde saye by and by: what madde fole sente this boke unto you, as a thynge that ye should folow? &c. This exhortacion served, for the christen wemen of Tertulyans tyme, when they inhabyted the whole world over, | here and there amongest the infideles and heathen, and for suche as do dwell amongest the Turckes and Jewes, nowe in our dayes: And not for any Virgins or widdowes, in oure kinges grace hys realme, where as be none other to take, but onely christen, if a woman wyl mary, any man at all. That is truth in dede, yf all men were trew christen, that beare the holy name of Chryste. But oure savioure hym selfe saythe Math.vii. Entre in at the strayte gate for wyde is the gate, and broad is the waye that leadeth to distruccyon, and many therbe which go in thereat. But strayght is the gate, and narrow is the waye whych leadeth unto lyfe: and fewe therebe that fynde it. Ite: not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall entre into the kyngdome of | [B.iii] heaven: but he that doth the wil of my father, which is in heaven. And saynt Paule, speaking of the false chrysten, I meane such, as be but chrysten in name only. Unto Titus.i. Saith: they professe that they knowe God (wyth theyr mouthe, & by theyr outwarde use, of the sacramentes and ceremonies, the Apostle meaneth no doubt) but wyth theyr dedes they denye him: In as muche as they bee abominable lyvers, and not obediet unto goddes worde, but reprobate persones, as touching any good woorkes. It is good to thincke then, that the man of God, Tertulia, toke such for no better, the the heathen: Specyally seynge that hys mayster, and Lord Jesus Christ, sayth further, that at the laste daye, he wyll saye unto such, christen discipples of hys:de|parte from me all ye that worke Iniquitie: I know you not. &c. Mat. vii. And who I pray you, should better knowe, who bee the trewe chrysten, and chrystes disciples in dede, then our saviour Jesus himselfe? which saith Joh.viii. If ye that abyde in my worde, then shall ye be my disciples in dede. Item. Joh. xv. He that abideth in me, and I i him, bryngeth fourthe muche frute. &c. Then they that bryng forth, no frutes of rightuousnes at al: but lie still lyke swyne, wallowing in theyr voluptuousnes, or els lyke cruell dogges, do barke at, and persecute the trewe doctryne of Chryste, whyche they knowe not, bee none of the chrystes discyples, and therfore, no trew christe: but heathe, & worse then infidels, in the syght of almightie god. Yea, and so bee all suche |[B.iiii] to, as do continuallye styli from day to day, walke or lye, in their fornicacion, adulterie, dronkenesse, glotonye, extorcion, intikeravke userue, inordinat covetousnesse, blynde supersticion, and wiked Idolatrye, wyth suche lyke vyces, as S. Paule sayth.i.Cor.vi. and Ephe.v. For why shulde they els, be cast oute of the company, or communion, of all christen men. In token that they have no parte i the gospel, nor of the kingdome of Christe, except they amende? Saynct Paule, when he went so earnestly aboute, to dryve the christen people amongest the Corinthians, from the usyng of the Idolatrie, & other vices of the gentyles there: what ment he when he sayde.i.Cor.x. I woulde not have you ygnoraunte brethren that our fathers wer al of them | under the cloude, & al passed thorow the sea, & al of the wer baptisid into Moses, in the cloud, & in the sea, & al did eate one, & the same spiritual meate, and al did drynke one spirituall drinke. &c. What shuld the Apostle meane, by all these wordes I say? but that suche of those fathers, as were afterwardes noughty fell from God, unto lust, and synne, and tempted and provoked god, unto wrathe and vengeaunce in the wyldernesse, were never the better in the sighte of him, for yt they had before sene and felt, so many of his greate miracles, or wonderfull dedes, nor for that they had ben partakers, of so many, of his holy signes and sacramentes. Now that this was S.Paules meanynge, aperyth playnly, by that he sayth by and by after the afore aleaged wor|des: but in manye of them, God had no pleasure. And that same the Apostle proveth, by that the Lorde did afterward, punishe & plage the so grevously & ofte, in the wildernesse. For they wre overthrowe in the wildernesse, saythe S. Paule.i.Cor.x. And then he goeth fourthe there, to his purpose and sayth: but these are examples unto us: that we should not luste after evel thinges, as they lusted: nor be worshippers of Images, as some of the (he meaneth the forefathers of the Jewes, that provoked God in the wyldernesse) were: And so fourth, as ye may reader there, at your leasure. And at the laste, Sainct Paule conclusdeth thus: al these thinges happened uto them, for figures (or examples, as he mighte saye) & were wrytten for our warning, |[B.b.] upon whome the endes of the worlde are come upon. Even as as thoughe he would saye. It shall nothyng avayle you, O ye christen amongest the Corinthians, that ye once receaved the spirite of God, at your baptysme, that ye come ofte to praye togyther, and synge psalmes in the commen assebles, nor that ye do ofte receave the sacrament of Christes bodye and bloude &c. As other good christen do: Excepte that ye do followe youre profession in dede, continew in the spiryt and feare of the lorde, avoydynge all deadly synne, and the wicked wourthypping of Images, that is used, amongest your neighbours and familiers the gentyles there, at Corinth.&c. And by this good mother is it easy, to applye this aforesayde saying of sainct Paule: unto our | corrupte tyme (of whyche no doubte, the holy goste shewed before hande.ii. Timo. iii.) And to esteme those persons, no trew chrystians, whiche do persever wythoute all repentaunce and amendement, in all maner of vice, and abominacions, of the world. For Saynt James saythe that the pure and undefiled religion, before god, and the father, is, to vysit the fatherlesse and wyddowesm in theyr afflyccion (by these two good workes of mercy, he understandeth the walkig, in all other good dedes, ye may bee sure) and to kepe hym selfe, unspotted of the world. That is: to beware, that he defile not hys soule, nor body nother, with the covetousnes, extorsio, adultery, fornicacion, Idolatrye, or suche lyke abomynacions, whyche the worlde commonlye usyth or co|mytteth.
But to returne somwhat agayne, unto my purpose: please it you to understande good mother, that whereas ye shall hereafter fynde, certaine annotacios in the mergent, of this treatyse, the same I made my selfe, without master Hopers knowledge: (but the faithful, may sone iudge, whyther they be trewe or no) if they wyl confer the same, wyth the righte touche stone, the holy scriptures. This I wright for no other intent, but that, if the same annotacions do not lyke you, ye should not put the blame in mayster Hoper, who knoweth not of them. And as for the notes that I have made here & there concernynge the Sacrament, I am sure that ye would not be offended wyth them, yf ye had rede the same doctors | mynde, in other places of his woorkes: because that by the same, he dothe manyfestlye declare, that he was of the ryghte opinion in the sayde Sacrament. For in hys fyrste boke agaynste the heityke Marcion, who dyd saye that all the thinges of thys world were uncleane (but other more dampnable heresies then that did he stiffely defend) he sayth these wordes folowig: Chryst dyd not reprove breade, by whyche he dyd represent his bodye. And in hys fourthe boke where he confuteth the sayde abominable herityke, for saying that our savioure Jesusm had but a phatastical body: he is yet more playne, and sayth thus: Chryste toke breade, distributed the same unto hys discyples, and made it his body, sayinge: this is my bodye. That is to say, a figure | of my bodye, But that had ben no figure thereof, except that he had had a verye bodye. For a vaine thing, which is but a phatasy, can receave no figure. Or els if he dyd therefore make breade hys bodye, because that he lacked a trewe bodye: Then should he have delivered bread, for us. And that had made for the vanytye of Marcyon, that bread had be crucified. Nether to are Tertulians wordes: by the whych ye may playnely perceave, that he beleved not (as the papystes do) that the breade of the Sacrament, was the verye body of Chryste Really, no, but figuratively, or i a mistery. And for the better understanding of the whole treatyse followynge (because that mayster John Hoper did it not) I have translated the prologe into the same, here | my selfe symplye, and as wel as I can. But now I make an end, to trouble you good mother, w thys my rude wrytyng: because ye shoulde the soner reade here now, wholy Tertulians owne mynde, of the foresayd matter. &c. The grace of oure Lorde Jesus Chryste, be ever more wyth you. AMEN.
The Prologe and Argumente, of this booke, made in Latin by maister beatus Rhenamus, a learned man of Schleckstadt, nygh unto Strasburge in Germany. Anno Domi. 1521. and prynted in Englyth An.1550.
Certayne christen wemen (and speciallye suche, as were ryche or wealthy) when theyr husbandes were deade, thorowe ambition and vayne glorye, dyd marye wyth the gentyls afterwardes, because they were ashamed of chrysten menm as personnes of a low degre, and of smale sub|[C.i]stance. For in those dayes, the heathe had that wealth, & highe power in their handes. They did raigne, bare rule, and had all the dominion alone. The poore chrysten lyved then wyth oute all maner of office, or authorytye, in the commune wealth: lyved, yea rather laye hyd, & were al onelye knowen, by theyr modestyousnesse, and sobre livinge. Therefore when Tertulyan saw this unsemelye example, of the wyddowes, whyche so dyd mary againe, he in this latter boke, going aboute for to warne hys owne wife of that incovenience, intreateth of those wemen, that toke unto theyr husbandes, gentiles: declarynge also playnely, that in so doyng, they dyd wickedlye, & al against S. Paules sentence, with that which they defen|ded theyr dede. By and by after he doth reherse, the impedymentes and inconveniency, that came of such wedlocke, seig that they mighte not frelye attende, unto the observacions of the christen faythe. In the whyche place he recyteth the chiefe studies and offices, of our religyon, which wer used in those daies. That is to say, of standing, of fasting, of processyon (whyche represented the people of the Jewes, that went fourthe of Jerusalem, for to mete Chryste: And also the Apostles, goynge oute, unto the Mounte, when chryste ascended into heaven) Of the vysyting of the bretherne (that was of the christen, when they were sycke, and diseased) of the watchinge in the nyght at Easter: whyche Sainct Jerome thoughte therfore to be celebrat and done, be|[C.ii]cause it is the tradicion of the Jewes, that Chryste shal come at mydnyghte, like as it was, in the tyme of the Egiptians before. Wherfore I thynke (sayth be) that the Apostles tradicion did then stil remayne, that on Easter even, the people mighte not goo away, tyll halfe the nyght were paste, but shoulde tarye waightyng for the comming of Christ, that then, when that tyme was passed, they myghte al of them, with the more securitie, & wyth out feare, kepe that feaste holy. Tertulian makyth also mencio, of the lordes feaste, or supper, of the vysyting of men in prison, of the kyssing of bretherne, that is chrysten men, of the washyng of feete, of the impattynge or dealynge of meate and drynke, and lodginge, of the sygne or token of the crosse, of the prayers made | in the nyghte: of the sacrament, of the lordes bodye and bloude (which was then taken, before they dyd eat anye meate) and of the holy synginge, of the christen people then. Laste of all, he extolleth, that matrymonye, by the whyche a chrysten manne is coupled unto a chrysten woman, because that then, one may kepe theyr chrystianity, when as (that I maye use Tertulyans owne wordes) the sycke is freely visyted, the neuy susteyned, when almesse is done without torment, or feare: the communion used and frequented, wythout all scrupulosytye and doubte (that is to say, when the husband himself, beynge also present at the same, is not afrayde of his wyfe) dayly dylygene without any impedyment, no markynge of one, wyth the sygne of the crosse, by |[C.iii.] stealthe. (For a chrysten woman then, durst not, that her husband myghte see, crosse her selfe: but did it secreatly) no tremblyng or fearfull gretyng (for the wyfe in saluting of a chrysten man, dyd cause her unbeleving husbande, for to suspecte her of adulterye) nor yet no domme praysynge of god. For in the presence of a heathen man, hys wyfe durste not openly, or alowde gyve thakes unto chryste. Whych thinge he hym selfe dothe so expound, when he sayth, afterwardes, psalmes and holy himnes, are songe betwen them two, and the one striveth with the other, who can sing best unto their God.
The seconde boke, of the blessed martir Tertulyan unto his wyfe.
Of late, my deare beloved wyfe & companion in the Lord, as wel as I coulde, I advertysed you, what lyfe beste besemed: & was moste decente for a godlye owman, that was losed by any occasion, from Matrimonie. Nowe havynge regarde unto the infirmites of man, beyng moved therunto by the example of certayne persons, the which by reason of divorsement or deathe of their housband, had occasion geven them to lyve chaste, they not wstandyne, have not onlye, for|[C.iiii.]saken the quietnesse and comodite of so great a perfection, but also in maryinge againe, forgote the disciplyne, and commaundement of the lawe, which geveth the wydowes lybertie to marie agayne, unto whome they wyl, onely that it be done in the lorde. Therfore I am in greate perplexitie and troubled, leste that I whiche of late exhorted you, to perceaver and continewe in the state of wydowheed, as a woma contented with one husband. Nowe makynge mencion of mariage, shulde gyve you occasion to fall from the hygher perfeccion: But in case ye wyll consyder your healthe, ye wyll live in that state of lyfe, that shalbe moste commodiouse, thoughe ye do it with payne and force.
If the thinge be harde and dyfficile, the more it requireth the | assistaunce and ayde of God. I woulde not have wrytten, unto you of this matter, but that I fynde myne owne consciece, and iudgmet, careful of your health. 1 Incase the chastitie of the body, that preserveth the state of of wyddowhed, be so greate a gyfte, that it may not be suffred or kepte, it may be had excused, thinges that be harde and uneasye to be borne, sone opteineth pardoune. The more favourable the lawe of god is to permit matrimonie to suche as cannot abstayne, the more it condemneth hym, that may abstayne, and wyll not.
This approveth the apostle, whe he speaketh of wyddowes: I woulde faythe be they shoulde contynue, in the same estate. I would they should folow myne example. And when he licenceth them to marye in the lord, when | he sayeth onely in the Lorde, he doth not geve councel, so to do, but earnestlye commaundeth them. Therefore as concernynge mariage agayne, yf we folowe not the commaundement, we fal in daunger of damnacion. For he that passeth not of holsome councel, wil lykewyse neglecte, the commaundement, the one is a councel, and put to the choyse of man, but to offende in the other, is contempte, and iniuries to the lawe. Therfore, seyng, that a certayne woman, forsoke to mary with one, of the housholde of faithe, and ioyned her selfe, to a gentyl as I have sene the lyke done, before by other, I wonnder they could not aprove their so doynge, to be lawful by the scripture, to excuse their wantonnes, and pryde, and the trasgression of suche holy couselles. | Doe they thicke they can excuse 2 their faulte, by the place of Paule: If any brodet, have an unbelevynge wife, and she is cotented to dwel with him, let him not put her awaye. Lykewyse yf a woman, have a unbelevynge husbande, and he is cotented to dwel with her, let her not put him awaye, for the unbelievig housbande is sactified, by the belevynge wyfe, and the unbeleving wife is sanctified by the belevinge housbande, or else were youre children uncleane. Paradventure suche as be unmaried wyll understande this sentence of Paule sympely and playnely. They that so interpretate it do thincke it lawfull, for one of the faythe, to mary an infydele. But god forbyde that a man wyllynglye should thus deceave him selfe. For truely it is plaine that the scripture spea|keth of them, that were maried before any of them were called to the faithe, as the wordes plainlye declare: Yf any belevynge broder have an unbelevig wife: he dothe not saye: Yf any brother be to be maried to an unbelevynge wyfe, he meaneth that the husbande of an unbelevyng woman, nowe beyng in matrymonie, and connected, maye and oughte to contynue, with hys wyfe, that is to saye, for because the housbande, that is converted to the fayth, shal not thincke it lawful to departe any maner of wayes from her, as from a woma of a straunge faithe, in so moche that his reason is thus: God hath called us in peace, and it maye be, that the unbelevynge woman maye be converted, of the faithefull housbande by the conversacion of matrymonye. This lytle sentence | and proposicion declarythe it so to be understande. 3 For every ma saythe Paule, as he is called, of the lorde, in the same let hym, abyde, I suppose, such as be called be unbeleved & not faithful. For yf he had meant of such, as were in the faythe of Christe before matrimonye, he would absolutelye have permitted, one of the housholde of faith to have maryed with the heathen, and yf he had permytted yt. he woulde never have added so diverse and contrarye a sentece to his owne permissio. Saing: the housband beyng dead, the wyfe is at lybertie, to marye to who she wil, onely in the lorde. There is nothing here to be entreated upon agayne: for, asmuche as was expedyet to be spoken of, Christ hath declared it, leste anye man should mysse take this sentence | she may mary to whom she wil, he added, onely in the lorde, that is to say in the name of the lord, whiche is no doubte to a man of the householde of faith. Christ oure holye savioure therfore, whiche woulde have widowes to lyve chastely in theyr wydowhed, who dothe exhorte us to his example, hathe prescribed none other lycence to marye agayne, saving onely to suche as be of the congregacion of faith, to this rule a precepte, he hathe * added the great waight of his awe: 4 by the whiche wayes and meanes, thou mayste declare this sayinge, and it is of greate waighte. For now he chargeth, then he speketh faire, nowe he geveth commaundemente, then he exhorteth, nowe he prayeth, another tyme he threatneth.
This sentence is often tymes | repeted and approved, brefe & shorte, not withstandynge verie plentyouse and copiouse. This is the condicion of the scripture: Continually observe it my godly wife: In these mariages, that the apostle forbyddeth men to entre and ioyne the selfes, who can perceave how many perils, and ieoperdies of faith there be. The first is to beware, leste the fleshe of a christen woman, be defyled by the comyction of getilite. Some man would move this question: Then what dyversite, is there betwene hym that is called by the lorde in matrymonye beynge a gentyl, and him that is one of the housholde of faythe before his mariage, that bothe they shoulde not a lyke avoyde, the defylynge of their fleshe. The one beyng and infydele, is constrayned to leave his | matrimonye with the christen, the other is souffered to contynue in matrimonie. Yf then we be defiled, by mariyng, one that is not of the housholde of fayth, maye not the one be seperated, as well as the other is not suffered, to be ioyned? I aunswer, yf the spirite of God, would so gyve chastite, better it were before all other thinges, a man not to couple him self in matrimonie, then afterwarde utterly to breake, & dyssolve matrimonie: for the lorde forbyddeth any devorce to be made, excepte it be for fornication. As for chastite the lorde alwayes commendeth, the one by the law is commaunded to hym with his wife, the other, hath no lycence to marye. Therfore accordynge to the scripture, they that in matrymonye be called of god, shall so | continue, and yet not therby defiled, yea the other partie is rather therby sanctified: with out doubte suche as be of the housholde of faythe, before they marie, yf they couple theselves w suche, as be not of their religio, they cannot sanctifye that matrimony. For that appertaineth onley to the grace of god, to sactefye that it fyndeth, then yf it cannot be sanctifyed, it is uncleane, and that that is uncleane hathe no parte with that that is holye, but rather with the same fylthynes to defyle and distroye it. Therfore be thre thinges: faythful persons to marie with them, that be not of the housholde of fayth, they be to be condempned of fornication, and to be excommunicated from the company & fellowshyp, of the christiane cogregration, by the auctoryte of |[D.i] the apostles saying. And shall a person care not, and yet shall we bryng the tables of this matrimonye, before the iudgement seate of the lorde? And shall we saye that this matrimonie, is to be alowed, which god contempneth? is it not adultery that is forbydden? is not the mariage with one that is not of the housholde of faythe, unclean? He doth lesse violate the teple of god, & doth lesse iniuries to the mebre of Christ, that accompeneth him selfe w an harlot: for I knowe, we be not at our own lybertie, but redemed, and that with the ransom of Christes bludde. Doinge thefore iniuries to oure fleshe, we do hurte him. Then what meaneth he that sayeth, it is synne in ded, to mary with a straunger, but it is but a lytle pretye synne. Where as yf I | shoulde yet asyde the iniuries of the fleshe, that appertayneth to the Lorde, every transgression that is voluntarye, is greate in the syghte of the lord. The more power was geven to overcome, the more is the defaulte worthy to be condemned of contumacy, and pryde. Let us reherse the other perilles and daungers of the faithe, which the apostle sawe before, which are not onely troubleous to the bodye, but also to the spirite, 5 who doothe doubte, but that faythe is daylye put out of remembrauce, by kepynge of familiarite with infydeles. Evel comunicacion, corrupteth good manners, howe muche more cotinual felowship, and daily familiaryte. Everye faythfull woman oughte to be the servannte of god: And how can she serve two masters, her lorde God, and her housbande, |[D.ii.] beynge none of the householde of faythe. She that wil please her housebande beynge a gentyle, muste fashion her selfe, after the maner of the gentilles, tenderig unto him unchristian reverence and service, in beautie, tricke apparel, worldlye nysenes, deshonest intisemets: yea i such estate, the very secreates of matrimonie be unhonest, and the use of benevolence of the sayde persones, is not practised, as it is amongest godlye persones, reverentlye, soberlye, and modestlye, as the necessites of nature requireth and as persons always preset before the syghte of God. But let the woman marcke or loke, how the husbande doothe hys deutye to god: Truely she her selfe cannot lyve in a vertuouse trade of lyvynge, that marieth with him that is not of the hou|shoulde of fayth, beynge the servaunte of the dyvell his lorde, to let the godlye mynde and studye of the faithfull. So that yf the Christian congregacion, shoulde assemble together, her husbande woulde appoynte to bathe. If she should go oute of her doze to do any busynes for the chrysten, she shoulde that daye have moste busynes of her hande: yf she woulde faste, the same daye, woulde her housbande prepare a feste. For what unfaithfull woulde suffer his wyfe, for the love of the poore, to visite streate by streate the cotayges of her poore neyghbours? what unfaithfull woulde suffre his wyfe to rise from him to go unto the convent used in the nyghte? And what infidele without ialousye woulde suffre his wyfe to use the lordes feaste (which he spe|[D.iii.]keth evil of) without suspycion? 6 who would suffere his wyfe to creape in o the preson, to the martyres of Christ and there to kysse their featters, and now and the, to receave a brother, with the kysse of peace, and to prepare, & brynge them water for their fete. To be carefull and solycytouse what they shall eate. And yf any brother come from a straunge country, what harboure shall he fynde, in the house of an unfaithfull man? Yf she woulde geve anye thynge, to the poore, the garner and store house is locked up. But there be sine rgar suffereth, & beareth with oure religion, and doth not cry out upo us. That is not withstandynge a faute, that the gentiles, knowe our secretes, and that we be that their comaundemet, and that the almesse that we geve, is of their goodes. Nowe | the getil that suffereth his wife so to do, is not ignoraunte, that his wyfe doeth it. Other els yf she kepeth it close, because she knoweth he can not away there withall, it is to be feared leste he should knowe it. Nowe forasmuche as the scripture commandeth, bothe: that we shoulde worked in the lorde, without the obedience of the infidel, and likewyse without oure owne ieoperdie and peryl: there is no difference, in whiche of these two thou offedest, either in that thou hast submitted thy selfe under his powere, yf he be contented to suffre they doynges: or els in that thou hast brought they selfe in suche trouble. Caste not saithe Christ your precious stones before swyne, leste they treade upo the, with their feete, & so tourne backe, and overcome you. Your |[D.iiii.] preciouse stones are youre badgis of your daylye exercyse, in godlye lyvinge. The more you go aboute, to kepe your religion close, the more you cause, it to be lytle paste of, and cause the curiouse gentile to be the more ware of it. Canne ye hyde your godlye goynge to reste, when ye sygne and marcke, both your bedde, & your bodye, with the sygne of the crosse? and when thou doste but spyt at some uncleane thing, that he dothe, or whe ye shal rise in the nyghte to praye? Youre husbade will thinke rather these thiges, to be sorcery and witchecrafte: Your husbande may not know, what thing that is,7 that ye eate secreatly in the morning, fastynge, and yf he know it to be breade, he wyl not beleve it to be as it is, * 8 & he that knoweth not that mysterie: can he be satisfied | or quyet with him seife, withoute the suspection of breade * or poyson?
There be some that bearethe with their wyfes in dede, but they do it of crafter, to deceave them, and begile them, whose secreates they hyde, untyl suche tyme as they maye detect and dysclose it, to their wyfes daunger and peril, whose substance, and dowerie shall recompence well ynoughe, their husbandes silece, & preserve, the reproche of their defamacion, or els at their pleasure, they might accuse the, to the higher powers. The which experyence some have felte in dede, by losing of their goodes, that they had, or be deniynge of their faith: The hande mayde of God, dwelleth, where false goddes be wurshypped, is trobled & vexed, w supersticious reverece | of ydolles, at such solempne feastes, as be appoynted in the begynnynge of the yere, and of the monethe, to the honoure of princes, or kynges, with the flames and odowre of franckinsense: And departeth out of her house, decked with laure leaves, and cadellis, as it were out of a new brodel house, or commen place of horedome, she kepeth companye with her housbande in such fellowshyppes, and manye tymes, in commen tavernes: And many tymes she shall mynister to the wycked, which before, was wot to mynister unto saynctes, and yet not hereby so gracyous to know the daunger of her damnacion: She shall wayte upon them, of whome she should have ben iudge, at whose hande she muste take breader, and of whose cuppe she muste drynke: what | godlye songe maye her husbande synge to her, or she to her husband? Tushe, let hym heare a tale, of a good supper, of the taverne, and of the dyvel, or of hel. What communicatio is there of god? what invocatio of Christ? there is no nourishment of faith, but rather mention, howe to destroye the scripture. Where is the consolacion of the spryte? Where is the holy praisynge of god? All thynges be turned of a nother sorte, all thynges odiouse, contrarye and all thynges damned and reproved, layde in bayte to brynge personnes, from theyr soules healthe. These thynges thoughe they happe to suche to, as were called to the faythe, in the state of heathen, or gentyle matrimony, yet they are excused, as personnes called to the fayth, in the state of gentyle matrimo|nye, and therfore be they commaunded, to contynue, and the one is sanctyfyed by the other, & lykewyse there is hope of wynnynge the other partie. If then suche a matrimonye, be allowed of god: why hathe it no better successe? Why is it not defended from affliction, from oppresion, trouble, and defilynge of them selfes,9 havynge some proteccyon by the grace of God. For a man that happeneth to marye a woman, which hathe after their mariage, receaved the heavenly vertewe, so that it semeth, that god hathe vouchsaved to cal her to such a state, of such a man: I saye, the gentyles are aferde to speke so sone yuel of, as of other, in so muche, that she is lesse loked upon, and hathe her meditacions in the misteries of God, and at lengthe seythe some way | to wynne her husbande.10 She knoweth or perceaveth that her housbande wareth better, and begynneth to feare God, so that suche men be the soner wonne, which by the grace of God do happen upon suche a make. For a conclusion, it is an other matter, to fall in to thynges forbydden (which displease god) willingly, and of purpose, sythe that even as they offede god, so bring they them selves, into moche inconvenyence. This is once as manifest as the sunne, that none but wowers, dothe fayne, as thoughe they favered the christian fayth. Yea, and god shall fynde oute those weine wel ynoughe, which do not abhorre suche wowers, and all because they myghte be in the more estimacion, so that they take them to their housbades, and thereby seclude the sel|ves from the christian fayth. Here have I rehersed wherfore suche matrimonye can take no good successe: Because it began of yvel, and is condempned, of the lorde. But yet let us se further, whether this matrymonye be lawful, that declareth us berelye to be despisers of goddes word. Hathe not all prudente, & wyfe lordes or maisters, alwayes forbydden theyr servauntes, to mary with straungers, leste they should fal into wantonnes, omyt theyr dewties, and geve awaye theyr masters goodes, to straungers. More over there was a lawe amongest the gentiles, that yf any fre ma, had kept another mannes servaunt, after that he was admonyshed, he shoulde therby have loste his libertie, and become a servaunte. And shall worldelye ordinances | be preferred before the hevenlye decrees, and lawes of god? so that the gentyles shoulde lose their lybertie, for marying with a straunger, and oure wemen shoulde go, and ioyne the selfes, with servautes of the divel, and shal never the lesse be accompted of the housholde of faythe? But nowe some wyl denye, that ever god taught the any suche wayes by his apostle: what have I more to saye, to open and utter the madnes of this cause, but even that oure faythe is weake and ready to fall into the concupyscence of worldly lustes or desyres, of which thing we have experience and fynde it speciallie trewe in rytche and wealthie personnes: for the rytcher and greater fame that the wydowe is of, so muche the soner she desyreth a large house or | place, to lay her * burdes in:11 fildes of pleasure, where as her ambicious pryde maye solace or delyte it selfe. The congregacyons of the faythfull do stynke in the eyes of suche a woman, it is hard to fynde a riche man in the churche of god, and also such a one as * 12 liveth chaste. What then shall wyddowes desyre, mariage of the dyvel? Shall they bestowe their gooddes, to be caried in a charret (or on a goodlye chayre or sladde) or to bye straunge mules to carrye theyr bagage with al? A christen man, ye beynge rytchem would not paradventure, maintaine these thiges. I beseche the to calle to thy remembraunce, the women, that amongest the heathen, such as be of noble progenye and rytche withal, do marye themselves to verye slaves, and vyle persons, | of small or no estimacion: either bycause, they wyl satysfye their carnal pleasure, or else because they mayelyue, at their own libertie: Also many of them wyll marye with their own servautes, and such as be set at libertye, yea with suche as be paste leste of, amongest al men, so that they may have suche a one, as wyll not breake them, of theyr wyll. Should then a christen woman beyng rytche, despice to marie a christian brother that is not as rytche as she? Naye, she shal be the rytcher for maryinge of this poore ma, *13 a rytcher ioynter, then the ritch man is able to make her. Well, if they be of one condicion and lyke rytche, concernynge worldlie substaunce, paradventure there is dyfference betwene them in the kyngdome of God. Should a chri|stian womandoute, inquire and delyberate, whether that man be poore, to whome god hathe geven, the talent of his gospel? Nowe can I sufficientlie praise, and magnifye the felicite of that matrimonye, which the church both ioyne to gether, confirmed by offringe, the Aungelles declare it to be sealed, and so sygned, God the father dothe alowe it: And here in the worlde the children cannot lawfullye, and of ryghte, marye without the consente, and good wylles of their parentes. O lorde howe godlye iis the matrimony of thy faythfull, that be of one hope, of one desire, & of one learnynge, of one religyon: both of them brothers and systers, both of them servants of god, both of the one, in fleshe and spirit, no dyversite nor dyfference. 14 They praye to|gether: They be many tymes myndeful of god, they fast bothe together, the one leadynge the other the waie: the one exhorteth the other. In the temple of god they be together, the maryage that they have take, thei observe in wealthe and woe, the one hyndereth nothynge from the other, the one kepeth nothynge close frome the other, the one eschewith not the others companye, the one is not unkynde to the other, the sycke is frelye visyted, and the poore sustayned. Their almes, is wyliyngly done, their sacrifyces withoute scrupulosyte: Theyr dayly affayres is done withoute lette, they nede not to crosse them selves by stealthe, nor to be halfe afrayde whe they do salute a christian person, nor yet secretlye to prayse god: psalmis and holy himnes, or ofte ti|mes songe betwene them two, the one who contendeth with the other, who maye beste synge to theyr god. Christe seyng and hearing these thynges reioysethe, unto the he sedeth his peace. Wether such two be, there is he, & where as he is, the Devyll cannot be.
These be the thiges that we may gather oute of the sayinges of the apostle, where he geveth leave to marie againe. Put thy selfe in remembraunce of these thinges yf nede be, and folowe not the example of other, It is not lawfull otherwise, for the faithful to marye. Thoughe it were lawful yet is it not expedyente.
¶ Imprinted at London, by
Richarde Jugge, dwel=
lynge in Paules
churche yarde at
the sygne of
M. D. L.
Cum privilegio ad imprimendum
[Marginal notes moved to end, and assigned footnote numbers. Positions in the text are approximate. Underscore indicates an abbreviation mark over the letter, signifying n or m or such letter omitted. The book is printed in black-letter gothic, which makes for difficulties. Abbreviations for 'the' and 'that' expanded silently. Page changes are marked by | -- there are no page numbers, but folios are numbered. Every effort has been made to reproduce the spelling. Lower-case 'v' often appears as 'u', and vice-versa, but I have normalised these. While I have tried to retain the spelling, the intention is primarily to deliver the text. The text has been made by hand-copying from the copy in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. To obtain the volume involved dealing with 8 petty officials, many of whom sucked in their teeth in shock at my wishing to look at a 'restricted' book (I never found out why). Obtaining a reproduction would have involved still more, but seems to be impractical, as photographs are charged at $30 a page (!), and I do not have useful access to a microfilm reader.]
1. Wedowes cannot mari agayne except it be to suche as be of the houshold of fayth.
2. i. Cor. vii
3. By callinge S. Paule meneth here no doubt, the state or condicio of livig, whiche God by his providence hath ordened every man & woman to walke in, after his worde or commaundement. &c.
4. Bounde al that wyll mary agayne: onelye sayth he in the lord he hathe. &c.
5. The inconveniency that commeth, of an unfaithfull or unmet mariage.
6. To watche all night in the solen feaste of Easter? what infidell wold so fre his wife?
7. To be as it is: th|is the s|crame|of chri=|stes be|& blou| [Note to the online edition: this marginal note is partly off the page on the right]
8. Of brede that is of comune bread:as though, he wolde say thus will he not thinke, that it is but bare breade, & not an holy sacrament.
9. By defiling, paradventure he meaneth here, the daunger that married people, more then unmaried, be in to fall from godly crereyses through the cares of this worlde.
10. From which the christen shoulde kepe the selves undefiled Iam. i.
11. By burdens he understadeth the ryches I thpuke which hidereth & cammels of this world, to go thorowe the straighte dore unto lyfe.
12. As livith chast: after they have ben once losed from matrimony, & think he mene the &c.
13. For yf the kingdom of heave belonge unto the poor, and not to the ritch: the ritch woman shal finde in a poore ma &c.
14. Apostrophe A coversio of his tale to god, praysing the state of godli matrimony.
15. Husbandes, christen virgens or widdowes might i no wise take the oute the great offece and cotempte of all-mightie god: teache and istruct her what maner of &c.
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