A Confession of Sins and Prayer for the Mitigation of God's Wrath and Punishment for the same
O Almighty God, King of all kings, and Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongs justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful unto them that truly repent; we confess that thou dost most justly punish us, for we have grievously sinned against thee. And we acknowledge, that in punishing us thou declares thyself to be our most merciful Father, as well because thou dost not punish us in any thing as we have deserved, as also because, by punishing us thou dost call us and (as it were) draw us to increase in repentance, in faith, in prayer, in contemning of the world, and in hearty desires for everlasting life, and thy blessed presence; grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, thankfully to acknowledge thy great mercy, who has thus favourably dealt with us, in punishing us, not to our confusion, but to our amendment. And seeing thou hast sworn that thou wills not the death of a sinner, but that he turn and live, have mercy upon us, and turn us unto thee for thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ's sake; whom thou would should be made a slain sacrifice for our sins, thereby declaring thy great and unspeakable anger against sin, and thine infinite mercy towards us sinful wretches.
And forasmuch as the dullness of our hearts, blindness and corruption are such, that we are not able to rise up unto thee by faithful anal hearty prayer, according to our great necessity, without thy singular grace and assistance; grant unto us, gracious Lord, thy holy and sanctifying Spirit to work in us this good work with a pure and clean mind, with a humble and lowly heart, with grace to weigh and consider the need and greatness of that which we desire, and with an assured faith and trust that thou wilt grant us our requests;--because thou art good and gracious even to young ravens calling upon thee, much more then to us for whom thou hast made all things; yea, and hast not spared thine own dear Son;obecause thou hast commanded us to call upon thee;obecause thy throne whereunto we come is a throne of grace and mercy;obecause thou hast given us a mediator Christ, to bring us unto thee, being the way by whom we come, being the door by whom we enter, and being the head on whom we hang, and hope that our poor petitions shall not be in vain, through and for his name's sake.
We beseech thee, therefore, of thy rich mercy, wherein thou art plentiful to all them that call upon thee, to forgive us our sins, namely, our unthankfulness, unbelief, self-love, neglect of thy word, security, hypocrisy, contempt of thy long suffering, omission of prayer, doubting of thy power, presence, mercy, and good will towards us, insensibleness of thy grace, impatience, &c. And to this thy benefit of correcting us, add these thy gracious gifts, repentance, faith, the spirit of prayer, the contempt of this world, and hearty desires of everlasting life. Endue us with thy Holy Spirit, according to thy covenant and mercy, as well to assure us of pardon, and that thou dost accept us into thy favour as thy dear children in Christ and for his sake, as to write thy law in our hearts, and so to work in us that we may now begin, and go forwards in believing loving, fearing, obeying, praying, hoping, and serving thee as thou dost require most fatherly and most justly of us, accepting us as perfect through Christ and by imputation.
And moreover, when it shall be thy good pleasure, and most to thy glory, deliver us, we beseech thee, out of the hands of thine adversaries, by such means, be it death or life, as may most make to our comfort in Christ. In the mean season, and for ever, save us and govern us with thy Holy Spirit and his eternal consolation.
And concerning thine adversaries, which for thy sake are become our adversaries, so many of them as are to be converted, we beseech thee to show thy mercy upon them, and to convert them. But those that are not to be converted, which thou only dost know, most mighty God and terrible Lord, confound, and get thy name a glory over them, abate their pride, assuage their malice, bring to nought their devilish devices, and grant that we and all thine afflicted children may be armed with thy defence, weaponed with thy wisdom, and guided with thy grace and Holy Spirit, to be preserved for ever from all giving of offence to thy people, and from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only Giver of all victory, through the merits of thy only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Another Confession of Sins
As David, seeing thine angel with his sword ready drawn, most righteous Lord, to plague Jerusalem, cried out unto thee, "It is I, Lord, that have sinned, and that have done wickedly; thine hand, Lord, be on me, and not on thy poor sheep;" wherethrough thou was moved to mercy, and bade thine angel put up his sword, thou having taken punishment enough.
Even so we, gracious Lord, seeing thy fearful sword of vengeance ready drawn, and now striking against this common weal and thy church in the same, we have occasion every man now to cast off our eyes from beholding and narrowly spying out other men's faults, and to set our own only in sight, that with the same David thy servant, and with Jonah in the ship, we may cry, "It is we, O Lord, who have sinned, and procured this thy grievous wrath."
And this we now, gathered together in Christ's name, do acknowledge, confessing ourselves guilty of horrible ingratitude for our good king (Edward VI, editor), for thy gospel and pure religion, and for the peace of thy church, and quietness of the common weal besides our negligences and our many other grievous sins, wherethrough we have deserved not only these but much more grievous plagues, if even at present thou did not, as thou art wont, remember thy mercy.
Hereupon, since thou in thine anger remembers thy mercy before we seek and sue for it, we take boldness, as thou commands us to do, in our trouble, to come and call upon thee, to be merciful unto us; and of thy goodness now we humbly in Christ's name pray thee to hold thy hand and cease thy wrath; or at least so to mitigate it, that this realm may be quietly governed, and the same shortly become a harbour for thy church and true religion; which do thou restore to us again, according to thy great power and mercy, and we shall praise thy name for ever, through Jesus Christ our only Mediator and Saviour. Amen.
A Prayer for the Remission of Sins
Oh! Lord God and dear Father, what shall I say, that feel all things to be in a manner with me as in the wicked! Blind is my mind, crooked is my will, and perverse concupiscence is in me, as a spring or stinking puddle. Oh! how faint is faith in me! how little love is there to thee or thy people, how great is self-love, how hard is my heart, &c. By reason whereof I am moved to doubt of thy goodness towards me, whether thou art my Father or not, and whether I am thy child or not. Indeed justly might I doubt it, if the having of these were the causes and not rather the fruits of being thy children. The cause why thou art my Father, is, thy mercy, goodness, grace, and truth in Christ Jesus, which cannot but remain for ever. In respect whereof thou hast borne me this good will, to accept me into the number of thy children, that I might be holy, faithful, obedient, innocent, &c. And therefore thou would not only make me a creature after thy image, enduing me with sight, limbs, shape, form, memory, wisdom, &c., whereas thou might have made me a beast, a maimed creature, lame, blind, frantic, &c.; but also thou would that I should be born of Christian parents, brought into thy church by baptism, and called divers times by the ministry of thy word into thy kingdom, besides the innumerable other benefits always hitherto poured upon me. All this thou hast done of thy good will which thou of thine own mercy bare to me in Christ and for Christ before the world was made; which thou requires straitly that I should believe without doubting, so that in all my needs I should come unto thee as a Father, and make my moan without mistrust of being heard, in thy good time, as most shall make to my comfort. Lo! therefore to thee, dear Father, I come through thy Son our Lord, our Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ, who sits on thy right hand, making intercession for me, and I pray thee of thy great goodness and mercy in Christ to be merciful unto me, that I may feel indeed thy sweet mercy, as thy child. The time, O dear Father, I appoint not, but I pray thee that I may with hope still expect and look for thy help. I hope that as thou hast left me for a little while, thou wilt come and visit me, and that in thy great mercy, whereof I have need by reason of my great misery. Thou art wont for a little season in thine anger to hide thy face from those whom thou loves, but surely O Redeemer, in eternal mercies thou wilt show thy compassions. For when thou leaves us, O Lord, thou dost not leave us very long, neither dost thou leave us to our loss, but to out gain and advantage: even that thy Holy Spirit, with a greater portion of thy power and virtue, may lighten and cheer us, that the want of feeling, to our sorrow, may be recompensed plentifully with the lively sense of having thee, to our eternal joy. And therefore thou swears, that in thine everlasting mercy thou wilt have compassion on us: of which mercy that we might be most assured, thine oath is to be marked, for thou says, "As I have sworn that I will not bring any more the waters to drown the world; so have I sworn, that I will never more be angry with thee, nor reprove thee. The mountains shall remove, and the hills shall fall down, but my loving kindness shall not move, and the bond of my peace shall not fail thee;" (Isa. liv.) thus says thou the Lord, our merciful Redeemer. Dear Father, therefore; I pray thee, remember, even for thine own truth and mercy's sake, this promise and everlasting covenant, which in thy good time I pray thee to write in my heart, that I may know thee to be the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent: that I may love thee with all my heart for ever, that I may love thy people for thy sake; that I may be holy in thy sight through Christ; that I may always not only strive against sin, but also overcome the same, daily more and more, as thy children do. Above all things desiring the sanctification of thy name, them coming of thy kingdom, the doing of thy will here on earth as it is in heaven, &c, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, Mediator, and Advocate. Amen.
Another Prayer for Remission of Sins
O gracious God! who seeks by all means to bring thy children into the feeling and sure sense of thy mercy, and therefore when prosperity will not serve, thou sends adversity, graciously correcting them here, whom thou wilt shall live with thee elsewhere for ever:owe poor, wretched creatures give humble praises and thanks unto thee, dear Father, that thou hast vouched us worthy of thy correction at this present time, hereby to work that which we in prosperity and liberty did neglect. For which neglecting and our many other grievous sins, whereof we now accuse ourselves before thee, most merciful Lord, thou might most justly have given us over, and destroyed us both in souls and bodies. But such is thy goodness towards us in Christ, that thou seems to forget all our offences; and as though we were far otherwise than we are indeed, thou wilt that we should suffer this cross now laid upon us for thy truth and gospel's sake, and so be thy witnesses with the prophets, apostles, martyrs, and confessors, yea, with thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ, to whom thou dost now here begin to fashion us like, that in his glory we may be like him also.
O good God! what are we on whom thou dost show this great mercy! O loving Lord! forgive us our unthankfulness and sins. O faithful Father! give us thy Holy Spirit now to cry in our hearts, Abba, dear Fatheroto assure us of our eternal election in Christoto reveal more and more thy truth unto usoto confirm, strengthen, and establish us so in the same, that we may live and die in it as vessels of thy mercy, to thy glory and to the advantage of thy church. Endue us with the Spirit of thy wisdom, that with good conscience we may always so answer the enemies of thy cause, as may turn to their conversion or confusion, and our unspeakable consolation in Jesus Christ; for whose sake we beseech thee henceforth to keep us, to give us patience, and to will none otherwise for deliverance or mitigation of our misery, than may stand always with thy good pleasure and merciful will towards us.
Grant this, dear Father, not only to us in this place, but also to all others elsewhere afflicted for thy name's sake, through the death and merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for Deliverance from Sin, and to be Restored to God's Grace and Favour again
O almighty and everlasting Lord God, who hast made heaven, earth, and all things. O incomprehensible Unity! O always to be worshipped, most blessed Trinity! I humbly beseech thee and pray thee, by the assumption and crucified humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou would incline and bow down thy Deity to pity my vileness, to drive from me all kinds of vice, wickedness, and sin, and to make in me a new and clean heart, and to renew in me a light spirit, for thy holy name's sake.
O Lord Jesus! I beseech thy goodness, for the exceeding great love which drew thee out of thy Father's bosom into the womb of the holy virgin, and for the assumption of man's nature, wherein it pleases thee to save me, and to deliver me from eternal death.oI beseech thee, I say, that thou would draw me out of myself into thee, my Lord God, and grant that thy love may recover again thy grace to me, to increase and make perfect in me that which is wanting, to raise up in me that which is fallen, to restore to me that which I have lost, and to quicken in me that which is dead and should live, so that I may become conformable unto thee in all my life and conversation, thou dwelling in me and I in thee, my heart being supplied with thy grace, and settled in thy faith for ever.
O thou my God! loose and set at liberty my spirit from all inferior things, govern my soul, and so work, that both in soul and body I may be holy, and live to thy glory, world without end. Amen.
A Prayer for the Obtaining of Faith
O merciful God and dear Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! in whom as thou art well pleased, so hast thou commanded us to hear him. Forasmuch as he often bids us to ask of thee, and promises that thou wilt hear us, and grant us that which in his name we shall ask of thee; lo! gracious Father, I am bold to beg of thy mercy, through thy Son Jesus Christ, one sparkle of true faith and certain persuasion of thy goodness and love towards me in Christ; wherethrough I, being assured of the pardon of all my sins by the mercies of Christ thy Son, may be thankful to thee, love thee, and serve thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life. Amen.
A Prayer for Repentance
Most gracious God and merciful Father of our Saviour Jesus Christ;obecause I have sinned and done wickedly, and through thy goodness have received a desire of repentance, whereto thy long-suffering draws my hard heart; I beseech thee, for thy great mercies sake in Christ, to work the same repentance in me; and by thy Spirit, power, and grace, to humble, mortify, and make my conscience afraid for my sins, to salvation; that in thy good time thou may comfort and quicken me, through Jesus Christ, thy dearly beloved Son. So be it.
A Godly Meditation and Prayer
O almighty and everlasting Lord God! the dear Father of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hast made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is, who art the only ruler, governor, preserver, and keeper of all things, together with thy dearly beloved Son Christ Jesus our Lord, and with thy Holy Ghost the Comforter. O holy, righteous, and wise! O strong, terrible, mighty, and fearful Lord God! Judge of all men, and Governor of all the whole world! O exorable, patient, and most gracious Father! whose eyes are upon the ways of all men, and are so clean that they cannot abide impiety; thou searches the hearts, and tries the very thoughts and reins of all men; thou hates sin, and abhorrent iniquity; for sin's sake thou hast grievously punished mankind, thy most dear creature, as thou hast declared by the penalty of death laid upon all the children of Adam, by the casting out Adam and his offspring forth from paradise. Also by the cursing of the earth; by the drowning of the world; by the burning up of Sodom and Gomorrah; by the hardening the heart of Pharaoh, so that no miracle could convert him; by the drowning of him and his people with him in the Red Sea; by the overthrowing of the Israelites in the wilderness, so that of six hundred thousand only two entered into the land of promise; by rejecting king Saul; by the great punishment upon thy servant David, notwithstanding his hearty repentance; by grievously afflicting Solomon in himself and in his posterity; by the captivity of the ten tribes, and by the thraldom of the Jews, wherein until this present day they continue a notable spectacle to the world of thy wrath against and for sin. But of all the spectacles of thy anger against sin, the greatest and most notable is the death and bloody passion of thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ. Great is thy anger against sin, when in heaven and earth nothing could be found which might appease thy wrath, save the blood-shedding of thine only and most dearly beloved Son, in whom was and is all thy delight. Great is the sore of sin, that needs such a salve. Mighty was the malady that needs such a medicine. If in Christ, in whom was no sin, thy wrath was so fierce for our sin that he was constrained to cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" how great and insupportable must be thine anger against us, who are nothing but sinful! They that are thy children, through the contemplation of thine anger against sin, most evidently set forth in the death of Christ, do tremble and are afraid, lamenting themselves to him, and heartily crying for mercy; whereas the wicked are altogether careless and contemptuous, nothing lamenting their iniquities nor crying to thee heartily for mercy and pardon, among whom we are rather to be placed, than among thy children. For we are shameless for our sin, and careless for thy wrath; which we may well say, is most grievous against us, and evidently set forth in the taking away of our good king and thy true religion, in the exile of thy servants, imprisonment of thy people, misery of thy children, and death of thy saints. Also by the placing thy enemies in authority over us, by the success thou gives them in all they take in hand, by the returning again of antichrist the pope into our country. All these, as they declare thy grievous wrath unto all the world, but specially unto us, so they set before our eyes our iniquities and sins, which have deserved the same. For thou art just and holy in all thy works, thy judgments are righteous altogether; it is we, it is we that have sinned, and procured these plagues; we have been unthankful wretches, and most carnal gospellers; therefore to us pertains shame, and nothing else is due, but confession. For we have done very wickedly, we have heaped sin upon sin, so that the measure has overflowed and ascended up to heaven, and brought these plagues, which are but earnests for greater to ensue; and yet, alas, we are altogether careless in manner! What shall we do? What shall we say? Who can give us penitent hearts? Who can open our lips, that our mouths may make acceptable confession unto thee? Alas! of ourselves we cannot think any good, much less wish it, and least of all do it. As for angels or any other creatures, they have nothing but what they have received, and they are made to minister unto us, so that where it passes the power of the master, the minister must needs want. Alas! then, what shall we do? Thou art holy, and we unholy; thaw art good, and we nothing but evil; thou art pure, we altogether impure; thou art light, and we most dark, darkness; how then can there be any convenience or agreement betwixt us? Oh! what may we now do? Despair? No; for thou art God, and therefore good; thou art merciful, and therefore thou forgives sins; with thee is mercy and propitiation, and therefore thou art worshipped. When Adam had sinned, thou gave him mercy before he desired it, and wilt thou deny us mercy, who now desire the same? Adam excused his fault, and accused thee, but we accuse ourselves, and excuse thee; and shall we be sent empty away? Noah found favour when thy fury abounded; and shall we, seeking grace, be frustrated? Abraham was pulled out of idolatry when the world was drowned therein; and art thou his God only? Israel in captivity in Egypt was graciously visited and delivered; and, dear God, the same good Lord, shall we always be forgotten? How often in the wilderness did thou defer, and spare thy plagues, at the request of Moses, when the people themselves made no petition to thee? And seeing we not only now make our petitions unto thee through thy goodness, but also we have a Mediator for us far above Moses, even Jesus Christ; should we, I say, dear Lord, depart ashamed? So soon as David said, "I have sinned," thou did forthwith answer him, that he should not die, thou had taken away his sins. And, gracious God, even the self-same God, shall not we, who now with David gladly confess that we have sinned, shall not we, I say, hear by thy good Spirit that our sins are pardoned? Oh! grant that with Manasseh we may find favour and mercy; remember that thou hast not spared thine own only dear Son Jesus Christ, but hast given him for us all, to die for our sins, to rise for our righteousness, to ascend for our taking possession of heaven, and to appear before thee for us for ever, a high priest after the order of Melchisedec, that through him we might have free access to come to thy throne, now rather a throne of grace than of justice. Remember that thou by him hast bidden us to ask, and promised that we should receive, saying, "Ask, and ye shall have, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." O thou dear God, and most mild and merciful Father! we heartily beseech thee to be merciful unto us. For this thy Christ's sake, for his death's sake, for thy promise, truth, and mercy's sake, have mercy upon us; pardon and forgive us all our sins, iniquities, and trespasses, whatsoever we have committed against thee, in thought, word, or deed, ever or at any time hitherto, by any means. Dear Father, have mercy upon us; though we are poor, yet our Christ is rich; though we are sinners, yet he is righteous; though we are fools, yet he is wise; though we are impure, yet he is pure and holy; for his sake therefore be merciful unto us. Call to mind how thou hast promised that thou wilt pour out thy clean waters, and wash us from our filth, and cleanse us from our evils; forget not that thou hast promised to take from us our stony hearts, and dost promise to give us soft hearts, new hearts, and to put right spirits into the midst of us. Remember thy covenant, namely, how thou wilt be our God, and we shall be thy people; forget not the parts of it, that is, to put out of thy memory for ever all our unrighteousness, and to write in our minds and hearts thy law and testimonies. Remember that thou dost strictly charge us to have none others gods but thee, saying, that thou art the Lord our God. Oh! then declare the same to us all, we now heartily beseech thee; forgive us our sins, forget our iniquities, cleanse us from our filthiness, wash us from our wickedness, pour out thy Holy Spirit upon us, take from us our hard hearts, our stony hearts, our impenitent hearts, ours distrusting and doubtful hearts, our carnal, our secure, our idle, our brutish hearts, our impure, malicious, arrogant, envious, wrathful, impatient, covetous, hypocritical, and selfish hearts; and in place thereof give us new hearts, soft hearts, faithful hearts, merciful hearts, loving, obedient, chaste, pure, holy, righteous, true, simple, lowly, and patient hearts, to fear thee, to love thee, and triumph in thee for ever. Write thy law in our hearts, engrave it in our minds, we heartily beseech thee; give us the spirit of prayer, make us diligent and happy in the works of our vocation, take into thy custody and governance our souls and bodies for ever, our lives, and all that ever we have. Tempt us not further than thou wilt make us able to bear; and whatsoever thou knows we have need of, in soul or body, dear God and gracious Father, vouchsafe to give us that same in thy good time, and guide us always as thy children, so that our life may please thee, and our death praise thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. For whose sake we heartily pray thee to grant these things thus asked, and all other things necessary for soul and body; not only to us, but to all others also, for whom thou would that we should pray; especially for thy children that are in thraldom, in exile, in prison, misery, heaviness, poverty and sickness. Be merciful to the whole realm of England; grant us all true repentance, mitigation of our misery, and, if it be thy good will, thy holy word and religion among us once again; pardon our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and if it be thy pleasure, turn their hearts; be merciful unto our parents, brethren and sisters, friends, kinsfolks and families, neighbours, and such as by any means thou hast coupled and linked us to, by love or otherwise. And unto us, poor sinners, here gathered together in thy holy name, grant thy blessing and thy Holy Spirit to sanctify us, and dwell in us as thy dear children, to keep us, this day and for ever, from all evil, to thy eternal glory, and our everlasting comfort, and the profit of thy church; which mercifully maintain, cherish, and comfort; strengthening them that stand, so that they may never fall; lifting up them that are fallen;oand keep us from falling from thy truth; through the merits of thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, who lives and reigns with thee and the Holy Ghost, to whom be all praise and honour, both now and for ever. Amen.