Every deed that is praisable or reprovable of man’s will, have praising or reproving. Truly in the will is the root and beginning of all deeds which are in our power. And if we must not do the thing that we would do, each man is denied of God his own proper will. Therefore behold you not only what you do, but as much what you would do. Not more what are your works than what is your will? Through just will, man is called just; and through an unjust will, man is said to be unrighteous. And therefore if you will live well, keep well your will. If you would know whether your will be rightful, that will for certain is rightful which is under sought to the will of God. Whosoever lives holily and rightfully, let him not despise the worst sinners. They being tempted fall, for they have not grace to withstand, although by their own malice they turn from good to evil. No man can work well, and love God, or be chaste, unless God give it to him. Therefore thou that art blown up with pride because thou have not done evil, because thou have withdrawn thyself from fleshly lusts, and have sustained or suffered sharp penance, and therefore have taken praising of man’s mouth; have mind that unless the goodness of Christ had kept you in, thou shouldest have fallen into as many evils, or worse, as others have done. Not of thyself have thou power to gainstand, but of Him of whom the prophet saith, Lord, I shall love thee for thou art my strength, my ground, my refuge, him that undertakes for me, and my helper. Therefore, if thou have nothing but what thou have received, why have thou vain joy in thyself as though thou hadst not received it?
But nevertheless, let no man be favourable to sin; for God, by his prophet, cries to good men, and the same cry to you, Go you away and go you out from thieves, and touch not the unclean things. What is it to touch unclean things? It is, to consent to sins. What is it to go out thence? To do that which pertains to the amendment of evil men. Act with meekness and peace as much as may be; as St. Augustine says. This is to touch not the unclean thing, not to consent thereto in will. Ever be you separated in heart from evil men. This is to commune not, to consent not; for we commune with an evil man when the fellowship of the will, or of approving, is joined to deeds.
Therefore consent not to evil men, that you approve them; neither be you negligent, that you reprove them not; neither be you proud, that you reprove them not proudly. Therefore, my brethren, as many as ever you have among you, that are yet grieved with the love of this world, avaricious men, forswearers, adulterers, beholders of jests, others that take counsel of false tellers of futurity, men given to drink and lechery, and whatever evil men, you know amongst you, reprove you as much as you are able, by meekness, that you may go away unhurt; and that you consent not to the touching unclean things. Beseech ye, and pray to God, that all such be amended and again called from their evils.