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III. A PRAYER to be used for the present estate in [the] churches, at the end of the litany, on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, through the whole Realm.
O MOST mighty Lord God, the Lord of hosts, the governor of all creatures, the only giver of all victories, who alone art able to strengthen the weak against the mighty, and to vanquish infinite multitudes of thine enemies with the countenance of a few of thy servants, calling upon thy name, and trusting in thee: defend, O Lord, thy servant, and our governor under thee, our queen Elizabeth, and all thy people committed to her charge: and especially at this [time], 0 Lord, have regard to those her subjects, which be sent over the Seas to the aid of such, as be persecuted for the profession of thy holy name, and to withstand the cruelty of those, which be common enemies, as well to the truth of thy eternal word, as to their own natural prince, and countrymen, and manifestly to this Crown and Realm of England, which thou hast of thy divine providence assigned, in these our days, to the government of thy servant our Sovereign, and gracious queen. O most merciful Father, if it be thy holy will, make soft and tender the stony hearts of all those, that exalt them selves against thy truth, and seek to oppress this crown and Realm of England, and convert them to the knowledge of thy Son, the only saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, that we and they may jointly glorify thy mercies: lighten, we beseech thee, their ignorant hearts, to embrace the truth of thy word; else so abate their cruelty, O most mighty Lord, that this our christian Region, with others that confess thy holy gospel, may obtain by thy aid and strength, surety from our enemies, without shedding of christian and innocent blood, whereby all they, which be oppressed with their tyranny, may be relieved, and all which be in fear of their cruelty, may be comforted: and finally, that all christian Realms, and specially this Realm of England, may by thy defence and protection enjoy perfect peace, quietness, and
security, and that we for these thy mercies jointly all together, with one consonant heart and voice, may thankfully render to thee all laud and praise, and in one godly concord and unity amongst our selves may continually magnify thy glorious name, who with thy Son our saviour Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, art one eternal, almighty, and most merciful God: To whom be all laud and praise, world without end. Amen.
IV. A FORM to be used in Common prayer twice a week, and also an order of public fast, to be used every Wednesday in the week, during this time of mortality, and other afflictions, wherewith the Realm at this present is visited. Set forth by the Queen's Majesty's special commandment, expressed in her letters hereafter following in the next page. xxx1. July. 1563.
By the Queen.
MOST Reverend father in God, right trusty and right well-beloved, we greet you well. Like as Almighty God hath of his mere grace committed to us, next under him, the chief government of this Realm and the people therein: So hath he, of his like goodness, ordered under us sundry principal ministers, to serve and assist us in this burden. And therefore considering the state of this present time, wherein it hath pleased the most highest, for the amendment of us and our people, to visit certain places of our Realm with more contagious sickness than lately hath been: For remedy and mitigation thereof, we think it both necessary and our bounden duty, that universal prayer and fasting be more effectually used in this our Realm. And understanding that you have thought and considered upon some good order to be prescribed therein, for the which ye require the application of our authority, for the better observation thereof amongst our people, we do not only commend and allow your good zeal therein; but do also command all manner our Ministers, Ecclesiastical or Civil, and all other our Subjects, to execute, follow, and obey such Godly and wholesome orders, as you, being Primate of all England, and Metropolitan of this province of Canterbury, upon Godly advice and consideration, shall uniformly devise, prescribe, and publish, for the universal usage of Prayer, Fasting, and other good deeds, during the time of this visitation by sickness and other troubles.
Given under our Signet, at our Manor of Richmond, the first day of August, the fifth year of our reign.
To the most Reverend father in God, our right trusty and right wellbeloved, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of all England. [The Form was first 'exercised' in London and Fulham on Wednesday the 18th of August. Grindal's Remains, pp. 261, 265.]
[This same Form, printed by the same parties, was likewise issued for the province of York (Strype's Parker, p. 135. Grindal's Remains, p. 264), the queen's letters being altered by the omission of 'all,' and by the substitution of 'that prouince of York.']
[ Parker, writing to Cecil on the 23rd of July (Bibl. Lans. 6.
WE be taught by many and sundry examples of holy Scriptures, that upon occasion of particular punishments, afflictions, and perils, which God of his most just judgment hath sometimes sent among his people, to shew his wrath against sin, and to call his people to repentance and to the redress of their lives, the Godly have been provoked and stirred up to more fervency and diligence in prayer, fasting, and almsdeeds, to a more deep consideration of their consciences, to ponder their unthankfulness and forgetfulness of God's merciful benefits towards them, with craving of pardon for the time past, and to ask his assistance, for the time to come, to live more Godly, and so to be defended and delivered from all further perils and dangers. So king David in the time of plague and pestilence, which ensued upon his vain numbering of the people, prayed unto God with wonderful fervency, confessing his fault, desiring God to spare the people, and rather to turn his ire to himward, who had chiefly offended in that transgression. The like was done by the virtuous kings, Josaphat and Ezechias, in their distress of wars and foreign invasions. So did Judith and Hester fall to humble prayers in like perils of their people. So did Daniel in his captivity, and many other moe in their troubles. Now therefore calling to mind, that God hath been provoked by us to visit us at this present with the plague and other grievous diseases, and partly also with trouble of wars: It hath been thought meet to set forth by public order some occasion to excite and stir up all godly people within this Realm, to pray earnestly and heartily to God, to turn away his deserved wrath from us, and to restore us as well to the health of our bodies by the wholesomeness of the air, as also to Godly and profitable peace and quietness. And although it is every Christian man's duty, of his own devotion to pray at all times: yet for that the corrupt nature of man is so slothful and negligent in this his duty, he hath need by often and sundry means to be stirred up and put in remembrance of his duty. For the effectual accomplishment whereof, it is ordered and appointed as followeth.
First, that all Curates and Pastors shall exhort their Parishioners to endeavour themselves to come unto the Church, with so many of their families as may be spared from their necessary business, (having yet a prudent respect in such assemblies to keep the sick from the whole, in places where the plague reigneth,) and they to resort, not only on Sundays and holidays, but also on Wednesdays and Fridays, during the time of these present afflictions, exhorting them, there reverently and Godly to behave themselves, and with penitent hearts to pray unto God to turn these plagues from us, which we through our unthankfulness and sinful life have deserved.
art. 62), describes the Realm' as 'molested vniuersallie by warre, and perticularlie at London by pestilence, and partlie here at Canterburie by famyn.']
Secondly, that the said Curates shall then distinctly and plainly read the general confession appointed in the book of Service, with the residue of the Morning prayer, using for both the Lessons the Chapters hereafter following. That is to say:
For the first Lesson, one of these Chapters, out of the old Testament.
The 2. Kings. Cap. 24. Leviticus. 26. Deuteronom. 28. Hieremy. 18. Unto these words: Let us. &c., and .22. 2. Para. Cap. 34. Esay. 1. Ezechiel. 18. and .19. Joel. 2. 2. Esdras. 9. Jonas the .2. and .3. Chapter together. Which Chapters would be read orderly on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
And for the second Lesson, one of these Chapters, out of the new Testament.
Mathewe. 3. 6. 7. 24. 25. Luke. 13. Actes. 2. beginning at these words: Ye men of Israel, hear these words. To the end of the Chapter. &c. Rom. 2. 6. 12. 13. Galath. 5. Ephesians. 4. 5. 1. Tim. 2. Apoca. 2.
The order for the Wednesdays.
On Wednesdays (which be the days appointed for general fast, in such form as shall hereafter be declared) after the Morning prayer ended, as is aforesaid, the said Curates and Ministers shall exhort the people assembled, to give them selves to their private prayers and meditations. For which purpose a pause shall be made of one quarter of an hour and more, by the discretion of the said Curate. During which time, as good silence shall be kept as may be.
That done, the Litany is to be read, in the midst of the people, with the additions of prayer hereafter mentioned.
Then shall follow the ministration of the Communion, so oft as a just number of Communicants shall be thereto disposed, with a Sermon1, if
[' 'The conformable, as well as the non-conformable divines, kept these dayes of fasting, but with this disadvantage. Many of the conformists only read prayers and preached not, whenas the non-conformists also preached, and had therefore generally great auditories, so that they preaching, and the people (many of whom were of condition) coming to hear them, under the protection of authority, at their publick fasts and thanksgivings, got such assurance and boldnesse, that they continued to hear, and the ministers continued to preach at the same, or some other, place, after the fasts and thanksgiving dayes were ended. And some of those dayes they turned into stated lectures, and in many of those places this liberty of preaching and hearing was not totally infringed of many yeares after, if ever.' 'So that the preaching of the gospell, and the open visible profession of religion, gained much advantage upon these occasions, as it did in London in the great plague in 1665, and was not easily nor speedily controlled, or utterly checked.' The above remarks