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'Believe ye, O men, that I am come into the world with a privilege which no man hath had, nor will even the messenger of God have it; seeing that our God created not man to set him in the world, but rather to place him in paradise.
'Sure it is that he who hath no hope to receive aught of the Romans, because they are of a law that is foreign to him, is not willing to leave his own country with all that he hath, never to return, and go to live in Rome. And much less would he do so when he found himself to have offended Caesar. Even so I tell you verily, and Solomon, God's prophet, crieth with me: "O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to them that have rest in their riches!" I say not this because I have to die now: seeing that I am sure that I shall live even nigh to the end of the world.
'But I will speak to you of this in order that ye may learn to die.
'As God liveth, everything that is done amiss, even once, showdth that to work a thing well it is necessary to exercise oneself therein.
'Have ye seen the soldiers, how in time of peace they exercise themselves with one another as if they were at war? But how shall that man die a good death, who hath not learned to die well?
'"Precious is the death of the holy in the sight of the Lord," said the prophet David. Know ye wherefore? I will tell you; it is because, even as all rare things are precious, so the death of them that die well, being rare, is precious in the sight of God our creator.
'Of a surety, whenever a man beginneth aught, not only is he fain to finish the same, but he taketh pains that his design may have a good conclusion.
'O miserable man, that prizeth his hosen more than himself; for when he cutteth the cloth he measureth it carefully before he cutteth it; and when it is cut he seweth it with care. But his life—which is born to die, insomuch that he alone dieth not who is not born—wherefore will not men measure their life by death?
'Have ye seen them that build, how for every stone that they lay they have the foundation in view, measuring if it be straight, that the wall fall not down? O wretched man! For with greatest ruin shall fall the building of his life, because he looketh not to the foundation of death!