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FA43 OALMIGHTY and eternal God, “of whom all fatherhood in heaven and in earth is named,” whose “seat is the heaven, whose footstool is the earth;” which of thy great clemency and unspeakable love hast not weighed nor considered our great unkindness and wilful disobedience, but according to the good pleasure of thy eternal purpose hast in thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ chosen us out of the world, and dost accept us, far otherwise than we be in deed, to be called, yea, and to be indeed, thine adopted sons; and dost vouchsafe, O loving Father, that we, as it were heavenly children, should every one of us confess, declare, and call thee ‘our heavenly Father;’ grant, dear Father, that among us thy poor children, by pureness of mind and conscience, by singleness of heart, by uncorrupt and innocent life, and example of virtue and godliness, thy most holy “name may be sanctified;” and that so many of all other nations as thou hast thereunto chosen and predestinate, beholding our godliness and virtuous deeds that thou workest in us, may be the more stirred to hallow and glorify thy blessed name.
O faithful Father, we beseech thee that the kingdom of thy holy Spirit, of grace and prayer, of thy loving kindness and mercy, and of all other thy holy virtues, and of thy holy and most blessed word, may continually reign in our hearts; so that thou wouldest vouchsafe thereby to make us worthy to be partakers of the realm and kingdom of thy glorious and blessed presence.
O dear God and heavenly Father, we humbly desire thy goodness to bow our hearts unto thee, to make us humble of mind, to make us low in our own sight and obedient; that, like as thy dear Son, our only Savior Jesus Christ, counted his meat, works, praise, and life, to be only in obeying: to thy most blessed will, wherein for our sakes “he became obedient to the death of the cross;” so we may, even unto the very death, in lowliness, in meekness, patience, and thankfulness, obey unto thy holy will; and not to murmur and grudge, nor refuse whatsoever thy fatherly pity shall think good to lay on us, be it poverty, hunger, nakedness, sickness, slanders, oppressions, vexations, persecutions, yea, or death itself, for well-doing; but in all things seek and labor to make these our earthly bodies serviceable to do thy will, and to refuse that thou wilt not; never to strive nor wrestle against thy holy will; but, with thy heavenly “citizens and household, builded upon the foundation of thy holy prophets and apostles, thy Son Jesus Christ being the head cornerstone,” all self-will and controversy in opinions secluded, the lusts, desires, and affections of the flesh mortified, the flattering assaults of the vain world, the cruel and subtle layings await of the devil, overcome, agreeing together quietly, and united in spirit, we may freely obey unto thy most blessed will, therein to walk all the days of our life.
O dear God, give unto our needful bodies necessary sustenance, and take from us all love of worldly things, all carefulness and covetousness, that we may the more freely worship and serve thee. O merciful Father, we beseech thee to give unto us that heavenly “bread” to strengthen our hearts, (I mean the body of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, the very food and health of our souls;) that we may always with thankfulness firmly feed on him by faith, and utterly forsake and abhor all false doctrine and persuasions of men, and all lying spirits that shall persuade us any otherwise of him than thy holy word doth teach and assure us. Satisfy our hungry souls, dear Father, with the marrow and fatness of thy rich mercy, promised to us in the same thy Son, and of our eternal election, redemption, justification, and glorification in him. Make us, O gracious God, to contemn and despise this world with the vain things and pleasures thereof, and inwardly to hunger for thy blessed kingdom and presence: which do thou satisfy, good God, in thy good time, according to thy good will and pleasure. O most loving God, give us the “bread” of thy divine precepts, and make our hearts perfect, that we may truly and freely walk and live in them all the days of our life. O dear and merciful Father, we beseech thee, give us the “bread” of thy lively and heavenly word, and the true understanding thereof; which is the “light of our paths,” the food, strong tower, and sure defense of our souls; that we, being well fenced with this munition, fed and filled with this food, may be worthy guests at thy celestial feast and wedding, where we shall never hunger nor want.
O most righteous and merciful God, Father and Governor of our life, we confess that we have grievously sinned against thee from our youth up until now, in ingratitude, in unthankfullness, wilfulness, disobedience, presumption, and innumerable our negligences and sins, which we from time to time most heinously have committed; whereby we have deserved not only sore and grievous plagues, but even eternal damnation, were it not that thou art the Lord of mercy, and hast power to shew mercy on whom thou wilt; wherein thou art rich and plentiful to all them that call upon thee faithfully.
Wherefore, dear Father, we, seeing our manifold and grievous sins which we have committed against thee, and also thy great mercy, loving-kindness, patience, and long-suffering towards us, are compelled not only to bear patiently and suffer our enemies when they rail on us, slander us, oppress us, vex us, or trouble us, curse, persecute, and kill us; but also to speak well of them, to instruct them, to pray for them, to do them good, to bless them, to clothe them, feed them, so “heaping coals” of thy charity and love upon them; and mercifully to “forgive them,” even as thou, dear Father, for thy beloved Christ’s sake “hast forgiven us.”
Thus hast thou taught us, good Father, not as the hypocrites to look narrowly on our neighbors’ faults, but diligently to examine our own consciences, wherein we have offended thee, and also what occasion of offense or falling we have given to our brethren in eating, drinking, going, apparel, speaking, dissolute or uncomely laughter, in bargaining, or by any means; and with all speed seek to reconcile ourselves to them, and to forgive unto other from the bottom of our hearts whatsoever they have offended us, and to do none otherwise than we wish and desire in our hearts that other should do to us; that so we may find thee, O Lord, in “forgiving us our trespasses,” mild and merciful: which speedily do thou shew thyself unto us, for thy dear Christ’s sake.
O Lord, thou God of the righteous, we feel the frailty of our nature to be so perverse and apt to sin, that, when thou by the gifts of thy holy Spirit dost move us, and as it were call us, yea, rather draw us unto thee, then are we drawn away and tempted of our own concupiscence and lust, beside the great and dangerous assaults of the world and devil: therefore, faithful Father, we thy poor children beseech thee to take from us all those evils and occasions that may draw us from thee. O dear God, protect, defend, and strengthen us against all the suggestions and assaults of our enemies, ‘the world, the flesh, and the devil,’ that neither in prosperity we wax haut or high-minded, to say unthankfully, ‘What fellow is the Lord?’ nor yet in the abundance of temptations, anguish, vexation, tribulation, or persecution, to be oppressed with fear, nor deceived by flattery, nor yet to fall in despair, and so utterly perish.
But in all dangers and perils of temptations, and in the midst of the stormy tempests of tribulation, dear Father, make us, thy poor children, to feel the consolation of the certainty of our eternal election in Christ Jesus our Lord, and to perceive thy fatherly succor ready to help us; lest that we, being overcome with the wicked sleights and deceitful invasions of the enemies, should (as without thy grace and merciful protection we shall) be drawn into an obstinate mind; and so shut up the conduit that should lead thy gracious gifts and benefits unto us to our commodity and comfort, that thou mightest “lead us forth with the evildoers,” and harden our hearts.
Therefore, O good God, give us these thy good gifts, namely strength, patience, and joyfulness of heart, to “rejoice in temptation,” and assure us that it is “the trial of our faith ;” that faith in us may “have her perfect work;” that, when we be well approved, and purged with the fire of temptations, we may finish our life in victory, and evermore live with thee in thy heavenly kingdom, where no temptation shall do us hurt.
Finally, most merciful Father, we humbly beseech thee to “deliver us” from this present evil world, from all human’ and worldly fear, from all infirmities of the flesh and mind, from false prophets and teachers, from false brethren, from traitors and tyrants, etc.: and, if it be thy good pleasure, and may make most to the glory of thy name, “deliver us” from the hands of our enemies, and from all other evils present and to come, both of body and soul, that we, being by thy great mercy defended ‘from all hurtful things,’ may always use ‘those things that be profitable for us,’ ‘devoutly given to serve thee in good works;’ that, the yoke of our enemies and the bands of sin being shaken off, we may possess the inheritance of thy heavenly kingdom, which thy dear Son Jesus Christ hath with his precious blood purchased for thine elect “from the beginning of the world.” “For thine is the kingdom:” thou only hast the majesty, thou only art the God above all gods, King of all kings, and Lord of all lords; thou only hast the power ,and authority to “set up kings, and to put them down;” thou “liftest the poor out of the dust, and makest him to sit among the princes of thy people;” thou only “makest wars to cease,” and “givest victory” to whom thou wilt. O dear God, there is neither majesty, rule, nor power, honor nor worship, dignity nor office, riches nor poverty, health nor sickness, plenty nor scarcity, prosperity nor adversity, war nor peace, life nor death, nor any other thing, but it is all thine: and thou both hast the power, and also wilt give it to whom it pleaseth thee in thy time and season, that all glory may be given to thee alone, for thou art worthy.
O dear Father, to thee we come therefore for help and succor, for without thee there is no help at all. O good Father, “deliver us” from all that is evil in thy sight, for thy own name’s sake, and for thy dear Christ’s sake; that we being armed with thy holy armor, and weaponed with thy blessed word, and instructed by thy holy Spirit, may, according to thy holy promise, “serve thee without fear all the days of our life,” in such holiness and righteousness as is acceptable in thy sight.
To thee therefore, our dear Father, our ,Creator, feeder, protector, governor, and defender; and thy beloved Son Jesus Christ, our only peace, mercy-seat, Redeemer, justifier, and advocate; and thy holy Spirit, our sanctification, our wisdom, teacher, instructor, and Comforter, be all dominion, power, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.