ÞE GOSPEL ON ÞE DAY OF OON APOSTLE.
—JOHN xv. [17.]
ÞIS gospel telliþ sharpli, as Crist doiþ ofte bi Joon, how men shulden love togidere and putte awei þe lettingis, for þe bigyn|nynge and þe eendinge of Goddis lawe is love. Crist bigynneþ þus and comandeþ hise disciplis; Þese þingis I bidde to ȝou þat ȝe love togidere. No þing is more beden of God þan þis love, and þerfor, what man leveþ it, he despisiþ God; but al were for to know þe craft of þis love, for it is oon to love a þing, and to wille good to þat þing. Ech þing shulde be loved after þat it is good, and so God shulde be moost loved, and betere men more þan worse men. And we shulden for Goddis love love yvel men and yvel comunes, and for his love be bisie to ȝyve hem mater to be betere, and as myche as in us is, to do good to ech man, sum to make betere and sum to make lesse yvel; but oo firstnesse of love shulde we have to us silf, and to oure fadir and oure modir, savynge ordre of Goddis lawe. Þe firste lettinge of þis love þat Crist telliþ here, is hate of þis world to men þat kepen þis love, for þe world is so blyndid þat it clepiþ hate, love, and love it clepiþ hate, for it erriþ in bileve. Al oure love shulde stonde in þe love of God, to kepe his lawe and move oþere to kepe it; but many, for defaulte of feiþ, holden þis a fooly*. [foly, E.], for gooddis of þis world fallen not to siche men.
And herfore seiþ Crist, If þe world hate you, ȝe shulden wele wite þat it hatide me bifore; and þis worþinesse of Crist þat suffride þus for man, shulde move trewe men in God to suffre for Crist. If þou grutche aȝens poverte, and coveite worldeli worshipe, wite þou þat Crist bifore was porer þan þou, siþ he hadde not bi his manhede place to reste his heed ynne. If þou grutchist þat þi sugetis wolen not ȝyve þee goodis, þenke how Cristis sugettis wolden neiþer ȝyve him mete ne herberwe; and ȝit herfore he curside hem not, but dide hem moche good. And if þou grutche þat þe world doiþ þee ony Page 173 injurie, and þou profitist to þe world aȝen in love and meke|nesse; þenke how Crist bifore þee profitide þus more to þe worlde; and ȝit Crist suffride more wronge of hise sugettis þan þou maist. And þus if þou woldist þenke on Crist, how he suffride for love of man, it were þe beste ensample þat þou shuldist have to suffre, and to cese þi grutching; for, as Austyn seiþ*. [The reference is probably to the treatise De Urbis Excidio, the con|cluding chapter of which especially, in a strain of eloquent and tender reproof, exhorts the Christian people of Rome, just after the sack of the city by the Goths, not to repine on account of their terrible sufferings, remembering the unapproachable circumstances of the passion of their Redeemer.], no man in þis world mai synne but levyng þat Crist tauȝte, or grutche aȝens þing þat he suffride.
And for þis, seiþ Crist after, If ȝe weren of þe world, þe worlde wolde love þat is his; for þis lawe lastiþ in good and yvel, þat o man loveþ lyk to hym, ȝhe, if þei shulen be dampned for þis, as o synful loveþ anoþer for þe likenesse of her synne; and ȝit þei shulen boþe in helle suffre harm for þis likenesse. And þus it is no kynne*. [kyn, E.] wounder if lymes of þe fend haten lymes of Crist, for þei ben so myche con|trarie here, and after þe dai of dome; and þis meveþ many men to hate þes newe religiouse, for þis newe dyversite quenchiþ love and makiþ hate. Ȝhe, ȝit þei han sum fendis manere, þat þei haten her owne breþeren, and turmenten hem, for þei holden wiþ Goddis lawe aȝens heris*. [heres, E.]*. [aȝens beris; i.e. against theirs,—the friars' law.]; and certis þei loven to litil oþirs, but feynen, to spoile hem of her goodis. And þus seiþ Crist to hise disciplis þat, for þei ben not of þis world, but he haþ chosen hem of þis world, herfor þe world hatiþ hem. And if þou lernest of þe world to hate þus, þi love is quenchid, but if þou hatist bi Cristis lawe men of þis world for þis synne, and wiþdrawist hem fro þe world, þanne þou lovest þese men in God. For þe world is takun here, for men over|comen bi þe world, þat loven more worldeli þingis þan Goddis lawe, or good of vertues. And of þis world seiþ Crist, þat it hatiþ hise disciplis.
And, for þis lore passith oþer in profit and in holynesse, þerfore biddiþ Crist hem to þenke on his word þat he haþ seidPage 174here to hem, for þanne þei overcomen þis world; and herfore seiþ Joon evangelist, Breþeren, what man is he þat over|comeþ þe world? Certis noon, but if he trowe þat Jesus is Goddis Sone. If we holden þis ground in feiþ þat Crist is verri God and man, and over þis trowe wel his lyf, and alle hise wordis þat he seiþ, we shal overcomun þis world and alle þe helpers of þe fend. For, as Crist seiþ soþeli, þer is no servaunt more þan his lord is; and so Crist is more boþe in vertue and in worþinesse þan ony oþer man mai be; and siþ Crist suffride þus and tauȝte Cristene men þis lore, what man shulde we trowe or sue in oure lyf but Crist? And neiþer þe world ne þe fend mai in þis harme a man; and so confortiþ Crist hise membris bi two knyttingis of treuþe, If men of þis world have pursued Crist, þane þei shulen pursue hise membris; and if þei han kept hise wordis, þei shulen kepe hise disciplis wordis. And þis is liȝt for to knowe; for al þat shal be moot nedis be; for it is more hard to fendis to pursue þe persone of Crist þan to pursue hise membris, and þus þe liȝter wolen þei do. But oo confort lieþ here, þat as Crist convertide summe þat weren men of þe world, so shulen hise disciplis do. And þus þei shulen not worche in veyn to kepe his lawe as he biddiþ, for ech man þat shal worche mote have an hope of sum good ende, for dispeire of sich an ende wolde lette a man for to worche.
But þe blyndenesse of þe worlde þat turmentiþ Crist wiþ hise lymes, is unknowinge in bileve*. [The words þat—bileve are excluded from the Italics in E.], þat þei knowe not Cristis Fadir. For if þei knewe wel Cristis Fadir, þanne after þei shulden knowe his Sone, and þat þese two ben o God; but who wolde stryve aȝens þis God? And so defaute of bileve, and uncunnynge þat men have, gendren al yvel dedes; and þus ech synner is a fool; and if men knewen Goddis power and his witt in þes two persones, how he mai not forȝete synne to punishe it whanne it is tyme, þanne shulden men dreden to synne, for knowinge of þes two persones. But þis feiþ is oþer weie in wakyng*. [The words þat—bileve are excluded from the Italics in E.] or in slepynge. But Crist reproveþ þis unbileve, and seiþ, if he hadde not comen and spoke not þus wiþ hem, þis synne shulde not þei have hadde. For siþ Crist moste nedis have come in his manhede as he cam,*. [oþer awey in wantyng, E.]Page 175 and alle þe dedes þat he dide, have do to men as he dide to hem, þis greet synne shulde not have be, of unkynde untreuþe of Jewes. For þis was gret unkyndnesse, to þis manere trete þere broþer, þat algatis mekeli dide so grete kyndness aȝen; and it was an opyn untreuþe, to þis manere hate her God; but now þese Jewes han noon excusinge of þis synne. And herfore seiþ Crist þus, þat what man þat hatiþ him, he hatiþ also his Fadir, for þei ben boþe oo þing. And, for in ech kynde of þingis is oon first, þat mesuriþ alle oþere þat ben in þat kynde, þerfore in maner of synnes moote be oon first of alle oþer synnes, and marke alle þe oþer, and þat is þe synne of preestis aȝens Jesus Crist. And herfore seiþ Crist þat, if he hadde not do werkes in hem, þat noon oþer man dide, þei hadden not hadde þis synne, but now þei siȝen þis feiþ, and ȝit þei hatiden boþe me and my Fadir. But þis synne was not done wiþouten grete cause, siþ God suffriþ noo synne wiþouten avauntage þat it doiþ. And so was verified þe writinge in her owne lawe, þat þe Jewes hadden wilfulli Crist in hate.