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 .ii. Chapter.

THis abstinence or forbearing of meates dyd alwayes con∣tinewe at the least one whole day withoute receiuinge of anye corporal sustenance,* many times ii. or .iii, daies, as the historyes of the holye scripture teach vs. The Israelits, whē they sawe so great a multitude of their people slain of the Beniamites in the battell, wente vp and came vnto Bethel where the arke of the appoynte∣ment of God was in those dayes, wepte, sate there praying before the lord, and fasted the same day vnto euen, and offered burntoffe ringes and peace offeringes be∣fore the Lorde. Again,* when the Page  [unnumbered] Israelites gathered together a Mizpha, lamentiug their sinnes and prayinge vnto the Lorde for healpe againste the Philistines, they fasted the whole daye. So likewise did Dauid and thei that were with him, when they heard, that Saule and his sonnes were slaine in battell.* Nehemiah fa∣sted two dayes together or moo. For hee saide, as it is written of hym.* I sate me downe and wept, and mourned certaine daies and fasted and praied before the god of heauē. We reade that Quene Esther* and her Maidens wyth all the Iewes that were founde at Susan, fasted thre dayes and three nightes together, and dyd neyther eate nor dryncke. Mo∣ses, Elias and Christe fasted for∣tye dayes aud as manye nightes Page  [unnumbered] wythoute receiuinge of anye cor∣porall foode, but suche fastes are not to be practised, for asmuch as they are maruelous and past the boūdes of mens nature, and are done onlye by the vnsearcheable power and mightie worcking of God in few of his creatures. But the common manner of fastinge among the true godly was, when they did faste, to abstaine from al meate the whole daie til nighte, that they mighte the more frelye gyue theyr minde to spiritual ex∣ercises, and at night to take some refeccion moderatli yea and that with thanckes geuing. And on thys manner as some fasted but one or .ii. dayes together, so some fasted manye, euerye one as they were moued by the spirit of God, and as occasyon requyred.

Page  [unnumbered]We reade that the Prophete Daniel* fasted thus thre weekes together. Hys wordes are these: I Daniel mourned for the space of thre weekes, so that I had no liste to eate breade, as for fleshe and wine there came none wyth∣in my mouthe. No, I did not once annoynte myselfe, till the whole thre wekes were oute. The scrip¦ture testifieth, that the vertuous womā Iudith* fasted al the daies of her lyfe, excepte the sabbothes and new moanes & the solempne dayes, that the people of Israell kepte. Likewise reade we of An∣na the Daughter of Phanuell, whych departed not from the tem¦ple, but serued god with fastings and praiers night and daye.* On this maner did the Apotles after Christes ascension & many other Page  [unnumbered] godlye menne in the primatyue church fast, So that their custom was on that daye that they dyd fast, to eat nothing til night, but to occupy them selues about such godlye exersyes, as here to fore are mencioned.