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LAMENTATION OF THE CHURCH.
Alas! what misery is thy church brought unto, O Lord, The state of at this day! Where of late the word of the Lord was truly of England preached, was read and heard in every town, in every church, and la in every village ; yea, and almost every honest man's house ; alas ! now it is exiled, and banished out of the whole realm. Of late, who was not glad to be taken for a lover of God's word, for a reader, for a ready hearer, and for a learner of the same? And now, alas, who dare bear any open counte. nance towards it, but such as are content in Christ's cause, and for his word's sake, to stand to the danger and loss of all that they have?
Of late there was to be found, of every age, of every degree and kind of people, that gave their diligence to learn, as they could, out of God's word the articles of the Christian faith, the commandments of God, and the Lord's prayer. The babes and young children were taught these things of their parents, of their masters, and weekly of their curates, in every church: and the aged folk, which had been brought up in blindness, and in ignorance of those things which every Christian is bound to know, when otherwise they could not, yet they learned the same, by often hearing their children and servants repeating the same; but now, alas, and alas again, the false prophets of Antichrist, which are past all shame, do openly preach in pulpits unto the people of God, that the catechism is to be counted heresy : whereby their old blindness is brought home again; for the aged are afraid of the higher powers, and the youth is abashed and ashamed, even of that which they have learned, though it be God's word, and dare no more meddle.
Of late in every congregation throughout all England was made prayer and petition unto God, to be delivered
from the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome, and all his detestable enormities; from all false doctrine and heresy: and now, alas! Satan hath persuaded England, by his falsehood and craft, to revoke her old godly prayer, to recant the same, and provoke the fearful wrath and indignation of God upon
her own pate. The lamento Of late by strait laws and ordinances, with the consent of religion of the nobles and commonality, and full agreement and council
of the prelates and clergy, was banished hence the beast of Babylon, with laws (I say), and with oaths and all means that then could be devised for so godly a purpose : but now, alas ! all these laws are trodden under foot: the nobles, the commonality, the prelates, and clergy, are quite changed; and all those oaths, though they were herein made in judgement, justice, and truth, and the matter never so good, doth
no more hold than a bond of rushes, or of a barley straw; Jerem. iv. nor public perjury no more feareth them, than a shadow
upon the wall.
Of late it was agreed in England of all hands, according
to Paul's doctrine and Christ's commandment, as Paul saith 1 Cor. xiv. plain, that nothing ought to be done in the church, in the
public congregation, but in that tongue which the congregation could understand, that all might be edified thereby, whether it were common prayer, administration of the sacraments, or any other thing belonging to the public ministry of God's holy and wholesome word: but, alas ! all is turned upside down, Paul's doctrine is put apart, Christ's commandment is not regarded : for nothing is heard commonly in the church, but in a strange tongue, that the people doth nothing understand.
Of late all men and women were taught, after Christ's doctrine, to pray in that tongue which they could understand, that they might pray with heart that which they should speak with their tongue : now, alas ! the unlearned people is brought in that blindness again, to think that they pray,
Ignorance in prayer.
[ In the Litany of Edward VI. occurs the Petition :
Priest. From all sedition and privy conspiracy, from the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome, and all his detestable enormities; from all false doctrine, &c. &c.
Ans. Good Lord, deliver us. Ed.]
when they speak with their tongues, they cannot tell what, nor whereof their heart is nothing mindful at all, for that it can understand never a whit thereof.
Of late the Lord's supper was duly ministered and taught Abuserin to be made common to all that were true Christians, with Supper. thanksgiving and setting forth of the Lord's death and passion, until his returning again to judge both quick and dead: but now, alas! the Lord's table is quite overthrown, and that which ought to be common to all godly, is made private to a few ungodly, without any kind of thanksgiving, or any setting forth of the Lord's death at all, that the people is able to understand.
Of late all that were endued with the light and grace of understanding of God's holy mysteries, did bless God, out of his which had brought them out of that horrible blindness and and kind. ignorance, whereby in times past being seduced by Satan's subtilties, they believed that the sacrament was not the sacrament, but the thing itself whereof it is a sacrament; that Idolatry in
worshipping the creature was the Creator; and that the thing which hath creatures for neither life nor sense, (alas, such was the horrible blindness !) was the Lord himself; which made the eye to see, and hath given all senses and understanding unto man. alas ! England is returned again like a dog to her own vomit and spewing, and is in a worse case than ever she was : for it had been better never to have known the truth, than to forsake the truth once received and known: and now, not only that light is turned into darkness, and God's grace is received in vain; but also laws of death are made by high court of Parliament, masterfully to maintain by sword, fire, and all kind of violence, that heinous idolatry, wherein that adoration is given unto the lifeless and dumb creature, which is only due unto the everliving God: yea, they say, they can and do make of bread both man and God by their transubstantiation. O! wicked invention, and Satan's own brood!
Of late was the Lord's cup at his table distributed, ac- The cup decording to his own commandment by his express words in the minishis Gospel, as well to the laity as to the clergy, which order the Lord's Christ's church observed so many hundred years after, as all the ancient ecclesiastical writers do testify, without contradiction of any one of them, that can be shewed, unto
this day: but now, alas! not only the Lord's commandment is broken, his cup is denied to his servants, to whom he commanded it should be distributed, but also with the same is set up a new blasphemous kind of sacrifice, to satisfy and pay the price of sins, both of the dead and of the quick, to the great and intolerable contumely of Christ our Saviour, his death, and passion, which was and is the one only sufficient and everlasting available sacrifice, satisfactory for all the elects of God, from Adam the first to the last that shall be born in the end of the world.
Of late that commandment of God, “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor any similitude or likeness of any thing in heaven above, or in earth beneath, or in the water under the earth, thou shalt not bow down to them nor worship them," this commandment of God, I say, was graven' almost every where in churches, was learned of every body, both young and old; whereupon images that provoked the simple and ignorant people unto idolatry, as the wise man saith, were taken out of the churches, and straitly forbidden that none should any where either bow down to
them, or worship them: but now, alas! God's holy word is Idolatry in blotted and razed out of churches, and stocks and stones are
set up in the place thereof. God commanded his word so to be ordered, that it might be had in continual remembrance at all times, and in every place; and on the other side he forbad images and idols, so to be either made or set in any place, where any should bow or worship them: but now, alas! that which God commanded is not passed upon?, and that which he forbiddeth is masterfully maintained by falsehood and craft, and wickedly upholden.
Of late all ministers that were admitted to the public office and ministry of God's holy word, in their admission made a solemn profession before the congregation, that they should teach the people nothing, as doctrine necessary to
["“Graven almost every where in churches." In the reign of king Edward VI. texts of Scripture were painted in most of the churches, particularly the second commandment, and 1 John v. 21, “Babes, keep yourselves from images.” On the accession of Queen Mary these texts were erased. Ev.]
[ Regarded. ED.]