« AnteriorContinuar »
we must ask in the name of Christ; and also trust assuredly, that for Christ's sake our prayers shall be heard. To ask in Christ's name is to ask according to bis will, that is to say, to ask that which he hath commanded.
Therefore when we pray we may say thus : “ O God our Father, and the Father of our Lord Jesu Christ, which art in heaven, I durst not of mine own head be so bold to come unto thy most high and excellent Majesty to desire any thing of thee; but thy well-beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, bath commanded me so to do, and only in his name, and at his commandment, I am so bold. Therefore if thou hear me, thou hearest thy dearlybeloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: and if thou hear me not, then thou hearest not Jesus Christ himself, who hath sent me to thee, and hath commanded me to ask in his name.” Of this prayer, made in faith, speaketh St. John in his Epistle, saying, “ This trust we have in God, that when we ask any thing according to his will, he doth hear us.'
Therefore, we should steadfastly believe that God doth hear our prayer: for he that believeth not, he shall obtain nothing. And therefore Christ saith, If you believe, you shall obtain. And to the intent that we should believe and surely think that we be heard, he hath promised to grant whatsoever we ask in his name. And again, to the intent that we should know and be sure that we pray according to his will, he himself hath taught us how and what we should pray and ask. Therefore it is not in our liberty whether we will pray or not, but by God's Commandment we be bound to pray, as you have heard in the Second Commandment. Now, therefore, with all diligence learn, good children, the holy prayer of the Lord, which the great Doctor and our Lord Jesus Christ taught us himself, saying to his disciples, Ye shall pray after this manner:
“ Our Father," &c.
This, good children, is the prayer of the Lord; which although it be short, yet it containeth most great and weighty matters, such as neither angel nor man, nor other creature, was able so pithily to comprise in so few words: for in this prayer, Christ our Lord teacheth us to ask all things that either be commanded us in the Ten Commandments, or promised us in the Articles of our Creed. Wherefore, good children, you ought to endeavour yourselves, not only to learn without the book this most holy prayer, taught us by Christ's own mouth, our great Master and Teacher, but also you ought to give diligence to understand and justly to weigh every word of so great a Master; that when you be apposed herein, you may be able to make a direct answer, and also in time to come to teach your children the true understanding of this prayer, as you yourselves be now instructed.
For what greater shame can there be before God and man, than when in our mouths we profess ourselves to be Christian men, and to know VOL. III.
what we ought to believe, and how to live, and yet to be ignorant what thing we ought to ask of God, and after what manner we ought to ask those things, which he of his goodness bath promised most largely to give us ? Or else, if we know how and what to ask, yet of negligence, sloth, or contempt of God, not to ask the same indeed in such wise as we ought to do? Specially seeing that the proper office of a Christian man is to call upon God in all his business and necessities, to give thanks, and evermore to honour his most blessed name with most bigh lauds and praises. Wherefore, good children, forasmuch as God hath commanded us to resort to bim boldly and to moan ourselves to him in all our troubles and adversities, and hath promised that he will hear our prayers, deliver us, and grant us all things necessary for our salvation, let us not refuse this honour that we be called unto, let us not refuse this remedy, help, aid, and succour, that is freely offered of our most mer. ciful Father, to all his children that will call upon his name: for this is a sacrifice most acceptable to God, wherewith he is most highly honoured and pleased.
Wherefore, good children, both daily and hourly accustom yourselves, even from your tender age, to pray to your heavenly Father for all things necessary. Offer up unto him at your uprising and downlying, before your meals and after your meat, this sacrifice of your lips, the oblation of praise and thanksgiving ; worship him at all times with the frankincense of this prayer, taught unto you by your Saviour Christ: the perfume whereof, if it be cast into the burning coals of faith and charity, it pierceth the clouds, and is so sweet and pleasant unto God, that it vanisheth not away until it have obtained that thing that it was sent for. For it is written, that “ the prayer of a just man can do much with God," and “ the eyes of the Lord do look upon the righteous, and his ears be opened to hear their prayers.
Wherefore study you to be the children of God, and there is no doubt but your heavenly Father will give all good things, which you shall desire of him, in the name of his Son, and your Brother, Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory, now and ever.
JEWELL'S APOLOGY OF THE CHURCH.
We pray (as it is fit we should) in that tongue our people do all understand, that the people, as St. Paul admonisheth, may reap a common advantage by the common prayers, as all the holy fathers, and catholic bishops, not only in the Old, but in the New Testament also, did ever pray, and teach the people to pray, lest, as St. Augustine saith, We should, like parrots, and other prating birds, seem to sound words which we did not understand.
We have no mediator and intercessor by whom we approach to God the Father but Jesus Christ, in whose name only all things are obtained. But that which we see done in their churches is base and heathenish ; not only because they have set up an infinite number of intercessors, without any authority of the Word of God; so that, as Jeremiah saith, according to the number of thy cities, so are thy gods ; so that miserable men know not which to apply themselves to ; and though they are innumerable, yet they have ascribed to each of them their office, and what was to be obtained, had, and received from each of them ; but also because they have not only impiously, but impudently, solicited the Virgin Mary, that she would remember she is a mother ; that she would be pleased to command her Son; and that she would make use of the authority she hath over him.
Of Prayer and Thanksgiving.
Master. Thou hast in good time made mention of Prayer. For now thou hast ended the declaration of the Law of God, and of the Creed, that is to say, the Christian confession, it followeth next to speak of Prayer, and of thanksgiving which is nearly conjoined to it: for these