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 verie deuout praier for grace to praise God, and to be thankfull for his benefits.

O LORD Iesus Christ, which art the word of the father, which ca∣mest into this world to saue sin∣ners: I beseech thee, by the most lo∣uing bowels of thy mercy, to amend and repaire my life. Make better my deeds, take thou the ordering of my manners. Take from mee that that noieth & hurteth me, and displeaseth thee: and giue me that which thou knowest will please thee, and profit me. Who can make cleane that which is con∣ceiued of an vncleane seed, but thou alone? Thou art Page  443 the God almightie, of infinite pietie; which dooest iu∣stifie and make righteous, euen those that are wicked men; and raisest againe to life them that were dead in sinne; thou changest sinners, and they are, while they liue here, no deadlie or damnable sinners.

Take awaie therefore from me whatsoeuer is in me that pleaseth not thee. For thine eies doo see much vn∣perfectnesse in me. Laie the hand, I beseech thee, of thy pitie, on me, & whatsoeuer offendeth the eies of thy pi∣etie, remoue it from me. In thy sight is both my health & my disease: the one I beseech thee to preserue, the o∣ther to cure. Doo thou heale me, O Lord, and I shall be healed: do thou make me safe, & I shall be saued. Thou, I meane, which dooest make whole them that be disea∣sed, and dooest preserue them that be cured; which on∣lie with a becke dooest restore and repaire things that be decaied, and fallen into ruine. For if thou wilt vouchsafe to sowe anie good seed in the feeld of my hart, of necessitie thou must plucke vp first, with the hand of thy pittie, the thornes of vices which be in it.

O most gratious, most gentle, most louing, desired, amiable, and louelie of all others; powre in my hart, I beseech thee, so great plentie of delectation in thee, that I may desire no earthlie or carnall thing, nor yet thinke vpon them; but that I may loue thee alone, that I may haue thee onlie in my hart, & in my mouth. Write with thy finger in my brest, the delectable re∣membrance of thy sweet name, and so, that it may not be blotted out with anie forgetfulnesse. Write thy will in the tables of mine hart, and also thy iustificati∣ons; that I may alwaies, and in euerie place haue thee, O Lord, before mine eies, and in my sight.

Inflame my mind with that fire, which thou diddest send into the earth, and willedst it to be kindled, that I might offer vnto thee dailie, with teares, a sacrifice of a troubled spirit, and a repentant hart. O sweet Page  444 Christ, O good Iesu, euen according vnto my desire, and euen as I hartilie require thee with my whole mind, giue me thy holie and chast loue, which may re∣plenish and keepe me, and also fullie possesse me. Giue me an euident signe and token of thy loue, euen a flo∣wing well of teares, which will continuallie runne, that those teares may somewhat testifie thy loue in me; that they may shew foorth, and declare how much my soule loueth thee, whiles for the great delectation it hath in the sweetnes of thy loue, it may not refraine from shedding teares.

O good Lord, I call to my remembrance sometimes that vertuous woman Hanna, which came to the Ta∣bernacle to praie, that God would send hir a sonne; of whom the scripture maketh mention, that hir coun∣tenance, after hir teares and praiers, was not againe changed, or altered. But when I thinke vpon so great vertue, constancie, and stedfastnesse of that woman, I doo blush, and am vexed, with sorrowe, and confounded with shame; bicause I a wretch, doo perceiue my selfe to be fallen ouermuch from thee. For if that good wo∣man did weepe, after such a sort, and continued so in weeping, which did search for nothing else but a sonne, how ought my sinfull soule to mourne, and to persist and abide in weeping, that seeketh and looueth God, and hath a desire to come vnto him? How ought such a soule to mourne and weepe, which seeketh God daie and night, which will loue nothing but Christ? My teares now trulie should be made meate vnto me daie and night.

Looke vpon me therefore, O Lord, and take pittie on me; bicause the dolours and sorrowes of my hart are manie in number. Giue me thy heauenlie consolation, and doo not despise nor cast awaie a sinfull soule, for the which thou didst die. Giue me inward teares, I beseech thee, from the bottome of my hart, which may wash a∣waie Page  445 the spots of my sinnes. Replenish my soule al∣waies with heauenlie delectation and myrth, that I may obteine some little portion or part in thy king∣dome; although not amongst the perfect men, whose steps I cannot followe, yet at the least among the reli∣gious women and inferiour sort.

And heere now the maruellous deuotion of another woman, called Marie Magdalen, commeth into my mind, which with vertuous loue, and godlie affection, did seeke thee lieng in the sepulchre; which, when thy Disciples went awaie, and departed from thee, did re∣maine with thee hir selfe; which sate there sad and so∣rowfull, weeping long and verie much; and when she did arise, she searched with a diligent eie, and with ma∣nie teares the corners of the sepulchre, which was left emptie, if she might espie thee out in anie place, whom she with a feruent desire sought. Yea and moreouer, she went againe and againe to the sepulchre, but that was not inough vnto hir, neither did it satisfie hir de∣sire. For the grace of a good worke, is to perseuere and continue in the same. And bicause she did loue more than other, and that in louing she wept, and in wee∣ping she searched, and in searching she continued: ther∣fore was it thy pleasure, that she should first find thee, see thee, and talke with thee before all other. And not onelie this, but also shee was a tidings-bearer of thy glorious resurrection, vnto thy Disciples, when thou didst command and bid hir, saieng: Go, and tell my brethren, that they go vnto Galilie; there they shall see me, &c.

Seeing therfore that that deuout woman did weepe after such a sort, and continued in weeping, which did seeke thee that wast aliue among the dead, and touched thee with the hand of hir faith; how ought a soule to mourne and to continue in mourning, which belee∣ueth in thee, & with hir mouth doth acknowledge thee, Page  446 to be hir redeemer, that sittest now in heauen, and reignest euerie where? How much therefore ought such a soule to mourne and weepe, which loueth thee with all hir hart, and with hir whole desire dooth co∣uet to see thee?

Oh onlie refuge, the onlie hope of wretches; vnto whom no man or woman needeth at anie time to praie, without hope of mercie: grant vnto me this grace, for thy sake, and for thy holie name sake, that as oft as I thinke vpon thee, as oft as I speake of thee, write of thee, read of thee, confer of thee; as oft as euer I re∣member thee, stand before thee, offer vp praises, praiers, and sacrifice vnto thee; so oft I may weepe abundant∣lie with teares in thy sight, so that my teares may be to me in stead of bread daie and night.

Thou trulie, O King of glorie, and maister of all ver∣tues, hast taught vs with thy word, and with thine ex∣ample, to mourne and weepe, whereas thou saiest: Blessed be they that mourne, for they shall be comfor∣ted. Thou didst weepe for thy frend Lazarus that was dead: and didst let teares fall downe plentiouslie for the Citie, which should perish. I beseech thee, O good Iesu, by those most pretious teares, and by all thy mercies and pities, wherewith thou didst vouchsafe maruellouslie to helpe and succour vs that were lost, giue me the grace to weepe, and to be earnestlie repen∣tant for my sinnes; which grace my soule desireth and coueteth verie much: and except it come of thy gift, I cannot haue it, but by the holie Ghost, which dooth mollifie the hard harts of sinners, and prouoketh them to weeping.

Giue me the grace of teares, like as thou gauest to our forefathers and mothers, whose examples wee ought to followe; that I may bewaile my selfe in all my life, like as they did bewaile themselues daie and night. Giue me the deaw of thy grace from aboue, and Page  447 also a deaw of teares beeneth: that my teares may be vnto me in stead of bread daie and night: and that I may be made in thy sight, O Lord my God, by the fire of thy prouocation, a fat & acceptable sacrifice. Make me to be mortified and killed vpon the altar of mine hart, and that I may be receiued of thee, as a fat and a sweet smelling sacrifice. Giue vnto me, O good Lord, a plentifull, flowing, and cleere well of teares, in the which I may wash continuallie this fowle and spotted sacrifice. For although I haue offered vp my selfe who∣lie vnto thee, by the helpe of thy grace: yet neuerthe∣lesse, in manie things I offend thee dailie, bicause of my great fragilitie and weakenesse.

Giue me therefore the grace of teares, and continu∣all repentance, O blessed God: and most especiallie through the great sweetnesse of thy loue, and the re∣membrance of thy mercies, prepare this table for thy seruant, in thy sight; and giue me power, that as oft as I list I may be satisfied of it. Grant vnto me for thy goodnesse and pittie, that this thy cup, replenished and filled full, may satisfie my thrist, that my spirit may co∣uet thee, and that my mind may burne in thy loue, for∣getting all vanitie and miserie.

Heare, O my God; heare, O light of mine eies, thou that art the stirrer vp and quickener of my dull eares, heare what I desire and aske: and giue me grace to aske that which thou hearest. O pittifull Lord, which art woont to be easilie intreated, be not hard to be intreated of me, bicause of my sinnes, but for thy goodnesse receiue the praiers of thy seruant, and grant me the effect of my petition and desire,