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pelled by necessytye to seche helpe and socoure in their cause, must be herde; and the poor and nedy specyally wolde be releved and comforted.
First, her owne housholde with mervaylous dylygence and wysedome this noble Prynces ordered, provydyng reasonable statutes and ordynances for them, which by her Officers she commanded to be rede four tymes a Year. And often tymes by her self she wolde so lovyngly courage every of them to do well, and some tyme by other meane Persons. *Bonds MS. Yf ony faccyons or bendes were made secretly
amongst her hede Officers, she with grete polycye dyde boulte it oute; and lykewyse if ony stryfe or controversy, she wolde with grete discrecyon study the reformacyon thereof. For the straungers, O mervaylous God! what payn, what labour, she of her veray gentleness wolde take with them, to bere them maner and Company, and intrete every Person, and entertayne them, according to their degree and havour; and provyde, by her own commandement, that nothynge sholde lacke that myghte be convenyent for them, wherein she had a wonderful redy remembraunce and perfyte knowledge.
For the Suters, it is not unknowen, how studyously she procured Justyce to be admynystred by a longe Season, so longe as she was suffered; and of her owne charges provyded men lerned for the same purpose, evenly and indyfferently to here all causes and admynyster ryght and justyce to every party, which were in no small nombre; and yet mete and drynke was denyed to none of them.
For the poore Creatures, albeit she did not receive into her House our Savyour in his own Person, as the blessyd Martha dyde, she nevertheless receyved them that doth represent his person, of whome he sayth himself, Quod uni ex minimis meis fecistis, mihi fecistis. Poore folkes to the nombre of twelve she dayly and nyghtly kepte in her House, gyvynge them lodgynge, mete and drynke and clothynge, vysytynge theme as often as she conveniently myghte; and in their sykeness, vysyntynge them and comfortynge them, and mynystrynge unto them with her owne hands: and when it pleased God to call ony of them out of this wretched worlde, she wolde be present, to see them departe, and to lerne to deye, and lykewyse bring them unto the erthe; which, as Bonaventure affermeth, is of gretter meryte, than if she had done all this to the selfe persone of our Saviour Jhesu. And the other Servants and Mynysters of our Lord, whom she herde were of ony devocyon and vertu, full glad she was at all tymes whan she myghte gete theyme; to whome she wolde lykewyse shew the comforte that she coude. Suppose not ye, that yf she myghte have gotten our Savyour Jhesu in his owne Persone, but she wolde as desyrously and as fervently have mynystred unto him, as ever dyde Martha, when thus moche she dyde untyll his servaunts for his sake?
Thus it may appere some comparison of the blessyd Martha and of this noble Prynces, which was the fyrste promysed.
For the seconde, that is to saye, for the com
playning and lamentation that the Soule of this noble Prynces myghte make for the dethe of her only body. It is to be consydered, that often tymes in Scripture, the vertuous and holy Faders maketh lamentable exclamatyons against Almyghtye God, for that he seemeth to be more indulgent and favorable unto the wycked persone, than unto the good lyver. The Prophete Davyde sayth in this maner. Zelavi super iniquos, pacem peccatorum videns, quia non est respectus morti eorum, nec firmamentum in plaga eorum; that is to say, It perceth my Stomache, to see the rest and ease that Synners often have, it is not loked for the dethe of them, nor none abydynge stroke or punyshmente falleth upon theme. The Prophete Jheremy sayth also complayning upon God; Quare via impiorum prosperatur? bene est omnibus qui prevaricantur et inique agunt. Why dothe the wicked persones prospere in theyr way? wele it is with all theme that breke the Lawes, and do wyckedly. The Prophet Abacuc sayth lykewyse, crying upon God; Quare respuis contemptores, et taces, * conculante impio justiorem se? Why lookMS. Col. est thou favourably upon theyme that despyse the, and sufferest a Synner to bere down him that is more ryghtwyse than he is? And the holy man Job; Quare ergo` impii vivunt? Sublevati sunt, confortatiq; divitiis. Why then be the wycked persones suffred for to lyve? they be set alofte, and they be comforted with rychesse. The reason that moveth theym thus to murmure and complayn, may be this. There is in Almyghty God two vertues
specyally commended and magnyfyed thoroweout al Scrypture, that is to saye, Mercy and Ryghtewysness; and both these sholde move him rather to be favorable to the good, than unto the badde. Fyrste, his mercy sholde move hym there to have pyte and compassyon, where is the gretter cause of pyte; but the greyvance, trouble, and vexacyon of the good persone hath gretter cause of pyte and is moche more pyteous, than of the evyll persone; wherefore it may be thought that Almyghtye God, which of his own property is mercyful and redy to gyve* Have mercy, Deus cui proprium est misereri, he sholde Col. Jo. rather shewe his mercy upon the good, than upon the badde. And hereunto his ryghtwysness also sholde enclyne hym; for of hys ryghtwysness he sholde gyve unto every persone accordynge to his deserte; But the goode deserveth rather by theyr goodness to have favour shewed unto theym, than the badde. Wherefore the holy Faders, seying in this World the Wycked in prosperyty and the good in trouble and adversyte, make these complayntes and exclamacyons above rehersed, against Almyghtye God; and some crye upon him as tho' he were asleep; Exurge, quare obdormis Domine? Some other threpe that he hath forgotten theym; Quare oblivisceris inopiæ nostræ, et tribulationis nostræ ? Some thinke there is no God at all; Dixit insipiens in corde suo, non est Deus. Some weneth at the leest he is absente, and asketh, where he is. Ubi est Deus tuus?
In this condycyon was the blessyd Woman Martha. She knew that our Savyour Jhesu was so good
and mercyfull, and shewed his goodness generally to all persones, she bylyeved faythfully that yf he had be present at the dethe of Lazarus her Brother, whome for his goodness he loved so moche, he wolde not have suffered hym to deye; and therefore she sayde unto hym, Domine si fuisses hic, frater meus non fuisset mortuus; that is to say, Syr, yf thou had ben presente, my Brother had not ben dede. And in lyke maner, the Soul of this noble Prynces, which had the Body adjoyned unto it in favour and love, as Syster and Brother, It myghte complayn for the dethe of the body, sythe every part of the same body had ben so occupyed in the servyce of God before. Her eyes in wepynges and teares, sometyme of devocyon, sometyme of repentance; her eares herynge the worde of God and the Devyne Servyce, which dayly was kept in her Chappel with grete nombre of Preests, Clerckes, and Chyldren, to her grete charge and cost; her tongue occupyed in Prayer moche parte of the daye; her legges and fete in vysytynge the Aulters and other holy places, going her statyons customably whan she were not let; her handes in gyvynge almes to the poore and nedye, and dressynge them also whan they were syke, and mynystrynge unto them mete and drynke. These mercyfull and lyberall hands to endure the moost paynful cramps, so greveously vexynge her and compellynge her to crye, O Blessyd Jhesu helpe me! O blessyd Lady socoure me! It was a mater of grete pyte. Lyke a spere it perced the hertes of all her true Servaunts that was about her, and made them crye alsoe of