PREVIOUS CHAPTER - NEXT CHAPTER - HELP - FB - TWITTER - GR VIDEOS - GR FORUMS - GR YOUTUBE
FOR THE MORNING AND EVENING, AND FOR OTHER TIMES OF THE DAY FA115 WHEN YOU AWAKE OUT OF YOUR SLEEP, PRAY THUS OMOST dear Father of our Savior Jesus Christ, whom none doth know but of thy gift, grant that to the manifold great benefits of thy goodness given to me this, which of all other is most, may be added; that, like as thou hast awaked my body from sleep, so thou wouldest throughly awake, yea, deliver my soul from the sleep of sin and darkness of this world; and that which now is awaked out of sleep thou wouldest, after death, restore to life; for that is but sleep to thee, which is death to us. Dear God, I most heartily beseech and humbly pray thy goodness to make my body such a companion, or rather a minister of godliness to my soul, in this present life, that in the life to come it may partake with the same everlasting happiness by Jesus Christ our Lord. “Awake, thou that deepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shew light unto thee.” OCCASIONS TO MEDITATE.
Here call to mind the great mirth and blessedness of the everlasting resurrection: also remember to muse upon that most clear light and bright morning, and new dearness of our bodies, after the long darkness it hath been in: all then shall be full of joy.
SO SOON AS YOU BEHOLD THE DAYLIGHT, PRAY O LORD, thou greatest and most true light, whence this light of the day and sun doth spring! O Light, which dost lighten every man that cometh into this world! O Light, which knowest no night nor evening, but art always a midday most clear and fair, without whom all is most dark darkness, by whom all be most splendent! O thou Wisdom of the eternal “Father of mercies!” lighten my mind, that I may only see those things that please thee, and may be blinded to all other things. Grant that I may walk in thy ways, and that nothing else may be light and pleasant unto me. “Lighten mine eyes, O Lord, that I sleep not in death, lest mine enemies say, I have prevailed against him.”
OCCASIONS TO MEDITATE Muse a little how much the light and eye of the mind and soul is better than of the body; also, that we care more for the soul to see well, than for the body. Think that beasts have bodily eyes, and therewith see; but men have eyes of the mind, and therewith should see.
WHEN YOU ARISE, PRAY Our first father tumbled down himself from a most excellent, high, and honorable estate into the mire of misery and deep sea of shame and mischief: but, O Christ, thou putting forth thine hand didst raise him up: even so we, except we be lift up of thee, shall lie still for ever. O good Christ, our most gracious Redeemer, grant that as thou dost; mercifully raise up now this my body and burden, even so I beseech thee raise up my mind and heart to the light of the true knowledge of the love of thee, that my “conversation may be in heaven,” where thou art. “If thou be risen with Christ, think upon those things that be above.”
OCCASIONS TO MEDITATE.
Think something how foul and filthy that Adam’s fall was by reason of sin, and so of every one of us from the height of God’s grace: again think upon the great benefit of Christ, by whose help we do daily arise from our fallings.
WHEN YOU APPAREL YOURSELF, PRAY OCHRIST, clothe me with thine own self, that I may be so far from “making provision for my flesh to fulfill the lusts of it,” that I may clean put off all my carnal desires, and crucify the kingdom of the flesh in me. Be thou unto me a weed to warm me from catching the cold of this world.
If thou be away from me, dear Lord, all things will be unto me forth with cold, weak, dead, etc.; but if thou be with me, all things will be warm, lively, fresh, etc. Grant therefore, that as I compass this my body with this coat, so thou wouldest clothe me wholly, but specially my soul, with thine own self. “Put upon you as the elect of God, bowels of mercy, meekness, love, peace,” etc.
WHEN YOU ARE MADE READY TO BEGIN THE DAY WITHAL, PRAY OALMIGHTY God and most merciful Father, thou knowest, and hast taught us also something to know, that the weakness of man and woman is great, and that without thy grace they can neither do nor think any good thing: have mercy upon me, I humbly beseech thee, which am thy most weak, frail, and unworthy child. O be gracious and tender towards me: lighten my mind that I may with pleasure look upon good things only: inflame my heart with the love thereof, that I may carefully covet them; and at the last by thy gracious conducting may happily attain them through Jesus Christ our Lord.
COGITATIONS MEET TO BEGIN THE DAY WITH THINK first that man consisteth of soul and body, and that the soul is from heaven, heavenly, firm, and immortal; but the body is from the earth, earthly, frail, and mortal.
Again, think that though by reason of sin, wherein you are conceived and born, the parts of the soul which do understand and desire be so corrupt that, without special grace to both parts, you can neither know nor love any good thing in God’s sight, much less then do that is good; yet this notwithstanding think that you are regenerate by Christ’s resurrection, (which your baptism requireth you to believe;) and therefore have both those parts something reformed both to know and to love; and therefore to do also some good in the sight of God through Christ, for whose sake our poor doings are accepted for good, the evil and infirmity cleaving; thereunto not being imputed through faith.
Think that by faith, which is God’s seed (for “they which believe are born of God,” and made God’s children,) given to those that “be ordained to eternal life;” think, I say, that by faith you receive more and more the Spirit of sanctification, through the use of God’s word and sacraments, and earnest prayer to illuminate your minds, understanding, judgment, and reason, and to bow, form, frame, and inflame your affections with love and power to that that good is; and therefore use you the means aforesaid accordingly.
Think that by this Spirit you are through faith coupled to Christ as a lively member, and so to God, and as it were made one with him; and by love which springeth out of this faith you are made one also with all that be of God; and so you have fellowship with God, and all good men that ever were or shall be, in all the good that God and all his saints have or shall have. Think that as by faith and love, through the Spirit of God, you are now entered into this communion, (the blessedness whereof no tongue can express,) so after this life you shall first in soul, and in the last day in body also, enjoy for ever the same society most perfectly, which now is but begun in you.
Think then of your negligence, that doth so little care for this your happy estate; think upon your ingratitude to God for making you, redeeming you, calling you, and so lovingly adopting you; think upon your folly in fantasying so much earthly and bodily pleasures; think upon your deafness and blindness, which hear not God, nor see him, he calling you so diligently by his works, word, and sacraments; think upon your frowardness, which will not be led of God and his Spirit; think upon your forgetfulness and inconsideration of your heavenly estate, how “your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost,” your members are “the members of Christ,” the whole “world and all things therein are your own.”
Therefore say unto your soul, ‘O my soul, arise, follow God, contemn this world, purpose well, and pursue it, long for the Lord’s coming, be ready and watch that he come not upon thee unawares.’ And, forsomuch as you must live to God’s pleasure, see the vocation and state of your life whereunto God hath called you; and pray to God for grace, knowledge, and ability to take the most profitable things in hand, well to begin, better to go on, and best of all to end the same to God’s glory, and the profit of your brethren; and think that time lost, wherein you speak or do not, or (at the least) think not, something to God’s glory and the commodity of your brethren.
WHEN YOU GO FORTH OF THE DOORS, PRAY Now must I walk among the snares of death, stretched out of Satan and of his mischievous ministers in the world, carrying with me a friend to them both, and a foe to myself, even this body of sin and sinful flesh.
O grand captain Christ, lead me and guide me, I beseech thee; defend me from the plagues and subtleties whereof I .am endangered; grant that I may take all things that hap as I should do: only upon thee set thou mine eyes, that I may so go on forwards in thy way, as by no things I be hindered, but rather furthered, and may refer all things to thee accordingly. “Shew me thy ways, O Lord, and teach me thy paths.”
Consider how vainly the most part of men be occupied, how they do trouble and cumber themselves diversely, how they meddle with many things, thereby much alienating their minds from the knowledge and cogitation of that which they should most esteem, and so become a let and an offense to others. As in going abroad you will see that your apparel be seemly in the sight of men, so see how seemly you appear in the sight of God.
WHEN YOU ARE GOING ANY JOURNEY, PRAY This our life is a pilgrimage: from the Lord we came, and to the Lord we make our journey; howbeit, through thievish places, and painful, yea, perilous ways, which our cruel enemies have, and do prepare for us now more than stark blind by reason of sin.
O Christ, which art a most true lodesman and guide, and thereto most expert, faithful, and friendly, do thou put out thine hand, “open mine eyes,” make thy highways known unto me; which way thou didst first enter into out of this corruptible life, and hast fenced the same for us to immortality.
Or pray thus:
Merciful Father, thou art wont to send to thy servants and men of simple hearts thine angels to be their keepers, and as it were guides, as elder brethren, to watch upon thy weak children: so didst thou to young Tobias, to Jacob, to Abraham’s servant, to Joshua, etc. O good God, though we be much unlike unto them (so many are our sins), yet, for thine own goodness sake, send thine holy angels to pitch their tents about us, from Satan and his slaves to hide and defend, to carry us in their hands, that we come not into further danger than thou throughout wilt deliver us for thine own sake.
Think something how we are strangers from our country, from our home, from our original; I mean, from God. Again think upon your madness, that do linger and loiter so gladly in this our journey and pilgrimage; also, how foolish we are to fantasy things which we cannot carry with us, and to contemn conscience which will always be a companion to us, to our joy if it be good, but to our shame and sorrow if it be evil and corrupt; finally, how unnatural we are, that so little desire to be at our home, to be with our only Father, Master, fellows, and friends, etc. WHEN YOU ARE ABOUT TO RECEIVE YOUR MEAT, PRAY This is a wonderful mystery of thy work, O Maker and Governor of the world, that thou dost sustain the lives of men and beasts with these meats: surely this power is neither in the bread nor food, but in thy will and word, by which word all things do live and have their beings. Again, how great a thing is it, that thou art able yearly to give sustenance to so many creatures! This is spoken of by thy prophet in thy praises: “All things look up to thee, and thou givest them meat in due season; thou openest thine hand, and fillest with thy blessing every living thing.” These doubtless are wonderful works of thine almightiness.
I therefore heartily pray thee, O most liberal Lord and faithful Father, that, as thou by meat through thy word dost minister life to these our bodies, even so by the same word with thy grace do thou quicken our souls, that both in soul and body we may please thee till this our mortal carcass shall put on immortality, and we shall need no more any other food, but thee only, which then wilt be “all in all.” “Taste and see how good the Lord is.”’ “Bless the Lord, O my soul, which feedeth and filleth thy mouth with good things.” Think a little how great God’s power is, that made us; also think how great his wisdom is to preserve us; but most of all think how many things are given to our use, how wonderful it is to give us life, but most of all to propagate to immortality the life of the soul by his only beck.
IN THE MEAL-TIME PRAY OMOST liberal distributor of thy gifts, which givest us all kind of good things to use, thou being pure givest pure things; grant to me thy grace, that I misuse not these thy gracious gifts given to our use and profits. Let us not love them because thou dost give us these things; but rather let us love thee because thou givest them, and for that they be necessary for us for a season till we come unto thee. Grant us to be conversant amongst thy gifts soberly, purely, temperately, holily, because thou art such a one: so shall not we turn that to the poison of our souls, which thou hast; given for the medicine of our bodies; but, using thy benefits thankfully, we shall find them profitable both to soul and body.
Think that the meats and drinks set before you are given to you to use and not to abuse; think they are given to profit and not to hurt you; think that they are not given to you alone, but unto others also by you: in eating and drinking think that you do but feed the worms; remember the poor prisoners, sick, etc., as though you were in their case; think upon the food of your soul, Christ’s “body broken,” and his “blood shed.” Desire “the meat that lasteth for ever;” “work for it.” Christ’s meat was to do his Father’s will. FA126 AFTER YOUR MEAT PRAY THUS BY corporal meats thou dost sustain our corporal daily life (ready otherwise to perish), the which surely is a great work; but yet this is much greater, more profitable, and more holy, that thy grace, O Jesu Christ, doth keep away from us the death of the soul. For this life we ought much to thank thee; and because thou dost prolong it with thy good gifts, we most heartily praise thee: howbeit, this life is but the way to eternal life, which we beseech thee, for thy death’s sake, that thou wilt give us; and so shall we not only give thee (as we can) thanks in time for temporal things, but also eternal thanks for eternal things. O grant, to us these our desires for thy mercy’s sake. Amen.
Think now that God hath given thee this his blessing of meat, etc., and thereto time that thou mightest, as repent, so seek his glory and the commodity of thy brethren. Therefore go thereabout; but first pray for grace well to begin: and again consider how thou hast been partaker of other men’s labors, as of the husbandman’s, the miller’s, the baker’s, the brewer’s, the butcher’s, the cook’s, etc. See therefore that thou be not a drone bee, but rather such a one as may help the hive.
COGITATIONS FOR ABOUT THE MID-DAY TIME As the body is now environed on all sides with light, so see that thy mind may be. As God giveth thee thus plentifully this corporal light, so pray him that he will give thee the spiritual light. Think that, as the sun is now most clear, so shall our bodies be in the day of judgment. As now the sun is come to the highest, and therefore will begin to draw downward; so is there nothing in the world so perfect and glorious, which, when it is at the full, will not decrease, and so wear away WHEN YOU COME HOME AGAIN, PRAY THERE is nothing, O Lord, more like to thy holy nature than a quiet mind.
Houses are ordained for us, that we might get us into them from the injury of weather, from the cruelty of beasts, from disquietness of people, and from the toils of the world. O gracious Father, grant that through thy great mercy my body may enter into this house from outward actions, but so that it may become buxom and obedient to the soul, and make no resistance thereagainst, that in soul and body I may have a godly quietness, and peace to praise thee. Amen.
Think what a return, and how merry a return, it will be to come to our eternal, most quiet, and most happy home: then will be all grief gone away: whatsoever here is pleasant and joyful, the same is nothing but a very shadow in comparison, etc.
AT THE SUN GOING DOWN PRAY How unhappy are they, O Lord, on whom thy sun goeth down, and giveth no light! (I mean thy grace, which is always clear as the mid-day.) Dark night unto them is the mid-day, which depart from thee: in thee is never night, but always day-light most clear. This corporal sun hath his courses, now up, now down: but thou, dear Lord, if ,we love thee, art always one.
OCCASIONS TO MEDITATE Think that as we are not sorry when the sun goeth down, because we know it will rise again; even so we should not sorrow for death, wherethrough the soul and body do part asunder; for they shall eftsoons return, and come together again in most glorious wise.
So long as the sun is up, wild beasts keep their dens, foxes their burrows, owls their holes, etc., but when the sun is down, then come they abroad: so wicked men and hypocrites keep their dens in the gospel; but, it being taken away, then swarm they out of their holes like bees, as this day doth teach. WHEN THE CANDLES BE LIGHT, PRAY MOST thick and dark clouds do cover our minds, except thy light, O Lord, do drive them away. Thy sun, O most wise worker, is, as it were, a firebrand to this world: thy wisdom, whereby light cometh to both soul and body, is a firebrand to the spiritual world. After day, when the night cometh, thou hast given for the remedy of darkness a candle: after sin, for the remedy of ignorance, thou hast given thy doctrine, which thy dear Son hath brought unto us. O thou, that art the Author and Master of all truth, and art “the true Light,” make us so to see, that the dimness of our minds may be driven clean away. “Lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us ;” and send joy and gladness into our hearts. “Thy word is a lantern to my feet and a light unto my paths.”
OCCASIONS TO MEDITATE Think that the knowledge which God giveth unto us by the candle-light (whereby we see those things in this night of our bodies, which are expedient for us) should make us to wish much more for this doctrine of God and spiritual light of our souls; and when we get it, the more to esteem it, and diligently to embrace it: again that, as all would be horror with out candle-light, so there is nothing but mere confusion where God’s word taketh not place. WHEN YOU MAKE YOURSELF UNREADY, PRAY This our life and weak-knit body, by reason of sin, by little and little will be dissolved, and so shall be restored to the earth from whence it was taken: then will be an end of this vanity, which by our folly we have wrought to ourselves.
O most meek Father, so do thou untie me (for thou art he that hast knit these our weak members together,) that I may perceive myself to be loosed and dissolved, and so may remember both of whom I was made, and also whither I must go, lest I be had unprovided unto thy tribunal and judgment-seat. OCCASIONS TO MEDITATE “Put off the old man,” with his lusts and concupiscence; be content with Joseph to put off thy prison-apparel, that thou mayest put on new. Think that, as we do willingly put off our garments, because we shall receive them again when the night is past, so we should not unwillingly forsake our bodies when God by death shall call us, because we shall receive them again in “the resurrection of the just.”
THE day now ended, men give themselves to rest in the night; and so, this life finished, we shall rest in death. Nothing is more like this life than every day; nothing more like death than sleep; nothing more like to our grave than our bed.
O Lord, our Keeper and Defender, grant that I now laying me down to rest, being unable to keep myself, may be preserved from the crafts and assaults of the wicked enemy: and grant further that, when I have run the race of this life, thou wouldest of thy mercy call me unto thee, that I may live and watch with thee for evermore. And now, gracious God, give me to take my rest in thee, and bring to pass that thy goodness may be, even in sleep, before mine eyes; that sleeping I be not absent from thee, but may have my dreams to draw me unto thee, and so both soul and body may be kept pure and holy for ever. “I will lay me down in peace, and take my rest.”
Think that, as this troublesome day is now past, and night: come, and so rest, bed, and pleasant sleep, which maketh most excellent princes and most poor peasants alike; even so after the tumults, troubles, temptations, and tempests of this; life, they that believe in Christ have prepared for them an haven and rest most pleasant and joyful. As you are not afraid to enter into your bed, and to dispose yourself to sleep, so be not afraid to die, but rather prepare yourself to it: think that now you are nearer your end by one day’s journey, than you were in the morning.
WHEN YOU FEEL SLEEP TO BE COMING, PRAY O Lord Jesus Christ, my Watchman and Keeper, take me to thy care: grant that, my body sleeping, my mind may watch in thee, and be made merry by some sight of that celestial and heavenly life wherein thou art the King and Prince, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost; thy angels and holy souls be most happy citizens.
PRAYER FOR DIVINE PROTECTION FA136 “Pray in every place, lifting up pure hands.” O Mighty King, and most high Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which mercifully dost govern all things which thou hast made, look down upon the faithful “seed of Abraham,” the “children of thy chosen Jacob,” thy “chosen people” I do mean, consecrate unto thee by the anointing of thy holy Spirit, and appointed to thy kingdom by thy “eternal purpose,” free mercy, and grace, but yet as strangers wandering in this vile vale of misery, brought forth daily by the worldly tyrants “like sheep to the slaughter.”
O Father of all flesh, who by thy Divine providence “changest times and seasons,” and most wonderfully disposest kingdoms; thou hast destroyed Pharaoh, with all his horse and chariots, puffed up with pride against thy people, leading forth safely by the hands of thy mercy thy beloved Israel through the high waves of the raging waters. Thou, O God, the Lord of all hosts and armies, didst first drive away from the gates of thy people the blasphemous Sennacherib, slaying of his army fourscore and five thousand by thy angel in one night; and after by his own sons, before his own idols, didst kill the same blasphemous idolater, shewing openly to all heathen thy provident power towards thy despised “little ones.”
Thou didst transform and change proud Nabuchodonosor, the enemy of thy people, into a brute beast, “to eat grass” and hay, to the horrible terror of all worldly tyrants. And, as thou art “the Father of mercies and God of all consolation,” so of thy wonderful mercy didst thou preserve those thy servants in Babylon, which with bold courage gave their bodies to the fire, because they would not worship any dead idol: and, when they were cast into the burning furnace, thou didst give them cheerful hearts to rejoice and “sing psalms,” and savedst unhurt the very “hairs of their heads,” turning the flame from them to devour their enemies.
Thou, O Lord God, by the might of thy right arm which governeth all, broughtest Daniel thy prophet safe into light and life forth of the dark den of the devouring lions, where by false accusations he was shut under the earth, of those raging beasts to be devoured; but thou turnedst their cruelty upon his accusers, repaying the wicked upon their own pates. Yea, Lord, which passeth all wonders, and is far above man’s power to perceive therein thy working, thou didst cause the huge and great dragon of the seas, that horrible leviathan and behemoth, the main whale fish, to swallow up and devour thy servant Jonas, to keep him “three days and three nights” in the dungeon of his belly, the dark hell-like grave to a living man; thou didst cause that great monster to carry him to the place that thou hadst appointed, and there to cast him up safe, and able to do thy message.
Now also, O heavenly Father, beholder of all things, “to whom only belongeth vengeance,” thou seest and considerest how thy holy name by the wicked worldlings and blasphemous idolaters is dishonored; thy sacred word refused, forsaken, and despised; thy holy Spirit provoked and offended; thy chosen temple polluted and defiled: tarry not too long therefore, but shew thy power speedily upon thy chosen household, which is so grievously vexed and so cruelly handled by thy open enemies. Avenge thy own glory, and shorten these evil days “for thy elect’s sake.” Let thy kingdom come of all thy servants desired And though our livings hath offended thy Majesty, as we do confess unfeignedly, O Lord, that we have all sinned, our kings, princes, priests, prophets, and people, (all we, together with our parents, fathers, and mothers, have most grievously, infinitely passing all measure and number, with our hard flintish hearts, our dissolute and careless life, without all shame and repentance for sin, offended, transgressed, trespassed, sinned, and committed most horrible wickedness, so that we have worthily deserved the uttermost of thy plagues and terrible vengeance;) yet for thine own glory, O merciful Lord, suffer not the enemy of thy Son Christ, the Romish antichrist, thus wretchedly to delude and draw from thee our poor brethren, for whom thy Son once died, that by his cruelty, after so clear light, they should be made captives to dumb idols and devilish inventions of popish ceremonies thereunto pertaining. Suffer him not to seduce the simple sort with his fond opinion that his false gods, blind mumbling, reigned religion, or his foolish superstition, doth give him such conquests, such victories, such triumph, and so high hand over us.
We know most certainly, O Lord, that it is not their arm and power, but our sins and offenses, that hath delivered us to their fury, and hath caused thee to turn away from us. But turn again, O Lord, let us fall into thy hands otherwise: seeing thy justice must punish us, let us fall into thy hands (as David did choose) by dearth, famine, or pestilence, or what way thou likest; lest these vain idolaters do rejoice at the miserable destruction of those men whom they make proselytes, and from thy doctrine apostates.
But, O Lord, thy holy will be fulfilled! This is thy righteous judgment, to punish us with the tyrannical yoke of blindness, because we have cast away from us the sweet yoke of the wholesome word of thy Son our savior.
Yet consider the horrible blasphemies of thine and our enemies: they name a cake their God, their Christ, and altogether they know nothing of thy power: they say in their hearts, ‘There is no God, which either can or will deliver us.’
Wherefore, O heavenly Father, the Governor of all things, the Avenger of the causes of “the poor, the fatherless, the widow, and of the oppressed,” look down from heaven with the face of thy fatherly mercies, and forgive us all former offenses; and for thy Son Christ’s sake have mercy upon us, which by the force and cruelty of wicked and blasphemous idolaters, without causes approved, are haled and pulled from our own houses; are slandered, slain, and murdered as rebels and traitors, like persons pernicious, pestiferous, seditious, pestilent, and full of mortal poison, to all men contagious: where we do meddle no further but against the helly “powers of darkness,” “against the spiritual craftiness in heavenly things,” which would deny the will of our God and the power of our Christ unto us. We do contend no further but only for our “Christ crucified,” and the only salvation by his blessed passion, acknowledging none other God, none other Christ or Savior, but only thee the everliving Lord and our most merciful Father, and thy dear Son our Savior, who is in the same glory with thee in the high heavens.
Therefore, O Lord, for thy glorious name sake, for Jesus Christ’s sake by whom thou hast promised to grant all righteous requests, make the wicked idolaters to wonder and stand amazed at thy Almighty power; use thy wonted strength to the confusion of thine enemies, and to the help and deliverance of thy persecuted people.
All thy mints do beseech thee therefor. The young infants which have somedeal tasted of thy sweet word, “by whose mouths” thou hast promised to “make perfect thy praises,” “whose angels doth alway behold thy face,” who beside the loss of us their parents are in danger to be compelled and driven (without thy great mercies) to serve dumb and insensible idols, do cry and call to thee. Their pitiful mothers, with lamentable tears, lie prostrate before the throne of thy grace.
Thou “Father of the fatherless, Judge of the widows,” and Avenger of the oppressed, let it appear, O Lord .omnipotent, that thou dost hear, judge, avenge, and punish all wrongs offered to all thy “little ones that do believe in thee.” “Do this, O Lord, for thy name’s sake.” “Arise up, O Lord, and thine enemies shall be scattered and confounded.” So be it, O Lord most merciful, at thy time appointed.
A THANKSGIVING, BEING A GODLY PRAYER TO BE READ AT ALL TIMES Honor and praise be given to thee, O Lord God Almighty, most dear Father of heaven, for all thy mercies and loving-kindness shewed unto us, in that it hath pleased thy gracious goodness, freely and of thine own accord, to elect and choose us to salvation before the beginning of the world: and even like continual thanks be given to thee, for creating of us after thine own image; for redeeming us with the precious blood of thy dear Son, when we were utterly lost; for sanctifying us with thy holy Spirit in the revelation and knowledge of thy holy word; for helping and succouring us in all our needs and necessities; for saving us from all dangers of body and soul; for comforting us so fatherly in all our tribulations and persecutions; for sparing us so long, and giving us so large a time of repentance.
These benefits, O most merciful Father, like as we do acknowledge that we have received of thy only goodness, even so we beseech thee, for thy dear Son Jesus Christ’s sake, to grant us always thy holy Spirit, whereby we may continually grow in thankfulness towards thee, to be “led into all truth,” and comforted in all our adversities. O Lord, strengthen our faith; kindle it more in ferventness and love towards thee, and our neighbors for thy sake.
Suffer us not, dearest Father, to receive thy word any more in vain: but grant us always the assistance of thy grace and holy Spirit, that in heart, word, and deed, we may sanctify and do worship to thy holy name; help to amplify and increase thy kingdom; and whatsoever thou sendest, we may be heartily well content with thy good pleasure and will. Let us not lack the thing, O Father, without the which we cannot serve thee; but bless thou so all the works of our hands, that we may have sufficient, and not to be chargeable, but rather helpful unto others. Be merciful, O Lord, to our offenses; and, seeing our debt is great which thou hast forgiven us in Jesus Christ, make us to love thee and our neighbors so much the more. Be thou our Father, our Captain, and Defender in all temptations; hold thou us by thy merciful hand, that we may be delivered from all inconveniences, and end our lives in the sanctifying and honor of thy holy name, through Jesu Christ our Lord and only Savior. Amen.
Let thy mighty hand and outstretched arm, O Lord, be still our defense, thy mercy and loving-kindness in Jesu Christ thy dear Son our salvation, thy true and holy word our instruction, thy grace and holy Spirit our comfort and consolation unto the end and in the end. Amen.
O Lord, “increase our faith.” Bradford’s beads that he prayed on being in prison for the testimony of Jesus Christ, leaving them as necessary to be used of the faithful. “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord: even so, saith the Spirit, that they rest from their labors, but their works follow them.” [The following Meditations are now first printed from the autograph of Bradford in a copy of the New Testament of Tyndale, Jugge 1548, belonging to O. H. Williams, Esq., of Ivy Tower near Tenby, in whose family (which was connected by marriage at the time of the Reformation with that of Bishop Ferrar) the book has been handed down from about that period.
The initials ‘I. B.’ and ‘I. H.’ are written on the reverse of the last fly-leaf containing Bradford’s autograph, and are also engraven in gilt letters on each side of the cover: and a few MS. lines on the reverse of the title of the Testament (which will appear hereafter among the letters of Bradford) dated February 8, 1555, are written to a lady whom Bradford addresses as ‘mine own most dearly beloved sister in the Lord.’
It is not unlikely that the initials ‘I. B.’ and ‘I. H.’ may indicate John Bradford and Mistress Joyce Hales, (a daughter-in-law of Sir James Hales, Justice of the Common Pleas;) to whom the ‘Defense of election’ and the treatise on ‘The restoration of all things,’ in this volume, are respectively inscribed; and to whom two among the letters of Bradford were written.
The Testament is in an ornamented binding, apparently of the reign of Elizabeth: the writing having been cut by the binder, it would seem that the book, after the death of Bradford, had been bound for Joyce Hales in memory of the martyr.]