Stanzas 1ÔÇô5 -


Freer, how many orders bee in earth?
and which is the perfectest order?
of what order art thou?
who made thine order?
what is thy rule?
is there any perfecter rule
than Christ himself made?
If Christs rule be most perfect,
why rulest thou thee not thereafter?
Without more, why shal a freer
be more punished,
if he break the rule
that his patron made,
than if he break the hests
that God himself made.


Approveth Christ any more religions
than one that saint James speaketh of?
If hee approveth no more,
why hast thou left his rule,
and takest another?
Why is a freer apostata,
that leveth his order,
and taketh another sect,
sith there is but one religion of Christ?


Why be ye wedded faster to your habits
than a man is to his wife?
For a man may leave his wife for a year or two,
as many men done;
and if you leave your habite a quarter of a yeare,
ye should be holden apostataes.


Maketh your habit you
men of religion or no?
If it doe, then ever as it weareth,
your religion weareth;
and after that your habit is better,
your religion is better;
and when yee have liggen it beside,
then lig ye your religion beside you,
and been apostataes.
Why buy ye you so precious clothes,
sith no man seeketh such,
but for vaine glorie,
as saint Gregorie sayth?
What betokeneth your great hood,
your scaplerie,
your knotted girdle,
and your wide cope?


Why use ye all one colour
more than other christian men doe?
What betokeneth that ye been clothed
all in one manner clothing?
If yee say it betokeneth
love and charitie,
certes then ye be oft hypocrites,
when any of you hateth another,
and in that that ye wol be said holy
by your clothing.
Why may not a freer weare clothing
of another sect of freers,
sith holinesse stondeth not
in the cloths?
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