Another praier, to be vsed of anie hearer of Gods word.
I Giue thee most hartie thanks, O e∣ternall God, father of our Lord Ie∣su Christ; for that it hath pleased thee, of thine vnspeakable mercie and goodnesse, in all ages, continu∣allie to send into the world, men woonderfull in the gifts and know∣ledge of thy will, to be renuers and spreaders foorth of thy truth. Like thanks I ascribe vnto thy sacred Maiestie, for allowing vs shepheards and preachers, in these our daies, for the gathering to∣gether of thy Church out of all mankinde, to the buil∣ding of the bodie of Christ. Humblie I beseech thee, gratious God, continue alwaie among vs thy pure Page 528 word, through thy Ministers; gather vnto thy selfe an euerlasting congregation, and so instruct mine hart with thy spirit of truth, that vnfeinedlie I may assent to thy wholesome word, proue a liuelie member of thy bodie, and be incorporated into that societie, which both in this world doth sincerelie confesse thee, and e∣uermore extoll thy holie name.
Keepe those preachers, which thou dooest and wilt giue, in the certaine knowledge of thy blessed will, that they may from time to time both open vnto vs thine intent, concerning the repairing of mankind, the sal∣uation and redemption of our soules, through thy free mercy, and also teach vs how to liue in new obedience, and to abstaine from carnall desires, which fight a∣gainst the soule. Inspire the ministers and preachers of thy word, with thine holie spirit, that they may vt∣ter thy will purelie, as they haue receiued it from thy hands, reteining the forme of whoalsome words, and sounding onlie that doctrine, which is vttered by thy sonne out of thy bosome. For otherwise, departing from the order of faith, and the rule of thy word, they will greatlie obscure the light of thy doctrine, and ob∣trude vpon vs the vanitie of their owne inuentions. Wherefore let them speake thy word, not deceiptful∣lie, but sincerelie, euen as from thee, and in thy sight.
Grant also, that by transforming thy ministerie into policie, they lord not ouer thine elect, neither contend about superioritie and primacie in the Church, but on∣lie to seeke the glorie of thy name, and the saluation both of themselues & vs. Giue them libertie of speech, boldlie without feare, to blame and rebuke all false doctrine, blasphemous superstition, and abuses in the Church. Open vnto them the doore of vtterance, that they may speake the mysteries of Christ, and manifest them as they ought to doo; so shall their dooings bee profitable vnto the godlie. Assist them also with thine Page 529 especiall grace, that they disgrace not their doctrine by impuritie of life, but let their conuersation answer vnto the doctrine which they teach and preach: and e∣speciallie, for the pastor of this parish, and shepheard of my soule heere present, from whose mouth I learne thy blessed will; I hartilie praie, that thou wilt keepe him in religion sincere, and pure from enorme offences in outward conuersation. Endue him with a long and healthfull life, if it be thy good pleasure, that manie a good daie and yeare he may continue in preaching the gladsome voice of thy gratious Gospell, among vs, without contention and strife.
And, O sonne of God, which art the Lord of all the flocke, worke thou effectuallie by thy preachers, speake thou within vs to our harts, the blessed will of thine e∣ternall father, and confirme thy doctrine in our minds by thine holie spirit. Grant that we may trulie knowe and discerne the same, from the howling of woolues, and from the inchanted songs of seducing hirelings. And grant that we may knowe thee, euen as thou kno∣west thine, heauenlie father; and to walke religiouslie and righteouslie in thy sight, shewing our selues to be of that holie seede, which praiseth thy name for euer∣more. Come holie spirit, open mine hart and eares, that I may conceiue the profit of thy whoalesome doctrine, and the sweet comforts reuealed in thy holie word, by the preaching of the Gospell.
O Lord, I acknowledge with teares my sluggish∣nesse, and carelesnes in seeking thy truth; and bewaile the wretched coldnesse and hardnesse of my hart; besee∣ching thee to endue me with an vnfeigned longing, and an ardent desire of holie Sermons. Grant that in this life I may worship the feet of the preachers of peace, and reuerence the true dispensers of thy mysteries, thy faithfull ministers, with double honor, and none o∣therwise to obeie their godlie sermons, than I would, Page 530 if a voice should sound from the heauens. Let me not, for the blemishes and imperfections of some particu∣lar men, vnreuerentlie conceiue of thy whole ministe∣rie. Worke also within me, that despising thy word de∣liuered vnto vs, I neuer seeke after strange reuelati∣ons, or violent rauishings, both besides, and contrarie to thy word; but bearing alwaies in mind the order which thou hast appointed, may constantlie embrace thy word manifested in thy Church. Finallie, impart such grace vpon vs, that we may imitate and followe the good works of holie men, casting off the old man, by putting on the new, which is created after God, in righteousnesse and true holinesse,