ÞE GOSPEL ON PETRIS AND POULIS EVYN.
—JOHN xxi. [15.]
ÞIS gospel telliþ how Petre and oþir preestis shulden love God, and travailen in his chirche. And, for þis love stondiþ in þe grace of God, þerfore Crist clepiþ Petre, Symount, Joones soone. For whoso prechiþ to þe peple and techiþ hem Goddis lawe, he is þat ilke in whom is Goddis grace; and juste eldris may disserve grace to þer children, as it is teld bifore of eldris of Joon Baptist. Crist in his laste speche wiþ Petre apostle axide him þries where*. [wheþer, E.] he lovede him; and his bileve is aweie, þat troweþ not*. [So E; the words þat troweþ not are om. in A.] þat Crist seide þus for to prynte his love in Petre, and his successouris.
And þus Christ axide first, Symount, Joones sone, lovest þou me more þan þese? And Petre seide to Crist: Ȝhe, Lord, þou wost þat Y love þee. Petre*. [So E; Petre is italicized in A.] was here curteys and temprid fro presump|cioun, for he seide not þat he lovede Crist betere þan any oþer apostle, but he seide, Crist wiste wele þat he lovede him. And here Petre confesside þat Crist knewe al þing. But Christ seide to Petre, in shewing of þis love, þat he shulde fede his lambren, bi þe lawe of Crist; as who seiþ, if þou love me, þou most do þis dede. Þe secounde tyme axide Christ where Symount Joones sone lovede him. And Petre seide to Crist, Ȝhe, Lord, þou wost þat I love þee. And Christ seide to Petre, to conferme þis word, þat he shulde fede his lambren, in lore of þer soule. For as mannis soule is betre þan is þe bodi of him, so feeding of his soule is betere þan is feding of his bodi. And siþ lambren of Crist ben oo bodi wiþ Crist, more love myȝte no man shewe þan þus for to fede his lambren. But ȝit Christ axide þe þridde tyme, where Symount Petre lovede him. And Petre hadde sorewe þat Christ axide þis þus ofte, and seide aȝen to Crist, Lord, þouPage 367woost alle þingis, þou wost þat I love þee. And Crist bad him shewe þis in dede, and fede his sheep, þat is more þan þes oþer, as sheep passen lambren.
No man þat is in bileve drediþ of þis gospel, þat ne Crist chargide þes wordis ech bi resoun; and so he tauȝte apostlis to feede his sheep in pasturis of holi writt, and not in roten pasturis, as ben fablis and lesingis and lawes of men. Þe pasture everemore grene wiþ treuþis þat nevere more failen, is þe lawe of holi writt, þat lastiþ in þe toþer world. But, for a good heerde shulde kepe his sheepe fro wolves, and defende hem fro scabbis and fro rendinge, þerfore Crist bad Petre þries þat he shulde kepe his sheepe. Crist tauȝte not to his heerde to reise up a croyserie and kille his sheep, wiþ his lambren, and spoilen hem of þeir goodis; but þis is lore of Anticrist, þat þe fend haþ now brouȝt in; and bi þis it is knowen þat þes ben not Petris vikeris.
And Crist techiþ Petre, and in him alle his vikeris, how it falliþ to him to do aȝen his firste will. Soþli, soþli, I seie to þee, whanne þou were ȝonge þou girdist þee, and wentist whidir þat þou woldist; but now, whanne þou wexist oolde, anoþer shal girde þee, and shal lede þee þe weie which þou wolt not, of þi silf. And þis word seide Crist for to telle to þe Chirche bi what deþ Petre shulde clarifie God. For Crist seiþ bifore, in þe gospel of Joon, þat þe moste propirte þat followiþ a good herde is, þat he putte his lyf for his sheep, for þus dide Crist, and wolde þat Petre þus suede him. And þe moste contrarie condicioun, þat sueþ Anticrist, is to putte his sheepis lyves for his cursid lordship.