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once a year; but such do not the office of good prelates. For Christ saith—“Quis putas est servus prudens et fidelis? qui dat cibum in tempore” [“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season" (Matt. xxiv. 45)]. Who, think you, is a wise and faithful servant? He that giveth meat in due time. So that he must at all times convenient preach diligently. “Therefore,” saith He, “who trow you is a faithful servant?” He speaketh it as though it were a rare thing to find such a one, and as though He should say, there but but few of them to find in the world. And how few of them there be throughout this realm that give meat to their flock as they should do; the visitors can best tell. Too few, too few—the more is the pity, and never so few as now. By this, then, it appeareth that a prelate, or any that hath cure of souls, must diligently and substantially work and labor. Therefore saith Paul to Timothy—“Qui episcopatum desiderat, hic bonum opus desiderat" [“If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” (1 Tim. iii. 1)]. He that desireth to have the office of a bishop, or a prelate, that man desireth a good work. Then if it be good work, it is work. Ye can make but a work of it. It is God's work—God's plough, and that plough God would have still going. Such, then, as loiter and live idly are not good prelates or ministers. And of such as do not preach and teach, nor do not their duties, God saith by His prophet Jeremiah—“Maledictus qui facit opus Dei fraudulenter” [“Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully” (Jer. xlviii. Io)]. Guilefully or deceitfully; some books have negligenter—negligently, or slackly. How many such prelates, how many such bishops, Lord, for Thy mercy, are there now in England? And what shall we, in this case, do? Shall we company with them? O Lord! for Thy mercy, shall we not company with them? O Lord! whither shall we fly from them? But cursed be he that doeth the work of God negligently or guilefully. A sore word for them that are negligent in discharging their office, or have done it fraudulently, for that is the thing that maketh the people ill. But true it must be that Christ saith—“Multi sunt vocati, pauci vero electi’ [“Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. xxii.
Here have I an occasion, by the way, somewhat to say unto you, yea, for the place that I alleged unto you before, out of Jeremiah the forty-eighth chapter. And it was spoken of a spiritual work of God—a work that was commanded to be done, and it was of shedding blood, and of destroying the cities of Moab. “For,” saith he, “cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from shedding of blood" (Jer. xlviii. Io). As Saul, when he kept back the sword from shedding of blood, at what time he was sent against Amalek, was refused of God, for being disobedient to God's commandments, in that he spared Agag the king. So that that place of the prophet was spoken of them that went to the destruction of the cities of Moab, among the which there was one called Nebo, which was much reproved for idolatry, superstition, pride, avarice, cruelty, tyranny, and for hardness of heart, and for these sins was plagued of God, and destroyed. Now, what shall we say of these rich citizens of London? What shall I say of them? Shall I call them proud men of London, malicious men of London, merciless men of London? No, no! I may not say so; they will be offended with me then. Yet must I speak. For is there not reigning in London as much pride, as much covetousness, as much cruelty, as much oppression, as much superstition, as was in Nebo P Yes, I think, and much more too. Therefore, I say, Repent, O London I repent, repent l Thou hearest thy faults told thee; amend them, amend them. I think if Nebo had had the preaching that thou hast, they would have converted. And you, rulers and officers, be wise and circumspect; look to your charge, and see you do your duties, and rather be glad to amend your ill living, than to be angry when you are warned or told of your fault. What ado there was made in London at a certain man, because he said, and indeed, at that time, on a just cause— “Burgesses,” quoth he, “nay, butterflies.” Lord! what ado there was for that word ' And yet, would God they were no worse than butterflies. Butterflies do but their nature; the butterfly is not covetous, is not greedy of other men's goods, is not full of envy and hatred, is not malicious, is not cruel, is not merciless. The butterfly glorieth not in her own deeds, nor preferreth the traditions of men before God's Word; it committeth not idolatry, nor worshippeth false gods. But London cannot abide to be rebuked; such is the nature of man. If they be pricked, they will kick. If they be rubbed on the gall, they will wince. But yet they will not amend their faults; they will not be evil spoken of. But how shall I speak well of them? If you could be content to receive and follow the Word of God, and favor good preachers—if you could bear to be told of your faults—if you could amend when you hear of them— if you would be glad to reform that is amiss—if I might see any such inclination in you, that leave to be merciless, and begin to be charitable, I would then hope well of you, I would then speak well of you. But London was never so evil as it is now. In times past, men were full of pity and compassion, but now there is no pity, for in London their brother shall die in the streets for cold; he shall lie sick at their door, between stock and stock—I cannot tell what to call it—and perish there for hunger. Was there any more unmercifulness in Nebof I think not. In times past, when any rich man died in London, they were wont to help the poor scholars of the university with exhibitions. When any man died, they would bequeath great sums of money toward the relief of the poor. When I was a scholar in Cambridge myself, I heard very good report of London, and knew many that had relief of the rich men of London; but now, I can hear no such good report, and yet I inquire of it, and hearken for it, but now charity is waxed cold; none helpeth the scholar, nor yet the poor. And in those days, what did they when they helped the scholars? Many they maintained and gave them languages, that were very papists, and professed the Pope's doctrine; and now that the knowledge of God's Word is brought to light, and many earnestly study and labor to set it forth, now almost no man helpeth to maintain them. O London, London! repent, repent! for I think God is more displeased with London than ever He was with the city of Nebo. Repent, therefore, repent, London' and remember that the same God liveth now that punished Nebo, even the same God, and none other, and He will punish sin as well now as He did then, and He will punish the iniquity of London as well as he did then of Nebo. Amend, therefore, and ye that be prelates, look well to your office; for right prelating is busy laboring, and not lording. Therefore preach and teach, and let your plough be doing; ye lords, I say, that live like loiterers, look well to your office; the plough is your office and charge. If you live idle and loiter, you do not your duty, you follow not your vocation; let your plough, therefore, be going and not cease, that the ground may bring forth fruit. But now, methinketh I hear one say unto me—“Wot you what you say? Is it a work? Is it a labor? How then hath it happened that we have had so many hundred years so many unpreaching prelates, lording loiterers, and idle ministers?” Ye would have me here to make answer, and to show the cause thereof. Nay, this land is not for me to plough; it is too stony, too thorny, too hard for me to plough. They have so many things that make for them, so many things to lay for themselves, that it is not for my weak team to plough them. They have to lay for themselves long customs, ceremonies, and authority, placing in parliament, and many things more. And I fear me this land is not yet ripe to be ploughed. For, as the saying is, it lacketh weathering, this gear lacketh weathering; at least way, it is not for me to plough. But what shall I look for among thorns but pricking and scratching? What among stones but stumbling? What (I had almost said) among serpents but stinging? But this much I dare say, that since lording and loitering hath come up, preaching hath come down, contrary to the apostles' times. For they preached and lorded not. And now they lord and preach not. For they that be lords will never go to plough. It is no meet office for them. It is not seeming for their state. Thus come up lording loiterers. Thus crept in unpreaching prelates, and so have they long continued. For how many unlearned prelates have we now at this day? And no marvel. For if the ploughmen that now be were made lords, they would clean give over ploughing, they would leave off their labor and fall to lording outright, and let the plough stand. And then, both ploughs not walking, nothing should be in the commonweal but hunger. For ever since the prelates were made lords and nobles, the plough standeth. There is no work done; the people starve. They hawk, they hunt, they card, they dice, they pastime in their prelacies with gallant gentlemen, with their dancing minions, and with their fresh companions, so that ploughing is set aside. And by the lording and loitering, preaching and ploughing is clean gone. And thus, if the ploughmen of the country were as negligent in their office as prelates be, we should no longer live, for lack of sustenance. And as it is necessary for to have the ploughing for the sustentation of the body, so must we have also the other for the satisfaction of the soul, or else we cannot live long ghostly. For as the body wasteth and consumeth away for lack of bodily meat, so doth the soul pine away for default of ghostly meat. But there be two kinds of enclosing to let or hinder both these kinds of ploughing. The one is an enclosing to let or hinder the bodily ploughing, and the other to let or hinder the holyday ploughing—the church ploughing. The bodily ploughing is taken in and enclosed through singular commodity. For what man will let go or diminish his private commodity for a commonwealth? and who will sustain any damage for the respect of a public commodity? The other plough also no man is diligent to set forward, nor no man will hearken to it; but to hinder and let it, all men's ears are open, yea, and a great many of this kind of ploughmen which are very busy, and would seem to be very good workmen. I fear me some be rather mock gospellers than faithful ploughmen. I know many myself that profess the Gospel, and live nothing thereafter. I know them, and have been conversant with some of them. I know them, and, I speak it with a heavy heart, there is as little charity and good living in them as in any other, according to that which Christ said in the Gospel to the great number of people that followed Him as though they had had an earnest zeal to His doctrine, whereas, indeed, they had it not—“Non qui vidistis signa, sed quia comedistis de panibus ” [“Not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves” (John vi. 26)]. “Ye follow me,” saith He, “not because ye have seen the signs and miracles that I have done, but because ye have eaten the bread and refreshed your bodies.” Therefore you follow me; so that I think many one nowadays professeth the Gospel for the living's sake, not for the love they bear to God's Word. But they that will be true ploughmen must work faithfully, for God's sake, for the edifying of their brethren. And as diligently as the husbandman plougheth for the sustentation of the body, so diligently must the prelates and ministers labor for the feeding of the soul; both the ploughs must still be doing, as most necessary for man. And wherefore are magistrates ordained, but the