This translation was made by Benjamin Thorpe and is found in his Sermones Catholici.
I ÆLFRIC, monk and mass-priest, although more weakly than for such orders is fitting, was sent, in king Æthelred's day, from bishop Ælfeah, Æthelwold's successor, to a minster which is called Cernel, at the prayer of Æthelmære the thane, whose birth and goodness are known everywhere.
Then it occurred to my mind, I trust through God's grace, that I would turn this book from the Latin language into the English tongue; not from confidence of great learning, but because I have seen and heard of much error in many English books, which unlearned men, through their simplicity, have esteemed as great wisdom: and I regretted that they knew not nor had not the evangelical doctrines among their writings, those men only excepted who knew Latin, and those books excepted which king Ælfred wisely turned from Latin into English, which are to be had.
For this cause I presumed, trusting in God, to undertake this task, and also because men have need of good instruction, especially at this time, which is the ending of this world, and there will be many calamities among mankind before the end cometh, according to what our Lord in his gospel said to his disciples, "Then shall be such tribulations as have never been from the beginning of the world.
Many false Christs shall come in my name, saying, 'I am Christ,' and shall work many signs and wonders, to deceive mankind; and also the elect, if it may be.
And unless Almighty God shorten those days, all mankind will perish; but for his elect he will shorten those days."
Everyone may the more easily withstand the future temptation, through God's support, if he is strengthened by book learning, for they shall be preserved who continue in faith to the end.
Many tribulations and hardships shall come on this world before its end, and those are the proclaimers of everlasting perdition to evil men, who afterwards for their crimes suffer eternally in the swart hell.
Then Antichrist shall come, who is human man and true devil, as our Saviour is truly man and God in one person.
And the visible devil shall then work innumerable miracles, and say that he himself is God, and will compel mankind to his heresy; but his time will not be long, for God's anger will destroy him, and this world will afterwards be ended.
Christ our Lord healed the weak and diseased, and the devil, who is called Antichrist, which is interpreted, Opposition-Christ, weakens and enfeebles the hale, and heals no one from diseases, save those alone whom he himself had previously injured.
He and his disciples injure men's bodies secretly through the devil's power, and heal them openly in the sight of men: but he may not heal those whom God himself had before afflicted.
He compels, through wickedness, men to swerve from the faith of their Creator to his leasings, who is the author of all leasing and wickedness.
Almighty God permits the impious Antichrist to work signs, and miracles, and persecution, for three years and a half; for in that time there will be so much wickedness and perversity among mankind, that they will be well worthy of devilish persecution, to the eternal perdition of those who incline unto him, and to the eternal joy of those who by faith resist him.
God also permits that his chosen servants be cleansed from all sins through great persecutions, as gold is tried in fire.
The devil slays those who withstand him, and then, with holy martyrdom, they go to the kingdom of heaven.
Those who believe in his leasings, those he honours, and they shall have afterwards eternal torment for reward of their sin.
The impious one will cause fire to come from above, as it were from heaven, in sight of men, as if he were God Almighty, who rules over heaven and earth;
but Christians must then be mindful how the devil did, when he prayed to God that he might tempt Job;
he made fire to come from above, as if from heaven, and burned all his sheep out in the field, and the shepherds also, save one who should announce it to him.
The devil sent not fire from heaven, though it came from above; for he himself was not in heaven, after that he, for his pride, had been cast out.
Nor also hath the cruel Antichrist the power to send down heavenly fire, though he, through the devil's craft, may so pretend.
It will now be wiser that everyone know this, and know this belief, lest anyone have to await great misery.
Our Lord commanded his disciples that they should instruct and teach all people the things which he had himself taught to them; but of those there are too few who will well teach and well exemplify.
The Lord also cried, through his prophet Ezechiel, "If thou warnest not the unrighteous, and exhortest him not, so that he turn from his wickedness and live, then shall the wicked die in his iniquity, and I will require from thee his blood," that is, his perdition.
"But if thou warnest the wicked, and he will not turn from his wickedness, thou shalt release thy soul with that admonition, and the wicked shall die in his unrighteousness."
Again the Almighty spake to the prophet Isaiah, "Cry and cease thou not, raise thy voice as a trumpet, and declare to my people their crimes, and to the family of Jacob their sins."
From such commands it appeared to me that I should not be guiltless before God, if I would not declare to other men, by (tongue or by) writings, the evangelical truth, which he himself spake, and afterwards to holy teachers revealed.
Very many I know in this country more learned than I am, but God manifests his wonders through whom he will.
As an almighty worker he works his work through his chosen, not because he has need of our aid, but that we may earn eternal life by the performance of his work.
Paul the apostle said,"We are God's assistants," and yet we do nothing for God without the assistance of God.
Now I desire and beseech, in God's name, if anyone will transcribe this book, that he carefully correct it by the copy, lest we be blamed through careless writers.
He does great evil who writes false, unless he correct it; it is as though he turn true doctrine to false error; therefore should everyone make that straight which he before bent crooked, if he will be guiltless at God's doom.
Quid necesse est in hoc codice capitula orinare, cum prediximus quod xl. Sententias in se contineat? excepto quod Æþelwerdus dux vellet habere xl. quattuor in suo libro.