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First let us begin at the outward goods, which are neither the proper goods of the soul nor those of the body, but are called the goods of fortune, and serve for the sustenance and commodity of man for the short season of this present life, as worldly substance, offices, honour, and authority.
What great good is there in these things of themselves, that they should be worthy so much as to bear the name by which the world, of a worldly favour, customarily calleth them? For if the having of strength make a man strong, and the having of heat make a man hot, and the having of virtue make a man virtuous, how can these things be verily and truly "goods," by the having of which he who hath them may as well be worse as better—and, as experience proveth, more often is worse than better? Why should a man greatly rejoice in that which he daily seeth most abound in the hands of many who are wicked? Do not now this great Turk and his pashas in all these advancements of fortune surmount very far above a Christian estate, and any lords living under him? And was there not, some twenty years ago, the great Sultan of Syria, who many a year together bore himself as high as the great Turk, and afterward in one summer unto the great Turk that whole empire was lost? And so may all his empire now—and shall hereafter, by God's grace—be lost into Christian men's hands likewise, when Christian people shall be amended and grow in God's favour again. But since whole kingdoms and mighty great empires are of so little surety to stand, but are so soon transferred from one man unto another, what great thing can you or I—yea, or any lord, the greatest in this land—reckon himself to have, by the possession of a heap of silver or gold? For they are but white and yellow metal, not so profitable of their own nature, save for a little glittering, as the rude rusty metal of iron.
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