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The Preface to the life of the venerable Master Gerard the Great, commonly calledGroote"


WITH the help of God, and daring much for the sake of Charity, I will try, my most beloved brother, to set forth the acts of the Fathers, though I recount but few out of many: and this I do by reason of thy frequent importunities, and for the common good.

Now since many Fathers and devout brethren, who were of old well known to me, are fallen asleep, I fear not to speak of their virtues, that by so doing I may leave a good memorial of them to those that come after, when I speak of the excellent example which they set, to enhance yet more the honour of the name of God. I will begin therefore from that notable and devout preacher the venerable Master Gerard who is surnamed “Groote.”


(2) After this, if the Lord will, I will add further certain examples of holy conversation, drawn from the lives of those devout brethren who were his disciples, hoping thereby to stir up thy devotion, and that of other single-minded brethren.

Though I did not see Gerard in the flesh, yet have I known in the body divers men who owned discipleship to him, and from these I have often heard of his good deeds; so that thou must not think that I have devised these things of mine own imagination, but rather that I have received a faithful relation thereof from trusty persons, both men and women.

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