Et remitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos remittimus debitoribus nostris. -- Matthew vi. 12.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
This is a very good prayer, if it be said in faith with the whole heart. There was never none that did say it with the heart, but he had forgiveness; and his trespasses and all his sins were pardoned and taken from him. As touching the former petitions, I told you that many things were contained in them; which you may perceive partly by that I have said, and partly by gatherings and conjectures. Truly there is a great doctrine in it; yet we think it to be but a light matter to understand the Lord's prayer: but it is a great thing. Therefore I would have you to mark it well: but specially keep in your remembrance, how our Saviour teacheth us to know the liberality of God, how God hath determined to help us; insomuch that we shall lack nothing, if we come to his treasure-house, where is locked up all things necessary for our souls and bodies. Farther, consider by the same petition that we be but beggars altogether. For the best of us hath need to say daily, "Our Father, give us this day our daily bread." I would these proud and lofty fellows would consider this, namely, that they be but beggars; as St Paul saith, Quid habes quod non accepisti? "What have ye, that you have not gotten with begging?" Yet most, above all things, I would have you to consider this word "our"; for in that word are contained great mysteries and much learning. All those that pray this prayer, that is to say, all christian people, help me to get my living at God's hand; for when they say "our," they include me in their prayers. Again, consider the remedy against carefulness; which is to trust in God, to hang upon him, to come to his treasure-house; and then to labour, and to do the works of our vocation: then undoubtedly God will provide for us, we shall not lack. Therefore learn to trust upon the Lord, and leave this wicked carefulness, whereof our Saviour monisheth us. Specially, I would have you to consider what a wicked opinion this is, to fantasy that giving to the poor is a diminishing of our goods. I told you of late of the proprieties of things, how things be ours, and how they be not ours. All those things which we have, either by labour or by inheritance, or else by gifts, or else by buying, all those things which we have by such titles be our own; but yet not so that we may spend them according to our own pleasure. They be ours upon the condition that we shall spend them to the honour of God, and the relieving of our neighbours. And here I spake of restitution; how we ought to make amends unto that man whom we have deceived, or taken goods wrongfully from him. There be some men which think there is no other theft but only taking of purses, and killing men by the way, or stealing other men's good. Those men are much deceived; for there be varia genera furti, "A great number of thieves." What was this but a theft, when Esay saith, Principes tui infideles, socii furum; "Thy princes are infidels, and are companions with thieves?" This was a theft, but it was not a common theft; it was a lordly theft. they could tell how to weary men, and so to take bribes of them. Such a one was Zachee: he robbed not men by the highway, but he was an oppressor, and forced men to pay more than they ought to pay; which his so doing was as well a theft, as if he had robbed men by the highway. There be many which follow Zachee in his illness, but there be but few, or none at all, which will follow him in his goodness: Si quem defraudavi, reddam quadruplum; "If I have deceived any man, I will pay it again fourfold." I would wish that all bribers and false tollers would follow his ensample. But I tell you, without restitution there is no salvation. This is a certain sentence, allowed and approved, first, by the holy scripture; secondarily, by all the writers that ever wrote upon scripture. Yea, the very school-doctors, as bad as they were, yet they never contraried in that, but said: Restitutiones famae ac rerum sunt opera debita; "We ought to make restitution of a man's good name, and of his goods taken from him wrongfully": that is to say, when we have slandered anybody, we ought to make him amends. Item, also, when we have taken any man's goods wrongfully, we ought to make him amends; else we shall never be saved: for God abhorreth me, and all things that I do are abominable before him.
Remitte. Who is in this world which hath not need to say, "Lord, forgive me?" No man living, nor never was, nor shall be, our Saviour only excepted: he was Agnus immaculatus, "An undefiled Lamb." I remember a verse which I learned almost forty years ago, which is this: Saepe precor mortem, mortem quoque deprecor idem; "I pray many times for death to come; and again I pray, that he shall not come." This verse doth put diversity in precor and deprecor: precor is, when I would fain have a thing; deprecor is, when I would avoid it. Like as Elias the prophet, when Jezabel had killed the prophets of the Lord; Elias, being in a hole in the mount, desired of God to die; and this is precor. Now deprecor is his contrarium; when I would avoid the thing, then I use deprecor. Now in the Lord's prayer, till hither we have been in precor; that is to say, we have desired things at God's hand. Now cometh deprecor; I desire him now to remove such things which may do me harm: as sin, which doth harm; therefore I would have him to take away my trespasses. Now who is in this world, or ever hath been, which hath not need to say this deprecor; to desire God to take from him his sins, to "forgive him his trespasses"? Truly, no saint in heaven, be they as holy as ever they will, yet they have had need of this deprecor; they have had need to say, "Lord, forgive us our trespasses." Now you ask, wherein standeth our righteousness? Answer: in that, that God forgiveth unto us our unrighteousness. Wherein standeth our goodness? In that, that God taketh away our illness; so that our goodness standeth in his goodness.
In the other petition we desire all things necessary for our bodily life, as long as we be here in this world: Unusquisque enim tempus certum habet praedefinitum a Domino; "For every man hath a certain time appointed him of God, and God hideth that same time from us." For some die in young age, some in old age, according as it pleaseth him. He hath not manifested to us the time, because he would have us at all times ready: else if I knew the time, I would presume upon it, and so should be worse. But he would have us ready at all times, and therefore he hideth the time of our death from us. And it is a common saying, "There do come as many skins of calves to the market, as there do of bulls or kine." But of that we may be sure, there shall not fall one hair from our head without his will; and we shall not die before the time that God hath appointed unto us: which is a comfortable thing, specially in time of sickness or wars. For there be many men which are afraid to go to war, and to do the king service, for they fear ever they shall be slain. Item, vicars and parsons be afraid when there cometh a sickness in the town; therefore they were wont commonly to get themselves out of the way, and send a friar thither, which did nothing else but rob and spoil them: which doings of the vicar was damnable; for it was a diffidence and a mistrust in God. Therefore, ye vicars, parsons, or curates, what name soever you bear, when there cometh any sickness in your town, leave not your flock without a pastor, but comfort them in their distress; and believe certainly, that with your well-doings you cannot shorten your lives. Likewise, thou subject, when thou art commanded by the king or his officers to go to war, to fight against the king's enemies; go with a good heart and courage, not doubting but that God will preserve thee, and that thou canst not shorten thy life with well-doing. Peradventure God hath appointed thee to die there, or to be slain: happy art thou when thou diest in God's quarrel. For to fight against the king s enemies, being called unto it by the magistrates, it is God's service: therefore when thou diest in that service with a good faith, happy art thou. There be some which say, when their friends are slain in battle, "Oh, if he had tarried at home, he should not have lost his life." These sayings are naught: for God hath appointed every man his time. To go to war in presumptuousness, without an ordinary calling, such going to war I allow not: but when thou art called, go in the name of the Lord; and be well assured in thy heart that thou canst not shorten thy life with well-doing.
Remitte, "Forgive us." Here we sue for our pardon; and so we acknowledge ourselves to be offenders: for the unguilty needeth no pardon. This pardon, or remission of sins, is so necessary, that no man can be saved without it. Therefore of remission standeth the Christian man's life: for so saith David, Beati quorum remissae sunt iniquitates, et quorum tecta suet peccata; "They are blessed of God whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." He saith not, Blessed be they which have never sinned, for where dwell such fellows which never sinned? Marry, nowhere; they are not to be gotten. Here the prophet signified that all we be sinners; for he saith, quorum peccata sunt remissa, "whose sins are pardoned." And here we be painted out in our colours, else we would be proud; and so he saith in the gospel, Cum sitis mali, "Forasmuch as ye be all evil." There he giveth us our own title and name, calling us wicked and ill. There is neither man nor woman that can say they have no sin; for we be all sinners. But how can we hide our sins? Marry, the blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ hideth our sins, and washeth them away. And though one man had done all the world's sins since Adam's time, yet he may be remedied by the blood of Jesus Christ: if he believe in him, he shall be cleansed from all his sins. Therefore all our comfort is in him, in his love and kindness. For St Peter saith, Caritas operit multitudinem peccatorum; "Charity covereth the multitude of sins." So doth indeed the love of our Saviour Jesu Christ: his love towards us covereth and taketh away all our sins; insomuch that the almighty God shall not condemn us, nor the devil shall not prevail against us. Our nature is ever to hide sin, and to cloak it; but this is a wicked hiding, and this hiding will not serve. Videt et requiret; "He seeth our wickedness, and he will punish it": therefore our hiding cannot serve us. But if you be disposed to hide your sins, I will tell you how you shall hide them. First, acknowledge them; and then believe in our Saviour Christ; put him in trust withal: he will pacify his Father; for "to that end he came into the world, to save sinners." This is the right way to hide sins; not to go and excuse them, or to make them no sins. No, no; the prophet saith, Beatus vir cui Dominus non imputat iniquitatem; "Blessed is that man to whom the Lord imputeth not his sins." He saith not, "Blessed is he that did never sin"; but, "Blessed is he to whom sin is not imputed."
And so here in this petition we pray for remission of our sins; which is so requisite to the beginning of the spiritual life, that no man can come thereto, except he pray for remission of his sins; which standeth in Christ our Redeemer: he hath washen and cleansed our sins; by him we shall be clean. But how shall we come to Christ? How shall we have him? I hear that he is beneficial, as scripture witnesseth: Copiosa est apud Deum redemptio; "There is full and plenteous redemption by him." But how shall I get that? how shall I come unto it? By faith. Faith is the hand wherewith we receive his benefits; therefore we must needs have faith. But how shall we obtain faith? Faith indeed bringeth Christ, and Christ bringeth remission of sins; but how shall we obtain faith? Answer: St Paul teacheth us this, saying: Fides ex auditu, "Faith cometh by hearing God's word." Then if we will come to faith, we must hear God's word: if God's word be necessary to be heard, then we must have preachers which be able to tell us God's word. And so it appeareth, that in this petition we pray for preachers; we pray unto God, that he will send men amongst us, which may teach us the way of everlasting life. Truly it is a pitiful thing to see schools so neglected, scholars not maintained: every true Christian ought to lament the same. But I have a good hope, since God hath done greater things in taking away and extirping out all popery, that he will send us a remedy for this matter too. I hope he will put into the magistrates' heart to consider these things; for by this office of preaching God sendeth faith. The office is the office of salvation; for "it hath pleased God" per stultitiam praedicationis salvos facere credentes, "by the foolishness of preaching to save the believers." So, I say, we pray for this office which bringeth faith. Faith bringeth to Christ; Christ bringeth remission of sins; remission of sins bringeth everlasting life.
O, this is a godly prayer, which we ought at all times to say, for we sin daily; therefore we had need to say daily, "Forgive us our trespasses"; and, as David saith, Ne intres in judicium cum servo tuo, "Lord, enter not into judgment with thy servant"; for we be not able to abide his judgment. If it were not for this pardon, which we have in our Saviour Jesu Christ, we should all perish eternally. For when this word, Remitte, was spoken with a good faith and with a penitent heart, there was never man but he was heard. If Judas, that traitor, had said it with a good faith, it should have saved him; but he forgot that point. He was taught it indeed; our Saviour himself taught him to pray so, but he forgot it again. Peter, he remembered that point: he cried, Remitte, "Lord forgive me"; and so he obtained his pardon. And so shall we do: for we be ever in that case, that we have need to say, Remitte, "Lord, forgive us"; for we ever do amiss.
But here is one addition, one hanger on: "As we forgive them that trespass against us." What meaneth this? Indeed it soundeth after the words, as though we might or should merit remission of our sins with our forgiving. As for an ensample: That man hath done unto me a foul turn, he hath wronged me; at the length he acknowledgeth his folly, and cometh to me, and desireth me to forgive him; I forgive him. Do I now, in forgiving my neighbour his sins which he hath done against me, do I, I say, deserve or merit at God's hand forgiveness of my own sins? No, no; God forbid! for if this should be so, then farewell Christ: it taketh him clean away, it diminisheth his honour, and it is very treason wrought against Christ. This hath been in times past taught openly in the pulpits and in the schools; but it was very treason against Christ: for in him only, and in nothing else, neither in heaven nor in earth, is our remission; unto him only pertaineth this honour. For remission of sins, wherein consisteth everlasting life, is such a treasure, that passeth all men's doings: it must not be our merits that shall serve, but his. He is our comfort: it is the majesty of Christ, and his blood-shedding, that cleanseth us from our sins. Therefore, whosoever is minded contrary unto this, Factus est reus laesae majestatis; "he robbeth Christ of his majesty," and so casteth himself into everlasting danger. For though the works which we do be good outwardly, and God be pleased with them, yet they be not perfect: for we believe unperfectly, we love unperfectly, we suffer unperfectly, not as we ought to do; and so all things that we do are done unperfectly. But our Saviour, he hath so remedied the matter, and taken away our unperfectness, that they be counted now before God most perfect and holy, not for our own sake, but for his sake: and though they be not perfect, yet they be taken for perfect; and so we come to perfectness by him. So you see, as touching our salvation, we must not go to working to think to get everlasting life with our own doings. No, this were to deny Christ. Salvation, and remission of sins is his gift, his own and free gift. As touching our good works which we do, God will reward them in heaven; but they cannot get heaven. Therefore let every man do well, for it shall be well rewarded: but let them not think that they with their doings may get heaven; for so doing is a robbing of Christ.
What shall we learn, now, by this addition, where we say, "As we forgive them that trespass against us"? I tell you, this addition is put unto it not without great cause: for our Saviour, being a wise and perfect schoolmaster, would speak no words in vain. This addition is put unto it, to be a certain and sure token unto us, whether we have the true faith in our hearts or no. For faith, the right faith, I say, consisteth not in the knowledge of the stories, to believe the stories written in the new and old Testament; that is not the lively faith, which bringeth salvation with her. For the devil himself believeth the stories, and yet is, and shall be damned world without end. Therefore we must have the right faith, the lively faith, the faith that bringeth salvation; which consisteth in believing that Christ died for my sins' sake. With such a faith I draw him unto me with all his benefits. I must not stand in generalities, as to believe that Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate: but I must believe that that was done for my sake; to redeem with his passion my sins, and all theirs which believe and trust in him. If I believe so, then I shall not be deceived. But this faith is a hard thing to be had; and many a man thinketh himself to have that faith, when he hath nothing less. Therefore I will tell you how you shall prove whether you have the right faith or no, lest you be deceived with a phantasy of faith, as many be. Therefore prove thyself on this wise: here is a man which hath done me wrong, hath taken away my living or my good name; he hath slandered me, or otherwise hurt me: now at the length he cometh unto me, and acknowledgeth his faults and trespasses, and desireth me to forgive him: if I now feel myself ready and willing to give him, from the bottom of my heart, all things that he hath done against me, then I may be assured that I have the lively faith; yea, I may be assured that God will forgive me my sins for Christ his Son's sake. But when my neighbour cometh unto me, confessing his folly, and desiring forgiveness; if I then be sturdy and proud, my heart flinty, and my stomach bent against him, insomuch that I refuse his request, and have an appetite to be avenged upon him; if I have such a sturdy stomach, then I may pronounce against myself, that I have not that lively faith in Christ which cleanseth my sins. It is a sure token that I am not of the number of the children of God, as long as I abide in this sturdiness.
There is no good body but he is slandered or injured by one mean or other; and commonly it is seen, that those which live most godly, have in this world the greatest rebukes: they are, slandered and backbitten, and divers ways vexed of the wicked. Therefore thou, whosoever thou art, that sufferest such wrongs, either in thy goods and substance, or in thy good name and fame; examine thyself, go into thy heart; and if thou canst find in thy heart to forgive all thy enemies whatsoever they have done against thee, then thou mayest be sure that thou art one of the flock of God. Yet thou must beware, as I said before, that thou think not to get to heaven by such remitting of thy neighbour's ill-doings; but by such forgiving, or not forgiving, thou shalt know whether thou have faith or no. Therefore if we have a rebellious stomach, and a flinty heart against our neighbour, so that we are minded to avenge ourselves upon him, and so take upon us God's office, which saith, Mihi vindicta, ego retribuam, "Yield unto me the vengeance, and I shall recompense them"; as I told you, we be not of the flock of Christ. For it is written, Si quis dixerit quoniam diligo Deum, et odio habet fratrem suum, mendax est: "Whosoever saith, I love God, and hateth his brother, that man or woman is a liar." For it is impossible for me to love God and hate my neighbour. And our Saviour saith, Si oraveritis, remittite; "When you will pray, forgive first"; else it is to no purpose, you get nothing by your prayer. Likewise we see in the parable of that king which called his servants to make an account and pay their debts, where he remitteth one of them a great sum of money: now that same fellow, whom the lord pardoned, went out and took one of his fellow-servants by the neck, and handled him most cruelly, saying, "Give me my money." He had forgotten, belike, that his lord had forgiven him. Now the other servants, seeing his cruelness, came unto the king, and told him how that man used himself so cruelly to his fellow: the lord called him again, and after great rebukes cast him into prison, there to lie till he had paid the last farthing. Upon that our Saviour saith, Sic et Pater meus coelestis faciet vobis, si non remiseritis unusquisque fratri suo de cordibus vestris: "Thus will my heavenly Father also do unto you, if ye forgive not every one his brother even from your hearts." Therefore let us take heed by that wicked servant, which would not forgive his fellow-servant when he desired of him forgiveness, saying, Patientiam habe in me, et omnia reddam tibi; "Have patience with me," saith he, "and I will pay thee all my debts." But we cannot say so unto God; we must only call for pardon. There be many folk, which when they be sick, they say, "O that I might live but one year longer, to make amends for my sins!" Which saying is very naught and ungodly; for we are not able to make amends for our sins; only Christ, he is "the Lamb of God which taketh away our sins." Therefore when we be sick, we should say: "Lord God, thy will be done; if I can do anything to thy honour and glory, Lord, suffer me to live longer: but thy will be done!" As for satisfaction, we cannot do the least piece of it.
You have heard now, how we ought to be willing to forgive our neighbours their sins, which is a very token that we be children of God: to this our Saviour also exhorteth us, saying, Si frater tuus habet aliquid adversum te, relinque, &c. "If thou offerest therefore thy gift before the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath somewhat against thee, leave thou thy gift there before the altar, and go first and be reconciled unto thy brother." "Leave it there," saith our Saviour, "if thy brother have any thing against thee: go not about to sacrifice to me, but first, above all things, go and reconcile thyself unto thy brother." On such wise St Paul also exhorteth us, saying, Volo viros orare absque ira et disceptatione; "I would have men to pray without anger and disceptation." There be many wranglers and brawlers nowadays, which do not well: they shall well know that they be not in the favour of God; God is displeased with them. Let us therefore give up ourselves to prayer, so that we may love God and our neighbour. It is a very godly prayer to say, "Lord, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us."
But there be peradventure some of you, which will say, "The priest can absolve me and forgive me my sins." Sir, I tell thee, the priest or minister, call him what you will, he hath power given unto him from our Saviour to absolve in such wise as he is commanded by him: but I think ministers be not greatly troubled therewith; for the people seek their carnal liberties; which indeed is not well, and a thing which misliketh God. For I would have them that are grieved in conscience to go to some godly man, which is able to minister God's word, and there to fetch his absolution, if he cannot be satisfied in the public sermon; it were truly a thing which would do much good. But, to say the truth, there is a great fault in the priests; for they for the most part be unlearned and wicked, and seek rather means and ways to wickedness than to godliness. But a godly minister, which is instructed in the word of God, can and may absolve in open preaching; not of his own authority, but in the name of God for God saith, Ego sum qui deleo iniquitates; "I am he that cleanseth thy sins." But I may absolve you, as an officer of Christ, in the open pulpit in this wise: "As many as confess their sins unto God, acknowledging themselves to be sinners; and believe that our Saviour, through his passion, hath taken away their sins, and have an earnest purpose to leave sin; as many, I say, as be so affectioned, Ego absolvo vos; I, as an officer of Christ, as his treasurer, absolve you in his name." This is the absolution that I can make by God's word. Again, as many as will stand in defence of their wickednesses, will not acknowledge them, nor purpose to leave them, and so have no faith in our Saviour, to be saved by him through his merit; to them I say, Ego ligo vos, "I bind you." And I doubt not but they shall be bound in heaven; for they be the children of the devil, as long as they be in such unbelief and purpose to sin. Here you see, how and in what wise a preacher may absolve or bind: but he cannot do it of fellowship, or worldly respect. No, in no wise; he must do it according as Christ hath commanded him. If God now command to forgive him, qui peccat contra me, "that sinneth against me"; how much more must I be reconciled to him whom I have offended! I must go unto him, and desire him to forgive me; I must acknowledge my fault, and so humble myself before him. Here a man might ask a question, saying: "What if a man have offended me grievously; and hath hurt me in my goods, or slandered me; and is sturdy in it, standeth in defence of himself and his own wickedness, he will not acknowledge himself; shall I forgive him?" Answer: Forsooth, God himself doth not so; he forgiveth not sins, except the sinner acknowledge himself, confess his wickedness, and cry him mercy. Now I am sure God requireth no more at our hands than he doth himself. Therefore I will say this: if thy neighbour or any man hath done against thee and will not confess his faults, but wickedly defendeth the same, I, for my own discharge, must put away all rancour and malice out of my heart, and be ready, as far forth as I am able, to help him; if I do so, I am discharged afore God, but so is not he. For truly that sturdy fellow shall make an heavy account afore the righteous judge.
Here I have occasion to speak against the Novatians, which deny remission of sins. Their opinion is, that he which cometh once to Christ, and hath received the Holy Ghost, and after that sinneth again, he shall never come to Christ again; his sins shall never be forgiven him: which opinion is most erroneous and wicked, yea, and clean against scripture. For if it should be so, there should nobody be saved; for there is no man but he sinneth daily. I told you how you should understand those two places of scripture, which seem to be very hard, Non est sacrificium, &c. "There is no sacrifice," &c. As concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost, we cannot judge aforehand, but after. I know now that Judas had sinned against the Holy Ghost; also Nero, Pharao, and one Franciscus Spira; which man had forsaken popery, and done very boldly in God's quarrel; at the length he was complained of, the Holy Ghost moved him in his heart to stick unto it, and not to forsake God's word; he, contrary to that admonition of the Holy Ghost, denied the word of God, and so finally died in desperation: him I may pronounce to have sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost. But I will shew you a remedy for the sin against the Holy Ghost. Ask remission of sin in the name of Christ, and then I ascertain you that you sin not against the Holy Ghost. For gratia exsuperat supra peccatum; "The mercy of God far exceedeth our sins."
I have heard tell of some, which when they said this petition, they perceived that they asked of God forgiveness, like as they themselves forgive their neighbours; and again, perceiving themselves so unapt to forgive their neighbours' faults, came to that point, that they would not say this prayer at all; but took our Lady's Psalter in hand, and such fooleries; thinking they might then do unto their neighbour a foul turn with a better conscience, than if they should say this petition: for here they wish themselves the vengeance of God upon their heads, if they bear grudge in their hearts, and say this petition. But if we will be right Christians, let us set aside all hatred and malice; let us live godly, and forgive our enemy; so that we may from the bottom of our heart say, "Our Father, which art in heaven, forgive us our trespasses." There be some when they say, "Forgive us our trespasses," they think that God will forgive culpam only, sed non poenam, guiltiness and not the pain; and therefore they believe they shall go into purgatory, and there to be cleansed from their sins: which thing is not so; they be liars which teach such doctrine. For God forgiveth us both the pain and the guiltiness of sins: like as it appeared in David when he repented; Nathan said unto him, Abstulit Dominus iniquitatem tuam, "The Lord hath taken away thy wickedness." But they will say, "God took away the guiltiness of his sins, but not the pain; for he punished him afterward." Sir, you must understand that God punished him, but not to the end that he should make satisfaction and amends for his sins, but for a warning. God would give him a Cave; therefore he punished him. So likewise, whosoever is a repentant sinner, as David was, and believeth in Christ, he is clean a poena et a culpa, both from the pain and guiltiness of his sins; yet God punisheth sins, to make us to remember and beware of sins.
Now to make an end: You have heard how needful it is for us to cry unto God for forgiveness of our sins: where you have heard, wherein forgiveness of our sins standeth, namely, in Christ the Son of the living God. Again, I told you how you should come to Christ, namely, by faith; and faith cometh through hearing the word of God. Remember then this addition, "As we forgive them that trespass against us;" which is a sure token, whereby we know whether we have the true faith in Christ or no. And here you learn, that it is a good thing to have an enemy; for we may use him to our great commodity: through him or by him we may prove ourselves, whether we have the true faith or no.
Now I shall desire you yet again to pray unto almighty God, that he will send such weather, whereby the fruits of the field may increase; for we think we have need of rain. Let us therefore call upon him, which knoweth what is best for us. Therefore say with me the Lord's prayer, as he himself hath taught us: "Our Father, which art," &c.