A Ryght Profytable Treatyse Compendiously Drawen Out Of Many and Dyvers Wrytynges Of Holy Men
by Thomas Betson
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[Transcriber's Note: Abbreviated words and syllables are shown in [brackets]. ,,,, = vowel with overline (following m or n) = symbol [*V*] [*R*] = Verse and Response symbols ]


ryght profytable treatyse

compendiously drawen out of many

and dyvers wrytynges

of holy men

by Thomas Betson

Printed in Caxton's house by Wynkyn de Worde about 1500

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Cambridge at the University Press


The tract here reprinted is one of twenty-six formerly bound together in a remarkable volume (AB. 4. 58) which was presented to the University in 1715 by King George the First together with the rest of the Library of John Moore, Bishop of Ely.

The name of the author is only known from the colophon. It will be seen from the facsimile that the fourth letter of the name is not certainly an s. Herbert (p. 204) on the information of W. Cole gives the name as Betton: but it seems probable that we are right in reading it as Betson. Mr Bernard W. Henderson, who has very kindly examined the copy in the Library of Exeter College, Oxford, and Mr F. Madan, to whom he has shown it, are decidedly of opinion that the letter is a blurred s.

The date of printing is fixed by competent authorities as 1500, on the evidence of the states of the printer's mark and of the cut of the Crucifixion.


This facsimile has been taken from the original in the Library of the University of Cambridge.

I certify that I have printed 250 copies only of this facsimile, that the impressions have been rubbed off the plates and the negatives destroyed.


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Here begynneth a ryght profytable treatyse cpendiously drawen out of many & dyuers wrytynges of holy men / to dyspose men to be vertuously occupyed in theyr myndes & prayers. And declared the Pater noster. Aue. & Credo. in our moder tonge with many other deuoute prayers in lyke wyse medefull to religyous people as to the laye people with many other moost holsomest Instruccyons / as here after it shall folowe.

The famous doctour Iohan gerson Chaceler of Parys / takynge his grode of holy scrypture. & accordynge with all other doctours sayth thus.

[Illuminated O]

Oure moost mercyfull fa[der] lord god knowyng our freelte & redynes to all s[yn]nes. is euer redy duryng this wretched & mortall lyf / by many & dyuers ways to forgyue vs our trespace / & to grate & gyue vs his grace / yf so be that truly we ordeyne vnto hym these treuthes folowynge sayd & done with all our herte. The fyrst / thou shalt saye. Blessyd lorde I knowleche [that] I haue synned ayenst thy goodnes thus and thus Rehersynge thy synnes. And I am dyspleaseth therwith by reason of the whiche I do penaunce & wyll do. For I knowe well that I haue greued the & broken thy cmadementes. In the whiche thou only ought to be worshypped. The seconde saye this treuthe. Good lorde I haue good purpose & desyre with thyn helpe to be ryght ware herafter that I fall not in to synne / & I entende to flee the occasions after [the] possibilyte of my power. The thyrde is this. Mercyful lorde I haue a good wyll to make an hole confessyon of all my synnes whan place & tyme cuenient may be had acordynge to thy cmadement & all holy chirche. These thre treuthes who soeuer sayth [with] his herte vnfaynyngly in what place [that] euer it be / he may be sure [that] he is in [the] state of helth & grace & he shal haue euer lastynge lyf though he had done all the synnes of the worlde. And yf he decessed [with]out ony other confession for lacke of a preest. as slepyng sodayn deth he sholde be saue suffrynge afore harde payne of purgatory / wherfor it is a good cosel [that] euery crysten man ones or twyes a daye erly or late / or els at lest on holy dayes examyne his conscyence & rembre yf he may [with] al his herte vnfayn[yn]gly say these thre treuthes / & yf he do he may be sure [that] he is in [the] state of grace. And yf he may not. but is in wyll to synne ayen & to haue his delectacion [with] dede / & wyll not flee the occasyons of mortall synnes & so drowned wyl not aryse. as vsurers. fals marchats or [that] desyren vengeace [with] suche other suche may be certayne [that] the pope may not assoyle them Not for thy holsom cosell is [that] suche praye & gyue almesse & do other good dedes after theyr power [that] god the father may lyghten theyr hertes. & the sooner torne them to goodnes. Amen.

This Pater noster / taught our lorde his dyscyples / and all people by his gospell.

Fader our that art in heuens / halowed be thy name. Thy kyngdom come to [the]. Thy wyll be do as in heuen so in erthe. Our eche dayly brede gyue vs to daye. And forgyue vs our dettes ryght as we forgyue to our dettours. And lede vs not in to temptacyon. But delyuer vs from euyll Amen / that is to saye. So be it.

This is the Aue maria / that Gabryell sayd salutynge our blessyd lady / & it is the gospell.

Heyll Mary full of grace / the lorde is with the / blessyd be thou amonge wymen / & blessyd be the fruyte of thy wombe Ihesus. Amen.

These ben the artycles of our Crede / and oure byleue / that who is baptysed and trusteth in hem shall be saued.

I byleue in god fa[der] almyghty shaper of heuen & erthe. And in Ihesu cryste his oonly sone our lorde / the whiche is conceyued of the holy goost / borne of Mary the mayde / suffred payne & passyon vn[der] Ponce Pylate. Crucefyed / deed / & buryed / he lyghted downe to helles. The .iij. daye he arose fr deth to lyue. He flyed vp in to heuens. He sytteth at the ryght syde of god the fa[der] almyghty From thens he is to come to deme both quycke & deed. I trowe in [the] holy goost / holy chirche vnyuersall / comunynge of sayntes / forgyuenes of synnes ayen rysynge of flesshe / & euerlastynge lyf. Amen.

Hope is truste by the mercy of god to be saued. And it standeth in the grace of our lorde & our good werkes. Charyte is the ende & the perfeccion of all the cmadementes of god / and it standeth in the loue of god aboue all thynges / & thy neyghbour as thy self

These ben the seuen vertues ayenst the seuen vyces.

Mekenes ayenst pryde.

As in boostynge / despysynge / scornynge / hyghe herte / fayrnes / connynge / strengthe / vertue / pryde of kynne / vayne glory / dispyte of other / ypocresy.

Pacyence ayenst Wrathe.

As fyghtynge / chydynge / hurtyng / betyng / warryeng / cursynge / grutchynge / desyre of vengeace cruelnes &c.

Charyte ayenst Enuye.

As gladde of an other euyll fare / & to be heuy & sory of theyr welfare / bacbytynge / sowynge of dyscorde / scornynge / and suche other.

Largenes ayenst Couetyse & Auaryce.

In wynnynge / in byenge / in sellynge / in met[yn]ge / in waynge / gyle / trechery / sacrylege / symony / vsury / theeft / receyu[yn]ge of stolen goodes / wronge withholdynge of ony dute to the the chirche &c.

Good occupacyon ayenst Slouth.

As ydelnes / delyte in slepe / neclygent to cne [the] lawes of god / vnlusty to [the] seruyce of god / myspendynge of tyme / dyspayre / wanhope & suche other.

Abstynence ayenst Glotony.

As in moche etynge & drynkynge / brekynge of faste / desyrynge of delycate metes & drynkes &c.

These ben the fyue goostly wyttes. Mynde / reason / wyll / ymagynacyon / vnderstandynge.

These ben the fyue bodely wyttes. Herynge seynge / smellynge / tastynge / and touchynge.

Chastyte ayenst Lechery.

As in thought / wyll / werke / in syght / in felyng in [pro]uokyng / or synne ayenst kynde [with] many other The .vij. goostly dedes of mercy. Teche / cosel chastyte / comforte / forgyue / suffre / & praye for thy enemyes. The .vij. bodely dedes of mercy. Fede the hongry / gyue drynke to the thursty / clothe the naked / herborowe the herbourles / comforte the seke / vysyte prysoners / burye the deed.

These folowynge ben the .vij. gyftes of the holy goost / that euery man sholde desyre to haue and kepe. Wysdome / counsell / knowynge / pyte / vnderstandynge / strength / and drede of god.

These folowynge be the .iiij. cardynall vertues

Temperace. Is a meane betwix to moche & to lytell / & it standeth in takynge suffycyently [that] nedeth & in refusyng [that] is to moche or to lytel vtterly

Ryghtwysnes / is a paynge of a dute to eche th[yn]ge [that] it duly longeth vnto / as to god praysyng & thkyng / to thy neyghbour loue & charyte / & to thyself besynes to fulfyl goddes wyl & his cmadement[es]

Prudence or Wysdome. Is a vertue [that] departeth good from euyll / & it standeth in chesynge good & refusynge euyll.

Strength maketh ony myghty and hardy to do grete thynges for the loue of god & in suffrynge pacyently aduersyte / and mekely takynge prosperyte.

These ben the .vij. sacrementes of holy cherche Baptysme / wedloke / the sacrament of [the] awter / cfirmacn / ordre / penace / & the last enoyntynge.

Here folowen the .x. cmadement[es] Worshyp no fals god. In whiche is forboden wytchecrafte / enchatement[es] / mawmentry / redyng of dremes / & al mysbyleue & such other. Take not his name in vayn. In which is forboden all heresyes / forsweryng of all mysmenyng / vnworshyp of god / tak[yn]ge his name vayn & other. Halowe [the] holydays herynge deuoutly thy seruyce / kepyng [the] out of dedely s[yn]ne / & visyte [the] poore / & helpe to acorde them [that] ben at debate & suche other. Worshyp thy fa[der] & thy moder. God thy fa[der] holy chirche thy mo[der] / thy goostly fa[der]s / thy flesshly fader & mo[der] / & people of age / & prelates of holy chirche. Slee no man [with] hande smytynge / nor [with] thy mouth in bacbytyng with herte cursynge / ne wyll ony euyll or vengeace. Do no lechery. In this is forboden all spousebreche [with] bodely dede or goostly / & all wylfull polucns or prouokynge to [the] same. Do no theeft. as stelyng / wronge getyng / trechery / oker / dysherytage of heyres.wronge amercymt[es]. fals mesure wrong purchasyng Bere no fals wytnes / in this is forboden fals byenge / bacbytyng / fals accusyng and all such other. Desyre not thy neyghbours wyf. In this is not only forboden the dede doyng but also the desyre & wyll of herte. Desyre not thy neyghbours thynge / as house / londe / beest / seruaunt nor ony thynge that is his.

These .vij. thynges folowynge sholde we haue euer in our mynde.

The synnes [that] we dayly do. The short tyme that we shall abyde here. The vncertayne of the daye of our deth. The vnstablenes & fraylte of vs. The strayte & ferefull Iugement of god. The bytter & vnspekable paynes ordeyned for synnes. The euerlastynge losse of eternall glorye.

Here foloweth a short rembrace for confessyon to al peple / & in especyal to al religious folke.

Seldom shalt [thou] fynde tyme in all the yere in whiche [thou] shalt not haue cause to shryue the of some of these folowynge / that is to wete of hasty or neclygence saynge [the] seruyce of god / or of lesynge of tyme / or els of vayne thought or of vndue reuerence to god or to our lady or his saynt or to [the] other [that] ben thy souerayns. Or in forgetynge god & his dayly benefayt. & not thankyng h[ym] for his creacion & his redempcn. & [that] he gaf the [that] mynde to dyspose the better than other ben [with] suche other. And also not thankynge h[ym] for thy dayly sustenaunce / clothynge & helth of thy body & for remissyon of thy synnes / for thyn enherytace of heuen [with] other Innumerable. Also rembre thy wode wordes or noysom / or els fals Iugementes in thy mynde / or fals suspycn. Also of ony mouynge to wrath or to vayne heuynes or vayne gladnes. Also serche in thy mynde yf [thou] haue well spended [the] daye & nyght without synne / as yf [thou] haue prayed or rede to lytell with suche other. Also yf [thou] haue past thy bodes in wordes or in etynge or drynkynge / slepynge or laughynge with suche other. Also remembre how [thou] haste kepte the maundementes of thy souerayne / chastyte / pouerte / sylence in places & houres accordynge as [thou] art called for to do. Also yf ony persone in worde sygne or dede [thou] haste offended & gyuen ony cause or occasyon of greuace. Remembre also yf [thou] hast ouerskypped in the seruyce of god ony wordes / verses / or ony Inclynacyons & suche other. And of the wauerynge of thy mynde / thyn eyen / & other vnmanerly behauyour of all thy body. Also of thy vnhonest & noysom thoughtes / that [thou] sholde miyghtly resyst not taryenge with them by thy wyll. Serche also yf [thou] haue grutched for mete or drynke or other necessaryes for bycause they were not gyue to the after thy pleasyr. Loke also yf [thou] haue synned in moche takynge of mete & drynke / or ony other necessaryes more than nede requyred &c.

Saynt Bernarde to a newe begynner in relygyon.

Yf [thou] entende to please god & woldest obteyne grace to fulfyll the same two thyng[es] ben to the necessary. Fyrst thou must withdrawe thy mynde from all transytory & erthely thynges as who saye [thou] carest as lytell for them as there were none suche thynges. The seconde is [that] [thou] gyue thyself to god / that [thou] saye nor do ony thynge / but that only that [thou] verely byleuest sholde please god And in this wyse folowynge [thou] mayst gete grace for the fyrst. In all thynges counte thyself vyle & symple / and as nothynge in regarde of vertue / & byleue all other to be good & better than thyself / & so shalt thou moost please god. What soeuer [thou] here or see of ony relygyous persone or of ony other good persones / thynke alwaye that all is done & sayd for good entent though they seme [the] contrary / for oft man by suspycyon is begyled. Dysplease no creature / & vtter no langage to laude of thyself / though it were to thy moost famylyer & beloued felowe / studye euer more to kepe more preuy thy vertue than thy vyce / speke neuer euyll of ony man or woman though it be neuer so true / & open it not without it be in confessyon & [that] whan [thou] can not elles shewe clerely thyn owne confessyon. Be more gladde to gyue thyn eere whan ony man is praysed / than whan ony persone is dyspraysed / Whan [thou] spekest haue fewe wordes / true / & sadde & euer of god / yf ony worldely persone speke [with] [the] and purpose or vtter vayne wordes / as soone as [thou] mayst breke out of suche comunycacn & talkynge & talke of god & of his vertues / or elles departe & gyue [the] to some goodly & goostly occupacn. What soeuer befall the or ony other of thy frendes gyue no charge of it / yf it be prosperyte reioyse not therof / yf it be trouble or aduersyte be not sory for it. But take or acompte all suche thyngs as nought & euer prayse & thanke god / gyue charge as moche as [thou] mayst to [the] wele & prosperyte of thy soule flee places of moche speche as moche as [thou] canst. For it is moche bet[ter] one to kepe his tonge than to speke. After complyn speke no worde tyl the masse be done the next daye folowynge without a grete cause requyre. Whan [thou] seest ony thynge [that] dyspleaseth the / see yf the faute be in thyself & than haue compassyon / yf it be not / thynke that it may be & so lete all thynges be to the as it were in a glasse to see thyself. Grutche not ayenst ony persone without thou see that [thou] may profyte what soeuer cause [thou] haue. Afferme neyther denye nothyng ouerthwartly / but lete thy nay or ye or thy doubte be powdred euer with salt / that is to saye / lete hem be spokan with discrecion & pacyence. Be euermore ware of mockynge & of scornynge. Yf [thou] be lyght of contenace see it be but selde / haue thy comunicacion but [with] fewe persones & shortly behaue thyself so in all thy sayenge that [thou] speke not rather in a doubte than men sholde take auctoryte or grode of thy sayenge. The seconde [thou] mayst obteyne in this wyse. Gyue thyself with grete deuocyon to praye & lete thyn herte agree with [that] [thou] sayest both daye & nyght. Remembre also dylygentely that thou ymagyne the state of them / in whose remembrace [thou] makest thy prayer. These thre haue alwaye in thy mynde / what [thou] were / what [thou] art / & what [thou] shalt be. By reason of thy body / [thou] were foule slyme of the erthe / & now thy body is the hous of fylte & derte / & herafter it shall be wormes mete. Also ymagyne [the] paynes of them [that] ben in helle & how that payne shall neuer haue ende / & how they suffre all these paynes for a lytell delectacn & pleasyr in synne. Also ymagyne the Ioye of paradyse / & how that shal neuer be fynysshed & how shortly and soone it may be goten. Than thynke what sorowe & waylynge may be to them [that] for so lytell a thynge here haue lost so grete Ioye contynuell. And whan [thou] hast ony thynge that doth dysplease the / or elles [thou] dredest to haue it / thynke & yf [thou] were in helle [thou] sholdest haue that / & all that [thou] woldest not haue / & so shalt [thou] suffre all thynge for crystus sake & his loue. Also whan [thou] hast ony thynge that pleaseth the / or elles that [thou] desyrest to haue / thynke & yf thou were in paradyse [thou] sholdest haue it & all other thynges that thou woldest desyre. Also whan there falleth ony fest of ony saynt thynke on h[ym] what payne he suffred here for goddes sake & how shorte his payne was. Than thynke how greate Ioye he hath in heuen for that whiche is euerlastynge. And soo thou mayst thynke that the trybulacion or tourmentynge of the good men is soone gone. And in lyke wyse the Ioye of euyll men fadeth anone. but good men with theyr trybulacyon here geteth eternall glorye. And euyll men with theyr ouermoche Ioye here geteth euerlastynge payne. Furthermore whan [thou] art accombred [with] slouth & lackest deuocn / take this wrytynge & ymagyne dilygently all these thynges rehersed. Than thynke of the tyme [that] [thou] lesest in vayne ydelnes / & thynke [that] they that ben in helle wolde gyue all the worlde for so moche tyme to redeme theyr synnes yf they myght haue it. Whan [thou] hast ony trouble / thynke that they [that] ben in paradyse shall neuer haue suche trouble. And whan [thou] hast ony spirytuell consolacyon or comforte / thynke [that] they that ben in helle shall euer lacke that. Whan thou goost to bedde or to thy rest / thynke what [thou] hast thought / what [thou] hast sayd / what [thou] hast done that daye. And how prouffytable [thou] haste spende thy tyme / the whiche was gyuen the to spende it vertuously / to obteyne euerlastynge lyf. Yf [thou] haue spended it well / gyue praysynge to god. And yf [thou] haue spended it euyll / wepe & be sory for it. And the next daye yf thou may / dyfferre not to be confessed. Yf [thou] haue sayd or done ony thynge that greueth thy conscyence sore / ete no mete vntyll [thou] be shryuen & [thou] mayst. Now for a conclusyon / ymagyne in thy mynde two cytees / one full of trouble & mysery whiche is helle / an other full of Ioye and comforte whiche is paradyse. And how to one of these two ye must nedes come. Than thynke in thyself what thynge sholde cause the to do euyll / or what thynge sholde drawe the fro god. And I trowe [thou] shalt fynde none suche. I am certayne yf thou kepe well all these [that] ben wryten here. The holy goost wyll be with the & teche [the] to kepe them parfytly. Wherfore kepe well all these preceptes & cmadementes & leue none behynde. Rede them twyes in the weke / on wensdaye & saterdaye. And as [thou] fyndest thou hast done as it is wryten. Gyue praysynge to god / whiche is euer pyteous & mercyfull in worlde withouten ende Amen.

A deuoute prayer for relygyous people / or for theym that entre in to relygyon. Remembrynge the termes / and to do theym in dede.

Ihesu my maker & sauyour to thy wyll and ordynace I commytte me euery houre. Besechynge the entyerly for grace & mercy / so that I may be one of them that shall be saued. Teche me good lorde thy commaundementes to fulfylle / and to do that I come fore / eschewynge all euyll. Gyue me grace to loue the and to drede the aboue all thynge. Remembrynge thy grete benefettes / and euer to gyue the thankynge. And to kepe euer charyte / obedyence / pacyence / sylence / with humylyte / demynge euer the best / saye well / telle the trouthe / and neuer to lye. Lothe to offende / sory for my synne / and to helpe whan nede is / & to serue the euer deuoutly with mekenes to haue mede. Of [the] trespaces of other to haue compassyon / [with] good cosell example & frendely consolacyon / & to do after good prechynge & holy saynt[es] lyues / kepynge my tonge & conscyence clene & to flee bacbytyng & stryues / & to gyue none occasyon of greuace neuer grutchyng / & flee ydelnes / & to praye for the deed & quycke alwaye be my besynes Takynge hede to my charges / & do to them with good wyll / gladde to be correcte of eche creature / & to leue myn owne wyll. And euer to be ware to excuse my s[yn]ne / & to trust in myn owne wytte. Rembrynge [that] I come to relygyon for to do penace for synne / & repugne ayenst it / & to crye for mercy to the Ihesu & to thy moder Mary. In whome I trust & shall serue / & neuer for to varye Amen.

[*V*] D[omin]e fiat voluntas tua.

[*R*] Sicut in celo et in terra.

[Sidenote: Oratio]

Acciones n[ostra]s quesum[us] d[omin]e aspirando [pre]ueni et adiuuando [pro]sequere. vt ccta n[ostra] operatio a te sem[per] incipiat. et [per] te cepta finia[tur]. Per [christu]m d[ominu]m nostr Amen.

This prayer folowynge is good for them that vnderstande not theyr seruyce in latyne. in syngynge. or sayenge. or that lacke deuocyon in tyme of theyr sayd seruyce. and wolde haue it.

Blessyd Ihesu cryst our lorde god & sauyour whiche I knowe well come in to this worlde not for them that were Iuste & ryghtfull / but for synners to redeme them by thy deth & shedyng of thy precyous blood. Now mercyfull & pyteous. lord Iesu cryste forgyue me & haue mercy of me after thy grete mercyes / & for thy crosse & bytter passyon. For I am a synner / & haue greuously erred & offended the. Not for thy swete Ihesu. I byleue in the / & neuer denyed the nor shall. Attende & beholde good lorde Iesu my fayth & Intencyon / the vertue of the wordes of holy prayers [that] I haue sayd / songe / or shall / & beholde not myn Inhabylyte & Ignoraunce. Wauerynge of mynde & neclygence. But grat of thy grete goodnes / that the prayers [with] all other good dedes done by me / or to be done may gracyously profyte me. And them that I am bounde to praye for / or that haue nede of prayer / Whether they be lyuynge or deed / to thencreace of thy mercyes laude & glorye & worshyp of thy blessyd moder Mary & all sayntes Amen.

Thankynges to our lord god for his dayly gyftes & benefaytes / & is called. Deo gracias.

Almighty & euerlastynge lorde god Ihesu cryst. I worshyp the. I gloryfye the. I thanke the now & euer shall for the makynge of me to thy symylytude / gyuynge to me with angelles wytte / reason & vnderstandynge / and haste redemed me with grete paynes vnto deth / shedynge thy precyous blood plenteuously for me / & dayly defendest me fr myn enemyes goostly & bodely / preseruynge me to this tyme by thy grace / both slepyng & wakynge from dyuers perylles & dethys that other hath fallen in & perysshed. And ouer these [thou] hast endowed me with thyn holy cmaundementes & newe lawes of grace & pyte / with holy sacramentes of the chirche. And moost in especyall gyuynge vs thy blessyd body & blood for destruccion of our synnes encreace of vertue & grace / and synguler comforte to all that ben on lyue and deed. And besydes these thou hast ordeyned angelles / & all other thy creatures bothe of heuen & erthe / as sonne and mone / fysshe & foule / beest and fruyte / with all other Innumerable to serue me. And to the entente that I sholde loue & serue agayne with all myn herte deuoutly. And also hast pyteously suffred me whan I haue synned. Not takynge me thenne to thy strayte Iugement to my dampnacyon perpetuell. Also I loue the / and thanke the in moost especyall for that thou hast made me heyre & partener of thy blysse in heuen perpetuelly / where I trust to see the face to face with the fader and the holy goost in eternall peas and glorye Amen

For these blessyd Ihesu & other thy benefytes & gyftes Infynyte I thanke the with all my herte / & I desyre euer to serue the / to loue the / to worshyp the / & magnyfye the here / and in the worldes durynge withouten ende. Amen.

A prayer full profytable to them that shal saye masse / & here masse / or to them that shall be houseled & comunyed / and besyde for all other that ben on lyue or deed.

Ihesu my lorde god / my loue & oonly comforte / the whiche as preest moost hyghe & synguler bysshop offered thyself to god thy fader / an hoste & sacrefyce moost clene & vndefouled on the crosse for our gylte & redempcyon / & hath gyuen it vnto vs / & lefte it in rembrace of thy grete charyte / deth / & passyon / and therwith hast cmaunded vs to ete / & cmone this gloryous sacrament of thy blessyd body ymade wonderfully by the vertue of the holy goost for our dayly helth / freelte / & transgressyon. wherfore blessyd Iesu / to the be laude and praysynge worlde withouten end. Amen. And for as moche that by the holy ordynaunce the consecracyon therof & offerynge vp to thy hyghe mageste for the quycke and deed oonly belongeth to the order of preesthode. For thy good lorde of thy grete pyte & grace. Make thy seruat or seruates. here name ye whom ye wyll that shall saye masse. N. and all other preestes clene in body and soule. And delyuer them of all vnclene / wycked vayne / and noysom thoughtes / and strengthe them ayenst all theyr enemyes / and vs also with thy gloryous angelles / and confounde all suche that pursuen them and vs / and wolde make vs to perysshe fynally. Ihesu kyng of virgyns / & louer of chastyte. Remembre how frele that our substace & nature is / & be mercyfull vnto them & vs as fader / lorde / & god / after thy grete mercy & for thy bytter passyon. For to the is oonly appropered to be mercyfull / without whiche no creature may be saued. Beholde swete Ihesu that our wyll is to worshyp the / & prayse the in the best maner that we can or may / and lyke as [thou] haste begonne with vs here / so make vs to contynue in thyn laude & seruyce euerlastynge. And where it is so that they knowleche themself vnable to do this heuenly mystery. For thy good lorde Ihesu / by thy grace make them able / the whiche of synners haste made full often and dayly makest holy sayntes. And gyue them also thy drede & clennes of herte with the ryuer of teeres in all spirytuell consolacyon. Make them to fele & vnderstande the swetnes of thy blessyd presence / & the grete attendaunce of thy holy angelles about hem at theyr celebracyons. Receyue mercyfull Ihesu this hyghe & holy sacryfyce to the comfort of all [that] ben on lyue & deed / & wouchesauf this daye [that] it be to vs & to all them a synguler refresshynge & feest / that we so releued [with] this brede of lyue & lambe Inmaculate / borne of the blessyd virgyn Mary may Ioye in thy laude & glorye eternally. Thou saydest by thy holy mouth. The brede [that] I shall gyve / my body it is / for the lyf of the worlde. Who that eteth me / he shal lyue for me / & he abydeth in me / & I in hym. I am the brede of lyf that came downe from heuen. He that eteth of this brede shall lyue without ende. Now swete brede of lyfe make both them & vs fele thy swetnes & loue forsakynge all vanytees. Come in to our soules / & clense vs goostly & bodely / sanctefye vs Inwarde & outwarde / & be a contynuell defence of soule & body / so that we may come to thy kyngdome / there to be fedde of the with a meruaylous & vnspekable sacyete. Where after we shall neuer haue hongre ne thurst / seynge the than / not as we now do / in mysteryes & of ferre home / but thenne shall we see the face to face in glorye with thy fader in vnyte of the holy goost by all worldes Amen.

Pater noster. Aue maria.

Here foloweth a prayer to all sayntes / examyned and pardonned.

Ad s[ancta]m mari.

Gaude m[ater] saluatoris felix fide flos decor[is] Mundiq[ue] solacium Nunc letare celi choris In hoc festo & languoris Nostri sis remedium

Ad s[ancto]s angelos.

Gaude michael hac die Gabriel raphaelq[ue] messie Angelo[rum] ordines Vos precamur nobis pie Sitis causa melodie Supra celi cardines

Ad Patriarchas et [pro]phetas.

Gaude ventre [pro]secrat[us] O baptista mire natus Sacer degens seculo Patriarchis sociatus Et [pro]phetis. vite flatus Fac finire iubilo

Ad Apostolos et euangelistas.

Gaude petre c sodali Paulo. cristo speciali Lucens orbis climata Et caterna generali Vestra sita loco tali Nos c eis adiuua

Ad martires.

Gaude thoma spes glo[rum] Et georgi tutor ho[rum] Cum Edwardo nobili Tu laurenti rege lo[rum] Vt tuamur poli cho[rum] Cum fauore stephani

Ad. s. confessores.

Gaude presul o martine Nicholae. hugo. line. Posce nobis graciam Erkenwalde q[ue] birine Iam c tuis augustine Da supremo gloriam

An. s. virgines.

Gaude virgo katherina Margareta. magdalena Cum brigitta. brigida Anna. fides. et cristina Nos serudo nc diuina Gens celo[rum] iubila

[*V*]. Letamini in [domino].

[*R*]. Et gloriamini.


Concede quesum[us] omnipotentes deus. vt intercessio sancte dei genitricis marie sancta[rum]q[ue] omnium celestium virtutum. et beatorum patriarcharum. [pro]phetarum. apostolorum. euangelista[rum]. martirum. confessorum. atq[ue] virginum. et omni electorum tuorum nos vbiq[ue] letificet. vt dum eo[rum] merita recolim[us] patrocinia senciamus. Per eund [christum] [dominum] nostr. Amen.

Here folowen the seuen degrees of humylyte.

Caste thy syght downwarde / and shewe mekenesse / bothe in thy herte and body.

Beware of hyghe speche & clamorous / and see that thy wordes be fewe well sette & resonable. Be not lyght for to laugh / but vse euer sadnesse.

Be stylle & kepe sylence / tyll nede requyre that answere must be hadde. Kepe well the comyn rule as the holy place hath vsed.

Thynke the moost vylest of all other / & so pronoce thyself. Knowlege the vnworthy & not profytable to ony thynge / & to byleue in dede.

Make ofte confessyon of thy synnes / and that with greate contrycyon. Kepe pacyence in thy obedyence at all thy paynes & trouble.

To all people be thou subgette for thy maysters sake / thyn owne wyll forsake it / and loue it in no wyse.

And euer kepe the from synne / for fere of hym aboue. Amen.

Here folowen the seuen degrees of obedyence.

The fyrste is to do that is cmaded of thy souereyne without grutchynge.

The seconde is to make none excepcyon / neyther of the tyme / neyther of the dede that is to be done.

The thyrde is to be gladde & cherefull in thy herte to do suche dedes cmaded without ony cpulcyon / settynge a side all beestly condycyons.

The fourth is to be quycke in suche dede doynge & leuynge all other occupacyons for that tyme or ony maner of excuse.

The fyfthe is to do suche thynges with all thy myght and power / thynkynge that thy rewarde shall be grete.

The sixte is to do them also with al mekenesse bothe in spyryte and gesture.

The seuenth is to contynuye suche obedyence for the ende of thy lyf / euer folowynge thy mayster Ihesu cryste / that was moost obedyent for thy synne vnto deth Amen.

The seuen degrees of pacyence thou mayst beholde here.

To euyll done to the or aduersyte / make no resystence. Do no euyll for euyll / ne gyue an euyl answere. Loue thyn enmye / & do good for euyl to hym in recompence. Grutche not ayenst aduersyte / but take it as swete as encence. Accpt it for best medycyne / and be gladde in thy payne. Thanke god therfore / & loke for more with all benyuolence. And whan thou hast no grutchynge in these / thenne meyst thou be fayne.

The .xv. degrees of charyte.

These make parfyte charyte after Poules epystle. Be pacyente contynuelly for ony aduersyte. Lyberall to the nedy / & do good for euyll. Of other mnes welfare. enuye not ne be heuy Lette not by thy crokednesse good werkes to multeplye. Swelle not inwarde by malyce yf thy nyghbour prospere. Loue to be in lowe degree / & loth to be hye. To labour for other as thyself do thy vtter deuour. Be not moued for ony cause to vgeace or to yre. Thynke none euyll to another for ony prouocacyon. Ioye thou not in wyckednesse but sorowe [thou] rather. Be gladde in trought & ryghtwysnesse & hate dyssymulacyon. For suche ryght bere aduersyte or ony trybulacn. To [that] the chirche techeth the put ful credulyte. That god hath promysed trust it well without defalcatyon. In hope abydynge his rewarde and euerlastynge glorye. Amen.

A lytell Instruccn for them that shall entre in to religyon / drawen out of the longe rule of sa[yn]t Iherom that he wrote to saynt Eustochi &c.

Loue god aboue all thynge / & thy neyghbour as thyself. In these two is fulfylled all [the] lawe & cmadementes of god & parfyte charyte [with]out whiche can noman or woman be relygyous & come to heuen / & the whiche had among them they make theyr place or monastery a paradyse in erthe & themself professed therin angelles full pleasat vnto god. Wherfor amonge [the] spouses of god ben one wyll / one comfort / one heuynes Remembrynge [that] he is prynce of peas & charyte. in whom they shalbe wedded vnto. Forsake [the] desyre of tporall goodes / for better it is to be ryche with other in the worlde than to be poore in a monasterye & to haue a desyre to haue god. Blessyd be they sayth our lorde [that] ben poore in spyryte &c. The more noble [that] ye ben & come of worshypfull lynage [the] more ye shal meke your self / & euer be gladde of poore & vyle habyte or clothynge / beware of obstentacyon & pryde or to desyre to be better arayed than an other syster is. And remembre [that] ye shall be professed & wedde elyke to one spouse Ihesu cryste in one wyl & vowe / whiche loue none suche syngularyte / pompe & vayne glorye. For in his court shall not a kynges doughter haue prerogatyf afore an other in lower degree borne. Goostly lyf requyreth no dignyte temporall / though all ye be neuer so meke / yet your spouse was & is moche more meker. See in your mynde how [that] sa[yn]t Peter was a poore fyssher / and Bartylmew a noble man of byrth. Netheles Peter was preferred & made prynce of Bartylmew & of all the worlde. Beware of grutchynge [that] whiche gretly dyspleaseth god. Commende neuer your self of ony goodes gyuen or to be gyuen of you or by yours to [the] monasterye or els where / but euer lerne & vse you to take [the] crosse & to folowe your spouse in penace / & do that ye come for / kepynge obedyence / pacyence / mekenesse / sylence / prayer / fastynge / & suche other as your relygyon wyll gyue you Instruccyon. And in ony wyse shewe mekenesse in your langage / countenace & all other behauyour / & in especyall to your heed & souerayne / the whiche representeth cryste your spouse / & that in all obedyence / drede / loue / & reuerence. Neuer disputynge of theyr wyll or of other that be your souerayns / but thynke [that] all is ryghtfull [that] they do / presume not to correcte theyr Iugementes. For as by example yf eche man sholde haue the guydynge of a shyppe [that] they be within / it sholde neuer prospere ne come to the hauen [that] it desyred. And as ye be professed deed to the worlde so be ye deed in other mennes dedes. Also rembre that ye must forsake your owne wyll & offre it vp & gyue it to god & to them that shall be your souerayne & heed for euer more. Enforce eche one of you that shall come to religyon to passe an other in obedyence / for than doubtles ye shall please god A true obedyencer that hath vtterly forsaken his owne wyll / knowe not ony thynge harde to do [that] is cmaunded of theyr souerayne ne ony thynge vnryghtfull. Beware of ydelnes the whiche is moder of all synne & vnclennesse / so that by your offyce that ye be called to / or by prayer / redynge / wrytynge / sewynge / or other handewerkes doynge / ye may make your bodyes dayly wery & crucyfyed. And therby make your spyrytes the more quycke and apte to the seruyce of our lorde in confusyon of your enemye and encreace of glorye. Beware to be Inquysytyf / or to muse on hyghe maters and subtyll. And leue them to worldely people / and to clerkes / for otymes the letter may hurte you Thynke euer [that] ye had leuer dye than ones to passe the clausures or bodes of your monasterye. Yf ye haue a faythfull & a Iuste frende / to whom ye may open [the] secretes of your herte / than ye haue a grete tresour / for oftymes one shall be deceyued & seldome can iuge the trouth in his owne maters so well as other. Knowe your owne synnes & wayle them & medle [with] none other. Beware euer of detraccion & flee it as it were a venemous serpent / [that] the speker therof be your contenace & departynge from them may be ashamed / & therwith lothe for euer so to speke or do. Moreouer yf ye wyll see your spouse Ihesu cryst in your mynde by contemplacn euer kepe your sylence. For saynt Ierom sawe many in Egypt amonge holy faders that .vij. yeres togyder spake not owne worde / but only to god & to his saynt. Yf the caas be so [that] ye must speke / lete it be in all peas & charyte & [with] fewe wordes. Remembrynge [that] your spouse loueth no voyde claterynge / but wolde be [with] you alone in all quyetnesse in your soules. Wherfore be ye aferde to dysplease hym or to dryue hym out from you [with] stryues or debate / sclaundres / othes / and suche other / Saynt Iames coselleth eche man to refrayne his tonge / sayenge that lyf & deth ben in the power of [the] same tonge / wrytynge thus. Who that refrayneth his tonge he shalbe blessyd in all dedes &c. Knowleche your self at all tymes carayne and erthe / & the glory therof is as a floure in the medowe. Absteyne you as pylgryms from all desyres of [the] flesshe / the whiche dayly bataylleth ayenst the soule. Absteyne also from lyes at all tymes / as ye wolde from helle / for them in no wyse loueth Ihesus your spouse. And also beware to mayntene or botrace suthe lyes whiche is abhomynable in the syght of god. Yf there come ony strager vnto you / lete hym knowe by your heuenly talkynge & behauyour [that] ye be a well taught spouse of cryste & [that] they may glorefye in you & for you & be amended by you. Bere [the] wordes of saynt Ierom in your mynde that sayth thus. Truste me verely [that] theris no thynge more peryllous to a man. than is a woman / & to a woman no thynge more contagyous than is a man / for eyther of them is chaff & eyther is fyre. And note this for a truth / [that] preuy talkyng lacketh no suspycyon. That thynge is not lefull to be seen / [that] is not lefull to be desyred. More than ony man can suppose or wryte / [the] deuyll reioyseth whan memorye of o man is fixed & had in a womnes herte. There is no venym in the worlde so noysom to woman as is affeccn towarde man of what soeuer cause it procede or growe. Ye may see [that] the desyre of worldly wymen is euer in vesture / golde / precyous stones / & ornament outwarde of the body / & therin they put theyr glorye & felycyte. In so moche [that] it suffyseth not them theyr luste gyuen by nature only / but they seke occasyon & craft by the sayd premysses to encreace theyr sayd luste & desyres to theyr grete dampnacn / beware ther fore of ony costely habyte or suche vanytees &c. Certaynly sayth the sayd saynt Ierom / [the] pryncypall desyre is of suche wymen [that] men sholde fest theyr eyen in [the] faces of them by the prouocacn & syght of theyr precyous arraye. But they sholde csyder though nature hath gyuen to golde / & suthe other a precyosyte wherby they ben praysed / what is [that] to the vyle carkas [that] it hangeth vpon / the whiche is but a sachell of dounge brought forth of vnclene seed & fynally shall be wormes mete.

The wordes of saynt Ierom.

O Thou moost vylest & worse than ony beest how shamefast sholdest [the] be in thy body yf thou woldest beholde thyself / [that] so in thyn arraye auacest thyself. And this blessyd Ierom sayth. I take them for no relygyous wymen [that] ben cladde in costlyous araye or in a wanton & pynched habytes but he calleth them in latyn. Pessimas meretrices et storta. Wherfore desyre ye to go in vyle & vnshapely vesture. that wanton & dissolute persones may rather be prouoked to scorne & laughe at you than to thynke euyl or desyre you / for they say not trouthe that do ensure themself with a glorye to kepe chastyte in a costely or ony shapely vesture / ye shal be called ladyes / for bycause that ye shall be spoused to the kyng of all kynges. Beware than & take hede with all mekenesse to your dygnyte / in lesse than your spouse be greued & make a deuorce & to departe from you. Yf that ye wyst & ones had tasted how swete your spouse were. ye sholde haue pleasyr ynough that passeth all worldly pleasyrs. This Ioye & pleasye had saynt Ierom & many other both of men & wymen / kepe the mansyon of your spouse clene / & garnysshe it with floures of vertue / and accompte your self moost vyle & outcaste of this worlde. Remembre also how in your baptysme ye forsoke the worlde / the enuye / and all theyr pryde & glory / the whiche now ye shall cferme vnder [the] grettest othe that may be / & therwith receyue our lorde god in sacramt in this your fyrste entrynge in to religyon. Beware also of vayne glory / lyftynge vp your vysage & voyce on hyghe as wymen done in the worlde. Rebukyng other or to speke of your noble blood or kynrede / for in the spousage and seruyce of god / the poorest mannes doughter lyuynge shall be egall & lyke to the gretest kynges doughter lyuynge in erthe. Ye muste forsake all suche worldely pompe & vanyte & take a newe & a more sure noble dignyte by your spouse Ihesu cryst that neuer shall haue ende / the poorest of you bryngeth more to the monastery / so that ye come with a meke herte and in wyll to forsake yf that ye hadde neuer so moche / than she that bryngeth moche with a proude herte / and therwith to other wolde haue it knowen. Beware euer that no foule worde or stryue be amonge you [that] ben deed folke in this worlde. But euer thynke [that] the trompe of the last daye of Iugement soundeth in your eeres / and calleth you sayenge. Ryse doughters Ryse / & come to your Iugement. Lete euer your mynde be with your spouse / and with your moder blessyd Marye / & the sayntes as often as ye synge or rede. Remembrynge [that] god is there present and seeth what ye do Lete none see you from the seruyce of god or vnoccupyed. In redynge of prophetes epystles / gospelles / sayntes lyues / & other dedes of vertue doynge / hauynge euer bokes in your handes / studyenge or wrytynge / [that] people seynge you may saye. Beholde here the seruat of god / & the lanternes of the worlde. Beware also of glotony whiche is moder of all vnclennesse & bocheres of chastyte / & kepe your stomake rather voyd than to take to it superfluyte wherthorugh ye shall not nede to take medicynes for a digestyon. Vse curtesly to ete & not gredely nor hastely / for therin may ye synne. It is wryten in the lyf of saynt Benet [that] a religious woman [with] a gredenes receyued a wycked spiryte in etynge of letuse in [the] gardeyn. Also they [that] vse to dr[yn]ke wyne go not [with]out fyre theyr bosom. And euer beware of dronkenshyp / remenbrynge [that] abstynence & fastynge is a sure medycyne for all sekenes. And by them cometh grete vertue & grace. Not for thy beware of vndiscrete abstynence / whiche myght cause you to haue payne here & in tyme to come. Whan tyme is of redyng at your meles & repast or ony other good doctryne than beware of speche or laughynge / but take hede to [the] lecture. And knocke pryuely your brestes & that yf ye may with fallynge of teeres / after your meles reherce your lectures or some notabilytees of sermons or other holy thynges [that] ye haue herde or seen afore. And whan ye praye be sory for the Ignorace of the people & theyr synnes / & mynde the soules that ye be specyally bode to praye for with all other crysten soules. And yf ye wyl haue [the] swetenes of contemplacn / clense your herte from all worldly thynges. And be as ye were deed amonge them & as ye were buryed in your sepulcre the whiche betokeneth your monastery / to the tyme ye aryse & appere afore your spouse to haue your rewarde of his glory. Whan ye shal go to your garden & seen the herber & grene trees smellynge [the] floures & fruytes with theyr swetnesse / meruaylle the grete power of god in his creatures / & thenne labour & engendre in your mynde / or talkynge of deuocn & lyfte vp your herte to heuen / & thynke verely [that] the maker of them that is your spouse in heuen is vnspekable fayre / swete / delectable / and gloryous. But beware touche there nothynge to a vayne vse or nycete of the worlde. After complyne kepe your tonge & take you to prayer & contemplacion. And call to your mynde suche heuenly thynges that ye haue herde or redde afore. See in ony wyse that ye kepe this poynt of goddes lawe & of [the] lawe of nature. Do euer to an other as ye wolde be done vnto

Deo gracias.

Thyse short prayers folowynge taught our lorde saynt Brigytte. Saye ye them ofte in the daye.

Dome i[hes]u [christ]e. ego cognosco me graui[ter] peccasse. Et libenter volo emdare [per] gr[atiam] tu Miserere mei [pro]pter amar passion tu. D[omin]e i[hes]u [christ]e. Redemisti nos in sangue tuo. Laus sit tibi [pro] amara passione tua.

Pater n[oster]. Aue maria.

Also vse for to saye dayly knelynge in remembrace of the passyon of our lorde & his fyue wodes / & of the grete compassion of our blessyd lady .v. Pater noster / and .v. Aue maria. & a Credo.

Deus propicius esto michi peccatori. Ihesu fili dei miserere mei et tocius populi cristiani.

Semper deo gracias.

Praye for your broder Thomas Betton which for your soules [that] be come or shall come in to relygyon / drewe and made the contentes of this lytell quayer & exhortacion. necessary & nedefull to them that ben come & shall come to relygyon.

Lerne to kepe your bokes clene &c.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[Errors and Problems Noted by Transcriber: grouped by type

the pope may not assoyle them text changed by hand to he may not be assoyled

as soone as [thou] mayst breke out of suche comunycacn Than thynke how greate Ioye he hath in heuen I thanke the with all my herte text reads brebe, thyn be, thanbe

Takynge hede to my charges the comfort of all [that] ben on lyue & deed borne of the blessyd virgyn Mary wymen [that] ben cladde in costlyous araye Lerne to kepe your bokes clene &c. text reads Takyuge, on lyne, borue of, beu cladde, cleue &c.

Accpt it for best medycyne text reads Acccpt

And also hast pyteously suffred me whan I haue synned. text unclear: probably surrfed

Here foloweth a prayer to all sayntes / examyned and pardonned. reading of pardonned uncertain

Gaude ventre [pro]secrat[us] reading of [pro]secrat[us] uncertain: may be obsecratus

Gaude thoma spes glo[rum] reading thoma uncertain

Kepe pacyence in thy obedyence at all thy paynes & trouble. _one or more letters may be missing between_ thy _and_ obedience_

Praye for your broder Thomas Betton name uncertain; see Editor's introduction ]


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