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 .xv. Chapter.

Page  [unnumbered]TO faste in secrete,* is not to keepe oure selues close from the sighte of men, and so hy∣dinge our selfes in priuy corners to abstaine frō meate, but not to hunte and hawke after vaine glo¦rye nor the prayse of men,* for our fastinge, nor to seke to be sene of men whyle we faste to the ende, that they may commend & prayse vs, as the hipocrites did, whome Christ reproueth for their vaine glory and ambicion, & saith, they haue their reward, not of god but of mē. We ar counted before god then to fast in secrete, whē we fast with such a minde, yt we wold fast in dede, thoughe no man liuinge did se vs, aud when we regarde more the accōplishment of gods wyll and the subieccion and ta∣ming of our body, then al the glo¦rye Page  [unnumbered] and praise that man can giue vnto vs.* It is lawful for a Chri∣sten man to fast,* to praye to geue almes, or to do anye other good work before the world, so that the desire of worldly praise and vain glorye be not in his minde. For our sauiour Christ saith let your light so shine before mē that they may se your good works & glori∣fy your father which is in heauen S. Paul also saith, be such as no man can complaine on,* and the vnfained sonnes of God without rebuke in the myds of a crooked and peruerse nacion, among whō se that ye shine as lyghtes in the world, holding fast the worde of life.* Again. S. Peter counceleth vs, that where as some backebite vs as euil doers, we shuld leade an honest and godlye life among Page  [unnumbered] them, that they seinge oure good workes maye prayse God in the daye of visitacion. But if we seke anye prayse of men,* and desyre to be magnified for our good dedes doinge, verely then haue we our rewarde not of God but of the worlde. For there is not a more pestiferous infeccion to poisonne anye good woorcke, that it shuld lose the reward before God, then the desyre of vaine glory & world¦lye prayse.* For that it is, which Christ condemneth in the almes dedes, praiers and fastes of the hipocrits.* S. Ihon Chrisostome saith, they that so fast, ye thei plese men rather then God, they haue a labour concerning the afliccion of the body, bt thorow vain glo∣ry thei cā haue no reward of their labour with god, which whē they ought to do it onl for religion or Page  [unnumbered] faithes sake, had rather to seke y vain glory of the world. And ther¦fore saith the Lord,* verely I saye vnto you, thei haue receuied thir reward. S. Austē also saith, some good thinges may be done, & yet they not doing them wel, of whom they ar don. For it is a good thīg to healp a man y is in ieopardy & in daunger,* namely if he be an in innocent. But he that dothe this good dede▪ if he doth it because he loueth the praise of menne rather thē ye glori of god, it is not good y he doth, for as much as he y doth it, is not good. For God forbid, y that shuld be or be coūted a good wil, which glorieth in other, or in it self,* & not in ye lord. Hereto per∣taineth ye saying of. S. Ambrose when thou fastest, boaste not thy selfe, nor bragge not of it, for in so doynge thy faste profyteth the Page  [unnumbered] nothing. Those thinges that are done vnto ostentacion & bosting continew not to be recompensed in the world to come, but they are consumed & brought to noughte with the rewarde of present thin∣ges. Of exchewinge vaine glory oure sauiour Christe gaue vs no table examples in al his doings. When he had healed the Leper,* he said vnto him, se yu tel no man.* After that he hadde restored the two blinde men to theyr syght, he charged them, that no man shuld knowe of it.* And when he hadde made whole the dūme and deafe man, he commaunded them that wer present that they shuld tel it no man. In al these his doinges and such like he gaue vs exāple to le vain glory & worldly praise and onli to seke the glori & honor Page  [unnumbered] of god,* and that we shuld reioice and glorye in nothing but in god alone,* as it is wrytten, he that re¦ioiseth, let him reioise in the lord Therfore all the workes that we do, whether thei be praier, fasting almes deede, watching, visiting of the sicke, comforting of the pri∣sonners, or ani other that be agre¦able to the word of God, we must do them with a single minde, and with such an heart, as being alto¦gether estraūged from vain glo¦ry and worldly praise, seketh onli the honour of god & the accōplish¦ment of his most blessed will. So shal we do our workes in secrete, and oure father,* which seeth in se¦crete shal recompence vs openli

Thus haue we hearde boothe what the true & christen fast is, & also how we ought to fast. Let vs Page  [unnumbered] nowe fall in hand wyth the third and laste parte of thys treatyse, and so make an ende,