¶The .xxi. Chapter.
THirdly if we wyll vse fasting aryghte,* we must vse it vnto this ende also, that by the di∣lygent doing and often exercyse Page [unnumbered] therof we may be made the more apte to praye and to lifte vp oure heartes vnto the Lord our God with feruent praiers, humble sup¦plications, and heartye thanckes geuinge. For vnto this ende ser∣ued fasting in times past, as dy∣uers histories of the holye scryp∣ture do declare. If anye mysfor∣tune or greuous plage chaunced at any time to the people of god,* then streightwaies they fasted, as we reade in the boke of iudges. Againe, if anye plage wer threat¦ned thē by the Prophetes of god for theyr wyckednes,* as we reade of the Niniuites, or if they percei¦ued anye great euyl to be at hand as wee reade in the histories of the Israelites,* of Iehosaphat, Iudith,* Esther. &c. then fell they straightwaies to fastinge.*
And theyr fastes wer taken vn∣to*Page [unnumbered] this end, that they might hum¦ble theym selues in the syghte of God, and be made the more mete for to pray, & to swage the wrathe of God. Nether do we read, that anye solempne fast was proclay∣med at any time,* but it was done to this end, that the fasters might the more quietlye and frely serue god, and cal on his holy name, by feruent and cōtinual praier. And as we read this in the olde testa∣mente, so lacke we not the like ex¦amples in the newe. Is it to bee doubted, but that oure sauyoure Christe in that time of his longe and solempne faste ioyned to his faste prayer?* He withoute doubt prayed vnto God hys father all that tyme, that by his preachinge whyche was at hande, manye myghte bee tourened from theyr vngodlynesse vnto the true wor∣shippinge Page [unnumbered] of God, from wicked∣nes of life vnto innocencye of mā¦ners, We reade also that the god¦lye* Matrone Anne serued God in the temple wyth fastynge and prayer both day and night. The Apostles likewise after Christes ascenciō did alwaies ioin to their fastinge,* praier. In like manner reade we of the vertuous manne Cornelius, whiche ioined to hys fastinge bothe prayer and almes deede,* And the aungel sayde vn∣to Thobye, prayer is good wyth fastinge.* Esdras sayd lykewyse to the Iewes. We fasted & pray∣ed vnto the lord,* & we had good lucke. Quene Esther also sente woorde to Mardocheus,* saying, gather together all the Iewes, and praye for me, but se that ye neither eat nor dryncke .iii. daies and three nyghtes, and I wyth Page [unnumbered] my maides wyl fast & pray lyke∣wyse. Again Eliachim the priest saied to ye children of Israel, whē they were in greate sorowe and danger of theyr enemyes.* Be ye sure, that the Lord wil hear your petycyons if ye contynewe sted∣faste in fastynges and prayers in the syghte of the Lorde. Thus se we, that the godly people both of the olde and of the new testa∣mente, ioined alwaies for ye most part fasting and praier together, thincking them selues thē to fast wel, whē their faste was accōpai∣ned wyth prayer, as it is wrytten, prayer is good with fastinge. S.* Peter also saith, be ye sober and watche vnto prayer.*