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1 Reg. 4. 5. 6.
2 Reg. 24.
1 Cor. 11.
dead, thou wouldest have consumed them all, as thou wast minded to have done before, when they despised the plentiful land which thou hadst promised them (had not Moyses stayed thy wrath), when thou saidst: I will strike them with the pestilence, and utterly destroy them.
Furder, when they had lost thine Ark through their own sins, and the sins of their Priests the keepers thereof, after that the Philistines were forced through thy plaguing hand religiously to send it home again, thou stroockest with the plague fifty thousand of the Bethsamites thy people, for rashly presuming to look into the same, not having thy warrant so to do.
In the time of king David, thou destroyedst three score and ten thousand of thy people in three days, with thy wasting plague of Pestilence: moved thereto by the transgression of David, whom for the sins of his people thou sufferedst to be tempted and subdued with a vain curiosity to number the people.
Also shortly after the death of that immaculate lamb our Saviour, thou sufferedst the plague to reign among the members of his body (the church of the Corinthians) for not worthily preparing themselves, and for misusing the Sacrament of the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and many died therefore: as thy holy Apostle saint Paul hath' taught us.
Since which time, O Lord, as the monuments of thy church and other chronicles do declare, thou hast from time to time so plagued with pestilence not only cities, but also whole countries for these and other like causes, that we may justly look for the coming of our Saviour: so many and so horrible Pestilences have been among us already.
All which causes, O Lord, for the which thou hast so afflicted thy people, are through the malice of Satan and our wilful consenting unto him grown so ripe in us, that were it not for the exceeding greatness of thy mercy and compassion, we should all presently perish, and that worthily, so horrible and outrageous are our iniquities.
For we loathe not only the plentiful provision of wholesome victuals and apparel, which thou hast given us for our bodies more abundantly than to many nations, travailing by all means to get wherewith to pamper our flesh, with wines, spices, silks, and other vain costly delighting things; but the precious Manna of our souls, thy holy word and sacraments, we can not away with: we are so full that we are glutted therewith.
We so little esteem the heavenly kingdom, which our Saviour hath so dearly prepared and kindly promised to us, that we abhor it, and are ready to stone those few that commend it, and exhort us for our own good to travel thitherward: better liking and crediting those false prophets, the Epicures and papists, that with their lies discourage us therefrom.
What murmuring and grudging make we against the ministers of thy sword and word, which thou of thy especial goodness hast in mercy given us! How despise we our Bishops and Preachers, and other ministers of thy holy sacraments, whom thou hast commanded us to reverence and honour!
Did not we, through our wicked lives, wretchedly lose the Ark of thy holy word and the true ministration of thy sacraments not many years agone, which the popish Philistines took from us? And now, when thou through thy plagues laid upon them hast miraculously sent it us again; see how bold we be with the Bethsamites unreverently to receive it.
For many make of it a gazing-stock1 to serve their eyes and tongues, rather than a law to obey and follow in their lives.
Yea, the knowledge of thy truth, goodness, and mercy, breedeth in many of us a careless security, and a contempt of thy holy ordinances. For we presume upon thy mercy and promises, not regarding the conditions, nor any of thy commandments, which in our baptism we vowed to observe. Yea, we make thy Gospel a cloke of our covetousness: under colour whereof we seek our own lucre, and hide all our wicked and filthy practices.
If the Corinthians deserved to be plagued for abusing thy holy Sacrament, how much more are we worthy of fierce wrath, that not only abuse it, but also abhor and contemn it, because it is ministered as it ought! For thou knowest, O Lord, what a sort there are, which, bewitched with the Devil and the Pope's doctrine, do utterly abhor Christ's holy communion, and, saving for fear of the law3, would never come at it: In what sort these receive, and how they be prepared, is not unknown unto thee. How rashly also, and unadvisedly, and unprepared, the common multitude do frequent it, partly appeareth in that many of them never forgive old offences, nor reconcile themselves, nor in any thing do amend their old sins and vices.
Seeing then that we, Lord, the common sort and multitude, do thus abound in all kind of wickedness, how can it be, but that thou of thy justice must suffer our Magistrates to offend also in somewhat, to the end thou mayest justly take vengeance on our sins?
For these manifold heaps of sins and wickednesses, O Lord, thou hast justly at this present sent this dangerous Pestilence among us, as thou hast often and long time threatened by the mouths of thy faithful preachers, who continually have called upon us to stay thy wrath by earnest repentance and amendment of life: But we have alway been deafer and deafer; the delight in our sins not only stopped our ears, but also hardened our hearts, against their hearty and friendly admonitions: And in that we now, O Lord, do begin to feel and acknowledge our sins, it cometh more of thy rigor in plaguing us, than of any good inclination of our selves. Mollify therefore, O Lord, our flinty hearts with the suppling moisture of thy holy Spirit: Make us to reverence thee as
[Apparently, a reference to the permission allowed the congregation from 1552 to 1662 of standing by as gasers and lokers on them that do communicate.' See p. 187. Grindal's Remains, p. 267. Clay's Prayer Book Illustrated, p. 112.]
See p. 30; and also the last rubric on p. 198.]
children for love of thy mercies, and not to dread thee like slaves, for fear of punishment. Amen.
O dear Father, reclaim us thy lost children; O merciful Saviour, pity us thy putrified members; O Holy Ghost, repair us, thy decayed Temples; O holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy upon us miserable sinners. Amen.
Grant us, O Lord, such true repentance, as may through the blood of our Saviour blot out the stains of our heinous iniquities. Forgive us our sins, O Lord, forgive us our sins, for thine infinite mercy's sake. Amen.
Forgive us our blasphemies, Idolatries, and perjuries, forget our vain and outrageous oaths. As thou hast by thy rigor and plagues forced us to acknowledge thee to be our just and righteous Lord, so let us through thy mercy and forgiveness feel thee to be our mild and loving Father: and give us grace for ever hereafter to reverence this thy glorious name. Amen.
Take from us, O God, the care of worldly vanities, make us contented with necessaries: Pluck away our hearts from delighting in honours, treasures, and pleasures of this life; and engender in us a desire to be with thee in thy eternal kingdom. Give us, O Lord, such taste and feeling of thy unspeakable joys in heaven, that we may alway long therefore, saying with thine elect: Hasten thy kingdom, O Lord, take us to thee. Amen.
Make us, O Lord, obedient to thy will revealed in thy holy word; make us diligent to walk in thy commandments; forgive us our contempt and murmuring against the Magistrates and Ministers which thou hast in thy mercies appointed; make us obedient unto their godly laws and doctrine. Save and preserve, O Lord, thine anointed, our Queen Elizabeth, that she in thy grace and fear may long reign among us.
Give peace to all Christian nations: Move us by thy Spirit to love one another, as the members of one body, that we may all do thy will here in earth, as it is in heaven. Amen.
Dig out of us, O Lord, the venomous roots of covetousness and concupiscence or else so repress them with thy grace, that we may be contented with thy provision of necessaries, and not to labour as we do with all toil, sleight, guile, wrong, and oppression, to pamper ourselves with vain superfluities. Feed our souls, O Lord, daily with the true Manna of thy heavenly word, and with the grace of thy holy sacraments. Give us grace continually to read, hear, and meditate thy purposes, judgments, promises, and precepts, not to the end we may curiously argue thereof, or arrogantly presume thereupon, but to frame our lives according to thy will: that by keeping the covenants we may be sure of the promises; and so make our election and vocation certain through our constant faith, and virtuous and godly living. Amen.
Conform us, O Lord, to the image of our Saviour; so burn our hearts with the flames of love, that no envy, rancour, hatred, or malice, do remain in us, but that we may gladly forgive whatsoever wrong is or shall be either maliciously or ignorantly done or said against us. And here,
Lord, in thy presence (thy Majesty is every where) we forgive whatsoever hath been by any man practised against us, beseeching thee of thy goodness likewise to forgive it. And further, for thy mercies' sake, and for our Saviour Jesus Christ's sake, we beseech thee, O dear Father, to forgive us those horrible and damnable sins, which we have committed against thy Majesty; for which thou hast now justly brought this Pestilence and plague upon us: let the ceasing thereof, we beseech thee, certify us of thy mercy and remission. Amen.
We know, O Lord, the weakness of ourselves, and how ready we are to fall from thee: suffer not therefore Satan to shew his power and malice upon us, for we are not able to withstand his assaults. Arm us, O Lord, alway with thy grace, and assist us with thy holy Spirit, in all kinds of temptation. Amen.
Deliver us, O dear Father, from all evils both bodily and ghostly: Deliver, O Lord, from trouble of conscience all that are snarled1 in their sins: Deliver, O Lord, from all fear of persecution and tyranny our brethren that are under the Cross for profession of thy word: Deliver, O merciful Father, those that for our sins and offences are already tormented with the rage of Pestilence: Recover those, O Lord, that are already stricken, and save the rest (of this my household) from this grievous infection. Amen. Grant this, O dear Father, for our Saviour Jesus Christ's sake, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
¶ End with the Lord's prayer.
A prayer to God to cease the Plague.
O LORD God, which for our innumerable sins dost here fatherly correct us, to the end we should not feel the rigour of thy severe judgment in eternal condemnation: We humbly submit ourselves unto thy grace and pity, beseeching thee for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, that although we have justly deserved this plague now laid upon us, yet it may please thee in the multitude of thy mercies to withdraw thy rod from us. Grant us, O Lord, true repentance of our sins, which (as it did in that good king Ezechias) may deliver us from the plague laid upon us, and cause those that be sick to recover. Or if thou have determined to take a number of us out of the miseries of this present world, give us the comfort of thy holy Spirit, that may make us glad and willing to come unto thee. Give us grace, O Lord, so to prepare ourselves, that we may be ready, with the wise Virgins, to enter into life with our Saviour Christ, whensoever it shall please thee to call us. Grant us this, O dear Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our only mediator and advocate. "To whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
[Snarle entangle, as a skein of silk or thread.]
VI. THANKSGIVING TO GOD for withdrawing and ceasing the
For it is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most Highest:
To tell of thy loving kindness early in the morning, and of thy truth in the night season.
O praise the Lord, for it is a good thing to sing praises unto our God: yea, a joyful and pleasant thing it is to be thankful.
We will magnify thee, O Lord: for thou hast set us up, and not made our foes to triumph over us.
O give thanks unto the Lord, and call upon his name, and tell the people what he hath done.
For thou, Lord, hast made us glad through thy works: and we will rejoice in giving praise for the operation of thy hands.
We will sing of the Lord, because he hath dealt so lovingly with us: yea, we will praise the name of the Lord most Highest.
For, O Lord our God, we cried unto thee, and thou hast healed us. Thou hast brought our souls out of hell: thou hast kept our life from them, that go down to the pit.
For great is thy mercy towards us, and thou hast delivered our souls from the nethermost hell.
Praised be the Lord daily, even the God which helpeth us, and poureth his benefits upon us.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, longsuffering, and of great goodness.
The present title is similarly circumstanced with that prefixed to the first of Sir John Mason's prayers, composed in 1568. See p. 516. The terms employed are not to be taken absolutely, but must be limited and explained in each by the obvious purport of the composition, to which they refer.]
[In Strype this is numbered 12, which makes the last verse the 28th. Perhaps it is a mere typographical error.]