The three “estates of the realm” in medieval England were the priest, the knight, and the laborer. In a tract, written in English, John Wycliffe addressed all three. He showed how the lessons of the faith apply to the highest and the lowest. His tract is entitled “A Short Rule of Life, for each man in general, and for Priests, and Lords, and Laborers in special, how each shall be saved in his degree.” The following condensation is adapted from Wycliffe’s original tract.

“First, when you are fully awake, think upon the goodness of your God …
“Second, think on the great sufferings and willing death that Christ suffered for mankind …

“Third, think how God has saved you from death and other mischief… And for this goodness and mercy, thank God with all your heart. Pray him to give you grace to spend in that day, and evermore, all the powers of your soul (as mind, understanding, reason, and will) and all the powers of your body (as strength, beauty, and your five senses), in his service and worship, and in nothing against his commandments, but in ready performance of his works of mercy, and to give good example of holy life, both in word and deed, to all men about you.
“Be well occupied, and no idle time, for the danger of temptation.
“Take meat and drink in measure, not too costly, not too lickerish, and be not too curious thereabout. But such as God sends you with health, take it in such measure, that you be fresher in mind and understanding to serve God. And always thank him for such gifts.
“Besides this, do right and equity to all men, your superiors, equals, and subjects, or servants; and stir all to love truth, mercy, true peace, and charity; and help all people to be in harmony with one another.
“Most of all, fear God and his ...
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