Page images

Whiche three be done by ordre in this same psalme, grace of our Lorde it may here after ap

as by the


Fyrst, as touchynge his laude and commendacyon, let no man thynke that myn entent is for to prayse hym for ony vayne transytory thynges of this lyfe; whiche, by the example of hym, all kynges and prynces may lerne how slydynge, how slyppery, how faylyng they be. All be it he had as moche of them, as was possyble in maner for ony kynge to have. His polytyque Wysedome in governaunce it was synguler; his Wytte alway quycke and redy; his reason pyththy and substancyall; his memory fresshe and holdynge; his experyence notable; his counseylles fortunate and taken by wyse delyberacyon; his speche gracyous in dyverse languages; his persone goodly and amyable; his naturall compleccyon of the purest myxture; his yssue fayre and in good nombre. Leages and confyderyes he hadde with all crysten prynces; his mighty power was dredde every where, not onely within his realme, but without also; his people were to hym in as humble subjeccyon, as ever they were to kynge; his lande many a daye in peas and tranquyllyte; his prosperyte in batayle agenst his enemyes was mervaylous; his delynge in tyme of perylles and daungers was colde and sobre, with grete hardyness. If ony treason were conspyred agenst hym, it came out wonderfully; his treasour and rychesse incomparable; his buyldynges mooste goodly, and after the newest castall of pleasure.

But what is all this now as unto hym? All be but fumus et umbra; a smoke that soone vanyssheth, and a shadowe soone passynge awaye. Shall I prayse hym than for theym? Nay forsothe. The grete wyse man Solon, whan that the kynge Cresus hadde shewed unto hym all his gloryous state and condycyon that he was in, as touchynge the thynges above rehersed, he wolde not afferme that he was blessyd for all that, but sayd expectandus est finis, the ende is to be abyded and loked upon. Wherein he sayd full trouth, all be it peraventure not as he entended. But verely a trouth it is, in the ende is all togyder; a good ende and a gracyous conclusyon of the lyf maketh all; and therefore Senec in his epystles sayth bonum vite clausulam impone, in ony wyse make a good conclusyon of thy lyfe; whiche thynge I may conferme by holy letters. In the prophete Ezechiel, it is wryten and spoken by the mouth of God in this maner, justicia justi non liberabit eum in quacunque die peccaverit, et impietas impii non nocebit ei in quacunque die conversus fuerit ab impietate sua; that is to say, yf the ryghtwyse man have lyved never soo vertuously, and in the ende of his lyf commytte one deedly synne, and so departe, all his ryghtwyse delynge before shal not defende hym from everlastynge dampnacyon; and in contrary wyse, yf the synfull man have lyved never soo wretchedly in tymes paste, yet in the ende of his lyfe, yf he retourne from his wyckednes unto God, all his wyckednes before shall not let hym to be saved. Let noo synner presume of this to doo amysse, or to conty

nue the longer in his synne; for of suche presumers, scante one amonges a thousande cometh unto this grace, but the deth taketh them or they be ware. Letnoo man also murmure agenst this, for this is the grete treasour of the mercy of almyghty God; and agenst suche murmures is suffycyently answered in the same place. For what sholde become of ony of usne, were not this grete mercy? Quis potest dicere mundum est cor meum, innocens ego sum a peccato? who maye saye (sayth Ecclesiasticus) myn herte is clene, I am innocent and gyltles of synne? As who sayth, noo man may speke this worde. Whan than all men have in theyr lyfe trespassed agenst almyghty God, I may well saye that he is gracyous that maketh a blessyd ende. And to that purpose saynt John in the appocalyps sayth, beati mortui qui in domino moriuntur, blessyd are tho whiche have made vertuous ende and conclusyon of theyr lyfe in our Lorde; whiche verily I suppose this moost noble prynce hath done, the profe wherof shall stande in foure poyntes. The fyrst is a true tournynge of his soule from this wretched worlde unto the love of almyghty God. Seconde is a fast hope and confydence that he had in prayer. Thyrde a stedfast byleve of God, and of the sacramentes of the chyrche. Fourth in a dylygent askynge of mercy in the tyme of mercy; which four poyntes by ordre be expressed in the fyrst parte of this psalme. As to the fyrst, at the begynnynge of Lent last passed he called unto hym his confessour, a man of synguler wysdome, lernynge, and vertue, by whose assured in

struccyon I speke this that I shall saye. This noble prynce, after his confessyon made with all dylygence and grete repentaunce, he promysed thre thynges; that is to saye, a true reformacyon of al them that were offycers and mynystres of his lawes, to the entent that justyce from hensforwarde truly and indyfferently myght be executed in all causes. An other, that the promocyons of the chyrche that were of his dysposycyon, sholde from hens forth be dysposed to able men suche as were vertuous and well lerned. Thyrde, that as touchynge the daungers and jeopardyes of his lawes, for thynges done in tymes passed, he wolde graunte a pardon generally unto all his people. Which three thynges he let not openly to speke to dyverse as dyd resorte unto hym. And many a tyme unto his secrete servauntes he sayd that, yf it pleased God to sende hym lyfe, they sholde se hym a newe chaunged man. Ferthermore, with all humblenes he recognysed the synguler and many benefeytes that he had receyved of almyghty God, and with grete repentaunce and mervaylous sorowe accused hymselfe of his unkyndnes towardes hym; specyally that he no more fervently had procured the honoure of God, and that he had no more dylygently performed the wyll and pleasure of hym; wherin he promysed by the grace of God an assured amendement. Who may suppose but that this man had veryly set his herte and love upon God; or who may thynke that in his persone may not be sayd Dilexi, that is to saye, I have set my love on my Lorde God? Kynge David that wrote


this psalme, all be it he had ben an avoutrer and
murdrer also, yet with one worde spekynge his herte
was chaunged, sayenge Peccavi. This kynge sayd
and confessed it many tymes with grete sorowe and
grete repentaunce, promisynge fully a true amende-
ment of all his lyf. Wherfore in his persone it may
also be sayd Dilexi, that is to say, I have turned
myn herte and love unto God. The cause of this
love was the fast hope that he alway had before in
prayer. It is not unknowen the studyous and desy-
rous mynde that he had unto prayer, whiche he pro-
cured of relygyous and seculers chyrche throughout
his realme. In all the chirches of Englonde dayly
his collecte was sayd for hym. Besydes that dy-
verse yeres aboute Lent, he sente money to be dys-
trybuted for x. M. masses peculeer to be sayd for
hym. Over this, was in his realme noo vertuous
man that he might be credyble enfourmed of, but
he gave hym a contynuall remembraunce yerely to
praye for hym, some x. marke, some x. li.; besydes
his yerely and dayly almes to the prysoners and the
other poore and nedy.
For the whiche it may be
thought undoutedly that he had grete hope and
confydence in prayer; whiche prayer and confydence
therin, no doubte of, was cause of the very tournynge
of his soule to the faste love of God.

And for that he sayth, Dilexi quoniam exaudiet dominus, I love bycause I had an hope that my Lorde sholde gracyously here me; but what shall he here? Vocem deprecationis mee. The voyce of

a prayer maketh it more audyble.

A softe brest

« PreviousContinue »