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a. b. c.
passed him round about, and that the pains of hell had come upon him, and taken hold of him; that he would yet call upon the name of the Lord, beseeching him to deliver his soul, and that God out of his holy temple would not fail to hear, and speedily to help and save him. And notably and directly to this purpose, the same king David, as is testified in the .2. book of Kings, and .24. chapter, when .70. thousand were in 2 Reg. 24. c. three days slain with the plague for his and their sins, making most humble confession of his offence, and earnest prayer for mercy and pardon, obtained the same, and the plague at God's commandment suddenly ceased. Ezechias, and the people with him, in their great distress, Eccle. 48. d. whereunto they were brought for their sins, called upon the merciful Lord, and he heard, and holp them, not remembering their sins. Jonas, Jonas 2. when by disobedience he had offended God, and was swallowed up of the Whale, yet by prayer he was delivered even out of the belly of hell, as he himself speaketh, that none, even in most desperate state, should distrust in God's mercy and help. The Jews also, ever most stubborn and rebellious against God, yet when they, being afflicted most worthily, did in their distress call upon the Lord for mercy and help, he heard and relieved them, as appeareth by all the scriptures of the old Testament; but especially and notably the .107. Psalm, which rehearseth the mani- Psal. 107. fold rebellions of that nation against their Lord and God, and the sundry afflictions that he therefore sent upon them. But ever this verse, as it were the burden of the Psalm or song, is oftentimes among rehearsed: But they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. And in the end of the Psalm is added, that they that be wise will consider these examples, and thereby understand the mercies of the Lord, in like distress to flee thereunto. The like rehearsal of God's mercies, shewed unto them when they in their troubles called upon him, is in the book of Nehemias, or .2. of Esdras, and the .9. chapter. How 2 Esd. 9. b. mercifully relieved God Ismael and his mother in their great distress! Gen. 21. c. What mercy was shewed to wicked Manasses, truly repenting! Like- 2 Para. 33. c. wise to Nabuchodonosor, turning unto the Lord in his trouble! How Dani. 4. graciously is the prodigal son received of his father in his extreme misery, procured by his own wickedness! How mercifully is the thief pardoned, even in the miserable end of his most wicked life! Yea, all those diseases which the Gospel recordeth to be so miraculously cured by our Saviour Christ, in such as sued to him for health, and by faith trusted to obtain the same; what be they else but testimonies to us of our like relief in our grievous sickness, if with like faith we call to him for help? For it is the same Lord of all, rich in mercy towards all that call upon him: Neither is his hand shortened or weakened, that he can not, nor his goodness abated or diminished, that he will not, now help his servants that in their distress do flee to his mercy and goodness. For it is now also true, as it was then, when it was written of the sheep and penny lost and found again, and that there is more joy in heaven upon one sinner repenting, than upon .99. righteous.
[3 Among (it), that is, in the course of it.]
1 Cor. 11.
Deute. 4. e.
and 30. a.
Esay 58. a. Jere. 29. f. Eccle. 2. c.
Luk. 1. g.
I have more largely prosecuted this part, for that I thought it necessary that we should be instructed by the doctrine of God's word, his merciful promises, and the comfortable examples of his saints in their troubles; that God doth punish us in this wretched world, that we be not dampned with the wicked world, and that he will not refuse nor reject such as, being punished for their sins, do unfeignedly in their distress return unto him. For where1 our negligence in coming to him heretofore in the time of our quietness might now in the day of our trouble come into our minds, to the great disquieting of our fearful consciences: I thought it expedient to stir up and erect our good hope in his mercies in the time of our troubles by the manifold, most sweet, and assured comforts of the holy Scriptures, written for our doctrine and consolation, both at all times, and specially in the time of affliction; for then is that heavenly medicine most necessary, when our disease doth most grieve and fear us, which we should undoubtedly receive at God's merciful hand to our eternal health, if we, according to the above written doctrines, promises, and examples, do unfeignedly turn to the Lord our God in these days of our affliction: unfeignedly, I say, not for the time of affliction only, as mariners in the tempest, neither as dogs returning again to their vomit; but to remain such in health and security, as in sickness and danger we promised to be, and all the days of our life hereafter, being delivered from fear of all plagues, to serve the Lord our God sincerely and continually in all holiness and righteousness acceptable to him. Wherefore I thought good to admonish us, that we do not by dissembling with God, who can not be deceived, deceive ourselves: but that, as the Lord would have this plague not to be an utter destruction unto us, but to be our fruitful correction, as by the doctrine and examples above rehearsed appeareth; so we of this cross might win that gain, and gather that fruit, which may be healthful unto us, as it was to those godly saints, which were before under like correction and chastisement of the Lord. Therefore let us learn by this affliction to mourn for our sins, to hate and forsake sin, for the which God doth thus shew his anger and displeasure against us. For when shall we mourn for our sins, if not now in the time of mourning? When shall we hate them, if not now when they so grievously wound us, and bring us to present danger of double death, both of body and soul, if we flee not from them? When shall we forsake sin in our life, if we cleave to it now when life forsaketh, or is most like to forsake us? And if we shall enter into particularities: when will we forsake our pride, if not now when all glory is falling into the dust? When will we leave our envy, malice, hatred, and wrath, if not now when we are going to the grave, where all these things take an end? When will we give over our gluttony, if not now when we must forego the belly and whole body also? When will we leave our fleshly lusts, if not now when our flesh shall turn to dust? When will we give over the cares of this life, if not now when we shall cease to live? When will we cease from our usury, if not now when we must lose both the
increase and the stock wholly? When shall we willingly give over the love of wicked mammon, if not now when we can not hold nor use it, but, will we nill we, we must part from it? Wherefore, either now let us make us friends of it, who may receive us into the heavenly tabernacles, or else there is no hope that we ever will. When shall we relieve the poor in their need, if not now, thereby to provoke the Lord to succour us in this our great distress? When will we awake, that we sleep not in death, if not now at the point of death? When shall we ever truly remember the last times, thereby to avoid sin, if not now in the last times themselves? And as we ought now in affliction to flee all wickedness; so ought we to learn the love of righteousness, whereunto of long by gentleness God hath drawn us, and now by his just punishment meaneth to drive us. Let us learn the fear of God, now punishing us, which by his long sufferance and patience heretofore was almost clean Psal. 145. d. gone out of our hearts. For there be special promises that he will hear them that fear him. And when will we fear him, if not now when he punisheth us? Let us learn patience, knowing that affliction in the chil- Rom. 5. a. dren of salvation worketh patience, patience bringeth trial, trial hope, Jacob. 1. a. and hope shall not suffer us to be confounded. For the short evil of our troubles in this world, patiently taken, worketh in us an exceeding high and everlasting weight of glory in the world to come. Let us learn the contempt of this wretched life and wicked world, with all her trifling and uncertain joys, and manifold and horrible evils. For when shall we understand that this life is as a vapour, as a shadow passing and fleeing Jacob. 4. away, as a fading flower, as a bull3 rising on the water, if not now in the decaying, passing, and vanishing away of it? When shall we forsake this wicked world, if not now when it forsaketh us? Let us learn the desire of heaven, and the life to come, where be both many and most great and certain joys, mingled with no evils, no plagues of famine, war, pestilence, or other sickness, and miseries, whereof this wretched life is full, as we now by experience prove.
2 Cor. 1. b.
2 Cor. 4. d.
To conclude, let us, giving over all wickedness, now at the last, when Fsay 58. b. we are in most greatest danger to give over ourselves, and helping the Dani. 4. e. needy and poor, that the Lord in our necessities may relieve us; let us, I say, now at the last, turn unto the Lord our God, and call for help and mercy, and we shall be heard and relieved, according to the doctrine of God's word, and his merciful promises made unto us, and after the examples foreshewed to us out of the holy scriptures afore declared, and in infinite other places, to our great comfort. For if, as God by affliction goeth about, as our heavenly schoolmaster, to teach us thus to flee from sin, and to follow righteousness, to contemn this world, and to desire the life to come, with such other Godly lessons; so we, like his good disciples,
[That the end of the world drew near, was a very common notion in the middle of the sixteenth century. See p. 504. Becon's Works, Prayers, &c., Parker Society edition, p. 624. Preface to Bale's Declaration. Latimer's Works, Vol. i. pp. 172, 364.]
[3 Bull (bulla): bubble.]
Job 13. c.
Deute. 32. f.
do well learn the same, we shall not need much to fear this plague as
the most glorious God, be
C Imprinted at Lon
don in Powles Church yarde by Ky
charde Jugge and John Cawood,
Printers to the Quenes
Cum priuilegio Regia Maieftatis.
A FORM OF MEDITATION, very meet to be daily used of v. house holders in their houses, in this dangerous and contagious time.
Set forth according to the order in the Queen's1 majesty's Injunction.
¶ Imprinted at London without Aldersgate, in little Britain street, by Alexander Lacy.
The master kneeling with his family in some convenient place of his house, perfumed before with Frankincence, or some other wholesome thing, as Juniper, Rosemary, Rose water and Vinegar, shall with fervent heart say, or cause to be said, this that followeth. The servants and family to every petition shall say: Amen.
WE read in thy holy word (O Lord) what blessings thou hast of thy Deut. 28. mercy promised to them that live obediently according to thy blessed will and commandments: we read also the curses that thy justice hath pronounced against such as despise thy word, or negligently pass not to live thereafter.
And, among the rest of thy heavy curses, thou threatenest by name the plague, and the Pestilence, with other noisome and most painful diseases, to such as forsaking thee worship strange gods, and follow their own vain fantasies, in stead of thy sacred ordinances.
We find also, how extremely thine own people the Jews, have oftentimes felt the performance of these thy bitter threatenings, and that for sundry and divers offences.
Because they loathed Manna, and were not contented with thy mira- Num. 11. culous provision, but would have Quails, and other dainty victuals to content their luxurious appetites, thou slewest so many with a sudden and mighty plague that the place of their burial was named thereof, and called the Graves of lust.
Also for murmuring against the ministers of thy word Moses and Num. 16. Aaron, thou destroyedst with a sudden plague xiiii. thousand and more, besides those traitors, whom the earth swallowed for their rebellion: And had not Aaron entreated for them, and gone between the quick and the
['Grindal (Remains, p. 258) writing to Cecil respecting the previous Form, says: It is to be considered by you in what form the fast is to be authorised, whether by proclamation, or by way of injunction or otherwise; for it must needs pass from the queen's majesty.]