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is sown in our minds by our nurses, next cherished by our masters, and, lastly, fed and brought to perfection by our parents. For no one teaches us any good without the expectation of praise, as the reward of merit; whence, being long accustomed to the love of praise, we come at last, in studying to please the majority (and therefore the inferiority), to grow ashamed of being good.
That this plague may be driven the farther from my children, do you, my Gonellus, their mother, and all my friends, chant, inculcate, nay, bellow in their ears, that " vainglory is abject and disgustful; and that there is nothing more excellent than the humble modesty recommended by Christ.” This your prudent kindness will inculcate by teaching them good, rather than by blaming their faults; and you will conciliate their love, not hatred, by your admonitions. To this end nothing can conduce more effectually than reading to them the precepts of the Fathers. These, they know, are not angry with them; and, from their venerable sanctity, their authority must have great weight.
Wherefore if you will read such things, beside their lesson in Sallust, to my Margaret and Elizabeth (as their understandings appear to be riper than those of John and Cecilia), you will increase my own, not less than their obligations to you, which are already great. And my children, dear to me by nature, and more endeared by their letters and virtue, shall become by their superior growth in learning and good manners, under your auspices, superlatively dear to me indeed. Farewell. At Court, Whitsun Eve.
SIR THOMAS MORE TO HIS DAUGHTER
MARGARET. You are too timid and bashful, my dear Margaret, in asking money from a father who is desirous to give it, especially when you made me happy with a letter, every line of which I would not recompense with a piece of gold, as Alexander did those of Cheribus ; but, if my power were equal to my will, I would repay every syllable with an ounce of gold. I have sent you what you asked, and would have added more, were it not so delightful to receive the requests and caresses of a daughter-of you, in particular, whom both knowledge and virtue make most dear to my soul. The sooner you spend this money, in your usual proper way, and the sooner you have recourse to me for more, the greater pleasure you will give to your father. Adieu, my beloved daughter,
LADY JANE GREY TO HER FATHER*. FATHER, ALTHOUGH it hath pleased God to hasten my death by you, by whom my life should rather have been lengthened, yet can I so patiently take it, as I yield God more hearty thanks for shortening my woful days, than if all the world had been given into my possession, with life lengthened at my own will : and albeit I am well assured of your impatient dolors, redoubled many ways, both in bewailing your own woe, and
. Written just before her execution,
especially, as I hear, my unfortunate state ; yet, my dear father, if I may without offence rejoice in my mishaps, methinks in this I may account myself blessed ; that washing my hands with the innocency of my fact, my guiltless blood may cry before the Lord, mercy to the innocent; and though I must needs acknowledge, that being constrained, and, as you well know, continually assayed, in taking the crown upon me, I seemed to consent, and therein grievously offended the queen and her laws; yet do I assuredly trust, that this my offence towards God is so much the less, in that being in so royal an estate as I was, mine enforced honour never mixed with my innocent heart. And thus, good father, I have opened my state to you, whose death at hand, although to you perhaps it may seem right woful, to me there is nothing that can be more welcome, than from this vale of misery to aspire to that heavenly throne of all joy and pleasure with Christ our Saviour. In whose steadfast faith (if it may be lawful for the daughter so to write to her father) the Lord, that hitherto hath strengthened you, so continue you, that at last we may meet in heaven, with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen,
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FROM THE SAME TO LADY KATHARINE GREY,
• A Greek Testament, in a blank leaf of which the letter was written.
than all the precious inines which the vast world can boast of. It is the book, my only best and best beloved sister, of the law of the Lord : it is the testament and last will which he bequeathed unto us wretches and wretched sinners, which shall lead you to the path of eternal joy : and if you with a good mind read it, and with an earnest desire to follow it, no doubt it shall bring you to an immortal and everlasting life. It will teach you to live, and learn you to die. It shall win you more, and endow you with greater felicity than you should have gained by the possession of our woful father's lands. For as if God had prospered him, you should have inherited his honours and manors, so if you apply diligently this book, seeking to direct your life according to the rule of the same, you shall be an inheritor of such riches, as neither the covetous shall withdraw from you, neither the thief shall steal, neither yet the moths corrupt. Desire with David, my best sister, to understand the law of the Lord your God. Live still to die, that you by death may purchase eternal life. And trust not that the tenderness of your age shall lengthen your life : for unto God, when he calleth, all hours, times, and seasons are alike. And blessed are those whose lamps are furnished when he cometh : for as soon will the Lord be glorified in the young as in the old.
My good sister, once again let me entreat thee to learn to die; deny the world, defy the devil, and despise the flesh, and delight yourself only in the Lord ; be penitent for your sins, and yet despair not; be strong in faith, yet presume not; and desire with St. Paul, to be dissolved, and to
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be with Christ, with whom even in death there is life. Be like the good servant, and even at midnight be waking, lest when death cometh and stealeth upon you, like a thief in the night, you be with the servants of darkness found sleeping; and lest for lack of oil you be found like the five foolish virgins, or like him that hath not the wedding garment, and then you be cast into darkness, or banished from the marriage, Rejoice in Christ, as I trust you do ; and seeing that you have the name of a Christian, as near as you can follow the steps, and be a true imitator of your master Christ Jesus; and take up your cross, lay your sins on his back, and always embrace him. Now as touching my death, rejoice, as I do, my dearest sister, that I shall be delivered of this corruption, and put on incorruption ; for I am assured that I shall, for losing of a mortal life, win one that is immortal, joyful, and everlasting; the which I pray God grant you in bis most blessed hour, and send you his all-saving grace to live in his fear, and to die in the true Christian faith. From which, in God's name, I exhort you, that you never swerve, neither for hope of life, nor fear of death. For if you will deny his truth, to give length to a weary and corrupt breath, God himself will deny you, and by vengeance make short what you by your soul's loss would prolong ; but if you will cleave to him, he will stretch forth your days to an uncircumscribed comfort and to his own glory. To the which glory God bring me now, and you hereafter, when it shall please him to call you.
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