Academic journal article The Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History

Mirk's Festial and Theodoric Rood

Academic journal article The Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History

Mirk's Festial and Theodoric Rood

Article excerpt

B. Pentecost Sermon

Powell, ed., John Mirk's Festial 39/69-89 (London, BL, MS Cotton Claudius A.II., fol. 76r)

Now to wytyn why pat Holy Gost com in lyknes of tonges rather pan any ojaer membur of mannus body, and why to ham syttyng infere rather pan standyng. pan to pe forme, why he com in lyknes of tongys, pis was pe cause: for a tong is pe best membur of a man whyl it is wel rewlyd ande pe werste whan it is oute of rewle. For as Seynt Iamys sayth: "A tong is fyred wyth pe fyre of helle', and may neure be schastysed wyl pat fyre brenneth hur. And for pe tong moste nedys speke pe wordys of pe feyth, perfore pe Holy Goste com in tongys of fyre. For ryght os blessed fyre ourecomyth and dryueth away pe fyre of leyte, righte so pe fyre of tonges of pe Holy Gost schulde dryuen away and ourecomyn pe fyre of helle pat reyneth pat tyme and 3et doth in mannus tong, and for encheson pat pe apastolus and alle oper prechorus affur hem schuldyn spekyn brennyng wordys, pat is, neyjaer for loue ne for hate ne drede of deth sparon to tellyn pe pepul here vyse and here synne pat reyneth wythin hem, and seyn boldely pat whosoeure wil not leue hys synne and amendyn hym bot contyneth to hys deth-day he schal wythoute remedy go to pe fyre of helle, and he pat wil leuyn hys synne and amende hym, pagh he hadde syngyd neuer so greuoslyche beforen, he schal go to pe blessed fyre of hevn, pat is, pe precious loue of God pat brennyth among angelus and alle holy seyntus.

Powell, ed., "A Critical Edition of the Temporale Sermons of MSS Harley 2247 and Royal 18 B XXV" 3 vols. (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of London), II, 23/77-101 (222-223)

Now it is to witte why the Holy Goste come in pe symylitude of brennyng tonges raper pan in eny oper parte of mannes body. And whi appered he to pem sittyng raper pan stonding? To pe first question pis is the reson and answere: for a tonge is pe beste parte or membre of mannes body while it is wele rewlid and wele gyded, and it is pe worst whatn it is evil gyded. And because pe tunge must pronownce, vttir and shewe pe wordis of pe feith, perefore pe Holi Goste come in pe symylitude of a tunge brennyng. For right as holy men putte away and ouercom pe fyre of lightenyng with prayer, so pe fyre of pe tonge of pe Holy Goste shulde putte away and ouercom pe fyre of lightenyng with prayer, so pe fyre of pe tonge of pe Holy Goste shulde putte away and ouerecom pe fervent fire of hell. And because pe apostelis and all oper after shuld speke brennyng wordis, pat is to sey, not to cese to preche pe worde of God nor spare for loue, fauoure, mede nor drede of depe to rebuke syn and vices pat rennyth in pe peple and sey boldely: he pat wolde not leve his syn nor amende his life but contynew in his visyous lyving vnto his dying day he shall goo withoute remedy to pe fyre of hell and be dampned withoute ende. And he pat woll sake his syn and mende his life, also be it he hath synned neuer so grevously he shall goo to blisse of hevyn.

Caxton 1483 (STC 17957, sigs. e1v-2r) now to wete why the holy ghoost came in liknesse of tonges rather than in ony other parte of mannes body & to hem sittyng rather than stondyng / than the first is this cause / for a tonge is best membre of mannes body while it is wel reuled & the werst whan it is out of reule / for as saynt lames sayth a tunge is fyred with fyre of helle that may not be chastysed whyle the fyre brenneth here & for tunges must speke the wordes of the feyth therfore the holy ghoost came in liknesse of tunges of fyre / for right as blessed men ouercome & dryue aweye the fyre of lyghtenyng / right so the tunge of the fyre of the holy ghoost shold dryue aweye & ouercome the fyre of helle that reyned that tyme & yet doeth in mannes tunge / & for encheson that the appostles and al other prechours after hem shold speke brennyng wordes that is neyther for loue ne for awe / ne for drede of deth shold spare to telle the peple her synnes that reynyth with hem & saith who that wyl not leue his synne & amende hym but contynuelly continueth vnto his lyues ende & to his deth day he shal without remedye goo to pe fyre of hell / & who [sig. …

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