UNTO HIS RIGHT ENTIRELY BELOVED SISTER IN CHRIST JOYCE LEIGH THOMAS MORE GREETING IN OUR LORD.
IT is and of long time hath been my well-beloved sister a custom in the beginning of the new year friends to send between presents or gifts, as the witnesses of their love and friendship & also signifying that they desire each to other that year a good continuance and prosperous end of that lucky beginning. But commonly also those presents that are used customably all in this manner between friends to be sent be such things as pertain only unto the body either to be fed or to be clad or some otherwise delighted: by which it seemeth that their friendship is but fleshly & stretcheth in manner to the body only. But forasmuch as the love & amity of Christian folk should be rather ghostly friendship than bodily: sith that all faithful people are rather spiritual then carnal: for as the apostle saith we be not now in flesh but in spirit if Christ abide in us: I therefore mine heartily beloved sister in good luck of this new year have sent you such a present as may bear witness of my tender love & zeal to the happy continuance and gracious increase of virtue in your soul: and whereas the gifts of other folk declare that they wish their friends to be worldly fortunate, mine testifieth that I desire to have you godly prosperous. These works more profitable than large were made in Latin by one Giovanni Pico Earl of Mirandola a lordship in Italy, of whose cunning & virtue we need here nothing to speak, forasmuch as hereafter we peruse the source of his whole life rather after our little power slenderly than after his merits sufficiently. The works are such that truly good sister I suppose of the quantity there cometh none in your hand more profitable: neither to th'achieving of temperance in prosperity, nor to the purchasing of patience in adversity, nor to the despising of worldly vanity, nor to the desiring of heavenly felicity: which works I would require you gladly to receive: ne were it that they be such that for the goodly matter (howsoever they be translated) may delight & please any person that hath any mean desire and love to God: and that yourself is such one as for your virtue and fervent zeal to God can not but joyously receive any thing that meanely soundeth either to the reproach of vice, commendation of virtue, or honour and laud of God, who preserve you.