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 .viii. Chapter.

NOwe as touchinge that fast which springeth of a minde,* geuen to godlynes, it canne not be disalowed of God. For hee that seeketh to please God, and to auaunce hys glory by any god¦ly meanes, and that h may haue the grace soto doo, fasteth, pray∣eth, studieth, laboureth, his fastīg his prayinge, his studyinge, hys Page  [unnumbered] labouringe canne not but please God, and haue good and fortu∣nate successe. On thys maner fa∣sted Daniell,* that he myghte be the more apt to receiue the know¦ledge of goddes misteries, which were afterwarde declared vnto hym of the aungel. So lykewise dyd Esdras.* Of thys godlie mā∣ner of fastynge spake Christe,* whē the Disciples of Ihon came vnto hym. and demaunded, whye hys Disciples fasted not, as they and the Pharises dyd. To whome Christe aunswered and sayde. Canne the brydegromes chyldren mourne so longe as the brydegrome is wyth theym? But the dayes wyll come, when the brydegrome shall be taken from them, and then shall they faste. Accordynge to thys Prophecye, Page  [unnumbered] when Christ, whych is the bride∣grome was taken from them, I speake concernynge hys corpo∣ral presence (for by hys spirite he is wyth the faithful vnto the end of the worlde) they mourned, fa∣sted and praied for the gift of the holy Ghost,* whych was promised to be sent vnto thē for to be theyr Comfortour and teacher,* and to lede thē into al truth,* & the holye ghoste was geuē vnto thē accor∣dīg to y promise of Christ & their expectaciō. They fasted also and prayed after they had receyued the holy Ghost, that they myghte worthelye fulfyl that offyce whi∣che was commited vnto theym, that by theyr preachynge manye thousandes myght be conuetted and saued,* and it so came to pas. The holy and deuoute wyddow Anna fasted and prayed contina¦allye*Page  [unnumbered] in the temple for the com∣myng of the promised Messias, & she sawe him before her death. Corelius that godly mā beyng troubled in his mynde,* as it may be thoughte wyth the multitude of religions, whych at that tyme reygned in the world, as the reli∣gion of the Gentyles, of the Ie∣wes, of the Pharise is, of the Sa¦duces, of the Essees, and the late sprong vp religion of the Chri∣stians humbled hym selfe in the syghte of God, mourned, fasted, gaue almesse and prayed, that it woulde please God to declare vnto hym, whych amonge theym al was the true relygyon that he myght obserue the same, frame hys life according vnto that, and so please God. And to obtayne thys thing of God, he continued long fastyng and praying. God Page  [unnumbered] therfore accepted hys fast, heard hys prayer, and graunted hym hys request. The Prophets and Preachers at Antioche,* fasted & prayed, that bothe they them sel∣ues might preach wyth frut, and that other also myght be sente of God, and appoynted vnto that offyce, that the glorye of God myght be set forth, that his word myght be receaued, and that all nacions of the earth myghte be∣leue in hym, and in hys Sonne Iesu Christ. Theyr fastyng and praying wer alowed before god, and theyr desyres were fatisfied. For the holye ghoste sayde vnto them, separat me Barnabas and Saule for the woorke, whereun∣to I haue called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and layed their handes on them thei Page  [unnumbered] lette them go. Paule and Bar∣nabas also fasted when they prai¦ed for the congregacions of Li∣stra,* Iconium, Antioche and Pi¦sydya, and when they ordayned them elders in euery congrega∣cion to teache and instructe them in their absence, and to confirme them in the faythe and doctryne, whiche they had all readye recei∣ued. And God gaue good succes to theyr doctryne and ministraci∣on. Al these fasted of a minde fer∣uentlye geuen vnto godlinesse.

Hitherto haue we learned oute of the holye scryptures, what the true and Christen faste is. Nowe let vs se in fewe woordes, whe∣ther the Popyshe manner of fa∣stinge, whiche we haue so manye yeares vnfruitefullye obserued, be lyke vnto that trade of fasting Page  [unnumbered] which we haue so many yeres vn¦fruitfully obserued, be lyke vnto that trade of fastinge, whiche the word of God hathe painted and setforthe vnto vs.