thing for which he oughte to repente. Wepynge, and nought for to stynte to doon synne, may nought avayle. But natheles, men shal hope that at every tyme that man fallith, be it never so ofte, that he may arise thrugh penitence, if he have grace; but certeyn it is a gret doute. For as saith seint Gregory, scarcely ariseth he out of his synne that is charged with the charge of yvel usage. And therfore repentaunt folk that stinte for to synne, and leave synne er that synne leaves them, holy chirche holdeth them sure of their salvacioun. And he that synneth, and verraily repentith him in his last ende, holy chirche yit hopeth his salvacioun, by the grete mercy of oure Lord Jhesu Crist, for his repentaunce; but take ye the sure way.

And now sith that I have declared yow, what thing is penitence, now shul ye understonde, that ther be thre actiouns of penitence. The first is, that if a man be baptized after that he hath synned. Seint Augustyn saith unless he be penitent for his olde synful lif, he may not bygynne the newe clene lif. For certes, if he be baptized withoute penitence of his olde gilt, he receyveth the mark of baptisme, but nought the grace, ne the remissioun of his synnes, til he have repentaunce verray. Another defaute is this, that men do deedly synne after that thay have receyved baptisme. The thridde defaute is, that men fallen into venial synne after there baptisme fro day to day. Therof saith seint Austyn, that penitence of goode men, and of humble folk, is the penitens of every day.

The species of penitence be thre. That oon of them is solemne, another is comune, and the thridde is pryvé. Thilke penaunce that is solemne, is in tuo maners; as is to be put out of holy chirche in lente, for slaughtre of childre, and such maner thing. Another is, whan a man hath synned openly, of which synne the fame is openly spoken in the contré; and thanne holy chirche by judgement streyneth him to do upon penaunce. Comune penaunce is, that prestes enjoynen men comunly in certeyn caas, as for to goon, peradventure, naked in pilgrimage, or barfot. Privé penaunce is thilk that men doon alday for privé synnes, of whiche we schryve us prively, and receyven privé penaunce.

Now shalt thou understonde what bihoveth and is necessarie to verray parfyt penitence; and this stondith in thre thinges, contricioun of hert, confessioun of mouth, and satisfaccioun. For whiche saith seint Johan Crisostom, penitence distreyneth a man to accepte benignely every peyne that him is enjoyned with contricioun of herte, and schrift of mouth, with satisfaccioun, and in werking of alle maner of humility. And this is fruytful penitence agayn tho thre thinges, in which we anger oure Lord Jhesu Crist; this is to sayn, by delit in thinking, by recklessness in speking, and by wicked synful werkyng. Against these thre wickid giltes is penitence, that may be likned unto a tre.

The roote of this tre is contricioun, that hydith him in the hert of him that is verray repentaunt, right as the roote of a tree hidith him in the earthe. Of the roote of contricioun springeth a stalk, that bereth braunches and leeves of confessioun and fruyt of satisfaccioun. For whiche Crist saith in his Gospel, do fruyt worthy of penitence, for by this fruyt may men knowe this tree, and nought by the roote that is hyd in the hert of a man, nor by the braunches nor the levys of confessioun. And therfore oure Lord Jhesu Christ saith thus, by the fruyt of them shul ye knowe them. Of this roote eek springeth a seed of grace, the which seed is moder of safety, and this seed is egre and hote. The grace of this seed springeth of God, thrugh remembraunce of the day of doom, and of the peynes of helle. Of this matier saith Salomon, that in the drede of God man forleteth his synne. The hete of this seed is the love of God and the desiring of the joye durable. The hete draweth the hert of man to God, and maketh him hate his synne. For sothe, ther is nothing that serveth so wel to a child, as the mylk of his nurse, nor nothing is to him more abominable than the milk whan it is mingled with othere mete. Right so the synful man that loveth his synne, thinketh it is to him most swete of eny thing; but fro that tyme that he loveth firmly oure Lord Jhesu Crist, and desireth the lif durable, ther is to him nothing more abominable. For sothly the lawe of God is the love of God. For which Davyd saith, I have loved thy lawe, and hated wikkednesse and hate; he that loveth God, keepeth his lawe and his word. This tree saw the prophete Daniel in spirit, upon the visioun of Nabugodonosor, whan he counseiled him to do penaunce. Penaunce is tre of lif to them that it receyve; and he that holdeth him in verray penitence, is blessed, after the sentence of Salomon.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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