A Very Pleasaunt & Fruitful Diologe Called the Epicure by Desiderius Erasmus


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Whereas manye histories of olde & auncient antiquitie,

together, and agree in this, that dignitie, riches, kinred,
worldly pompe, and renoume, doo neither make men better, ne
yet happiar, contrarie too the blynde & fonde iudgement of
the most part of menne: but by the power and strength of the
mynde, that is, learnyng, wysedome, || and vertue, all menne
are hyghly enriched, ornated, & most purely beutified, for
these bee thinges bothe notable, eternall, and verye
familiar betwene the heauenly father & vs. It is therefore


Wherunto you are bothe so ernestly addicte and therin so

exstimulate your grace vnto the study thereof. For that God
him self hath wrought, and fourmed your mynde so apt and



a certayne swete musike or harmonie, that any honest hart
exceadinglye woulde reioyce in the sight therof. Verely,
your grace thinketh plainly all time lost, that is not
bestowed vpon learnyng, which is a verie rare thyng in anye
childe, and rarest of all in a Prince. Thus youre noblenes,
rather desireth vertue and ||A.iii.|| learning the most
surest and excellent treasures, which farre surmounte all
worldly ryches, then anye vanities or trifles. Nowe youre
grace prepareth for the holsome and pleasaunt foode of
the mynde. Now you seke for that whiche you shal fynd
most surest helper and faythfulst councellour in all your

all Englyshe menne with meke and humile heartes shuld desire
GOD to endue your grace with all. Now with diligent labour
you searche for a thyng, as one most myndeful of this
saiyng: Happy is that realme that hath a lerned Prince. Nowe
you trauaile for that, whiche conquereth, and kepeth doune
all greuous tourmentes & outragious affections of the mynde,

vertue, I meane holsome erudition and learnyng. Many
Heathen Princes forsoth, are highly magnified with most
ample prayses, which gaue them selues too the study of
Philosophie, or knowledge of tongues, for their owne
commoditie, and || especially for the weale of their
subiectes. Who is nowe more celebrated and worthelier
extolled then Mithridates? that noble kyng of Pont and
Bithinia, which, (as Aulus Gellius writeth) vnderstoode so
perfitly the languages of .xxii. sondrye countries that were



honorable manne Quintus Ennius saied: that he had .iii.
heartes, because he coulde speake Greke, Italian, and Latin.
Yea, and breuely, the most famaus writers, as well the
Heathen, as the Christien, with an vniuersall consent,

of the purest thinges vnder heauen, thei sawe nothyng faire,

onely vertue and learning. Euen now too acknowledge that

in nothyng more then too bee occupied in the holye Byble:
wherin, ||A.iiii.|| you beginne too sauer & smelle furth
the treasure of wisedome, knowledge and fulnes of the deuyne
power, that is a studie most conuenient for euery Christien
Prince, that kynd of studye cannot haue sufficient laude
and commendation. Whose Princely heart forsoth, is raueshed
on suche a godlie and vertuous studie, it can neuer haue
condigne and worthie praises, but deserueth alwaies too bee
had in great price, estimation, and honour. Who dooeth not
know? that Prince which is yeouen vnto the scriptures of God

furth and also defendeth ye true doctrine of the Gospell,
too bee inrolled in the assemble of Christ. Who dooeth not
see? that Prince too bee moost surelye armed, which carieth
in his heart the swerd of ye spirit, which is the blessed
woord of God. Who is ignoraunt? that euer lastyng lyfe
consisteth in the knoweledge of God. What Prince woulde not
studie to maintaine that, which is written for the health,
and saluation of all menne weiyuge with himselfe || that a
Prince can not deserue, neither by conquest, ciuel policie,
nor yet by anye other meane vnder heauen, thys name high or
honorable, so wourthely as by the setting forward of Goddes
woorde. What young Prince humily defendyng doune intoo him
selfe and callyng to memory his bounden dutie woulde not
with a glad hearte and a chearfull mynde, gredelye desyre
too knowe, enlarge, and amplifie the glory and maiestie
of hys derely beloued father? Your grace (forsoth) hath
professed God too bee your father: Blessed are you then if
you obey vnto hys word, and walke in his waies. Blessed are
you, yf you supporte suche as preache the Gospell. Blessed
are you, yf your mind bee full furnished with the testament
of Christ, and shew your selfe too bee the most cruel
too and enemy agaynst ypocrisie, supersticion, and all
papistical phantasies, wherwith the true religion of God
hathe been dusked and defaced these many yeres Blessed are
you, if you reade it daye & nighte, that your grace maye
knowe what GOD dooeth forbyd you, and ||A.v.|| euer submit
your selfe therunto with seruiceable lowlines chiefly
desiring to florysh and decke your mynd with godly
knowledge. And most blessed are you, if you apply your
self vnto al good workes, & plant surely in your heart the
scriptures of Christ, If you thus doo, nether the power of
any papistical realme, nor yet of hel can preuaile at any
time against your grace. Nowe therfore, with humile hearte,
faithfully receiue the swete promises of the Gospel. If
you kepe the woordes of the Lorde and cleaue fast vnto
them: there is promised you the kingdome of heauen: You
are promised a weale publick most riche and welthy You are
promised too bee deliuered from the deceiptes of all youre
priuie enemyes. You are promised also, too conquere great
and mightie nations. Agayne, let your grace bee most fully
perswaded in this, that ther was neuer Kyng nor Prince, that
prospered whiche tooke parte against Goddes woord, and that
the greatest abhomination that can bee, either for Kyng,
Prince, or any other manne, is too || forsake the true woord
of God. O with howe rebukefull woordes & greuous iudgement
thei be condemned, which dispice & set lytle by the holy


toward vs most miserable & ignoraunt wretches Who would not
quake, too beholde the terrible feares & threatenynges of
God ageinst al suche? Who would not lament & gladly helppe
their obstinate blyndenes? Who woulde not weepe? to heare
and reade in how many places, they be openly accursed by the
scriptures of Christ. God him self playnely affirmeth, that

Yea, besides that whoso euer declyneth from the word of
God is accursed in all his doynges, whether he be Kyng, or
Prynce, riche, or poore, or of what estate soeuer he bee.
This fearfull saiyng (most excellent Prynce) shulde moue all
men to take hede vnto their duties and to praie that gods

||fantasie the scriptures of God, and saye with the vertuous
man Iob. Wee will not bee ageynst the woordes of the holy
one. Truth it is, God taketh diligent care too haue vs al
know his woord. Woulde God therfore, that all wee were now
willing to haue the syncere woorde of God & all holsom
doctrine too go forward. O that all we would consent
togither in the Gospell, brotherly admonishyng, and
secretelye prouokyng one an other too true religion
& vertue. O that no man would sow emongist the people

monition euer prouoke, tempt, and stere them, tyll their


popyshe doctrine. By this meane wee shuld euer haue concorde
emongist vs, whiche in all thynges is necessary, but most
nedefull and expedient in Gods holi woord. Now truely the
godlyest thynge that can bee deuysed, for any christian
realme, is to haue emongist them one maner and || fourme
of doctryne, & too trace trueli the steppes of God and
neuer to seeke any other bywayes. Who hath not redde in ye
scriptures? but that realme is endued with godly ornamentes
& riches, where all men prospere, go for ward and florishe
in gods woord, delectyng day and night in the swete

especially set forth the glory of God, and of our sauiour
Iesu Christ, if we would reuerently shew one an other that
whiche God hath taught vs. Yea & in this doyng all men
shulde well perceaue that we were the true disciples of

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Mon 20th May 2019, 19:31