And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
~ Luke 18:1, Luke 21:36, Romans 12:12, Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
~ 1 Peter 4:7
But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
~ Psalm 4:3
Flower of Godly Prayers, Most Worthy to be Used in These Our Days, For The Safeguard, Health, and Comfort of All Degrees and Estates, Newly Made, by Thomas Becon.
The Confession of Our Sins Unto God the Father.
I am not able to express, O wretched sinner that I am, how grievously the burden of my sins oppress me: whithersoever I turn me, whatsoever I do, speak, or think, I perceive such corruption and wickedness, such abomination and uncleanness to reign in me, that it utterly confoundeth my conscience, and in a manner fettereth me with the chain of desperation.
No marvel. For my outward man is flesh, earth, ashes, dust, dung, and all that most vile is. My thought and disposition is altogether naught, even from my very cradle, my heart is unclean, defiled with most filthy sin, lewd, and unable to be searched, for the manifold wickedness thereof, but of God alone. My works are abominable and loathsome in the sight of the Most Highest, yea, my very righteousnesses, if any I have, are even as a defiled cloth. Again, my inward man hath lost his former beauty. Instead of the image of God, he is miserably deformed with the wicked visor of wily Satan. In the place of innocency, faith, love, hope, patience, mercy, obedience, goodness, gentleness, liberality, joy, and such other fruits of the Holy Ghost, wickedness, unfaithfulness, hatred, desperation, vengeance, covetousness, rebellion, maliciousness, churlishness, unmercifulness, pensiveness of mind, and such other damnable works of the flesh are entered into me, and wholly possess me; so that, whether I consider my outward or inward man, I find myself the bond-slave of Satan, the vile dunghill of sin, the miserable debtor of the law, the firebrand of hell, the child of wrath, the vessel of vengeance, the son of perdition, the wandering sheep, the wounded man, an hypocrite, an unprofitable servant, inheritor of everlasting pain, and all that ever naught is.
To rid myself of all these most detestable enormities I am not able. To seek remedy at any other man’s band, to buy their merits, prayers, watchings, fastings, and their other works, O it is but vain. Moses cannot heal my diseases, neither the Levite nor the priest can bind up my wounds, and make them whole. For vain is the health that is looked for at man’s hand. All have sinned, all have gone astray, all owe to that heavenly King ten thousand talents. All are become abominable: there is not one that doeth good, no not one. Ah, who then can be made clean Job xiv. of them that are unclean? Ah, who being sick will seek to be made whole of them that are altogether diseased? Ah, who being weak will wish to be stayed up by him which for feebleness is not able to stand? Can the man change his skin? or the cat of the mountain her spots? No more can they make me good which are themselves naught. Ah, whither then shall I flee? unto myself, and unto mine own righteousness? I am a most damnable sinner, and of myself not able to think a good thought. Unto the law? it woundeth, killeth, and condemneth me: it is a yoke, that neither we, neither our fathers, were ever able to bear. Unto creatures? they have not oil enough for themselves. A wretch that I am, destitute and void of all mortal help, shall I despair? Far be that from me.
But, were there not another manner of doctrine than the doctrine of the law, which maketh no man perfect; were there not another manner of righteousness than is found in myself, or in any other sinful creature; I see none other but plain desperation, death, damnation. But thanks be unto thee, O heavenly Father, which, tendering the health of thy creatures, although sinful, so oft as they repent, believe, and study to amend their life, hast set forth in thy holy scriptures another doctrine, even the doctrine of the gospel, that most sweet, pleasant, and joyful tidings of our salvation, which comforteth, cheereth, and maketh merry weak consciences and sorrowful hearts, and another righteousness, even the righteousness of thy well-beloved Son Jesu Christ, for whose sake thou art well pleased with man, and for whose innocency and righteousness thou freely of thy bountiful goodness forgivest the sins of so many as with hearty repentance flee unto thy mercy.
I therefore, O most merciful Father, staying and comforting my weak conscience with the sweet promises that I find in the holy gospel of thy dearly-beloved Son, made unto all that be faithfully penitent, without respect of persons, in the precious blood of thine aforesaid Son Jesus Christ, am bold, notwithstanding the multitude of my sins at this present, to come unto the throne of thy mercy, most humbly beseeching thee not to weigh my deserts, nor to deal with me according to my merits (for if thou shouldest narrowly mark our iniquities, O Lord, who shall abide it?) which deserve nothing but wrath and damnation; but for the innocency and righteousness of thy only-begotten Son Jesu Christ, whom thou hast given me to be mine own, and with him all his merits and good deeds, to be through faith so surely mine, as though I myself had done and wrought them, to forgive me my sins according to thy promise, to renew thy fatherly love toward me, to receive me into thy favour, to make me a vessel of mercy, to number me in the company of thy chosen people, and to endue me with thy blessed Spirit, which may mortify my carnal affects, slay old Adam in me, work new and those spiritual and heavenly motions in my heart, and with his holy breath make me a new and perfect man according unto thy blessed image. O most loving Father, weigh not my sins, but remember the most gentle promises.
Consider not my evil works, but have respect unto the undefiled deeds of thy Son Isai. xli. Jesu Christ, whom thou hast given to be my Redeemer, my Saviour, my righteousness, my atonement-maker, my satisfaction, and the alone and all wholly sufficient sacrifice for all my sins. For his sake, for his innocency and righteousness, have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy, and put away all my unrighteousnesses for thy tender compassion. I have gone astray like a sheep that was lost: yet, O Lord, for thy mercy’s sake, scek me up, lay me upon thy shoulders, and bring me home again to thy sheep-fold. I have been a lost son. I have riotously spent away my goods with the wicked: yet for thy goodness sake, O Father, receive me, and take me home again, if not as thy son, yet as one of thy servants. I am grievously wounded, and can be holp neither by priest more circumspect in training my life according to thy blessed will, and evermore sing continual praises to thy most blessed name, through Jesu Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour worlds without end, Amen.
A Confession of Our Sins Unto the Lord Jesu Christ.
The tyranny of Satan, mine old enemy, which ceaseth not daily to assail me with his subtile temptations, and to wound me with his cruel darts, compelleth me at this present, o blessed Redeemer, and mine alone Saviour Jesu Christ, the Son of the true and living God, to flee for succour unto the pitiful bowels of thy tender mercy, lest I be for ever swallowed up as a prey of that dreadful dragon. O Lord, I am feeble and weak; but Satan is strong and mighty, the prince of darkness and god of this world, having at his commandment an infinite multitude both of wicked spirits and of ungodly men, which both daily and diligently travail to satisfy his cruel tyranny and to work my destruction, whom to resist I am not able. Notwithstanding, Lord, thou art more valiant than he, stronger than all his army, more able to save than he to condemn. Yea, he is thy bond-slave. Thou rulest him as thy good pleasure is. He can rage against thine elect no further than thy most godly will is to suffer him. Thou therefore, O Lord my God, are able to deliver me from his ravening teeth, and to keep me safe from his blood-thirsty ministers.
For thou art the blessed Seed of the woman, that treadeth down the head, destroyeth the power of that old serpent. Thou art that Lord, which hath swallowed up hell. Thou art the King of glory, which by thy death destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Thou art that Michael, which hast fought with the devil and that, dragon, and overcome him. Yea, thou art that Lion of the tribe of Juda, which hast vanquished all our enemies.
Moreover, not only Satan and his angels, but also the world and the flesh most grievously assail me, yea, and lead me away captive as their prey. The world with his vain pleasures, deceitful riches, and transitory possessions, so blindeth the eyes of my heart, that I cannot love thee, O most sweet Saviour, with such pureness of mind as I ought. Notwithstanding this comforteth me well, that thou hast overcome the world, and that, whensoever it pleaseth thee to endue me with thy holy Spirit, I may through thy grace subdue the world, and make it a bond-slave unto me, which now so mightily reigneth, ruleth, and triumpheth over me.
The flesh also with her subtile enticements so worldly occupieth me, that I am altogether flesh, and all that naught is, and by this means wholly without thy holy Spirit. Yet hast thou by the pureness of thy blessed flesh, which thou hast unfeignedly taken of the undefiled maid Mary thy mother, by the wonderful operation of the Holy Ghost, so slain the raging lusts of our sinful flesh, that, whensoever we lament our cause unto thee confessing our misery and weakness, thou both art able and also wilt, through thy holy Spirit, quench those raging lusts, mortify those carnal affects, that so inordinately boil in our inward members, and make us truly spiritual.
Thus seest thou, O most merciful Redeemer, with how great a multitude of enemies I am besieged and set round about, which without ceasing seek my destruction, and have already most tyrantly spoiled me of my garments, and most grievously wounded me, leaving me half-dead; so that without thy help I must needs perish. Help therefore, O most sweet Saviour, and deliver me from these mine enemies. Heal thou me, O Lord; and I shall be healed. Save thou me; and I shall be saved. Ah, good Jesu, my sins are great and infinite, I confess; but thy merits are much greater and more infinite.
My wounds are many and grievous; but thou art that most loving Samaritan, full of pity and compassion, which by pouring wine and oil into my wounds art resurrection and other; but thou art am blind; but thou art a Saviour. I am sick; but thou art a Physician. I am blind; but thou Matt. i. art the Light of the world. I am Satan’s prisoner; but thou art a Redeemer. I am dead in sin; but thou art the resurrection and life. I am hungry; but thou art the living bread. I am thirsty; but thou art the well of life. I am poor; but thou art John vii. the Lord of all wealth. I am a barren tree; but thou art that true and fruitful vine. I am the lost sheep; but thou art that good Shepherd. I am that riotous son; but John thou art that gentle father. I am by nature the child of wrath; but thou art by nature the Son of the living God. I am by nature sinful man; but thou art by nature Spalte man righteous and innocent. I am a daily offender; but thou art a continual Mediator. I am a breaker of the law; but thou art a fulfiller of the same. I have lost heavenly inheritance through sin; but thou hast recovered it by thy death. I have wrought mine own destruction; but thou by thy precious blood hast brought unto me salvation.
Thus albeit, O most merciful Saviour, I find in myself nothing but sin, death, and damnation, yet in thee find I grace, mercy, favour, reconciliation, forgiveness of sins, and everlasting life. Take away therefore that is mine, which is all naught, and give me that is thine, which is all good. Thou art called Christ: anoint me therefore with thy holy Spirit. Thou art called a Physician: according therefore to thy name heal me. Thou art called the Son of the living God; according therefore to thy power deliver me from the devil, the world, and the flesh. Thou art called the Resurrection: lift me up therefore from the damnable state wherein I most miserable lie”. Thou art called the Life: quicken me up therefore out of this death, wherewith through sin I am most grievously detained. Thou art called the Ways: lead me therefore from the vanities of this world, and from the filthy pleasures of the flesh, unto heavenly and spiritual things. Thou art called the Truth: suffer me not therefore to walk in the way of error, but to tread the path of truth in all my doings. Thou art called the Light: put away therefore from me the works of darkness, that I may walk as the child of light in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. Thou art called a Saviour: save me therefore from my sins, according to thy name. Thou art called Alpha and Omega, that is, both the beginning and end of all goodness: begin thou therefore a good life in me, and finish the same unto the glory of thy blessed name. So shall I, receiving these benefits at thy merciful hand, praise thee, and magnify thy blessed name for evermore. Amen.
A Confession of Our Sins Unto the Holy Ghost. O most blessed and holy Spirit, equal God with God the Father and God the Son, I, miserable sinner, confounded in my conscience, and almost fallen through the multitude of my sins into the hell-like pit of desperation, am come at this present before thy divine Majesty, most humbly to confess, and from the bottom of my heart to lament, all those my sins and wickednesses which from my youth hitherto I have unjustly committed in word, deed, or thought, against thy goodness; most entirely beseeching thee mercifully to forgive me all those mine offences and abominations, and to make in me a clean heart, endued with a new and right spirit, which may from henceforth through thy godly governance so direct me in all my doings, that I may only attempt such enterprises as be agreeable to thy blessed will, profitable to my neighbour, and pleasant to my soul.
O Lord my God, where thou art there is liberty. But I, through the crafts of Satan, the lusts of the flesh, and the pleasures of the world, am in most miserable captivity, slavery, bondage, and thraldom; whereby I evidently perceive that thou dwellest not in me, neither that I am thy temple, nor yet have that ghostly freedom wherewith all be endued that have thee dwelling in them. O Lord, have mercy on me, and take away from me that heavy bondage of the flesh, wherewith I am most grievously cloyed’, and give me that sweet and free liberty of the spirit, which by thee is wrought in the hearts of the faithful, that I, being delivered from the power of mine enemies, may serve thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life; again, that thou, making me a new creature by mortifying old Adam in me, and by giving me a good spirit, mayest delight in me as a father in his son, and continually dwell in me as in thy holy temple.
O blessed Spirit, forgive me my sins; purify my mind with thy holy inspiration; comfort my weak heart with thy joyful presence; make merry my troubled conscience with true and spiritual mirth; lead me, which have so long erred, into all godly truth; give me the knowledge of all heavenly and spiritual things, even so much as is necessary for my salvation; put on me the shield of faith, that I may be able to quench the fiery darts of the devil; kindle my heart with the fire of Christian love; make me a fruitful olive-tree in the congregation of my Lord God; give me patience in tribulation; take away from me vain-glory in prosperity; engraff in my heart continual humility; make me bold to confess the truth of thy gospel before the tyrants of this world, and give me grace to persevere in the same unto the end; replenish my breast with thy heavenly gifts and spiritual treasures, that, the devil, the world, and the flesh, with all their works, pomps, and vanities, from me utterly secluded and put apart, thou mayest continually dwell in me by thy godly inspirations, and I in thee through true and undoubted faith, doing that alway that is good and pleasant the Father and God the Son in one majesty, power, and glory, very God, worlds without end. Amen.
A Prayer to be Said Afore Dinner.
O LORD, our heavenly Father, which by thy dearly-beloved Son Jesu Christ hast commanded us to take no thought for our meat, drink, and clothe, but hast promised to give us all things necessary for this our poor and needy life, if we first seek thy kingdom and the righteousness thereof; we most heartily thank thee, that it hath pleased thy fatherly goodness, according to thy promise, to send us meat at this present, for the comfort of our miserable and hungry bodies, desiring thee to bless these thy gifts, and to give us grace so sto) taste of them that we may ever remember thee, and never forget our needy brethren; but even as thou art merciful and liberal to us, by giving us these thy benefits, so likewise we again may shew mercy and kindness to our poor neighbours, by distributing to them part of these thy gifts, that both they and we, being refreshed with the gifts of thy liberality, may with one mouth glorify, and with one mind praise thy holy name for ever and ever.
A Thanksgiving After Dinner. For this thy bountiful goodness in feeding us at this time, we heartily thank thee, most merciful Father, desiring thee to feed our souls likewise with that meat which perisheth not, but abideth into everlasting life; that we, being fed both body and soul at thy merciful hand, may do that alway which is pleasant in thy godly sight, through Jesu Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer to be Said Before Supper. O Heavenly Father and merciful God, which opening thy hand replenishest all living creatures with thy blessing, and givest meat to the hungry in due season, we knowledge our meat and drink to be thy gifts, prepared by thy fatherly providence to be received of us for the comfort of our bodies with thanksgiving: we most humbly beseech thee to bless us and our food, and to give us grace so to use these thy benefits, that we may be thankful to thee, and liberal to our poor neighbours, through Jesu Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Thanksgiving After Supper.
We render unto thee, most merciful Father, most hearty thanks for these thy gifts, which thou so liberally hast given us in this our supper, most entirely beseeching thee to fill our minds also with thy heavenly and spiritual benefits, that we may truly know. thee, believe in thee, love thee, serve thee, and lead a life worthy of this thy kindness; that thou, finding us not unthankful, mayest go forth daily more and more to increase thy gifts in us, and at the last take us unto thee, which art the fountain of all goodness, and head-spring of all wealth, and place us in thy joyful kingdom among the holy angels and blessed saints, where thou, with thy only-begotten Son and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest, one true and everlasting God, in all honour and glory, worlds without end. Amen.
A Prayer for the King. O Almighty God, King of kings, and Lord of lords, which by thy divine ordinance hast appointed temporal rulers to govern thy people according to equity and justice, and to live among them as a loving father among his natural children, unto the avancement of the good, and punishment of the evil; we most humbly beseech thee favourably to behold Edward thy servant, our king and governor, and to breathe into his heart through thy holy Spirit that wisdom that is ever about the throne of thy Majesty, whereby he may be provoked, moved, and stirred to love, fear, and serve thee, to seek thy glory, to banish idolatry, superstition, and hypocrisy out of this his realm, and unfeignedly to avance thy holy and pure religion among us his subjects, unto the example of other foreign nations. O Lord, defend him from his enemies, send him long and prosperous life among us, and give him grace not only in his own person godly and justly to rule, but also to appoint such magistrates under him, as may be likewise affected both toward thy holy word, and toward the commonweal; that we his subjects, living under his dominion in all godliness, peace, and wealth, may pass the time of this our short pilgrimage in thy fear and service, unto the glory of thy blessed name, which alone is worthy all honour, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Prayer For the King’s Council. It is written, (most mighty and everlasting King, that where many are that give good counsel, there goeth it well with the common people, there are all things conserved in a goodly and seemly order, there doth the public weal flourish with the abundance of all good things. It may please thee therefore, O Lord, which hast the hearts of all rulers in thy hand, and directest thy’ counsels unto what end it is thy good pleasure, mercifully to assist all those which are the king’s council, and to give them thy holy Spirit to be their president, ruler, and governor, that in all their assemblies they may ever set before their eyes thy most high and prince-like Majesty, the fear of thy name, the accomplishment of thy commandment, and alway remember that they are servants appointed for the wealth and commodity of thy people; that whatsoever they attempt privately or openly may turn unto the glory of thy blessed name, unto the setting forth of thy holy word, unto the avancement of the king’s honour, unto the profit of the commons, unto the destruction of vice, and unto the commendation of virtue. Give them grace, O most merciful Father, so with one mind to consent in all godly and righteous things, that they ruling righteously, and we living obediently, may all together, with quiet hearts and free consents, praise and magnify thee our Lord God for ever and ever. Amen.
A Prayer For the Judges. O God, thou most righteous Judge, which commandest by thy holy word such to be chosen judges over thy people, as be of approved conversation, wise, and learned in thy holy laws, and fear thee their Lord God, and such as both are true themselves, and also love truth, and hate covetousness; we beseech thee to send us such judges as thy sacred scriptures do paint and set forth unto us, and so to rule their hearts with thy holy Spirit, that in their judgments they admit no false accusations, have no respect of persons, neither be desirous of gifts, which make wise men blind, and corrupt the causes of the righteous, nor yet give sentence with the ungodly for bribes, and so condemn the innocent and shed righteous blood; but that they, having thy fear alway before their eyes, and knowing that they execute the judgment not of man but of thee their Lord God, may hear indifferently all matters, judge according unto equity and justice, deliver the oppressed from the power of the violent, be favourable to the stranger, defend the fatherless and widow, plead the cause of the righteous, help the poor, avance virtue, suppress vice, and in all both their words and works so behave themselves as though they should straightways appear before the righteous throne of thy Majesty, and render accompts of their doings. Grant this, O most merciful Father, for thy dear Son’s sake, Jesu Christ our Lord. Amen.
A General Prayer For All Magistrates. O LORD, which art that most high power, and of whom all power unto this end is ordained, even that the public weal should be conserved, idolatry banished, true religion maintained, good order kept, virtue avanced, and vice punished; give, we beseech thee, unto all civil magistrates, head rulers, and common officers, thy holy Spirit, which may so rule them in all their doings, that every one of them according to their vocation may truly and faithfully do that which appertaineth unto their office. Kindle in their minds a fervent desire of reading thy holy law both day and night, that they may do all things according unto that. Grave in their hearts the true knowledge of thee and of thy Son Jesu Christ, and an whole intent to honour and serve thee, according to thy blessed word, all the days of their life.
Make them unfeigned favourers of thy holy gospel, and loving nurses of thy true preachers. Give them grace to banish out of their realms and countries all idolatry, superstition, hypocrisy, feigned religion, false worshipping, with all the precepts, ordinances, and inventions of men that fight with thy blessed word. Make them not only xvii. favourers, lovers, and promoters of thy holy gospel, but also followers, livers, and practisers of the same, unto the example of all their subjects. Work in their hearts, O Lord, such a love toward the commonweal, that, their own private commodity set apart, they may employ all their endeavours to avance, beautify, enrich, and make wealthy their realm and country. Make them gentle, friendly, loving, and beneficial to their inferiors. Make them pitiful unto the miserable, and liberal unto the poor. Give them that affection toward other that they have toward themselves. Endue them with such loving favour unto their subjects, that they oppress them not with too much and unjust exactions. Expel all tyranny out of their hearts, and make them righteous and merciful. Grant that they may rule justly, seek judgment, deliver the oppressed, defend the fatherless, comfort the widow, favour good letters, maintain schools, nourish xxii learned men, promote such as be godly and virtuous, and, without any ungodly avancing of themselves, live among their people as a loving father among his natural children, seeking their quiet and wealth.
Finally, give them grace so to behave themself all the time of their rule and government, that they may appear both before thee, and in the sight of all good men, worthy officers in a commonweal, and ministers meet to occupy the place, in temporal regiment, of thee our Lord God, that most high and worthy magistrate, which livest and reignest with thy only-begotten Son and the Holy Ghost, one true and everlasting God, in all honour and glory, worlds without end. Amen.
A Prayer For Bishops and Ministers of God’s Word.
O Lord Jesu Christ, that true and everlasting Bishop, the mirror and lively exemplar of all faithful pastors and herdmen both in life and doctrine, which camest down from God thy Father not only to be our Redeemer, but also our teacher, to open and declare unto us the mysteries of the holy scriptures afore hid and corrupt through the leaven and false doctrine of the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and such other deceivers of the people; we most humbly beseech thee mercifully to behold thy poor and scattered flock, whom thou hast purchased with thy most precious blood, and to send them such shepherds as may diligently seek up the lost sheep, lovingly lay them on their shoulders, and faithfully bring them home again unto the sheepfold.
Ah Lord, thou seest how great the harvest is, and how few the workmen be. Thou art Lord of the harvest: vouchsafe therefore, we most humbly pray thee, to send labourers into thy harvest. Take away these idle lubbers, which do nothing but devour thy sheep, clothe themselves with the finest of the wool, and eat of the fattest of the flock. Thieves and robbers are they, and not pastors and preachers. For the weak they hold not up, the sick they heal not, the broken they bind not together, the outcasts they bring not again, the lost they seek not, but churlishly and cruelly do they rule thy flock. A good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep; but the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd nor owner of the sheep, seeth the wolf coming, and forsaketh the sheep and flieth, and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep. Such hirelings, O good Lord, take away from us, which seek nothing but idly to live of the sweat of our brows and of the labour of our hands, and notwithstanding suffer us to be miserably torn of antichrist and of his ministers, both by their tyranny and false doctrine. A thief cometh not but to steal, to slay, and to John x. destroy. Take away from us, o good Jesu, those thieves which steal away the livings of the true shepherds, which slay our souls for want of thy holy word, and destroy us with their corrupt manners, wicked living, and most detestable conversation.
Take away from us those herdmen, yea, rather those idols, as the prophet calleth them, which are not resident upon their benefices, nor give attendance upon their cure, but forsake their flock, and yet rob from them all that they may catch; and give us such pastors as will watch upon their flock, abide among them, teach them thy blessed word, feed them with hospitality, lead a goodly life, bring up their youth virtuously, and be at all times ready, if thy glory and the health of their parishioners requireth, to bestow their life. Take away from us all those curates which are blind, without knowledge, dumb dogs, not able to bark, which have pleasure to behold vain things, and love to lie snorting and dreaming. Most unshamefaced dogs are they: they have never enough, although they heap benefice upon benefice, prebend upon prebend, deanery upon deanery never so much. For all are wholly bent unto covetousness, even from the highest unto the lowest, and the things that they get spend they in banqueting and in vain pleasures.
Take away from us those false prophets which come unto us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. Take away those false anointed and false preachers, which by their subtile doctrine go about to bring us into error, and teach us not to seek thee with true faith in heaven, where thou sittest on the right hand of God thy Father, but in the cloister and in the pix. Take away from us those grievous wolves, which are entered in among us, and spare not the flock, but speak perverse things, that they may lead away the faithful after them. Take away from us all those men-pleasers, which by their fair speech and flattering words deceive the hearts of the simple, by this means serving their belly and not thee, O Lord Jesu Christ. Take away from us these justiciaries, which teach that we are justified by the works of the law, and not by faith alone in our Lord God. Ah Lord! if our justification cometh of works, then didst thou die in vain. But whosoever seeketh to be justified by works is utterly fallen from the grace and favour of God. For we know that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of thee, our Lord Jesu Christ; and we have believed in thee, O Lord, that we might be justified by the faith that we have in thee, and not by the works of the law; because no man shall be justified by the works of the law take away from us those dogs, those evil workmen, those shavelings, which teach that thou by the one only oblation of thy body hast not made perfect for ever them that are sanctified. Enemies are they of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God their belly is. Take away from us these false doctors, which privily bring in damnable sects, and deny the Lord which bath bought them, through whom the way of truth is evil spoken of, and through covetousness they with their deceitful words make merchandise of us; whose judgment is not far off, and whose damnation sleepeth not. Take away from us those false prophets and spirits of antichrist, which teach that thou, the Lord Jesu Christ, tookest no flesh of that blessed and undefiled virgin Mary thy mother.
Take away from us that proud whore of Babylon, that great and blasphemous bawd of all the whoredoms and abominations of the earth, with whom even the very kings of the earth have played the whoremongers, and they that dwelt on the earth were made drunken with the wine of her whoredom. Down, O Lord, with that purpled and rose-coloured whore, decked with gold, pearl, and precious stones, having a golden cup in her hand, full of the abominations and filthiness of her wantonness. Down, O Lord, with that gorgeous strumpet, which is drunk with the blood of saints, and with the blood of thy martyrs, O Jesu. Let that whore be hated of all men, let her be desolate, comfortless, and naked; yea, let the very flesh of her be gnawn off, and she consumed with fire. Let that great Babylon be made a dwelling-place of devils, and an hold of all unclean spirits, and a cage of all filthy and hateful birds. For of the wine of her pestilent whoredom have all nations drunken. Yea, the very kings of the earth have committed whoredom with her, and the merchants of the earth have waxen rich through her wanton pleasures.
O Lord, take away from us these merchants, that give attendance upon that filthy whore, and deceive the whole world with their pelting pedlary, thievish trash, and masking merchandise. Let their wares be sold no more, but both they and their bloody whorish mistress taken away from us; so that we be no more deceived by them, nor the truth of thy glorious gospel condemned for heresy, nor yet the blood of the saints any more shed.
O Lord, take away from us all these aforesaid monsters, even so many as deface thy glory, corrupt thy blessed word, despise thy flock, and, taking upon them to be feeders, feed themselves and not thy sheep; and in their stead place good bishops, learned preachers, Christian ministers, faithful teachers, true spiritual fathers, even such as one with a fervent and unfeigned zeal toward the setting forth of thy glory and the health of thy people. Endue them with thy holy Spirit, that they may be faithful and wise servants, giving thy household meat in due season. Give them that thy wisdom, which no man is able to resist, wherewith also they may be able both to exhort with wholesome doctrine, and also to convince and overcome them that speak against it. Let repentance and remission of sins be preached of them in thy name among all nations. Give them grace to persevere in thy truth unto the end.
Grant also, O Lord, that they may truly and reverently minister unto us thy holy mysteries, baptism, and thy holy supper, that our faith may be confirmed, stablished, and strengthened by the worthy receiving of them, and we well comforted and made strong against the gates of hell, the devil, the world, the flesh, the curse. Let not their hand be stretched out to receive, and slow to give; but grave in them, ( blessed Saviour, a mind content with that is enough, one shepherd to have one flock, and, whatsoever they receive of their parishioners, willingly to spend it among them in maintaining hospitality for the relief of the poor, that they may be found feeders of the flock both in word and deed. For thou, O Lord, commandest by the prophet in the old law, that all tithe should be brought into thy barn, that there might be meat in thy house. Thou callest the preacher’s barn thy barn, and his house thy house. And unto this end wouldest thou have temporal things provided for thy preachers, that they might have whereof to live themselves, to feed their family, and also to comfort the poor of the parish. To feed with word, and not with work, profiteth little. To fill the ear with the sound of words, and to suffer the body starve for hunger, is not the part of a good shepherd. He is not a good herdman that standeth all day whistling and calling at his sheep, but he that driveth them unto sweet and pleasant pastures, where they may eat their bellies full. Thy holy apostle commandeth a bishop or spiritual minister to maintain hospitality. Thou also, which art the mirror of all goodness and lively exemplar of all true pastors, being in this world conversant among men and a preacher of thy heavenly Father’s blessed will, feddest the people not only with thy godly doctrine, but also with corporal food, giving an example unto all spiritual pastors, that they should do so likewise. Thou commandest also thy blessed apostle Peter thrice to feed thy flock, that is, first, with the pure doctrine of thy heavenly gospel, whereunto thy holy sacraments as sure seals are annexed for the confirmation of thy truth; secondly, with godly conversation and a life agreeable to the doctrine, that the parishioners may the sooner be allured unto manners worthy of the gospel; thirdly, with hospitality. And this commandment gavest thou not only unto Peter, but unto all other thy apostles, yea, and to all spiritual pastors that have or shall succeed them unto the end of the world, that thy poor people may be fed both body and soul.
This commandment, О sweet Jesu, was diligently executed of thy holy apostles and of the faithful ministers that succeeded them, which all were moved with so great and so tender compassion toward thy poor members, that they did not only feed them with such goods as they received of the Christian congregation, but also, to satisfy their lack, they wrought with their hands. But, O Lord, this loving pity toward the poor in these our days is greatly abated and waxeth utterly cold in many of the ministers of the church, which notwithstanding are themselves very wealthy, and live all in pleasure of the church goods; so that by this means they are not resident upon their benefices, they maintain no hospitality, the parishioners are robbed of their duties, and the poor are not fed with meat as thou hast commanded, but they rather miserably starve for hunger. Unto such shepherds as feed themselves, and not the flock, as eat the milk, are clad with the wool, and eat of the fattest of the flock, and yet feed not the sheep, thou threatenest damnation by the prophet; promising that thou thyself wilt upon the shepherds, and require thy sheep from their hands, make them cease from feeding of thy sheep. Yea, thou sayest moreover that the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for thou wilt deliver thy sheep out of their mouths, so that they shall not devour them after this. Thou promisest also to set faithful shepherds over thy flock, and quietly to place thy sheep in green, fat, and pleasant pastures; so that the beasts of the field shall devour them no more, but they shall dwell safely without any fear; neither shall they any more be famished with hunger, nor yet bear the spiteful words of the heathen: for thou their Lord God wilt take care of them.
Deal with thy flock, O most faithful Shepherd, according to thy promise. Drive away from among us all ravening wolves and deceitful hypocrites, which are the ministers of Satan, changing themselves into angels of light, and appoint faithful and diligent herdmen over thy flock, which may feed them with thy lively word, lead a good life, and maintain hospitality among them for the comfort of the poor, and in all things so behave theniselves according to thy blessed will and commandment, that, when thou the most high Bishop and chief Shepherd shalt appear, they may receive the uncorruptible crown of glory. Amen.
A Prayer For Gentlemen.
Albeit whatsoever is born of flesh is flesh, and all that we receive of our natural parents is earth, dust, ashes, and corruption; so that no child of Adam hath any cause to boast himself of his birth and blood, seeing we have all one flesh and one blood, begotten in sin, conceived in uncleanness, and born by nature the children of wrath; yet, forasmuch as some for their wisdom, godliness, virtue, valiance, strength, eloquence, learning, and policy be avanced above the common sort of people unto dignities and temporal promotions, as men worthy to have superiority in a Christian commonweal, and by this means have obtained among the people a more noble and worthy name; we most entirely beseech thee, from whom alone cometh the true nobility to so many as are born of thee and made thy sons through faith, whether they be rich or poor, noble or unnoble, to give a good spirit to our superiors, that, as they be called gentlemen in name, so they may shew themselves in all their doings gentle, courteous, loving, pitiful, and liberal unto their inferiors, living among them as natural fathers among their children; not polling, pilling, and oppressing them, but favouring, helping, and cherishing them; not destroyers, but fathers of the country; not enemies to the poor, but aiders, helpers, and comforters of them; that when thou shalt call them from this vale of wretchedness, they, afore shewing gentleness to the common people, may receive gentleness again at thy merciful hand, even everlasting life, through Jesu Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer For Landlords.
The earth is thine, O Lord, and all that is contained therein, notwithstanding thou hast given the possession thereof unto the children of men, to pass over the time of their short pilgrimage, in this vale of misery. To nourish their family, and to relieve the poor. Give them grace also to consider that they are but strangers and pilgrims in this world, having here no dwelling-place, but seeking one to come; that they, remembering the short continuance of their life, may be content with that is sufficient, and not join house to house, nor couple land to land, to the impoverishment of other, but so behave themselves in letting out their tenements. We heartily pray thee to send thy holy Spirit into the hearts of them that possess the grounds, pastures, and dwelling-places of the earth, that they, remembering themselves to be the tenants, may not rack and stretch out the rents of their houses and lands, nor yet take unreasonable fines and incomes after the manner of covetous worldlings; but so let them out to other, that the ‘inhabitants thereof may both be able truly to pay the rents, and also honestly to live, lands, and pastures, that after this life they may be received into everlasting dwellingplaces, through Jesu Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer For Merchants. O Almighty God, maker and disposer of all things, which hast placed thy creatures necessary for the use of men in divers lands and sundry countries, yea, and that unto this end, that all kinds of men should be knit together in unity and love, seeing we all have need one of another’s help, one country of another country’s commodity, one realm of another realm’s gifts and fruits; we beseech thee to preserve and keep all such as travel either by land or by sea, for the getting of things that be necessary for the wealth of the realms or countries where they dwell, and to give them safe passage both in their going and coming, that they, having prosperous journeys, may shew themselves thankful to thee and beneficial to their neighbour, and so occupy their merchandise without fraud, guile, or deceit, that the commonweal may prosper and flourish with the abundance of worldly things through their godly and righteous travails, unto the glory of thy name. Amen.
A Prayer For Lawyers.
We know, O Lord, that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully, given of thee as Rom. vii. a singular gift unto the children of men for maintenance of godly orders, for putting away of iniquities and wrongs, for restoring of men unto their right, for the avancement of virtue, and punishment of vice. We most heartily pray thee, which art the law-giver, which alone is able to save and to destroy, from whom also cometh all James iv. wisdom, prudence, and knowledge, so to rule through the governance of thy holy Spirit the hearts of all lawyers, that they, hearing men’s causes being in controversy with discretion and indifferency, and weighing them justly and truly, according to the tenor and equity of the law, may without partiality both faithfully give counsel, and also indifferently pronounce of all such causes as be brought unto them, and by no means suffer themselves to be corrupted with bribes and gifts, which blind the eyes of the wise, and subvert true judgment; but walk so uprightly in all men’s matters, that they, seeking with godly travails a quietness among men in this world, may after their departure from this troublesome vale of misery enjoy everlasting rest and quietness in heavenly mansion, through Jesu Christ our Lord.
A Prayer For Labourers And Men of Occupations.
As the bird is born to fly, so is man born to labour. For thou, O Lord, hast commanded by thy holy word, that man shall eat his bread in the labour of his hands, and in the sweat of his face; yea, thou hast given commandment that, if any man will not labour, the same should not eat: thou requirest of us also, that we withdraw ourselves from every brother that walketh inordinately, and giveth not his mind unto labour; so that thy godly pleasure is that no man be idle, but every man labour according to his vocation and calling: we most humbly beseech thee to grave in the hearts of all labourers and workmen a willing disposition to travail for their living according to thy word, and to bless the labours, pains, and travails of all such as either till? the earth or exercise any other handy occupation, that they, justifying to be quiet, and to meddle with their own business, and to work with their own hands, and through thy blessing enjoying the fruits of their labours, may knowledge thee the giver of all good things, and glorify thy holy name. Amen.
A Prayer For Rich Men. Albeit, O Lord, thou art the giver of all good things, and through thy blessing men become rich that are godly and justly rich; yet are we taught in thy divine scriptures, that riches and the cares of worldly things smother up thy holy word, and that it is Luke viii. more easy for a gable rope to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven; again, that they which will be rich fall into temptation and snares, and into many foolish and noisome lusts, which whelm men into perdition and destruction (for covetousness is the root of all evils); we, therefore, perceiving by thy blessed word so many incommodities, yea, pestilences of man’s salvation, to accompany riches, most entirely beseech thee to bless such as thou hast made rich with a good, humble, loving, and free mind, that they, remembering themselves to be thy dispensators and stewards, may not set their minds upon the deceitful treasures of this world, Hab. ii. which are more brittle than glass, and more vain than smoke, nor yet heap up thick clay against themselves, but liberally and cheerfully bestow part of such goods as thou hast committed unto them upon their poor neighbours, make them friends of wicked mammon, be merciful to the needy, be rich in good works, and ready to give and distribute to that necessity of the saints, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may obtain everlasting life through Jesu Christ thy Son and our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer For Poor People As riches, so likewise poverty is thy gift, O Lord. And as thou hast made some rich to dispose the worldly goods, so hast thou appointed some to be poor, that they might receive thy benefits at the rich men’s hands. And as the godly rich are well beloved of thee, so in like manner are the poor, if they bear the cross of poverty patiently and thankfully. For good and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are of thee, O Lord. We therefore most humbly pray thee to give a good spirit to all such as it hath pleased thee to burden with the yoke of poverty, that they may with a patient and thankful heart walk in their state like unto that poor Lazare, of whom we read in the gospel of thy well-beloved Son, which choosed rather patiently and godly to die, than unjustly or by force to get any man’s goods; and by no means envy, murmur, or grudge against such as it hath pleased thee to endue with more abundance of worldly goods; but knowing their state, although never so humble and base, to be of thee, their Lord God, and that thou wilt not forsake them in this their need, but send them things necessary for their poor life, may continually praise thee, and hope for better things in the world to come, through thy Son Jesu Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer For the Commons. Thou hast commanded, O Lord, in thy holy scriptures, that all subjects should be obedient to higher powers, not only for fear, but also for conscience sake; for there is no power but of thee. The powers that be are ordained of thee: whosoever therefore resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance, and they that resist shall get to themselves damnation. Wherefore we, knowing this thy commandment, and notwithstanding not ignorant of the works and subtilties of the devil, which laboureth to the uttermost of his power to drive out of men’s hearts true and faithful obedience toward their superiors, and in the stead thereof to plant disobedience, rebellion, sedition, tumult, commotion, insurrection, and whatsoever may trouble a Christian commonweal, and break thy holy ordinance, most humbly and from the very heart beseech thee to grave in the hearts of the common people faithful, true, and unfeigned obedience, both toward our king, and toward the other rulers that are sent of him for the punishment of evil-doers, but for the praise of them that do well. Grant them also, O most merciful Father, a willing mind to give to every man his duty; tribute to whom tribute belongeth, custom to whom custom is due, fear to whom fear belongeth, honour to whom honour pertaineth; and above all things to pray without ceasing for all them that be in authority, that we may live a peaceable and quiet life in all godliness and honesty, unto the glory of thy blessed name. Amen.
A Prayer For the Unmarried.
Albeit, most merciful Father, marriage is honourable among all persons, and the bed Heb. xiii. undefiled; yet, forasmuch as some through thine exceeding and above natural gift (for no man can live chaste, except thou give him the gift) live free from the sweet yoke of matrimony, some again for the tenderness of age are not apt for holy wedlock; we heartily pray thee, that they which have received of thee the gift of continency may so train their life in godly exercises, that thou mayest go forth to continue and increase that thy gift in them, that they may the more freely and quietly serve thee, and care for those things that pertain unto thy glory; again, that the other, passing over the time of their young age in thy fear, in godly travails and virtuous labours, may eschew all evil, wicked, riotous, and wanton company, that, when they shall take on them the holy and honourable order of blessed wedlock, they may bring with them clean and undefiled bodies, and so live in that godly state of matrimony, avoiding all fornication, whoredom, and uncleanness, all dissension, strife, and debate, that thou mayest bless them and their marriage, prosper their godly travails, send them good success in all their doings, and make them joyful parents in seeing their childen’s children according to thy holy promise, which livest and reignest very God, worlds without end. Amen.
A Prayer For Them That Be Married.
Among other thy creatures, O everlasting God, when thou hadst made man according to thine own similitude, likeness, and image, thou saidst: It is not good that man be alone: let us make him a helper like unto himself; and shortly after thou formedst a woman of the man’s rib, and broughtest her unto Adam, which said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called a woman, for she is taken of man: wherefore man shall forsake father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. And thou, blessing them, gavest them commandment, saying: Increase and multiply, and fulfil the earth. Here learn we, O heavenly Father, that thou art the author of marriage; and that so many as marry in thy fear are coupled together of thee, blessed, and defended; and that thou hast joined them together to this end, that they should increase the earth, and bring forth sons and daughters unto the glory of thy name.
Thy holy apostle also commanded that, to avoid fornication, every man should have his own wife, and every woman her own husband; so that, if they cannot live single, they should marry; for it is better to marry than to burn. Here learn we again, O heavenly Father, that thou hast ordained matrimony to be a salve unto the infirmity and weakness of our flesh, and hast given it as a present remedy unto us against the raging lusts of old Adam, that we, taking upon us the holy order of matrimony, and by this means eschewing whoredom and all uncleanness, might serve thee in holiness and pureness all the days of our life.
We therefore, considering bow grievous an offence it is before thy divine Majesty for such as be married dissolutely to live, and contrary unto their profession to abuse themselves, most heartily pray thee favourably to behold all such as have taken upon them the yoke of honourable wedlock, and to give them grace to order their life according to thy holy word.
Grant, O merciful Lord, that the married men be not bitter, that is, churlish and unkind, unto their wives, but love them as thy dearly-beloved Son Christ loved the faithful congregation, provide for them, defend them, and cherish them even as they cherish their own bodies; again, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour 1 Pet. iii. unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel, and as unto them that are heirs also of the grace of life; that every one of them, avoiding fornication and knowing how to keep his vessel in holiness and honour, and not in the lust of concupiscence, as do the heathen that know not God, may by their godly conversation shew themselves to have taken upon them the holy order of matrimony, not at the provocation of the flesh, but through the motion of thy holy Spirit.
Grant also, that the wives be obedient and submit themselves unto their own husbands in all honest and godly things, that they which believe not the word may without the word be won by the conversation of their wives, while they behold their pure conversation coupled with fear. Give them grace also to array themselves in comely apparel, with shamefacedness and discreet behaviour; not with broided hair, either gold, or pearls, or costly array, but with such as becometh women that profess the worshipping of God, through good works, that the hid man of the heart be uncorrupt, with a meek and quiet spirit, which spirit is before God a thing much set by.
Again, grant, O Lord, that both the husbands and the wives may so walk in thy fear and in thy holy law, that thou mayest have a pleasure in them, bless them, prosper their enterprises, make them fruitful and joyful parents.
Finally, the children that thou sendest them, give them grace so to bring up in thy nurture and doctrine, that they, living together many years both joyful and quietly, may with one voice and with one mind glorify thy blessed name for ever. Amen.
A Prayer For Women With Child. Thou, O Lord, art wonderful in all thy works, and whatsoever thy good pleasure is, that dost thou easily bring to pass, neither is any thing impossible with thee that thou wilt have done. And albeit this thine almighty power sheweth itself abundantly in all thy works, yet in the conceiving, forming, and bringing forth of man it shineth most evidently. At the beginning, O heavenly Father, when thou madest man and woman, thou commandedst them to increase, multiply, and replenish the earth. If through the subtile enticements of Satan they had not transgressed thy commandment by eating the forbidden fruit, the woman, whom thou hast appointed the organ, instrument, and vessel to conceive, nourish, and bring forth man through thy wonderful workmanship, had without any labour, pain, or travail brought forth her fruit. But that which thy goodness made easy, sin and disobedience hath made hard, painful, dangerous, and, if thy help were not, impossible to be brought to pass; so that now all women bring forth their children in great sorrows, pains, and troubles. Notwithstanding, thou shewest thyself unto thy creatures a Father of mercy, and God of all consolation. For that which through their own imperfection and feebleness they are not able of themselves to bring to pass, thou through thine unspeakable power makest easy in them, and bringest unto a fortunate end. We therefore, being fully persuaded of thy bent and ready goodness, of thy present help, of thy sweet comfort in all miseries and necessities, knowing also by the testimonies of thy holy word how great and intolerable the pains of women are that travail of child, if through thy tender mercies they be not mitigated and eased, most humbly pray thee for Jesu Christ’s sake, thy Son and our Lord, that thy loving-kindness may make that easy and tolerable which sin hath made hard and painful. Ease, O Lord, the pains which thou most righteously hast put upon all women for the sin and disobedience of our grandmother Eve, in whom all we have sinned; and give unto all such as have conceived and be with child strength to bring forth that which thou wonderfully hast wrought in them. Be present with them in their trouble, help them and deliver them. Let thy power be shewed no less in the safe bringing forth, than in the wonderful fashioning of the child, that that which thou hast begun in them may come unto good success. Make them glad and joyful mothers, that they, through thy goodness being safely delivered, and restored to their old strengths, may live and praise thy blessed name for ever. Amen.
A Thanksgiving Unto God For Their Deliverance.
Among other thy benefits, yea, and those innumerable, which thou daily bestowest upon us thy needy and poor creatures, this is not the least, O most merciful Father, that thou of thy tender goodness dost vouchsafe, for the conservation of mankind, to preserve the women that are with child, and to give them safe deliverance of their burden, by this means making them glad and joyful mothers. For this thy benefit and good will toward us we so heartily thank thee as heart can think, beseeching thee to work such thankfulness in the hearts of all mothers by thy holy Spirit, that they, being not unmindful of this high benefit of their safe deliverance, wrought only by the Saviour of all mankind, may shew themselves thankful unto thee for this thy goodness, and never forget that thy present help and most sweet comfort, which thou mercifully shewedst upon them in their great travails, labours, and pains when they fled unto thy holy name for succour, as unto a strong bulwark and holy defence. Go forth, O Lord, to make them the joyful mothers of many children. Endue them with long life, that they may see their childen’s children. And the children that thou givest unto them, make thou as in age, so likewise in wisdom and in the abundance of thy holy Spirit to increase, that they may have favour both with thee and with all good men, unto the glory of thy most blessed name. Amen.
A Prayer For Fathers and Mothers. Forasmuch, O heavenly Father, as thou hast dealt with the children of men more nobly than with brute beasts and with other thy creatures, by giving them not only an amiable body, but also a mind which is immortal and never shall die, and, for the garnishing of the same, that it may be made like unto the similitude, likeness, and image of thee, hast in thy holy law commanded fathers and mothers, whom thou hast blessed with the gift of children, to take diligent care for the virtuous bringing up of their sons and daughters, that they may learn even from their very cradles to know thee their Lord God, to believe in thee, to fear and love thee, to call upon thy blessed name, to be thankful unto thee, and to walk in thy holy commandments all the days of their life; we, knowing how froward, evil-disposed, and untoward the heart, wit, and disposition of man is, even from his very youth, if it be not restrained with the bit of thy most blessed law, heartily pray thee to give all fathers and mothers grace, after the example of Abraham, David, Philip the evangelist, and such other, to bring up their children, even from their very infancy, in thy fear, in thy nurture, and in the knowledge of thy most healthful word, that they, seeking no less the garnishing of their children’s minds with a learning and virtue, than the preserving of their bodies with food and raiment, may shew themselves profitable members of the Christian public weal, and faithful servants to thee their Lord God, which alone art worthy all honour and glory. Amen.
A Prayer For Children. As thou, O merciful Father, hast given commandment unto all fathers and mothers, to bring up their children in thy fear, nurture, and doctrine, so likewise thy good pleasure is that children should honour and reverence their parents, diligently give ear unto their virtuous instructions, and faithfully obey them. And as thou hast promised health, honour, glory, riches, long life, and all that good is unto them that honour, reverence, and humbly obey their fathers and mothers; so hast thou threatened unto disobedient children ignominy, evil fame, contempt, shame, dishonour, poverty, sickness, short life, and such other plagues. Yea, in thy holy law thou dost not only pronounce them accursed that dishonour their fathers and mothers, but thou also commandest that, if any child be stubborn and disobedient, and will not hear, but rather despise the commandment of his father and mother, the same should be stoned unto death without mercy; so greatly dost thou abhor disobedience and rebellion against all persons, but specially against parents.
We therefore, heartily wishing that the plagues of thy fierce wrath (for thou, O God, art a consuming fire! may be far from us, most humbly beseech thee to grave in the hearts of all children, of whatsoever age, kind, estate, or degree they be, true honour, hearty reverence, and unfeigned obedience toward their parents. Give them grace, O good Lord, that as they profess thy Son Christ in name, so they may truly represent his manners in their life and conversation, which willingly was obedient unto his mother Mary, and unto her husband Joseph, giving example to all children of the like subjection and obedience toward their parents. Engraff in them such a love toward their fathers and mothers, that they may both reverence them with outward honour, and also for their power help them, succour them, provide for them, comfort and cherish them in their need, even as their parents nourished and comforted them in their infancy and tender age. But above all things give them grace truly to honour thee, which art the heavenly Father, yea, our Father and our Redeemer, which hast made us, and daily cherishest us, even as a father or mother cherish their most dear and natural children. So shall it come to pass, that they, faithfully honouring thee, shall also in order heartily honour and unfeignedly obey their carnal parents in thy fear, unto the glory of thy most blessed name, which is most worthy to be honoured, worlds without end. Amen.
A Prayer For Masters. Although, O Christ, thou most highest Lord, all power both in heaven and in earth be given unto thee of thy heavenly Father, and albeit thou hast given us a commandment that we should not desire to be called master, for we have but one Master, which thou art, and all we are brethren, having one Father, which is in heaven; yet, forasmuch as thou according to thy blessed will hast appointed some superiors, some inferiors, some masters, some servants, some to command, some to obey, some to rule, some to serve, and by this means such as be in superiority have obtained by thy holy word the name of masters or lords, because they have servants under them, and rule under thee according to thy good pleasure and godly appointment, which art the most supreme power, and most excellent Majesty, King of kings, and Lord of lords, to whom all things both in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth, do bow their knees, and give reverence and honour, whose praise also every nation and language doth avance and set forth, confessing that thou art the Lord Jesu Christ, unto the glory of God the Father; we most humbly pray thee, which art the greatest Master and most highest Lord, to send thy holy Spirit upon all such as are called masters here in earth, and have superiority over thee’, that they, remembering themselves to be thy servants, and that they also have a Master in heaven, with whom there is no respect of persons, may put away all threatenings, all cruelty, all unrighteousness, and do that unto their servants which is just and equal. Grant that they entreat not evil their servants which work truly, nor the hireling that is faithful unto them. Grant that they be not as lions in their houses, destroying their household folks, and oppressing such as are under them; but rather that they cherish and love their faithful and discreet servants, even as their own soul, and by no means suffer them to be unrewarded for their pains-taking, nor yet at the last to be driven to beggary for their true service-doing; but that they, liberally rewarding them according to their deserts, may shew themselves to be thy true servants, which leavest no man unrewarded, but givest to every man according to his deeds; to them that do well and continue in well-doing, glory, honour, peace, immortality, and everlasting life; to them that do evil and continue in the same, indignation, wrath, displeasure, trouble, sorrow, and eternal damnation. Grant therefore, O Lord, that all temporal masters may in all their doings resemble thee, which art the heavenly and everlasting Master, and so behave themselves both toward their servants and all other according to thy blessed will, that at the last day they may be found in the number of them to whom thou shalt say: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Lord, let it so come to pass. Amen.
A Prayer For Servants.
O Christ, my Lord and Saviour, which, being the Son of the living God, yea, God himself from everlasting, didst not disdain at the will of thine heavenly Father to make thyself of no reputation, to become man, to take upon thee the shape of a servant, and to obey thy Father’s commandment to the death, yea, even the death of the cross, for our salvation, refusing no service, no travail, no labour, no pain, that might make unto the comfort of mankind; we most humbly beseech thee to give all servants grace to practise thy humility and obedience, that, as thou most willingly didst serve and obey thy heavenly Father’s good pleasure, so they in like manner may with most hearty affection serve and obey their bodily masters in all things that fight not with thy blessed word; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God; that, whatsoever they do, they may do it heartily, even as unto the Lord, and not unto men; forasmuch as they are sure that they shall receive the reward of the heavenly inheritance of thee, O Lord Christ, whom also they serve, while truly and faithfully they serve their bodily masters. Grant that so many as are under the yoke may count their masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not evil spoken of; and obey them with all fear, not only if they be good and courteous, but also though they be froward, and please them in all things, not answering them again, nor picking ought from them, but shew all good faithfulness, that in all things they may do worship unto the doctrine of thee our God and Saviour; to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be all honour, praise, and glory, for ever. Amen.
A Prayer For Them That Are Sick. O Jesu, the Saviour of the world, and the true Physician both of the body and of the soul, we are not altogether ignorant how detestable a thing sin is in thy sight, and how greatly thou abhorrest them that commit iniquity and shake off the yoke of thy law, giving their minds to the filthy lusts of the flesh, and the vain pleasures of the world.
Some that thus ungodly behave themselves thou sufferest to go forth still in their beast-like manners, without correction or punishment, to live in pleasure and wantonness upon the earth, to nourish their hearts as in a day of slaughter, to serve their belly as their God, and voluptuously to spend their days without all fear of thee, that at the last they, being altogether nousled in voluptuousness and dying without repentance (for the sorrows, plagues, and punishments of the wicked begin at their death), may with that rich and beast-like glutton be tormented for ever in the flames of hell-fire. For convenient it is that they, which in this world live all in pleasure, do in another world receive their pains, even as thou hast promised in thy holy gospel, saying: Wo be to you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Wo Luke vi. be to you that now laugh! for ye shall wail and weep.
Again, some that walk inordinately, and contrary to the rules? of thy holy law, thou, tendering their salvation, visitest them with sickness and punishest their bodies with the loving rod of thy correction, that they may no longer be proud, cruel, and fierce against the spirit, whose servant and bond-slave the body of right ought to be, but rather be obedient and serviceable, that it may from henceforth not so much as once lust against the spirit; and by this means thou mercifully callest them (which as wandering sheep have so long strayed abroad) home again unto thy sheep-fold. For this, O Lord, is an evident token of thine exceeding goodness and tender mercy toward us, when thou, seeing us most grievously through our wicked and sinful conversation to offend thy divine Majesty, to forsake thy law, not to walk in thy ordinances, to break thy statutes, not to keep thy commandments, dost not take away from us thy loving-kindness; but visitest our iniquities with thy gentle rod, and punishest our sins with thy corrections, sweet to the spirit, but bitter to the flesh (for while we are punished we are corrected of the Lord, lest we should with this world be condemned), and by this means thou provokest us to leave our riotous and ungodly manners, and to seek after thee our most loving Saviour, leading a life from henceforth according to thy most blessed will and commandment.
Some also thou throwest into adversity, and punishest with sickness, to prove and try their faith, whether they be constant in confessing, calling upon, and praising thy holy name, like unto that patient man and faithful warrior, which said: If we have received good and prosperous things at the Lord’s hand, why should we not be content to suffer evil and troublous things? The Lord gave them, the Lord hath taken them away; as it pleased the Lord, so is it come to pass: blessed be the name of the Lord. So many, O Lord, as thou lovest, thou sometime visitest with thy loving rod of correction, lest that they, continually enjoying that too much felicity and wealth of worldly things, should forget thee their Lord God, and walk in the vanities of a lewd mind. For if we endure chastening, thou offerest thyself unto us as unto sons. For whom thou lovest, him thou chastenest: yea, and thou scourgest every son that thou receivest: what son is that whom the father chasteneth not? If we be not under correction, whereof all are partakers, then are we bastards and not sons. And albeit no manner chastising for the present time seemeth to be joyous but grievous, nevertheless afterward it bringeth the quiet fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised therein.
Forasmuch therefore, O most merciful Saviour, as sickness and adversity is sent from thee unto the children of men for their great profit and singular commodity, even that the body with the works thereof should be subject to the spirit, and as a witness and seal of thy loving-kindness and hearty good-will toward them; we most heartily pray thee mercifully to behold all such as are sick, and, as that pitiful Samaritan, to pour wine and oil into their wounds, and to bind them up, that is, to comfort them, giving them grace patiently to bear the cross that thou hast laid upon them, to shew themselves conformable to thy blessed will, and in the midst of their trouble and sickness to praise thy glorious name, and with strong faith to say: Come and let us return unto the Lord, for he hath begun and he will heal us; he hath stricken us, and he will surely make us whole. For it is the Lord that bringeth down to the grave and fetcheth up again. It is the Lord that punisheth with poverty, and maketh wealthy again. It is the Lord that bringeth low, and lifteth up again; yea, it is the Lord that killeth, and maketh alive again. It is for our great profit that the Lord hath thus plagued us, even that we should learn to forsake our own fleshly will, and to walk in his holy ordinances. Therefore as it is God’s good pleasure, so let it come to pass. His will be done, and not ours. We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture; let him deal with us as seemeth best in his godly sight. For whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
Give them grace, O sweet Jesu, thus to be persuaded of thy good-will even in the midst of the shadow of death, that they faint not under the cross, and become of a desperate mind, but valiantly abide thy good pleasure, and all the time of their trouble and sickness patiently and thankfully to call upon thy blessed name, which is a strong tower for all them that flee unto it; and ever set before their eyes thy loving-kindness, believing stedfastly that, although their cross be painful to the flesh, yet is it sweet to the spirit, and albeit the outward man be made weak through it, yet is the inward man made strong, which wisheth to be loosened from this wretched body, and to be with thee in glory. For so long as we are at home in the body, we are absent from the fruition and sight of thy divine Majesty. O Lord, it is not thy property alway to chide, alway to be angry, neither to deal with us according to our sins, nor yet to reward us after our iniquities; but as a tender father pitieth his natural son, so art thou merciful to sinners if they repent, believe, and amend. For thou camest into this world not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance: neither art thou a physician for the whole, but for the sick. Be thou therefore, O most merciful Saviour, a physician to such as are diseased either in body or soul, and, after this thy loving correction, restore unto them the benefit of health, both corporally and spiritually. Make whole so many as knowledge their miseries, repent them of their sinful manners, flee unto thee for succour, believing to enjoy all good things at thy merciful hand. And as thou hast made them heavy with laying thy cross upon them, so make thou them joyful by restoring unto them the gift of health, that they may live and glorify thy blessed name for ever. Amen.
A Prayer For Soldiers. In the whole body of the holy scripture, O Jesu, thou Son of the living God, there is nothing more commended and set forth unto us than peace, unity, quietness, and concord. Unto this Moses and the prophets, thou and thine apostles do diligently exhort, and contrariwise vehemently dissuade from discord, enmity, malice, war, &c.. For what is more seemly for man, than to embrace amiable peace, friendly concord, and quiet amity? The creation, the shape, the birth of man proveth evidently man to be formed and made unto peace. But Satan, that old enemy of mankind, which goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, sweateth, and with all main laboureth to banish peace from the children of men, and in the stead thereof violently to thrust in discord, tumults, seditions, wars, blood-shedding, manslaughter, destruction of realms and countries, by this means intending to make havoc of all together; so that he, furiously raging in his members, provoketh many times thy servants, for the defence of their country and the safeguard of their people, to wage battle with their enemies.
We therefore most humbly beseech thee to assist all such as justly attempt any wars against their enemies, and mightily to defend them against their adversaries, that they may receive through thy puissance a glorious victory and noble triumph. Send thy holy angel unto them, that he may pitch his tent among them, and overthrow their enemies. Give all soldiers grace so to behave themselves in the wars & with all godliness and honesty, that thou mayest have a pleasure to be present among them, to be their captain and valiant defender. Suffer them not to be discouraged for the multitude of their enemies, but with strong faith let them wholly depend on thee the most mighty conqueror, with whom it is all one to help in few or in many, and with that prince-like warrior boldly say: The Lord is my light and my health: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defender of my life: of whom shall I be afraid? If mine enemies pitch pavilions against me, my heart shall not fear. If men of war rise against me, I will trust in the Lord my God. And when thou hast given them the victory over their enemies, give them also a thankful heart, that they may confess to have gotten the victory not by their horses, bows, or guns, nor yet by their own strength and policy, but by thine almighty power, and so be encouraged for ever after to magnify thy holy name. Amen.
A Prayer For Mariners. Thy power is wonderful both upon the land and sea, and whatsoever thy good pleasure is, that workest thou in them both. Sometime thou makest the earth fruitful, sometime barren. The sea also sometime is calm and pleasant, sometime rough and boisterous. So that whether they bring troublous or prosperous things unto us, all come from thee our Lord God, that thy power and glory may be shewed in thy creatures unto the praise of thy name.
Seeing that thou art ruler both of the earth and sea, we most heartily beseech thee to preserve all such as labour either by land or by sea, but namely them which for getting and maintenance of their living are compelled to travel the seas, and to commit themselves to the dangers thereof. O Lord, though the surges of the sea be marvellous, yet art thou, which sittest on high, more marvellous. Though the winds be boisterous, strong, and vehement, yet dost thou excel them in power. For thou hast given a commandment to thy creatures, and none go beyond it. Fire, hail, snow, ice, and vapours, stormy winds, accomplish thy word. Thou hast limited the waters their bonds, which they may not pass. Thou also with a word when the ship, wherein thou and thy disciples were, was grievously tossed with the waves, and at the point of drowning through the wind and tempest that arose, causedst at the desire of thy disciples the wind to cease, the sea to be quiet, and a great calm to be made, insomuch that they which were in the ship marvelled, and said: What man is this, that both winds and the sea obey him? Grant therefore, O most gentle Saviour, that, whensoever any troublous tempest ariseth in the sea, so that through it such as are upon the sea be in danger, they, calling on thy blessed name with strong faith for help, may find favour at thy merciful hand, be delivered out of fear, escape all dangers, and travel a fortunate journey. So shall it come to pass that they, through thine almighty power being safely delivered from all perils, shall continually praise and glorify thy blessed name. Amen.
A Prayer For Travellers By Land. O LORD, which art the way, the truth, and life, thou hast promised in the holy scripture, that they which put their trust in thee, look for help at thy hand, and take thee for their mighty defender and strong castle, shall be preserved harmless, and walk in all their journeys safely, and without danger. For thou thyself wilt take charge of them, and shadow them under thy merciful wings, so that none evil shall chance unto them. Yea, as thou didst send thy holy angel with Abraham and with other thy faithful servants to be their guide and defender, and to make their journey prosperous; so wilt thou send thy blessed angels with them that wholly depend on thee, and with strong faith commit themselves to thy most godly tuition; which shall safely keep them in all their ways, yea, and sooner hold them up with their hands than they shall dash their foot against a stone. This thy accustomed gentleness toward thy servants, and these thy loving promises, encourage us greatly at this present to come unto thy Majesty, most humbly beseeching thee to send thy holy angel unto all such as travel by the way in thy fear, to take care of them, to defend them from all misfortunes, and so to guide them throughout all their journey, that they may both prosperously and joyfully finish their purposed travel, ever praising thy blessed name. Amen.
A Prayer For A Faithful Man Being In Trouble or Endurance. O LORD, Father of mercies and God of all consolation, which rulest and disposest all things after thine unsearchable wisdom, and workest in thy creatures according to thy blessed will, which is alway good and godly, howsoever blind and frail flesh judgeth of it, we know and unfeignedly confess thine omnipotency and almighty’s power. We know that thou art able to do whatsoever thy good pleasure is. We know that thou bringest down to the grave, and fetchest up again. Thou punishest li. with poverty, and makest wealthy again. Thou bringest low, and liftest up again.
Yea, thou, O Lord, killest, and makest alive again. O wonderfully dost thou work in all thy creatures, specially in them whom thou hast appointed to be vessels of mercy, and inheritors of thine eternal glory. If they at any time grievously offend thy divine Majesty (as we be all sinners and ready at every moment to fall), thou dost neither long wink at their wickedness, nor yet for ever cast them from thy favour; but like a loving physician, with some emplasture or salve, although bitter to the flesh, yet wholesome to the soul, thou healest them, and like a tender or gentle father correctest them with some temporal punishment, that by this means they escaping everlasting punishment, may repent them of their ungodly behaviour, confess their wickedness, flee unto thy mercy, and for ever after be the more circumspect in treading the paths of thy holy law. On this manner didst thou handle the Israelites, when they offended thy fatherly goodness. On this manner didst thou deal with king David and prophet Jonas, for their disobedience, with many other, whom notwithstanding, for thy mercies’ sake, after they had knowledged their offences, and called upon thy holy name, thou wonderfully deliveredst, and broughtest again as it were into the haven of quietness.
(‘This prayer, and the succeeding thanksgiving, his grace; gathered and set forth by are found in an edition of the “Spiritual and most Thomas Becon, minister there;” and “A thanks. precious Pearl,’ printed in 1550, under the follow giving for his grace’s deliverance.” (See Vol. I. ing titles: “A humble petition to the Lord practised page x.) There is scarcely any variation from the in the common prayer of the whole family at Shene, except that instead of “our faithful brother,’ during the trouble of their lord and master the duke the phrase “our lord and master’ is used. )
We therefore, thy poor and sorrowful creatures, perceiving in thy holy scriptures so large fountains of thy great mercies plenteously issuing out toward all them that be of a contrite and broken heart, are bold at this present for thy promise sake to come unto thee, most humbly beseeching thee, that, as thou deliveredst Jonas out of the whale’s belly, Daniel from prison, Peter thine apostle out of ward, David from the hands of his enemies, Susanna from the power of her adversaries, with other, so in like manner thou wilt deliver and set at liberty thy servant and our faithful brother; yea, and that on such sort that it may be to thy glory, to his health, and to the comfort of so many as unfeignedly love thy blessed word. And although we for our imperfection be not worthy to crave and enjoy so great and comfortable benefit at thy merciful hand, yet we doubt not but, for thy dearly-beloved Son Jesu Christ’s sake, thou wilt most favourably hear us, most fatherly pity us, and most bounteously grant us this our humble request. And we again, receiving this benefit of our dear brother’s deliverance of thy hand, shall not be unthankful, but continually magnify thy holy and glorious name, which dealest so favourable with thy servants, when they call upon thee in the name of Jesu Christ thy only-begotten Son, and our alone Mediator and Advocate, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all praise and honour for ever and ever. Amen.
A Thanksgiving For His Deliverance. So often as we consider thy wonderful works, O blessed and heavenly Father, which thou workest of thine own good-will for so many as in their trouble and adversity flee for refuge unto thy holy name as unto a strong-hold and mighty fortress, we cannot but confess and acknowledge thy singular kindness and unspeakable goodwill, which thou continually, through thy fatherly goodness, bearest towards thy servants; and for the same, not merited of any man, but freely of thy mercy given, we render unto thee according to our most bounden duty most hearty praises and entire thanks.
In consideration whereof, the children of Israel, being in miserable captivity, lamentably lamenting before thee their too much sorrowful state by hearty prayers, after that thou hadst delivered them from that land of servitude, brast out into exceeding great praises, glorifying thy most holy and blessed name for their sweet and comfortable deliverance. The citizens of Bethulia likewise being in great distress, called upon thy glorious name; and thou most mercifully deliveredst them; and they again with merry voices and more joyful hearts sung unto thee most hearty thanks. In like manner, when thou hadst delivered Joseph, Daniel, Peter, and many other thy servants from their sorrows and calamities, O who is able to express…how ready and glad minds they magnified thee and thy holy name?
We therefore, sinful wretches, excited and stirred up with the godly examples of these thy servants, knowing how greatly thou delightest in the sacrifice of praise, confessing also (such is our beggary!) that we have none other thing worthy to offer unto thy divine Majesty are at this present gathered together to celebrate thy great mercies, to magnify thy blessed name, and to render unto thee most humble thanks and immortal praise, that it hath pleased thee of thine exceeding goodness, the rather at the contemplation of our prayers, to shew thy favourable mercy in the deliverance of thy servant and our dear brother, unto our singular joy and great comfort. For this thy benefit, most beneficial Father, we so heartily thank thee, as heart can think, most entirely beseeching thee that thou wilt give us all grace, even so many as love thy blessed word, never to be unmindful of this thy benefit, nor to commit any thing hereafter that should offend thy fatherly goodness, or provoke thy wrath against us, lest through our disobedience we after this feel more bitter tokens of thy heavy displeasure than hitherto we have done; but in all our enterprises so to behave ourselves according to thy blessed will, that thou mayest delight in us as a father in his children, and vouchsafe to bless us with all spiritual blessing, to enrich us with the knowledge of thy heavenly word, and to work in us a life conformable to the same, that other, seeing our godly manners and Christian conversation, may be encouraged to embrace thy blessed word, to magnify thy holy name, and in all points to frame their life according to the rule of thy holy commandments, through the inspiration of thy blessed Spirit, to whom, with thee and thy dearly-beloved Son Jesu Christ, be all honour, praise, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
A General Prayer That All Men May Walk In Their Vocation And Calling. Forasmuch, O heavenly Father, as both thy honour and dishonour, after a certain manner, dependeth in this world either of our godly or wicked life (if we live well, thy very adversaries shall be compelled to glorify thee; but if our life be ungodly, ‘.. so shalt thou be dishonoured among the wicked, and evil spoken of through our sinful living); and because we should not walk inordinately, and so provoke the enemies of thy truth to rail on thee, and to blaspheme thy holy name; thou hast appointed in thy blessed law certain honest and godly states and degrees wherein thy people should live, and hast straitly commanded that so many as profess thee and thy holy word should continue in the same, everyone according to his vocation and calling, and by no means lead a dissolute life after the manner of the heathen, which know not God, that by well-doing the professors of thy holy religion may not only stop the mouths of foolish and ignorant people, but also provoke them to glorify thee our Lord in the day of visitation; we, knowing our infirmity and weakness, which is so great, and unable to be remedied of our natural strengths and free-will, that we are not able to think a good thought, much less to fulfil thy commandments, which thou hast straitly commanded to be kept, and wishing the glory of thy most glorious name and the accomplishment of thy heavenly will, most humbly and from the very heart beseech thee for Jesu Christ’s sake to endue us with thy holy Spirit, which may fulfil that lacked in us, make us new creatures, trade us in the paths of thy holy law, and give us grace to walk according to our vocation, in thy fear, and in the obedience of thy godly will, that we attempt nothing that in any point may hinder thy glory, obscure thy honour, deface thy name, and cause thee to be evil spoken of among the ungodly.
And that this may come to pass, grant, O most merciful Father, that every one of us, even from the highest to the lowest, may unfeignedly answer our calling, and train our life according to thy blessed will, unto the glory of thy name, that whatsoever we do in word or deed, we may do all things in the name of the Lord Jesu, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Grant that all temporal rulers may use their office justly and godly, seek not only ii. to be feared, but also to be loved, maintain the good, punish the evil, accept no person in judgment, allow no false accusation, shed no innocent blood, hear the small so well as the great, receive no bribes, set forth thy glory, avance thy holy word, promote thy faithful preachers, and in all their doings seek the profit of the commonwealth, and so behave themselves, that they may be found worthy officers in thy sight.
Grant that the subjects may shew all reverent submission to their rulers, obey them in all things, be faithful and true to them, yea, and that not only for fear of punishment, but also for conscience sake.
Grant that the bishops, the preachers of thy word, and all other spiritual ministers, may take heed to themselves and to all the flock, in the which the Holy Ghost hath appointed them overseers, to feed thy holy congregation which thy dearly-beloved Son purchased with his blood; and take the oversight of them, not as though they were compelled, but willingly; not for the desire of filthy lucre, but of a good mind; not as lords over the parishes, but that they be an example unto the flock. Grant that they may lay aside all tyranny and haughtiness of mind, and walk with all gentle softness and tender compassion toward the sheep of Christ committed to their cure and charge. Let them be as most loving fathers to Christ’s flock; and if any of the sheep chance to run astray and to go out of the way, let them not therefore ungently entreat them, but, as it is the office of a good shepherd, by fair means call them home again unto the sheep-fold, seeking rather Magistrates, but that them to them see, to feed their salvation than destruction. Let them remember the history of that lost sheep, and consider how tenderly the head Shepherd Christ, thy Son and our Lord, fetched it home again even upon his shoulders. For the servant of the Lord may not fight, but be peaceable and gentle toward all men, ready to teach, suffering the evil with meekness, informing them that resist, if at any time thou, O God, mayest give them repentance to know the truth. Let them cast away ungodly and old wives fables, teaching thy heavenly word purely and truly, and be unto them that believe an example in the word, in conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith, in pureness. Let them give attendance unto reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Let them study to shew themselves in thy sight workmen worthy of praise, even such as need not to be ashamed. As in preaching thy holy word, so likewise in maintaining hospitality, in distributing to the necessity of the saints, in feeding the hungry, in clothing the naked, in lodging the harbourless, in nourishing godly and learned men, make them diligent herdmen, that they may be pastors and feeders both in word and deed.
Grant, again, that the parishioners may reverence the bishops and other spiritual Parishioners. ministers, giving them no less honour than the child giveth the father, remembering that they be the angels of God, the messengers of Christ, the light of the world, the salt of the earth, the dispensators of the mysteries of God, the feeders of their souls, the comforters of the weak, the physicians of the sick, the upholders of the whole, the exhorters unto virtue, the frayers away from vice, &c., which watch continually for the health of their souls. Work in the hearts of all them that are instructed with the word such a tender love and good-will toward the ministers that teach them, that they may give unto them abundantly all good things, whereby the preachers may be the more able not only to nourish their family, but also maintain hospitality, to the relief and comfort of the poor. For who goeth a warfare any time at his own cost? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit? who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk? If the preachers sow unto their parishioners spiritual things, is it a great thing if they reap their carnal things? Thy ordinance is, O Lord, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
Moreover, grant that the husbands may love their wives as their own bodies, and husbands. not be bitter, churlish, or unkind unto them; but give honour unto them, as unto the weaker vessels, and as unto them that are fellow-heirs with them of the grace’ of life.
Likewise, grant that the wives be in subjection to their own husbands, as unto wives. The Lord, in all things, and so behave themselves as becometh women of an honest and godly conversation. Give them grace to array themselves in comely apparel, with shamefacedness and discreet behaviour; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearl, or costly array; but with such as it becometh women that profess godliness through good works. Let the inward man of the heart be uncorrupt, with a meek and quiet spirit, which before thee, O God, is much set by. For after this manner in the old time did the holy women, which trusted in God, tire themselves, and were obedient to their own husbands, even as Sara obeyed Abraham, and called him lord, whose daughters the married women are, so long as they do well.
Grant the fathers may not rate their children, lest they be of a desperate mind; but bring them up in the nurture and information of our Lord God.
Grant also, that the children obey their parents in all things, and honour them.
Grant that all masters may do unto their servants that which is just and equal, Masters. putting away threatenings, and know that they have also a Master in heaven, with whom there is no respect of persons.
Grant, again, that the servants be obedient unto their bodily masters in all things, Servants. with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ, not with eye-service, only in the eye-sight, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing thy will, O God, even from the heart with good-will. Give them grace also to consider that they serve the Lord, and not men; and therefore they may be sure, that whatsoever good a man doth, he shall receive it again of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
Furthermore, grant, O most merciful Father, that the elder men may be sober, honest, discreet, sound in faith, in love, and in patience.
The elder women likewise, grant that they be in such raiment as becometh holiness; not false accusers, not given to much drinking; but teachers of honest things, to make the young women sober-minded, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, housewifely, good, and obedient unto their own husbands, that the word of God be not evil spoken of.
Grant also, that the young men be sober-minded and of honest conversation.
To conclude, grant that every one that profess thy glorious name may so live and behave himself both in thought, word, and deed, that nothing may proceed and come from them that should offend thy divine and most excellent Majesty. Grant also, O most gentle and tender Father, that our light may so shine before men, that they, seeing our good works, may glorify thee our heavenly Father, with thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, and the Holy Ghost that most sweet Comforter, to whom be all honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
A Prayer For Our Enemies.
The poisonful corruption of our nature, which we have sucked out of our first parents Adam and Eve, worketh so strongly in us, O Lord, and so mightily striveth against the motions of thy holy Spirit, that we cannot do that we would, nor accomplish that thou requirest of us. Thou hast commanded us to love not only our friends, but also our very enemies; to forgive them that offend us, to bless them that curse us, to do good to them that hate us, to pray for them that do us wrong and persecute us; yea, if our enemy hunger, to feed him, if he thirst, to give him drink. But our corrupt nature, which ever striveth against thy blessed will, seeketh all means possible to be revenged, to requite tooth for tooth and eye for eye, to render evil for evil, when vengeance is thine and thou wilt reward; and by this means we grievously offend thee, and break the order of charity, and the bond of peace, which seeketh not to be revenged, but to forgive one another, even as Christ forgave us.
It may please thee therefore, O most merciful Lord, of thy bountiful goodness to forgive our enemies, and not to lay to their charge those things that they have unjustly committed against us, and so to slay in us our old corrupt and cankered nature by taking away from us our stony heart, and by giving us a fleshly heart, that we, through the operation of thy holy Spirit, may be content, according to thy blessed will and commandment, and after the example of thy Son Jesu Christ our Lord, and of that blessed martyr St Stephen, freely and even from the very heart to forgive our enemies, to speak well of them, to love them, and to do for them whatsoever lieth in our power, and by this means unfeignedly shew ourselves to be thy sons, which causest the sun to arise on the evil and on the good, and sendest the rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous, giving us example that we, if we will be thy true sons, should do likewise, and shew ourselves beneficial, not only to the good and godly, but also to the wicked and ungodly, that by this means we may allure even the very adversaries of thy truth to speak well of the professors of thy blessed name, and to glorify thee our heavenly Father, which fashionest us according to thy manners, through the mighty working of thy holy Spirit, to whom, with thee and thy only-begotten Son, be all glory and honour. Amen.
A Prayer For The Adversaries of God’s Truth, And All That Man May Come to the True Knowledge of God’s Blessed Word.
It is truly said of thine holy apostle, O most merciful Saviour, that the natural man perceiveth not the things that pertain unto the Spirit of God, for they are but foolishness unto him; neither can he perceive them, because they are spiritually examined.
This to be true in the most part of men, specially in the wise and prudent of this world (from whom the heavenly Father is wont to hide his heavenly mysteries, and to shew them to the humble and lowly), daily experience teacheth us. For while the wise worldlings seek praise one of another, they cannot love the glory of God. While they cleave to their own fleshly wisdom, they cannot abide the wisdom of God, which is counted foolishness in their sight. While they go about to maintain old crooked customs, superstitious ceremonies, the trifling traditions of men, they cannot away with the light of thine heavenly truth. While they magnify themselves, shame to be taught, and by no means will confess their ignorancy and error, but persuade themselves that they are in the truth, when indeed they are under the father of lies, and that they walk in the light, when they are most of all wrapped about, yea, and overwhelmed with the misty clouds of men’s inventions; while also they abhor to hear the preachers of thy word, and judge whatsoever they speak now erroneous and false doctrine, it cometh to pass that they hate, persecute, banish, and condemn both thy blessed word, and all the favourers thereof, thinking themselves to do thee high service, when they slay such as unfeignedly profess thy gospel.
And forasmuch as this hate conceived against thy holy word, and this cruelty against thy servants, cometh from the wise of this world, the simple and ignorant people also for lack of knowledge yieldeth themselves unto the fancies of the wily worldlings and the dreams of the bellied hypocrites, approving what they approve, condemning what they condemn, and believing what they believe. By this means is it come to pass, that the adversaries of thy blessed word are wonderful many in number; and very few are they which sincerely, purely, and even with the heart embrace and follow thy heavenly doctrine. No marvel. For little is thy flock, O Lord, to whom it hath pleased thy Father to give the kingdom of heaven; and although many be made, yet few shall be saved. For many are called, but few are chosen; so that the true lovers of thy word are few, but the enemies thereof are many. But, O Lord, this comforteth us well that, although the adversaries of thy truth be innumerable, and albeit the powers of this world stand up, and come together hurly-burly never so much against the Lord and his Anointed, and by no means will submit themselves to the yoke of thy blessed law, but seek all means possible to break it and to cast it away from them; yet shall they not prevail: their imaginations, their counsels and devices shall come to nought. For there is no wisdom, no forecast, no counsel can prevail against Prov. xxi. the Lord. Thou that dwellest in heaven mockest their vain enterprises, and laughest both them and all their most subtile devices to scorn.
For thou art that rock, against whom the gates of hell shall not prevail. Thou art that stone, upon whom whosoever falleth, he shall be crushed on pieces, but upon whomsoever it falleth, it shall grind him all to powder. Thou art that prick, against whom it is hard to spurn. Thou art that most victorious and triumphant Lion of the tribe of Judah, against whom no flesh can prevail. Thou art that Lord, which bringest to nought the counsels of the ungodly, and reprovest the thoughts of the people; yea, thou makest of no force all the counsels, devices, and imaginations of princes, establishing thine own counsel, and making the thoughts of thine own heart to abide certain and sure for ever and ever. And as thou art a Lord of most strong puissance, so is thy blessed word of most mighty force. For it is a twibill that cleaveth the hard stony rock asunder: it is a consuming fire, devouring all the adversaries thereof.
Seeing then, that as the devices of wise worldlings are wicked, so are they vain and of no force, and shall surely be brought to nought at the time of thee tofore appointed, (for every plant that thy heavenly Father hath not planted shall be plucked up by the roots) it may please thee, which madest Saul of a wolf a lamb, of a persecutor a preacher, of a tyrant an apostle, to bring these adversaries of thy truth unto the knowledge of their error, that they may repent, believe, and amend. O Lord, they are thy creatures, and thou hast no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn and live: have mercy on them, suffer them not to perish, make them of the vessels of wrath the vessels of mercy, of the enemies of thy truth lovers and embracers of thy truth. Take away from them their hard and stony heart, and give them a fleshy, soft, and gentle heart. Replenish them with thy holy Spirit, and with the graces thereof, that as they are thy creatures with us, so they may be saved with us. For we are taught that thou hatest none of all those things that thou hast made, and that thou dissemblest the sins of men for repentance sake, and art ready to have mercy on all men that repent, believe, and amend.
Again, seeing that no man can come unto thee except thy Father draweth him, we most heartily beseech thee, which alone art our only Mediator and Advocate, to pray unto thy heavenly Father, that he may have mercy upon the enemies of thy word, and turn away his wrath from them, lighten his loving countenance upon them, give them a good spirit, and make them thy true and unfeigned disciples.
Grant also, O sweet Saviour, which willest all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, that all such as walk in ignorance, blindness, and error, for lack of doctrine, may have faithful preachers sent unto them, which may instruct them with thy heavenly word, bring them out of darkness into light, deliver them from the bondage of man’s traditions, and place them in the sweet liberty of the Spirit. So shall it come to pass that they which now are not thy people shall be thy people, and they which now abhor and deface the glory of thy word shall be the valiant promoters and defenders of the same, and all such as heretofore have walked through ignorance in all kind of superstition and ungodliness shall from henceforth walk in the glorious light of thy gospel, praise thee and magnify thee, obey thee, and serve thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life, unto the glory of thy blessed name. Amen.
A Prayer For Uniform and Perfect Agreement In Matters of Christian Religion.
In thy last and most sweet sermon, which thou madest a little before thy passion. O Christ, thou Son of the living God, thou gavest thy peace unto thy disciples, and wiliedst them diligently to keep and maintain the same among them unto the end. This peace is the quietness of conscience, the rest of the mind, and the perfect consent and whole agreement among the faithful in matters of thy holy religion. In the prayer also made unto thy heavenly Father, thou desirest that, as thou and thy Father are one, so thy disciples may be one; that is to say, knit together in one mind, in one judgment, in one meaning, concerning matters of Christian faith, that they may all speak one thing, preach and write one thing, and by no means dissent one from another. This peace, this unity, this perfect consent in faith and religion, is almost banished from among us in these our days, while every man laboureth to establish the inventions and dreams of his own heart, while every man sweateth to imagine a new kind of religion, and to maintain the same, while every man seeketh to worship thee, not after the rule of thy blessed word, but after his own fleshly fancy and idle imagination.
Thy holy apostle, O Lord, could not abide that there should be sects among the Corinthians, nor that one should hold of Apollo, another of Paul, the third of Cephas, but that they only should embrace thee, which alone by thy blessed passion broughtest unto them everlasting life; forasmuch as thou and none other were crucified for them. If that thy blessed apostle had lived in this our time, O Lord, how heavily would he have taken the sects that are now among the children of men, sprung out of hell, and thrust in by Satan, yea, and that is most to be lamented, among them that profess thy holy name.
Instead of Apollo, Paul, and Cephas we have Benet, Barnard, Frances, Anthony, Dominike, Rufus, Honofrius, Jacob, Joseph, Gylberte, Gregory, Brygide, Clare, Helene, Sophy, pope, cardinal, &c.; besides the disordered orders of the Camaldulenses, the Cistertienses, the Basilienses, the Hieronymites, the Tertiaries, the servants of St Mary, the Lazarites, the Magdalenites, (Whilhel) the Whilhelmites, the Ambrosians, the Specularies, the Chalomerians, the Johannites, the Scelistines, the brothers of purgatory, the brothers of the holy cross, the brothers of the vale of Josaphat, the Carmelites, the Chartusians, the Hierosolymite, the Indians, the Sectaries. Ninivites, the Constantinopolitans, with an innumerable rabble of hypocrites more, papists, heretics, schismatics, anabaptists, sacramentaries, libertines, and such other dunghills of Satan; which too much wretchedly have divided, rent, and torn in pieces the quiet unity and friendly concord of thy holy religion, while they have imagined and taken upon them new sects and new orders, and by the trifling observances of them seek justification, remission of sins, and everlasting life, forsaking thee which art the fountain of lively water, and digging them miry and dirty puddles, that are able to hold no water.
O Lord, as this division nourisheth continual discord and enmity among the professors of thy name, so do they that unfeignedly cleave to thy blessed word sorrowfully lament, that thy glory, thy truth, thy word, thy passion, thy blood, thy death, is through these idolatrous imaginations defaced, obscured, and almost utterly quenched; insomuch that, if thou hadst not reserved unto thee a remnant which have not bowed their knees to Baal, we all had been as Sodom, and might justly have been likened to Gomorre. O blessed Lord, let very pity move thee to have compassion upon thy poor troubled flock. Let the zeal of thy glory provoke thee to tread under thy foot all these sectaries and antichrists, that thou alone mayest be known among all nations to be the only true and living. Ah! most gentle Saviour, there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father, one Master, one body, one Spirit, one hope, one truth, one gospel: how unseemly then is it for us that profess this unity to be divided in religion, one to be of this order, another to be of that, one to maintain this doctrine, another the contrary! Destroy therefore, O Lord, this work of Satan, even the bringing in of these damnable sects and diversities of opinions, and restore unto us that most sweet and comfortable unity of thy holy and pure religion, that, as we profess one God and one baptism, so we may maintain one truth and one religion.
Thou callest thyself a jealous God, and a Lord that wilt not give thy glory to another: suffer then thy honour and glory, thy praise and worship no longer to be given unto creatures. Thou art that God of peace which hast promised to tread Satan, the sower of discord, under our feet shortly. Fulfil thy promise, O Lord, for it is time, seeing that not only the wily hypocrites, those painted sepulchres, outwardly appearing beautiful and full of holiness, but inwardly full of dead bones and of all filthiness, of ravening and wickedness, of bribery and excess, take part against thy holy word, maintaining false opinions against thy heavenly doctrine, but also many of the temporal rulers and wise worldlings agree unto them, defending with great violence both the beastly hypocrites and all their devilish traditions, crooked ceremonies, and false religions, although manifestly contrary to the truth of thy blessed law.
Notwithstanding, remember thy old mercies, and for the glory of thy name be favourable unto them: give them grace to repent and to know the truth, that they may escape out of the snares of the devil, and become the children of liberty and everlasting salvation. Gather together all such as are dispersed, and make of them with us one flock. Call home again them that are run astray after strange gods, that they may glorify thee alone. Deliver thy people out of Egypt, that land of and opinions, and restore even the bringing in the contrary. Let the babbling Babylonians keep thy servants no longer in captivity, but restore them home again unto that Jerusalem where thy holy name is called upon, thanked, and praised, where thy heavenly doctrine is purely taught, where thy blessed sacraments are truly and faithfully ministered, where the works of Christian charity are continually exercised, that with one mouth and one heart we may praise and glorify thy blessed name. Take away from us all heresies and diversities of opinions, and work in our hearts an unfeigned concord in matters of religion, even such a concord as is in all points agreeable to thy blessed word.
Grant also, most loving Saviour, that this godly concord may remain continually in thy church. So shall it come to pass that, all sects and heresies, all divisions and schisms being rooted out of thy holy congregation, and a perfect agreement established among us according to thy blessed word, we shall from the very heart both knowledge thee the worker hereof, which alone art the author of all goodness, and also sing continual praises to thee our Lord God, which, with God thy Father, and God the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest true and everlasting God, worlds without end. Amen.
A Prayer For The Common Peace and Quietness of All Realms. How necessary, O Lord, peace and quietness is for the conservation of realms and all public weals, the holy scripture declareth in divers places. The psalmograph exhorteth all the faithful Israelites to pray for those things that make unto the quietness of Jerusalem, that there may be peace, wealth, and abundance both in it and all the coasts round about. When the Jews for their sins and disobedience against thy divine Majesty were led away captive by king Nebuchadnezzar from Jerusalem unto Babylon, and there compelled to live under the ungodly and uncircumcised gentiles, the prophet Jeremy wrote an epistle unto them, wherein among other things he exhorted them to pray for the public weal of Babylon, and for the magistrates thereof, saying: Seek the peace of the city, wherein ye be prisoners, and pray for it unto the Lord; for in the peace thereof shall your peace be. Thy servant Baruch also wrote a book unto thy people in their captivity, commanding them to pray for the prosperity of Nebuchadnezzar king of. Babylon, and for the welfare of Baltazer his son, that their days may be upon earth as the days of heaven, &c. Again, thy holy apostle warneth that above all things prayers, supplication, intercessions, and giving of thanks be had for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceable life with all godliness and honesty.
Hereof learn we, O most merciful Saviour, how necessary peace, quietness, and concord is for all realms and commonwealths. For, that bearing rule, thy glory is sought, thy holy word is preached, the magistrates are obeyed, thy preachers are reverenced, good letters flourish, charity resteth in men’s hearts, good works are exercised, every man liveth according to his calling, virtue is avanced, vice is expelled, wealth and abundance of all things dwelleth among us, battle with all the pestilences thereof is banished, a figure of that heavenly Jerusalem is here found among the children of men; when contrariwise, if battle or discord occupieth kingdoms or cities, all goeth to havoc, nothing but cruel barbary’ and lion-like fierceness beareth rule.
How blessed a thing Christian charity, godly peace, friendly quietness, and brotherly concord is in a commonweal, thy servant David, king and prophet, having in his own realm experience thereof, declareth in this his psalm. Behold, saith he, how good and joyful a thing it is, brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like a precious ointment upon the head, that ran down unto the beard, even unto Aaron’s beard, and went down unto the skirts of his clothing: like the dew of Hermon, which fell upon the hill of Sion. For there the Lord promised his blessing and life for ever.
Seeing, ( almighty and everlasting God, it is a good, pleasant, and joyful thing brethren to dwell together in unity, vouchsafe to give unto all realms, specially unto such as the inhabitants whereof profess thy holy name, this treasure and jewel, this pleasure and joy, that they may live together in unity, quietness, and concord. O Lord, so many of us as believe in thee are brethren, and have one father, even thy heavenly Father; and by him we have thee also our brother, and by thee we be his sons and heirs, yea, and fellow-heirs with thee of eternal glory: grant therefore that we all may be of one heart and of one mind, seeing that nothing garnisheth and becometh the name of brethren better than brotherly love, true peace, friendly quietness, and amiable concord. This Christian unity and brotherly concord must needs be an excellent treasure in a commonweal, seeing the holy prophet compareth it to a most precious ointment and to the most pleasant dew, the sweet smells whereof cannot be expressed. Lord, give us this precious ointment of mutual love, that whatsoever we attempt among us may have a sweet-smelling savour, both before thee and all good men. Give us also that most pleasant dew, even the dew of thy heavenly grace, which may cause us through thy holy Spirit to flourish with the abundance of all good works, and provoke every one of us quietly and peaceably to do our own business, and to live according to our calling, the magistrate godly to govern, the subject humbly to obey, the preacher of thy word diligently to attend upon his office. So shall it come to pass that we, as brethren quietly dwelling together in this unity and concord, shall have that thou hast promised, even thy blessing, that is, in this world abundance of all good things pertaining either to the body or to the soul, and after our departure from this vale of misery everlasting life. Lord, let it so come to pass. Amen.
A Prayer To Be Preserved from the Plague and Other Diseases.
Ah! Lord, as thou hast set forth in thy holy scriptures plenty of blessings to them that fear thee, and with all diligent’ obedience and obedient diligence walk in thy holy statutes and ordinances, so likewise in the same hast thou set forth innumerable curses and plagues to such as live without all fear of thee, and transgress thy blessed kive commandments. Among other thy grievous punishments, thou hast threatened the ungodly to send the plague and such other mortal diseases upon them, and so to root them out from the face of the earth, because of their disobedience and rebellion against thee their Lord God. Examples hereof we have many in thy holy word.
Ah! good Lord, who can be free from these and such other thy plagues, if thou shouldest deal with us according to our iniquities? We are all sinful. The best of Rom. iii. us all are unprofitable servants; so that we can find nothing in ourselves wherewith we may worthily either pacify thy wrath stirred up against us for our manifold wickedness, or turn away from us those thy plagues, which we most justly have deserved.
Notwithstanding, there are which superstitiously, for the appeasing of thy anger, and for the dispatch of corporal punishments, call upon dead creatures, and flee unto dumb idols, as though most present help were to be looked for of them, when indeed they can do nothing at all unto our health, neither concerning the body nor the soul. With such idolatrous, O good Lord, have we nothing to do, although never so grievous sinners. For we are taught by thy holy word, neither to trust in Roch nor in Apolline, neither in Agasse nor in Annesse, neither in Erkenwald nor in Grymbald’, nor yet in any other creature, either in heaven or in earth; but in thy great mercies set forth in the precious blood of thy most dear Son Jesu Christ, for whose sake alone, for whose merits and good deeds alone, thou art well pleased with man, favourest him, and delightest in him as a loving father in his dearly-beloved son.
O most merciful God, we, finding in ourselves a just dessert of all those thy plagues, which thou art wont to cast upon the children of men for their wickedness (so great and manifold is the number of our sins), and nothing at all wherewith we may in any part be able to turn away thy heavy displeasure from us, are come at this present unto the throne of thy mercy, most humbly beseeching thee, in the name of Jesu Christ thy Son, and our alone Mediator and Advocate, not to weigh our sins and wickednesses, but to consider thy great mercies and loving promises, and for Christ’s sake to put away from us all such plagues as we most justly have deserved, and to France, and made abbot of the newly-founded Erkenwald is said to have been son of Uffa, or mastery of Winchester.
Ah! Lord, may dust give thanks unto thee? or shall that declare thy faithfulness? The grave praiseth not thee, death doth not magnify thee: they that go down into the grave praise not thy truth: but the living, yea, the living, knowledge, praise, and magnify thee. Defend us therefore, O Lord, from the terrible plagues of thy fearful displeasure; but above all things remove from us the diseases of our mind, that we, being whole in soul, may behold thee with a pure faith, and serve thee with a clean heart. Give us also the health of our body unto our last days, that we, enjoying the health both of body and soul through thy singular benefit, may lead a quiet and healthful life unto thy honour and glory. Amen.
A Prayer To Preserve The Fruits of the Earth.
At the beginning thou commandedst the earth, O Lord, to bring forth green grass, herbs, and trees, with their seeds and fruits, that they might be meat to thy creatures living on the earth, both to man and beast. After that deep and great flood, wherein all living creatures perished except Noah and such as were with him in the ark, not only herbs, seeds, and fruits gavest thou unto man for to eat, but also all other thy creatures that move or live on the earth, whether it be fish or fowl; so that all things are pure to them that are pure, neither can any thing be common or unclean, that thou hast made pure and clean. For all thy creatures, O Lord God, are good, and none of them are to be refused, if they be taken with thanksgiving. For they are sanctified by thy word and by prayer, and were ordained of thee to be received with thanksgiving of the faithful, and of them that know the truth.
Seeing then that thou alone art the Creator and Maker of all things, and hast prepared herbs, seeds, fruits, fish, and flesh to be meat for man; seeing also that without thy blessing all these thy creatures prosper not, nor yet come unto a fortunate end, but grow out of kind, wither away, perish, die, and come to nought; we most humbly beseech thee to bless us and all the fruits of the earth, with all other thy creatures which thou hast made for man’s use and profit. And forasmuch as neither he that planteth nor he that watereth is any thing, but thou, O God, which givest the increase; grant, we pray thee, that the earth may give forth her fruit prosperously and plenteously, that we may enjoy the same in due and convenient time, unto our great joy and comfort. Let not the labours of our hands, which we have taken in thy name, and according to thy word, be found vain and frustrate; but according to thy promise bless our labours, and bring them unto a fortunate end. For we, O Lord, feed not ourselves, but we are the sheep of thy pasture. Thou feedest us. Thou givest meat to the hungry. Thou preparest man his corn, and providest for the earth. Thou waterest her furrows, thou breakest the hard clods thereof, thou makest it soft with the drops of rain, and blessest the increase of it. Thou crownest the year with thy bountifulness; and thy footsteps drop fatness. Thou also makest the dwelling of the wilderness fat, that they drop withal, and the little hills makest thou pleasant on every side. Yea, thou makest the valleys to stand so thick with corn that they laugh and sing. Thou causest the wells to spring up among the valleys, and the waters to run among the hills, that all the beasts of the field may have drink, and that the wild asses may quench their thirst. Thou waterest the hills from above: the earth is filled with the fruits of thy works. Thou bringest forth grass for the cattle, and green herbs for the service of men. Thou bringest food out of the earth, wine to make glad the heart of man, oil to make him a cheerful countenance, and bread to strength man’s heart. O Lord, how manifold are thy works: right wisely hast thou made them all; yea, the earth is full of thy riches. It is thy blessing that our garners are full, and plenteous with all manner of store; that our sheep bring forth thousands, and hundred thousand in our villages and fields; that our oxen be lusty and fat; that we have all things plenteously for the sustentation of our bodies. For when thou openest thy hand, thou fillest every living creature with thy blessing; but when thou hidest thy face, they are sorrowful, mourn, and die for hunger’.
Forasmuch then, O most merciful Father, as we receive of thee alone all good things, vouchsafe, we most heartily beseech thee, to shew us thy face, to lighten thy countenance upon us, to bless us, to make the earth fruitful, and to preserve the fruits of the same; that we, thy creatures, receiving at thy merciful hand all things necessary for this our needy and beggarly life, may live and magnify thy blessed name, both in this world and in the world to come, through Jesu Christ thy Son and our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer That We May Have The Fear of God Before Our Eyes In All Our Doings.
O Almighty and everlasting God, thy holy word teacheth us that thou art not only a Father, but also a Lord; not only a forgiver, but also a revenger; not only a Saviour, but also a Judge. And as thou, being a Father, a Forgiver, a Saviour, dost pardon and shew mercy; so thou, being a Lord, a Revenger, a Judge, punishest and condemnest. Neither doth thy holy scripture only set forth unto us a gospel, which comforteth us, quickeneth us, sheweth us merry tidings, forgiveth our sins, quieteth our conscience, and bringeth unto us everlasting life; but also a law, which reproveth, accuseth, condemneth us, woundeth and slayeth our conscience, yea, and throweth us down headlong into the deep dungeon of hell. And as the gospel lifteth us up, and maketh us merry with the hope of remission and forgiveness of our sins, so doth the law pluck us down and almost drive us unto desperation for fear of the plagues and everlasting punishments which thou hast prepared for them that despise thy holy ordinances; so that we may not only love thee as a Father, a Forgiver, a Saviour, but also fear thee as a Lord, a Revenger, a Judge.
Forasmuch therefore, O most gentle Saviour and most righteous Judge, as nothing doth so mightily put away sin, and maketh us to walk in the way of thy commandments as reverently to fear thee, to stand in awe of thy judgment and heavy displeasure, we most entirely pray thee to give us that fear which thou requirest of us in thy holy scriptures, and whereunto thou hast promised so many large and bounteous benefits; that we may not only love thee as a Saviour, honour thee as a Father, but also reverence thee as a Lord, fear thee as a Judge. O Lord, all things are open unto thy eyes, neither is any thing hid from thee, which seest the very secrets and most inward thoughts of our hearts: give us therefore grace, that in all our enterprises we ever set thy fear before our eyes, and stand in awe of thee and of thy righteous judgments; that we attempt nothing whereby we should provoke thy heavy displeasure against us, but so walk in thy fear and in thy holy ordinances, that we may at all times love thee as a Saviour, honour thee as a Father, reverence thee as a Lord, fear thee as a Judge. So shall it come to pass that we, reverently fearing thee as the child doth his father, shall not only avoid all such evils as might make thee our heavy Lord and fierce Judge, but also embrace those virtues which shall both evidently declare our faithful love, true honour, unfeigned reverence, and humble fear toward thee, and also make thee our loving Father and most merciful Saviour, through Jesu Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer For Faith.
We are taught by thy holy apostle, O most loving Saviour, that whatsoever is not of faith is sin, and that it is impossible to please thee without faith; and therefore they that come unto thee must believe that thou art God, yea, and such a God as is both in and also will abound upon faith, and with thou being of thy divine mais believe are able and also will abundantly reward all them that with true faith seek thee. For thy eyes, O Lord, look upon faith, and thou dost appear and shew thyself unto them that have faith in thee: yea, through faith thou being the King of glory art married to the souls of the faithful, and makest them partakers of thy divine nature through the wonderful working of thy blessed Spirit. Through faith so many as believe are justified, made the sons and heirs of God, and have everlasting life. By faith we Eph. ii. obtain of God all good things, even whatsoever we ask in thy name.
Seeing that faith is so precious a jewel in thy sight, that without it nothing is acceptable unto thy divine Majesty, and we of our own nature cannot have this most singular treasure except thou givest it unto us from above, and dost breathe it into our hearts by thy holy Spirit (for we of ourselves are blind, ignorant, foolish, and by no means can perceive the things that pertain to the Spirit of God); we most heartily beseech thee to take away from us all infidelity and unfaithfulness, which we received of old Adam, and to plant in us true faith and undoubted belief, that we may be throughly persuaded that thou art the Son of the living God, very God and very man, our alone sweet-smelling sacrifice, our alone Mediator, Advocate, and Intercessor, our alone wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, by whom alone and for whose sake only thy heavenly Father is well pleased with us, our sins are remitted, grace and everlasting life are freely given unto us.
O Lord God, suffer us not to lean to our own wisdom, nor to believe as blind flesh fancieth, nor to seek salvation where superstition dreameth; but let our faith only be grounded on thy word, and give us grace truly to believe in thee, with all our heart to put our trust in thee, to look for all good things of thee, to call upon thy blessed name in adversity, and with joyful voices and more merry hearts to praise and magnify it in prosperity. Suffer us not to doubt neither of God thy heavenly Father, nor of thee God his Son, nor of God the Holy Ghost, but earnestly to believe that you, being three’ distinct Persons in the Deity, are notwithstanding one very God, besides whom there is no God, neither in heaven nor in earth. Grant also, that we may assuredly believe whatsoever is contained in the holy scriptures, and by no means suffer ourselves to be plucked from the verity thereof, but mainly and stedfastly abide in the same even unto death, rage world, roar devil. And this faith, O sweet Jesu, increase thou daily in us more and more, that at the last, through thy goodness, we may be made perfect and strong men in thy holy religion, and shew ourselves both before thee and the world truly faithful, by bringing forth plenty of good works, unto the glory and honour of thy name, which with God the Father and God the Holy Ghost livest and reignest true God, worlds without end. Amen.
A Prayer For Charity.
Thy holy apostle writeth, O most gentle Saviour, that the end of the commandment is love, that cometh of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. For he that loveth thee his Lord God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, with all his strength, and his neighbour as himself, fulfilleth the whole law. For all the law and the prophets require no more of us but love, even to love thee our Lord God above all thing, and our neighbour as ourself. Without this love all that we do, seemeth it never so much praiseworthy in the sight of men, is abominable before thee. Yea, as thy blessed apostle saith: Though I spake with the tongues of men and angels, and yet had no love, I were even as a sounding brass or as a tinkling cymbal. And though I could prophesy, and understand all secrets and all knowledge, yea, if I had all faith so that I could move mountains out of their places, and yet had no love, I were nothing. And though I bestowed all my goods to feed the poor, and though I gave my body, even that I burned, and yet had no love, it profiteth me nothing. For by love are we known to be thy disciples, even as the devil’s imps are known by hatred and maliciousness.
And the love, O Lord, that thou requirest of us is no worldly nor fleshly love; for if any man loveth the world, the love of the Father is not in him; and whosoever will be a friend of the world is made the enemy of God; but godly, spiritual, same sincere, true, and pure love, even such love as suffereth long, is courteous, envieth not, doth not frowardly, swelleth not, dealeth not dishonestly, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh not evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity; but rejoiceth in the truth, suffereth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things.
This godly love, this Christian charity give thou unto us, (good Lord, that we may unfeignedly and with all our heart love thee our Lord God, which so dearly lovedst us, that thou gavest thyself for us an offering and a sacrifice of a sweet savour to God. Take away from us the love of worldly things, which, though they appear never so pleasant and beautiful, are notwithstanding mere vanity; and give us grace so to use this world as though we use it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away: make us also to abhor the filthy and beast-like pleasures of the stinking flesh, and by no means to be entangled with the love of them, the end whereof is dishonour, shame, corruption, destruction, damnation; and kindle our hearts so fervently with thy love, that nothing may delight and praise us, but only thou, and whatsoever may make unto thy glory, and is agreeable to thy blessed commandment; so that thou only mayest be our love, our delight, our joy, our mirth, our solace; and whatsoever is without thee, and estranged from thy love, let it be counted of us more vain than vanity itself, and more filthy than the very dung.
Grant also, that from this our love toward thee there may issue out a vehement and brenning love toward our neighbours, yea, toward our very enemies; that we may love them from the very heart, yea, even as ourselves, pray for them, give them good counsel, help them, defend them, succour them, provide for their necessities, and deal with them in all things as we wish to be dealt withal.
O Lord God, thou art love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in thee, and thou in him. Grant that in this world we may so dwell together through love, thou in us by thy holy Spirit, and we in thee by faith, that after our departure from this vale of misery we may be placed with thee in thy heavenly mansion, and so continue with thee in glory for ever and ever. Amen.
A Prayer For A Godly Life.
It greatly grieveth us, O merciful Father and everlasting God, that we, through the grievous and continual assaults of our enemies, are not able to pass over our years in this world with such purity of life as we ought, and as thou requirest of us. Verily we are on every part so besieged and compassed round about of our adversaries, that scarcely at any time we can be free from their pestiferous and deadly darts, nor yet have so much respite as once to breathe toward true godliness.
O most loving Lord, thou art our Father, and we thy children: convenient therefore is it that we thy children represent and openly declare in our conversation the manners of thee our Father. Thou art good, gentle, loving, charitable, merciful, patient, long-suffering, holy, righteous, faithful, &c.. It therefore becometh us thy children in our living to practise goodness, gentleness, love, charity, mercy, patience, long-suffering, holiness, righteousness, faith, &c. Thou hast given us an example, that even as thou hast done, so we likewise should do. If we say we dwell in thee, we ought to walk as thou hast walked. For thou hast called us not to uncleanness, but unto holiness. Thou hast delivered us from the power of our enemies, that we, being without fear, should serve thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. The blood of thy Son Jesus Christ hath cleansed us from all sin, not that we should continue in darkness, but rather walk in the light, as thou art in the light. Thy loving-kindness hath appeared unto all men, not that we should follow ungodliness and worldly lusts, but that we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Thou didst choose us in Christ before the foundations of the world were laid, that we should be holy and without blame before thee through him. We are thy workmanship, created in Christ Jesu unto good works, which thou ordainest afore, that we should walk in them.
Forasmuch then as all the benefits which thou hast bestowed upon us are given us unto this end, that we should walk worthy of thy kindness, represent thy manners in our conversation, mortify the flesh and the lusts thereof, have nothing to do with Satan nor the world, but lead a good life, garnished full of good works, and in all points fashioned after the rule of thy blessed word; we most heartily pray thee & to endue us with thy holy Spirit, which may take away our stony heart, and give us a new, fleshy, and soft heart, kill that old man in us which is corrupt through deceivable lusts, and fashion in us that new man, which is made after thy image and likeness in righteousness and true holiness. Suffer us not to give over ourselves again unto our old lusts and concupiscences wherewith we were led when we knew not thee nor thy Son Christ; but even as thou which hast called us art holy, so likewise grant that we may be holy in all our conversation.
O merciful God, not the hearers of thy law, but the fulfillers of it shall be justified before thee. Neither shall every one that saith unto thee, Lord, Lord, enter into the kingdom of heaven, but they that do the will of thee our Father which art in heaven. To confess thee with our mouth, and to deny thee with our deeds, worketh rather our damnation than salvation. For the true knowledge of thee consisteth not in talking, but in walking; not in favouring, but in following; not in loving, but in living. To promise thee by mouth that we will work in thy vineyard, and yet work nothing at all, declare not us to be thy sons, but rather bastards. To brag of the justification of faith, and not to bring forth the fruits thereof; to glory in the merits of thy Son Christ, in his blood, death, and passion, and not to live worthy of his kindness; to profess thy holy gospel, and not to walk according to the doctrine thereof; to be baptised in thy name, and not to mortify our members which are of the earth, nor to walk in a new life; to be partakers of thy divine mysteries, and not to be made one spirit with thee; what availeth it? We are thy friends, if we do those things that thou commandest us. We are thy servants, if we be obedient to thy will. We are thy sons, if we honour and reverence thee according to thy word. We seek thy glory, if we attempt nothing whereof thou shouldest be dishonoured. Leading a life conformable to thy blessed will, we shall provoke the very enemies of thy truth to praise thee; but contrariwise, thou shalt be evil spoken of. Grant therefore, we beseech thee, that our life may answer to our profession, and that the light of our good works may so shine before men, that they, seeing our godly conversation, may glorify thee our heavenly Father. Amen.
A Prayer Against The Temptations of the Devil, The World and the Flesh.
Albeit, O most mighty Captain, most valiant Warrior, and most triumphant Lord Christ Jesu, thou by thy death hast put down him that had lordship over death, that is to say, the devil, that thou mightest deliver them which through fear of death were all their life-time in danger of bondage; and albeit thou hast spoiled rule and power, and made a shew of them openly, and hast triumphed over them in thine own person, and by this means delivered us from the hands of our enemies, that we might serve thee all the days of our life in such holiness and righteousness as are accept before thee; yet the devil, for the old malice which he hath borne against man from his first creation (for through envy of the devil death entered into the world), goeth forth still to rage against us, and walketh about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And if he were not restrained by thy godly puissance, he would surely swallow us up; so great is his tyranny, so mighty is his power. He prevailed against our first parents, yea, and that in the state of their innocency and immortality. He afterward attempted other, and prevailed, whereof some notwithstanding were the chosen vessels of mercy. Hereof getting a courage unto himself, he feared not to assail thee with his subtile temptations. Oh, is it then to be thought that he will let us alone, so feeble, so weak, and ready at every moment to be overthrown?
Thou thyself callest him the prince of this world, and thy holy apostle nameth him John xii. that god of this world. Strong must he needs be, and of no small might, whom thy holy word so termeth: strong indeed in comparison of us; but weak and of no force, being compared with thee. This prince, this god of the world, dost thou suffer continually to war against thine elect and chosen people, (as for the reprobate and wicked, he hath them already in his court at commandment,) not to destroy them, which he most of all wisheth, but to exercise and try their faith, to prove their constancy, and in this their conflict to occasion them by hearty prayers to flee unto thy holy name, which is a strong tower and mighty fortress for so many as repair unto it, that they, getting aid at thy hand, may not only enter battle with this their great and immortal enemy, but also by the power of thy might overcome him and put him to flight. And as thou hast given Satan this liberty to tempt, to exercise, prove, and try us, whether we be constant in thy faith and word or not, so doth he take thy proffer. And although thou sufferest him thus to do for our great profit and singular commodity, (for we know that all things work for the best unto them that love God, even that we, of ourselves being weak, should have a glorious triumph and noble victory over him through the mighty puissance of thee our grand Captain) yet hereof taketh he an occasion to seek our destruction. And that he may bring this to pass, besides the innumerable companies of hellish spirits, he taketh unto him two other our most cruel enemies, the world and the flesh. The one with his vain pleasures, the other with carnal lusts, so compass us round about, that, if thy present help were not, we must needs perish.
O loving Lord and most gentle Saviour, thou seest our weakness, misery, and no strength. Thou knowest again the valiance, might, and power of our adversaries. Our strength is no more to be compared with their might, than the strength of little David with the mighty power of great Goliah: our spear, our sword, our shield will do nothing in this behalf. Notwithstanding, Lord, we do not despair. For although there be not so great strength in us, that we may be able to resist this great company that cometh against us, yet have we this one refuge and succour, even to lift up our eyes unto thee, and to say, Our help cometh from the Lord our God, which made heaven and earth. If God be on our side, who can be against us? The battle, O Lord God, is thine: our faith therefore is, that thou wilt give our enemies into our hands. Thou taughtest us to pray that we may not be led into temptation, and hast promised us that thou wilt not suffer us to be tempted above our strength, but wilt in the midst of the temptation make a way for us to escape. Thou art faithful: fulfil therefore thy promise.
And forasmuch as thy good pleasure is that we shall manfully fight with these our enemies, (for what is the life of man in this world, but a continual warfare?) and no man is crowned, except we strive lawfully; we, with our very heart despairing of our own strength and courage, most humbly beseech thee to be our captain, and valiantly to defend us against our enemies, that they may not prevail against us. Make us strong in thee, O Lord, and in the power of thy might. Put on thy holy armour upon us, that we may stand stedfast against the crafty assaults of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against rule, against power, and against worldly rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly things. For this cause, O most sweet Saviour, put upon us thy holy armour, that we may be able to resist in the evil day and stand perfect in all things. Give us grace therefore to stand, and to gird our loins about with verity, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and shoed with shoes prepared by the gospel of peace. But above all, grant that we may take untò us the shield of faith, wherewith we may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and put on the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is thy blessed word. Grant also, that we, being thus godly enarmed, may through thy puissance, might, and strength not only enter battle with our enemies, but also valiantly fight with them, courageously put them to flight, and triumphantly carry away a glorious victory over them. So shall it come to pass that we, being valiant conquerors through thy help, shall receive at thy hand, according to thy promise, manna to eat that is hid, and a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Lord, for thy mercy’s sake grant us these our petitions. So shall we praise and magnify thy blessed name for ever and ever. Amen.