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 .i. Chapter.

THe true and Christen fast is frely and willing¦lye to abstaine not only from al kind of meates and drynckes,* but also from all those thynges, wherein the fleshe hathe pleasure and delectacion, whiche abstinence or forbearing of meates, dryncks and other ple¦sures, wherein the outward man deliteth, riseth either of an hearte contryte and sorowefull for the synnes commytted against god, or elsse of a minde feruentlye ge∣uen to godlinesse.

That thys is a true diffinicion of the Christen faste,* it maye bee Page  [unnumbered] easelye proued oute of the holy scryptures. Fyrste to whome is it vnknowen, that when the ho∣lye menne in tymes paste fasted, theyr maner was, so long as the faste continued, to abstaine from al kinde of meates and drinckes and from all pleasures wherein the fleshe deliteth, and wholye to gyue them selues (all worlde∣lye affaires sette aparte) to god∣lye exercyses,* as to the heartye and vnfayened lamentynge of theyr synnes, where wyth to much vnkindelye they hadde offended theyr Lorde God, and prouoked hys fearse wrathe and venge∣aunce to fall on them to feruente prayer and diligente calling on the name of God for turnyng a∣waye hys heauye dyspleasure Page  [unnumbered] from theym, and for remission of theyr synnes thorowe faith in the holy sacrifice to come of that bles¦sed seede of the woman, which by hys one and alone oblacion they beleued, shulde reconcile manne∣kinde to God the father, pacifye his wrathe, and make him a mer∣cyfull Lord to the hearinge and readinge of goddes worde, to the comorting of one another, to the studie of amendemente of life, to the prouisyon makynge for the poore, to the redresse of abuses in ye common weale to the planting of true godlines, and abolishing of all wicked and straunge rely∣gion.* Of thys maner of fastinge speaketh the Prophete when he saithe, halowe ye a fast, meaning that they whiche faste, shoulde in the tyme of theyr fasting occupy Page  [unnumbered] them selues in spirituall and not in worldly exercises, or elsse is it no faste before God.