A praier to be vsed for the conuersion of anie noto∣rious sinner, that doth open penance in the Church.
PItifull God, omnipotent Lord, and mercifull Father; who for that good will thou bearest vnto vs in Iesus Christ thy deere sonne, wilt not the death and destruction of a sinner; but rather that he by the inspirati∣on and moouing of thy holie spirit conuert and liue, who also doost wit∣nesse, the vertue and strength of thy word to be such, that it causeth the mountaines to shake, the rocks tremble, and the flouds to drie vp: behold we thy chil∣dren and people here prostrate before thee, most hum∣blie beseech thee for Iesus Christs sake, pitifullie to looke vpon all sinners, and especiallie vpon this our si∣ster here present, who once was baptised in thy name, and hath professed hir selfe subiect to this religion, and vnto the discipline of thy Church; though Satan alas now for a while hath so blinded hir, that wilfullie shee hath contemned both the one and the other.
But, O Lord, as thou alone knowest; so maist thou alone change and mollifie the harts of the impenitent sinners: thou, I saie, which by the voice of the prophet Nathan awakedst Dauid from his deadlie securitie; and who without anie prophet didst beate downe the pride of Manasses in the prison, after that he had fil∣led Ierusalem with all kind of impietie: thou which turnedst the hart of Peter at the onelie looke of thy deere sonne our Lord Iesus Christ, after that fearful∣lie with horrible imprecations hee had thrise denied, and openlie forsworne thee: thou which openedst the eies of the blind excommunicate man, and causedst him to beleeue thy saiengs; & which forgauest the wo∣man Page 559 taken in adulterie, & sentst hir awaie vncondem∣ned of thee & hir accusers; thou I saie, O Lord, whose mercies without measure endure for euer. To thee doo we praie for this our sister, heere presentlie punished, and dooing open penance for hir offences, earnestlie de∣siring thee, O father of mercies, first so to pierce and moue hir heart with the feare of thy seuere iudge∣ments, which sufferest no child of thine to go vncorre∣cted in this world, to the end they may escape vnpuni∣shed in the world to come: and so to open hir eies, that she may begin to see and vnderstand, how fearefull and terrible a thing it is to fall into thy hands, and to pro∣uoke thy wrath and indignation against hir.
Let it please thy Maiestie, by the vertue of thy holie spirit, so to mollifie hir hard hart, I saie, that she may now at length feele how greeuouslie she hath offended, both against thee and the Church; and giue hir thy grace to acknowledge, accuse, and damne as well be∣fore vs, whome she hath offended, as before thy pre∣sence, this hir contempt and sinne so notorious and damnable, least that by hir obstinacie and wilfull re∣bellion, thy Church and congregation being further prouoked, be compelled with greefe of harts to cut hir quite off from thy mysticall bodie; whome we, O Lord, vnfeinedlie desire to receiue within the Church, as a liuelie member of thy deere sonne our Lord Iesus Christ. Heare vs, mercifull father; call backe againe this our deere sister from eternall destruction, where-into Sathan would leade hir; that we all, who before thy presence, euen for hir rebellion and transgressions doo mourne, may receiue hir againe with gladnes and ioie, and so render praise and honour vnto thee before this thy holie congregation.
We grant our selues, O Lord, vnworthie, whome thou shouldest heare; because we cease not to offend thee by our continuall transgressing of thy holie pre∣cepts. Page 560 Looke not vpon vs, mercifull father, in this our corrupt nature, but looke downe to thy deere sonne, whome thou of thy meere mercie hast appointed our head, high Bishop, aduocate, mediator, and onlie propi∣tiator. In him, and in the merits of his death, we humblie beseech thee, mercifullie to behold vs; and suf∣fer not the most innocent bloud of thy deere sonne shead for vs, and this our penitent sister, to be prophaned by the tyrannie and sleight of Sathan: but by the vertue of the same, let our sister be brought to vnfeined repen∣tance, and conuersion, that so she may escape that fear∣full indignation, into the which she appeareth to haue fallen.
Grant I saie, O Lord, vnto this our sister, the re∣pentance of the hart, and sincere confession of the mouth, to the praise of thy name, to the comfort of thy Church, and to the confusion of Sathan. And vnto vs grant, O Lord, that albeit we cannot liue altogether cleane from sinne, and void of offences; yet that we fall not into the like horrible crimes of impietie and con∣tempt, to the dishonour of thy holie name, to the slan∣der and offence of our brethren and sisters, and infamie of thy holie Religion and Gospell, which we professe. Let thy godlie power, O Lord, so perpetuallie assist and strengthen our weakenesse, and conduct vs in all the course of our whole life; that neither the craft of Sathan, nor the tyrannie of sinne drawe vs vtterlie from the obedience required in true Christians: but that contrarilie beeing subiect to the voice of thy Church, and to the ministers of the same vnder thee, by holinesse and innocencie of life we may declare to the wicked generation, what difference there is be∣tweene the children of light, and the children of darke∣nesse; that all men seeing our good works, may praise thee in the daie of visitation. This we aske of thee, O heauenlie Father, in the boldnesse of our head and me∣diator Page 561 Iesus Christ, praieng furthermore as he hath taught vs: Our Father, &c.