A praier, that God would both feede and defend his Church; to be vsed before the Communion.
O Heauenlie heardman, and nursse of all things liuing, which of thy meere goodnesse satisfiest all crea∣tures that haue life; suffer not thy Church to pine awaie, and be fa∣mished, for lacke of the food of thy blessed word, but feed vs continu∣allie with thy goodnesse. Suffer not thou, O Lord, which giuest sustenance to all flesh, thy faithfull seruants to be depriued of perfect do∣ctrine, and most pure and sound Sacraments, which are indeede the food of eternall life; but feed vs conti∣nuallie with Angels food, that is, with thy holie word, and with Christ Iesus, whereby our harts may bee made righteous & strong to him-ward. Let vs not like the children of Israel, loath this heauenlie manna, which thou so mercifullie and aboundantlie powrest downe vpon vs; neither let vs lust againe after the flesh-pots of Aegypt, least thy wrath being kindled a∣gainst vs also, thou cause it not onelie to cease, and to Page 531 fall no more from heauen vpon vs; but also thou smite vs with most greeuous plagues, as thou diddest the Israelites.
But rather, as new-borne babes, remembring how it is written, that man shall not liue by bread onlie, but by euerie word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God; let vs hartilie desire the sincere milke of thy word; let our soules delight in fatnesse; let vs come earelie and late to the waters, to buie, and eate, to sa∣tisfie our hunger and thirst: let vs harken diligentlie vnto thee, and eate that which is good, and labour con∣tinuallie without wearinesse, for the meate that peri∣sheth not.
O Lord, let vs neuer see the daie, wherein thou shalt be prouoked to send a famine in our land againe; a fa∣mine, I saie, not of bread; nor a thirst of water; but of the hearing of thy word, O God. Far bee that famine from vs, good Lord. Neither let vs anie more deserue to be cast out of our owne cities, townes, and houses, and to wander in strange lands, from Sea to Sea, from the North to the South, from East to West, running to and fro, like hunger-starued wretches, to seeke the food of thy word, as we sometimes haue done, O Lord, and yet not find it; least by that meanes we doo not onelie perish in bodie, but also in soule, for lacke of thy word, which is the verie food thereof.
But let thy word, O God, be still neere vs, euen in our mouthes, and in our harts; the word of truth, I saie, which now is preached, taught, and receiued; and feed thou vs, whensoeuer the famine either of bodie or spi∣rit vexeth vs. O our father, giue vs this daie our daily bread, that we may walke in the strength thereof daie and night, vntill we come to the holie hill of Horeb. Be∣hold, Lord, according to thy commandement, we doo o∣pen our mouths wide, fill thou it full of thy heauenlie dainties, as thou hast promised. Lord, euermore giue Page 532 vs the bread of life, and of heauen, that we may sted∣fastlie beleeue in thee. For behold, O Lord, we come vn∣to thee, as though we were famished; let vs not ther∣fore go awaie vnfed. We are an hungred, let vs not be sent awaie fasting. Our minds (alas) hunger and thirst greatlie after toies, and gauds of this world; and we haue nothing to set afore it; because wee are poore and beggerlie wretches. But thou, O Lord, art rich in all good things, and the most plentifull giuer of the dainties of heauenlie satietie. O therefore, we be∣seech thee, giue vs somewhat to eate; giue meate, I saie, vnto the wearie wandering souls; yet not such as they lust after, but such as is conuenient for them, that being refreshed of thee, which art the liuing and hea∣uenlie bread, wherewith when we are once well fed, and that our strength is come to vs againe, we may ascend vnto more high things, and neuer heereafter hunger or thirst anie more after vanities,