For the commonwealth

Daily Reading for August 25 • Louis, King of France, 1270

This excellent learning then of Christ must be established in us, that we think us not to be born unto ourselves, but to the honor of God and wealth of all men. . . . This learning will induce men to desire no vengeance, but to be the sons of their Father in heaven, to overcome evil with good, to suffer hurt rather than to do it, to forgive other men’s offences, to be gentle in manners; . . . that in bearing rule they would not so much to excel as to profit all men; that they turn not to their own profit the things which are common, but bestow that they have, yea, and themselves also, upon the commonwealth; that in their titles of honour they refer all such things unto God. . . . For nothing is so comely, so excellent, so glorious to kings, princes, and rules, as in similitude to draw nigh unto the highest, greatest, and best king even Jesus Christ; instead of violence to exercise charity, and to be minister unto all men.

We must so cleave unto the learning of Christ, and be so circumspect therein, that we cloak not our own vices with other men’s faults. For though holy men have sometime done anything not to be followed, . . . yet ought we to do nothing that varieth from Christ; but as we have been like other men in sin, so should we be companions and partners also with them that repent and turn unto God. And as for other men’s deeds, we ought not churlishly so much to bark against them, neither with cruelness to fear them, as with softness and apt means to amend them, and allure them unto Christ.

From “Abridgement of Erasmus’s Enchiridion, or, The Means to be Used in Christian Warfare” by Myles Coverdale, in Writings and Translations of Myles Coverdale, edited by G. Pearson (Cambridge: Parker Society, 1844).

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