A fruitful treatise of fasting wherin is declared what ye Christen fast is, how we ought to fast, [and] what ye true vse of fastyng is. Newlye made by Thomas Becon.
Becon, Thomas, 1512-1567.

¶The .xiii. Chapter.

GOd hath put y goods of this worlde into the ritche mens hands,* that they shuld distri∣bute part of them to the pore peo¦ple. They ar the stewards of god and the dispensatours of his trea¦sures, that they conueniently ly∣uing of them, shuld also with the distribucion of part of them com∣forte the nedy members of Christ If they spend them otherwise thē God hath appointed in his word they shall render a streyghte ac∣countes for it to the highe iudge Christe. They haue nothynge at all, but that they shall be cal∣led too accountes for it euen too the vttermooste farthynge.

If they bee not founde to haue*Page  [unnumbered] vsed theyr talente wel, and vnto the profit of other they shal with that vnprofitable seruaunte of the Gospell bee caste into vtter darckenes, where wepynge and gnashinge of teethe shall be. If they be proued vnmercifull and negligent in the destribucion of the worldlye goodes, surely they shalbe caried with the rich glotō of whom blessed Luke speaketh in the gosple vnto hel,* and there burne in suche cruell and bytter flames, as the fire wherof shal ne¦uer be quenched,* neither shal the worme which shal gnaw the con∣sciences of them that are ther, die at any time, as the prophet saith.

What cause then haue the ritch menne to boaste themselfes and to glory of theyr worldly goodes or to auaunce them selues aboue Page  [unnumbered] other for theyr possessions sake? C•••es none at all, more then a greate mans seruaunte hathe, to whome his Lorde and Master hathe committed hys goodes for a certayne space to kepe, the ser∣uant loking at euery hour▪ when his master wil cal him to accoūts and require them of him againe.

Basilius Magnus hathe a no¦table sentence,* and it is this: He is a very thee and a robber, saith he, which maketh that thing hys own that he hath receiued to des∣tribute and giue abrode.* For the bread that thou retainest & kepest is the bread of the hongri, ye gar∣ment, which y kepest in thy chest, is the garmente of the naked, the sho that is mould with the, is the shoo of him that is vnshod, & the moni, which y hidest in the groūd Page  [unnumbered] is the mony of the nedye. More∣ouerthou doest iniury and plain wrong to so many as thou forsa∣kest, when thou art able to helpe them. Here to pertayneth the sai∣yng of the wyseman.* The bread of the nedy, is the lyfe of y poore, he that defraudeth him of it, is a manslear. God also by the Pro∣phet teacheth, that that fast plea∣seth hym best whych is accompa¦nied wyth the workes of mercye saying:* Breake thy bread to the hungry, and lead the nedye and wayefaring into thy house. Whē thu seest a naked manne couer hym, and despyse not thy fleshe. Mark that he sayth:* Breake thy bread to the hongrye. Certayne that expound this text, saye that thou then breakest thy breade to the hungry, when thou so fastest, Page  [unnumbered] that thou sparest from thine own belly to gyue to the pore hongry man, For a Christen man ought to be no les careful for the poore, then for him selfe. We therefore do breake our bread to the hon∣grye, when wee gyue hym that, whych we our selues necessaryly shoulde haue eaten. So that to annoynte our head, is to breake our bread to the hongri, to lodge the poore in oure house, to gyue clothes to the naked, and to com∣forte accordynge to oure habily∣tye so manye as haue neede of our helpe. Unto these workes of mercy doth our Sauiour Christ exhort vs in the Gospel, saying: when thou makest a dynner or a supper,* cal not thy fryendes, nor thy brethren, neyther thy kyns∣folke, nor thy rytch neyghbours, Page  [unnumbered] leaste they also bid the againe, & a recompence be made the But when thou makeste a tea••e, call the pore, the feble, the lame, and the blinde, and thou shalt be hap¦pye, for they can not recompence the. But thou shalt be recompen∣sed at the resurreccion of the igh¦teous. Again he sayeth, geue al∣mes of those things ye haue and beholde all thinges are cleane vnto you.* But of this we shal en∣treate more largelye when we come to the true vse of fastinge.