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 .xvii. Chapter.

Page  [unnumbered]FYrste forasmuche as the lyfe of manne vpon earthe is no∣thinge* els then a warrefare and contynuall aflycte wyth her ghostly enemies,* seinge also that the fleshe withoute ceasing tho∣rowe the subtile suggestion of sa¦than lusteth contrarye to the spi∣rite, so that man in thys vale of miserye is neuer at quiet, nor hathe so much leasure as once to breathe, so greatlye on euery side is he besieged and compassed a∣boute with cruel enemies, which assaulteth him, and tēpteth hym vehementelye that excepte hee stronglye fyghte agaynste hym wyth the weapons of the Lorde, and also yf hee geueth not dyly∣gente watche, hee streyghtwayes falleth into his aduersaries hāds Page  [unnumbered] and is vtterly vndone. It is con∣neniente, that whosoeuer enten∣deth to gette a gloryous and tri∣umphante victorye ouer hys e∣nemyes, and not lyke a cowarde eyther to be putte to flyghte, or els to be ouercome, and for euer and euer pearish but rather va∣leauntlye to fyghte and neuer to cease tyll he hathe subdued hys ennemyes, that he striuinge cou∣ragiouslye maye obtaine that re∣warde,* whiche is promysed to so manye as fyghte lawefullye, e∣uen the crowne of glorye and the enherytaunce of euerlastynge ioye, it is conuenyente, I saye, that hee seeketh all meanes pos∣syble to auoyde the daunger of hys ennemyes, and so to behaue him self in al his doings that his Page  [unnumbered] aduersaries mai haue no interest in him, nor spye anye voyde place aboute him where they may giue the fyrste aduenture, and by thys meanes be encouraged not only to assaile him, but also to vāquish him. And for as muche as the de∣uil oure heade enemie goeth a∣bout not only hym self lyke a ro∣ringe Lion sekynge whome hee maye deuoure,* but besides innu∣merable thousandes of wycked spirits, which pertaine to his ar∣mye,* and are ready at euery mo∣ment to seeke the destruccion of man, hathe also two speciall ser∣uauntes, whiche daylye procure oure vtter subuersion, I meane the worlde and the fleshe, the one beinge his waitinge man, the o∣ther his hande maide, readye at euery hour to assayle and to sub∣due Page  [unnumbered] man, if diligente watche bee not geuen on oure behalfe: and forasmuch as amonge these our deadlye aduersaryes the flesh is the mooste presente and mortall foo, and an houshoulde ennemye euer at home and neuer without, euen with in oure owne brest, ca∣ryed aboute with vs whersoeuer we goo, and accompanyinge vs what so euer we do and continu∣allye prouokinge vs vnto those wicked acts,* which striue against the heauenlye mocions of gods holye spirite, that by this meanes she maye doo her master the de∣uill greate pleasure by bringing vs to destruccion: if we entende to subdue and get the victory of thys oure houshoulde ennemye the fleshe, let vs knowe for a cer∣tentie, that ther is not a more spe¦dye Page  [unnumbered] waye nor a more presente re∣medy agaynst her assaultes, then godlye fastinge is, which enemy, that is the flesh, beinge once sub∣dued, the forayne ennemyes shal the easelier be kept oute, and we liue in the more quietnesse by the healpe of goddes spirit and fer∣uente prayer.