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Fire of Love
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CHAPTER XXX

OF GOD’S PRIVY DOOM: AND THAT THEY THAT FALL AGAIN BE NOT DEEMED BY US: AND OF GREAT ARGUMENTS AGAINST PURCHASOURS

But some are wont to ask how it can be that many that have led the hardest life and have utterly forsaken this world’s joy, afterwards dread not to slide again into sin; and they shall not end in a good end.

If we will not err let us be in peace from proudly deeming. To us it longs not to know God’s privy doom: truly after this life all things as needs shall be shown. All the ways of our Lord’s dooms are merry, that is to say true and righteous; for neither He reproves one withouten very right, nor another, withouten mercy that is righteous, He chooses unto life. Therefore we ought to consider, that the clothing of His clearness is as a groundless pit; wherefore we ought, whiles we are in this way, to dread, and in no wise to presume unwisely; for man wots not whether he be worthy wrath or love, or by what end he shall pass from this life. The good ought to dread that they fall not into ill; and the ill may trow that they can rise from their malice. Forsooth if they bide in their covetousness and their wickedness, in vain they hope themselves sicker of mercy, whiles their wickedness is not left; for sin, before it be forsaken, is never forgiven; nor yet then unless satisfaction be behight and that a sinner shirk not to fulfill it as soon as he can.

But the mighty men and the worldly rich that ever hungrily burn in getting possessions of others, and by their goods and riches grow in earthly greatness and worldly power—buying with little money what, after this passing substance, was of great value—or have received in the service of kings or great lords great gifts, without meed, that they might have delights and lusts with honours: let them hear not me but Saint Job: Ducunt inquit in bonis dies suos et in puncto ad infernum descendent; that is to say: ‘Their days they led in pleasure, and to hell they fall in a point.’

Behold, in a point they lose all that they studied all their life to get; with these worldly wisdom has dwelt that, before God, is called folly, and fleshly wit, that is enmity to God, they knew. Therefore with mighty torments they shall suffer because knowing God they glorify not God but themselves and have vanished in their thoughts; calling themselves wise they are now made fools; and they, that have felt the joy and delight of this world, are come to the deepness of stinking hell.

And yet forsooth among all that are bound with the vice of this world, in none, as I suppose, is less trust of salvation than of these the people call false purchasours. When they soothly have spent all their strength and youth in getting the possessions of another by wrong and law; and afterwards in age they rest, sickerly keeping that they with wrong have gotten. But because their conscience is feared, wickedness gives witness to condemnation only when they cease from cursed getting; they dread not to use other men’s goods as if they were their own. For if they should restore all, full few should be left for themselves. And because they are proud they shame to beg; or they will not fall from their old honour, therefore they say they cannot dig or labour. Also, deceived by fiends, they choose rather to eschew worldly wretchedness that they may suffer the endless pain of hell everlastingly.

Such forsooth whiles they have lordship in this world oppress the small by the power of their tyranny; forsooth to be raised into such melody of this exile is not a matter of dread to others but rather joy; for lest God’s chosen should be such they are refrained by God, David being witness: Ne timueris cum dives factus fuerit homo, etc. ‘When man is made rich dread not, nor when joy of his house is multiplied’; for when he dies he takes not all, nor his joy goes not with him; nor the drop of water, that is to say of mercy, comes not to the tongue of the rich man burning in hell. In his dying he loses all his joy, and only sin goes with him to the land of darkness, for the which he shall be punished withouten end.

Explicit liber primus Incendii Amoris Ricardi Hampole heremite, translatus a latino in Angelicum, per fratrem Richardum Misyn heremitam, et ordinis carmelitarum, Ac sacre theologie bachalareum, Anno domini Millesimo ccccxxxv. </div3> <pb/> </div2>

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