A praier to be vsed of anie excommunicate person, or notorious sinner, before the dooing of open penance in the Church, for true conuersion and repentance, &c.
ETernall and euerliuing God, Fa∣ther of our Lord Iesus Christ, thou that by the mouth of thy holie Pro∣phets and Apostles hast plainelie pronounced, that thou desirest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may conuert and liue: who also hast sent thine onelie sonne to suffer the cruell death of the crosse, not for the iust, but for such as find themselues oppressed with the bur∣then of sinne, that by him and his aduocation, they may haue accesse to the throne of thy grace, being as∣sured, that before they crie, they shall find fauour and mercie. Unto thee, most mercifull God, doo I miserable wretch crie, whome for my filthie life, lewd conuersati∣on, and proud contempt of thee, and thy holy lawe, thou to the griefe & dolour of manie good Christian harts, dooest iustlie scourge and punish, by the censures of thy Church, and hast woorthilie cut off, secluded, and reie∣cted, by excommunication from thy mysticall body, ma∣king me now a spectacle to God, to angels, and to men.
Unto thee, I saie, O Lord, and maister of all power, which callest offenders vnto thee, by waie of iudge∣ment and affliction, and knowest the hardnesse of our harts, which haue no power of our selues to returne and rise vp, doo I come, and that in the name of thy Sonne, my Lord and Sauiour Iesus Christ, to ac∣knowledge before thee, and this congregation, my hei∣nous sinnes, wherewith I haue too shamefullie pollu∣ted my selfe, and offended thee and thy Church. And heere prostrate at the feete of thy Maiestie, I craue Page 553 mercie and pardon of thee, and aske forgiuenesse of all the world, especiallie of this congregation, whome I confesse I haue offended. Most humblie beseeching thee, O father of mercies, to looke vpon me with thine eies of pitie, euen as thou lookedst sometime vpon the sinfull woman taken in adulterie, and vpon Marie Magdalen in the banket, which prostrating hir selfe at thy feet, bitterlie did bewaile hir wickednesse. Like∣wise fauour me, as thou didst the Publicane standing a far off in the Temple, without lifting vp his eies vnto heauen for shame, but striking his brest onelie, said, Lord be mercifull vnto me a sinner.
And first, O God, that thou wilt pierce through my hardened hart, and moue it by the power of thy holie spirit, in such sort, that I may come to a true know∣ledge of my sinnes, and feele in my soule and conscience the terrour of thy iudgement vpon all offenders. Es∣peciallie, O Lord, that as I haue offended thy Maie∣stie, and a great number of this thy Christian congre∣gation, by my detestable fact and greeuous sinne, so (beeing armed by thy grace to endure this mortificati∣on of my flesh, like as my Sauiour Iesus suffered for me in his flesh,) I may now subiect my selfe to the iust ordinance of thy Church, and not refuse openlie heere to acknowledge and confesse my faults (and that with all Christian patience, and true humiliation, giuing to thee the glorie of thy name) before the face of thee and this congregation present, who may be eie-witnesses of the same.
But because, O Lord, the externall confession, and outward acknowledgement of my sinnes, without the inward contrition & dolour of the hart and soule, auaileth nothing in thy presence, which art the sear∣cher of the hart, and sifter of the reines; I most hum∣blie beseech thee, that thou wilt so touch my hart and conscience, and effectuallie worke in me perfect re∣morse, Page 554 and detestation of my former offences, that without anie hypocrisie, and with true compunction of soule, and sincere confession of the mouth, I vtterlie loathing and condemning mine owne impietie, and damning that which the lawe pronounceth vniust and damnable, may attaine to some sense and feeling of thy mercie, which thou hast aboundantlie shewed vnto all mankind in Christ Iesu our Lord.
Conuert me, O Lord, and I shall be conuerted; be∣cause thou art my God, and being conuerted, I will doo penance. Heale me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; saue thou me, and I shall be saued, for thou art my praise. To me, I confesse, shame and confusion of face is due, as I iustlie suffer this daie, but to thee ho∣nor and glorie for my redemption, who by thus iud∣ging and punishing me, dooest by little and little giue me place to amend, and space to repent; and hast not suddenlie, and at vnwares taken me awaie from the face of the earth, and ouerwhelmed me by and by through thy iustice in my wicked deedes dooing, as I deserued, and thou iustlie mightest. For which thy leni∣tie, patience, long-suffering, and mercie, O thou louer of my soule, I most humblie thanke thee; beseeching thee so to mollifie my hart, that I may repent, and e∣steeme greatlie of so great riches, and inestimable treasures of thy goodnesse.
Moreouer, O good Lord Iesus Christ, grant (I be∣seech thee) that among all the feares and terrours of my conscience, I may take hold of thee by a liuelie faith, which hast redeemed me from the cursse of the lawe, and art made for me, wisedome and righteousnesse, sanctification and redemption; and may not, in the fight of conscience, yeeld my selfe a slaue still to Sa∣than, and despaire of thy mercie; but vpholden by the voice of thy Gospell, may flee vnto thee my mediator, and iustified by faith, may haue peace with God, that so Page 555 comming vnto thee by hearing thy word to repen∣tance, the Angels in heauen may continuallie haue occasion to reioice; and I auoiding the fearefull ven∣geance, which most assuredlie shall fall vpon the inobe∣dient, may be restored into the right of thy lawe, and receiued againe into the bosome of thy Church, as a member of thy mysticall body, and from my hart walke in all holie obedience to thee and thy holie word, to the praise of thy name, the comfort of thy Church, and the confusion of Sathan,