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.

A Meditation, wherein is shewed how we ought to be verie intentiue to the Psalmes and praiers in the Church.

WHen thou entrest the temple to pray or sing Psalmes; leaue behind thee the heapes of wauering thoughts, and forget vtterlie the care of out∣ward things, that thou maist giue all thine attendance to diuine mat∣ters. For it is vnpossible for him to speake with God, that talketh with the whole world in silence. Intend thou him that in∣tendeth thee; heare him when he speaketh to thee; that he may hearken to thee when thou praiest to him: so shalt thou shew a carefull and due reuerence in mag∣nifieng Page  412 God, and a christian attendance in giuing heed to his holie word.

Understand not this, as though I performed that I speake of: yet I striue to doo it, repenting the omis∣sion of it in time past, and sorowing that I am not able to attaine it presentlie. But thou, to whom God hath beene more liberall of his graces, inclined his sacred eares towards thee; with hartie praiers, in sighs and teares beseech him most humblie, to pardon thee all thy riots, and excesse. Extoll and magnifie him in the excellencie of his works with spirituall songs. For this is most pleasing to the mightie Iehoua, as him selfe doth witnesse: The sacrifice of praise shall ho∣nour me.

O how happie wert thou, if it were granted thee to behold, with spirituall eies, the araie of the celestiall princes, that go before them that praise God in the midst of the damsels, plaieng with their Timbrels! Thou shouldest see doubtlesse with what endeuour and cheerefulnesse they accompanie them in singing, assist them in praier, in meditation comfort them, pro∣tect them in time of rest, direct them in all their af∣faires and businesse. Uerelie the heauenlie powers doo loue their felowe-citizens, and doo exceedinglie ioie in the societie of those, that are free heires of saluation; they with longing looke for our comming, and earnest∣lie attend, that the ruines and dis-peopling of their heauenlie citie may be filled vp againe, in the multi∣tude of our companies. They doo curiouslie inquire, and willinglie heare all good of vs. They be carefull messengers betweene God and vs, and beare a faith∣full witnesse of our dooing. They disdaine not now to be our seruants, that shall be our felowes: we haue made them reioice in our conuersion and repen∣tance. Let vs haste then to fulfill their ioies ouer vs. Wo be vnto thee then that louest a returne to thy Page  413 vomit and impuritie. Dooest thou thinke to haue those witnesse for thee in iudgement, whom thou hast berea∣ued of so great and long hoped-for ioie? They reioiced ouer vs, when we gaue our names first to Christ; as if they had seene vs pulled out of hell gates. But what will they doo then, when they shall see those turned backe from the gate of Paradise, who had alreadie al∣most one foote in heauen?

Wherefore, though our bodies be on earth, let vs set our harts on the highest heauens: let vs run thi∣ther, not with bodilie members, but with spirituall affections, desires, and longing; where not the angels onlie, but the Creator of angels doth long looke for vs. God the father looketh for vs, as his owne sonnes and heires, to commit the rule of all his treasure vnto vs. God the sonne looketh for vs, as his deere german bro∣thers, and coparteners, that he may present God his father with the fruite of his natiuitie, and price of his owne bloud. The holie Ghost also looketh for vs: for he verelie is that bountie and benignitie, wherein from euerlasting we were predestinate to saluation; and no doubt, he wisheth our predestination accomplished.

Seeing then the whole court of heauen doth so ear∣nestlie looke and wish for vs, let vs with all zealous af∣fection seeke after it. For with great shame, and a large cōfusion, shall he come thither, that is lead with a cold and luke-warme desire: but whosoeuer, in the strength of continuall praier, and dailie meditation, is alwaie conuersant there; shall both from hence depart with securitie, and there be receiued with triumphing ioie.

Therefore, wheresoeuer thou be, still praie within thy selfe. If thou chance to be far from thy closet, seeke no place. For thou to thy selfe art a place. If thou be in thy bed, praie; and praie often in the temple. And in prostrating thy bodie, lift vp thy mind to God. For as there is no time, wherein we doo not vse and enioie the Page  414 goodnesse & mercie of God: so there ought to be no mo∣ment, wherein his almightinesse ought not to possesse our memorie. But thou wilt saie, I praie continuallie, and yet I see no fruit of my praier: as I come vnto it, so I depart; none answereth, or speaketh vnto me; nothing is giuen me, but my labour seemeth vaine. This is the speech of humane follie, not obseruing what truth it selfe promiseth, saieng: Uerelie I saie vnto you, whatsoeuer ye aske in praier with faith, yee shall receiue it; and it shall be performed vnto you. E∣steeme not lightlie therfore of praier. For he to whome thou praiest, hath it in price; and before it proceed from thy mouth, commandeth it to be registred in his owne booke. One of these two we may vndoubtedlie hope for; that either he will giue vs our requests, or better. Thinke of God as highlie as thou art able, and yet be∣leeue more of him, than thou canst thinke. All the time wherein thou thinkest not vpon God, esteeme it lost; all other things be foraigne vnto vs, time onlie is our owne. Attend therefore vpon God; and wheresoeuer thou art, be all with him. Impart, but giue not vp thy selfe to worldlie affaires. Wheresoeuer thou art, cast thy thoughts vpon God. No place is vnfit for medita∣tion. Therefore, with all cheerefulnesse, gather vp thy spirits, dwell at libertie with thy selfe, and out of the largenesse of thy heart measure out a lodging for thy Lord Christ.

A wise mans mind is alwaie with God. He ought to be alwaies in our sight, by whome we haue our be∣ing, life, and knowledge. He is the author of our being, the teacher of our vnderstanding, the treasure of our spirituall and ioifull happinesse. Heerein we may ac∣knowledge the diuine image of the heauenlie Trini∣tie. For as he hath his being in excellencie of wisdome and goodnesse; so we, according to our creation, haue our subsistence; being endued also with reason, and Page  415 delight in knowledge, as a signature and impression of the diuine Maiestie. Esteeme therefore of thy selfe, as of the temple of God; seeing it pleased him to impart his likenesse to thee, as a high renowne, to adore and imitate God. Thou dooest imitate him, if thou be holie, as he is holie. For a holie mind is the temple of God; and a sincere hart, the most acceptable aultar. Thou dooest adore God, if thou be mercifull, euen as he is mercifull to all. For it is a pleasing sacrifice to God, to gratifie all for the cause of God.

Doo all things as the sonne of God, that thou bee not vnworthie of him, that hath vouchsafed to be thy father. Knowe that of all thy actions, God is a wit∣nesse. Beware therefore to fixe thine eie, or settle thy thought in anie vnlawfull delight: neither speake, nor doo anie ill, though thou maist. Offend not God, neither in deede nor purpose. For his almightinesse discoue∣reth thy deeds. Thou hast neede of a great watch, dis∣charging all the actions in the face of the Iudge; yet liue thou maist without securitie, if thou behaue thy selfe so, as he vouchsafe thee his presence. If he abide not with thee in fauour, he will come vnto thee in re∣uenge. And if he come in reuenge, wo be vnto thee; nay rather, wo if he come not. For God is most angrie with him, whose sinne he leaueth vnpunished. His damna∣tion is prepared, whome God reformeth not in father∣lie chasticement.