WILLIAM CICILL hauing taken much profit by the reading of this Treatise following, wisheth vnto eue∣rie Christian by the reading there∣of like profit with increase from GOD.
MOst gentle and Christian Reader, if matters should bee rather confirmed by their reporters, than the reports warran∣ted by the matters, I might iustlie bewaile our time, wherin euill deeds be well wor∣ded, and good acts euill cleaped. But sin∣cere truth is, that things be not good for their praises; but be praised for their good∣nesse. I doo not mooue thee to like this Christan Treatise, bicause I haue mind to praise it; but I exhort thee to mind it, and for the goodnes thou shalt allow it, for whose liking I labour not to obteine, onelie mooued by mine example, their iudgement Iregard, chieflie confirmed by the matter. Trulie our time is so disposed to grant good names to euill fruits, and ex∣cellent termes to meane works, that neither can good deeds enioie their due names being defrauded by the euill, neither excellent works can possesse their woorthie termes, being forestalled by the meane: insomuch that men seeke rather how much they can, than how much they ought to saie, inclining more to their pleasure, than to their iudgement, and to shew themselues rather eloquent, than the matter good: so that neither the goodnes of the cause can mooue them to saie more, neither the euilnes lesse. For if the excellencie of Page [unnumbered] this Christian contemplation, either for the goodnes herein to mar∣uell appearing, either for the profit herevpon to the Reader ensu∣ing, should be with due commendation followed, I of necessitie should either trauell to find out new words, the old being antici∣pated by euill matters, or wish that the common speech of praising were spared vntill conuenient matters were found to spend it: such is the plentie of praising, and scarsenes of deseruing.
Wherefore lacking the maner in words, and not the matter in deed of high commendation, I am compelled to keepe in my iudg∣ment with silence, trusting whom my report could not haue moo∣ued to like this present Treatise, the woorthinesse of the matter shall compell to giue it honour.
Anie earthlie man would soone be stirred to see some mysterie of magike, or practise of Alchumie, or perchance some inchant∣ment of elements; but thou which art christened, hast here a woon∣derfull mysterie of the mercie of God; a heauenlie practise of rege∣neration; a spirituall inchantment of the grace of God. If ioie and triumph be shewed when a kings child is borne to the world; what ioie is sufficient when Gods child is regenerated from heauen? The one is flesh, which is borne of flesh; the other is spirit, which is borne of spirit. The one also shall wither like the grasse of the earth in short time; the other shall liue in heauen beyond all time. If the finding of one lost sheepe be more ioifull, than the hauing of nine∣tie and nine; what ioie is it to consider the returne of a straie child of almightie God, whose returne teacheth the ninetie and nine to come to their fold? Euen such cause of ioie is this, that the Angels in heauen take comfort herein. Be thou therefore ioifull when a no∣ble child is newlie borne; shew thy selfe glad when the lost sheepe hath wonne the whole flocke: be thou not sad, wherein Angels reioise.
Here maist thou see one, if the kind may mooue thee, a woman; if degree may prouoke thee, a woman of high estate; by birth, made noble; by marriage, most noble; by wisedome, godlie; by a migh∣tie King, an excellent Queene; by a famous HENRIE, a renow∣med KATHERINE; a wife to him that was a King to Realmes: refusing the world, wherein she was lost, to obtaine heauen, where∣in she may be saued: abhorring sinne, which made hir bound, to receiue grace, whereby she may be free: despising flesh the cause Page [unnumbered] of corruption, to put on the spirit the cause of sanctification: forsa∣king ignorance wherein she was blind, to come to knowledge, whereby she may see: remoouing superstition, wherewith she was smothered, to imbrace true religion, wherewith she may reuiue.
The fruit of this Treatise (good Reader) is thine amendment: this onelie had, the writer is satisfied. This good Ladie thought no shame to detest hir sinne, to obteine remission; no vilenes, to become no∣thing; to be a member of him, which is all things in all; no follie to forget the wisedome of the world, to learne the simplicitie of the Gospell at the last; no displeasantnesse to submit hir selfe to the schoole of the crosse, the learning of the Crucifix, the booke of our redemption; the verie absolute librarie of Gods mercie and wise∣dome. This waie thought she hir honour increased, and hir state permanent, to make hir earthlie honour heauenlie, and neglect the transitorie for the euerlasting.
Of this I would thee warned, that the profit may ensue. These great mysteries and graces be not well perceiued, except they be surelie studied; neither be they perfectlie studied, except they be diligentlie practised; neither profitablie practised, without amend∣ment. See and learne hereby what she hath doone, then maist thou practise, and amend that thou canst doo: so shalt thou practise with ease, hauing a guide, and amend with profit, hauing a zeale. It is easier to see these, than to learne: begin at the easiest to come to the harder; see thou hir confession, that thou maiest learne hir re∣pentance; practise hir perseuerance, that thou maiest haue like amendment; despise thy selfe in eschewing vice, that thou maiest please God in asking grace: let not shame hinder the confession, which hindered not the offense. Be thou sure if we knowledge our sinnes, God is faithfull to forgiue vs, and to clense vs from all vn∣righteousnes. Obeie the Prophets saieng; Declare thy waies to the Lord.
Thus far thou maist learne to knowe thy selfe; next this be thou as diligent to releeue thy selfe in Gods mercie, as thou hast beene to reueale thy selfe in thine owne repentance. For God hath con∣cluded all things vnder sinne, bicause he would haue mercie vpon all, who hath also borne our sinnes in his bodie vpon the tree, that we should be deliuered from sinne, and should liue vnto righteous∣nes, by whose stripes we be healed. Here is our anchor; here is our Page [unnumbered]shepheard; here we be made whole; here is our life, our redempti∣on, our saluation and our blisse: let vs therefore now feed by this gratious Queenes example, & be not ashamed to become in con∣fession Publicanes, since this noble Ladie will be no Pharisie.
And to all Ladies of estate I wish as earnest mind to followe our Queene in vertue, as in honour, that they might once appeare to prefer God before the world, and be honourable in religion, which now be honourable in vanities; so shall they, as in some vertuous Ladies of right high estate, it is with great comfort seene, taste of this freedome of remission of the euerlasting blisse, which excee∣deth all thoughts and vnderstandings, and is prepared for the holie in spirit. For the which let vs with our intercessi∣on in holines and purenes of life, offer our selues to the heauenlie father an vndefiled host: to whom be eternall praise and glo∣rie throughout the earth without end,