Praiers to be vsed before and after the first and second lessons, the Gospell and Pistle: and before and after the Sermon or Homilie.
Before the first or second lesson, praie:
BLessed Lord, which hast caused all holie Scriptures, both in the old and new Testaments, to be writ∣ten and red for our learning; grant vs, that we may now in such sort heare them, reade them, marke, learne, and inwardlie digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holie word, we may embrace, and euer hold fast the blessed hope of euerlasting life, which thou hast giuen vs in our Sauiour Iesus Christ,
After the first or second lesson, praie:
GRatious God, and most mercifull father, which hast vouchsafed vs the rich and pretious iewell of thy holie word; assist vs with thy spirit, that it may be written in our harts, to our euerlasting comfort; to reforme vs, to renew vs, according to thine owne image; to build vs vp, and e∣difie vs into the perfect building of thy Christ, sanctifi∣eng and increasing in vs all heauenlie vertues. Grant this, O heauenlie father, for Iesu Christs sake,
THanks be vnto thee, O our celestiall father, through Christ our Redeemer; that thou hast so cleerelie by thy Patriarchs, Prophets and Apostls, reuealed vnto vs these so secret my∣steries Page 518 of our saluation in Christ; for whose sake also, we beseech thee, to giue vs the verie feare and faith in thee; that we constantlie beleeuing thy truth, and fol∣lowing that thou commandest vs in thy word, may by no meanes hinder thy glorie, or the course of thy word, by our lewd conuersation, but in all obedience helpe to amplifie and increase thy kingdome, to the perpetuall praise of thy name, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
Before the reading of the Epistle or Gospell, praie.
ALmightie God, and most mercifull Father, who by thy holie spirit in thy seruants the Apostles, and the Euangelists, hast left vnto vs the storie of the doctrine and deedes of our Sauiour Christ, that thereby, as he is in deede, so we might be∣leeue him to be thy Sonne, and the Sauiour of the world, & put our trust in thee through him; that so beleeuing, we might attaine to euerla∣sting life: grant vs, we beseech thee, the same most ho∣lie spirit to open our harts, and lighten our minds, that by the reading and hearing of the same, our faith in thee, through him, may continuallie be strengthe∣ned, till we attaine to the end thereof, euen the salua∣tion of our soules, through Iesus Christ our Lord and Sauiour,
After the reading of the Epistle or Gospell.
WE giue thee thanks, most mercifull Father, for that it hath pleased thee in great mercie towards vs, to cause the holie writings and traditi∣ons of the Apostles and Euange∣lists, to come to this our time, place, and eares; & that thou hast vouchsa∣fed Page 519 also to open & reueale thy holie will vnto them, to approue thy sonne so manifestlie to the world, and to confirme vnto vs by them the truth of thy Gospell, that in the mouth of so manie faithfull witnesses, we might haue more full assurance in thy mercifull pro∣mises. Helpe vs O good Father we beseech thee, that by thy grace we may doo in deede, that which we now by them doo vnderstand. And least heerein we be, through thy iustice, more greeuouslie condemned and punished, if that we neglect to doo thy will, which through thy grace thou hast reuealed; graunt vs the fruit of this thy care towards vs, in the strength of faith, that ha∣uing read and heard so notable things in this his ho∣lie storie, and acts and writings of the holie Apostles, recorded and left vnto vs by so true and most faithfull witnesses, appointed and ordeined therevnto by thee; we may now, by the effectuall working of thy holie spi∣rit, receiue and acknowledge him for thine onlie sonne, and our onlie sauiour, to the saluation of our soules, and the glorious praise of thy name; and so being lead from one witnesse to another, we may, according to thy holie word, go from faith to faith, till we atteine to the euerlasting life, which thou hast prepared for vs in thy sonne: to whome with thee; O Father, and the ho∣lie Ghost, be all honor, glorie, and praise, both now and for euer,
Before the Sermon or Homilie, read some of these sentences of Scripture, exhorting to the atten∣tiue hearing of the word.
THE Lord said to Moses, I will raise them vp a Pro∣phet from among their breethren, like vnto thee; and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speake vnto them all that I shall command him: vnto him shall yee harken. And whosoeuer will not harken vnto myPage 520 words, which he shall speake in my name, I will require it of him.
GReat is the peace they haue, which loue thy lawe, and they are not offended at it.
BLessed is that man or woman that heareth me, wat∣ching dailie at my gates, and giuing attendance at the posts of my doores. For he that findeth me, findeth life; and shall obteine fauour of the Lord: but he that sinneth against me, hurteth his owne soule, and all that hate me loue death.
HE that turneth awaie his eare from hearing the lawe, e∣uen his praiers shall be abhominable.
WHo so despiseth wisdome & discipline, is miserable; and their hope is vaine, and their labours are foo∣lish, and their works vnprofitable, and their wiues are vndis∣creet, their children wicked, and their of-spring is accursed.
BE humble to heare the word of God, that thou maist vn∣derstand it, and make a true answere with wisdome.
Be swift to heare good things, and followe the word of peace and righteousnesse.
THE Queene of the South shall rise in iudgement with the men and women of this generation, and shall con∣demne them. For she came from the vttermost parts of the earth, to heare the wisdome of Salomon: and behold (saith Christ of himselfe) a greater than Salomon is heere (spea∣king vnto you.
HE that is of God, heareth Gods word. Yee therefore heare them not, because ye are not of God.
LET him that hath an eare, heare what the spirit saith to the Churches, or congregation, &c.
A praier for the heedfull hearing of Gods word.
FOR as much, O most mercifull God, as faith, without the which it is impossible to please thee in anie thing we doo, commeth by hearing; and hearing by the word of God: in so much as he or she that turneth a∣waie his eare frō hearing the lawe, euen his praier shall be abhomina∣ble, and turned into sinne: yea, bicause also it is a farre more blessed thing to heare and keepe thy word, than to haue had the honour to haue borne or nursed thine owne sonne: grant vs grace therefore, I most humblie beseech thee, in zeale and loue to doo this one thing, so acceptable a seruice to thee, and most needfull for vs to be done; euen with attentiue and desirous minds to heare thy holie word preached, and so farre to exceed the Queene of Saba, and those which haue sought for wisdome from the vttermost parts of the earth, as the wisdome thou offerest vs in it exceedeth all other: and so much more redilie to practise it, than they did, which heard thy Prophets; as thy sonne is aboue all the Prophets, that we with wise Martha making our choise, by thy grace, of the better part, may be made wise in him vnto saluation, and it neuer be taken from vs; but remaine with vs, till it put vs in possession of that happie life, which in a blessed hope we looke for by it. And grant vs so to be carefull ouer our dutie, which thou hast commanded, that wee especiallie regarding that which is chiefest with thee, and most needfull for our selues; may therby declare our selues to be in deed of God, bicause we heare Gods word; and to be the true sheepe of thy fold, bicause we harken diligentlie to thy voice, and followe thee with Susanna, Ioanna, Page 522 Marie Magdalen, and all other godlie men and wo∣men: and so by this meanes finallie not faile of thy promises; but obteine, to our endlesse comfort, and the glorie of thy name, the blessing and gift of eternall life, among all faithfull beleeuers, in the kingdome of hea∣uen, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
Another verie Christian praier both of the preacher and auditorie present.
OH Lord, how beautifull are the feete of them that bring the glad tidings of the Gospell of peace, of saluation, & of all good things! Surelie, with∣out preaching we should all perish. Blessed and praised be thou there∣fore, O Father, for that thou hast gi∣uen to vs thy Gospell, life, foode, do∣ctrine and peace in our time. Blessed and praised be thou therefore, O Christ, bicause thou giuest and re∣newest often the light of thy Gospell, and maitainest the ministers of thy word; and preseruest, cherishest, and defendest thy catholike Church, against the diuell, and all thine enimies. Yea blessed, I saie, and praised also be thou therefore, O holie spirit; bicause thou be∣ing powred vpon the Apostles, dooest now also kindle thy light in our harts, rulest, instructest, admonishest, helpest vs, gouernest and guidest o•• labours to a pro∣sperous end, and sanctifiest vs to eternall life.
And now, for as much as the chiefe authoritie of speaking, is indeed of thee, O Lord alone, (for a mortall man hath but a dead hart,) I humblie beseech thee to blesse this thy preacher heere present, with thy diuine grace; that he may doo the worke of an Euangelist, and make thy Gospell knowne vnto vs. Giue vnto him the spirit of feare, godlinesse, fortitude, counsell, zeale, knowledge, discretion, wisedome, vnderstanding, and Page 523 constancie; and let him, as he hath receiued thy gifts, so (like a good and faithfull disposer of thy manifold graces) trulie minister the same vnto vs. Lord, let him come vnto vs with abundant knowledge, and abilitie of the diuine mysteries of the blessings of the Gospell of Christ, to communicate and impart vnto vs. And now that he is about to speake, grant that he may speake in thee; that is, by thy helpe and grace: and as he is allowed of thee, so to vtter the words of God, as he hath receiued them from thee, that thou in althings maist be glorified. Put vpon his hart the breast-plate of perfect iudgement, the Urim of knowledge, and the Thumim of holines and righteousnes of life, and pu∣ritie of doctrine. Let thy word be in his hart, as a bur∣ning fire shut vp in his bones; yea let his bellie be as the wine, which hath no vent; or like the new bottles that burst: that being full of good matter, thy spirit within may compell him to speake his mind effectual∣lie. Yea, doo thou, O Lord, I saie, secretlie speake and worke in him; and let thy secret power and vertue be put here vnto this action, to this his labour and exer∣cise of faith, that he may accomplish that thou requi∣rest to be done, for the conuersion and saluation of thy people present. Giue him the earnest-penie of thy spi∣rit in his hart, and open the doore of vtterance vnto him; that he may make manifest the sauour of thy life and knowledg; vnto vs. Lord, thou hast said; Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. Open thou therefore his lips, that his mouth may shew forth thy praise; and shew vs the waie, wherein we may walke straight to thee. O let his mouth, I saie, be filled with thy praise, that he may preach thine vndefiled lawe, to the con∣uerting of soules, and giue wisdome to the simple, and light to the blind. Let vtterance be giuen now vnto him, that he may open his mouth boldlie, to publish the secrets of the Gospell, whereof he is an Ambassa∣dour; Page 524 that therein he may speake boldlie, as he ought to speake, not sparing anie man, nor hauing regard to please anie maner of person. Touch thou, O God, the mouth of this thy preacher, with the hot glowing cole of thy spirit, whereby he being first clensed, may the more feruentlie and purelie preach thy Gospell vnto his brethren, in the discharge of his dutie, as he that first is mooued with the zeale of thy glorie, and then touched with a carefull affection towards thy people, as Esaie was. Giue vnto this thy preacher the auda∣citie of Eliah & Iohn Baptist, that like the true mini∣ster of God, he may stoutlie & boldlie, without anie re∣spect of persons, or desire to please men, as he that fea∣reth God more than the faces of men, reproue the peo∣ple of their sinnes. Let him, as thou hast giuen in com∣mendement, crie alowd, and spare not: let him lift vp his voice like a trumpet, and with all diligence and dis∣cretion shew thy people their transgressions, and re∣prooue vice vnfeinedlie. And bicause, O Lord, in vaine shall he cast the net of thy word, except thou blesse the draught; and his labour yeeld no profit, vnlesse thou prosper it; doo thou therefore luckilie set him on: loose thou his tongue, to speake; and put thou into his hart what to saie. Blesse him, that thy word may be with him; that he may be able thoroughlie to instruct vs what is thy will, that he may catch our soules, and by thy secret & diuine power drawe vnto him the harts, minds, and eares of the hearers: so shall he conuert and win manie vnto thy Christ, and thou thereby be highlie glorified. Let thy spirit speake by him, and thy words be in his tongue; that he vtter nothing rashlie, or vndiscreetlie; but by the motion of thy good spirit, speaking sincerelie and holilie of thee, as in thy sight. Giue to him, and to all such as beare thy word, and are the ministers of the spirituall life, such care, zeale, and diligence, that they may indeuour faithfullie and pain∣fullie Page 525 to fulfill their office, to the vttermost. And final∣lie, let him not defile the euangelicall function by anie meanes, no not with the least suspicion of glorie or lu∣cre; neither let his mouth speake wickednesse, nor his tongue set foorth deceit: but as he dooth preach thy lawes, and take thy couenant in his mouth; so grant he himselfe also may not hate to be reformed, nor at anie time cast thy holie word behind his backe.
And now, bicause thou, O Lord, so mercifullie offe∣rest vnto vs thy saluation; I am to desire thee further∣more, in the behalfe of this congregation present, that we also, for our parts, may of our owne accord willing∣lie receiue the same saluation of the Gospell, now so gratiouslie offered vs: that as thy preachers, for their parts, doo publish thy glorious name: so we, as greene grasse, may receiue the heauenlie dew of thy doctrine: and that the barren earth of our harts, may be there∣by moistened with the liuelie water of thy grace, and holie spirit, to fructifie in the same. Grant that we may receiue these holie things, high mysteries, and most pretious pearles, not as dogs, or swine, to tread them contemptuouslie vnder our feete; as wicked Atheists, and vngodlie contemners of thy Gospell, to our dam∣nation: but as thy children, and those that are of God, and sheepe of his fold, with all meeknesse, obedience, christian feare and reuerence, grant that we may both heare, receiue, and fulfill them; to thy glorie, and our saluation. Furthermore, as thou in mercie openest their mouth to speake vnto vs; so giue vs grace to open our harts and eares, to receiue the wholesome instructions, and fatherlie admonitions, which proceed thereout. O giue vs grace, I saie, to applie our harts to instruction, and our eares to the words of know∣ledge. Let vs be still desirous of thy heauenlie king∣dome. Let the holie bread of thy Gospell, and foode of heauenlie dainties, be onlie sweet vnto vs, and sauorie Page 526 in our mouths; that we may depart well refreshed, and full fraught with the largesse and plentie of thy word, and Euangelike feast. Make thou vs true Con∣uerts, and more and more to increase and growe from faith to faith, & vertue to vertue. Let vs neuer loath this heauenlie Philosophie; but let vs be as the lear∣ned, that are taught of thee, and made meet by this thy preacher to receiue thy doctrine to our health. The preacher heere present is vndoubtedlie thy mouth and messenger, whom thou hast sent. O therfore let vs not dare either barbarously to misvse our selues towards him, in word, deed, or thought; or scornefullie disdaine to be taught of him: but with all feare of thy Maiestie, and reuerence towards him, let vs with all attentiue and ghostlie greedinesse marke his words well, to fol∣lowe whatsoeuer shall be godlie vttered by him. And finallie, touch thou so our harts, we beseech thee, O God, to beleeue thy word, and to repent with speed, that the preaching of thy Gospell may take place in vs, to practise the works of faith, and shew foorth fruits wor∣thie the same; so that we, with this and all other thy preachers, and they togither with vs, leading a right, vertuous, and godlie life, according to the rules pre∣scribed in thy word, may be brought in the end vnto thee, the chiefe shepheard of our soules; where wee may iointlie be partakers of eternall good things, and most excellent felicitie, thorough Iesus Christ our Lord,
IN this great darknesse of our soules, O Lord, thou shinest vnto vs with the lightsome lampe of thy grace: but in nothing so effectuallie as in preaching of thy word. Great is the haruest, as thou thy selfe hast said; and the worke∣men Page 527 are few. The most part of men are ignorant, and wrapped in miserable blindnesse; and few there are that teach thy word trulie, and as they ought. I be∣seech thee therefore, that thou wilt send foorth worke∣men into thy haruest: send teachers, O Lord, which are taught of thee, and instructed by thy spirit of godlie wisdome and vnderstanding, which by their preaching will seeke not themselues, but thee, because they are godlie; and can so doo, because they are wise, and vnder∣stand. Giue to the preacher of thy word heere present, out of the treasures of thy wisedome, that which he may powre vpon vs to our saluation. And in vs open the windowes of our harts, that they may receiue in∣to them the most holie and wholsome light; and that the good seede, which falleth vpon vs, be not choaked with thornes, or withered awaie with drought, nor be deuoured by the fowles of the aire; but may growe vp in good ground, and that fruitefullie with great in∣crease, to thy glorie, and our saluation,
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,
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,
Another praier to be vsed at the Sermon, before a Communion.
THou vsest, O most mightie God, to preserue those thy children, whom thou hast louinglie adopted, with no lesse care and diligence, than if they were sheepe: and the same al∣waies fed & led of thee, being their most louing shepherd, toward their owne health, and perfect commo∣ditie; who, so long as they haue thee for their Maister and Gouernour, they shall be destitute neither of the meate nor drinke of thy most wholesome doctrine and Sacraments. Whereby it is manifest, that if we pine awaie, so long as we liue in this miserable and wretched life, for the hunger and thirst of true and per∣fect goodnesse; it happeneth for this cause, in that wee Page 533 haue forsaken thee, and followed strange guides; wher∣of, and of none other, come the great perils and mise∣rable troubles of mind, which fall vpon vs.
Wherefore, we humblie beseech thee, O most faith∣full and louing shepheard, to call vs backe from er∣rours, into the right and perfect waie. Correct the vi∣ces of the wandering and straieng flocke, with the rod and sheephooke of thy righteousnesse; so that we may feed at length orderlie, purelie, and chastlie, of the most wholsome delicates of thy sacred word, & blessed Sa∣craments; by which meanes the whole head, hart, and all the powers of our mind may be made fat, and well liking; and we alwaies so vnderpropped with thy lo∣uing mercies, as we may finallie enioie, in thy house, the souereigne delights and deinties of euerlasting life, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
Another praier to be said before the Ser∣mons, at the Court.
ALmightie God, and most mercifull Father, who hast in thine infinite wisedome hidden honour in shame, and life in death; that thou migh∣test make foolish the wisdome of this world; and that hee that glorieth, should glorie in the Lord: giue vs grace, that we stumble not, as some did, at the base estate and small shew that outwardlie appeared in thy sonne: but that rather denieng our owne wisedome, to seeke for our saluation, where thou hast hidden & laid it vp for vs; that is, in the simple mi∣nisterie of thy Gospell; that it may haue such place amongst vs, as it may reforme both Kingdoms and Courts, and our priuate houses and persons: that we may ioie in the present light of that lampe to our feet, Page 534 and followe it whither it goeth; giuing no rest to the dealers of it, till they haue satisfied our hungrie soules withall, assuring our selues, that we shall not want things needfull for this life; but shall be nourished by thee, haue thine assistance and helpe to deliuer vs from all trouble; and finallie, the enioieng of thy presence, where anie trouble shall not come neere vs anie more: but we shall be satisfied, and haue perfect ioie in the sight of thee, our most louing God and Father, in Ie∣sus Christ; to whom with thee, and the holie Ghost, be praise and glorie for euermore,
ALmightie God, and most mercifull Father, who hast annointed thy sonne with thy holie spirit, and sent him to preach the Gospell; that we, who before were in prison, and bon∣dage to sinne and to death, might by him be set at libertie, and haue our wounded harts healed by faith of his sweete doctrine: grant vs, that we loue not bon∣dage rather than libertie, nor death rather than life; but that we may so receiue his word, as we may at∣taine to euerlasting freedome, and life by it. And for as much, O Lord, as thou declarest, that for contempt of thy word thou dooest oftentimes withdrawe the prea∣chers of it, euen from those to whom they seemed espe∣ciallie to haue beene sent; grant vs so to receiue the teachers of thy truth, as they may be continued amongst vs, to our euerlasting comfort in thee; to whom with the sonne, and the holie Ghost, be all ho∣nour and glorie for euer,
Another praier against hardnesse of hart, and con∣tempt of the word of God.
FOr as much as thy sacred doctrine, O most mightie God, is especiallie taught in the sacred Church, wher∣by both thou thy selfe art manifest∣lie knowne, singularlie preached, and highlie magnified; and we also thereby still called to heauen and heauenlie things: it behooueth vs, as manie as professe to be of thy schoole, greatlie to re∣ioice to be there; and as thy faithfull Disciples with all our harts to desire for to giue diligent eare vnto thee alone, and thy most wholsome instructions. For thou hast oftener than once, (as thou diddest vnto the Israelites) both by thy sacred Scriptures, and also through the ministers of thy blessed word protested vn∣to vs, on this wise: Giue eare vnto me, O my people, & acknowledge me trulie to be thy God; not in words, I saie, onelie; but in mind verelie, and with a perfect and most pure worshipping.
But we (alas) haue turned our harts from thy ho∣lie words, and so wretchedlie despised the doctrine of thy sacred lawe and Gospell; that we haue alwaies hitherto beene a slander vnto the same. But now are we verie hartilie sorie for it; who trusting in the death and bloudshedding of thy sonne Iesus Christ our Sa∣uiour, doo with great feruencie, and most earnest prai∣ers, lamentablie call vpō thee for pardon of all our sin∣full crimes. And seeing we acknowledge thee to be our onlie God, we earnestlie desire thy gratious goodnesse, to grant vs this request; that we may now, and from hence-foorth for euer, giue eare onelie vnto thy diuine Maiestie, and honour thee alone; neither make anie thine equall, or prefer anie thing before thee.
Page 536 Suffer not our sinfull hart, which of nature is dis∣posed vnto euill, to be hardened at thy fatherlie and friendlie admonitions: make the same soft, we harti∣lie praie thee, with the inspiration of thy good grace and holie spirit; neither suffer vs, whom thou, of thine infinite goodnesse, and not for our merits sake, hast cho∣sen to be thy blessed people, and sheepe of thy pasture, to striue & struggle against thy blessed commandements; like vnto the stiffe-necked Iewes, who wouldest often∣times put therto the traill of thy mightie power. But grant thou, O most deere and excellent Father, who speakest alwaie peaceable matters, and those things which are for our singular commoditie; that we, which haue heretofore beene maruellous rebellious, stub∣borne, burdenous, and troublesome vnto thee; may now become thy tractable, conformed, and obedient children; and euer hereafter haue so great a regard to thy blessed words, that with verie attentiue minds we may giue good eare to those things, which thou spea∣kest and willest vs to doo. So dooing, we shall not onlie be saued, & adorned with glorie; but also, euerie thing of ours shall be replenished with goodnesse, truth, righ∣teousnesse, and peace. Faith shall abound, and through the same shall we be plentiouslie iustified, through Ie∣sus Christ our Lord, Amen.
From all sedition and priuie conspiracie, from all false doctrine and heresie; from hardnesse of hart, and contempt of thy word and commandement: good Lord deliuer vs.
That it may please thee to giue to all thy people in∣crease of grace, to heare meekelie thy word, and to re∣ceiue it with pure affection, and to bring foorth the fruits of the spirit: we beseech thee to heare vs, good Lord.
That it may please thee to bring into the waie of truth, all such as haue erred, & are deceiued; to streng∣then Page 537 such as doo stand, and to comfort and helpe the weake-harted, and to raise vp them that fall; and fi∣nallie to beate downe Satan vnder our feete: we be∣seech thee to heare vs, good Lord,
A verie necessarie praier against hypocrites, false teachers, and deriders of the Gospell.
WHosoeuer they be, O almighty God, that make a true account of sincere goodlinesse, and pure religion, are ex∣ceeding sorowfull, if they see the sa∣cred Church scattered, wholesome doctrine derided, the praises of thy diuine name had in contempt; and such things as appertaine to a de∣uout woorshipping of thee, turned vnto heathenish gewgawes, and voluptuous pleasures. To the intent therfore these things may in no wise happen as now vnto vs, which we see not to be far off; we powre foorth dailie before thee, with great submission, these our dol∣full complaints. That thou wouldest first, of thine ex∣ceeding great goodnesse, and louing mercie, blot out all our heinous sinnes and offences, being in a maner in∣finite and exceeding greeuous; committed, not onelie through weakenesse and ignorance; but also done of∣tentimes both maliciouslie, and of set purpose. Be fa∣uourable, I saie, O God, vnto our greeuous sinnes, and turne awaie from vs, in such sort, the most fierce wiles, and subtil laiengs await of Antichrist; as thy sacred Church be not depriued of all blessed ioie, and spirituall gladnesse. O Lord, I beseech thee, shew some experiment and proofe of thy selfe; declare thy name and thy power amongst those thy spitefull enimies. Bring downe Antichrists kingdome, with all his vn∣godlie sects, and schismaticall factions. Certes, ouer∣long it hath oppressed vs; yea, and at this verie daie it Page 538 still letteth, hindereth, and holdeth vnder foote verie manie, which else speedilie would haue run to the king∣dome of libertie, and beleeued the Gospell. Pull it ther∣fore downe, O Lord, with all his stumbling blocks, euill examples, peruerse doctrine; and neuer suffer it to recouer againe.
Lord, thou both seest, and right well perceiuest, how the cruell, malicious, and vngodlie Antichristians would inuade the Church, being so puft vp with pride, & inflamed with furie, scorning as well diuine lawes, as humane with like statelinesse and equall contempt; dooing nothing with courtesie and faithfulnesse; but practising mischiefe and naughtinesse, and endeuou∣ring so much as in them lieth, that thy blessed word may no where flourish; that true religion might be vtterlie extinguished; that the perfect inuocating and calling vpon thy glorious name might be quite rooted out; and to bring all things to naught by forged tales, mens traditions, politike deuises, diuelish deceipts, and verie much outrage. But as for thy beloued Isra∣el, sith she hath by thy great mercie enioied so long peace, and blessed tranquillitie, let hir be ioined more and more vnto thee hir welbeloued, so as she may con∣tinuallie laie sure hold vpon thy worthie praises. Suf∣fer not the mouths of hir good and wholesome instru∣ctors to be closed vp, and put to silence. Permit not thy due honour to be had in obliuion, nor yet let the hymnes and songs, wherwith thou art highlie praised and celebrated, be vsurped of such as will haue the same in derision and scorne. Finallie, we humblie be∣seech thee, O excellent father, that what wrath or in∣dignation so euer is due vnto vs, by reason of the hei∣nous sinnes we haue wickedlie committed, thou woul∣dest yet, for the glorie of thy famous name, turne it frō thy sanctified Church, thy deere spouse; and powre out the same rather vpon them, who with an enimie∣like Page 539 rage, and most malicious affection, imagine no∣thing else, but quite to marre, and vtterlie laie waste thy blessed heritage; and in deede be no lesse aduersa∣ries to thy blessed name, than of our peace and quiet∣nesse, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
A praier for vnbeleeuers, that all men may embrace the Gospell.
VNto thee doo we crie, O Lord, father and maker of all men, which art rich vnto all that call vpon thee, and which commandest the light to shine out of darkenes. For thou wilt that all men should be saued, and come to the knowledge of the truth. And therfore, of thy great loue thou diddest call vs to the participation of the lot of the Saints in light, which are by nature the children of wrath and of death; aliens and strangers from the testaments of promise, hauing none hope, and without God in the world, but now are fellowe Citizens with the Saints, and of the houshold of God, built vpon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Iesus Christ beeing the head corner stone, which susteineth the whole building by his word of power.
Heare vs thy seruants, making supplication for such as yet haue not hard the sound of thy Gospell, nei∣ther knowe thy name; but sitting in darkenesse, and in the shadowe of death, haue their minds darkened, and are alienated from the life of God, by the ignorance that is in them, and are caried awaie vnto dumbe i∣dols, and fained gods, euen as they are led, and run to worship that which is no God. Giue grace, that thy word may be knowne among them, and preached in e∣uerie land, and the sound there of go out into the ends of the world, that thou also maist be found of them Page 540 which sought thee not, and famous among such as ne∣uer asked after thee. Send foorth thy word, that they may be healed, and walke no more in the vanities of their mind.
O God, father of our Lord Iesu Christ, King of glo∣rie, giue them the spirit of wisedome and reuelation, through the confessing of thee: inlighten their minds, that they may knowe what the hope is, wherevnto thou hast called vs, and how pretious the glorie is of thine inheritance in the Saints, and how excellent the greatnesse of his power is toward vs, which be∣leeue, according to the working of his mightie power, which thou hast wrought in him, when he was raised by thee from the dead, and placed at thy right hand in heauenlie places, aboue all principalities & powers.
Open the harts of vnbeleeuers, that hearing thy word, they may acknowledge thee the onlie true God; and Iesus Christ, whome thou hast sent; and may wor∣ship thee the father in the sonne, and the sonne in thee the father, with the holie ghost, euen as thou hast re∣uealed thy selfe. Take the vaile from the harts of the Iewes, least being blinded in the reading of the old Testament, they stumble at the stone and rocke of of∣fence by incredulitie, and hardnesse of their harts; that thy Sonne Christ crucified and preached, be not vnto them a stumbling blocke, and thy Gospell the sauour of death vnto death; but that being conuerted by true faith, to the knowledge of thee the father in the sonne, their face being vncouered, they may behold thy glorie, knowing by the writings of the Prophets, the Mes∣sias, which thou hast appointed to be the Sauiour of the world. Likewise, gather thou the Gentiles, to whome the Gospell, the word of the Crosse, is meere foolishnesse, into thy congregation, that they may em∣brace thy ministerie, casting off all fleshlie wisedome, and leade all their cogitations captiue to the obedi∣ence Page 541 of the Gospell.
Moreouer, our praier and supplication is, not onlie for those aboue mentioned, but also for such as either, although they resist not thy truth and pure religion o∣penlie and obstinatelie, professe our religion, yet ming∣led with manie superstitions and abuses, worshipping and calling vpon Saints departed out of this life, or be addicted to outward ceremonies, and rudiments of this world, burdening their consciences with mans obseruations, and traditions of their fathers, or tru∣sting to their owne righteousnesse, or rather to the works and deedes of the flesh, refuse and make little ac∣compt of thy righteousnesse, which is the true iustifi∣cation; and go about to establish their owne righte∣ousnesse. But Christ is the end of the lawe for righte∣ousnesse, to as manie as beleeue: and another founda∣tion can no man laie, than that is laid in thy sonne the Messias, which is the waie, the truth, the life, and the end of the lawe. For by his perfect obedience, and fulfil∣ling of the lawe, by his innocent and bitter death, hee hath restored vnto vs saluation, and perfect righteous∣nesse, that euerie one which beleeueth on him, might not perish, but haue euerlasting life.
O God, the sight of the blind, bring them home a∣gaine, which through ignorance either are intangled in doubtfull labyrinths, and grosse errours, or counte∣nance polluted religion; that lightened by thy spirit, they may returne into the right waie. And such as with impudent faces, and stiffe neckes, doo obstinatelie with an affected ignorance withstand thine holie spi∣rit, whose senses the god of this world hath blinded, that the light of thy glorious Gospell shine not ouer them; represse and bridle their malice, that by slaughter and persecutions they neither trouble nor destroie thy Church,
After the Sermon, reade some of these sentences of Scripture, exhorting to the diligent obseruing and following of Gods word beard.
Deuteronomie. 28, verse 1.
IF thou shalt obeie diligentlie the voice of the Lord thy God, walke in his ordinances, and ob∣serue, keepe, and doo all his commandements, which I command thee this daie; then all these blessings shall come on thee, and ouertake thee. Blessed shalt thou be in the citie, and blessed in the field, &c. But and if thou wilt not obeie the voice of the Lord thy God, to keepe and doo all his commandements and his ordinances, which I command thee this daie, then all these curses shall come vpon thee, and ouertake thee. Curssed shalt thou be in the citie, and curssed in the field, &c. as in the whole Chapter.
WHO so keepeth the lawe, bringeth offrings inough: he that holdeth fast the commandements, offereth an offering of saluation.
WHO soeuer heareth of me (saieth Christ) these words, and doth the same, I will liken him to a wise man, which hath builded his house on a rocke, &c. But whosoeuer heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be likened vnto a foolish man, which hath builded his house vpon the sands, &c.
BLessed are they that heare the word of God, and keepe it.
THE seruant that knoweth his maisters will, and doth it not, shall be beaten with manie stripes.
THE hearers of the lawe are not righteous before God, but the dooers of the lawe shall be iustified.
WHerefore, be yee dooers of the word, and not hearers onelie, deceiuing your owne selues. For if anie heare the word, and doo it not, he is like vnto a man that behol∣deth his naturall face in a glasse. For when he hath consi∣dered himselfe, he goeth awaie, and forgetteth immediat∣lie what manner of one he was. But who so looketh in the perfect lawe of libertie, and continueth therein, he not bee∣ing a forgetfull hearer, but a dooer of the worke, shall bee blessed in his deed.
NOw are yee cleane, through the word which I haue spoken vnto you. Abide in me, and I in you, &c. I am the vine, yee are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth foorth much fruit. For without me can ye doo nothing. If yee abide in me, and my word a∣bide in you, aske what yee will, and it shall be done vnto you.
FOR he that ouercommeth, and keepeth my words vnto the end, to him will I giue power ouer nations.
REmember therefore how thou hast heard and recei∣ued, and hold fast and repent. Hold that, I saie, which thou hast, that no man take thy crowne; and watch.
Then giue thanks, and praie vnto God after the Sermon, and saie:
IMmortall praise and thanks be giuen vn∣to thee, O almightie God, and most merci∣full father, who hast giuen vs so pretious a gift of thy holie word, and vouchsafed vs to heare so glad tidings of thy sacred Gos∣pell, Page 544 by the hand of this thy minister, who presentlie by thy mercy hath vttered it vnto vs. And seeing thou hast delt so gratiouslie with vs, in the free publishing of thy Gospell, amongst vs this foure and twentie yeeres; that it seemeth thou hast euen lifted vs vp to heauen, with the cities, wherein our Sauiour taught most, in his being vpon the earth; and hast now in a manner throwne them downe to hell; and left in them a terri∣ble and a fearfull example of thy iudgements, against those that walke not woorthie the graces offered vnto them. Grant vs so to profit by this their chastisement and correction, that as of thy grace thou hast reuea∣led thy will vnto vs, which otherwise we could neuer haue knowne: so now strengthen vs, O Lord, that we neuer refuse thy Gospell in vnbeleefe, nor seeke in the persons of the preachers of it, anie causes and preten∣ces of our infidelitie; but hauing thy word alwaies in our harts, and thy praises in our tongues, we may walke woorthie thy so great graces bestowed vpon vs, and haue our conuersation in heauen, that after wee may be taken vp thither vnto thee, alwaies to glorifie thee, with thy Sonne, and the holie Ghost,
A thankes-giuing for the knowledge of God in his word.
WE giue thee thankes, O Father, Lord of heauen and earth, because thou hast hid the mysterie of thy word, which is the Gospell of our saluation by thy Sonne, from the wise, and men of vnderstanding in this world; and hast reuealed the same to babes of base degree; cer∣teinlie such was thy good pleasure. Thou hast giuen vs all things in thy Sonne, whom none knoweth but thou Father; neither dooth anie knowe thee, except Page 545 thy Sonne, and he to whom thy Sonne shall reueale thee. We worship thee, we praise thee, we glorifie thee, we giue thee thanks for the hid wisedome, which thou didst determine before the world for our glorie, which was neuer knowne to the princes of this world, nor at anie time to the sonnes of men, as it is now reuea∣led by the spirit; to whom the communion of the my∣sterie, which was hid from all ages, but is now ope∣ned to thy Saints, to whom thou wouldst haue made knowne, what be the riches of this glorious mysterie. It is thine owne working, and of thy free mercie, that we are made heires and partakers of thy promise in Christ Iesu, through the Gospell, which bringeth vs tidings, and full assurance of the euerlasting riches of thine infinite goodnesse and mercie.
Blessed be God, euen the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, which hath blessed vs with all spirituall bles∣sings in heauenlie things, by Christ; and hath chosen vs in him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holie, and without blame before him, in loue; who hath predestinated vs, to be adopted through Ie∣sus Christ, vnto himselfe; according to the good plea∣sure of his will, whereby he loueth vs by his beloued, in whom we haue redemption in his bloud, euen the forgiuenesse of sinnes, according to the riches of his grace, wherein he hath abounded towards vs, in all wisdome and vnderstanding; and hath opened vnto vs the mysterie of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himselfe, euen vntill the dis∣pensation of the fulnesse of time; that he might gather in one all things, both which are in heauen, and which are in earth, euen in Christ; by whom also we are cho∣sen, when wee were predestinated, according to the purpose of him which maketh althings after the coun∣sell of his owne will: that we might be to the praise of his glorie, which hoping haue beleeued in Christ, when Page 546 we heard the word of truth, euen the Gospell of salua∣tion. And this grace thou didst extend toward vs, not by the works of righteousnesse, which we had done; but according to thy mercie thou sauedst vs, and didst call vs with an holie calling, not according to our works, but according to thine owne purpose & grace, which was giuen to vs through Christ, before all times; and is now made manifest, by the appearing of our Sauiour Iesus Christ, which hath abolished death, and brought life and immortalitie vnto light, through the Gospell. To thee therefore, which art of power to establish our harts, according to the reuela∣tion of the mysterie, which was kept secret since the world began; but now is opened, and published among all nations, by the Scriptures of the Prophets, at the commandement of the euerlasting GOD, for the obedience of faith; to thee, we saie, God onelie wise, be praise; through Iesus Christ for euer, Amen.
We beseech thee, that according to the operation and working of thy mightie power, we may continue constant in true faith, and wholesome doctrine: and at no time forsaking the wisedome opened in the Gospell, may followe the iudgement of worldlie reason, and fleshlie vnderstanding, which thou hast beesotted, and altogither confounded, in searching thy hidden myste∣ries. For thy spirituall wisedome dooth farre exceed all wisedome and vnderstanding of the creatures, where∣vnto flesh can not attaine: neither can our bloud re∣ueale, nor yet the naturall man, although he be indued with great sharpenesse of wit, and worldlie vnderstan∣ding, perceiue the same. Grant, we beseech thee, that we may be thy simple sheepe, and little-ones, recei∣uing from thee the word of truth, without contradicti∣on and disputation: and that in the articles of faith, we bring not fleshly wisedome, but being made void of our proper vnderstanding, may bring our minds into a Page 547 godlie captiuitie. Let thy Sonne, which descending from aboue, brought with him the eternall wisedome of the Gospell, from thy bosome, and was made a sa∣crifice on our behalfe; but now exalted to thy right hand, bestoweth his gifts: let him, we beseech thee, shine in our harts. Likewise, cause thine holie spirit to instill into vs his diuine light, and breath vpon vs the new flame of thine heauenlie knowledge; till depar∣ting into the eternall life, we may behold thee the on∣lie and true God face to face; which liuest and reignest in perpetuall glorie,
Another thankes-giuing after the Sermon.
WE render vnto thee, O heauenlie fa∣ther, most hartie thanks, for this spirituall & heauenlie nourishment of thy blessed word; wherewith our soules are not onelie well refreshed at this present, but also our faith is strengthened, our loue kindled, and our conscience quieted. Wee most humblie beseech thee, to giue vs grace, not onelie to be hearers of thy word, but dooers also of the same; not onelie to loue, but also to liue thy Gospell; not onlie to fauour, but also to followe thy godlie doctrine; not onelie to professe, but also to practise thy blessed com∣mandements; that whatsoeuer we outwardlie heare, and inwardlie beleeue, we may shew foorth the same in our conuersation and liuing, vnto the honour of thy holie name, the comfort of our Chri∣stian brethren, and the health of our soules,
O GOD, wee haue heard with our eares, and our fathers and prea∣chers haue declared vnto vs, the noble works that thou hast done of old time for vs. Grant therefore, we beseech thee, O thou heauenlie hus∣bandman, that this seed of thy word now sowne amongst vs, may take such deepe root in our harts; that neither the burning heate of persecution cause it to wither, neither the thornie cares of this life doo choke it: but that as seed sowne in good ground it may bring foorth thirtie, sixtie, and an hundred fold; as thy heauenlie wisedome hath appointed, to the glorie of thy holie name,
Another praier, or thankes-giuing after the Sermon.
I Giue thee most humble thankes, Lord Iesu Christ, that thou hast vouchsafed euen now, abundantlie to refresh and feed vs with the food of thy word. And I beseech thee, that the vnderstanding and knowledge of this thy word, may be wholsome, comfortable, and effectuall in vs; that this heauenlie seed now sowne, doo not die or pe∣rish in vs without fruit. Keepe our harts, O Lord; in∣uiron and compasse them about with the inclosure or hedge of thy grace; and by thy holie Angels preserue and watch ouer the same, that the infernall fowle bird Satan pull not out thy sacred word out of our harts. But prepare our breast, and make apt our harts vnto thee, good Lord, that they may firmelie keepe thy word, and that they may alwaie sticke, and be as new and Page 549 fresh in our memories. Giue vs also strength, possibi∣litie, and power, that our life may answere to thy doc∣trine heard. Giue increase also to thy word, O heauen∣lie husbandman, that in vs it may augment & growe; and that by thy holie speech and heauenlie eloquence, it may not onlie bring vs to the knowledge of thy will: but also, that we may execute, accomplish, and fullfill that thou commandest and willest; and so perseuering to the end, may at the last aspire to thy celestiall king∣dome,
O Gratious God, and most mercifull Father, which hast vouchsafed vs the rich and pretious iewell of thy holie word; assist vs with thy spirit, that it may be written in our harts, to our euerlasting comfort; to re∣forme vs, to renew vs, according to thine owne image; to build vs vp, and edifie vs into the perfect building of thy Christ; sanctifieng and increasing in vs all heauenlie vertues. Grant this, O heauenlie Father, for Iesus Christs sake,
Another praier, for the accomplishing of Gods will reuealed in his lawe.
SUCH truelie are to be accounted right happie amongst mortall men, O most good and mercifull God, as haue thy sacred lawe alwaie set out before the eies of their mind, which they make as a patterne to begin their life by, and as a rule to proceed by, when they haue begun: so that if they shall happen to go astraie, their fault may both Page 550 be amended thereby, and they also leade a more vertu∣ous life, according vnto iustice. These shall liue blame∣lesse, and when their dooings shall be examined by vp∣right iudgement, they shall not be ashamed; which will greatlie auaile, if it be diligentlie practised from the tender age. But I hartilie acknowledge, and earnest∣lie confesse, O most deere father, that all mans policie is altogether vnprofitable, and none accompt at all to be made thereof, vnlesse thou be present with thy bles∣sed spirit, and dooest direct our minds. For otherwise, what gaine may we haue, by hearing or meditating of thy holie lawe, than a cold and verie hurtfull know∣ledge? Wherefore, my earnest request is, that thou wouldest not onlie minister strength vnto vs by thy grace, for the accomplishing of these things, which thou commandest in thy diuine lawe; but also to bring this vnto good effect, so that we may haue more felici∣tie in them, than in all our owne deuises, and take a greater delight in the continuall practise, and due exe∣cution thereof, than in anie fleshlie or worldlie plea∣sures, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
Another praier for strength speedilie to accomplish Gods diuine lawe.
WHen as we on the one side, doo con∣sider the weaknes of our strength, O most mightie God, and contra∣riwise, the absolutenesse and per∣fectnesse of thy blessed lawe; we e∣uidentlie perceiue, that for the ob∣teining thereof, thy most puissant helpe will stand vs in verie great steed. First therefore, teach vs the true waies of thy ho∣lie commandements; moreouer, illuminate in such sort our mind and vnderstanding, as we may be able to incline, with great feruencie, vnto those things, which Page 551 thou hast both taught and commanded. Furthermore, it is needefull for thee, to graunt vs power and abili∣tie, to performe whatsoeuer we haue learned of thee; otherwise it shall profit vs little or nothing at all, to haue knowledge, vnlesse some part of obedience be ei∣ther performed, or at least-wise begun in vs, which the lewd inclination of our sinfull harts doth greatlie hin∣der; and finallie, our senses and corrupt affections are woonderfull huge aduersaries heerevnto.
Succour thou vs therfore, we humblie beseech thee, with thy good grace, and aboundant fauour, forgiuing whatsoeuer we haue committed, and doo dailie, after a most sinfull manner, against thy sacred lawe; neither let it be imputed vnto vs for our eternall destruction. And in the meane season, O good God, quicken and lift vs so vp with thy vnspeakable louing mercie, which we see offred vnto vs in the benigne promises of thy holie scriptures, that thou wouldest not permit vs to swarue from thy sacred lawe, which thou hast vouchsa∣fed to set before vs, who doo with much feruencie de∣sire to be vnseparablie annexed vnto thee. But grant, that we may execute, with an exceeding feruent de∣sire, the charge which is left vnto vs, so that we may maruellous speedilie bestir our steps and feet towards the fulfilling of thy blessed lawe. Cause thou vs, O ex∣cellent father, we humblie beseech thee, to cut off, and cast aside all delaies; and that contrarie to the expecta∣tion of the vngodlie, who alwaies cast lets to entrap vs, we may be obedient to thy sacred precepts, so that all those, which honour and loue thee purelie, may ac∣companie vs, that like as the earth is euerie-where replenished with thy inestimable goodnes, so the num∣ber of thy true and faithfull suppliants, may be dailie more and more greatlie augmented, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
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,
A thankes-giuing and praier vnto God, of a reconciled offender, or excommunicate person restored into the Church, to be vsed after open penance done at a Sermon, or otherwise.
HEauenlie father, fountaine of all mercie and consolation, I confesse my selfe the chiefest of all sinners, and a wretch most vnworthie to bee counted amongst thy children, or to be a member of thy Church, if thou haue respect to the corruption of my nature, and horror of my mani∣fold misdeeds. But seeing it hath pleased thy fatherlie goodnesse, not onlie freelie to elect and choose me in thy deere sonne our Lord Iesus Christ, by his death to re∣deeme me, by his Gospell to call me, and by his holie spirit (which both are thine) to illuminate me: but also that thou hast commanded thy holie word and sacred Gospell to be preached, not onlie to me, but to all the world, to the end that the penitent may haue an assu∣rance of the remission of all their sinnes, great and small, old and new, not onlie for a time, but euen as oft as they, from sorowfull harts, and broken spirits, in bitter teares, shall bewaile the same, and call for thy grace and mercie.
Page 556 In consideration of this thy fatherlie adoption, and ineffable clemencie shewed vpon mee an vnwoorthie wretch, I can not but highlie praise and magnifie thy fatherlie mercie. A testimonie whereof I not onelie feele now in my selfe; but others also see the same eui∣dentlie in this my conuersion, and confession of my fore-passed faults; in the which my penance dooing, I am assured that I haue not so much shamed my selfe before this godlie congregation, as I haue thereby confounded and ouercome mine enimie Satan, who for a time had me in bondage, and by whose venem and deceiuable entisements, I heretofore haue beene ve∣rie rebellious to the wholesome admonitions of the Church: for the which vile sinnes, rebellion, and con∣tempt, I confesse I haue beene woorthilie excommu∣nicate, and punished by the censures of the same.
But now, O Lord, seeing that the spirit of our Lord Iesus Christ hath so farre preuailed in me, that by the power therof I am now set at freedome; & by thy mer∣cie am returned againe to the societie of thy Saints, and mysticall bodie of thy Church; I beseech thee, for the obedience of our Lord Iesus Christ, so to accept me sorowfull conuert, and to allow of this mine vnfei∣ned repentance and confession, that my former inobe∣dience and faults be neuer laid to my charge. Haue mercie vpon me, O God, haue mercie vpon me, and ab∣solue me thy poore creature, not onelie from the sen∣tence of excommunication, but also from the sinnes by me committed, and from all censures of the Church laid against me for the same, or before: and that Lord, giuen according to this my hartie and vnfeined repen∣tance before thee, and all this congregation; and as I hartilie forgiue all the world, that in anie thing hath offended against me.
O Lord, pronounce thou my sinnes to be cleansed, and they shall be cleansed; absolue thou me from the Page 557 chaine of mine iniquities, wherewith I am fast tied and bound, and I shall be absolued; loose thou my sins in earth, and they shall be loosed in heauen: that being now by thy great goodnesse and mercie acquited, and sent awaie vncondemned of thee, as that sinfull wo∣man taken in adulterie was from hir accusers; and receiued againe to the societie of Iesus Christ, into the bosome of his Church; to the participation of his blessed Sacraments; and finallie to the fruition of all thy benefits; I may, by the perpetuall assistance of thy holie spirit, not onelie more and more be displeased with my sinnes, and bridle hencefoorth my corrupt af∣fections, till Satan be cleane troden vnder my feet, by the power of my redeemer Christ: but also be so condu∣cted in all the course of my life hereafter, that I neuer fall into the like sinnes, impietie, and contempt of God and godlinesse anie more, but that continuallie I may be subiect to the voice of the Church, and to the mini∣sters of the same, and proceed dailie in all maner of good works, and Christian obedience, to the praise of thy holie name, and edifieng of thy Church; by Iesus Christ our Lord and onelie Sauiour, to whom with thee and the holie Ghost be giuen all honour, glorie, praise and thankes-giuing, not onelie of me miserable sinner and vnwoorthie wretch, but also of all men, An∣gels and creatures, both in heauen and in earth, from this time foorth for euermore,
Luke 15, verses 6, 7.
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.
Another praier to be said of the beholders of anie offender in the Church, or else-where.
ALmightie God, and most mercifull father, whose iudgements are vn∣searchable, and whose waies are past finding out; teach vs to iudge wiselie of this our sister, and all o∣ther afflicted with thy hand; not condemning them, but rather profi∣ting by them, that their example may leade vs to repentance, and bringing foorth such fruits, as thou requirest of all those that are planted in thy Church; least by continuing fruitlesse, we pro∣uoke thee at the last to the cutting of vs downe. And because thou hast giuen vs a sauiour able to heale all our infirmities, deliuer vs by him, O Lord, from all the bonds of Sathan; that being set at libertie by him, we may fore-see the straight doore, and enter into it, leauing the wide gate that leadeth to destruction, that we may be saued with those few that are ap∣pointed therevnto in Iesus Christ, to whome with thee, and the holie Ghost, be all honor, praise and glorie, for euermore,
A thanks-giuing for the conuersion of an excommu∣nicate person, or other publike offender after penance.
WE thanke the mercie and goodnesse of our God, through Iesus Christ our Lord, for the conuersion & pati∣ent penance doing of this our sister, whereby she hath not so much endu∣red the reproch and infamie of hir owne sinnes, as in deede she hath Page 562 confounded and ouercome Satan hir deadlie foe, who went about to make hir his continuall slaue: and by whose subtile sleights and euill suggestions, she hath heretofore beene disobedient to thy holie lawes, and wholsome admonitions of thy Church. And now, O Lord, seeing that the spirit of our Lord Iesus Christ hath so farre preuailed in hir, that she is returned to our societie; let it please thee for the obedience of the same our Lord Iesus Christ so to accept hir, that hir former disobedience and sinnes be neuer laid to hir charge, but that she may increase in all goodnesse, till Satan finallie be troden vnder hir feete and ours, by the power of our Lord Iesus Christ, to whom with thee and the holie Spirit, be all honor and glorie now and euer,
Before the publike administration of the holie sacrament of Baptisme, the better to call to mind our owne vow and promise made long since vnto God, praie priuatelie to your selfe, and saie:
O Most blessed fore-goer and guide of Christian people, Iesu Christ, who submitting and humbling thy selfe, vouchsafedst to be baptised of Iohn in the riuer Iordan, and wast not onlie baptised in water, but also in blood, and in the holie Ghost: vouch∣safe euen so to incline, bow and dis∣pose our outwarde life, with our inward mind, affects, and desires, in the fulfilling of all righteousnesse: so that we being now mortified & dead to the old Adam, through thy holie witnesse of baptisme, by the working and operation of the holie Ghost, may alwaie haue our holy couenant in remembrance, & before our eies, that couenaunt, vow, and promise (I saie,) which we haue taken vpon vs in our baptisme; to the intent that we, Page 563 as faithfull champions, striuing against the world, the flesh, and the diuell, may vanquish and ouercome them with all other, which might be noifull and hurt∣full vnto vs,
Or praie thus for the spirituall washing awaie of thy sinnes.
HAue mercie on me, O GOD, accor∣ding to thy great tendernesse of hart. For in wickednesse borne I was, and in sinnes my mother con∣ceiued me: so that of nature all that I am, I am but sin. This my con∣fession of the truth, I knowe well, is right acceptable vnto thee, wher∣as in the most part of others thou hast either hid the same, or made it vnknowne. Purge and sprinkle mee with the bloud of Iesus Christ thine vnspotted lambe. If thou wash me, I shall be as white as snowe: wash me thoroughlie therfore from mine errours, clense me not onlie of my sinnes passed; but also of my whole life to come; so shall I receiue these glad tidings into my hart, that my sins be forgiuen me. With the baptisme of spirit in the fire of thine illumination baptise me, which is the might & efficacie of baptisme, which we receiued in our childhood. Grant that the same spirit might alwaie conduct vs, & let this spirituall washing of baptisme continue with vs, vntill the infection and vice, which we haue by nature of old Adam, be perfectlie taken awaie by the death of the flesh, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
Or praie that the benefits of both the holie Sacra∣ments may be applied vnto our soules health.
O Blessed Trinitie, and eternall God of one essence; giue grace, that in euerie combate, and especiallie at the point of death, being mindfull of thy couenant made with vs at our Christening, & of thy most com∣fortable promise anexed, He which beleeueth, and is baptised, shall bee saued: we may neuer doubt, either of thy mercifull good-will towards vs, or of the free remission of our sinnes: but by often remembring this signe and coue∣nant, may dailie more and more be confirmed in faith, and hope of perpetuall happinesse: and applie thy be∣nefits, which certainlie thou hast promised, and faith∣fullie wilt performe vnto our selues. For thy promises made to such as beleeue and trust in thee, be not vaine, and to no purpose.
Likewise vphold our soules by the Sacrament of thy Supper, that strengthened with the seale of this new testament, we may be the more certaine; and con∣firmed touching our reconciliation, and euerlasting righteousnesse; & alwaies beare it fixed in our minds. For if the testament of a man, which is prooued after the death of the Testator, be not small accounted of; much more should the last testament and holie Sacrament of our Sauiour Christ remaine pure, and in continuall force and remembrance.
Or praie, that we may rightlie and trulie receiue the blessed Sacraments.
O Most mercifull God, and louing fa∣ther, who by thy son Iesus Christ hast abrogated the superfluous ce∣remonies of the Lawe, and hast de∣liuered vs from the bondage there∣of, giuing vnto vs sure & certaine seals and sacraments of thy grace; and our free redemption through the most pretious bloud of thy deere Sonne Iesus Christ. Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we may euermore vse them according to thy sonne our Saui∣ours institution, who hath left them as pledges of his great loue towards mankind, & as continuall remem∣brances of his most pretious death, which he suffered vpon the wood of the crosse for our redemption: who by the fountaine of water hath regenerated vs, and by his most pretious bloud hath purged vs. Make vs therefore to receiue these holie mysteries without cor∣ruption, to vse them without alteration, to continue them without superstition, to the honour and glorie of thy most holie name, through Iesu Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the holie Ghost, be all honour and glorie now and for euer,
After publike baptisme praie, and giue thanks secretlie to yourselfe, as time will serue, saieng:
WE yeeld thee most hartie thanks, O heauenlie Father; for that it hath pleased thee to regenerate vs with the fountaine of water, by faith in the bloud of thy sonne Iesus Christ, and to purge vs from that originall sinne, which we receiued of the old Eue. But who is able, oh Lord, to Page 566 to giue thee sufficient praises? Or who can expresse thy louing kindnesse and great mercies towards man∣kinde, who hast not onlie redeemed him from the yoke of the lawe, the bondage of hell, and destruction of the diuell: but also like a mercifull and louing father, euen in our first entrance into this world, washedst vs from iniquitie, and hast giuen vs the Sacrament of Bap∣tisme, euen as a memoriall of our election, in thy Sonne Iesus Christ our Lord, whereby beeing made thine adopted children, we may by the sanctification of thy spirit, inherit the euerlasting kingdome, through the same Iesus Christ our Lord,
Or praie for the fruits of Baptisme thus.
MOst heauenlie and eternall father, we thy humble seruants entirelie desire thy fatherlie goodnesse, that as thou hast begun in vs a newe birth, & washed vs with the foun∣taine of regeneration, whereby we are made members of thy bodie, and elected into the number and fe∣lowship of thy Church and congregation: so thou wouldest powre vpon vs the grace of thy spirit, to di∣rect our liues according to this beginning, in holinesse and purenesse, that we may mortifie the lusts of the flesh, resist the assaults of Sathan, and auoide the a∣lurements of the wicked world, remembring alwaies that Baptisme doth represent vnto vs our vocation, quenching those sparks of concupiscence that we all drawe from the old Adam, and quickning vs in those good fruits of Christ our Sa∣uiour, who continuallie preserue vs with his holie spirit for euer and euer,
Or praie for the continuance of the true institution of the Sacraments thus:
O Most mightie and most mercifull God, by whose power the heauens and earth, and all things therein, are created; who hast placed euerie thing in a most excellent order, and hast framed man after thine owne similitude and image, raising him from hell to heauen, from wo to ioie, from damnation to saluation; and hast giuen him through thy sonne Iesu Christ, a most sure bond of thy promise made in the beginning to mankind for the re∣demption of the world, sending thine onlie begotten Sonne Iesu Christ to performe the same, who made one onelie oblation and sacrifice for the sinnes of the whole world, and did ordaine and institute two most holie Sacraments to continue the remembrance of the same; make vs euer mindfull (we beseech thee) of these thine inestimable treasures. Continue, oh Lord, this thy fauour towards vs. Let not tyrants preuaile against thy Church, but let thy mightie power be she∣wed, that the sacred rites may cōtinue in thy Church, that the enimies may be ouerthrowne; as the Turke, who would vtterlie destroie those most holie Sacra∣ments, which thou hast ordeined for our saluation; as the Anabaptists, which like heretikes, alter thy most holie institution; as the Atheists, who bred in them great corruption. Conuert them, we beseech thee, O Lord, and establish vs in the truth of thy holie spirit, by thy mightie power, that both now and euer wee may continue in the right institution of thy Sacra∣ments, which thy Sonne our Sauiour Christ hath left most perfect vnto vs, to the endlesse ioie and conso∣lation of our soules. To whome therefore, with thee, Page 568 and the holie Ghost, be all honour, glorie, and praise, world without end,
Prouerbes, 9. verse 1.
Christian praiers to be said before, at, and after ye receiue the holie Communion, and first: An effectuall meditation of the right Christian beleefe in the holie Sacrament of the Lords supper, and of the woor∣thie and fruitefull receiuing the same, to our comfort and saluation; to be diligentlie read before you receiue.
O My soule, let vs now carefullie con∣sider first, whether we bee come; namelie, to the celestiall table, hea∣uenlie banket, greate feast, costlie repast, and sumptuous supper of the most puissant, glorious, mightie, and magnificent King of kinges, and Lord of lordes, Iesus Christ thy Page 569 most mercifull maker, righteous redeemer, souereigne sauiour, and deere spouse; and that of necessitie, as both forced therevnto by his iust commandement, and also allured and inuited by his mercifull promises.
Secondlie, O my soule, let vs rightlie knowe, and diligentlie marke, what things are heere presentlie set before vs on this holie Table, and prouided for vs in this blessed banket to taste of; namelie, that the dein∣tie dishes, and the refection and meate which we must in verie deede seeke for onelie in this sacred supper, are no vaine ceremonies, no bare signe, no vntrue figure of a thing absent, no earthlie bodie, no carnall meate, nor anie fleshlie substance; but as the sacred Scripture saith, and other holie men doo rightlie tearme and call them, The Bread and Cup of the Lord; a heauenlie refection; the sweet deinties of our sauiour; the nou∣rishment of our soules; an inuisible meate; a spiritu∣all foode; a ghostlie substance: which all are heere now most mercifullie offered, and exhibited vnto vs, and all other faithfull soules, as the soueraigne preseruatiue against death; the conseruatorie to euerlasting life; the comfortable medicine of the soule; the salue of im∣mortalitie; the pledge of eternall health; the defence of faith; the hope of the resurrection; the memorie of Christ; the annuntiation of his death: finallie, the communion of the bodie and bloud of the Lord Iesus, in a maruellous incorporation, which by the holie Ghost (the verie bond of our perfection with Christ) is through faith wrought in the soules of the faithfull, whereby not onlie their soules doo liue to eternall life; but also they surelie trust to win to their bodies a re∣surrection to immortalitie. In the which also, we may not onlie heare, see, taste, and knowe the mercie of God our Creator sealed; the sanctification by Christ our re∣deemer towards vs confirmed; the remission of our sinnes through the holie Ghost our comforter and re∣generator Page 570 fullie satisfied and established: but also most sensiblie and effectuallie to our further comfort, in deed feele wrought in vs; the tranquillitie of conscience; the increase of faith; the strengthening of hope; and the long spreading abroad of brotherlie loue and kind∣nesse, with manie other sundrie maruellous graces and benefits of God, most profitable vnto vs. Which things well considered and weighed, my soule, O with what feruent affection and earnest zeale ought they now to inflame our hart, and kindle our mind, greedi∣lie to couet and desire the participation of these most holie mysteries; yea, often to long and hunger after this healthsome bread, and continuallie thirst for this diuine, heauenlie, and blessed food!
Thirdlie and lastlie, O my soule, let vs aduisedlie call to mind, and well vnderstand the cause, wherefore wee are now come vnto this holie table of the Lord: which indeed is onlie to this end; that we should now be god∣lie ghests, not idle gazers; hungrie eaters; not ster∣uing lookers on; to feede our selues, and not to hire others to feed for vs: that so we may liue by our owne meate, and not perish for hunger, while other deuoure all. We are come togither, I saie, O my soule, with this congregation assembled, presentlie to celebrate a sacrifice, not priuatelie in one kind for the dead, nor to make a mysterie a sacrifice, nor of a communion to make a priuate eating, nor of two parts to haue but one, nor yet to applie it for the dead, and so we to loose the fruit that are aliue. No no, my soule; God forbid that we should come to celebrate this holie mysterie after anie such sort, or to anie such vse or purpose. For that were to declare our selues vnwoorthie of the Lord, yea to be accursed of him, for committing such spirituall blasphemie and robberie. But knowe, that we are come hither now publikely and openly at this the Lords boord, to minister & doo that, which he him∣selfe, Page 571 a little before his death, vouchsafed in his owne person most wiselie, kindlie, and louinglie to inuent, prouide, institute, ordeine, doo, establish, and command; as a most necessarie waie and meane for it, the better to take some place in vs; and not to be frustrate of it end and purpose. Yea, to doo that which his holie Apo∣stles also afterward, togither with the godlie fathers in the primitiue Church both vsed, practised, authori∣sed, and confirmed; according as it was deliuered and giuen by the first author thereof onelie: that is to saie, euen openlie and publikelie to celebrate, in the Lords most happie commemoration and remembrance, at this his holie table, the heauenlie memorie of that most maruellous worke, and deere bought benefit of our redemption and saluation, wrought by Christ Ie∣sus, to our endlesse consolation, profit, commoditie and eternall saluation, in his (with all reuerence named) most pretious death, painfull crosse, & bloudie passion.
And wite thou well, O my soule; that like as Mo∣ses, Aaron, and Phinees long since did somtimes eate Manna in the wildernesse, then spirituallie vnder∣standing those visible things: euen so now, we in like maner spirituallie vnderstanding these holie myste∣ries, (for it is the spirit that quickeneth and giueth life, the flesh profiteth vs nothing, as saith our Saui∣our) must here also spirituallie hunger, spirituallie taste, spirituallie eate the flesh of Christ, and spiritual∣lie drinke his bloud indeed, in these holie mysteries, by faith onlie, and assured constant beleefe; that the bles∣sed bodie of Christ was crucified, and his pretious bloud shed vpon the Crosse for our saluation. And so receiue this the Lords supper, euen for a token, badge, or cognizance of this faith and saluation in Christs merits; declaring therby euermore his death and pas∣sion, with thanks-giuing, vntill he come.
Neither must we now so much as once dreame of Page 572 anie grosse or carnall eating, or fleshlie feeding; or thinke that we are come at this present to feed our sen∣ses and bellie to corruption, (for that were baselie to abiect and bind our selues to the elements and crea∣tures, and so to declare our selues drowned in deed in the dirtie lake of blindnesse and ignorance:) but onlie and in truth to nourish and feed our inward man to immortalitie, and life euerlasting: namelie, that as our outward man is nourished by letting in this bodi∣lie meat into the stomach, that is helthsome and sound to be digested; so our inward man may be spirituallie fed and satisfied, by receiuing the meate thereof into our soule and hart, sound and whole in faith. And ther∣fore we shall not need now at this present time, in doo∣ing these things, to whet our teeth, O my soule; but (as S. Cyprian saith) with sincere faith to breake and diuide this holie bread. For surelie, without faith, (which indeed is the onelie instrument most necessarie, in the right vse of all these holie mysteries) it is impos∣sible to please God heerein; neither can the vnbelee∣uers and faithlesse folke feed vpon the Lords pretious bodie, nor enioie the eating and drinking of this so high and diuine nourishment of spirituall food. Yea, to haue anie other eating, than spirituallie by faith one∣lie, is plaine idolatrie. It behoueth vs therfore, O my soule, diligentlie to ponder, weigh and consider of these things: that now at the last we may, not onelie vnfei∣nedlie and thoroughlie trie, prooue, and examine our selues, our owne consciences and liues: but also hum∣blie acknowledging our faults vnto God, hartilie re∣penting our former sinfull life, asking mercie of GOD the Father for Christs sake, and gladlie forgiuing all our offenders, effectuallie and carefullie there withall plucke vp, euen the verie roots of heathenish infideli∣tie, and all distrust in Gods mercifull promises, to the end we may thereby, in verie deed, shew our selues liue∣lie Page 573 plants of the fruitfull oliue, liuing branches of the true vine, and woorthie members of Christs mysticall bodie; euen such as haue our life, our abiding, our vni∣on, and as it were our incorporation with him.
Finallie, O my soule; we must not now, like chatte∣ring Iaies, so much regard or consider these earthlie elements, and terrene creatures, which we see with our corporall eie, and still remaine so: but especiallie and in deed haue respect to the heauenlie graces and benefits, which our faith beholdeth in and by them. Neither must we by anie meanes cleaue to these infe∣riour or base things, which lie here beneath, and are visiblie discerned: but leauing them altogether, wee must rather resemble and plaie the parts of the E∣gles, who flie & mount vp thither, where the dead bo∣die lieth; that is, giuing credit to the words of Christ, who saith: The words that I speake are spirit and life. And againe; remembering that God willeth such as will be true worshippers of him, to worship him in spi∣rit and truth, we must now so behold the bread and wine with our naturall eies, that we may neuerthe∣lesse especiallie lift vp the eies of our mind to heauen, and looke vp by faith vpon the holie bodie and bloud of our Lord and Sauiour Iesus Christ, God and man, as he is there sitting at the right hand of God his Fa∣ther, in equall glorie, power, and maiestie: alwaies see∣king it there, where the sunne of righteousnesse euer∣more shineth; continuallie holding fast, and still clea∣uing by faith onlie to the rocke, whence we may sucke in deed the sweetnes of euerlasting saluatin. So shall we, O my soule, now repenting hartilie our former fowle life, being in perfect loue and charitie with all men, maruelling with reuerence and feare at these sa∣cred things; now touching these holie and fearfull my∣steries with our mind, receiuing them with the hand of our hart, and taking them fullie with our inward Page 572〈1 page duplicate〉Page 573〈1 page duplicate〉Page 574 man by faith onelie, be sure at this holie table euen now presentlie to receiue; not onlie the outward Sa∣crament; but the spirituall thing also; not the figure, but the truth; not the shadowe, but the bodie: and that not to death, but to life; not to our destruction, but to our saluation: which God, euen our owne God, for his mercies sake grant vs now effectuallie to doo, through the onelie merits of our Lord and Sauiour Jesus Christ: to whom be all honour, glorie, dominion, pow∣er and praise, for euer and euer,
ALmightie and most mercifull God, my heauenlie Father; I thy poore child, and most vnwoorthie bidden ghest to this thy prepared sacrifice and celestiall feast, after due exami∣nation of my former life, with an humble and contrite hart, with a sorowfull and repentant spirit, and with a forgiuing and charitable mind, heere prostrate on my knees before thy throne of mercie, with most lowelie hart, humblie beseech thy Maiestie, (euen for thy deere and onelie sonne Iesus Christs sake, whom thou hast once for all euer, alreadie giuen an oblation and offering for our sinnes) to haue mercie, pitie, and compassion vpon me, most vile, wretched, and misera∣ble sinner; and to forgiue me all mine innumerable and horrible offences, both old and new, committed against heauen and earth, and against thee. And new I praie thee, sanctifie me throughlie, O God; and make me, who hartilie desire in feare & trembling to please thee in all things that I doo, a woorthie communicant, a godlie ghest, and fit partaker heere this daie of thy heauenlie food, in this great and sumptuous Supper of my Lord and my God: by giuing vnto me of thine Page 575 accustomed goodnesse, the right knowledge and vnder∣standing out thy word, of the thing it selfe; these ho∣lie mysteries, I meane, and the manifold fruits and benefites thereof, and also by causing me, through the working of thy mercie and grace, to bring now with me a true and constant faith, the roote and wel-spring of all newnesse of life, as well in praising thee, and lo∣uing my neighbour, as purging mine owne conscience by earnest repentance, and continuall contrition, from dead works and filthinesse of sinne; so that, neither the ignorance of the thing, O gratious God, may cause me to contemne it, nor vnfaithfulnesse make it void of fruit, nor sinne and iniquitie procure me thy heauie plagues; but grant that I may, by faith in knowledge and amendment of life, in faith be heere now so vnited to thy sonne Christ my head, and most deerelie beloued spouse, in these his holie and heauenlie mysteries, to my comfort both in bodie and soule, that afterward I may haue full fruition of him in deede, to mine euerla∣sting ioie and saluation in eternall life, through the same Iesus Christ our Lord, blessed for euer,
Another godlie praier.
O Iesu Christ, holy and eternall God, I miserable woman, and wretched sinner, acknowledge and confesse, that I am not woorthie the least of all thy mercies, and most vnwoor∣thie to receiue thee vnder the roofe of my soule, by participating of thy most blessed bodie and bloud. For horrible and infinite are the sinnes, wherewith I am defiled. Wo is me, Lord. For I am a woman of pollu∣ted lips, and dwell among people that haue vncleane lips. And therefore the verie entrailes of my hart are troubled, and my bones doo shake, because I finde my Page 576 soule a most vnworthie ghest for so heauenlie a supper. And yet againe, mine hart is woonderfullie lightned, when I call to mind, that thou, the deere sonne of al∣mightie God, camest not into this world to call the righteous, but sinners vnto repentance. For they that be whole, need not the Physician, but they that are sick. Besides, I knowe right well, and constantlie doo be∣leeue, that notwithstanding my filthinesse, thou canst make mee woorthie; which alone canst make that cleane, which is conceiued of vncleane seed, and righ∣teous men of sinners, when thou forgiuest our sinnes of thy woonted grace, thine holie spirit being powred vpon vs. Through which thy power and mercie, I be∣seech thee, graunt such grace vnto me a sinner, that I may woorthilie approch to this heauenlie sacrament; least otherwise by mine vnwoorthinesse I be made gil∣tie of thy bodie and bloud, and so in stead of life, receiue my iudgement and condemnation.
Giue grace therefore, that afore I presume to come vnto the participation thereof, I may examine my selfe, by calling my sinnes into mind, searching out my waies, and by vnfeigned and hartie repentance retur∣ning vnto thee my Lord; least otherwise, by concealing my sinnes with Iudas the traitor, I eate the bread of the Lord against the Lord; and by abusing thy gentle∣nesse, heape vengeance vnto my selfe against the daie of vengeance. O make me therefore, I saie, to confesse my sinnes, and that with hartie sobs; so thou, being a faithfull and iust God, wilt abandon all mine offences, and cleanse me from my sinnes, and wilt not disdaine to accept me into fauour, when I doo not refraine to acknowledge my wickednesse.
Moreouer, powre into me a true and liuelie faith, that I neuer mistrust thy word annexed to the Sa∣craments, which promiseth vnto mankind the remissi∣on of sinnes. For to eate or drinke with the mouth one∣lie, Page 577 is to no purpose; but faith must come therevnto, and apprehend the word with the promises annexed: for they are the grounds and principles of this sacra∣ment: so that, whosoeuer giueth credit to these words, Which was giuen and shead for you, in the remission of sinnes; the same man hath that, which is promised by them, namelie, eternall life and saluation. For where the remission of sinnes is, there likewise righteousnes, life and saluation is. But he which doubteth of these words, he without doubt is an vnworthie receiuer, and commeth vnprepared. For the doubting man nei∣ther eateth the flesh spirituallie, nor yet drinketh the bloud; though carnallie, and to our eies he seemeth to consume the Sacrament of the bodie and bloud with his teeth and mouth, but his damnation rather; not bi∣cause thy supper is poison, but for that an euill man ta∣keth a good thing naughtilie.
Finallie, grant also, that receiuing this thy Sacra∣ment of the new Testament, I may put off, according to the former conuersation, the old man, which is cor∣rupt according to the lusts of error, and be renewed in the spirit of my mind, putting on the new man, which after God is shapen in righteousnesse and holinesse of truth. And albeit my nature be such, that I can not liue without spots of wickednesse; yet so blesse me, that I may neuer offend willinglie, but altogether depen∣ding vpon thy goodnesse, whose manner is to pardon the true penitent, that sinners may boldlie approch to thine holie supper; especiallie, seeing we haue libertie to enter into the holie places, through thy bloud, by the new and liuing waie, which thou hast prepared for vs, through the vaile, that is, by thy flesh. And seeing we haue an high Priest ouer the house of God, make vs to drawe nigh with true harts, in assurance of faith, sprinkled in our minds from an euill conscience, and washed in bodie with pure water. Cause vs to Page 578 hold fast the profession of the hope without wauering. For he is faithfull that promised: and let vs consider one of another, to prouoke vnto loue, & to good works; not forsaking the assemblie of the faithfull, as the ma∣ner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more as we see the daie approching,
Another most Christian and deuout praier, to be said before the receiuing of the holie Communion.
O Christ our Lord and Sauior, which before thy greeuous agonie, and heapes of trouble, thorough the wrath of thine almightie Father lighting vpon thee, commandedst thy Disciples Peter and Iohn to prepare the passouer, that together they might eate the same. Thou longedst for our saluation, and didst eate of the lambe, which was a figure of thy selfe; and expressedst the image of that banket, which thy people the Israelits, vnder the conduction of thy seruant Moses, about to depart out of Aegypt, did celebrate. Hauing finished the supper of the old couenant, thou begannest a new couenant, testifieng of thy presence and benefits in the Church. Mooue thou our harts to thankfulnesse, that with like desire we may desire to come vnto thy table, and seeke the nourishment to eternall life. Suffer vs not to loath thine heauenlie banket, as prophane and curious men doo, which contend with thee, & contemne the order which thou hast appointed. Amend all abu∣ses and prophanings of thine holie table, horriblie de∣formed with filthinesse; for the which we are punished in all places with manifold plagues and diseases. By thy wisedome thou healest our diseases and infirmi∣ties, and by the visible signes of Sacraments thou confirmest our faith. Thou art effectuall by them in Page 579 the beleeuers, according to thy promise. We blesse the bread and wine as thou hast willed; and beleeue that with them we receiue thee in true faith and puritie of mind.
Thou declarest by this thy Supper, that trulie thou tookedst our flesh vpon thee, for our sakes; euen to in∣graffe vs to thine owne flesh, and bring vs to eternall life. This is eternall life, which is begunne in this world, whereby the soule is renewed vnto eternall happinesse.
Moreouer, this blessed meate doth witnesse and te∣stifie, that our bodies, which are replenished with the sense of thy liuing flesh, shall rise againe to perpetuall glorie. Increase and nourish, by the profitable taking of thee, this light within vs. Worke, that thy Sacra∣ments taken and digested, thou maist come into vs, and we into thee. Assist vs thy ghests, O sweet houshol∣der; that woorthilie we may feed vpon thy meate. Trie our soule with earnest and vnfeined conuersion. Let vs not plaie the hypocrites, nor prophanelie dallie with thee and thy holie Sacraments. Cause vs right∣lie to discerne thy bodie and bloud from other common meate. Let vs neuer eate the bodie of the Lord against the Lord. Grant in true and vnfeined faith we may enter into this thy sacred couenant, that we may al∣waies abide in thee, and thou in vs.
Likewise, by thine holie spirit, which is the bond of loue, in this publike and common banket, ioine vs to thine other members of thy Church. Giue grace, that all which feed of this bread, may be one bodie, knit vnto thee, which art the head, working all things in all. Let the diuell at no time disturbe this pleasant concord be∣tweene thee and vs, as is betweene the head and other members of the bodie.
Let vs gather also by the same, the summe of doctrine which is preached in the Church. Let it raise vs vp Page 580 vnto thankfulnesse for thy benefits. Increase our de∣sire to continuall praier, whereby we craue all things which we stand in need of. Continue that custome, euen till thou returnest gloriouslie in the clouds to iudge∣ment. Maintaine some places for preaching, and god∣lie ceremonies, and bring in at no time barbarous ig∣norance.
Furthermore, the dooing herof is a ministerie of our profession, against Sathan and all his instruments. Confirme in our minds, by thy spirit, this sound and pure vnderstanding. Let vs not be oppressed with ido∣latrous darknesse, approouing horrible abuses; in car∣rieng about, in laieng vp, in offring the halowed bread without any vse: not so much as one sillable of all these things can be seene in thy first institution. Wherefore, represse the diuell, blasphemouslie dealing with this thine ordinance. And first consume this world vtterlie with fire, before we be wrapped againe in such horri∣ble darknesse of idolatrie and superstition. Mitigate the punishments, sicknesse, infections, warre and mise∣ries, which for the prophaning of this Supper, the whole world doth endure. Let thine Angel spare such, as with griefe of hart bewaile these abuses. Feed vs, and fill vs thy ghests with thy liuelie presence. Dwell thou in vs. Worke in vs. Sharpen the remembrance of thy benefits within vs. And finallie, at our resurre∣ction from the graue, giue vs a place in thy seat; where we shall find a new taste in the kingdome of thy Fa∣ther: So be it.
Another praier to be said before the receiuing of the bles∣sed Communion, as you kneele at Gods boord.
O Lord, although I be not woorthie to receiue thee into the house of my soule, for mine innu∣merable offences and sins done against thy great goodnesse: yet trusting, good Lord, in Page 581 thy great pitie and infinite mercie, I come to receiue thy blessed bodie; as a sicke creature, to thee that art the health of life; vncleane, to thee that art the well of mercie; blind by ignorance, to thee that art the light euerlasting; needie of thy grace, and poore in vertue, to thee that art the King of heauen and earth; naked of good works, to thee that art the author of grace. I come as a wretch, to thee my Lord and maker; all de∣solate and comfortlesse, to thee my helpe and succour. For besides thee there is no consolation. I come as a sinner, to thee that art the mediatour and meane be∣twixt God and man. I come as a caitife, to thee my most mercifull Sauiour. I come all sinfull, to thee the granter of remission and pardon; dead by sinne, to thee that art the restorer to life; euill, to thee that art all goodnesse; hard-harted, to be releeued by the infusion of thy super-abundant grace; desiring thee meekelie to heale mine infirmities and sicknesse, to wash awaie my sinne and filthinesse, to lighten my blindnesse, to re∣duce me to the right waie, where I am out thereof, to comfort me desolate of goodnesse. Haue mercie on my wretchednesse, pardon my sinfulnes, giue me the light of grace (thus burdened in sinne,) that I may receiue thee the food of all Angels, the King of glorie, the Lord of all lords, with such chastitie of bodie, with such pure∣nesse of mind, and cleannesse of soule, with such contri∣tion of hart, and abundance of weeping teares, with such spirituall ioie and gladnesse, with such dread and reuerence, with such faith, hope and charitie, with such obedience and humilitie, with such loue, deuotion, faithfulnesse and thankfulnesse; as it is beseeming for such a Lord to be receiued, and to my soule most expe∣dient.
And be not displeased, good Lord, that I a sinner, with an vncleane hart and polluted mind come hither this daie, to receiue thy pretious bodie in sacramen∣tall Page 582 bread and wine: but remember, mercifull Lord, that thou refusedst not the sinfull Marie Magdalen, being penitent, from the kissing of thy blessed feet. And in likewise despise me not, nor put me awaie as vn∣woorthie, from the receiuing of thy bodie in the blessed Sacrament, for my sinnes and wickednesse: but grant thou me cōpunction of hart, plentie of weeping tears, to wash awaie my sinnes & wickednesse; so that with a pure hart and cleane conscience, I may this daie re∣ceiue the Sacrament to my soules helth; that I may obtaine and possesse thereby euerlasting life, with all holie Saints in heauens glorie; and in this present life, with the holie spirit to be replenished, and neuer to admit other louer besides thee.
Grant me, blessed Iesu, so to receiue the Sacra∣ment of bread and wine, that I may be woorthie to bee accounted for a member of thy mysticall bodie heere in earth. And though as yet I be not worthie to be num∣bered among the simplest, and lowest of thy seruants; but rather to be reiect and out-cast for my sinfulnesse: yet, good Lord, of thine infinite power thou maist make me able, equall, and like to the meanest of thine elect seruants. Come thou Father of the fatherlesse; come thou comforter of the comfortlesse; come and cleanse my soule from all contagiousnesse of sinne. For it is not conuenient, and according, there to be anie vnclean∣nes, where thou, the spouse of virginall chastitie shoul∣dest come in and dwell. Come therefore, and sanctifie my soule, and make it cleane by thy gratious presence; that no heapes of soile, or remnants of sinne be to be found in anie least cranie or corner of thy spirituall house or temple, (my bodie and soule I meane) to of∣fend the celestiall eies of thy diuine Maiestie: so shall thy holie hall, which is my cleansed soule, ring and re∣sound with thy perpetuall praises to thy glorie. Come, I saie, O God, and apparell my naked soule with the Page 583 rich ornaments of thy vertue and grace, and with the white raines of thy righteousnesse and innocencie; that I may delight thee, therein to abide. And as thou disdainedst not to touch the sore leapers with thy holie hands: so, good Lord, vouchsafe to annoint my simple soule, with the ointment of remission and pardon; that in this life, by stedfast hope, firme faith, and perfect charitie, I may so increase in vertue, from daie to daie, that I may atteine to the glorious fruition of thy Godhead in the kingdome of heauen: where I may see thee face to face, and praise thee with all thine elect and chosen Saints, worlds without end,
Another verie deuout praier, before the receiuing of the holie Communion.
O Most sweet and louing Lord Iesu Christ, whom now I deuoutlie and hartilie desire to receiue this daie: thou knowest mine infirmities and necessities, which I suffer; in how manie euils and vices I lie, where∣with I am often greeued, tempted, troubled, and vnquieted, and defiled. Unto thee doo I come for remedie, vnto thee doo I ear∣nestlie praie for comfort and helpe. I speake vnto thee, who knowest all things; vnto whom, euen all my ve∣rie secret thoughts are manifest; and who onlie canst perfectlie comfort and helpe me. Thou knowest what good things I lacke before all things, and how poore and beggerlie I am in vertues. Behold, I stand before thee, requiring grace and mercie. Feed and cherish thy hungrie begger, kindle my coldnesse with the fire of thy loue, lighten my blindnesse with the bright cleere∣nesse of thy presence: turne all earthlie things into bitternesse vnto me; all heauie, greeuous, hard, pain∣full, and contrarie things, into patience to me. Lift vp Page 584 my hart vnto thee in heauen, and suffer me not to wan∣der or go astraie from thee vpon the earth. Thou onlie, from this time foorth for euermore, dooest waxe sweet vnto me, because thou onelie art my meate and my drinke, my loue, my ioie, my sweetnesse. Oh, would to God thou wouldest vouchsafe altogether to enflame, burne, and euen consume me with thy presence; and to change me into thy selfe, that I may be made one spi∣rit with them by grace of the inward vnitie, and soft∣ning of thy feruent loue! Suffer me not to depart an hungred nor thirstie from them, but worke mercifullie with me, as thou hast often heeretofore maruellouslie wrought with thy Saincts. What maruell is it, if I should be altogether set on fire, & inflamed with thee, and should faile in my selfe, and be changed? Sith thou art a fire euer burning, and neuer failing; a loue puri∣fieng the hart, and lightening the vnderstanding.
Behold therefore, I wretched sinner, not presuming of mine owne merits, but trusting onlie of thy mercie and goodnesse, am bold to come in trembling and feare vnto this thy table of most sweete deinties, O most holie Lord Iesu Christ. For I haue an hart and bodie defiled, marred, and polluted with manie faults and offences; a mind and a tongue not chastlie nor wari∣lie kept. Therefore, O holie Deitie, O dredfull Maie∣stie, I wretched caitife, in great perplexitie of mind, taken vnwares betwene many troublsome straights, doo now run againe to thee, the fountaine of all mer∣cie. Unto thee doo I hasten me, to be healed and cured: vnder thy protection doo I flie. And whome I can not endure as a Iudge, I earnestlie desire to haue a Sa∣uiour. To thee, O Lord, doo I open and shew my woundes; vnto thee doo I vncouer and detect my shamefastnesse. I knowe that my sinnes are great, for the which I am sore afraid; but I hope and repose my trust in thy great mercies, which are infinite, surpas∣sing Page 585 number. Turne thine eies of thy mercie towards me, O Lord Iesu Christ, heauenlie King, euerlasting God, man crucified for man; heare me trusting in thee, and haue mercie vpon me full of all miserie and sinne. Thou which art the flowing fountaine, and vndrai∣nable wel-spring of all mercie and pitie, I beseech thee from the bottome of my hart, that thou wilt forgiue me all my sinnes, and in this life so to purge awaie the rust and filth thereof, that in the life to come they may not be imputed vnto me.
O God of vnspeakable pitie, whose power is infi∣nite, without whome I can not possiblie resist sinne, comfort and helpe me so greatlie, that I neuer heere∣after anie more commit anie mortall or deadlie sinne; and from hencefoorth may ouercome all the temptati∣ons of the diuell, that I may direct my whole life, thoughts, words and works altogether vnto thee, and that thou maist in the end of my life, so preserue and keepe me, that Sathan vrge me not with his ter∣rours and feares, and so bring me into desperation. O flowing fountaine of charitie, make my mind free from all the creatures, which might drawe me from thy loue and fauour, that in thy loue I may profit, go for∣ward, and preuaile; that now verelie, and in the end of my life, I may worthilie receiue thee, and so my soule being powred out of the sacke of my bodie, doo thou in mercie bring it vnto the euerlasting palace of thy heauenlie father, to see and behold the cleere renow∣med glasse of the holie Trinitie.
Remember thy creature, O Lord, whome thou hast redeemed with thy pretious bloud. Wo is me that e∣uer I haue offended thee; but now I purpose, by thy grace, to amend my life. Take from me therefore, O mercifull father, all my sinnes and iniquities. Cast out of my soule all the filthie fowle matter of the vene∣mous contagion and infection of sinne, and by thine Page 586 ancient and accustomed mercies, powre thy heauen∣lie medicine, and preseruatiue of thy loue, into my wounds, which may refresh and restore me to my for∣mer puritie and cleannesse, that being purified both in bodie and mind, I may deserue and be made fit tho∣rough Christs merits, woorthilie to tast of these most holie mysteries.
Come this daie, O Lord, and minister vnto my sicke and languishing soule some heauenlie cordiall of com∣fort, not because I am iust, but a sinner; because not the whole, but the sicke haue neede of a Physician. O verie true Charitie, in which is euerlasting felicitie! O the onlie hope of my soule! haue mercie vpon me, and blot out all my misdeeds. Thee doth my hart ex∣pect and desire, fulfill my lust and longing, which thou hast put in me, euen as thou wouldest. I am thine, O Christ, forsake me not as vnmeete, or a stranger. Let thy right hand alwaie preuent me, and defend me from all euill. Come, O Lord, whome I wretch haue sore offended, and forgiue and forget all mine offences, for the which thou hast shead thine owne most preti∣ous hart bloud. Come, sweet Lord, and giue me the meate of eternall health. Come, O vnspotted sacrifice, deliuer me from euerlasting death. Come thou Phy∣sician of the weake and diseased. Come thou food of the hungrie. Come Lord, visit this house dedicated and consecrated in thy name. And behold I come to thee, whome with all my hart I couet and desire, to∣wards whome with all earnest consideration of mind, I aspire, and studie to attaine; whome with all mine entrailes I hartilie loue and embrace; whose blessed bodie and bloud in these holie mysteries I earnest∣lie desire to receiue; that thou maist alwaies abide in me, and neuer forsake me, or de∣part from me, O most sweet father: So be it.
ALmightie God, and most mercifull Father, who most louinglie callest vs to the participation of all good things in Christ Iesu, giue vs also grace woorthilie to esteeme the ho∣nour thou vouchsafest vs of, in bid∣ding vs to the marriage feast of thy Sonne, so that we may esteeme of nothing in comparison of it. And seeing few are cho∣sen, though manie be called, giue vs also, O Lord, a liuelie faith, working by loue, as a seemelie garment for so great a solemnitie; that being entred by thy fa∣uour into thy house, we dishonest it not, and so honou∣rable a companie as thou hast called vnto it, by our wicked conuersation, that as vnwoorthie we be not cast out againe, but in all our behauiour, may doo ho∣nour vnto both, that we may alwaies remaine with thee, and enioie the happinesse thou hast prepared for vs in thy Sonne, the full fruition whereof because thou hast deferred to the rising vp againe of the dead, strengthen in vs, O Lord, the blessed hope of this re∣surrection, that according to thy promise thou maist make vs like to thine Angels that are in heauen, and the glorious estate of Iesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee, and the holie Ghost, be all honour and praise now and for euer,
O Sonne of God, Lord and Sauiour Christ, which delightest in those bankets, where∣by men approch to the companie of thy ce∣lestiall wel-fare; we beseech thee conuert vs, O Lord, and we shall be conuerted. Graunt that with Marie Magdalen casting our Page 588 selues before thy feete, we may earnestlie with teares bewaile our offences; and againe lifting vp our hand vnto thee, we may laie hold on thee, and embrace thee as she did. Kisse thou vs with thine holie kisse, and by thy spirit powred into vs, stirre vp in vs a new life, which may annoint thee by true confessing of thy good∣nesse, and delight thee with the sweet sauour of true in∣uocation and new obedience.
Grant also, that in this life we may worship thy feet, which bring tidings of peace. And forasmuch as in this last age of this world, the messengers of peace are vitterlie to weepe; assist vs, that we may be tou∣ched with the miseries of thy Church, and studie to our power to mitigate them, and so be made members of that companie, vnto whome thou hast forgiuen much, and which againe entirelie doth loue thee: and againe, being called out of the vale of teares, may come to thy heauenlie banket, which shall be with∣out teares, without grudging, without greefe, sinne, and offences, in the house of thy father, where be ma∣nie ample dwelling places,
Another praier to be said a little before you re∣ceiue the Bread.
O God which art rich in mercie and in all good things, the most plenti∣full giuer and bountifull bestower of the deinties of celestiall satietie and heauenlie repast, giue meate to my soule that is wearie and faint; not such as it lusteth after, but such as is conuenient for it. For lo, I a poore wretch come now vnto thee, which art rich, a sinner vnto thee which art mercifull. O let me not returne home contemned and despised with nothing. I begin an hungred, let me not leaue off fa∣sting. Page 589 I come vnto thee as though I were famished, O let me not go awaie vnfed. Although before I eate I sigh and sorowe, yet good Lord I beseech thee, giue mee somewhat to eate.
For behold, with that godlie heroicall matrone of Canaan, Matth. 15, verse 21. I come vnto thee, and saie, Lord helpe me, according to thy promise: for I feele the burthen of thy displeasure, euen my miseries and vncleannesse, and suffer not the sight of mine owne vn∣woorthinesse to withdrawe me from thee. Make me sweetlie and reuerentlie to reason with thee, as thy ho∣lie spirit enforced that good woman to doo, in these and the like words: I am vnwoorthie, I am giltie and vn∣cleane, I am a dog, I was an outcast from thy house and courts, I haue barked against the glorious maie∣stie of thee and thine eternall father, I am defiled with the filth of idolatrie, with fowlenesse of life, with the spots of disobedience against thee, but haue mercie vp∣on me O sonne of God, which appearedst in the flesh, and becamest a worme, to wash vs from our sinnes which were vncleane beasts. Haue mercie vpon me; O Lord haue mercie vpon me. For behold, I am vnto thee euen as the little whelpe nigh famished for lacke of meate and drinke, wearied with seeking about for releefe; and almost dead. I fall downe before thy glo∣rious table, where the sweet ypocrasse, and pretious nectar of immortalitie is tasted. The Fathers & Pro∣phets, Confessors and Virgins, most excellent lights of thy Church, sit alreadie at thine heauenlie table: they feede vpon the meate of eternall glorie. O suffer me to eate of the crums. Thou art the bread of life, re∣pell my hunger, satisfie my desire with thy presence; fill me with thy comfort & spirituall deinties. Make my faith strong to beleeue thy word and promises, that being made holie, as thou art holie, I may now holilie taste and see how sweet thou art in this life by inchoa∣tion, Page 590 and in the life to come, perfectlie, pleasantlie, and perpetuallie enioie thy heauenlie table.
O our Father, giue vs this daie our dailie bread, that we may walke in the strength thereof daie and night, vntill we come to thy holie hill of Horeb. My sweet Lord, let me feed vpon thee. My life enter into my soule. O sweet loue, O louing sweetnesse, let my bellie eate thee, and my soule be refreshed by thee the heauen∣lie Bridegrome. For thou art the bread and fountaine of life, yea all things indeede whereby the righteous liue, which loue thee. Thee doo I couet, loue and woor∣ship, with whome I shall dwell, reigne, and be blessed. Upon thee doo I call for my soule, which thou preparest to receiue thee, through the desire which thou brea∣thest into it. Come therefore, O purger of sinnes, thou which art the curer of wounds, the strength of the feeble, the comforter of the sorowfull, the worship and honour of all them that liue, and the onelie health of the dead. Come I saie, O blessed Trinitie, and enter into my soule; come I beseech thee, and haue mercie vpon me: make me meete for thee, that thou maist pos∣sesse that which thou hast both made and redeemed, sanctified and preserued, that I may haue thee as a seale vpon my hart. Giue me thy selfe O God my God, restore thy selfe vnto me, for nothing else can suffice thy seruant; and mercifullie graunt vnto me according to the multitude of thy great mercies, that my basenesse may please thy Maiestie, & my vilenesse thine almigh∣tie power.
O sweet Christ, O Charitie, my God, dulcet honie, snowie milke, the foode of Angels; make me to growe in thee, that I may eate thee with a sauorie taste. Make me to ouercome the enimie of my saluation, that thou maist vouchsafe to giue me (according to thy promise) to eate of the tree of life, which is in the mid∣dest of the Paradise of God, and of the Manna that is Page 591 hid; and that I may one daie or other be called vnto the Lambes supper, and eate bread at thy table in the kingdome of GOD, among the blessed ones. O deere God, I praie thee, let my mind thus kindeled with the loue of thee, flie euen till it come to the beautie of thy celestiall house, & to the throne of thy glorie, and there let it be fed at the dining table of the heauenlie citi∣zens, in the place of full feeding, by the plentifull run∣ning streames and pleasant pastures. Behold Lord, I stand at the doore and knocke; I beseech thee, by the bowels of thy mercie, wherewith thou being the daie-spring from an high hast visited vs; open the hand of thy pitie to a wretch that knocketh, and vouchsafe mercifullie to bid me enter into thee; that I may rest with thee; dwell with thee, and sup with thee, and thou with me, and that I may be refreshed to the full of thee, which art the liuing sweet white-bread and hea∣uenlie repast: wherewith when I am once fed; and that my strength is come perfectlie vnto me againe, I may ascend vnto the more high things, & neuer from hencefoorth hunger or thirst anie more so greatlie after vanities: So be it.
When ye are about to receiue the bread, lift vp your hart and eies vnto God in heauen, and saie:
O Father, I hartilie thanke thee, who hast giuen thine onlie begotten son to take vpon him our naturall bo∣die; which bodie was once offered to thee vpon the altar of the crosse, for the health, welth, and saluation of all sinners: for whose sake, O fa∣ther, I beseech thee, to haue mercie vpon me; and in remembrance of whose most bitter death and painfull passion, with all possible thanks for all thy benefits brieflie comprised therein; I now in Page 592 trembling and feare receiue this holie bread, to feed therby in my soule on Christs blessed bodie, which was giuen for me, and that onelie by faith: to mine euerla∣sting comfort and saluation, and thine eternall glorie,
O Heauenlie Father and blessed God, I render vnto thee most hartie thanks for all thy benefits, which thou hast shewed vnto me most wretched sinner: but especiallie for that most sweet smel∣ling sacrifice, which thine onlie begot∣ten sonne offered vnto thee on the altar of the crosse, by giuing his most pure & vndefiled bodie vnto the death, for the redemption of mankind. In remēbrance wher∣of, according to thy welbeloued sonnes ordinance, I now receiue this holie bread most intirelie, beseeching thee that I may both be partaker of the merits of thy deere sonnes bodie breaking, and also lead a life woor∣thie of so great a benefit vnto the glorie of thy name,
When you see the wine, behold it with your corporall eies. For as Christ saith, it is wine: but lift vp your soule vnto Christ in heauen, whose bloud is there alwaie fresh and liuelie before the Father, to sprinkle and quicken thee; and praie, saieng:
O Lord Iesu Christ, Sonne of the li∣uing GOD, which being vpon the crosse, with thy hands spred abroad for the redemption of all mankind, diddest drinke the most bitter cup of thy passion: I beseech thee, vouch∣safe now to drawe the mouth of the soule that thirsteth after thee, vnto the high flouds and flowing streames of thine eternall Page 593 abundance and satietie: yea drawe me wholie vnto thy selfe, which art the liuing well, to the intent I may ac∣cording to my capacitie drinke of that wherevpon I doo liue.
O my God, my life, thou didst saie with thy holie and blessed mouth; If anie man thirst, let him come vnto me and drinke. O well of life, grant vnto my thirstie soule alwaie to drinke of thee, that according to thy ho∣lie and true promise, waters of life may flowe out of my bellie. O well of life, replenish and fill my mind full of the riuer of thy pleasures; make my hart to be drun∣ken as it were in thy loue: that after the maner of them that be drunken with wine, which forget all things saue the cup; so I may forget all vaine and earthlie things, and continuallie haue nothing else in my remembrance, but thee onelie; thy bitter death, thy painfull passion, and pretious bloud-shedding. Come I praie thee, into my hart, and make it drunken with the abundance of thy plentifulnesse, so that I may forget all temporall things; make me, I saie, throughlie drun∣ken with thy cup, that I may forget euen my selfe, and vtterlie renounce all mine owne vngodlinesse & sinne.
O Christ, which art the euerlasting suffisance that shalt be giuen to the hungrie and thirstie: refresh vs continuallie with the most exquisite and well furnish∣ed banket of thy blessed Sacraments, and make vs drinke plentiouslie of the holie cup of thy blessed spirit and grace. Let the inspiration of thy most sweet spirit succeed like springs of water; and let not perpetuall food be wanting to our weakenesse, wherewith to feed and replenish vs. Let me taste of the pleasant riuers of the holie Ghost, that I may be refreshed, and that my soule may be cooled with the sweet liquors thereof; so that I burne hencefoorth with no iniquitie or lust to sinne. Make me to quaffe hartilie the cup of thankes-giuing: yea let my bowels be filled with the pleasant Page 594 wine of thy loue, and refresh me continuallie with the most sweet riuers of thy heauenlie consolation.
Thou art my life, whereby I liue; the hope that I sticke vnto; the glorie that I desire. O giue me vnder∣standing, cheere vp my loue. Lift thou vp my soule, and drawe the mouth of my spirit, which thirsteth after thee, vp to the water streames that are aboue. Uouch∣safe, sweet Iesu, in the midst of my monings, sore com∣plaints, and deepe sighs of my hart, to take vp my sad and sorowfull mind to the top of the high mountains, euen to the beds of sweet spices, putting me in a place of pasture by the riuers of sweet waters, where thou preparest a table, diuerselie furnished for thy friends against they come: to refresh mine appalled spirits; to cheere vp my heauie hart, & make it merie. Through the which deinties, I being at the length well refresh∣ed, may forget my manifold miseries, and the vanities of this life; and rest in thee, which art the true peace euerlasting, passing all vnderstanding.
Lord God, which art the sanctifier of the Saints, I beseech thee, consecrate and make me meete for thy dwelling, and continue thou euer with me: vouchsafe all to besprinkle me with the bloud of thy onlie begot∣ten sonne, by which one souereigne thing both in bodie and soule, I may be reuiued with a maruellous com∣fortable ioie. O Lord, these are thy great benefits, wherewith thou wilt releeue the want of thy thirstie children: grant, I beseech thee, that I may drinke on thy cup with a glad mind, willing hart, pure consci∣ence, and clensed spirit: and bring to passe by thy mer∣cie, that this drinke, which I shall now drinke, may be to my health and saluation. Finallie grant, O good God, that I may, through thy most rich spirit, and his eternall deinties, enioie the princelie palace of hea∣uen, and quaffing verie abundantlie of the well-spring of life, which is with thee, I may by the excellent be∣nefit Page 595 of thy glorious passion, death, resurrection and light, behold the brightnesse of perpetuall felicitie, and see thee face to face, where my mind may be fed and full satiate with the meate and drinke of life without end. For like as the hart thirsteth after the water springs: so thirsteth my soule after thee, O Lord my GOD and King,
When you are about to receiue the wine or cup, praie:
I Thanke thee, deere father, that thou didst not spare thine onelie and most deerlie beloued sonne Iesus Christ, to shed euen his most pretious bloud vpon the altar of the Crosse for to wash awaie our sinnes. In remem∣brance whereof, I now in trembling and dread drinke of this cup: hum∣blie beseeching thee, O Father, that the crucifieng of his blessed bodie, and shedding of his pretious bloud may be meritorious to my saluation,
Or else thus.
O Blessed and mercifull Father, thy loue towards me sinfull creature is so exceeding great and vnspeakable, that I can not but giue vnto thee most humble thanks: namelie, for the shedding of the most pretious blood of thy deere sonne Iesu Christ; by the vertue whereof, thy wrath stirred vp against me wretched sinner, is pacified, my ransome is paid, the lawe is fulfilled, mine enimies are ourcome, and put to flight. In remembrance of this so noble a victorie, and of so great a benefit, I am come vnto this thy table, O mercifull father, to drinke Page 596 of this cup; desiring thee, that as my outward man is comforted by the drinking of this wine: so likewise my inward man may be comforted, and made strong by true faith in the pretious blood of thy most deere sonne. O Lord, and my heauenlie Father, giue me thy holie spirit, which may so rule and gouerne my hart, that I neuer be vnthankfull, nor forgetfull of this thine ex∣ceeding kindnesse: but to traine my life according to thy blessed will, that whatsoeuer I doo, speake or thinke, may be vnto the glorie of thy blessed name, and the health of my soule, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
After you haue receiued the holie Communion, giue God thanks, and saie:
I Thanke thee, good Lord, of thine in∣finite goodnesse, that thou this daie hast fed me with thy blessed bodie & bloud in the Sacrament; desiring thee meeklie that this Sacrament which I haue receiued, may be to me a purgation and clensing of my sins; a fortitude & spiritual strength against my frailtie; a sure defence against worldlie troubles and aduersities; a purchasing of grace and pardon; a medicine of life; and a continuall remem∣brance of thy blessed passion: so that in the waie it may conduct me; when I stumble it may vphold me; and when I am fallen it may raise me: so that by good con∣tinuance in thy will, to euerlasting glorie it may bring me. And so order the tallage and taste of my hart, that I neuer seeke other sweetnesse, but thee; that I neuer seeke other louer, but thee; nor none other comfort be∣side thee; so that I care for none other delight, but thee; nor anie other honour, but thine. And giue mee such perfect loue towards thee, wherewith I may Page 597 come to as great merit in heauen, as though I had spent all my life daies in the remembrance of thy bles∣sed passion, and gratiouslie deliuer me from all tribu∣lations of bodie and soule, captiuitie, anguish and pe∣rils. This grant not onlie vnto me, but also vnto all thine elect and chosen Christian people heere and else-where, for thy holie name sake,
Another thanks-giuing after the Communion.
I Thanke thee O Christ Lambe of God, for offering thy selfe vpon the altar of the crosse to thy Father an offering and a sacrifice of a sweet sauour to God, for our sinnes, to re∣concile vs vnto him: for certaintie whereof, and confirmation of our faith, thou hast instituted on our behalfe this holie Sacrament of the supper, that as oft as we receiue the same, we may celebrate thy me∣morie, and with thankes-giuing remember the merit and fruit of thy passion. I beseech thee by thy bitter death stirre vp our minds, that by often receiuing this thine ordinance and institution, we may consider how bitter a death thou didst suffer on our behalfe, and how great the loue was, which draue thee to take so cruell and shamefull a death to saue vs: and withall conti∣nuallie yeeld, as we are bound, hartie thanks vnto thee for the same, and after the like sort answer to our po∣wer, that vnspeakable good will by our good life, and carefull obseruation of thy commandements; and may when either through frailtie of our flesh, or by anie other fault preuented we sinne, runne by and by vnto thee by repentance, and through consideration of this new and eternall couenant, touching the remission of sinnes made with vs, be erected and vpholden vnto a liuelie and puissant hope.
Page 598 O sweet Iesu grant, that being fast linked vnto thee by this holy mysterie, I may receiue power & strength from thee, beleeuing thy promises, and be wholie addi∣cted therevnto without anie doubting, that so my con∣science in feare and troubles may haue perfect conso∣lation. Suffer me not to be separated from the mem∣bers of thy bodie, which is the Church; whereof thou art head, fulfilling all in all: but graunt, that abiding in thy word and kingdome, I may be without fault in the foundation, and without sinne against my consci∣ence, and walke worthie this Sacrament; forsaking vtterlie, and renouncing the diuell, and all idolatrie, all vices and carnall desires, which fight against the soule. For we cannot be partakers of the Lords table, and of the diuels too. Make me also to remember that by this Sacrament I am bound to doo good vnto o∣thers. For, as manie graines of corne doo make one loafe, and manie grapes make one wine: so being ma∣nie, yet are we but one loafe and one bodie, in asmuch as we all participate of one bread, and drinke of one cup. Ioine vs therefore togither, O Sauiour of the world, at this common banket, through the band of loue, that we may be fastened vnto thee our head, that as thou didst die for vs, so we againe may not feare to suffer, and to giue our liues for the glorie of thy name, that we neuer be separated from thee neither in life nor death. Make vs also hartilie to loue one another, like the true and liuelie members of thy bodie, that if neede require, we may giue our liues for our brethren. Suffer not concord of minds to be broken. For he that receiueth the mysterie of vnitie, and keepeth not the bond of peace, he doth not receiue the mysterie for himselfe, but a testimonie against himselfe.
Giue grace therefore, that leauing aside all wrath, fiercenesse, maliciousnesse and enuie, we may forgiue one another, euen as thou forgiuest vs, and beare one Page 599 with another for the better auoiding of strife, dissen∣tion, sectes and pernicious heresies. Keepe this thine ordinance, and right vse of thy Sacrament amongst vs euermore, that this good worke and diuine ceremo∣nie may alwaies be a note and badge of our publike profession, whereby we are knowne from pagans; and tokens of loue, confession and thankefulnesse. Remoue awaie all abuses, and prophanations of this holie and sacred supper, together with the horrible and idola∣trous adorations inuented by Sathan and his mem∣bers, to the shamefull deforming of thy godlie & goodlie institution: but maintaine, I humblie beseech thee, the true and vnpolluted vse thereof, till thy pleasure is to returne in the clouds to iudgement with great po∣wer and glorie, that it neuer be out of remembrance; and last of all, at our resurrection from death, appoint vs places of thine heauenly table, where we may taste the new wine in the kingdome of thy father, abiding with thine elect, Angels, and blessed Saincts for euer∣more,
A meditation of the trust which a Christian soule ought to haue in the passion of our Lord Iesu, with a thanks-giuing vnto God for the manifold benefits thereof.
I Might despaire verelie, because of my manifold sinnes and negligen∣ces without number; if it were not that thy word, O God, was made flesh, and dwelt amongst vs. But I can not, neither dare I now de∣spaire; because that seeing when we were enimies, we were reconciled by the death of thy Sonne, who being obedient vnto thee to the death, yea euen to the shamefull death of the Crosse, hath taken awaie the hand-writing of our Page 600 sinnes, and nailing the same to his crosse, hath cruci∣fied both sinne and death. How much more are we now reconciled, and saued by him? For all the hope, certitude, and surenesse of all my trust is in his preti∣ous bloud, which was shead for vs, and for our salua∣tion. In him doo I take hartening, and by meanes of him, who sitteth at the right hand of God, and sueth for vs, I looke backe with a carelesse eie; and now tru∣sting in him (in whome I am alreadie risen againe and receiued, alreadie mounted vp into heauen, and there doo sit among the Angels) I haue a desire to come vnto thee, not hauing mine owne righteousnesse, but that which I haue through the same thy Sonne our Lord Iesu Christ.
For the which, O most mercifull God, and most gentle louer of mankind, we giue thee thanks; who through Iesus Christ thy Sonne our Lord, when we were not, didst mightilie make vs, and when we were lost through our sinnes, most maruellouslie didst deli∣uer and recouer vs againe. To thy goodnesse, I saie, doo I giue thanks, and manifold praises doo I shew foorth to thee with all my hart & mind, which through the vnspeakable loue (wherewith thou hast vouchsa∣fed of thy maruellous goodnesse to loue vs wretches, and vnworthie to be beloued) didst send the same thine onelie begotten Sonne from thy bosome, vnto our Common-weale, to saue vs sinners, which were at that time the children of perdition and damnation. I render vnto thee all possible thanks for his holie incar∣nation, and natiuitie, and for the blessed virgin Marie his mother, vpon whom he did vouchsafe to take flesh for vs, and for our saluation, to the intent that like as he is verie God of God, so he might be verie man of man. I giue thee condigne thanks for his passion and crosse; for his death and resurrection; for his ascen∣sion into heauen, and his seate of his Maiestie on thy Page 601 right hand. I giue thee thanks, I saie, for that most sa∣cred shedding foorth of his pretious bloud, wherewith we are redeemed; and also for the most holie and quic∣kening sacrifice of his blessed bodie & bloud, which this daie, and dailie in thy Church we feed of, and drinke of, wherewith also we are washed, cleansed, and sancti∣fied, & are made partakers of the onelie high diuinitie. Finallie, I giue thee thanks for the maruellous and vnspeakable charitie and loue, wherewith thou didst loue vs vnwoorthie persons, and didst saue vs by thine onelie and beloued sonne. For so thou didst loue the world, that thou gauest thine onlie begotten sonne, to the intent that none, which trulie beleeue in him shuld perish, but haue euerlasting life. And this thing verilie is euerlasting life, to knowe thee, and also Iesus Christ whom thou hast sent, to be verie God, by an vpright faith, and works woorthie for such a faith. Wherefore with all my hart and mouth I doo confesse, praise, and blesse thee, O God the father vnbegotten, and thee O God the sonne onlie begotten; also thee O holie Ghost and comforter. To thee O blessed trinitie be all glorie, and praise, & thanks, togither with all power, domini∣on, and might, in the world of worlds for euer,
A meditation to be vsed after the receiuing of the holie Communion, to stirre vs vp through the consideration and knowledge of so great a benefit, to giue God thanks therefore, and to be gratefull for his goodnesse.
BLesse the Lord O my soule, and all mine entrailes laud his most holie name. Forget not O my soule the infinite mercies and continuall be∣nefits receiued of his most liberall hand; amongst the which, well maist thou reckon that which hath been this daie giuen thee, that so in∣finite Page 602 a Maiestie should vouchsafe to visite thee, to en∣ter into thy homelie habitation, and with surpassing clemencie, wholie to giue himselfe to thee in this most maruellous Sacrament.
O thou incomprehensible God, no lesse pitifull than puissant, what shall I saie, seeing the depth of thy bot∣tomlesse mercies hath vouchsafed to impart it selfe to the depth of mine vnspekable miseries! What thanks can I yeeld thee for so great kindnesse and loue, who wot right well, that if all the members and muscles of my bodie were turned into tongues, yet could I not condignelie thanke thee for the least of all thy benefits. How much lesse able shall I then be with one tongue to laud and thanke thee for this present gift, being of so great and inestimable a value?
If Elizabeth the mother of the fore-runner Saint Iohn Baptist, being visited of the most sacred virgin Marie thy mother, when she perceiued thy presence, illuminated with the holie Ghost, was so astonished thereat, as she cried out alowd, and said; Whence haue I this, that the mother of my Lord dooth come to me? How much more iustlie am I to be astonished, and to crie out; Whence haue I this, that the onlie sonne of that most blessed virgin, euen my Lord himselfe, and Lord of all Angels, heauen and earth, and of all the creatures of the world, hath visited me, entred into me, honoured me, fostered me, and filled me in this most woorthie Sacrament? Whence haue I this, that a Lord so high, so puissant, so woorthie of all worship, hath vouchsafed to come vnto mee a most wretched worme; to me the most heinous sinner of all sinners; to me that haue so manie times offended him, to me that with my lewdnesse and abhominations haue so oft banished and expelled him out of me?
Woorthilie did the holie Prophets Iob and Da∣uid, woonder at thy diuine clemencie, at what time Page 603 they said; What is man that thou so magnifiest him? What is the sonne of man that thus thou visitest him? But much greater reason haue we most wret∣ched caitifs to saie the same in these our daies; What is man that thou hast thus extolled him: as for man, to make thy selfe man, and to giue thy selfe in foode to man, wherewith he may euerie daie be visited and re∣freshed? And albeit all men may maruell at this thy diuine clemencie vsed towards man: much more yet may I maruell, which of all men am the basest and vn∣woorthiest.
If Dauid, when king Saule would haue chosen him for his sonne in lawe, reputed himselfe vnwoor∣thie, and said; What am I, or what is my life, or my fathers linage, that I should be a sonne in lawe to a king? How much more cause haue I now to saie the same; seeing the King of all kings hath admitted mee to so high a dignitie? What am I: or what is my fa∣thers offspring? What other am I, than a vessell of corruption, a sacke of doong; and filth ingendred of a most vile & stinking matter, touching my flesh, which ere long shall yeeld food to woormes: and am concer∣ning my soule all soiled with sinne, fraught with igno∣rance and forgetfulnesse, with manie mo defects, and wicked inclinations?
What other is my life than a vanitie, a puffe of wind, a smoke, and shadowe that quicklie vanisheth, a confusion and disorder, a continuall exercise of sinne and transgressions of thy commandements? Such hath my life, mine exercises, and mine inclinations beene; such also is my father Adams offspring, and all his ancient familie; sith all that descend of him are ge∣nerallie borne thus blemished, thus bent, and all like children of a traitour, as he was adiudged to suffer death.
Wherefore, O most puissant Prince, and dreadfull Page 604 King aboue all kings, thou knowing me and my life to haue been such, & much woorse than I either knowe or can imagine, hast vouchsafed to receiue me; not for a sonne in lawe, but for thine owne child, and as a yoon∣ger one right tenderlie beloued. For such are fathers accustomed most of all to cherish; as now thou hast cherished and fed me with this Angels bread, wherein is found all sauour, and all diuine delight.
S. Luke reporteth, how one of those ghests, that were at table with thee in a prince of the Pharisies house, should saie; Blessed are those that shall eate the bread of life in the kingdome of heauen: but much more happie am I, if I can knowe it, and gather fruit out of it, which in this life rate the bread, wherein is the selfe-same God spirituallie by faith conteined; and therewith receiue a pledge to eate him in his euerla∣sting kingdome. Happie eke are all those that shall dis∣pose themselues to repaire to this most gratious ban∣ket, wherein are found all sweet tasts and sauours, all riches and renowme, and all the things that happilie be to be desired.
Yea, what is it that man may long for, that is not here offered him? If he desire delights and pleasures; here be the sincerest, the choisest, & the sweetest. If he wish for wealth; behold here the treasure that inrich∣eth both heauen and earth. If state and souereigntie be sought for, behold here the highest dignities that can be possiblie atchieued. Sith by meanes of this most venerable sacrament the soule is vnited to God, and resteth associated, and reuerenced with quires of Angels that assist about it.
Wherefore, O ye blind beguiled children of Adam, what other pleasure & profit doo you prowle for? Why doo you (as Esaie saith) spend your monie; and not vp∣on bread? Why imploie you your trauell. and not in this that may satiate and content you? Why loose you Page 605 such satietie, such sweetnesse, and such treasure, as is here conteined in this gift? Doo not thou so, O my soule, doo not thou so; be not thou henceforth anie more blind; see thou seeke not anie carnall contentations, hauing meanes to be a partaker of this meere spiri∣tuall and celestiall delight.
Take no more taste and pleasure in the food of death (whereof thou earst didst feed) hauing this bread of life giuen and granted vnto thee. Regard not the pomps, and most vaine vanities of this world; seeing thou maiest enioie in this Sacrament the true happinesse, and good things, which in the world cannot possiblie be atteined. Imbrace and keepe this treasure, which sufficeth to make thee trulie happie; possesse this good, which exceedeth all good; content and quiet thy selfe in this repose, which may abundantlie satiate thy desire: and be not ingratefull to this thy benefactor; but yeeld him hartie thanks, as well for this, as all other bene∣fits heretofore, from the beginning bestowed vpon thee.
Howbeit, my gratious and mercifull Lord, how can I yeeld thee woorthie thanks; the debt I owe thee be∣ing so great, and mine abilitie to discharge the same so small? With all my hart, and with all my might, and power, I thanke thine infinite liberalitie, for hauing created me to thine owne likenesse and similitude, and for hauing for my conseruation created likewise so great varietie of other creatures: and much more doo I laud & blesse thee, for that with thy pretious death and bloud-shed thou hast redeemed me: ye a O Lord & now I doo with all my bowels and powers of my body & soule thanke thee, blesse thee, & adore thee, for hauing left vs this he auenlie and most woorthie Sacrament; and for giuing me miserable wretch, the grace eftsoons to receiue it, that eftsoones I may thereby be made partaker of the fruit of thy redemption.
Page 606 And bicause these my thanks and praises be slender, weake, and vnwoorthie of such gifts as I haue recei∣ued: I beseech thy sweet sonne Iesus Christ, to supplie my want. Here vouchsafe to sound perpetuall peales of praises for me; euerlastinglie to adore thee for mee: to reuerence thee for me, and to offer the continuall sa∣crifice of thanks-giuing for me. And yet for that, all that I can doo is finite, & is not correspondent to the value of the benefit I haue this daie receiued, being infinite. Those most holie and gratefull thanks, which thou Lord Iesu gauest to thy Father, minding to grant vs this so inestunable a gift, euen those same, which are infinite, doo I offer both to him and thee to∣gether. For verelie beleeue I, that for this cause didst thou yeeld them; that so incomparable a gift should not be destitute of condigne graces, and thanks. And now doo I humblie beseech thee, of thy most bonntifull clemencie, that seeing it hath pleased thee to satiate and honour me with thy most worthie presence in this venerable and redoubted Sacrament; thou wilt also vouchsafe to grant me thy grace to be alwaies grate∣full, and to answere woorthilie to this most happie vi∣sitation.
This hath alwaies beene thy woont, my Sauiour and Redeemer; that where through thy goodnes thou hast vouchsafed to enter, there hast thou departed of thy blessings most abundantlie; heaping grace vpon grace; and mercie vpon mercie. Thou enteredst into Matthew the Publicans house; and from a Publi∣can thou madest him thy Disciple, & an Apostle. Thou enteredst into Zacheus house; when by and by he was changed from his old custome: and health was giuen to all his houshold. Thou enteredst into Sunon Pe∣ters house, & drauest awaie the ague from his wiues mother; leauing hir whole and comforted. Eft soones didst thou enter into Martha & good Marie Magda∣lens Page 607 house; and what tongue can tell the spirituall ri∣ches thou gauest to that house; and the ineffable gra∣ces thou endowedst those two sisters with▪ Finallie, the figure of this Sacrament, to wit, the arke of the old Testament, because it entred into Obed Edoms house, was cause that thy blessings were powred vpon him, and all his, paieng plentifullie for the harborough that in that house was offered thee.
Wherefore, O most sweet and welcome ghest, see∣ing through thy goodnesse thou hast vouchsafed this daie to enter into my poore cottage, send downe with∣all thy holie blessings thereon; by meanes whereof, I may woorthilie answer vnto this thine incomparable mercie. Cleanse and fine this house, Lord, from all the filth thou seest in it. Repaire and doo some cost on it, least it decaie and fall to ruine; driue out the darke∣nesse in it, with the glistering beames of thy light; a∣dorne and decke it vp with the vertues and graces of the holie Ghost; that being thus cleansed, repaired, adorned, and illuminated, it may please thee to dwell therein, and neuer to depart. Tarrie still with me, O Lord, my comforter; the night draweth nigh, & with∣out thee shall I remaine in darkenesse, and so be sore endangered. O therefore, I saie, tarrie thou still with me, and depart not from this lodging. Thou hast affir∣med, O eternall truth, how thy whole delight is to dwell with the children of men, and how thou standest knocking at the doore, ready to euter and sup with such as shall open, and let thee in. Behold how I haue gi∣uen thee free entrance into me; and thou of thy good∣nesse hast admitted me to the sweet supper of thy most sacred bodie. Abandon me not therfore my souereigne Lord, ne depart thou from me; drawe me after thee; knit and tie me fast to thee; yea drawe me quite out of my selfe, sith I am much better in thee, than in me. In thee I liue, in me I die; in thee I remaine firme and Page 608 constant, in me I decaie and come to naught.
Renew me therefore, O my sanctifier, and through loue transforme me into thee, & grant me so to liue in thee, as that I onlie liue to thee, I onlie loue thee, I onlie delight in thee, that thou be mine onlie ioie, mine onlie comfort, mine onlie foode, wherewith my soule may in such sort be refreshed, as that all other meats seeme loathsome and vnsauorie to it. This onlie haue I chosen, this onlie shall suffice me, with this alone will I liue contented, satisfied, and happie; vntill the desired daie come, when I shall feed of thee in another forme, and enioie thee continuallie in the companie of all the elect and blessed Saincts of the celestiall court, where with the Father and the holie Ghost, thou liuest and reig∣nest euerlastinglie,
Another fruitfull meditation of the Christian soule, exhor∣ting to thankefulnesse, newnesse of life, and holie conuersati∣on; in deepe consideration of the great benefits of Christ recei∣ued in the Sacrament, to be read after the receiuing of the holie Communion in the Church (if time serue) or at home, especiallie on Easter daie.
THat thou maist not doubt, O my soule, of so great wealth and felici∣tie, as is wrought for thee in these holie mysteries of Christ (whereof now thou hast beene a partaker) by his glorious death and resurrecti∣on; let vs a little refresh our selues with the contemplation thereof, & as it were chaw the cud, by calling them often to our remembrance; that so taking great delite in the sweet taste thereof, we may the lesse feele or perceiue the bit∣ternesse Page 609 of this miserable life. Go to therefore, O my soule, call to mind now, I saie; and wee that therefore thou hast receiued into thine owne possession, the euerlasting veritie, euen our Lord and Sauiour Ie∣sus Christ, to confirme to thy conscience the truth of all this matter.
Thou hast receiued him, if in true faith & repentance of hart thou hast receiued him; if in purpose of amend∣ment of life thou hast receiued him; for an euerlasting gage and pledge of thy saluation. Thou hast receiued his bodie, which was once broken; and his blood, which was once shed for the remission of thy sinnes: thou hast receiued his bodie to haue within thee the Father, the Sonne, and the holie Ghost, for to dwell with thee, to indue thee with grace, to strengthen thee against thine enimies, to helpe thy weaknesse, to possesse thee with peace and gladnesse, to make thee thankfull to thy re∣deemer, and carefull to lead a godlie conuersation, and to comfort thee with their presence in weale and wo: thou hast receiued his bodie, I saie, to indue thee with euerlasting righteousnesse, to assure thee of perpetuall blisse, and life eternall. For with Christ, by true faith, art thou, my soule quickened againe from death of sin, to life of grace; and in hope translated from corporall and euerlasting death, to the euerlasting life of glorie in heauen; where now from hencefoorth thy conuersa∣tion indeed should be, and thy hart and desire alwaie fixed and set.
Doubt not therfore, O my soule, of the truth of this matter; how great and high so euer these mysteries and things be. For it becommeth thy God to doo no lit∣tle deeds; how impossible so euer they seeme to thee. But praie to God hartilie, that thou maist haue faith to perceiue these great mysteries; that by faith thou maist certeinlie knowe and beleeue nothing to be im∣possible with God. Onelie bring thou faith, I saie, to Page 610 Christs holie word and Sacraments, and thou shalt well feele and perceiue the benefits of Christ conteined therein to thy comfort. Let thy repentance shew thy faith also; let thy purpose of amendement and obedi∣ence of thy hart to Gods lawe hereafter declare thy true beleefe. And now endeuour thy selfe, O my soule, to saie with S. Paule: From hencefoorth my conuer∣sation is in heauen; from whence I looke for a Saui∣our, euen the Lord Iesus Christ, which shall change our vile bodies, that they may be made and fashioned like to his glorious bodie; which he shall doo by the same power, whereby he rose againe from death, and wherby he shall be able to subdue all things vnto him∣selfe.
For else, what shall it auaile thee, O my soule, to bee escaped, and deliuered from the filthinesse of the world, through the knowledge of thy Lord and Sauiour Ie∣sus Christ, if thou be intangled againe therewith, and be thereby ouercome againe? Certeinlie, it had beene better neuer to haue knowne the waie of righteous∣nesse, than after it is knowne and receiued, to turne back-ward againe from the holie and most righteous commandements of God giuen vnto thee: so shall the prouerbe be verified of thee, where it is said; The dog is returned to his vomit againe, and the sow that was washed, to hir wallowing in the mire againe. Oh what a shame were it for thee, O my soule, being thus so cleerelie and freelie washed from thy sinnes, to re∣turne to the filthinesse thereof againe? What a great follie were it, thus indued with righteousnesse, to loose it againe? Yea, what wilfull madnesse were it, to loose the inheritance that thou art now set in, for the vile and transitorie pleasures of sinne? Finallie, what vn∣naturall vnkindnesse should it be, where thy Sauiour Christ of his meere mercie is come to thee, to dwell within thee as thy ghest; to driue him from thee, and Page 611 to banish him violentlie out of thee; and in stead of him in whome is all grace and vertue, to receiue the vn∣gratious spirit of the diuell, the founder of all vnrigh∣teousnesse, naughtinesse and mischiefe? Oh my soule, how canst thou find in thy hart, I saie, to shew such extreame vnkindnes to Christ Iesus, which hath now so gentlie called thee to mercie, offered and giuen him∣selfe vnto thee, and is now entred into thee? Yea, how darest thou be so bold, to renounce the presence of the Father, the Sonne, and the holie Ghost, (for where one is, there God all whole in Maiestie together with all his power, wisedome, and goodnesse is,) and fearest thou not the danger and perill of so traiterous a defi∣ance and departure?
O my soule, aduise thy selfe well what thou dooest, consider the dignitie thou art now set in, and how thou art therfore cleansed, washed, sanctified, and renewed, that thou shouldest from hencefoorth sinne no more; but serue God in true holinesse and righteousnesse all the daies of thy life, that in the end thou maist reigne with him in euerlasting life. If thou refuse so great grace whereto thou art called, what other thing doo∣est thou, than heape vp thy damnation more and more, and so prouoke God to cast his heauie displeasure vpon thee, and by his iust plagues to reuenge this thy moc∣kage of his holie Sacraments, in so great abusing of them? Be verie warie and well aduised therefore I saie, O my soule, how from hencefoorth thou dooest be∣haue thy selfe; and let not follie loose that thing, which grace hath so pretiouslie offered and purchased. Let not wilfulnesse and blindnesse put out so great light as is shewed vnto thee, but applie thy selfe to liue in Christ, that Christ may still liue in thee, whose fauour and assistance if thou haue, then hast thou euerlasting life alreadie within thee, then can nothing hurt thee: whatsoeuer is hitherto done amisse and committed, Page 612 Christ (thou seest) hath offered thee pardon, and cleere∣lie receiued thee into his fauour againe; in full suretie whereof, thou hast him now presentlie inhabiting and dwelling within thee. Onlie take good hart vnto thee, shew thy selfe thankefull in thy life, and determine with thy selfe to refuse, auoid, detest and abhorre all such things in thy conuersation, as should offend the eies of his mercie. Endeuour thy selfe now, I saie, O my soule, that waie to rise vp againe, which waie thou hast fallen into the pit or sinke of sin; as if by thy tong thou hast offended, now thereby rise againe, and glori∣fie God therewithall; accustome it to laud and praise the name of God, as thou hast therewith dishonoured it. And as thou hast hurt the good name of thy neigh∣bour, or otherwise hindered him; so now intend to re∣store it to him againe: for without restitution, God ac∣cepteth not thy confession, nor yet thy repentance. It is not ynough to forsake euill, except thou set thy courage to doo good. By what occasion soeuer therfore thou hast offended, I saie turne now the occasion vnto the honouring of God, and profiting of thy neighbour.
True it is, O my soule, that sin is strong, and affe∣ctions vnrulie; yea and hard it is to subdue and resist thy nature so corrupt and leauened with the sowre bit∣ternesse of the poison, which thou receiuedst by thé in∣heritance of thine old father Adam, but yet neuerthe∣lesse, be of good cheere, for Christ thy Sauiour hath o∣uercome the world, and all other enimies for thee. Sin shall not haue power ouer thee, for thou art now vnder grace: though thy power be weake, yet Christ is risen againe to strengthen thee in the battell; his holie spi∣rit shall helpe thine infirmities. In full trust therefore of this confidence, O my soule, take a good hart vnto thee; I saie, be of a good courage in the Lord, and put vpon thee all the holie armour of God, that thou maist stand fast against the enimies, which would againe as∣sault Page 613 and subdue thee, and bring thee againe into their thraldome, slauerie, and bondage.
Remember now O my soule, that thou art brought from thy vaine conuersation, and that thy freedome is purchased neither with gold nor siluer, but with the deere price of the most pretious hart bloud of that in∣nocent and immaculate lambe Iesus Christ. And e∣uen now at the least O my soule, begin and take in hand in the name and feare of God, to purge the old leauen of sinne and wickednesse, that corrupteth and sowreth the sweetnesse of thy life, before the maiestie of God, that thou maist be as new and fresh dough, void of all sowre leauen of wickednesse; so shalt thou shew thy selfe to be sweet bread to God, that he may haue his delight in thee; so shalt thou declare thy selfe a wor∣thie host for such a ghest, and that Christes gifts and graces haue their effect in thee, and that thou hast the right beleefe and knowledge of his holie mysteries now receiued of thee: finallie, so shalt thou, in applieng thy faith to the vertue of this holie Sacrament, and in thy life and conuersation conforming and fashio∣ning thy selfe to the example and signification meant thereby, be most certaine and sure to liue in this life happilie, & in the world to come to dwell with Christ (whome thou hast now receiued) in euerlasting glorie, which God for his mercies sake, and for the deere and pretious merits of his onelie Sonne our Lord and Sauiour Iesus Christs sake grant vnto vs,
SO great and manifold are thy benefits O most good and mercifull God, towards mankind, as all people in euerie place ought greatlie to laud, woorthilie to praise, and highlie to extoll & magnifie thy blessed name. For what thing can be more pleasant to men, Page 614 than that thou dooest easilie heare them at what time they call vpon thee, for such things as they stand in need of? In what other good things ought we more to re∣ioice of, than this, for that thou yeeldest thy selfe ap∣peased and fauourable to our iniquities? Or why bee we not right happie and blessed, whome thou diddest vouchsafe to annexe vnto thy selfe in thy sacred con∣gregation, in feeding our hungrie stomachs with spi∣rituall good things, and heauenlie deinties, and refre∣shing vs continuallie with the most exquisite and well furnished banket of thy blessed Sacraments, making vs to eate aboundantlie of thy heauenlie Manna and food of Angels, and to drinke plentiouslie of the full cup of thy holie spirit and diuine grace, to our endlesse comfort and consolation in thee?
Oh Lord, thou dealest fauourablie euen with all o∣ther creatures also for thine elects sake. Thou stabli∣shest the mountaines; stillest the raging of the sea; ap∣peasest the madnesse of the people, and dooest refresh and lighten with great ioie the vttermost parts of the earth, through the brightnesse of the heauenlie fires. Thou sendest seasonable weather, and timelie sho∣wers, whereby onlie commeth fertilitie of the feelds, woonderfullie garnished with all kinde of fruites, whereby both men and beasts haue aboundantlie wherewith to feed. Grant thou therefore thus much also vnto vs (who art the author of so manie good things) that we may alwaie be mindfull thereof, to render most condigne thanks vnto thee, and that an alteration of our old leauen being now made through the vertue of this blessed Sacrament, which we haue receiued, we may like the eagle from time to time, re∣new our youth in godlines of life, and vse to our health and comfort those things, which thou so louinglie be∣stowest vpon vs, thorough Iesus Christ our Lord,
At the solemnization of Matrimonie, praie thus:
ALmightie God, and most mercifull father, who hast ordeined marriage to be kept without blame or breach to the end, not suffering that anie should put asunder those, whome thou hast ioined together. Sancti∣fie those, which are called to this estate of life, to keepe it according to thy holie institution and ordinance. And furthermore, as thou requirest that we should loue thee aboue all things, esteeming more thy fauour, than either the ri∣ches or honour of this world, or life it selfe: so we be∣seech thee, O Lord, to teach vs how to vse these transi∣torie things, that we abuse them not in setting our harts vpon them, or delighting more in them than is meete; but that we may so loue our husbands, children, house & lands, and our owne liues, or whatsoeuer thou giuest vs for our comfort heere for a time, that we may keepe still the highest degree of our loue for thee our spi∣rituall husband; so that where the question shall be be∣tweene thee and anie thing else, we may make losse of all things, to abide perfectlie in our loue towards thee to the end; to whome, with the father, and the holie ghost, be all laud and praise for euer and euer,
At the buriall of anie, meditate and praie, as followeth:
O Lord Iesu Christ Sonne of God, which art the giuer of eternall life; we hartilie thanke thee, because thou art inwardlie touched with mercie towards vs, oppres∣sed both with temporall and euerlasting Page 616 miseries: thou hast tasted death, and with thy flesh thou hast touched the graue, and earth, wherby it is sanctified and made light to the godlie, so that it can not keepe them in etternall death. According to thy commandement, there stand the bringers and mini∣sters of death, euen sinne and Satan: but thou pluck∣est the faithfull out of the iawes of death; bringest them to a new life; through the comfort of thy Gospell teachest them to speake, and sound foorth thy glorie; cōmendest them in this life to the mother the Church, and at length, death and all euils being subdued, thou wilt bring them into thy kingdome.
Wee humblie beseech thee, take mercie vpon thy Church in these miserable daies. For she is as a wi∣dowe destitute of all worldlie helpe, and dependeth on∣lie vpon thy mercifull aid and protection. Speake vnto hir with cheerfull voice, and saie; Weepe not: powre vpon thine, the true light of faith and comfort; lift vs vp in the mids of death with a confidence of thy pre∣sence, and hope of eternall life. Driue awaie the gard of death; teach vs to set foorth thy truth, and at the length, let vs be placed with the sweet mother of all Saints, in the true countrie of that happie citie Ie∣rusalem, where we shall for euermore enioie the bles∣sed sight both of thee, and thy heauenlie congregation,
Another deuout praier at burials.
LORD, thou art God for euer; short is our life; alwaies some of vs die; & other some come into the world: and with thee a thousand yeeres bee but one daie, yea as the least mi∣nute of an houre. This life passeth awaie as dooth a dreame, euen as grasse in the field; greene to daie, Page 617 and drie to morowe. If thou be displeased, then we be lost; if thou chasten, then shrinke we for feare. For tho∣rough sinnes we be dead vnto thee. Certes Lord, if thou haue respect to our sinnes, who shall continue? Shew vs how manie be the daies of our life, that we may dispend them wiselie to the praise of thy name; least that we falselie, trusting vpon long life, might come vnto death. Oh good God, how fraile and corrupt a worke be we indeed:? Euen but verie dust and ashes; and the length of our daies be as the flower in the field. No man can deliuer himselfe from death; no man can saue his owne soule from the graue: thou onelie, O Lord, must doo it; namelie, to such as beleeue in thee. O my GOD, haue mercie vpon me, and take mee not awaie vnprouided, in the middest of my daies; but let me go to my graue in a full age. Let me remember mine end, that when I shall depart out of this life, I be not depriued of euerlasting life. Let me beare al∣waies before mine eies, the shortnesse of this life; and what a vanitie, and what a thing of naught it is; as well the men themselues, as all their things and af∣faires.
Staie my feete, O Lord, that at no time they slip with some cruell zeale or enuie, that I might haue at the vngodlie, which for the most part passe their liues quietlie, and die more quietlie. I beseech thee, let not thy chosen persons be discouraged, nor offended, by this thy godlie prouidence, in ordering of worldlie things; nor shrinke from thee by reason thereof: but rather let vs remember in what dangers in verie deed these vngodlie be in; and with how vnhappie a conclu∣sion and terme they close & finish their happie course. And againe on the contrarie part, what pleasantnesse of conscience; and what comfort and quietnesse shall followe this our vnquietnesse. Finallie, O good God, in the daie of my buriall, when all my friends shrinke Page 618 from me, doo not thou forsake me: when my father and mother, husband and children forsake me, vouchsafe thou, O Lord, to take me vp, and defend me from the roring lions, that wait for their praie; & lead mee safe∣lie through the vnknown countrie, & bring me happilie to the streets of the heauenlie Zion, wherein is the ha∣bitation of all that reioice in thee; and there set mee amongst thine Angels, before the face of thine owne Maiestie; where with the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Uirgins; yea and with all my deere parents and faithfull friends, in full measure of happinesse, passing excellent glorie, and su∣perabundant ioie of thanks-giuing and praise, I may magnifie thee, my God, among thy chosen holie ones, for euer and euer,
Another meditation of death.
O GOD, what other thing doo wee daily in this present life than heape sinne vpon sinne, and hourd trespas vpon trespas? So that this daie is woorse alwaies than yesterdaie; by increasing as daies, so sins; and therefore thine indignation, good Lord, against vs: but when we shall be let go out of the prison of this bodie, and so taken into thy blessed companie; then shall we be in most safetie of immortalitie and saluation; then shall come vnto vs no sicknesse, no need, no paine, no kind of euill to soule or bodie: but whatsoeuer good we can wish, that shall we haue; and whatsoeuer we loath, shall be farre from vs. Oh deere Father, that we had faith to behold these things accordinglie! Oh that our harts were persuaded thereof, and our affections inflamed Page 619 with the desire of them! Then should we liue in long∣ing, for that which now we most loath. Oh helpe vs, and grant that we being ignorant of things to come, and of the time of our death, which to thee is certaine, may so liue and finish our iournie here, that we may be readie; and then depart, when our departing may make most to thy glorie, and our comfort, through Ie∣sus Christ our Lord,
Another sweet meditation, of the longing of the soule to be with God; out of Saint Augustine.
O Kingdome of all worlds eternall, wherein is ioie surmounting all ioies; and the peace of God, which passeth all vnderstanding: wherein also the soules of all holie folke doo rest and reigne with thee, O Lord, in euerlasting ioie, mirth and gladnesse. When shall I enter into thee, that I may see my God, which dwelleth in thee? When shall I go thither, & behold this great sight? What is it that holds me backe? Wo is me, that my soiourning is prolonged: wo is me; how long shall it be said vnto me; Wait, and wait againe? And now to what purpose is my waiting? My Lord God, doo we not wait and watch for the Sauiour, our Lord Iesus Christ, to come and repaire our base bodies vn∣to the likenesse of his glorious bodie? We wait and watch, like wise virgins, with our loines girt, and our lamps burning, for the Lord our Bridegroome, when he should come from the Bridehouse, to fetch vs into his wedding. Come Lord Iesus, and tarie not: come Lord Iesu Christ; come visit vs in peace: come lead vs prisoners out of prison, that we may reioice before thee with a perfect hart: come our Sauiour, thou that art Page 620 longed for, of all nations and people; come shew thy countenance vnto vs, and we shall be safe: come my light, and my redeemer, my GOD, and my spouse, take my soule out of prison, that it may giue praise vnto thy name.
How long shall I be tossed in the waues of my mor∣talitie, crieng vnto thee Lord, and thou hearest me not? Lord heare me how I crie vnto thee out of this huge sea, and bring me to the hauen of endlesse blisse. Happie are they, O God, which are conueied out of this sea, and haue obteined to arriue at thee, the safest harbo∣rough of all hauens. O happie are they indeed, which are escaped alreadie from sea to shore; from banish∣ment home into their owne countrie; and from prison into a palace; enioieng their wished rest! Blessed are they that alreadie haue gained the garland of endlesse glorie, which they sought for here by manie tribulati∣ons; and ioie now in happie mirth for euer. O blessed are they indeed! O treble, and foure-times blessed are they, which being alreadie quite rid of all miseries, haue atteined to the kingdome of beautifulnesse, and euerlasting blissefulnesse, and are assured of their vnappearable glorie! For there is ioie endlesse; mirth sorowlesse; health griefelesse; waie without labour; light without darknesse; life without death. Happie therefore, I saie, are those, that alreadie haue escaped the shipwracke of this present miserable life, and ob∣teined the grace to come to so great ioies in heauen. But alas, we are yet still in the waues of the sea, long∣ing for thee, O Lord, the hauen of our sea. O Ierusa∣lem the heauenlie countrie of ours! O quiet countrie! we looke towards thee, and ken thee a farre off. Wee hale thee from this sea; we sigh vnto thee out of this vale of miserie, and labour with teares, if we may by anie meanes attaine vnto thee. O Christ, God, and the onlie hope of all mankind; our refuge and strength, Page 621 whose brightnesse inlighteneth our eies a farre off, as the beames of the sea-starre dooth in the mistie dark∣nesse of the stormie sea, to guide vs vnto thee our ha∣uen. Lord, gouerne our ship with thy right hand, by the helme of thy crosse, that wee perish not in the waues; that the tempest of the water drowne vs not, and that the deepe swalowe vs not vp: but with the hooke of thy crosse, plucke vs backe out of this vast sea, vnto thee our onlie comfort, whom we see waiting for vs a farre off, as the morning-starre, and as the daie∣sunne of righteousnesse, in maner with weeping eies, vpon the shore of the heauenlie countrie. Behold we, whom thou hast ransomed, doo crie vnto thee, yea euen we, as yet thy banished exiles, whom thou hast redee∣med with thy pretious bloud, doo crie vnto thee: heare vs, O God our Sauiour, the hope of all the ends of the earth, and of all them that be in the sea a farre off. We be conuersant in a troublesome sea, and thou standing vpon the shore, lookest at our perils. Oh saue vs for thy name sake, that we perish not. And Lord, grant vs so to keepe our course betweene Scylla and Charybdis, and to hold so with thee, that we may escape the dangers of both, and come safe to land without losse of ship, or fraight,
Another meditation of the happinesse of the good soule hence departing: at burials.
HAppie is the soule, which departing from the earthly bodie goeth direct∣lie into heauen: secure it is and qui∣et, and feareth neither enimie nor death. For it enioieth continuallie thy presence, O God, & vncessantlie beholdeth the most glorious Lord, whome she hath serued and loued, and whom now at the length full ioifullie and glori∣ouslie Page 622 she hath attained vnto.
And this glorie of so great blessednesse, neither time shall diminish, nor anie wicked person take awaie. The daughters of Zion haue seene hir, and counted hir blessed; euen the Queenes and the concubines haue praised hir, saieng: Who is she that commeth vp out of the desert, abounding in pleasure, leaning vpon hir welbeloued? Who is she that looketh foorth as the morning; faire as the Moone; pure as the Sunne; terrible as an armie with banners? How cheerefullie goeth she out, hastneth, runneth, when all amazed shee heareth hir beloued saieng vnto hir on this wise: Arise my loue, my faire one, and come awaie. For behold, the winter now is past, the raine is changed and gone a∣waie, the flouds appeere in our earth, the time of the singing of the bird is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. The fig-tree hath brought foorth hir yong figs, and the vines with their small grapes haue cast a sauour. Arise my loue, my faire one, and come awaie; my doue that art in the holes of the rocke, in the secret places of the staires, shew me thy sight; let me heare thy voice, for thy voice is sweet, and thy sight comelie. Come awaie my chosen, my faire one, my doue, mine vnspotted one, my spouse, come a∣waie, and I will put thee into my bed-chamber, be∣cause I haue longed after thy beautie. Come awaie, that thou maist triumph in my presence with mine Angels, whose companie I haue promised thee. After manie perils and labour come awaie, enter into thy maisters ioie, the which no man shall take from thee,
Another which may be vsed on all Saincts daie.
OH happie are all thy Saincts, O Christ, which haue passed ouer the sea of this mor∣talitie, and attained vnto the hauen of per∣petuall quietnesse, securitie and peace, where Page 623 they are at rest, and alwaie ioifull and merrie! Wher∣fore of thy tender loue I beseech thee, O Christ, who art without care of thy selfe, be carefull for vs; who needest not to care for incorruptible glorie, haue thou a consideration of our manifold miseries. O our God, who hast chosen a people to thy selfe, and endued them with glorie, making them both immortall of thine im∣mortalitie, and ioifull through thy blessed sight; I be∣seech thee be thou alwaies mindfull of vs, and helpe vs, who as yet in the salt seas of this life are tossed with the surges about vs. O thou goodlie gate, who art raised into a maruellous highnesse, helpe vs vile pauement, lieng much beneath thee; giue vs thine hand, and raise vp such as lie vpon the ground, that waxing strong out of weakenesse, we may be made couragious in battell. Make thou intercession for vs continuallie, and vncessantlie praie for vs wretches, and most negligent sinners, that through thy praiers we may be conioined to the holie companie of saincts, for otherwise we shall neuer be saued. For alas, we are verie fraile, weakelings of no courage, creatures gi∣uen to the seruice of the bellie and flesh, hauing in vs almost no sparkle of vertue, and yet placed vnder thy confession. O Christ, we are borne by the wood of the crosse through this great and wide sea, where are things creeping innumerable, both small beasts and great; wherein the most cruell dragon is, alwaie pre∣pared to deuour vs, wherein be the dangerous rocks, Scylla and Charybdis with other such like innume∣rable things, whereby the heedlesse and wauering in faith make shipwracke. Wherefore O Christ praie for vs, O good Christ praie thou (we saie) for vs; that through thy good praiers and merits, we may deserue, ship and merchandise being saued, to attaine vnto the port of perpetuall saluation, quietnesse, peace and se∣curitie, which neuer shall haue end,
After the seruice and common praier ended, praie thus:
O Iesu Christ, the verie true Aaron, and onlie high Bishop of our soule, which in thine own name art gone vp into the most holie place, and bearest our names before the Lord vpon thy shoulders for a continuall remembrance. Forsomuch as our offerings and sacrifice cannot be so perfect, but that through our frailtie some fault and imperfection shall be found therein in thy sight; vouch∣safe we beseech thee, O holiest of all holies, and our most perfect high priest, in mercie to beare the iniqui∣ties of our publike praiers, and common sacrifice, which we thy people with one accord, by thy grace, haue heere at this time made, and offered vnto God the Father, in thy name. Pardon, O pardon our dul∣nesse and coldnesse in deuotion; and let this our obla∣tion be alwaies vpon thy forehead, to cause these our burnt offerings to be presented and accepted, for a sweet sauour of rest before the Lord our God; that through thy onelie mediation, he being pacified, our sinnes pardoned, and we gratiouslie reconciled and sanctified, may be woorthie often to haue accesse to thy mercie-seate, to woorship thee in thy holie Temple; and now as thy seruants, to go in peace, to glorifie thee in all holie obedience to thy word, & to doo vnto the poore as much as we can, So be it.
Or else thus.
ALmightie God, which hast giuen vs grace at this time with one accord to make our com∣mon supplications vnto thee: and dooest pro∣mise, that when two or three be gathered to∣gither Page 625 in thy name, thou wilt grant their request; ful∣fill now O Lord the desires and petitions of thy ser∣uants, as may be most expedient for them; granting vs in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come, life euerlasting,
When the people arise to depart out of the Church, saie thus to thy selfe.
RIse vp, O Lord, arise, and let thine eni∣mies be scattered; yea, let all them that hate thee, and prophane thine honour, flee before thee: but gather the Saincts togi∣ther continuallie, and let them neuer de∣part from thy Church, So be it.
So soone as you be out of the Church dore saie:
BLessed bee the glorie of the LORD out of his place.
Going homeward from the Church, meditate and praie as followeth.
O Christ, whose home is heauen, and whose house is a place of ioies e∣ternall; I thanke thee for all thy great mercies shewed towards me, especiallie for vouchsafing mee yet time to repent and liue godlie: grant also I beseech thee, that be∣ing trulie humbled before thee this daie, I may by my good life declare, that I haue not come to Church in vaine; and that with the penitent Publicane, I may returne home now to my house vn∣der thy protection, imbettered and iustified both before God and man, and in all holie obedience glorifie thee both at home and abroade, in my life and in my death,
BEhold me, O Lord, I praie thee, a poore seelie woorme here creeping & walking bodilie on earth for a time in this life, (which is our pilgri∣mage and passage to our home) and make me more mindfull of mine e∣uerlasting home, and very desirous to returne to the house of the li∣uing: that hauing mine affections inflamed by thy ho∣lie spirit, I may vtterlie contemne all earthlie things, and couet euermore to be present with thee: that my conuersatoin may be in heauen, whither grant mee at the length to come, there in my long home with thy children to be partaker of thy glorie, and to reioice as thy child, bicause of this my euerlasting home, and the great glorie thereof.
For I knowe, O Lord, that if mine earthlie house of this tabernacle (my bodie) were destroied, I haue a building of thee, euen an habitation not made with hands, but eternall in heauen; for the which I sigh, desiring to be further clothed with my house, which is from heauen, that mortalitie might be swalowed vp of life; bicause I knowe, that as long as I am at home in the bodie, I am absent from thee; therefore had I rather to be absent from the bodie, and to be present with thee, O Lord: neuerthelesse, whether I be at home, or from home, I am of good comfort, and alwaies of good cheere in thee: beseeching thee in mercie to grant me grace, to endeuour my selfe so to walke by faith in thy feare, after the inward appearance, that when we shall all appeare before the iudgement-seate of Christ, euerie one to receiue the works of his bodie, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad, I may be found accepted vnto thee,
When you enter into your house, praie.
THY fauour and grace, O God, be∣ing my guide, I enter into this my materiall house and home: beseech∣ing thy mercie so to blesse and pre∣serue my comming in, and my going out, both now and euer; that thy peace, O God, which passeth all vn∣derstanding, may be euermore ther∣in, and that I neuer turne back, or be deformedlie scat∣tered abroad from thee, vntill thou bring me home from this painfull pilgrimage, whereas be the first fruits of my spirit: So be it.
Being come home, praie.
LORD blesse vs, and make our hou∣ses, Churches of thy saints, linked in one confession and religion, that being by thee made all of one mind in this house, we may with the de∣uout Galileans praise thee for thy benefits both now and euer.
O Lord, now fashion & conforme me by thy holie spirit in this house of my peregrina∣tion; that herein, enioieng the benefit of perfect peace, most seemelie quietnesse, and comlie order, I may make thy mysteries my songs, vntill it shall please thee to lead me vpward, vnto the peace of thy children; euen into thy holie house, and mansion place, where thou hast placed vs; and where we shall will or desire no∣thing else; but to tarrie and remaine for euer. For whilest we are clad with this bodie, we doo as it were go astraie, and are strangers vnto thee, neither haue we here anie abiding place for euer; but we must seeke for one that is to come. To the which thou bring vs, Page 628 that camest from thence to redeeme vs, Iesus Christ the righteous; to whom with the Father and the ho∣lie Ghost, be all possible praise, and endlesse glorie, now and for euer,
Praiers before meate on Sundaie.
ALmightie God, and most mercifull Father, who hast taught vs that outward things defile not a man; but those that proceede from the hart: grant vs so to esteeme cleane, that thou pronouncest cleane, as that by praier and thankes-giuing, the vse of thy creatures made for our benefit, may be sanctified vnto vs: and of the other part, so to abhorre the pollusion of sinne, which onelie thou declarest to be common and vncleane, that wee may auoid by thy grace all murders, adultries, thefts, false-witnesse-bearing, vnlawfull desires, and concu∣piscence, and whatsoeuer thou hast forbidden touching our dutie towards men, or seruice and obedience vnto thee: that being thus sanctified by thy grace, we may alwaies haue free accesse vnto thy sanctuarie, in this life; and be receiued into the heauenlie Ierusalem, where no Canaanite, nor vncleane person shall enter in the life to come, through Iesus Christ our Lord: to whom with thee, and the holie Ghost, be all honour, glorie, and praise, for euer,
O Sonne of God, which by thy miracu∣lous multiplieng of a few fishes and loaues of bread, didst feed fiue thousand of thy people in the wildernesse, both inwardlie with spirituall comfort, and outwardlie with corporall food, thereby Page 629 shewing thy selfe in deed to be the Creator & susteiner of all things: we beseech thee, who onelie giuest vs the breath of life, and knowest what we need, and alone canst giue a reason, why after this maner thou wilt feed vs with corporall things; and not as thou dooest the startes without anie nourishment. Giue vnto thy Church, of thy wisedome, such things as are necessa∣rie for the sustentation of this life, wherein the ioies of the life eternall and to come doo begin. And albeit som∣time we lacke diuers things, although thine aduersa∣rie throweth stones at vs for bread, yet by thy power strengthen vs that we faint not. And that we which liue not by bread alone, or by our owne industrie; being armed with thy word and promise, (the spirituall food and sword of our soule) may receiue comfort thereby, and being protected by thee after a woonderfull sort, to liue and glorifie thee both here, and in the world to come,
Another praier before meat, to be vsed that daie that you haue receiued the holie Communion.
WE thanke thee, O eternall houshol∣der, for that after the banket of pa∣radise troubled by the diuell & man, thou hast againe of thine infinite goodnesse, through thy sonne, prepa∣red a sumptuous supper, and great feast. And for as much as thy peo∣ple, among whom the tower of thy daily iunkets was placed, togither with the most part of the world, do despise thy holie table, and suffer them∣selues to be caried about vnto the bankets of Satan, and vaine pleasures of this world. Thou hast vouchsa∣fed to call vs, most vnwoorthie wretches, being lame, blind, and beggerlie in this last age of the world, that the number of thine elect may be filled: yea, thou com∣pellest Page 630 some, lieng in the high waies, and about hed∣ges, by reason of the troubles and decaie of kingdoms, through the preaching of thy word, to come to the par∣ticipation of thy banket. We humblie beseech thee bring vs to thine heauenlie table; appoint vs a place therein euermore. Grant that from thy sonne, which is the bread and liuelie wine, we may drawe nourish∣ment and iuice; that the drinesse of our nature may be watered, and we at length taste of thy supper in the table of euerlasting life, and drinke the new wine of thy sonne, enioieng his visible sight in the blessed socie∣tie of all thine elect,
When you begin to eate, immediatelie blesse, and saie:
LORD God, which art the sancti∣fier of thy Saints, and the euerla∣sting suffisance that shalt be giuen to the hungrie: blesse thou from heauen these thy good creatures and great benefits, (which thou hast created to releeue the want of thy hungrie children, and to be re∣ceiued with thanks-giuing) with thy celestiall bene∣diction: that they may be as a healthfull medicine or remedie to our humane nature. And grant that by the inuocation of thy holie name, we now soberlie taking, and temperatelie and thankfullie tasting hereof, may therewithall receiue both helth of bodie, and safegard of soule, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
Or else praie thus for the sober vsing of your meate and drinke.
GRant, O most mercifull God, that so long as we wander in this wretched world, we may so take our meate and drinke, for the infirmi∣tie of our flesh, that we neuer be corrupted Page 631 by fine fare, (wherein the flesh delighteth) neither yet by anie foolish superstition; nor that we be drawne awaie at anie time from temperance and sobrietie: but let vs alwaies remember so to vse our abundance, that when we abound in all things most plentifullie, we may giue our selues to moderate abstinence conti∣nuallie; as also that we may patientlie beare all po∣uertie and hunger when it commeth: and that wee may so vse libertie in our meates and drinks, that al∣waies the glorie of thy name, O Lord, may be before our eies; and that such frugalitie may appeare in all our life, that we may continuallie seeke that satietie and fulnesse, whereby we shall be satiate for euer most abundantlie, when the glorie of thy countenance shall appeere vnto vs in the heauens, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
When you take salt, meditate a little to your selfe, and saie:
EUerie man shall be salted with fire, and euerie sacrifice shall be seaso∣ned with salt. Salt is good; but if the salt be vnsauourie, wherewith shall it be seasoned? O God, giue vs grace to haue salt in our selues, and to haue peace one with another; & let all our communication now be so well sauoured and powdered with salt; that is to saie, seasoned with godlie wisedome, that we knowing how and when to speake, all our talke may tend to the glorie of thy name, and the edifieng of our owne soules, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
In the meale time.
LET one of your children or seruants, that best can, reade this caution following; and after that, some chapter or portion of the Scripture Page 632 distinctlie and reuerentlie, that all at the boord may giue diligent eare therevnto.
The cautions or remembrances to be said of the child in the meate time.
REmember that these meates and drinkes heere set before you, are gi∣uen you of God to vse; but not to a∣buse in surfeting and dronkennesse.
Remember that they are giuen you to profit your bodies, and not to hurt your soules.
Remember that they are not gi∣uen to you alone, but vnto others also that need the same, by your liberalitie and almes to their releefe.
In eating and drinking, remember that you doo but feed the woormes, and pamper the carcasse, and ouer∣charge your soule if yee surfet with taking too much.
In the midst of your mirth and abundance, remem∣ber the poore prisoners, the sicke; and the afflictions of Ioseph, and his persecuted members, as though yee were in their case.
Finallie, remember the food of your soules, Christs bodie broken, and his bloud shead. Desire the meate, I saie, that lasteth for euer. Labour for it, and harken diligentlie to his word, which now shall be read vnto you. And first let vs praie.
A praier to be said of the child or seruant in the meale time, before the reading of the Chapter out of the Bible.
O Lord, which hast prouided these earthlie creatures for the feeding of our mortall bodies, direct vs carefullie to seeke, and with delight to tast of thy most holie word, that we may by that immortall seed be be∣gotten Page 633 to be thy children, and thereby be nourished and fed, vntill we become perfect men in thy Sonne Christ Iesus, So be it.
Or else thus:
BLessed Lord, which hast not onlie created all things for mans suste∣nance, but also hast caused all holie Scripture to be written for our learning, grant vs to be so conuer∣sant among these thy gifts purelie and holilie, because thou art so, that we may in such sort also now both reade thy word, heare it, marke, learne, and in∣wardlie digest this heauenlie food of our soules, that being well refreshed, and vertuouslie transformed both in bodie and soule, we may holilie walke in the strength thereof, to glorifie thee, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
After the Chapter read, saie thus:
BLessed are they that heare the word of God, and keepe it. Grant there∣fore we beseech thee, O Lord, that we may not onlie be readers and hearers of thy word, but dooers and followers also of the same; that bee∣ing now fed and nourished at thy hands both in soule and bodie, we may heere bee apt and readie to doo all good works, which thou hast prepared for vs to walke in, and in the life to come be receiued to thine eternall king∣dome of glorie, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
Another thanks-giuing after the receiuing of our bo∣dilie sustenance, and reading of some part of Gods holie word, or spirituall food.
O Lord our God, the onlie giuer of all good gifts, who of thy great mer∣cies hast made vs partakers both of the heauenlie gifts of thy holie word, to feed our minds; and of thine earthlie creatures, for the necessa∣rie sustenance of our weake bodies: grant we beseech thee, that through thy grace, these thy gifts may be made perfect vnto vs. Giue strength vnto our meate, that it may be our healthfull nourishment, not to breed in vs anie carnall desire of our vaine life; but to enable our bo∣dies with all good works, during the time of this pre∣sent pilgrimage, that so thy good creatures may be our good releefe so long as thou wilt, and so much as thou knowest to be expedient for vs thy seruants to finish our daies, which thou hast numbred in the edifieng of thy Saincts, and glorifieng of thy holie name.
And because, O Lord, we knowe nothing of our selues, but our ignorant harts are full of darkenesse; therefore we beseech thee, that this thy word (which is thine eternall wisdome) that now we haue read (and wherein we haue had our conference) may be in our minds a burning lampe and shining light of thine on∣lie truth in our harts, and in our soules a fruitefull seed of a new birth: so that thine owne image may be happilie againe restaured in vs; that we may bee made before thee a holie and righteous people, by the inward working of thy gratious spirit, dailie streng∣thening our harts in earnest loue of thy truth, and carefull obedience of thy commandements, through Page 635 Iesus Christ our onlie mediator, who in the sacrifice of his owne bodie, hath purchased vnto vs all thy fa∣uour, and hath giuen vs boldnesse to call vpon thee, vn∣to whome, O father, with thee, and the holie Ghost, bee all honour and glorie, world without end,
Another praier after meate on the Lords daie.
SAnctified be thy name, O eternall father, who by thy Sonne Iesus Christ our Lord, dooest euermore protect and prouide for thy Church both spirituall and corporall bles∣sings, bestowing most liberallie vp∣on vs all good things asked accor∣ding to thy will. Lift vp thine eies, O Christ, and behold thy miserable people, which de∣pend altogither vpon thy prouision, and acknowledge our selues to be fed, and defended miraculouslie by thee. Assist vs, that we also may withdrawe our eies from the consultations of flesh and bloud, and looke vp∣on thee our Lord, by whose blessing we eate and store our selues. And albeit, all worldlie helps do faile, yet bee thou a firie wall still about vs, and feed and defend thy Saincts in the feelds of comfort, vntill thou begin that ioifull Passouer, and euerlasting Sabboth, and bring vs out of the wildernesse, out of the sea and pe∣nurie, into the court of ioie, wealth, satietie, and euer∣lasting welfare. In the meane while, make vs thank∣full for the benefits which we enioie. Let vs gather vp the remnants or fragments cast from thy sumptu∣ous and rich banket vnto vs. Preserue our baskets, and blesse our store, euen the arts and schooles of learning, that by them thy doctrine may be spread a∣broade in the world. Make vs not onlie to honour thee for these thy corporall benefits, but much more for gi∣uing thy selfe vnto vs, which art the bread of life. Be Page 636 thou our King, defending vs in this life against the power of Sathan, and feed vs with thy heauenlie bread, which may nourish vs to eternall life and hap∣pinesse,
Another praier after meate that daie you haue recei∣ued the holie Communion.
SEeing that of thy free grace and mercie, O almightie God, thou hast made vs partakers this daie of all thy riches, both in spirituall and corporall things in Christ Ie∣su, who of our selues are vnwoor∣thie to haue gathered the crumbs vnder thy table, make vs more and more mindfull of so great mercies, and continuallie thankefull to thee for so manifold benefits, and to walke woorthie the honour and dignitie thou hast done vnto vs, that we may receiue the full accomplishment of thy loue towards vs in the life to come, through the same our Lord and Sauiour Iesus Christ, to whom with thee and the holie Ghost be all honour and glorie world without end,
Another thanks-giuing vnto God for our food, to be read and meditated vpon after meate.
WE thanke thee, O King of glorie, Lord of heauen and earth, because thou hast from our youth to this present houre, maruellouslie nouri∣shed vs, giuing vs meate, drinke, & cloathing, with all other things perteining to the sustentation of this present life. Naked and bare came we out of our mothers wombs: wee brought nothing into the world, but whatsoeuer we haue, thou Page 637 gauest the same; yea it was afore we were borne, and in our mothers wombe, didst thou ordeine things ne∣cessarie for this life, and sufferedst vs to enioie all things aboundantlie. Alwaie thou hast a care of vs, as a father vseth his children; neither art thou igno∣rant that we stand in need continuallie of thy bles∣sings, and dailie are destitute of new releefe, all which thou giuest after thy woonted and vnspeakable good∣nesse.
We acknowledge that whatsoeuer we haue or pos∣sesse, it is thy gift, and confesse thee to be the fountaine of all good things, and perceiue thy fatherlie goodnesse to be spread, not onlie ouer all mankind, but also ouer the liuing creatures. Thou giuest meate to all flesh, thou giuest fodder to the cattell, and feedest the yoong rauens that call vpon thee. For corporall goods are not distributed among men by chance, or without thy pro∣uidence; neither be they atteined by the onlie industrie and power of man. Thou giuest, and we gather; thou openest thy hand, and all liuing creatures are filled with thy blessing. For without thee all our endeuours be in vaine, and if thou blesse not our labours, we doo but eate the wind, and receiue no profit.
Great is thy mercie, O Lord, which disdainest not to prouide for sinfull flesh. O Lord our God, great are thy woonderous works, which thou hast done for vs, the which we can not so much as in thought comprehend, muchlesse in words expresse. When we would report and vtter them, we found them more than we could recite: but notwithstanding thine infinite benefits can not be comprehended of mortall man, yet will we not surcease to set foorth thy praise, nor hide thy good∣nesse from the sonnes of men; but will declare it, and speake of thy truth from one generation to another.
Blessed art thou, O our God, for euer and euer; all that is either aboue in the heauens, or in the earth be∣neath, Page 638 is thine. All things come from thee, and from thine hands we receiue whatsoeuer we possesse, and all these things of thy meere mercie, without our me∣rits or woorthinesse. Therefore we will magnifie the Lord, which doth mightie things in all corners of the earth, which dooth nourish vs from our mothers wombs, and giueth vs all good things. Grant vs like∣wise quietnesse of mind, and peace in our time, that thy grace may abound toward vs, continue, and defend vs while we liue.
O almightie and mercifull father, by thy breath we take life, the which through thy blessing doth abide in vs. In thee we liue, moue, and haue our being. For man liueth not by bread onlie, or by his owne wisedome and forecast, neither art thou bound with a fatall chaine of second causes, but by thy decree and will we enioie life, and all things created at thy becke, doo continue, while thou thinkest good. Giue vs not onlie store of all things to the necessitie of life, but grant also to our meate and drinke vertue and power to releeue and strengthen our bodies. For thou alone vpholdest all things by thy word of power. Unlesse thou dailie didst feed vs with the hidden grace, which thou dooest inspire into the bread to feed vs, all the heapes of our yeerelie increase were to small purpose. For be it, that there be aboun∣dance of wheate, wine, and of all other things, yet vn∣lesse they be watered by thy blessing, quicklie would all come to naught, and we should perish for lacke of food in all that aboundance. For all the substance that we possesse, what is it, without thou prosper and fructifie the same with thy blessing?
And albeit we feed on bread, yet we ascribe not our life to the vertue of the bread; neither is thy power tied to the bread; nor mans life included within the same, but altogither it dependeth vpon thy will and good pleasure. We beseech thee for thy most large and Page 639 bountifull liberalitie, cast vs not off in the time of our old age; and when our strength faileth vs, forsake vs not. Likewise, confirme our faith, that we distrust not thy promises; neither be driuen from thee by anie meanes, seeme they neuer so contrarie to naturall cau∣ses: but giue grace that we may withdrawe our eies from all worldlie consultations, and as touching our food, and other necessaries for this life, may wholie de∣pend vpon thee, and at no time go beyond the limits which thou hast prepared, through our Lord Iesus Christ, which liueth and reigneth with thee for euer∣more,
At noone-tide, or mid-daie, saie thus:
O Lord my light, my inlightning, and my welfare, from whence all true brightnesse and light doth come: grant I beseech thee, that as of thy goodnesse thou hast giuen me thus plentifullie this corporall light to compasse my bodie on euerie side, so of thy mercie giue me aboundant∣lie the spirituall light of thy grace and knowledge, which may inlighten my mind, and cause mine age to appeare as cleere as the noone daie. And because, O Lord, nothing in this world is so perfect and glorious, but when it is at the full, it will decrease and weare a∣waie: euen as we see in the course of this thy glorious creature the Sunne, which now being at the highest, will begin to drawe downeward. Graunt also, I be∣seech thee, that when at the age of fortie yeeres my bo∣die by little and little shall begin to fade, and the beau∣tie thereof wither, and drawe towards an end, it togi∣ther with my soule, in the daie of iudgement, may shine as bright as the Sunne, being now at the highest, doth; and may then begin to be glorified to the full, in Page 640 the region of the celestiall world, where the Sunne of all righteousnesse, and the brightnesse of perpetuall charitie and felicitie doth euerlastinglie shine, and in∣lighten all the holie companie of heauen,
Or else thus:
LOrd let thy fauour preuent vs, as doth the Sunne, which being now in the highest region, spreadeth his beames ouer all the parts of the earth. And as the brightnesse ther∣of shineth now without the clouds: after the same sort giue vs thy cleerenesse, and shewe thy bright countenance ouer vs, that lightened by thy word, wee may walke this daie thorough, circumspectlie and warilie in the waies of thy commandements; that be∣ing blinded in the mid daie, we run not headlong into darkenesse, neither grope at noone daie as in the night, wandering from the paths of thy iudgements. Open thine eies, O God, ouer vs, & be thou vnto vs a mightie protector this daie, a firmament of strength, a coue∣ring against heate & parching, a shadow at noone tide, a defender from offence, an assister from falling, a com∣forter of our soules, a lightener of our minds, and a gi∣uer of health and happines in Christ our Lord,
On Sundaie. A praier for the right keeping of the Sabboth or Sundaie.
O Eternall father of our Lord Iesu Christ, which togither with thy Sonne, and the holie Ghost, didst create man, & of thine infinite mer∣cie powredst into him a similitude of those things, which are most ex∣cellent in thee the fountaine of all goodnesse; and wouldest in that na∣ture, as it were in a Temple (seeing thine image to shine therein) continue, and celebrate the ioifull Sab∣both. When man had defaced thine image, and was pluckt from thee, it was thy will that the Sonne of thine owne substance should take our flesh vpon him, and be made a sacrifice for the sinnes of mankind, bee crucified, die; yea and on the great Sabboth daie of the lawe, lie in the graue, where the word after an vn∣speakable manner rested, that we may receiue againe the societie of the new and celestiall Sabboth.
We beseech thee grant that thy Sonne, which is the Lord of that Sabboth, may begin in this life to rest in vs; to heale the corruptions of our nature by his holie spirit, which is the heauenlie fire; to drie vp the dropsie of our flesh; that he may loue vs, which are bone of his bones, to make vs one with him through his spirit; and finallie, to bring vs into that glorious companie, where the eternall Sabboth is in such ex∣cellencie, as can not be conceiued by the hart of man.
In the meane while, let vs ceasse from this hurlie burlie, this toiling, and drudging, in the vaine trumpe∣rie of this world; so as once at last we may religiouslie halowe, and keepe the godlie rest of the new Sabboth, in doing such things as be allowable and pleasant vn∣to Page 642 thee, and sanctifieng thee in true rest and peace. Drawe vs from the vaine fantasies of present things, that we may attend and await vpon thee, and thy ioi∣full comming. Grant I saie, that we may be humbled vnder thy mightie hand, that we may knowe our in∣firmities, obeie thee in our crosses and correction, looke vnto thee in a liuelie faith and hope of a ioifull deliue∣rance, which then shall be perfect, when thy Sonne by his trumpet shall summon the new Sabboth, and drawe vnto him on high, where he sitteth at thy right hand exalted, thine elect; all thine enimies, which through beastlie arrogancie blushed not to contend and fight against thee, being subdued,
ALmightie God, and most mercifull heauenlie father, who after that in sixe daies thou haddest created all things, didst rest the seauenth daie, and sanctifiedst it; teach vs to keepe holie the Sabboth daie, not in shew and cercmonie onlie, but much more in euerie good woorke, which thou hast commanded; not in part for fashion sake, but who∣lie and to the end for thine owne glorie sake. And wee beseech thee, O Lord, to heale not onlie our heads and limmes, but also our harts and soules; that we may both in the lawfull keeping of thy Sabboth, and all o∣ther thy commandements, be obedient vnto thee the Lord of the Sabboth. And as thou hast taught vs the right keeping of the Sabboth to stand chieflie in doo∣ing of good one vnto another, giue vs grace continual∣lie to keepe this Sabboth inuiolable, and vnpropha∣ned, that we may onlie doo those things which are ho∣lie and acceptable vnto thee, and may ceasse from all our lewd works and waies. And especiallie, O Lord, Page 643 grant that we may auoid carefullie the first step of the ladder that leadeth to that horrible sinne of blasphe∣mie, which is not to be forgiuen, neither in this world, nor in the world to come,
Ghostlie Meditations, with the which it is meete for vs Christians to occupie our selues once in the daie, or at the least (for those, whose leasure will not serue) once in the weeke, and that euerie Sundaie and holie daie: which the Author found in an old and ancient written copie: & for the excellent matter therin conteind, hath thought it good now to publish it, to the glorie of God, and profit of his Church.
FIrst, let vs call to our memorie the bountifull goodnesse of almigh∣tie GOD, extended towards vs in the creation of the firmament, the earth, the sea, and all that therein is conteined; which he hath made for our onelie comfort, and the ser∣uice of vs. And let vs here with also consider the greatnesse and omnipotencie of his pow∣er, which was able with his word onlie of nothing to make althings, & those so wonderfull works, that they are not able to be comprehended within the compasse of mans reason. Call we also to mind the vnsearcha∣blenesse of his diuine wisedome, through which in so goodlie order continuallie he both can, & doth conserue all those things: and lastlie, let vs not forget his in∣comparable loue towards vs, who of his onlie meere goodnesse, without anie part of ablenesse of our de∣serts, hath prouided all these things for our vse: and not onlie that; but hath moreouer made vs of capaci∣tie and vnderstanding to discusse, and knowe how to vse the same, for the seruing of our necessities, as the diuersitie of times and occasion requireth. Let vs not Page 644 therefore shew our selues vnto him vnthankfull.
Nextlie, let vs call to mind from how sundrie perils, as well ghostle as bodilie, he hath and dooth from time to time preserue vs: namelie, from perils on the land, perils by water, perils of fire, perils through sicknes, from imprisonment, from open shame, from slanders, from extreme beggerie, from famine, from pestilence, and other horrible diseases; from sudden and shame∣full death, and sundrie other mischiefes, which we may vnderstand to haue happened, and dailie doo perceiue to happen vnto others; which should in like sort haue happened vnto vs, if through his mercifull goodnesse we had not beene therefrom preserued: and herewith let vs also call vnto mind, our health, our wealth, and all other Gods good gifts, which he hath lent vnto vs, and render vnto him most humble thanks therefore.
Also, let vs thinke how he hath made vs of no vile sort nor condition; but euen vnto his owne likenesse, indued with the most pretious gifts of reason, vnder∣standing, memorie and will; which noble gifts he hath giuen vs, to the intent we should with these honour him accordinglie: which if we doo not; but doo abuse the same, to worldlie, vaine, and fantasticall delights; we may then assure our selues, not onelie to make a straight account thereof; but also to be most greeuou∣slie punished therefore.
Moreouer, let vs call to mind how mercifull, and like a most louing Maister and Sauior, Christ the Sonne of God, and second person in Trinitie, Lord and king ouer all rule and power, descended downe from the bo∣some of his Father, and from his heauenlie throne in∣to this miserable world, and here tooke vpon him our fraile flesh; suffering in the same by the space of three and thirtie yeeres, hunger, thirst, cold, watch, pouertie, euil report, hatred, disdaine, slanders, rebukes, checks, taunts, scornes, buffets, binding, beating, whipping, Page 645 wrongfull accusation, false condemnation; yea, and at the last, most vile, spitefull, cruell, and shamefull death; and that innocentlie and giltlesse, thereby to deliuer vs from our gilt, and the eternall death, which all we, by the transgression of our first parent Adam, had most iustlie deserued. And herewith let vs also thinke what reproch & shame it is to vs, to repine or grudge to suffer the like for his sake: sith he being both our Lord and Maister, of the singular loue he did beare vnto vs, hath suffered all those for our sakes: should not we then, being but seruants (or rather vile slaues in respect of him) disdaine or repine at that, which he, not onelie our Maister; but King ouer all kings hath not disdained to suffer?
Also, let vs consider how that by the merits of his most bitter passion, and his grace giuen vnto vs in the Sacrament of baptisme, he hath forgiuen vs, cleerelie clensed vs, and vtterlie discharged vs of all our former sinnes. Herevpon, let vs call to mind, how oft since that time we haue offended him, by falling againe into deadlie sinne; & therewith let vs call to remembrance the particularitie of our offences, the greeuousnesse of the same, how long we haue continued in them with∣out repentance taken for them: and then let vs weigh the abundance of his great mercie; first, how gratiou∣slie he hath abidden the time of our repentance; how readie he hath beene to forgiue vs vpon due repen∣tance taken, and perfect confession without dissimula∣tion made thereof vnto him.
Remember we also, how lewdlie, how wickedlie, and how sinfullie we haue bestowed the short time, which God hath here in this world lent vnto vs, to fight and warre continuallie against our most mortall aduersa∣ries, the world, the flesh, and the diuell, which trauell without ceassing to worke our euerlasting destru∣ction, and to bring vs to euerlasting death; and to bee∣reue Page 646 vs from the life eternall, & ioies endlesse. Thinke we also, if God of his great mercie had not gratiouslie spared vs life, vntill we had repented that wickednes; in what wretched condition, and most extreme tor∣ments of hell paines, had we beene in now; and so should haue continued for euer world without end? But how deere then should those short pleasures and vaine delights of the flesh haue beene vnto vs?
Let vs also call to mind the houre of death, the vn∣certeintie of the time thereof, and that we knowe not when where, or in what maner it shall be: but like as we are most certeine we can not escape it; so are wee as sure, if we happen then to depart this life in dead∣lie sinne, that we shall then not onelie die the bodilie death; but also the spirituall death, which is eternall death both of bodie and soule. Let vs therefore ende∣uour our selues, so to liue, as though euerie houre should be vnto vs the last houre; and by that meanes we shall not be vnreadie, how suddenlie soeuer death shall steale vpon vs, nor yet shall we feare his cōming.
Furthermore, let vs thinke what shall become of our wretched bodies, and vile carcases, which we haue sought by all meanes to pamper; whose ease wee haue so much procured; which we haue so delicatelie nouri∣shed; which we haue so finelie araied; whose vaine pleasures we haue so much followed: doubtlesse, it shall then become an abhominable stinking carion; from which, those which be now our most deerest friends shall be forced to turne awaie their heads, stopping of their noses, for the verie noisomnesse of the corrupt sauour and euill stinch thereof.
Let vs also consider, what shall then auaile vs for our possessions and riches, which we haue sought for so busilie, and so greedilie to heape togither. We must then leaue behind vs, and of them shall carie awaie no∣thing with vs, sauing a heauie burden of conscience of Page 647 such part of them, which we doo vnlawfullie possesse, wrongfullie withhold, or else haue euill gotten.
Let vs then weigh, what shall become of our soule, when it shall leaue the bodie to rot in the earth, and it selfe shall be called into iudgement before the high Iudge, where it shall be forced to make a streight ac∣count of all works, words, and thoughts. Where it shall be able to conceale nothing; but the verie secrets of all our dooings shall then be made open: and that which here we be ashamed to confesse; shall then be manifest; and the booke shall be opened, in which all our deeds and thoughts shall be rehearsed, before the whole companie of heauen, and then shall be said to euerie one of vs: Behold this man and his works: then shall our conscience accuse vs, all our euill deeds as witnesses shall come in against vs. The diuell shall be there readie to drawe vs with him into eternall perdition, and with the terriblenesse of his counte∣nance shall put vs in horrible feare. Then shall we tremble and quake, and desire to haue respite for the amendement of our former wicked life, and to repent vs of our sinfull liuing: but then in no wise it may bee granted vs, for asmuch as then mercie must giue place to iustice. Let vs now therefore, while God doth lend vs time, repent in time; which if we doo vnfeinedlie, then may we assure our selues to receiue mercie and forgiuenesse of God: for asmuch as he willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should conuert and liue.
Then, let vs also weigh with our selues, what a noble thing our soule is, & how greeuous hir wounds were: for the curing of the which, our Sauiour Christ was of necessitie wounded. Yea, if those had not beene vnto death, and that death eternall, the sonne of God should neuer haue suffered. Shall we then lightlie esteeme of the losse of the soule, vnto whom we may perceiue so Page 648 much compassion to be shewed of so great a Maiestie? Then sith he hath shed his teares for vs, let vs like∣wise nightlie wash our beds with cōpunction of hart, and continuall teares, for verie heauinesse that wee haue so greeuouslie offended so louing a Maister. And sith he hath shed his pretious bloud for vs, shed we ours also in a sort: that is to saie, with dailie affliction, and mortifieng of our bodies. And let vs not haue re∣gard what the flesh desireth, but what is most conue∣nient for our soules health. For then shall our soules be glorious, when they shall returne to our Lord God by true repentance and penitence.
Let vs then call to remembrance the louers of this world, that were here among vs not long agone, what is now become of them: and that nothing remaineth of them but dust and woormes. They haue beene men as we are: they solicited and vsed all kind of mirth; they banketed; they were gorgiouslie apparelled, they were verie pleasant, and led their daies in all worldlie delights: but suddenlie, and as it were in the midst of their iolitie, death arested them, & caried them downe into hell. Here the flesh of them is appointed to feede the woormes; and there their soules be euermore tor∣mented in the vnquenchable flame of hell fire, where now they find no profit of all those fleshlie pleasures, worldlie reioicings, and euill concupiscence. And for so short and vaine pleasures, what continuall torment and miserie doo they now endure: where they neuer see light; neuer receiue ease of their paine, nor comfort of their heauinesse: where the fire continuallie burneth them, and yet neuer consumeth them; nor by his long burning leeseth anie part of his heate? Where the woorms doo gnawe their conscience; where the diuels, which are their tormentors, waxe neuer wearie in tormenting of them, or take anie pitie on them, nor will be intreated to mitigate anie part of their tor∣ment. Page 649 Where nothing shall be heard; but weeping, la∣mentation, groning, and wofull criengs. Where they shall sauour and smell nothing; but horrible stinch and corrupt aire. Where they shall see nothing; but the monstrous shape of the horible tormentors the diuels. Wherefore, let vs now aduise our selues, whether in folowing of the vaine worldlie pleasures, we will giue our soules in like sort to be eternallie tormented; or else in refusing them, for the little times of paines we shall here suffer, to reioice with Christ, and to be blessed Saints in heauen for euer. For whilest we are here in this world, God dooth set before vs both fire and wa∣ter; that is to saie, saluation and damnation; that vn∣to which we will we may stretch our hands.
Let vs lastlie consider what comfort it is, and shall be to all saued soules to see God, and the brightnesse of his face; to liue with God, to possesse God, which is high and perfect goodnesse; and where the perfect good∣nesse is, there is the highest, and most perfect felicitie; there is the chiefe and perfect charitie; eternall sure∣tie, and sure eternitie; true gladnesse; full knowledge; all beautie; all blisse. In this sort shall the man be blessed with God, in whose conscience shall be found no sinne; he shall see God after his owne desire; he shall possesse to pleasure, and enioie to gladnesse; he shall flourish in eternitie; he shall shine in veritie; he shall ioie in righteousnesse; and as he shall haue eternitie of continuance, so he shall haue facilitie of knowledge, and felicitie of rest. He shall be delighted in God; whose countenance is amiable; whose face is beautifull; whose speech is pleasant. He is delectable to behold; sweet to possesse; pleasant to enioie. In him vnder∣standing is made cleere; affection is purified, that we may loue and knowe him as he is: so that then wee shall not need to seeke anie thing besides him. For the whole is found in him, so much as is to be desired, or Page 650 may possiblie reioice or delight vs.
Let vs to conclude, finallie thinke, what madnesse doth then possesse vs, so much to thirst after the bitter potion of sinne, to followe after vanities of this world, to suffer the incommodities of this slipperie life, and the dominion of Sathans tyrannie; and not rather to flee vp to the felicitie of Saincts, to the fellowship of Angels, and to the solemnitie of the heauenlie ioies, where we shall see, behold, and enioie the plentifull a∣boundant riches of the inestimable treasures of Gods goodnesse, for euer and euer world without end,
A meditation of Gods woonderfull works, and a thanks-giuing for our creation.
O Most heauenlie father, and eter∣nall God, which art neither made, nor begotten, but before all worlds from euerlasting diddest beget a Sonne, an image of thine owne substance: we honor thee, we praise thee, we glorifie thee, we yeeld thee most hartie thanks for all thy bene∣fits, especiallie for creating the heauens, the Sunne, Moone, and all the starres, by thy liuelie word, for go∣uerning through thy wisdome, and for thy gratious mainteining them.
The Sunne in his vprising doth manifest the daie, a woonderfull worke of the highest. Great is the Lord which made, and commanded the same to take his course from the top of heauen, vnto the end thereof. The ornaments of heauen be the glorious starres: the Lord on high doth lighten the world; at his comman∣dement they keepe their order, and will not faile, nor be wearie in their watch.
O Lord our God, how woonderfull is thy name in all the world, which hast set thy glorie aboue the hea∣uens! Page 651 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings wilt thou be praised, because of thine enimies, that thou maist confound thine aduersaries, and him that enui∣eth thy renowme. We see the workemanship of thy hands, the Moone, and Starres, which thou hast or∣deined; and we will signifie thy glorie vnto all nati∣ons, and among all people will we declare thy woon∣derfull things. For thou art mightie, O Lord, and wor∣thie to be praised: great is thy vertue, and thy power woonderfull.
We thanke thee, holie father, God of heauen; be∣cause thou hast created by thy word of power the vni∣uersall world, with all the creatures, and whatsoeuer is, liueth, or moueth in the same. By thy wisdome thou dooest gouerne, and by sending of thy spirit, as yet doest vphold, and cherish the same. For all woods, fruitfull trees, stones, graine, flowers, herbes, and all the grasse of the feeld hast thou ordeined for the vse of man. Wee magnifie thee, O God most wise, for creating the Sea, and springs of water, by the power of thy word; and for giuing them vertue to bring foorth fishes of all kind to be eaten of man. We blesse thee, O eternall God, for making the superiour and lower regions of the aire, with all birds and feathered fowles of sundrie kinds, for the food of man. We glorifie thee, for giuing the whole frame of this earth, with all the creatures in the same, vnto mankinde; and setting man ouer the works of thine hands, hast subiected all things vnder his feet, all sheepe and oxen, yea and all the beasts of the feeld, the fowles of the aire, and the fish of the Sea, which walke through the paths of the Sea.
Especiallie we praise thee, our Lord and maker, for making vs thy creatures reasonable men and wo∣men, according to thine owne similitude; for giuing vs reason, and all the senses; and for preseruing vs hi∣therto. Thou didst nourish vs, and that woonderfullie, Page 652 being within our mothers wombe, and out thereof hast thou brought vs sound in all parts, without im∣perfection; and yet continuest thy fauour, and dooest keepe vs against all dangers, and deliuerest vs from all euill: and all these things dooest thou of thy father∣lie and diuine goodnesse, without anie merit or desert of ours; for all which we are bound to thanke thee, to praise thee, to serue, honor, and obeie thee.
We extoll thy sacred name, O God most high, for se∣parating from the rest a Sabboth daie, that so men (ceassing from their handie labour) might the better serue and celebrate thine honour.
Who is he that can recite all the power of the Lord, or declare all his works? Who can number out all his praises? No man can vtter all his benefits. Notwithstanding, although we be miserable men, and wretched sinners, and therefore most vnmeete to ex∣toll thee according to thy deserts: yet will we not be still, we will praise thee euermore to the vttermost of our power. We will declare thy iustice and mercie: and while we liue, we remember thy goodnesse, and at no time forget thy benefits. O our soules, praise the Lord; we will praise the Lord during our life; we will sing to the Lord while we haue breath. We will bee mindfull of our maker, euen from our youth, and seeke him euermore: yea euen vnto our old age, and graie head. O God, forsake vs not, vntill we haue declared thy power vnto all nations that are to come. Praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise him all ye people. For his louing kindnes is great toward vs; and his truth endureth for euer. Praise ye the Lord in his Sanctua∣rie; praise him in the firmament of his power; praise him in his mightie acts: praise him according to his excellent greatnesse. Let euerie thing that hath breath, praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord,
Another meditation and thanks-giuing for the creation of the world.
MOst mightie, most wise, and most maruellous Lord GOD; which of nothing hast created heauen and earth, with all that is therein; and hast prepared with due & new pro∣perties, euerie worke which thou hast brought foorth by thy diuine word & holie commandement; and hast ordeined and established all the holie works of thy hands; so that they yet stand and serue to the vse and seruice of men. For through the course of the heauens, which neuer stand still, is ingendered vnto vs all that euer we haue need of; and through the same course al∣so dieth, withereth, and rotteth, all that is old; bicause that for the old and decaied, there should arise vp new and fresh. And this course hast thou, O mightie God, made so maruellouslie, and so agreeably, that man (tho∣rough the agreeable works of thine hands, without anie other externall learning, teaching, or instruction) might come to the knowledge of that, which is inuisi∣ble in thee; that is, thy holie, exalted, and euerlasting blessed Godhead and inuisible might. Insomuch as there is none that can make himselfe vngiltie, and in∣excusable of misbeleefe or ignorance, how farre soeuer he be departed from thy holie word. For the verie heauens giue knowledge inough of thy diuine glorie; the which, though they haue no tongue to speake, neither doo we heare anie thing of their mouth: yet neuerthelesse their voice is gone out to all corners of the world, and there is no place, but men heare their voice sounding in their eares. For no man is so farre distant from them, but he both feeleth alwaies the be∣nefits that come from the heauens; and also seeth con∣tinuallie Page 654 thy maruellous handie works, which the fir∣mament dooth shew and declare vnto vs.
We thanke thee, we praise thee, and we laud and magnifie thy glorious name, O most meeke Lord, for all thy benefits; especiallie for that thou hast not thought it inough for thee to haue giuen vs the hea∣uens, and earth, and all that is therin to serue vs, and to instruct vs; but also hast vouchsafed to send thine onlie deere beloued Sonne our Sauior Iesus Christ downe amongst vs into this vale of teares: and after that he was ascended into heauen, hast left vs thy ho∣lie word, and sent thy holie Ghost into vs, to the intent we should learne of him all truth, & in thy word might in deed behold more effectuallie, better and cleerer thy Godhead. We now also praie and humbly beseech thee, O most mercifull God, that thou wilt gouerne vs, and driue awaie from vs all fleshlie conuersation, to the in∣tent we may hencefoorth liue a godlie and ghostlie life; so that we through the flesh may not be hindered to passe our pilgrimage in such perfection as thou requi∣rest in Christian men: but that we may knowe and dis∣cerne, and vse to thy glorie the vnmeasurable great good things, which thy large and bountifull hand hath giuen and reached vnto vs, through Iesus Christ our Lord,
A meditation of mans creation.
O Almightie Lord God, that hast cre∣ated heauen and earth, and all that is therein of naught; but especial∣lie hast made man vnto thine owne godlie image, infunding and crea∣ting in him a reasonable soule, not mortall, nor transitorie, as are the soules of vnreasonable beasts: but such a soule, as liueth like the spirit or ghost of God for euer. By which soule man knoweth thee to be his God, Page 655 doth beleeue thee, and shall behold thee. And with soule and bodie together, thou hast made man aboue all o∣ther creatures so much superiour: and hast so highlie exalted him, that thou hast made him prince and chiefe gouernour, lord and captaine ouer all thy other cre∣atures, that be in the earth, and hast cast them all vn∣der his feet and subiection.
O most mercifull Lord, powre into vs thy heauenlie light, through which we may euer haue in due regard the vile and lothsome stuffe or matter that thy godlie hand hath made vs of; and how thou hast neuerthe∣lesse exalted vs so mightilie of miserie. Let vs knowe, I saie, O Lord, that man is crept out of the dust and mire; and the woman but out of the rib of hir hus∣band; to the end we may not by anie meanes be puffed vp with pride, by vaine-glorie and presumption of the great glorie wherewith thou hast vouchsafed to endue and cloath vs: but that in true humilitie, we may im∣pute and exhibit all things vnto thine onlie goodnesse, clemencie, grace, and mercie. And that we may bee drawne thereby vnto the loue of thee, and to kindle the lampe of our soules, which is cold in thy loue, with the light of thy grace; so that we may diligentlie fulfill and accomplish all that thou hast commanded vs, and leaue that which thou hast forbidden vs, like as it be∣commeth thine obedient children: so that we, both here in this vale of miserie, and also afterward in that heauenlie paradise, being vndefiled, and like vnto thee, may be found like as thou hast created vs, like vnto thine owne similitude, image, & likenesse, through Ie∣sus Christ our Lord,
Another meditation of mans creation.
THine almightie hand, O GOD, keeping al∣waies at one staie, created the Angels in heauen, and the feelie woormes vpon earth; and yet was neither higher in the one, nor Page 654〈1 page duplicate〉Page [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉Page 656 lower in the other. For like as none other hand could haue created an Angel; so could none other hand haue created a woorme: like as none other could haue crea∣ted heauen; so could none other haue created a leafe of a tree: like as none other could haue made a bodie; so could none other make a haire white or blacke; but onlie thine almightie hand, wherevnto all things are possible alike. For it is not more possible with thee to create a woorme, than an Angel; nor more impossible to spread out the heauen, than a leafe; nor easier to fa∣shion a haire, than to fashion a bodie; nor vneasier to stablish the earth vpon the waters, than the waters vpon the earth: but all that thou listest to doo, that hast thou done. According as thou listedst, thou hast made all things in heauen and in earth, and in the sea, and in all deepe places: and among all other things, thou hast made me according as thou listedst, couldest, and knewest how to doo it. Certes, Lord, thy hand could haue made me some stone, or some bird, or some serpent, or some beast: and it knew how to haue done it; but it would not bicause of thy goodnesse. Why then am I not a stone, some tree, or some beast? Trulie bicause thy goodnesse hath so ordeined it, and bicause thou louedst me first.
And why hast thou done so to me, O maker of hea∣uen and earth, and of the bottomlesse deepe, who hast no neede of me? Wherevpon commeth it that thou hast thus loued me? For lo, I am, bicause thou hast cre∣ated me; and the cause that thou didst create me, and account me in the number of thy creatures, was thy fore-ordinance from euerlasting, before thou madest anie thing, euen from the beginning, before thou didst spread all the heauens; when as yet there were no deepes; neither haddest thou yet made the earth, nor founded the mountaines, neither were anie water∣springs yet broken out. Before thou madest all these Page 657 things, I saie, which thou madest by thy word, thou foresawest by the most assured prouidence of thy truth, that I should be thy creature, and also thou willedst that I should be thy creature.
And whence commeth this to me, O most gentle Lord, most high God, most mercifull Father, and al∣waies most meeke? What had I deserued? What kindnesse had I shewed, that it should like thy roiall Maiestie to create me? I was not; and thou diddest create me. I was nothing, and of nothing thou madest me somewhat. And what maner of somewhat? Not a drop of water; not fire; not a bird or fish; not a ser∣pent, or some of the brute beasts; not a stone, or a block; not of those sort of things, which haue but being one∣lie; or of those things that haue but onelie being and growing; nor yet of those kind of things that haue but onlie being, growing, and feeling. But aboue all these things, it was thy will to haue me both of that sort, which haue but being onlie; for I am: and of those that haue no more but being and growing; for I am, and growe: & also of those kind of things, which haue both being, growing, and feeling; for I am, and also doo both growe and feele. Yea, and thou hast made small ods betweene me and the Angels. For I haue receiued reason to knowe thee and thy hand, as well as they.
But I did well to saie there was some ods betweene vs. For they haue the happie knowledge of thee alrea∣die in possession; and I haue it but by hope: they see thee face to face; I see thee in a riddle through a glasse: they see thee fullie; and I but partlie. Howbeit when the thing commeth, which is perfect, then shall the vn∣perfect be done awaie, at such time as we shall behold thee vncouered face to face. And what should let vs to be counted little inferiour to Angels; seeing that thou O Lord, hast crowned vs with the garland of hope, which is decked with glorie and honour; and seeing Page 658 thou hast inhonoured vs exceedinglie as thy friends, or rather as fellowes and coequals in all things with thine Angels? Uerelie euen so saith thy truth; They are equall with the Angels, and they be the sonnes of God. And what be they else, than the sonnes of God, if they be made fellowes with the Angels? They shall be the sonnes of God in verie deede. For the sonne of man is become the sonne of God. Trulie when I be∣thinke me of this, I am bold to saie, that man is not onlie little inferiour to the Angels, yea or haile-felowe with the Angels; but also superiour to them: bicause a man is God, & God is a man, & not an Angel. And in this respect I may saie, that man is the woorthiest cre∣ature, because the word, which in the beginning was God with God: the word whereby God said; Let light be made, and light was made: the word, whereby God created althings in the beginning, euen the selfe-same word became flesh, and dwelt among vs, and we haue seene the glorie of it. Lo heere the glorie, when I glorie discreetlie; lo heere the ioie, when I ioie discreetlie; O Lord my God, the whole life and glorie of my soule!
Therefore I acknowledge vnto thee my Lord God, that when thou createdst me indued with reason, thou didst create me after a sort equall with the Angels. For by thy word I may be perfect, to attaine to equali∣tie with the Angels; so as I may haue the adoption of thy children by thine onlie begotten word, O Lord; by thy deer beloued Son, in whom thou art well pleased, by our onelie coheire, which is of the same substance, & euerlastingnes that thou thy selfe art; yea euen by Ie∣sus Christ our onlie Lord and redeemer, our inlightner and comforter, our spokesman with thee, & the light of our eies, who is our life, our sauiour, our onlie hope, who hath loued vs more than himselfe, by whome we haue assured trust laid vp in store, and stedfast faith to thee-ward, and entrance to come vnto thee, because he Page 659 hath giuen them power to become the children of God, as manie as beleeue in his name.
I will giue praise vnto thy name, O Lord, who by creating me after thine owne image, hast made me capable of so great glorie, as to become the sonne of God. This trulie can not trees doo; this can not stones doo; this, to speake generallie, can not anie of the things doo that moue or growe in the aire, or in the sea, or on the earth; in asmuch as he hath not giuen them power by thy word, to become the sonnes of God: because they haue not reason. For the power whereby we knowe, consisteth in reason. But he hath giuen this power vnto men, whome he created reasonable, after his owne image and likenesse. Certesse Lord, it is by thy grace that I am a woman, and by grace I may be thy child, which thing the other can not be.
Whence haue I this, O Lord, the souereigne truth and true souereigne, and the beginning of all crea∣tures? Whence haue I this, O Lord, that I may be∣come the child of God, which the other things cannot? Thou art he that endurest for euer, and thou hast made all things at once. Thou hast made man and beasts, stones, and greene things of the earth all at once. For there went no desert of theirs afore; there went no good turne of theirs afore. Thou hast created all things onlie of thine owne goodnesse; no creature hath deserued more than other: for none of them had deserued ought at all. And why then did thy goodnesse shewe it selfe more in this creature, which thou hast made reasonable, than in all other that be without reason? Why was not I as all they be; or why are not all they as I am; or I alone as they be? What had I deserued, that thou shouldest make me able to become the child of God, and denie the same abilitie to all the rest? God forbid that I should thinke so. It was thine onlie grace, it was thine onlie goodnesse, which Page 660 brought it to passe, that I might be partaker of that sweetnesse. Of that grace therefore, whereby thou hast created me of nothing, I beseech thee, O Lord, to giue me the grace to be thankefull vnto thee.
And I thy creature will put my trust vnder the shadowe of thy wings, and in the goodnesse where∣through thou hast created me. Helpe thy creature, whome thy gratious goodnesse hath created. Let not that perish through my naughtinesse, which thy good∣nesse hath wrought. Let not that perish through my wretchednesse, which thy singular mercie hath made. For what auaileth it me that thou hast created me, if I shall sinke downe into mine owne corruption? O God, hast thou made all the sonnes of men in vaine? Thou hast created me, O Lord: rule thou the thing that thou hast created. Despise not the worke of thine owne hands, O God. Thou hast made me of naught, O Lord; and if thou gouerne me not, I shall returne to naught againe. For like as when I was not, thou ma∣dest me of nothing: so if thou gouerne me not, I shall yet againe be brought to nothing in my selfe. Helpe me O Lord my life, least I perish in mine owne naughti∣nesse.
Lord, if thou hadst not created me, I should not haue beene at all: but because thou hast created me, I am. Now if thou gouerne me not, I am vndone. For it was not mine owne merits, or mine owne deserts (as I haue said) that made thee to create me; but thine owne most gratious goodnesse and mercifulnes. That louingnesse of thine, O Lord my God, which made thee to create me, I beseech thee let the same make thee to gouerne me. For what booteth it that thy louingnesse caused thee to create me, if I must perish in mine owne wretchednesse; and that thy right hand gouerne me not? O Lord my God, let this mercifulnesse, which caused thee to create that that was not created, cause Page 661 thee also to saue that which is created. Let the louing∣nesse, which wan thee to create, win thee also to saue; sith it is no lesse now than it was then. For thou art the verie loue and mercie it selfe, and thou continuest alwaie one, vnchangeable, immortall, and inuisible God, blessed and praised for euer and euer,
That God hath put all things vnder the seruice of man: and that by the consideration of the temporall bene∣fits, we coniecture the heauenlie wisedome and goodnesse of God.
THou, O gratious God, hast put all things vnder mans feet, to the end that man alone should wholie be subiect vnto thee. And to the end that man should be wholie thine, thou hast made man lord of all thy works. For thou hast created all outward things for his bodie; his bodie for his soule; and his soule for thee; that he might serue thee onlie, and loue thee onlie, possessing thee to his comfort, and all inferiour things for his seruants. For whatsoeuer is conteined vnder the cope of hea∣uen, is inferiour vnto mans soule, which was made to inherit the souereigne goodnesse aboue, and to become happie by possessing it; wherevnto if he sticke fast, he shall surmount the need of all the inferiour things which are changeable; and in euerlasting immortali∣tie quietlie behold the souereigne maiestie, whereof he representeth the image. Then shall he enioie those ex∣cellent good things in the Lords house, in comparison whereof, all the things that we see, are counted as no∣thing. Those be the things which no eie hath seene, nor eare hard, nor hart of man conceiued, which God hath prepared for them that loue him. And trulie Lord these things wilt thou giue vnto my soule: with these dooest Page 662 thou (which louest mens soules) dailie glad the harts of thy seruants.
But why woonder I at these things my Lord God? Thou inhonourest thine owne image, and thine owne likenesse, wherevnto they were created. For to the end our bodie (though it be yet corruptible & base) might see, thou hast giuen vs the light of the skie, by the hand of thine vnweariable seruants, the Sunne and Moone, who according to thy commandement, doo con∣tinuall seruice daie and night to thy children. To the intent it might breath, thou hast granted vs the pure aire. To the intent it might heare, thou hast giuen vs the diuersitie of sounds. To the intent it might smell, thou hast giuen vs the sweetnesse of sents. To the in∣tent it might taste, thou hast giuen vs the qualities of sauours. To the end it might feele, thou hast giuen vs the substances of all bodilie things. To helpe vs in our necessities, thou hast giuen vs bearing beasts. To re∣fresh vs withall, thou hast bestowed vpon vs the fowles of the aire, and the fishes of the sea, and the fruits of the earth. For euerie sore, maladie and disease of ours, thou hast created medicine, salue, and plaister out of the earth. And for euerie seuerall euill, thou hast prepared a seuerall remedie to encounter it; because thou art mercifull, and full of compassion, and thou our potter knowest of what mettall we be made, and how that all of vs are claie in thy hand.
O holie Lord God, our good maker, by these least things we comprehend the great things: and by these visible things we comprehend thine inuisible things. For if thou send so great and so innumerable benefits vnto me for this base and corruptible bodie of mine, from the skie, and the aire; from the land and the sea; from light and darkenesse; from heate and sha∣dowe; from dew and raine; from wind and showers; from fowles and fishes; from beasts and trees; by di∣uersitie Page 663 of herbes and things that growe vpon the earth, and by the seruice of all thy creatures seruing our turnes by course in their seasons, to ease vs of our wearinesse: how excellent I praie thee, and how great & innumerable shall those good things be, which thou hast prepared for them that loue thee, in that heauenlie Realme, where we shall see thee face to face? If thou doo so much for vs in prison, what wilt thou doo in thy pallace? Great and innumerable are thy works, O Lord, thou King of heauen and earth. For sith that all these things be exceeding good & pleasant, which thou hast deliuered to good men & bad men togither in com∣mon; what maner of things shall those be, which thou hast laid vp in store for good men onlie? If the gifts be so sundrie and so innumerable, which thou dealest now as well to thy foes as thy friends; how great & innu∣merable, how sweet & delightfull shall those be, which thou wilt deale onlie to thy friends? If thou giue so great solace in this time of mourning, how great ioies wilt thou giue in the daie of wedding? If our prison conteine so manie delectable things, how much more delectable things conteineth our fathers house? O God, no eie without thee hath seene the things that thou hast prepared for them that loue thee. For accor∣ding to the manifoldnesse of thy mightie works, so also is the great aboundance of thy sweetnesse, which thou keepest in store for them that loue thee. For great art thou O Lord our God, yea vnmeasurable art thou, and there is no end of thy greatnesse, nor number of thy wisedome, nor measure of thy mercie: neither is there end, number, or measure of thy bountifulnesse. But like as thou thy selfe art great, so are thy re∣wards great: for thou thy selfe art both the price, and the reward of all thy lawfull combators. To thee therefore be all honour, glorie, and praise for euer,
A meditation of Gods power, beautie, and goodnesse.
BIcause thou, Lord, wouldest haue vs to loue thee, not one lie doost thou will, intise, allure, and prouoke vs; but also doost command vs so to doo: promising thy selfe vnto such as loue thee, and threatening vs with dainnation if we doo otherwise. Whereby we may see both our great corruption and naughtinesse, and also thine ex∣ceeding great mercie toward vs.
First concerning our corruption and naughtinesse, what a thing is it that power, riches, authoritie, beu∣tie, goodnesse, liberalitie, truth, iustice (which all thou art good Lord) can not mooue vs to loue thee? Whatso∣euer things we see faire, good, wise, mightie, are but euen sparks of thy power, beautie, goodnesse, wisdome, which thou art. For to the end thou mightest declare thy riches, beautie, power, wisdome, goodnes, &c. Thou hast not onelie made, but still dooest conserue all crea∣tures to be (as Dauid saith of the heauens) declarers and setters foorth of thy glorie, and as a booke to teach vs to knowe thee.
How faire thou art, the beautie of the sunne, moone, stars, light, flowers, riuers, feelds, hils, biros, beasts, men, and all creatures; yea, the goodlie scape & forme of the whole world dooth declare.
How mightie thou art, we are! taught by the crea∣tion of the world euen of naught; by gouerning the same, by punishing the wicked mightie Giants there∣of; by ouerthrowing their deuises; by repressing the rages of the sea, and keeping it within hir bounds; by stormes, by tempests, by fires. These and such like declare vnto vs thine inuisible, almightie, and terrible Page 665 power, whereby thou subduest all things vnto thee.
How rich thou art, this world, thy great and infinite treasure-house, dooth well declare. What plentie is there, not onelie of things, but also of euerie kind of things? Yea, how doost thou yeerelie and dailie multi∣plie these kinds? How manie seeds doost thou make of one seed? Yea, what a great increase doost thou bring it vnto? These can not but put vs in remembrance of the exceeding riches that thou hast. For if to thine eni∣mies, which loue thee not (as the most part of this world be,) if to them thou giuest so plentifullie thy ri∣ches heere: what shall we thinke, that with thy selfe thou hast laid vp for thy freends?
How good thou art, all creatures generallie and particularlie do teach. What creature is there in the world, which thou hast not made for our commoditie? I will not saie how that thou mightest haue made vs creaturs without sense or reason, if thou hadst would. But amongst all things none dooth so teach vs thy great loue towards vs, as dooth the death of thy most deerlie beloued sonne, who suffered the paines and ter∣rors thereof: yea, and of hell it selfe for our sakes. If this thy loue had beene but a small thing, it would ne∣uer haue lasted so long, nor Christ would neuer haue died.
Praiers and meditations to be vsed in the foure seasons of the yeere, and first: In the Spring-time.
ALmightie renewer of all things, Lord Iesu, which hast made this most goodlie world for our sakes; which hast garnished the heauens with so manie lights, vnto the vse of the daie and the night; which temperest the earth with sundrie times and seasons, ordeined by thee Page 666 to be the nourisher of man and beasts: and now (thou being restored to life) all things renew and confirme to vs the hope of resurrection promised by thee. The medowes afore being withered, waxe greene againe with new grasse: the herbs are garnished with diuers gems of flowers: the corne herbeth: seeds buried in holes shoote foorth: trees being dead afore, waxe yoong againe with new boughes; and being goodlie decked with new blossoms, giue vs hope of fruit. The sunne it selfe increaseth the grace of his light: brieflie, the whole face of nature springing againe, whithersoeuer we turne our eies, dooth speake out, and preach thy goodnesse towards mankind, wherethrough with sun∣drie solaces thou dooest ease and mitigate to vs, being through our fault driuen out of Paradise, our deserued exile. Grant, I saie, O good God, that we which being borne againe through baptisme, haue put off the old man, made now a new creature, neuer slide againe to old age; but that we may be euer greene with perpetu∣all innocencie, by the pleasant breathing on of thy spi∣rit, that we may be adorned dailie more and more with the flowers of vertues, proceeding to fruit woorthie of that Gospell, which with the Father, and the holie Ghost reigne through all worlds,
In the Summer.
MOst wise Gouernor, and Ruler of all things Iesu Christ; behold, the yeere obeieng thy commandments waxeth hot with the feruour of the sunne, preparing ripe fruits vnto the vse of thy seruants: humblie we beseech thee, which art our true Sunne, without whom nothing is bright in our soules, neither bringeth foorth anie fruit; stretch the beames of thy grace into the earth of Page 667 our spirits, that daily they may waxe hot more & more with the fire of thy gratious loue, and that they may bring foorth sundrie fruits of wholesome good works. For thou hast witnessed in thy holie Gospell, that thou art singularlie delighted with this meate and drinke. This is the raine that thy feruent loue thirsted for, this is also the meate that the holie Apostle Paule hungered for, euen before he vnderstood and did knowe what it meant. Thou camest into the world, to send fire among vs: neither diddest thou desire anie thing more, than that it should be kindeled; except our hart be touched with the beames of thy grace. Increase, Lord Iesu that, that thou hast giuen; finish that, that thou hast begun: vntill we growe to perfect men, vnto the measure of thy fulnesse. Thou hast put off mortali∣tie, but thou hast not put off loue towards vs; but euen now fulfillest the office of a mightie and friendlie Aduocate for vs with God the Father, to whom equall in power and authoritie thou reignest with the holie Ghost,
WE giue thanks vnto thee most mer∣cifull Father, maker of heauen and earth, that by thy good prouidence the yeere is waxen ripe, powring out vnto vs plentious abundance of victuals: grant, we humblie be∣seech thee, that as thy bountiousnes ministreth sundrie and rich abun∣dance of fruits, to the susteining & nourishment of our bodies: so by the grace of thy spirit, without which there is no good thing brought foorth, is nourished, or liueth; let the affection of godlinesse waxe ripe, and be made vp in our minds, that abiding in the faith of thine onelie begotten Sonne, through all our life, wee Page 668 may be fruitfull in good works, and also receiue a plen∣tifull haruest in the resurrection of the iust, by the same our Lord Iesu Christ, which liueth and reigneth with thee in the companie of the holie Ghost for euer,
O God, the most wise maker and go∣uernor of the world, at whose com∣mandement by time appointed, course is changed and turned into it selfe by the same: behold as it were the old age and death of the yeere. Winter is come, whose sad∣nesse and incommodities be more easie vnto vs, bicause of the plesantnes of the Spring time, which shall shortlie succeed. According to the en∣sample of the yeere, our inward man flourisheth in his childhood; is feruent in youth; waxeth ripe in mans age; falleth awaie and dieth in his old age: but the hope of liuing againe asswageth the houre of death, which is sure vnto vs, euen for this cause, that thy sonne hath promised it, which is the euerlasting truth, which also can no more be deceiued or deceiue, than hee can cease to be thy sonne. Through this thy sonne, our inward man knoweth no old age or death: but by his gift it euer flourisheth with innocencie; it is euer fer∣uent in the studie of godlinesse; it euer bringeth foorth fruit, and powreth out that, that she hath receiued, vp∣on other: and as much as the bodies courage faileth, so much more the spirit flourisheth. We beseech thee, that thou wilt maintaine and increase those things, which thou hast vouchsafed to giue vs, through thine onelie begotten sonne, which li∣ueth and reigneth with thee for euermore,
Another praier to be said at all times and seasons of the yeere.
O Euerlasting GOD, Creator of all things, in whose hands lieth the dis∣position of all times and seasons: qualifie we beseech thee, the inclina∣tions of thy creatures, heauen and earth, with such naturall and kind∣lie moderation, as may most serue to the commoditie, health, and welfare of all mankind; that we may receiue the fruits of the earth to our comfortable sustentation, dulie honoring and praising thy holie name therefore. Mortifie with∣in vs the old roots of our natiue iniquitie, killing them as it were with the winter of a cold lust to ensue them. Sowe the seeds of thy grace within vs, that wee may spring vp in all godlinesse. Send vs the feruencie of thy spirit, that we may shew foorth the ripe fruits of a liuelie faith: that when it shall be thy good pleasure to appoint thy final haruest, thou wilt vouchsafe to bring vs into thy wished barne, like good and clensed corne, that is to saie, into thine euerlasting kingdome, there to rest with thy chosen, Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob, in all eternitie, So be it.
The song of Anania, Azariah, and Misael; wherein they exhort all creatures, both in heauen and earth, to praise and magnifie the Lord their maker.
O All ye works of the Lord, blesse yee the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye Angels of the Lord, blesse yee the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
Page 670 O ye heauens, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye waters that be aboue the firmament, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O all ye powers of the Lord, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye sunne and moone, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye starres of heauen, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye showers and dew, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye winds of God, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye fire and heate, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye winter and summer, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye dewes and frosts, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye frost and cold, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye yee and snowe, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye nights and daies, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye light and darknesse, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye lightenings & clouds, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O let the earth blesse the Lord: yea let it praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye mountaines and hils, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O all ye greene things vpon the earth, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
Page 671 O ye welles, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and ma∣gnifie him for euer.
O ye seas and flouds, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye whales, and all that moue in the waters, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O all ye fowles of the aire, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O all ye beasts and cattell, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye children of men, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O let Israel blesse the Lord: praise him and mag∣nifie him for euer.
O ye priests of the Lord, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye seruants of the Lord, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye spirits and soules of the righteous, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O ye holie and humble men of hart, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, blesse ye the Lord: praise him and magnifie him for euer.
Of the incomprehensible praise due vnto God for all his works and benefits.
HOW shall I do, O Lord? Whence shall I haue praise to praise thee withall? For like as thou madest me without mine aduise, as it liked thy selfe best; so hast thou praise without me, as it liketh thee. Thou thy selfe Lord art thiue owne praise. All thy works & creatures both in heauen Page 672 and earth praise thee according to thy manifold great∣nesse. Thy praise, O Lord, is incomprehensible: no hart can comprehend it, no tong can measure it, no eare can receiue it: for these things passe awaie, but thy praise O Lord, continueth for euer. Thoughts haue a begin∣ning, and thoughts haue an end: voices make a sound, and foorthwith passe awaie: the eare heareth, and the hearing ceasseth: but thy praise standeth fast for euer. Who is he then that can praise thee? What man is able to vtter foorth thy praises? Thy praise is euerla∣sting, and not transitorie. That man praiseth thee, which beleeueth thee to be thine owne praise. The man praiseth thee, which acknowledgeth himselfe vnable to attaine to thy praise.
O praise perpetuall, which neuer fadest: in thee is our praise, in thee shall my soule be praised. It is not we that praise thee, but it is thou thy selfe that dooest it both thy selfe, and in thy selfe; and we also haue praise in thee. Then haue we true praise, when we haue praise of thee, when light alloweth light: for thou bee∣ing the true praise, yeeldest vs true praise. And looke how often we seeke for praise at anie other bodies hand than thine, so often doo we forgo thy praise; be∣cause the other is shadowish, but thine is euerlasting. If we hunt after the transitorie praise, we loose the e∣ternall praise.
O praise eternall, O my Lord God, of whome is all praise, without whome there is no praise; I am not able to praise thee without thee. Let me haue thee, and I will praise thee. For what am I of my selfe, Lord, that I should praise thee? I am but dust and ashes, I am but a dead and stinking dog, I am but woormes and rottennesse. I! what am I to praise thee, O most mightie Lord God? How can the breath of no better than flesh praise thee, which dwellest in euerlasting∣nesse? Can darkenesse praise light, or death life? Thou Page 673 art light, I darkenesse: thou life, I death. Can lieng praise truth? Thou art truth, and I am a woman no better than vanitie it self. How shall I then praise thee O Lord? Shall my wretchednesse praise thee? Shall stinch praise sweet sents? Shall mans mortalitie, which is heere to daie, and gone to morrowe, praise thee? Shall man which is but rottennesse, or the sonne of man which is but woormes, praise thee? O Lord, can he praise thee, which is bred, borne, and brought vp in sinfulnesse? Praise is not seemelie in the mouth of a sinner.
O Lord my God, let thine owne incomprehensible power, let thy vnbounded wisedome, let thine vnspeak∣able goodnesse, let thine ouerpassing mercie, let thy superabundant pitie, and let thine euerlasting vertue and Godhead praise thee. Praised be thou by thine owne almightie puissance, and also by thy singular gratious goodnesse and louingnesse, whereby thou hast created vs, O Lord, the life of my soule.
Of Gods manifold benefits generallie, with an humble thanks-giuing vnto his Maiestie for the same.
AND I thy handmaid, whome tho∣rough thy goodnesse thou hast crea∣ted, will to the vttermost of my po∣wer, praise thee my God, my creator, my preseruer, and my deliuerer, with all my hart; and call to mind all the good that thou hast done me from my youth vp, to this instant. For I knowe that vnthankefulnesse doth greatlie dis∣please thee, which is the roote of all spirituall euill, and a wind that blasteth and burneth vp all good, dam∣ming vp the fountaine of thy godlie mercie for euer. Through it, the works that be dead alreadie, reuiue Page 674 not: and the works that be aliue, doo die out of hand, and recouer not againe. But I thy creature will giue thanks to thee, O Lord, least I be vnthankefull to thee my deliuerer, for the deliuering of me.
How often had that dragon swallowed me vp long ago, but that thou, O Lord, hadst plucked me out of his mouth? How often haue I sinned, & he stood readie to snatch me vp, but that thou didst defend me O Lord my God? When I dealt wickedlie, and when I brake thy commandements, he stood waiting to carrie me a∣waie to hell; but thou withstoodest him. I offended thee, and thou didst defend me. I feared thee not, and yet thou didst keepe me. I started awaie from thee, and yeelded my selfe to mine enimie, and yet thou didst fraie him awaie, that he should not take mee.
These good turnes hast thou done for me O Lord my God, & I wretch wist it not. For so hast thou often times deliuered me out of the diuels chaps, plucked me out of the lions mouth, and manie and sundrie waies brought me backe againe from hell, though I wist it not. For I haue gone downe to the verie gates of hell, but thou hast held me from going in. I drew neere to deaths dore, but thou hast not suffered it to take me in. Also, thou hast oftentimes preserued mée from bodilie death, O my sauiour, when I haue beene attached with sore sicknesses: and when I haue beene in manie dangers by sea, and by land, thou hast al∣waies stood by me, deliuering me from fire, and from sword, and from all perill, and mercifullie preseruing me. Trulie Lord, thou knowest, that if death had dis∣patched me at that time, hell had receiued my soule, and I had beene damned for euer: but thy mercie and thy grace preuented me, rescuing me from bodilie death, and also from the death of my soule, O my Lord God. These and manie other good turnes hast thou done for me I saie; and I was blind and wist it not, Page 675 vntill thou inlightenedst me.
Now therefore, O light of my soule, my Lord God, my life whereby I liue; the sight of mine eies where∣with I see; behold thou hast inlightened me, and I per∣ceiue how I liue through thee. And I yeeld thee thanks though little woorth and slender, and farre from thy benefits; howbeit yet such as my frailtie hath to giue. For thou onelie art my God, and my gratious maker, which louest our soules, and hatest none of the things that thou hast made. Behold I am the chiefe among the sinners whom thou hast saued, that I may be an example vnto others of thy most merciful louing kind∣nes. I will acknowledge thy great benefits vnto thee. For thou hast plucked me out of the bottome of hell once, and twise, and thrise, and an hundred times, and a thousand times. Yea, I alwaies made toward hell, and thou didst alwaies bring me backe againe, when thou mightest iustlie haue damned me, if thou haddest would: but thou wouldest not, O Lord my GOD, bi∣cause thou louest mens soules, and bearest with mens sinnes, that they might repent: all thy waies be full of mercie.
Now therefore, O Lord my God, I see these things, and discerne them by thy light; and my hart is astoni∣shed at thy great mercie towards me, in that thou hast deliuered my soule from the bottome of hell, and brought me backe againe to life. For I was starke dead, and thou hast made me thoroughlie aliue againe. Therfore am I altogither beholden to thee for my life. And whole as I am, I yeeld my selfe wholie vnto thee. Let my whole spirit, my whole hart, my whole bodie, and my whole life, liue vnto thee my sweet life. For thou hast deliuered me whole, that thou mightest possesse me whole; thou hast made me whole new againe, that thou mightest haue me whole againe.
And therefore let me loue thee, O Lord my strength; Page 676 let me loue thee, O mine vnspeakable ioie, and let mee liue hencefoorth, not to my selfe, but vnto thee. All my whole life, which was perished in mine owne wret∣chednesse, is reuiued againe in thy mercie. For thou art a pitifull and mercifull GOD, and manie are thy compassions towards thousands, in them that loue thy name. And therfore, O Lord my God, thou my san∣ctifier hast commanded me in thy lawe, that I should loue thee with all my hart, with all my might, yea euen from the bottome of my hart, at all houres and times, wherein I enioie the benefits of thy mercie. For I should perish for euer, but that thou rulest me euer. I should euer die, but that thou euer quickenest me: yea, euerie moment thou bindest me vnto thee, in as much as euerie moment thou bestowest thy great benefits vpon me. Therfore like as there is no houre or instant of time in all my life, that I haue not the vse of thy be∣nefits: so ought there to be no moment, wherein I should not haue thee in remembrance before mine eies, and loue thee to the vttermost of my power. But this I am not able to doo, except thou make me able; of whom commeth euerie good gift and excellent gift; in whom there is no change, nor intercourse of darknes. For to loue thee commeth not of our owne will, or of our owne running; but of thy mercie. Lord, it is thy gift, whose all good things are. Thou commandest vs to loue thee; giue vs that which thou commandest, and command what thou wilt.
Another meditation of Gods great benefits.
VNto thee, O souereigne light, O ghostlie Physician, & the health of my soule, will I now & euer giue praise, with all my whole hart, for all thy benefits, wherwith thou feedest me from my youth vnto mine old Page 677 age, and euen till my last gaspe, I beseech thee by thy selfe forsake me not. For thou madest me when I was not; thou redeemedst me when I was forlorne; thou inlightenedst me when I was in darknesse; thou rai∣sedst me when I was dead: yea, when I was both for∣lorne and dead, thou camest downe from the bosome of thy Father, to me, & tookest mortalitie vpon thee. Thou being my King, camest downe to thy seruant. To re∣deeme thy seruant, thou gauest thy selfe: to the intent that I might liue; thou tookest vpon thee to die, and ouercamest death. Thou diddest set me vp againe, by abasing thy selfe lowe. I was vndoone; I was gone farre awaie in my sinnes; I was sold to sinne: then camest thou for me to bring me out againe; and thou didst loue me so well, that thou gauest thine owne blood for my ransome.
Lord, thou hast loued me more than thy selfe. For thou diddest find in thine hart to die for me. Upon this condition hast thou with so deere a price brought mee backe againe from banishment; ransomed me out of bondage; rescued me from punishment; called mee by thine owne name, and sealed me with thy blood; that the remembrance of thee should be euermore with me, and that he should neuer depart from my hart, who for my sake shunned not the crosse. Thou hast annoin∣ted me with the oile, wherewith thou thy selfe wert annointed, that I might be called a Christian, after thy name Christ. Behold, thou hast registred me vpon thine hands, to the end that the remembrance of mee might be alwaies present with thee: yet notwithstan∣ding, so as if the remembrance of thee, be alwaies pre∣sent with me.
Thus then haue thy loue, thy grace and mercie al∣waies preuented me. For thou hast oftentimes deliue∣red me from manie and great perils, O my deliuerer. When I went astraie, thou broughtest mee backe Page 678 againe; when I was ignorant, thou taughtest mee; when I sinned, thou diddest chastise me; when I haue beene in heauines, thou hast cheered me; when I haue beene in despaire, thou hast recomforted me; when I haue beene fallen, thou hast lifted me vp; when I haue stood, thou hast vpholden me; when I haue gone, thou hast guided me; when I haue come, thou hast receiued me; when I haue slept, thou hast watched me; and when I haue cried vnto thee, thou hast heard me.
O Lord, where shall I haue words to vtter the signes of thy singular loue toward me; considering thine innumerable benefits wherin thou hast brought me vp from the beginning? Namelie, euen from the benefit of the creation, when at the first beginning thou madest me of nothing after thine owne image, in honouring and aduancing me among the creatures, which thou madest, and innobling me with the light of thy countenance, which thou imprintedst vpon the lampe of my hart, thereby disseuering me as well from sensible, as from senselesse creatures, and abasing mee but little beneath the Angels. And yet was all this but a small matter in the sight of thy Godhead. For without ceassng thou hast dailie nourished this vnpro∣fitable woorme, which stinketh with sinne, with all the singular and exceeding great store of thy good gifts and benefits: and thou hast as it were suckled and streng∣thened me thy little tender babe, with the teates of thy comfort. For to the intent that I should wholie serue thee, thou hast appointed all thy creatures to serue me.
These and manie other good turnes, hast thou done vnto me, O Lord my God, the life of my soule: for all which I render vnto thee againe most humble and hartie thanks-giuing: beseeching thee, O Lord, that it may be a pleasure to me, wretch that I am, to be al∣waies talking of them, alwaies thinking vpon them, Page 679 and alwaies giuing thee thanks for them. O my God, shew me, I saie, how much I am bound to loue thee; make it appeare to me how much I ought to please thee. Open me the doore of thy light, that I may enter in, and both knowe, & acknowledge vnto thee with my whole hart, that thy mercie is great toward mee, and that thou hast deliuered my hart from the bottome of hell: so as I might euer praise thee for all thy good gifts, and loue thee with all my hart, and with all my soule, and with all my mind, and with all my strength, yea and that with the verie bowels and intrailes of my hart, and of all my sinewes. O Lord my God, the blessed sweetnesse of all that delight in thee: whose name is woonderfull, and praise woorthie through hea∣uen and earth: So be it.
Another forme of thanks-giuing vnto God, for all his benefits, and praier for grace to con∣firme and increase the same.
O Most highest, almightie and eter∣nall God, whose glorie replenisheth heauen and earth. If thy holie and celestiall powers doo neuer cease in lauding thy most holie Maiestie; how should we cease, earthlie and lowlie seruants, which are redee∣med with the pretious bloud of thy onelie sonne? And for as much as thy louing kindnesse and fauour in especiallie worketh towards vs, we also ought continuallie to giue thanks for thy great good∣nesse; but haue mercie, O mercifull father. For the ne∣cessitie of this life, dooth not suffer vs to thanke thee continuallie. Wherefore (though not continuallie as I ought) I worship thee my maker with trembling & feare; I giue thee thanks for all thy benefits: that when I was nothing, thou madest mee, gauest me a li∣uing Page 680 soule, quickened with thy holie spirit, formed mee with thine owne image, that it might be able to re∣ceiue thee, which art the high God. By thy prouidence thou hast brought me to those things that are expedi∣ent for me, giuen to me knowledge and true faith in thee, and planted a godlie mind in me, and instructed me in the mysteries of thy holie word & Sacraments.
But oh Lord, how dare I recite thy benefits by number; seeing thy louing kindnesse is an vnsearch∣able bottomlesse sea, and an innumerable? For I can not so soone giue thanks for thy benefits shewed of old, as new haue euen ouerwhelmed me. Oh Lord, how great a benefit is this, that I may to thee giue thanks? For what fellowship hath vnrighteousnesse with righteousnesse? What partaking darkenesse with light? What agreement filthinesse with puritie? Follie with wisedome? Mortalitie, with thee that art immortall? Oh my vilenesse! Oh thy goodnesse! Yea, though the spirit were readie, yet is the flesh fraile: but thou O Lord, if thou wilt, canst make me strong. And so, O most mercifull father, vouchsafe that I may euer giue thanks and laud to thee. For what good gift did I euer desire of thee, but thou first willedst it to me? Who better knoweth what is good for me, than thou? And because I need a mediator, accept thine innocent Sonne Iesus Christ, with his crosse and passion, bloud-shed, death, and resurrection for me. I haue not this deserued: but thou father, of thy mercie and truth hast by the same thy deerelie beloued Sonne, promised and giuen vs thy mercie and fauour. Open therefore, O my mercifull Father, for this thy deerelie beloued Sonnes sake, euen this daie thy woonted hand of mer∣cie, and fulfill my mind and hart with a good will, and let thy right hand defend me. And if my sinnes, which I acknowledge to be great and innumerable, (there∣fore I repent and am hartilie sorie) doo let thy good∣nesse, Page 681 O father wipe them awaie; for this is thy glorie, to forgiue sinnes, and therefore no flesh may reioice before thee: for thou Lord onlie art pure, and without sinne. Haue mercie vpon me thy bondseruant, and vp∣pon all people; and O father, bring them vnto the knowledge of thee that art onlie God, and of Iesus Christ whome thou hast sent, the onlie sauiour and re∣deemer, mediator, and aduocate for vs: and after this present life, bring vs to eternall blisse and felicitie, by the deere merits of thy Sonne Iesus Christ. For thine is the power, kingdome, and glorie, for euer,
Another to the same effect.
HOnour and praise be giuen to thee, O Lord God almightie, most deere father of heauen, for all thy mercies and louing kindnesse shewed vnto vs, in that it hath pleased thy grati∣ous goodnesse freelie, of thine owne accord, to elect and choose vs to sal∣uation afore the beginning of the world: and euen like continuall thanks be giuen vnto thee, for creating vs after thine owne image, for redee∣ming vs with the pretious bloud of thy deere Sonne, when we were vtterlie lost; for sanctifieng vs with thy holie spirit, in the reuelation and knowledge of thy sa∣cred word; for helping and succouring vs in all our need and necessitie; for sauing vs from all dangers of bodie and soule; for comforting vs so fatherlie in all our troubles and afflictions; for sparing vs so long, and gi∣uing vs so large time of repentance. These benefits, O most mercifull father, like as we acknowledge to haue receiued of thine onlie goodnesse, euen so we beseech thee, for thy deere sonne Iesus Christes sake, to grant vs alwaie thy holie spirit, whereby we may continu∣allie growe in thankefulnesse towards thee, be led into Page 682 all truth, and comforted in all aduersitie. Strengthen our faith, O Lord, kindle it more and more in feruent∣nesse and loue towards thee, and our neighbours for thy sake. Suffer vs not, most deere father, to receiue thy word anie more in vaine; but grant vs alwaie the assistance of thy grace and holie spirit, that in hart, word, and deede, we may sanctifie, and doo woorship to thy holie name, that we may help to amplifie thy king∣dome, and that whatsoeuer thou sendest, we may bee hartilie well content with thy good will and pleasure. Suffer vs not to lacke the thing, O father, without the which we can not serue thee; but blesse thou so all the works of our hands, that we may haue sufficient, and not to be chargeable, but rather helpfull vnto o∣thers. Be merciful, O Lord, vnto our offences, and see∣ing our debt is great, which thou hast forgiuen vs in Iesus Christ, make vs to loue thee, and our neighbors so much the more. Be thou, O father, our Captaine and defender in all temptations. Hold thou vs by thy mercifull hand, that we thereby may be deliuered from all inconuenience, and end our liues in the sanctifieng and honou∣ring of thy holie name, through Iesus Christ our Lord,