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.

☞Of the true vse of fastinge. ¶The .xvi. Chapter.

THe vse yea rather the abuse of fasting in the Popes king¦dome* was verie wicked and worthye to be abhorred of y faith¦fnll. For besides the fondnesse of the symple people in abusing the noble vetue of fasting for want of knowledg vnto many and sun¦drye supersticous and vngodlye purposs as partelye heretofore we haue heard: ther haue not wā¦ted among them that profes diui¦nitie whych both in their sermōs and writyngs corrupted the true and godlye vse of fastynge. For they haue taughte, that fastynge of it selfe is so worthye a vertue, Page  [unnumbered] and of so greate power, that it is hable to satysfye for synnes,* to appease the wrathe of God, to re¦concile vs to god, to deserue righ¦teousnesse and to wynne euerla∣stynge lyfe. Thys doctryne is an enemye to the free grace of god, iniurious to the fruites and me∣rites of Christes passion and by no meanes to be receiued of the faithfull Christians.* For all be it fastinge bee wythoute doubte a worthye fruite of repentaunce, and pleaseth God, when hee that fasteth, humbleth hym selfe in the syghte of God, confesseth hys synne, repenteth hym of hys mysdedes, calleth for mer∣cye, beleueth to bee forgeuen for Christes sake, and studyeth ear∣nestly frō hēce forth to lead a life Page  [unnumbered] comformable to the rule of gods worde, yet is it not of such vertue in it selfe, that it is hable to bring vnto vs those good things which we looke for at the hande of God thorowe Christe oure Lorde, I meane the fauoure of God, the forgiuenes of sinnes, the gifte of the holye ghoste, a newe hearte stuffed with spiritual affects, righ¦teousnes, peace, quietnes of con∣science, and euerlastinge life.

These be the singulare and free giftes of God, geuen only of him to so manye as be borne a newe by the holye ghost, and beleue in him. If the fastes of the holy men of whome we hearde here to fore had bene directed vnto that end, that is, if by their fastes they had soughte to be iustified,* and tour∣ned theyr eyes from that blessed Page  [unnumbered] sede, in whome all nacions of the earthe were promised to be bles∣sed, so had theyr fastes bene no commended but discommended of God, not fauoured but abhor∣red, not receiued but reiected.

But theyr fastes came from a pe¦nitent and faithful heart toward God, and were exercised of them vnto godly purposes, as we haue hearde, they seekinge saluacion onlye at the mercyfull hande of God for the promysed seede sake therefore were boothe they and theyr fastes allowed of God.* Let vs therefore learne the true vse of fastinge, that we maie knowe to what ende oure fastes oughte to be directed, least while we seke for medicine, we find poison, and receiue for saluacion, damnaciō.