Why the Fend Trauayleth for to Destroyen Sowles

Capitulo li

Thenneb sayd I to myn Angel: `I am', quod I, `hugely abasshed of this cruel sathanas, that so fowle grenneth vppon me, as it were thretyng me with more greuous peynes. Ne it suffyseth nought to his malyse the peynes that we suffre. I wonder moche and wold fayne wyte, yf he ought wynneth ther by, or may wynne herafter. And also I wold wyte yf he may thus enduren within the fyre withoute hete or brennynge, as yow self dothe.'

`Soothly', quod he, `al the cure and besynesse that these Sathan doth for to greue pylgrymes is only of enuy, for he is wonder sorowful that the place fro whiche he was cast out is grantedc them. Therfore alweye he occupyeth his malyce to ben auengid yf he myghte. Ne neuer hath he ynough, ne neuer shalle, of suche malycious and cursyd occupacyon, for [41v] vppon tho that ben dampned he besyeth hym contynuelly to tormente and dysese them. And no doute he wynneth nought theron, ne kepeth none other yefte in wynnyng, but that the wretchyd sowles be greuously peyned. And wyteth wel, when he seeth ony pylgrym escapen, that he may nought tormenten hym ne dysesen, he hath an huge sorowe. And trowe thou nought that he is withoute torment and peyne, for alwey withouten cessyng is he in the hote fire, contynuelly brennyng. Ther is no parte of hym that nys with the fyre peyned and tormented.

The cause, loo, is this: he is entatched with synne irremyssyble, ne he may haue no redempcion, for as moch as he synned withouten suggestion of ony entycement of withoute ageynst hym that was his Souerayne Almyghty Lord of Heuen. And only by cause of his sympelnes of nature he myght not be chaunged fro that fowle affection of Pryde & Enuye. And duryng that fowle affection, he myght not, ne neuer maye, ne shal, herafter to Grace be refourmed.

`But for cause that man is of double nature, bothe he hath occasion of synne by his flesshely kynde, and also chaungeabylyte of wylle and of affection fro euyl to good and fro good to euyl. And loke what is his affection at the departyng of these two natures: the ghoost that is symple ne may neuer forleten it. So haddest thou departed fro thy body with affection of ony maner of synne withouten repentaunce and forthynkynge of thy rather forfet. No doute hit had ben inpossible that euer thou sholdest haue be saued, but sholdest eternally haue ben felawe with the Fende of Helle. But for as moche as the synne that thou hast done was by fals entycyng of the cursyd Fende, by drawyng and inclynacion of the freel flesshe, & not by very malyce engyned of withynne, therefore, whan the wyll chaungeth, the Swete Lord receyueth the to his Grace. For why he that is by another deceyued, by another he may be refourmed. But he that wylfully deceyued hym self, who may hym releue of meschyef?'