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.

The fift and last part of the Vow diuided also into fiue Chapters.

CAP. I.

AND now, O Lord, my God, and King; I thine handmaid being appointed QVEENE by thee, after such a maner of bountiful∣nesse, as neuer was heard, doo consecrate this song vnto thee, both of mercie and iudgement: wherevnto I doo vow and bind my selfe before thee this daie, to performe them in the gouern∣ment of the kingdome; as thou both fatherlie requi∣rest of me, and gratiouslie hast commanded.

And first I will endeuour my selfe wholie to pietie and godlinesse, and will labour diligentlie to preserue and to amplifie thy Church, that thy pure worship may be continuallie exercised therein, with as great care, deuotion, and holinesse as is possible.

I will go, I saie, into thy sanctified house, O Lord; euen into the holie habitation of thy most true wis∣dome will I enter, that I may there learne thy iudge∣ments, and vnderstand thy will reuealed, to doo to the Page  349 vttermost of my power, whatsoeuer thou requirest and commandest a King to doo.

For I doo testifie before thee, that I desire nothing more, than to visite and behold thy glorious Maiestie in thy Sanctuarie: and therefore will I hasten speedi∣lie to stand in the porches thereof, to taste and see those visible signes of thy power and Maiestie, shewed com∣monlie therein. For doubtlesse, thy goodnesse that of∣fereth it selfe as it were there to be handled and felt, is more sweet by far, than life it selfe, which causeth my soule so much the more to be inflamed with earnest de∣sire to seeke thy face, to see thy glorie, and to set foorth thy praises with all my power.

Especiallie, that the people, which are holie vnto thee, my God, might assemble together by tribes and thousands, after the maner apointed of thee, to powre foorth praises and praiers, and to celebrate thy holie name, to the safetie and preseruation of all the fami∣lies of our nation, that loue and fauour thy truth, to all posteritie.

Yea, euen I my selfe, O God, with my father DAVID, will gladlie go foorth with the multitude; and lead thy people, as he was woont, into thy holie house, O God, with the voice of ioifull praisings and thanksgiuings; as those that obserue thy sabaoths and festiuall daies, most glorious vnto thee, before the face of all people.

I will present my selfe often before thine altar, not onlie with my hands washed in water; but rather pu∣rified from all wickednes, that I may openlie stablish thy praise, and celebrate thy woonderfull works.

There will I sound foorth thy renowme with lowd voice, with all my hart, satisfied with the fatnesse and marowe of thy most holie delicates. I will lead my life therein, I saie, O God, setting forth thy magnificence; and there will I lift vp mine innocent hart and hands with others; and openlie, amids the whole multitude, Page  350 call vpon thy name, wherein is my safegard.

For there is nothing that I loue more deerlie than that Temple, wherein thou hast set thy seate of glorie, euen the house of thy Maiestie and holie Citie, where∣in the tribunall seate of my father DAVID (left to his posteritie to minister iustice indifferentlie to euerie one) is firmelie placed.

And why should not I doo so? Why should not my soule, I saie, he thus inflamed, and the zeale of thine house euen consume mee with feruent desire, and har∣tie longing, to seeke thy face, O Iacob? Seeing I haue had experience so oft of thy gratious goodnesse and mi∣raculous helpe; and seeing thou, O Lord, my God, hast set thy house in Ierusalem, that thy true worship might be by my diligence holilie exercised therein.

Therefore, O God, I, euen I thine handmaid, to whom thou hast appointed the kingdome, will reioice and praise thee in thy sacred Sanctuarie; and ioine my selfe as companion with those that doo worship thee trulie and deuoutlie therein: neither will I be far or long from thence; if I be, Lord, it shall be full sore a∣gainst my will, through some vrgent necessitie of my calling or office in this life.

And though I be absent in bodie at anie time from thy house, as manie times it commeth to passe, by rea∣son I change my place so often: yet I make a vow, I will doo that I am able; to wit, whersoeuer I become, I will cleaue vnto thee in my hart wholie, and will not cease to thinke of thee, and to meditate of thy manifold benefits powred vpon me.

Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I am accustomed to rise at mid-night, when other doo soundlie sleepe: and setting aside all other cares, as she that is euer mind∣full of thy statutes, I doo watchfullie thinke how I may please thee, and keepe thy commandements; and how I am woont to preuent the twy-light in the mor∣ning, Page  351 with my lowd praiers: yea, that I am so farre from following the example of the wicked, who lie snorting in sin & securitie; that contrariwise I, behol∣ding the excellent iudgements of thy iustice, in crow∣ning thy gifts in the righteous, seuen times a daie doo I celebrate thy praises: neither doo the watchmen doubtlesse so carefullie keepe their watch, as I am di∣ligent in meditating thy Heast and commandements.

CAP. II.

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.

Page  355
CAP. III.

IAm determined, O Lord, to imbrace with most great loue, those things, which thou hast testified vnto me; and to keepe all thy Heasts most diligentlie: yea, I will so behaue my selfe in this my gouernement, that none shall wor∣thilie complaine of me, that I haue committed anie thing against them, contrarie to right and equitie. For I doo beare thy Heast in my hand, as a Lampe ordeined of thee, for to lighten me in thy perfect paths and waie. And I laie vp thy word in my hart as a pre∣tious treasure, least I offend thee in anie least thing.

And how sincerelie I doo this; that is, how without all hypocrisie I applie my selfe to fulfill thy comman∣dements, and to accomplish and doo to the vttermost of my power, all things that thou hast testified vnto me, it is best knowne vnto thee, who being my witnesse, and priuie to all my thoughts and doings, I doo what∣soeuer I doo.

O Lord, vnto whome I appeale; and whome I can not deceiue, though I would: I am throughly knowne and manifest vnto thee I saie. For no part of my life is vnknowne vnto thee, whether I sit or I rise: yea thou doest euen vnderstand all my thoughts a far off; and thou obseruest narrowlie my walking, and my lieng downe; neither is anie of those things hidden from thee, which I go about. For thou knowest euen my words, O Lord, before my tongue pronounce them.

I submit my selfe, O God, in this thing therefore to thy triall; how I doo prefer the consideration of thy woonderfull works, words, and benefits, before all o∣thers; which are so great verelie, that I am not able once to accompt the summe of them, nor to reach to the height, depth, length, and bredth of thy great mer∣cies towards me. For I find them mo than the sands Page  356 of the sea, or the heares of my head. Wherefore I on∣lie refer my selfe to thee my God, I saie, that thou mai∣est throughlie prooue thine handmaid, and see if my hart be not altogether fixed vpon thee; and vtterlie search out all my thoughts, to write them downe in thy booke of consciences.

Finallie, consider Lord, I praie thee, whether I haue prouoked the vngodlie, with giuing anie offence: & as thou knowest me innocent, so preserue thou me, and gouerne the course of my life with thy counsels.

Yea thou knowest, O Lord, that I haue neuer bent mine eies to high things; nor entangled my selfe wil∣linglie with great matters, whereby I might win to my selfe the opinion of excellencie, aboue all other: nei∣ther yet haue reached vnto such things, as were a∣boue my capacitie. But contrarilie, vnlesse I haue bene content with my state howsoeuer; and haue staid my mind to depend wholie on thee, as they teach the weaned child to forget the Nursse, and to regard the mother alone: vnlesse, I saie, I haue so behaued my selfe hitherto, as the weaned infant, let me in deede be refused of thee.

Therefore, according to this mine innocencie, O Lord, by the assistance of thy grace, I will proceed: yea surelie, Lord, according to my power, as I haue begon in thee, so I will endeuour my selfe to end in thee, and to walke with thee vprightlie; and setting all my con∣fidence in thee alone, I am fullie minded to continue to the end of my life, without wauering in the faith of a right Christian feare and loue to thee.

That I stand vpright in the waie of thy truth, I doo attribute it onlie vnto thee, O Lord my God; and will therefore magnifie thy name in the publike congrega∣tion. And I doubt not, but thou, O Lord, thine owne selfe, wilt sullie performe the worke that I haue en∣terprised by thine authoritie. For this is thine euerla∣sting Page  357 mercie, testified by thy word: neither wilt thou, I knowe, leaue the worke vnperfect, which thou hast once begun by me, and in me.

And now surelie mine eies are still alwaies bent vp∣on thy goodnesse, and I haue appointed thy truth to be the guide and leader of my life: yea, I vnfeinedlie vow, and make a solemne promise before thee, and all thy ho∣lie Angels; that I will giue all possible diligence, both that I may throughlie knowe the right waie appoin∣ted by thee, and also may obserue the same purelie, in my house and Realme.

I will neuer set before me to doo anie wicked thing; but will endeuour my selfe to godlines more and more, and keepe my hands pure from all iniurie and wrong: that I may so liue the true life; and spend the whole course of this my peregrination, in setting foorth thy glorie.

CAP. IIII.

HEnce from me therefore ye wicked ones, that I may keepe the precepts of my God so much more purelie. For I abhor the wauering and wanderings to and fro in religion; and I count thy word and doctrine most deere and pretious.

I will forsake them that are of corrupt maners; neither will I take such vnto me. I will put far from me the authors of euill counsels; neither will I em∣brace, at anie time, the thing that I knowe to be euill.

Yea, Lord, thou knowest how carefullie I haue a∣uoided the companie of these most vaine men; and I haue fled awaie from these deceitfull dealers.

They that run after another God, I vtterlie detest. Their drinke-offrings of bloudie sacrifice, which I am afraid euen once to name, will I not offer. All such ab∣homination my soule doth vtterlie abhor.

For I, as thou knowest, loue righteousnesse and ho∣linesse, Page  358 and hate whatsoeuer is against it. And bicause they hate thee, O Lord, which art righteousnesse it selfe; therefore doo I againe hate them, and doo euen abhor them, bicause I perceiue them to rise vp against thee.

I hate the superstitious crue of the vngodlie, I saie, vtterlie; and count them for my greatest enimies: much lesse will I ioine my selfe vnto them, or can a∣bide to winke at their wickednesse and rebellion.

Yea, I fullie determine to exercise thy power giuen vnto me, and to destroie the wicked and prophane vt∣terlie; that thy Church may be well purged, and free from these cruell and bloud-thirstie hypocrites; from these men, I saie, which speake blasphemie against thee: so great and so proud is the crueltie of those, not of mine enimies so much, as of thine. For they abuse thy holie name and Maiestie.

Those superstitious men, I saie, Lord, that beare thy name in hypocrisie, shall haue their mouthes stop∣ped, and be put to silence in the congregation; and that bicause they be deadlie enimies to thy word and holie Gospell, which I professe.

Therefore, bicause they resist not me; but thee, O God, thy selfe: therefore thou shalt carie in thy hand a cup full of troubled wine, and full of dregs, the which thou shalt giue to all the wicked to sucke vp, and to drinke euen the verie dregs thereof. Yea, with the edge of the sword will I cut off the horns of the wicked and rebellious; and will execute the iudgement appointed and commanded by thee my God, vpon them, till they be consumed; that the honor & dignitie of thy Saints may flourish in Israel in all pietie and peace.

All those wicked men, whom I see or heare doo abuse their authoritie vnder me, against the good and godlie, will I cast downe againe; but I will increase the iust with honours.

Page  359 The subtill man will I thrust out of my house; nei∣ther will I suffer those that be scoffers, and speake deceiptfullie, to tarrie in my sight.

The extortioner and cruell man, which doo speedilie put in execution their wicked deuises, and whose hands are full of bribes, those will I vtterlie destroie from off the earth.

I will bridle the proud and dissolute persons, I will terrifie the wicked, that they shall not lift vp their hornes so high, with blasphemous words against thee, and thine annointed.

Finallie, I will destroie the slanderer and false ac∣cuser; I will not suffer the proud and the ambitious to dishonor thee. Yea I will painefullie, and without anie delaie, worthilie punish whomsoeuer I shall vnder∣stand to be wicked; and will purge the holie Citie of the Lord from all wicked persons.

Contrariwise, I searching out on euerie side men that loue the truth, will take them to be my familiar companions and counsellers; and I will not vse, in dooing mine affaires, anie but such as are trustie and faithfull, both to God, and their Prince.

If I doo knowe anie that feareth thee, and that kee∣peth thy statutes, I will ioine him to my fellowship: those (I saie) whome I see doo worship thee trulie and deuoutlie, will I ioine my selfe as companions with me.

Yea, all my delight, Lord, shall be vpon the Saincts that are in the earth with me, to comfort them; and to promote such as excell in vertue and godlinesse. For o∣therwise, I am able to doo little or nothing that can profit thee. Neither will I suffer anie violence to bee done vnto them that be godlie, by anie man; but will rebuke euen the mightie Princes for their sakes. None shall touch thine annointed Priests, no man will I suffer to hurt anie of thy Prophets.

Page  360
CAP. V.

TO conclude, I will surelie care for nothing so much, now that I am set peaceablie ouer the kingdome, and haue the people by thy goodnesse committed vnto me, as to institute an holie and righteous gouernement. And thou gran∣ting me grace, when the case so standeth, that the bonds of the lawes are broken, and the kingdome is in anie thing disordered or confounded; I will carefullie compose, and set the same againe in good order; and e∣stablish the pillers and foundations thereof in their places, if they be remoued. And this will I doo by the direction of thy reuealed will, that all things may re∣maine safe among my people, by the difference of right and wrong preserued and mainteined; and that they may followe thee, our God, with great cheerefulnesse, whosoeuer delight in righteousnesse, when they see the disordered state of the Realme restored by me at the last, into the ancient most right order of discipline and iustice, prescribed by thy word.

Thus, by the grace and assistance of thy holie spirit, (the which I beseech thee plentifullie to powre downe vpon me) doo I thy seruant determine with my selfe, vnfeinedlie to serue and worship thy dreadfull Maie∣stie, O my God, in feare and trembling: and I will la∣bour to preserue and to amplifie thy Church, with as great care as is possible; that thy pure worship may continuallie to all posteritie be exercised therein.

For so haue I sworne, euen by an oth, and make my solemne Uowes, that I will doo; & that I will keepe thy most sacred Heasts, and iust lawes inuiolable; the which thing I will performe in deede. Neither will I suffer my selfe, at anie time, to be drawne awaie from thy iudgements; nor to depart one ynch from thy ho∣lie commandements, O God, which waie soeuer thou Page  561 leadest me. But trusting onelie vnto thee, by whose po∣wer and conduct I haue gotten the Empire and regi∣ment of so manie large prouinces, strong cities, and goodlie townes; I will now set my kingdome in good order, and place the throne of iudgement therein, euen the tribunall seate of my father DAVID, that iudge∣ment and iustice may be ministred indifferentlie there∣in to euerie one; and the safetie and welfare of the people that loue thee, and fauour thy truth, be procu∣red and maintained.

For to this end, O my God, hast thou giuen me this kingdome, the possession of so manie goodlie countries, and sundrie sorts of people; and caused me to obteine it with so great facilitie and ease; that being thus peaceablie placed therein, I should loue Ierusalem with all my hart: and that I should root out all the in∣habitants therein, that prophane the land with filthie superstition, and euill life; and cause all diligentlie to obserue thy statutes and lawes, giuen them of thee. And so I make a Uow I will, O Lord, I saie, accor∣ding to the simplicitie of my hart, both prouide faith∣fullie for thy people; and also guide them by good coun∣sell, and continuallie defend and preserue them by my power; as thou in thy heast hast commanded me.

And that I may the better perfourme these my Uowes vnto thee, and thoroughlie discharge my du∣tie to the glorie of thine eternall Maiestie; I beseech thee, shew me thy glorie, O God; and let thine honour beautifie and adorne me, O my KING. O gouerne thou our counsels and endeuours from heauen; yea all our enterprises, and our counsels guide and gouerne thou from the highest heauens; that thy glorie, O Lord, thy glorie may shine foorth in me thine humble Haudmaid, to all posterities; and the fame thereof fill the whole world, and be perpetuallie praised of al thy creatures, both in heauen and in earth, visible and inuisible, for Page  362 euer and euer: So; euen so shall it be, O my GOD: euen so let it be, Amen: Amen.

O Lord, I beseech thee, let the Uowes and free promises of my mouth, proceeding from an vnfeined hart, be accepted of thee; and teach me thy lawes more and more. For vnto thee and them I con∣fes that I owe my life.

Gressus meos dirige verbo tuo: & non dominetur in me peccatum.
Sic psallam nomini tuo in perpetuum: & persol∣uam vota mea per singulos dies.
Glorie be to GOD on high; in earth peace; good will towards men: Halleluiah.