The monument of matrones conteining seuen seuerall lamps of virginitie, or distinct treatises; whereof the first fiue concerne praier and meditation: the other two last, precepts and examples, as the woorthie works partlie of men, partlie of women; compiled for the necessarie vse of both sexes out of the sacred Scriptures, and other approoued authors, by Thomas Bentley of Graies Inne student.
Bentley, Thomas, student of Gray's Inn., Abergavenny, Frances Nevill, Lady, d. 1576., Marguerite, Queen, consort of Henry II, King of Navarre, 1492-1549. Miroir de l'âme pécheresse. English & French., Catharine Parr, Queen, consort of Henry VIII, King of England, 1512-1548. Lamentacion of a sinner., Tyrwhit, Elizabeth, Morning and evening prayers., Catharine Parr, Queen, consort of Henry VIII, King of England, 1512-1548. Prayers or meditacions.

ANd bicause, O Lord, though man be increa∣sed with neuer so high dignitie, riches, and honours: yet if he want thy wisedome, hee shall be counted to differ little or nothing in this life from the brute beasts, which wholie perish: (For he doth not long remaine in this worldlie pompe and glorie; but all his power shall vanish and flowe awaie, like water spilt on the ground, and brought to naught:) I will therefore number my daies, while I haue time; so that I may betimes applie my hart vn∣to thy wisedome, & endeuour my selfe to learne thy sta∣tutes by thine instruction; and to be taught the true knowledge, ioined with such a iudgement; whereby I may discerne all things aright, as it were by tasting a sauourie thing; bicause I desire to depend on thy com∣mandements, and to fulfill thy Heast.

Uerelie, Lord; I will meditate thy commandements continuallie, and will applie my whole mind to ob∣serue thy waies. I will delight my mind, I saie, in thy statutes, neither will I at anie time forget thy words.

For neither hast thou, O Lord, my heauenlie father, commanded mee anie thing vnaduisedlie in thy Heast: neither are they things that I shuld onlie vnderstand, or lightlie consider of: but thou hast wiselie spoken and commanded them vnto me, that they should be ob∣serued and kept of me with all diligence.

Page  352 And would to God that my maners and state might so be ordered by thy gouernement, that I might sin∣cerelie seeke to please thee; and holilie walke after the rule of the doctrine prescribed by thee; & that I might most constantlie perseuere in keeping most carefullie thy statutes! For then verelie I should leade an vp∣right and blamelesse life, at harts ease, with a quiet mind, and all things should go well with me; yea, by that meanes shall I onelie worship thee rightlie, and purelie, without following this or that maner of wor∣ship, not prescribed by thy lawe, nor alowed by thy word.

Therefore am I fullie purposed to keepe thy sta∣tutes firmelie to the end, and to hold the waie prescri∣bed by thy word. For I haue chosen this as the true waie, and I doo prefer this before all other things.

O Lord, I endeuour my selfe, I saie, with a pure hart, to cleaue fast vnto those things, which are ap∣prooued by thy testimonies; of the which my good pur∣pose grant, I beseech thee, that I doo neuer repent.

But direct me that am well entred into the waie of these thy precepts, and inflame me wholie more & more with great desire, both of true knowledge ioined with iudgement, wherby I may discerne all things aright; and also keepe thy lawes, as well in prosperitie as ad∣uersitie, vnto the end of my life; that I may finish the whole course of my reigne, by the direction of thy pre∣cepts, which are mine onelie counsellers; thy mercie and thy truth being my two keepers and assistants, wherevpon I also onlie trust.

Neither am I, O Lord, of their number, who haue no regard whither they walke, in the right or wrong waie before thee: but I haue searched carefullie by good aduise, what waie I should keepe; and I haue fa∣stened my steps in those paths, which thou hast testifi∣ed doo please thee. Neither haue I staied, when I did Page  353 knowe the matter so to be; but straightwaies bent my selfe to obserue thy commandements, and beene most willing and readie to accomplish thy will, in all things that might aduance thy glorie.

Oh how do I loue thy doctrine! Surelie thou knowst Lord, that I am woont to consume whole daies and nights in meditating of thy lawes. And I doo find, by experience, that I haue not done this in vaine. For I haue proued to be much wiser by thy precepts, than all mine aduersaries, which labour with all their po∣wer to destroie me, of how great dignitie or authoritie soeuer they be. For I haue obteined by thy gift, a wis∣dome that will neuer forsake me.

Yea thou hast made me better learned than my tea∣chers and maisters, euen because I haue giuen my selfe wholie, not to mans inuentions, but to meditate those things onlie, which thou hast giuen vnto vs for sound learning.

Finallie, I am more skilfull than anie of the anci∣ent; because I was bent not onelie to knowe thy com∣mandements, but also to keepe them in deede. For I held backe my feete, that I should not go the waie that leadeth vnto euill; but that I should alwaies ra∣ther hold the waie, which thou hast taught vs by thy mouth.

Thy precepts, O Lord, haue bene, and shall be like a burning Lampe in my hand; and as a light shining be∣fore me, to shew me the waie that I shall go: yea they haue taught me the true wisdome. And therefore I now abhor the other guids & rules of the order of this life, as wicked and false. For I see all the most absolute and perfect works come to an end: yea both the de∣crees & lawes, which mans wisdome doth set downe, to be subiect vnto change, and at length euen to come to naught. Onlie thy precepts, most true and most stable, are prolonged without measure, and without Page  352〈1 page duplicate〉Page  353〈1 page duplicate〉Page  354 anie end. Wherefore, I am wholie consumed, being inflamed with the loue of thee; because I see thy words despised of mine aduersaries.

Surelie I feele thy words more pleasant and sweet to my mouth, than if I had tasted honie; yea thy pre∣cepts are more pretious vnto me, than anie gold or iewels, be they of neuer so high price and estimation.

I doo, and will still affirme, that all thy commande∣ments are the most certaine and perfect rule of thy iu∣stice and truth, to direct me to equitie and godlinesse: and therefore I vtterlie abhor, as a thing appointed to deceiue vs, whatsoeuer leadeth vs from them: nei∣ther will I at anie time forsake thee, nor turne from thy lawes; but rest vpon thee, my teacher, and ghostlie instructer.

O Lord, thou knowest that I hate and abhorre all deceits, I saie; and that I embrace thy doctrine: yea and that I neuer conceiued more greefe of anie thing, than when I did perceiue those men, that are thine and mine enimies, to despise thy word so stubbornelie and impudentlie.

Mine eies verelie doo swimme with teares, when I behold the generall contempt of thy doctrine, and too bold prophanation of all thy holie Heasts and lawes, the which thing I neither would nor could dissemble. For euen so oft as I perceiued thy glorie to be dimini∣shed, I burnt with sorowe; & I accompted my selfe to be wounded with the reproches cast out against thee. Uerelie, there is nothing more pure than thy words. Wherefore I, euen I thy seruant, doo embrace them with an incredible loue and desire: yea I haue bound my whole heart for euer, euen to my last gaspe, to ob∣serue thy sta∣tutes.