Holie Praiers, and godlie Meditations, desciphering in Alphabeticall forme, the Roiall name of our vertuous Soue∣reigne Queene ELIZABETH, properlie to be vsed of hir Maiestie.
PSALME 143, verse 2.
O GOD, which dwellest in light that no man can attaine. O God, which art hid, and canst not be seene with bodilie eies, nor comprehen∣ded with anie vnderstanding, neither expressed with the tongue of men, or Angels. O my God, what is it to be righteous in thy sight? It is that wee should bee without sinne before thee, which no man euer was since the fall of Adam. For which cause the holie Pro∣phet DAVID saith in this wise: Enter not into iudge∣ment with thy seruant, O Lord: for no flesh is righte∣ous in thy sight. If then no flesh be righteous in thy sight; O vnhappie that I am, loden and burdened with sinne, who shall haue pitie or compassion on mee, or whither shall I go? My sinnes are euer before me, mine vnrighteousnesse condemneth me. What shall I doo? Shall I despaire? God forbid. For mercifull, Page 281 meeke, and louing is my Sauiour. My refuge therfore shall be in my God: for certaine I am, he will not for∣sake his owne image, neither wil he forsake the worke of his owne hands. Wherfore most meeke, louing, and mercifull Father, to thee come I all sad and sorowfull. But what shall I saie vnto thee? I will saie: Enter not into iudgement with thy seruant, O Lord: for no flesh is righteous in thy sight. And againe, I will with the Prophet powre out before thee the words of sor∣rowe. I will hartilie beseech thee, saieng: Haue mer∣cie on me, O God, haue mercie on me, according to thy great mercie: not after the mercie of men, but after thy great mercie, which is incomprehensible, which is vnmeasurable, and which passeth all sinnes without comparison. According therefore vnto that thy great mercie, by the which thou hast so loued the world, that thou gauest thy sonne for it; by the which thou hast ta∣ken awaie all our sinnes; by the which through his crosse thou hast lightened all men; by the which also thou hast restored all things in heauen, and in earth: wash me, I saie, O Lord, wash me in his bloud, restore me in his resurrection, and iustifie me by thy grace and fauour, and the redemption which is in Christ,
Psal. 51. verse 1.
THy mercie, O Lord, is the abundance of pitie; thy compassions are the works and processe of thy mercie; by the one thou lookest gentlie on the poore and wretched: by the other thou forgiuest the multitude of sinnes. O sweet, and mercifull Sauiour Page 282 Iesus Christ, the sorowfull and penitent sinner Ma∣rie Magdalen came prostrate before thy feet, she wash∣ed them with hir bitter teares, she wiped them with the heares of hir head: thou forgauest all hir sinnes, and sentest hir awaie in peace: this was, good Lord, one of thy compassions. Peter thrise denied thee; and forsooke thee with an oth: thou mercifullie lookedst on him, and he beholding thee bitterlie wept: and thou Lord forgauest him; which was another of thy com∣passions. The theefe on the Crosse was saued with one word: Paule in the furious madnesse of persecu∣tion was called, and by and by was filled with the ho∣lie Ghost: these all Lord are thy pitifull compassions.
Sith therefore that thou art the same our GOD, with whome is no alteration, neither shadowe of change; and sith there is but one Mediatour and at∣tonement betweene God and man, that is Christ Ie∣sus, which endureth for euer; why doost thou not powre out thy plentious compassions vpon vs, as well as thou didst vpon our forefathers? Why standest thou so far, O Lord, and hidest thy face in the needfull tune of trouble? Hast thou forsaken vs? Or are all thy mer∣cies spent, and none left? O Lord my God, I hartilie beseech thee, & most humblie praie thee, that thou wilt, according to the multitude of thy compassions, wipe awaie all mine iniquities: that as thou hast drawne and receiued innumerable sinners vnto thee, and hast made them righteous in thy sight: euen so thou wilt vouchsafe to drawe and take me, and also to make mee righteous through thy grace, and so to clense and puri∣fie my hart; that after all mine iniquities and vn∣cleannesse put out, it may be as a cleane ta∣ble, in the which thy finger, O GOD, may write the lawe of thy loue and charitie,
Ezech. 18, verse 27.
BEhold good Lord, now are the daies of sorowe, now are the daies of calamitie; and now is the time wherein I must call on thee. For now feele I mine old cankered and festered sores of sinne readie to breake foorth in me, to my vtter confusion. Behold good Lord, all my desires, and all my lamentable and sorowfull sighes, I powre them all before thee; crieng and saieng, O Lord cleanse me from my sinnes: for I am vncleane and filthie before thee. Increase therefore thy light in me, that I may be a vessell of thy grace: kindle my hart with thy loue; put out all feare: for per∣fect loue expelleth feare. Let the loue of the world, the loue of the flesh, the loue of vaine-glorie, and the loue of my selfe, vtterlie depart from me: that I may (through thy mercie) be cleansed from mine iniquities, by the which I haue offended thee. Cleanse me therefore, O Lord, with the water of thy gratious fauour, of which water he that drinketh, shall no more thirst, but it shall be made in him a fountaine of liuing water, running and flowing into eternall life. Cleanse mee I saie, O Lord, with the water of thy weeping teares; cleanse me with the comfortable waters of thy sacred Scriptures, that I may be numbred among them, vnto whome thou saiedst: Now are yee cleane through the words that I haue spoken to you:
Luke 19, verse 5.
O Mercifull God, how manie sinnes haue I don in thy sight, which I would in no wise haue done before mortall men? I feared men more than thee, because I was blind, and loued blindnesse. I had onlie eies of flesh, therfore did I onlie feare and looke on men which are flesh. O my God, behold, I stand before thy face, that I might finde mercie. I stand be∣fore thy goodnesse and benignitie, looking for thy fauo∣rable answere: haue mercie therefore on me. Thou sai∣edst to Zache, This daie I will abide in thy house, and he ioifullie receiuing thee, said; Lord, the halfe of my goods I giue to the poore, and if I haue done anie man wrong, I will restore him fourefold. But Lord Iesu, I will not part halfe that I haue, but I bequeath my selfe wholie vnto thee, reseruing nothing from thee, promising to serue thee for euer with a cleane and pure hart. O sweet Lord Iesus, what sawest thou in Zache? euen thine owne image, for he had cast off the image of the diuell, which before was on him, and had put on him thine image. If then thou didst see in Zache, by put∣ting from him the image of the diuell, that which did drawe thee to his house; take then from me, sweet Ie∣sus, all my sinnes and wickednesse; all I praie thee, that none may remaine in me, which may keepe thee from me; that I may put off, as Zache did, that euill which is in me; that thou maist see in me, which thou Page 285 sawest in Zache, that when thou shalt call me out of the figtree of this miserable world, thou maist saie vn∣to me, Come downe, for this daie I will abide with thee:
Psalme 51, verse 10.
ALas my Lord and Sauiour, my hart hath for∣saken thee, it is turned from thee, and is gone astraie: it is wandered into strange countries, and ensueth vanities: hir eies are in the vttermost part of the world. It is lost, gone, and sold vnder sinne. It is stonie, yea harder than the Flint or Adamant stone, which relented and yeelded at thy sonnes death. What now Lord? What shall I saie? A pure hart cre∣ate in me, a fleshie hart, a mollified and soft hart, an humble hart, a penitent hart, a mercifull hart, a de∣uout hart, a religious and zealous hart: yea and such a hart as will loue thee aboue all things. Create there∣fore good Lord such a hart in me, that it may be of such efficacie through thy grace, as nature is not able to make it. Giue me also a right spirit, that I may loue and worship thee, which art the chiefe and principall spirit. For thou art a spirit, and wilt be worshipped in spirit and veritie. My soule, good Lord, is also a spirit, and so made of thee, that of it selfe it is right. For of hir owne nature she loueth thee aboue hir selfe, and desi∣reth all things for thy glorie; so that hir owne natu∣rall loue is right, because it commeth of thee. Make stedfast therefore in me, O Lord, through thy gratious fauour, this spirit; that it may, according to his owne nature, leade and keepe me in the waie of thy com∣mandements; Page 286 and that by it my heart may be so in∣flamed with heauenlie loue, that it may cause me to sigh vnto thee, to embrace thee continuallie, and neuer to forsake thee; but alwaies to be firme and constant in thee. Giue me therefore an vpright spirit, not seeking hir owne glorie, but thy will and glorie. Renew it in me, I praie thee good Lord; renew it I saie, for my sins haue quenched the first that thou gauest me,
Psalme 51, verse 4.
TO thee onlie O Lord it is proper to forgiue, and to be mercifull, for through mercie and for∣giuenesse thou dooest declare thine almighti∣nesse. I graunt therefore Lord, and confesse, that a∣gainst thee onlie I haue offended, and haue done that which is euill in thy sight. Haue mercie therefore on me O Lord, haue mercie. Expresse and shewe foorth thine omnipotencie in me, that thou maist be iustified in thy words. For it is written, Thou camest not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Graunt me therefore good Lord a true repentant hart, and iu∣stifie me according to thy words. Call me, receiue me, and giue me thy grace; so that thereby I may do the works of repentance. Thou saiedst, When I am lif∣ted vp from the earth, I will drawe all vnto my selfe. Uerifie Lord the words on me, drawe me after thee, and let me run with thee in the sweetenesse of thine ointments. Againe, thou saiedst, Come vnto me all yee that labour, and are loden, and I will ease you. Behold Page 287 my Lord and my God, I a sinner do come vnto thee, all loden with sinnes, daie and night, labouring in the so∣rowe of my hart for thy grace and mercie. Refresh and ease me therefore good Lord, that thou maist be iusti∣fied and proued, when thou art iudged. For there are manie, which saie, There is no helpe for him in his God. Ouercome Lord these persons, when thou art thus iudged of them, and forsake not me at anie time: but giue to me thy creature thy mercie and pardon, and then are they vanquished which saie, There is no helpe for him in his God,
Psalme 51, verse 12.
IT is a great thing, O heauenlie father, that I desire of thee; seeing thou art a great Lord, and King aboue all gods. He doth thee iniurie which asketh of thee small things; and he which as∣keth of thee bodilie things, asketh but vaine trifles. He therefore that desireth spirituall things, desireth great things: but he that desireth thy ioie and sauing health, desireth the greatest thing thou hast to giue. What is thy sauing health, but Iesus Christ thy on∣lie sonne, which is verie God and euerlasting life? And forsomuch as thou hast bin so louing and liberall a fa∣ther, as to giue him vnto the death of the crosse, and there to offer him for me; why should I be ashamed to aske him of thee, whome thou hast giuen for me? Giue me therefore thy principall spirit, that I may reioice in thy sauing health. And forsomuch as in thy holie word thou biddest me aske and knocke, euen till I see me Page 288 importunate, and what can I aske that should be more wholesome to me, than that thou shouldest make me reioice in thy sonne our sauing health? I will ther∣fore continuallie crie to thee, saieng: Make me againe to reioice in thy sauing helth, and restore to me againe the thing which my sinnes haue lost. Restore to me that which through my fault is perished in me. Restore me I beseech thee for his mercies sake, that euer sitteth on thy right hand, and maketh intercession for me, that by his gratious fauour, I may at my last end enioie the fruitfull benefite of thy sauing health:
Psalme 51. verse 6.
WHat meaneth it to saie, Thou louest truth; but that of thy gratious mercie thou makest vs promises, and fulfillest them for thy truths sake? Thou didst promise vnto Abraham a sonne when he was aged: thou fulfilledst thy promise in old and barren Sara, because thou louest truth. Thou madest promise vnto Dauid thy seruant, saieng: Of the fruit of thy bodie will I set vpon the regall throne: and it came to passe, because thou louest truth. Thou hast promised vnto sinners, which will come vnto thee, for∣giuenesse and fauour, and thou hast neuer defrauded anie man: for thou louest truth. There are other in∣numerable promises, in the which thou hast euer bene faithfull, because thou louest truth. Loue therefore, O father of mercies, this truth in me, which with repen∣tant hart turneth to thee. Behold therefore thy crea∣ture, in whome thou maist keepe it, and to whome thou Page 289 maist forgiue manie sinnes. Spare good Lord, spare thy seruant, and command me to be of the number of the babes; that the vnknowne things of thy wisdome, which thou hast opened vnto me, may lead me vnto the fountaine of wisdome, which is on high; that thou maist be praised in the works of thy mercie, which thou dooest exercise towards thy seruant, O LORD, which neuer forsakest them that trust in thee:
Psalme 51. verse 16.
MY mouth, Lord, shall shew foorth thy glorious fame. For I knowe it to be most acceptable before thee, seeing thou hast declared it by the mouth of the Prophet, saieng: The sacrifice of praise shall glorifie me; by which meane (saith the Lord) I shall be entised to shew him my sauing health. Psal. 48. Therefore will I offer praise vnto thee for my sinnes, euen the praise of infants and sucklings. And why shall I offer praise for my sinnes, rather than sacrifice? Bicause thou delightest not in burnt sacrifice. For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I had surelie offered them: but thou delightest not in them. And againe, thou sai∣edst, I require mercie, and not sacrifice. Ose. 6. There∣fore my mouth shall shew foorth thy praise, bicause thereby I doo shew foorth thy honour, and it sheweth me through thy grace the waie to my sauing health. O Lord, thou madest the bodie for the spirit, therfore see∣kest thou spirituall things, and not bodilie things. For thou saiest, My sonne giue thy hart vnto me. Prou. 23. Page 290 which is the sacrifice that pleaseth thee. Let me there∣fore offer vnto thee, O Lord, a hart repenting and sor∣rowing for my sinnes; and inflame it with a desired loue of heauenlie things, and then wilt thou desire no more of me: for with such sacrifices wilt thou, O Lord, be pleased,
Psalme 6, verse 1.
MY sinnes, O Lord, are so manie, that the bur∣den of them hath weakened me. My bones are so bruised, my sinewes are so shrunken, my strength so faileth me, the rod of thy displeasure hath so chastened me, that I feele no helpe in my selfe. I ap∣peale therfore, O Lord, to thy mercie, crieng out with the prodigall and vnthriftie sonne, saieng: O Father, I haue sinned against heauen, and before thee; haue mercie therefore, haue mercie on me; not bicause I haue deserued thy mercie, but bicause thou art merci∣full. Sith therefore thou art mercifull, what art thou, but euen the verie mercie it selfe? And what am I but verie miserie? Behold therefore, O God, which art mercie, behold miserie is before thee. What shalt thou doo, O mercie? Trulie thy works. Canst thou go backe from thy nature? And what is thy nature? Uerelie to Page 291 take awaie miserie. Haue mercie therefore on mee, O God. God, which art mercie, take awaie my miserie: for the depth of miserie requireth the depth of mercie. The depth of sinne requireth the depth of grace and fauour. Greater is the depth of mercie, than the depth of miserie. Let therfore, good Lord, the one depth swal∣lowe vp the other. Let the bottomlesse depth of mer∣cie swallowe vp the depth of miserie,
Acts 10, verse 6.
O Sweet Iesus, who euer came to thee with a pure and stedfast faith, and went awaie confu∣sed? Or who euer desired thy fauour, and went without it? Surelie thou passest in thine abundant pitie, both the deseruings and also the desires of them that praie vnto thee. For thou giuest more than man can desire. The woman of Canaan followed thee, she cried and made a pitious noise; she mooued thy Disci∣ples to compassion, & worshipped thee, and said: Lord helpe me; but yet wouldest thou not answere. Yet shee trusting in thy mercie, praied againe, saieng: Lord helpe me. Unto whose importunitie thou diddest an∣swere, saieng: It is not good to take the childrens bread, and cast it vnto dogs. O Lord, who would not haue beene confounded, and haue gotten him awaie at these thy words? And yet did this woman continue still in praier, and said: It is truth Lord that thou sai∣est: it is not meete to cast the childrens bread vnto dogs. But yet Lord, the dogs doo eate of the crums which fall from the childrens table. And thou Lord re∣ioicing Page 292 in hir great constancie, didst saie: O woman, great is thy faith, be it vnto thee as thou desirest. Now therefore sweet and mercifull Lord Iesu, as thou did∣dest vouchsafe to accept and heare the praier of Corne∣lius, and of this woman of Canaan; so I hartilie be∣seech thee to heare my humble praiers, which I make daie and night before thee; not onelie that thou shoul∣dest deliuer me from bodilie oppressions, but also from the spirituall power of the diuell, that after this mor∣tall life I may come to thy blessed presence, in the e∣uerlasting kingdome, where thou reignest God with the Father, and the holie Ghost:
Psalme 17. verse 1.
THy praise is a great thing, O Lord: for it pro∣ceedeth out of the fountaine whereof no sin∣ners drinke. There is no glorious praise in the mouth of a sinner. Deliuer me therefore O Lord from the waie of sinners, and my tongue shall magnifie thy righteousnesse; and my lips and my mouth shall shew foorth thy praise. Thou hast the key of Dauid, which shuttest, and no man openeth; and openest, and no man shutteth. Therefore open thou my lips, as thou hast opened the mouths of infants, out of whose mouths thou hast established thy praise. Trulie the Prophets and Apostles, and all other thy Saints praised thee, & despised themselues. The sucklings extoll thy fame and glorie, which they knowe through thy heauenlie Page 293 and celestiall grace. Thy friends, which spreading thy glorie, haue conuerted innumerable soules from sinne vnto vertue and true felicitie. Thy beloued haue open∣lie preached thy bountious gentlenesse, and mercifull fauour, which thou shewest in thy deere sonne vnto all the world. Now therefore mercifull God, giue me true humilitie, that thou maist stablish thy praise by my mouth. Make me as one of the infants and sucklings, that I may euer hang on the paps of thy wisdome. For thy paps, O Lord, are better than wine, and thy wisdome better than riches. Make me as one of thy friends or beloued, that I may constantlie abide in thee, that my mouth and voice may among the suck∣lings extoll and set foorth thy praise, saieng and sing∣ing, Ozanna in the highest,
Psalme 51. verse 7.
I Sope, Lord, is a lowe herbe, it is hot, and of a good sauour, which signifieth nothing else, but thine onlie sonne Iesus Christ, which humbled himselfe vnto death, euen vnto the death of the Crosse; which with the heate of his feruent loue loued vs, and washed vs from our sinnes in his bloud; which also with the redolent and sweet sauor of his beneuolence and righteousnesse hath replenished the world. There∣fore with this Isope shalt thou, O holie Father, sprin∣kle me, when thou shalt powre vpon me the vertue and bloud of thy deere sonne Christ, when he through faith Page 294 shall dwell in me; when through loue I am ioined with him, when I shall imitate and followe his humi∣litie and passion, then shall I be cleansed from all mine vncleannesse. Then shalt thou wash me with mine owne teares, which flowe out of the loue of thy sonne Christ. Then shall I sigh till I be wearie: then shall I water my bed euerie night with my teares, so that it shall swimme in them; and then Lord shalt thou wash me, and I shall be whiter than snowe,
Matth. 7, verse 21.
THy will is, O heauenlie father, that we do be∣leeue in thy beloued sonne, whome thou hast sent. Thy will is, that we beleeue that he, whome thou hast sent, is come in the flesh. And thy will is, that we imitate and keepe his saieng. Thy will is also, that we should heare him. For thou spakest from heauen, saieng: This is my welbeloued Sonne, in whome I delight, heare him. Giue me therefore, O heauenlie father, a stedfast faith, a strong faith, yea such a faith, that no tribulation, that no vexation, that no persecution may cause me to denie thy Son whom thou hast sent: but that I may with a pure and con∣stant faith confesse him to be come in the flesh, for the redemption of the world; and that I may imitate and folowe him, that I may keepe his saieng, who was de∣liuered for my sinnes, and was raised againe for my iustification. Giue me also, O holie father, a perfect Page 295 hearing, and not a corrupt hearing; but that I may, through the teaching of the holie Ghost, heare thee out of the Prophets, out of the Apostles, out of the pen of the Euangelists, and out of the mouth of thy Spouse the Catholike Church: to whome thou saiedst, I will send you a comforter, euen my spirit, which shall leade you into all truth. Grant me O Lord this spirit, for there is none that can saie Iesus is the Lord, but by this thy holie spirit,
Psalme 51. verse 17.
A Broken and troubled spirit, and not broken and troubled flesh pleaseth thee O Lord. For the flesh is broken and vexed, because it hath not the carnall things that it desireth, or else feeleth in it selfe things which it hateth. The spirit is broken and vnquieted for his fault, because it hath offended a∣gainst God, whom it loueth. He soroweth that he hath sinned against his maker and redeemer, and that he hath not regarded such a good and louing father. This broken and sorowing spirit, is vnto thee, O Lord, a sa∣crifice of most sweet sauour, which notwithstanding hath his confection of most bitter spices, euen of the remembrance of his sinnes. For when our sinnes are gathered together into the morter of the hart, and beaten with the pestle of compunction, and made into powder, and moistened with the water of teares, ther∣of is made an ointment, and sacrifice most sweet, which being offered to thee, O Lord, thou wilt not despise. Marie Magdalen, which was a great sinner, made Page 296 such an ointment, and put it into the Alablaster boxe of hir hart. She feared not to enter into the Pharises house, and there humbling hir selfe at thy feete, sweet Lord, washed them with hir teares, wiped them with hir heare, and annointed them with most pretious ointment, and ceassed not to kisse them. Surelie Lord, hir sacrifice was right acceptable, and pleased thee, so that thou preferredst it aboue the Pharisie, which in his owne sight was righteous. O Lord, great is thy power, great is thy might, which declareth it selfe most chieflie in sparing and hauing compassion on sin∣ners: shewing to vs, that a contrite and humble hart thou wilt not despise.
Accept therefore sweete Lord Iesu, this my sacrifice of praise, proceeding out of a broken and sorowfull hart. And if it be vnperfect, amend thou the fault, mer∣cifull Lord, which onlie art of power to doo it; that it may be an holie and acceptable sacrifice, inflamed with the feruent heate of thy bountious charitie; that it may be acceptable vnto thee, or at the least, that thou despise it not. I knowe well that I shall find fauour in thy sight, and that heereafter none of thy Saincts, ei∣ther in heauen or in earth, shall despise me. Accomplish therefore in me euen now O Lord, that which I so oft do craue of thee, which is, that thou wilt haue compas∣sion on me, according to thy great mercie; and that also thou wilt receiue me for a sacrifice of righteous∣nesse, for a holie oblation, for a burnt sacrifice of good liuing, and for a Calfe to be offered vpon thine Altar or Crosse: by the which I may passe this vale of miserie, vnto that ioie, which thou preparest for them that loue thee,