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CHAPTER V

Of his honourable character in the world

(1)

HE was eminent for his honourable character, his cheerfulness amongst his comrades, his kindliness in word and generosity in spending. He was comely to look upon, of graceful figure and of moderate height. For a certain time God allowed him to mingle in the world, and learn by experience the deceitful madness thereof, but not to abide the hazard all the days of his life; so that no one whose desire was to be converted might despair of pardon, seeing that a change to better things had been wrought in this Florentius in so short a time.

(2) It happened upon a time that he was invited with many others to a marriage, and when they were upon the way together, being most eager to pleasure his friends and to make merry with them, he did as follows for their gratification: cutting down green branches from the trees he took them and embowered those who sat in the carriage in suchwise as greatly to win their favour. For he knew not yet what the Lord should do concerning him, nor thought with what care he, in company with the devout Virgins, must inwardly adorn his conscience so as to be worthy 93to be called to an heavenly marriage; nor did he know of that celestial feast at the Marriage of Christ, wherefore he rejoiced to take part in earthly festivities. But through the Mercy of God he abode not long in this vanity, for receiving the blessed call, he attained to that mighty grace of devotion which surpasseth all worldly delight.

(3) But this worldly act of his did foreshadow that good thing which should come to him, namely, that when by the grace of God he was converted into a spiritually minded man he should call many of his fellow guests to that marriage Feast among the citizens of Heaven, which the Immortal Bridegroom Jesus Christ doth celebrate with all the Saints for ever and ever. In after days this was most clearly made manifest by the many brethren whom he turned to the devout life, as I have seen evidently with mine own eyes, and as all Deventer doth know.

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