A PROLOGE INTO THE fifth book of Moses, called Deuteronomy.

W T

This is a book worthy to be read in day and night and never to be out of hands. For it is the most excellent of all the books of Moses. It is easy also and light and a very pure gospel that is to wit, a preaching of faith and love: deducing the love to God out of faith, and the love of a man’s neighbor out of the love of God. Herein also thou mayst learn right meditation or contemplation, which is nothing else save the calling to mind and a repeating in the heart of the glorious and wonderful deeds of God, and of his terrible handling of his enemies and merciful entreating of them that come when he calleth them which thing this book doth and almost nothing else.

In the four first chapters he rehearses the benefits of God done unto them, to provoke them to love, and his mighty deeds done above all natural power and beyond all natural capacity of faith, that they might believe God and trust in him and in his strength. And thirdly he rehearses the fierce plagues of God upon his enemies and on them which through impatience and unbelief fell from him: partly to tame and abate the appetites of the flesh which always fight against the spirit, and partly to bridle the wild raging lusts of them in whom was no spirit: that though they had no power to do good of love, yet at the least way they should abstain from outward evil for fear of wrath and cruel vengeance which should fall upon them and shortly find them out, if they cast up God’s nurture and run at riot beyond his laws and ordinances. Moreover he charges them to put naught to nor take aught away from God’s words, but to be diligent only to keep them in remembrance and in the heart and to teach their children, for fear of forgetting. And to beware either of making imagery or of bowing themselves unto images saying: Ye saw no image when God spoke unto you, but heard a voice only and that voice keep and thereunto cleave, for it is your life and it shall save you. And finally if as the frailty of all flesh is they shall have fallen from God and he have brought them into trouble, adversity, and cumbrance and all necessity: yet if they repent and turn, he promises them that God shall remember his mercy and receive them to grace again.

In the fifth he repeats the ten commandments and that they might see a cause to do them of love, he bids them remember that they were bound in Egypt and how God delivered them with a mighty hand and a stretched out arm, to serve him and to keep his commandments: as Paul saith that we are bought with Christ’s blood and therefore are his servants and not our own, and ought to seek his will and honour only and to love and serve one another for his sake.

In the sixth he sets out the fountain of all commandments: that is, that they believe how that there is but one God that does all, and therefore ought only to be loved with all the heart, all the soul and all the might. For love only is the fulfilling of the commandments, as Paul also says unto the Romans and Galatians likewise. He warns them also that they forget not the commandments, but teach them their children and to shew their children also how God delivered them out of the bondage of the Egyptians to serve him and his commandments, that the children might see a cause to work of love, likewise.

The seventh is altogether of faith: he removes all occasions that might withdraw them from the faith, and pulls them also from all confidence in themselves, and stirs them up to trust in God boldly and only.

Of the eighth chapter you see how that the cause of all temptation is, that a man might see his own heart. For when I am brought into that extremity that I must either suffer or forsake God, then I shall feel how much I believe and trust in him, and how much I love him. In like manner, if my brother do me evil for my good, then if I love him when there is no cause in him, I see that my love was of God, and even so if I then hate him, I feel and perceive that my love was but worldly, And finally he stirs them to the faith and love of God, and drives them from all confidence of their own selves.

In the ninth also he moves them unto faith and to put their trust in God, and draws them from confidence of themselves by rehearsing all the wickedness which they had wrought from the first day he knew them unto that same day. And in the end he repeats how he conjured God in Horeb and overcame him with prayer, where you may learn the right manner to pray.

In the tenth he reckons up the pith of all laws and the keeping of the law in the heart: which is to fear God love him and serve him with all their heart soul and might and keep his commandments of love. And he shews a reason why they should that do: even because God is Lord of heaven and earth and hath also done all for them of his own goodness without their deserving. And then out of the love unto God he brings the love unto a man’s neighbor saying: God is Lord above all lords and loveth all his servants indifferently, as well the poor and feeble and the stranger, as the rich and mighty, and therefore will that we love the poor and the stranger. And he adds a cause, for you were strangers and God delivered you and has brought you unto a land where you be at home. Love the stranger therefore for his sake.

In the eleventh he exhorts them to love and fear God, and rehearses the terrible deeds of God upon his enemies, and on them that rebelled against him. And he testifies unto them both what will follow if they love and fear God, and what also if they despise him and break his commandment.

In the twelfth he commands to put out of the way all that might be an occasion to hurt the faith and forbids to do aught after their own minds, or to alter the word of God.

In the thirteenth he forbids to hearken unto aught save unto God’s word: no though he which counsels contrary should come with miracles, as Paul does unto the Galatians.

In the fourteenth the beasts are forbidden, partly for the uncleanness of them, and partly to cause hate between the heathen and them, that they have no conversation together, in that one abhors what the other eats. Unto this fifteenth chapter all pertain unto faith and love chiefly. And in this fifteenth he begins to entreat more specially of things pertaining unto the common wealth and equity and exhorts unto the love of man’s neighbor. And in the sixteenth among other he forgets not the same. And in the seventeenth he entreats of right and equity chiefly, insomuch that when he looks unto faith, and unto the punishment of idolaters, he yet ends in a law of love and equity: forbidding to condemn any man under less than two witnesses at the least and commands to bring the trespassers unto the open gate of the city where all men go in and out, that all men might hear the cause and see that he had but right. But the pope has found a better way, even to oppose him without any accuser and that secretly, that no man know whether he have right or no, either hear his articles or answer: for fear lest the people should search whether it were so or no.

In the eighteenth he forbids all false and devilish crafts that hurt true faith. Moreover because the people could not hear the voice of the law spoken to them in fire, he promises them another prophet to bring them better tidings which was spoken of Christ our Saviour.

The nineteenth and so forth unto the end of the twenty seventh is almost altogether of love unto our neighbor’s and of laws of equity and honesty with now and then a respect unto faith.

The twenty eighth is a terrible chapter and to be trembled at: A Christian man’s heart might well bleed for sorrow at the reading of it, for fear of the wrath that is like to come upon us according unto all the curses which thou there readest.

For according unto these curses hath God dealt with all nations, after they were fallen into the abominations of blindness.

The twenty ninth is like terrible with a godly lesson in the end that we should leave searching of God’s secrets and give diligence to walk according to that he has opened unto us. For the keeping of the commandments of God teaches wisdom as you may see in the same chapter, where Moses says, keep the commandments, that ye may understand what you ought to do. But to search God’s secrets blinds a man as it is well proved by the swarms of our sophisters, whose wise books are now when we look in the scripture, found but full of foolishness.

 

 

A PRO LOGE IN TO THE fyfte boke of Moses, called Deuteronomye.

W T

This is a boke worthye to be rede in daye and nyghte and neuer to be oute of handes. For it is the most excellent of all the bokes of Moses It is easye also and light and a very pure gospell that is to wete, a preachinge of fayth and loue: deducinge the loue to God oute of faith, and the loue of a mans neyghboure oute of the loue of God. Herin also thou mayst lerne right meditacion or contemplacyon, which is nothing els saue the callynge to mynde and a repeatyng in the hert of the gloriouse and wonderfull deades of God, and of his terreble handelinge off his enemyes and mercyfull entreating of them that come when he calleth them which thinge this boke doth and almost nothinge els.

In the .iiii. first chaptres he reherseth the benefites of God done vnto them, to prouoke them to loue, and his mightie deades done aboue all naturall power and beyonde all naturall capacite of faith, that they might beleue God and trust in him and in his strength. And thyrdlye he reherseth the firce plages of God vppon hys enemyes and on them which thorowe impacientie and vnbeleffe fell from him: partelye to tame and abate the appetites of the fleshe whiche alwaye fyght agenst the spirite, and partely to bridle the wilde raginge lustes of them in whom was no spirite: that though they had no power to do good of loue, yet at the lest waye they shulde absteyne from outwarde euell for feare of wrath and cruell vengeaunce whiche shuld fall vppon them and shortly finde them oute, yf they cast vpp goddes nurter and runne at ryotte beyonde his lawes and ordinaunces. Moreouer he chargeth them to put nought to nor take oughte awaye from goddes wordes, but to be diligent onlye to kepe them in remembraunce and in the harte and to teache theire childern, for feare of forgettinge. And to beware ether of makynge imagerye or of bowinge them selues vnto images sayenge: Ye sawe no image when God spake vnto you, but herde avoyce onlye and that voyce kepe and therunto cleaue, for it is youre liffe and it shall saue you. And finally yf (as the frayltie of al flesh is) they shall haue fallen from God and he haue brought them in to troble, aduersyte, and combraunce and all necessite: yet yf they repent and turne, he promyses them that God shall remembre his mercie and receave them to grace agayne

In the fifte he repeteth the .x. commaundmentes and that they myght se a cause to do them of loue, he biddeth them remembre that they were bounde in Egipte and how God delyuered them with a mightie hande and a stretchedout arme, to serue him and to kepe his commaundmentes: as Paule sayeth that we are bought with Christes bloude and therfore are his servauntes and not oure awne, and ought to seke his will and honoure onlye and to loue and serue one another for his sake.

In the sixte he setteth out the fountayne off all commaundmentes: that is, that they beleue how that there is but one God that doeth all, and therfore ought onlye to be loued with all the herte, all the soule and all the myghte. For loue only is the fulfillinge of the commaundementes, as Paule also sayeth vnto, the Romaynes and Galathians likewise. He warneth them also that they forgett not the commaundmentes, but teach them their childern and to shew their childern also how God delyuered them out of the bondage of the Egiptians to serue him and his commaundmentes, that the childern myght se a cause to worke of loue, likewise.

The seuenth is all together of faith: he remoueth all occasions that might withdrawe them from the fayth, and pulleth them also from all confidence in them selues, and sturreth them vp to trust in god boldlye and onlye.

Of the eyght chaptre thou seyst how that the cause of all temptation is, that a man might se his awne herte. For when I am brought in to that extremite that I must ether suffre or forsake god, then I shall feale how moch I beleue and trust in him, and how moch I loue him. In like maner, yf my brother do me euel for my good, then yf I loue him when there is no cause in him, I se that my loue was of god, and euen so yf I then hate him, I feale and perceave that my loue was but wordly, And finallye he sturreth them to the fayth and loue of god, and dryveth them from all confidence of theire awne selves.

In the nynth also he moueth them vnto faith and to put their trust in god, and draweth them from confidence of them selues by rehearsinge all the wekednesse which they had wrought from the first daye he knew them vnto that same daye. And in the end he repeteth how he coniured god in horeb and ouercame him with prayer, where thou mayest lerne the right maner to praye.

In the tenth he rekeneth vpp the pith of all lawes and the kepinge of the lawe in the harte: which is to feare god loue him and serue him with all their harte soule and mighte and kepe his commaundmentes of loue. And he sheweth a reason why they shuld that doo: euen because god is lord of heuen and erth and hath also done all for them of his awne goodnesse without their deservinge. And then out of the loue vnto god he bringeth the love vnto a mans neyghboure sayenge: god is lorde aboue all lordes and loveth all his seruauntes indifferently, as well the poore and feble and the straunger, as the rich and mightye, and therfore wil that we loue the poore and the straunger. And he addeth a cause, for ye were straungers and god deliuered you and hath brought you vnto a londe where ye be at home. Loue the straunger therfore for his sake.

In the .xi. he exhorteth them to loue and feare god, and reherseth the terrible dedes off god vppon his enemies, and on them that rebelled agenst him. And he testifyeth vnto them both what will folow yf they loue and feare god, and whate also yf they despise him and breake his commaundment.

In the .xii. he commaundeth to put out of the waye all that might be an occasion to hurte the fayth and forbiddeth to do ought after their awne mindes, or to altre the worde of god.

In the .xiii. he forbiddeth to herken vnto ought saue vnto gods worde: no though he which counseleth contrarye shuld come with miracles, as Paule doth vnto the Galathians.

In the .xiiii. the beestes are forbidden, partely for the vnclennesse of them, and partely to cause hate betwene the hethen and them, that they haue no conuersation to gether, in that one abhorreth whatt the other eateth. Vnto this .xv. chaptre all pertayne vnto faith and loue cheflye. And in this .xv. he beginneth to entreate moare speciallye of thinges pertayninge vnto the comen welth and equite and exhorteth vnto the loue of mans neyghboure. And in the .xvi. amonge other he forgetteth not the same. and in the .xvii. he entreateth of right and equite chefly, in so moche that when he loketh vnto faithe and vnto the, punyshment of ydolatres, he yet endeth in a law of loue and equite: forbiddinge to condemne any man vnder lesse *then twoo witnesses at the lest and commaundeth to bringe the trespacers vnto the open gate of the citye where all men goo in and out, that all men might heare the cause and se that he had but right. But the pope hath founde a better waye, even to apposse him with out any accusare and that secretlye, that no man knowe whether he haue right or no, ether hare his articles or answere: for feare lest the people shuld serch whether it were so or no.

In the .xviii. he forbiddeth all false and develish craftes that hurte true fayth. Moreouer because the people coude not heare the voyce of the lawe spoken to them in fire, he promiseth them a nother prophete to bringe them better tydinges which was spoken of christ oure sauiour.

The .xix. and so forth vnto the ende of the .xxvii. is almost al to gether of love vnto oure neyboures and of lawes of equite and honestye with now and then a respecte vnto fayth.

The .xxviii. is a terreble chaptre and to be trembled at: A christen mans harte might wel bleed for sorow at the readinge of it, for feare of the wrath that is like to come vpon us accordinge vnto all the curses which thou there readest.

For acordinge vnto these curses hath god delt with all nacions, after they were fallen in to the abhominacions of blindnesse.

The .xxix. is like terreble with a godly lesson in the ende that we shuld leue serchinge of goddes secrettes and geue diligence to walke accordinge to that he hath opened vnto us. For the kepinge of the comaundmentes of god teacheth wisdome as thou mayeste se in the same chapter, where Moses sayeth, kepe the commaundmentes, that ye maye vnderstond whate ye ought to do. But to serch goddes secretes blindeth a man as it is wel proved by the swarmes of oure sophisters, whose wise bokes are now when we loke in the scripture, founde but ful of folishnesse.