HOMILY ON COMMON PRAYER AND SACRAMENTS
AN HOMILIE WHERE-
in is declared that Common Prayer and Sacra-
ments ought to bee ministred in a tongue
that is vnderstood of the
AMong the manifold exercises of GODS people (deare Christians) there is none more necessary for all estates, and at all times, then is publike prayer, and the due vse of Sacraments. For in the first, wee beg at GODS hands all such things, as otherwise we can not obtain. And in the other, hee imbraceth vs, and offereth himselfe to bee embraced of vs. Knowing therefore that these two exercises are so necessary for vs, let vs not thinke it vnmeet to consider, first what prayer is, and what a Sacrament is, and then how many sorts of prayers there bee, and how many Sacraments, so shall wee the better vnderstand how to vse them aright. To know what they be, Saint Augustine, teacheth vs in his booke entituled, "Of the spirite and the soule" (Augustine, `De Spiritu et anima'). He sayth thus of prayer: Prayer is (saith hee) the deuotion of the minde, that is to say, the returning to GOD, through a godly and humble affection, which affection is certaine willing and sweete inclining of the minde it selfe towards GOD. And in the second booke against the aduersary of the Law and the Prophets, hee calleth Sacraments, holy signes (Augustinem `Contra Adversarios et Proph.', bk. 2). And writing to Bonifacius of the Baptisme of infants, he saith, If Sacraments had not a certaine similitude of those things whereof they bee Sacraments, they should bee no Sacraments at all. And of this similitude they doe for the most part receiue the names of the selfe things they signifie. By these wordes of Saint Augustine it appeareth, that hee alloweth the common description of a Sacrament, which is, that it is a visible signe of an inuisible grace, that is to say, that setteth out to the eyes and other outward senses, the inward working of GODS free mercy, and doeth (as it were) seale in our hearts the promises of GOD (Augustine, `Ad Boniface'). And so was circumcision a Sacrament, which preached vnto the outward senses the inward cutting away of the foreskin of the heart, and sealed and made sure in the hearts of the Circumcised the promise of GOD touching the promised seede that they looked for. Nowe let vs see how many sorts of prayer, and howe many Sacraments there bee.
In the scriptures wee reade of three sorts of prayer, whereof two are priuate, and the thirde is common. The first is that which Saint Paul speaketh of in his Epistle to Timothie, sayinge, I will that men pray in euery place, lifting vp pure handes, with out wrath or striuing (1 Timothy 2.8). And it is the deuout lifting vp of the mind to GOD without the vtteringe of the hearts griefe or desire by open voyce. Of this prayer wee haue example in the first booke of the Kinges in Anna the mother of Samuel, when in the heauinesse of her heart shee prayed in the Temple, desiring to be made fruiteful. Shee prayed in her heart (saith the text) but there was no voyce hearde (1 Samuel 1.13). After this sort must all Christians pray, not once in a weeke , or once in a day onely: but as Saint Paul writeth to the Thessalonians, without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5.17). And as Saint Iames writeth, The continuall prayer of a iust man is of much force (James 5.16). The second sort of prayer is spoken of in the Gospel of Matthew, where it is sayd, when thou prayest, enter into thy secret closet, and when thou hast shutte the doore to thee, pray vnto thy Father in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee (Matthew 6.6). Of this sort of prayer there bee sundry examples in the Scriptures, but it shall suffice to rehearse one, which is written in the actes of the Apostles.
Cornelius, a deuoute man, a captaine of the Italian army, sayth to Peter: that being in his house in prayer at the ninth houre, there appeared vnto him one in a white garment &c (Acts 10.1, 3, 30-31). This man prayed vnto GOD in secret, and was rewarded openly. These bee the two priuate sorts of prayer. The one mentall, that is to say, the deuout lifting vp of the minde to GOD: And the other vocall, that is to say, the secret vttering of the griefes and desires of the heart with wordes, but yet in a secret closet, or some solitary place. The third sort of prayer is publike or common. Of this prayer speaketh our Sauiour Christ, when he sayth, If two of you shall agree vpon earth vpon any thing, whatsoeuer ye shall aske, my Father which is in heauen shall doe it for you, for wheresoeeuer two or three bee gathered together in my name, there am I in the middest of them (Matthew 18.19-20). Although GOD hath promised to heare vs when we pray priuately, so it be done faithfully and deuoutly (for he saith, Call vpon me in the day of thy trouble, and I will heare thee (Psalms 50.15). And Elias being but a mortall man, saith Saint Iames, prayed, and heauen was shut three yeeres and sixe moneths, and againe he prayed, and the heauen gaue raine (James 5.17-18):) Yet by the histories of the Bible it appeareth, that publike and common prayer is most auaileable before GOD, and therefore is much to be lamented that it is no better esteemed among vs which professe to be but one body in Christ. When the city of Niniue was threatned to be destroyed within fortie dayes, the Prince and the people ioyned themselues together in publike prayer and fasting, and were preserued (Jonah 3.4-10). In the Prophet Ioel, GOD commanded a fasting to be proclaimed, and the people to be gathered together, young and olde, man and woman, and are taught to say with one voyce: Spare vs, O Lord, spare thy people, and let not thine inheritance bee brought to confusion (Joel 2.15-17). When the Iewes should haue beene destroyed all in one day through the malice of Haman, at the commaundement of Hester they fasted and prayed, and were preserued (Esther 4.16). When Holophernes besieged Bethulia by the aduice of Iudith they fasted and prayed, and were deliuered (Apocrypha. Judith 8.17). When Peter was in prison, the congregation ioyned themselues together in prayer, and Peter was wonderfully deliuered (Acts 12.5). By these histories it appeareth, that common or publike prayer is of great force to obteine mercy, & deliuerance at our heauenly Fathers hand.
Therefore brethren, I beseech you, euen for the tender mercies of GOD, let vs no longer bee negligent in this behalfe: but as the people willing to receiue at GODS hand such good things as in the common prayer of the Church are craued, let vs ioyne our selues together in the place of common prayer, and with one voyce and one heart, begge at our heauenly father all those things, which hee knoweth to bee necessary for vs. I forbid you not priuate prayer, but I exhort you to esteeme common prayer as it is worthy. And before all things, bee sure, that in all these three sortes of prayer, your mindes bee deuoutly lifted vp to GOD, else are your prayers to no purpose, and this saying shalbe verified in you: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is farre from mee (Isaiah 29.13, Matthew 15.8). Thus much for the three sortes of prayer, whereof we reade in the Scriptures. Now with like, or rather more breuitie, you shall heare how many Sacraments there be, that were instituted by our Sauiour Christ, and are to bee continued, and receiued of euery Christian in due time and order, and for such purpose as our Sauiour Christ willed them to be receiued. And as for the number of them, if they should be considered according to the exact signification of a Sacrament, namely, for the visible signes, expresly commanded in the new Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise of free forgiuenesse of our sinne, and of our holinesse and ioyning in Christ, there bee but two: namely Baptisme, and the Supper of the Lord. For although absolution hath the promise of forgiuenesse of sinne, yet by the expresse worde of the new Testament it hath not this promise annexed and tyed to the visible signe, which is imposition of hands. For this visible signe (I meane laying on of hands) is not expresly commanded in the new Testament to be vsed in absolution, as the visible signes in Baptisme and the Lords Supper are: and therefore absolution is no such Sacrament as Baptisme and the Communion are. And though the ordering of ministers hath his visible signe and promise: yet it lackes the promise of remission of sinne, as all other sacraments besides the two aboue named doe. Therefore neither it, nor any other sacrament else, bee such Sacraments as Baptisme and the Communion are. But in a generall acception, the mane of a Sacrament may be attributed to any thing whereby an holy thing is signified. In which vnderstanding of the word, the ancient writers haue giuen this name, not only to the other fiue, commonly of late yeres taken and vsed for supplying the number of the seuen Sacraments: but also to diuers and sundry other ceremonies, as to oyle, washing of feete, and such like, not meaning thereby to repute them as Sacraments, in the same signification that the two forenamed Sacraments are (Dionysius, Bernard, `De Coena Domini, Dionysius, et Abluti pedum'). And therefore Saint Augustine, weighing the true signification and exact meaning of the word, writing to Ianuarius, and also in the third booke of Christian doctrine, affirmeth that the Sacraments of the Christians, as they are most excellent in signification, so are they most few in number, and in both places maketh mention expresly of two, the sacrament of baptisme, and the supper of the Lord. And although there are retained by the order of the Church of England, besides these two, certaine other Rites and Ceremonies about the institution of Ministers in the Church, Matrimony, Confirmation of the children, by examining them of their knowledge in the articles of the faith, and ioyning thereto the prayers of the Church for them, and likewise for the visitation of the sicke: yet no man ought to take these for Sacraments, in such signification and meaning, as the Sacrament of Baptisme. and the Lords Supper are: but either for godly states of life, necessary in Christes Church, and therefore worthie to bee set foorth by publike action and solemnity by the ministery of the Church, or else iudged to bee such ordinances, as may make for the instruction, comfort, and edification of Christes Church.
Now vnderstanding sufficiently what prayer is, and what a Sacrament is also, and how many sortes of prayers there bee, and how many Sacraments of our Sauiour Christs institution: let vs see whether the Scriptures and examples of the Primatiue Church will alow any vocall prayer, that is, when the mouth vttereth the petitions with voyce, or any maner of Sacrament, or other publike or common rite or action, pertaining to the profite and edifying of the vnlearned, to bee ministred in a tongue vnknowne, or not vnderstood of the Minister or people: yea, and whether any person may priuately vse any vocall prayer, in a language that hee himselfe vnderstandeth not. To this question we must answere, no. And first of Common prayer and administration of Sacraments. Although reason, if it might rule, would soone perswade vs to haue our common prayer and administration of the Sacraments in a knowne tongue, both for that to pray commonly, is for a multitude to aske one and the selfe thing with one voyce, and one consent of minde, and to administer a Sacrament, is by the outward word and element, to preach to the receiuer the inward and inuisible grace of GOD, and also for that both these exercises were first instituted, and are still continued to the end that the congregation of Christ might from time to time bee put in remembrance of their vnity in Christ, and that as members all of one body, they ought both in prayers and otherwise to seeke and desire one anothers commodity, & not their owne without others: Yet shall wee not neede to flee to reasons and proofes in this matter, sith wee haue both the plaine and manifest wordes of the Scripture, and also the consent of the most learned and ancient writers, to commend the prayers of the Congregation in a knowne tongue. First, Paul to the Corinthians saith: Let all things be done to edifying (1 Corinthians 14.26). Which cannot be, vnlesse common prayers and administration of Sacraments bee in a tongue knowen to the people. For where the prayers spoken by the minister, and the wordes in the administration of the Sacraments, bee not vnderstood of them that bee present, they cannot thereby bee edified. For as when the trumpet that is blowne in the field giueth an vncertaine sound, no man is thereby stirred vp to prepare himselfe to the fight. And as when an instrument of musicke maketh no distinct sound, no man can tell what is piped: Euen so when prayers or administration of Sacraments shall bee in a tongue vnknowen to the hearers, which of them shall bee thereby stirred vp to lift vp his minde to GOD, and to begge with the minister at GODS hand, those things which in the wordes of his prayers the minister asketh? Or who shall in the ministration of the Sacraments vnderstand what inuisible grace, is to be craued of the hearer, to bee wrought in the inward man? Truely no man at all. For (saith Saint Paul) hee that speaketh in a tongue vnknowne, shall be to the hearer an aliant, which in a Christian Congregation is a great absurditie.
For wee are not strangers one to another, but wee are the citizens of the Saints, and of the houshold of GOD (Ephesians 2.19), yea, and members of one body (1 Corinthians 10.17, 12.12). And therefore whiles our minister is in rehearsing the prayer that is made in the name of vs all, wee must giue diligent eares to the words spoken by him, and in heart begge at GODS hand those things that hee beggeth in wordes. And to signifie that wee doe so, wee say Amen, at the end of the prayer that hee maketh in the name of vs all. And this thing can wee not doe for edification, vnlesse wee vnderstand what is spoken. Therefore it is required of necessity, that the Common prayer bee had in a tongue that the hearers doe vnderstand. If euer it had bin tolerable to vse strange tongues in the congregations, the same might haue beene in the time of Paul and the other Apostles, when they were miraculously endued with gifts of tongues. For it might then haue perswaded some to imbrace the Gospel, when they had heard men that were Hebrewes borne and vnlearned, speake the Greeke, the Latine, and other languages. But Paul thought it not tolerable then: And shall wee vse it now, when no man commeth by that knowledge of tongues, otherwise then by diligent and earnest study? GOD forbid. For wee should by that meanes bring all our Church exercises to friuolous superstition, and make them altogether vnfruitfull. Luke writeth that when Peter and Iohn were discharged by the Princes and high Priestes of Hierusalem, they came to their fellowes, and tolde them all that the Princes of the Priestes and Elders had spoken to them. Which when they heard, they lifted vp their voyce together to GOD with one assent, and sayd, Lord, thou art he that hast made heauen and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them. &c (Acts 4.23-24). Thus could they not haue done, if they had prayed in a strange tongue, that they had not vnderstood. And no doubt of it, they did not all speake with seuerall voyce: but some one of them spake in the name of them all, and the rest giuing diligent eare to his wordes consented thereunto, and therefore it is sayd, that they lifted vp their voyce together. Saint Luke saith not, Their voyces, as many: but, their voice, as one. That one voyce therefore was in such language as they all vnderstood, otherwise they could not haue lifted it vp with the consent of their heartes. For no man canne giue consent of the thing that he knoweth not. As touching the times before the comming of Christ there was neuer man yet that would affirme, that either the people of GOD or other, had their prayers or administrations of the Sacraments, or sacrifices, in a tongue that they themselues vnderstood not. As for the time since Christ, till that vsurped power of Rome began to spreade it selfe, and to inforce all the nations of Europe to haue the Romish language in admiration, it appeareth by the consent of the most ancient and learned writers, that there was no strange or vnknowne tongue vsed in the congregation of Christians. Iustinus Martyr, who liued about 160 yeeres after Christ, sayth thus of the administration of the Lords Supper in his time (Justinus, `Apol.,' 2): Upon the Sunday assemblies are made both of them that dwell in Cities, and of them that dwell in the Countrey also. Amongst whom, as much as may bee, the writings of the Apostles & Prophets are read. Afterwards when the Reader doth cease, the chiefe Minister maketh an exhortation, exhorting them to follow honest things. After this, wee rise altogether and offer prayers, which being ended (as wee haue sayd) bread and wine and water are brought foorth: Then the head Minister offereth prayers and thankesgiuing with all his power, and the people answer, Amen. These words, with their circumstances being duely considered, do declare plainly, that not onely the Scriptures were read in a knowne tongue: but also that prayer was made in the same in the congregations of Iustines time. Basilius Magnus, and Iohannes Chrysostomus did in their time prescribe publike orders of publike administration, which they call Liturgies, and in them they appointed the people to answer to the prayers of the Minister, sometime, Amen, sometime, Lord haue mercy vpon vs, sometime, and with thy spirit, and we haue our hearts lifted vp vnto the Lord, &c. Which answers the people could not haue made in due time, if the prayers had not beene in a tongue that they vnderstood. The same Basil writing to the Clergie of Neoc'sarea, sayth thus of his vsage in common prayer (Basil, epistle 63), appoynting one to begin the song, the rest follow: And so with diuers songs and prayers, passing ouer the night, at the dawning of the day, altogether (euen as it were with one mouth and one heart) they sing vnto the Lord a song of confession, euery man framing vnto himselfe meete wordes of repentance. In another place he sayth, If the Sea bee fayre, how is not the assembly of the congregation much more fayre, in which a ioyned sound of men, women, and children (as it were of the waues beating on the shore) is sent foorth in our prayers vnto our GOD? Marke his words (Basil, Homily 4?): A ioyned sound (sayth he) of men, women, and children. Which cannot be, vnlesse they all vnderstand the tongue wherein the prayer is sayd. And Chrysostome vpon the words of Paul sayth, So soone as the people heare these words, world without end, they all doe foorthwith answer, Amen. This could they not doe, vnlesse they vnderstood the word spoken by the Priest (1 Corinthians 14.16). Dionysius sayth, that hymnes were sayd of the whole multitude of people in the administration of the Communion. Cyprian sayth (Cyprian, `Ser. 6 de Ora. dominica'), The Priest doth prepare the mindes of the brethren, with a preface before the prayer, saying, Lift vp your hearts: That whiles the people doth answer, We haue our hearts lifted vp to the Lord, they be admonished that they ought to thinke on none other thing then the Lord. Saint Ambrose writing vpon the words of Saint Paul sayth, This is it that hee sayth, because hee which speaketh in an vnknowne tongue, speaketh to GOD, for hee knoweth all things: but men know not, and therefore there is no profit of this thing (1 Corinthians 14.2). And againe vpon these wordes: If thou blesse, or giue thankes with the spirit, how shall hee that occupieth the roome of the vnlearned, say Amen, at thy giuing of thankes, seeing hee vnderstandeth not what thou sayest? This is (sayth Ambrose) if thou speake the prayse of GOD in a tongue vnknowen to the hearers. For the vnlearned hearing that which he vnderstandeth not, knoweth not the end of the prayer, and answereth not Amen: which word is as much to say, as trueth, that the blessing or thankesgiuing may bee confirmed. For the confirmation of the prayer is fulfilled by them that doe answere, Amen, that all things spoken might be confirmed in the mindes of the hearers, through the testimony of the truth. And after many weighty wordes, to the same end he sayth: The conclusion is this, that nothing should bee done in the Church in vaine, and that this thing ought chiefly to bee laboured for, that the vnlearned also might take profit, lest any part of the body should be darke through ignorance. And lest any man should thinke all this to be meant of preaching, and not of prayer, he taketh occasion of these words of Saint Paul (If there be not an interpreter, let him keepe silence in the Church) to say, as followeth: Let him pray secretly, or speake to GOD, who heareth all things that be dumbe: For in the Church must he speake that may profit all persons. Saint Hierome writing vpon these words of Saint Paul, How shall hee that supplieth the place of the vnlearned, &c. (1 Corinthians 14.16), sayth, It is the Lay man whom Paul vnderstandeth heere to bee in the place of the ignorant man, which hath no Ecclesiasticall office. How shall he answer, Amen, to the prayer of that he vnderstandeth not? And a little after, vpon the words of Saint Paul, For if I should pray in a tongue &c. he sayth thus: Thus is Pauls meaning: If any man speake in strange and vnknowen tongues, his minde is made vnfruitfull, not to himselfe, but to the hearer: For whatsoeuer is spoken, hee knoweth it not. Saint Augustine writing vpon the xviii. Psalme, sayth: What this should bee wee ought to vnderstand, that we may sing with reason of man, and not with chattering of birds. For Owles, Popingayes, Rauens, Pyes, and other such like birds, are taught by men to prate they know not what: but to sing with vnderstanding, is giuen by GODS holy will to the nature of man. Againe, the same Augustine sayth (Augustine, `De Magist.'), There needeth no speech when we pray, sauing perhaps as the Priests doe, for to declare their meaning, not that GOD, but that men may heare them. And so being put in remembrance by consenting with the Priest, they may hang vpon GOD.
Thus are we taught by the Scripture and ancient Doctours, that in the administration of Common prayer and Sacraments, no tongue vnknowne to the hearers ought to be vsed. So that for the satisfying of a Christian mans conscience wee need to spend no more time in this matter. But yet to stop the mouthes of the aduersaries, which stay themselues much vpon generall decrees, it shall bee good to adde to these testimonies of Scriptures and Doctours, one Constitution made by Iustinian the Emperour (`Novel. Consti.,' 23), who liued fiue hundred twenty and seuen yeeres after Christ, and was Emperour of Rome. The Constitution is this: We command that all Bishops and Priests doe celebrate the holy oblation and the prayers vsed in holy Baptisme, not speaking low, but with a cleare or loud voyce, which may be heard of the people, that thereby the minde of the hearers may be stirred vp with great deuotion, in vttering the prayers of the Lord GOD, for so the holy Apostle teacheth in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, saying, Truely, if thou onely blesse or giue thankes in spirit, how doeth hee that occupieth the place of the vnlearned, say Amen at that thy giuing thankes vnto GOD, for he vnderstandeth not what thou sayest? Thou verely giuest thankes well, but the other is not edified. And againe in the Epistle to the Romanes, he saith: With the heart a man beleeueth vnto righteousnesse, and with the mouth confession is made vnto saluation. Therefore for these causes it is conuenient that among other prayers, those things also which are spoken in the holy oblation, be vttered and spoken of the most religious Bishops & priestes, vnto our Lord Iesus Christ our GOD, with the Father and the holy Ghost, with a loud voyce. And let the most religious Priestes know this, that if they neglect any of these things, that they shall giue an account for them in the dreadfull iudgement of the great GOD and our Sauiour Iesus Christ. Neither will wee, when we know it, rest and leaue it vnreuenged.
This Emperour (as Sabellicus writeth) fauoured the Bishop of Rome, and yet wee see how plaine a decree hee maketh, for praying and administring of Sacraments in a knowne tongue, that the deuotion of the hearers might be stirred vp by knowledge, contrary to the iudgement of them that would haue ignorance to make deuotion. Hee maketh it also a matter of damnation, to doe these things in a tongue that the hearers vnderstand not. Let vs therefore conclude with GOD and all good mens assent, that no common prayer or Sacraments ought to bee ministred in a tongue that is not vnderstood of the hearers. Now a word or two of priuate prayer in an vnknowne tongue. Wee tooke in hand where we beganne to speake of this matter, not onely to prooue that no common prayer or administration of Sacraments, ought to bee in a tongue vnknowne to the hearers: but also, that no person ought to pray priuately in that tongue that he himselfe vnderstandeth not. Which thing shall not be heard to prooue, if we forget not what prayer is. For if prayer be that deuotion of the minde which enforceth &the; heart to lift vp it selfe to GOD: how should it be said, that that person prayeth, that vnderstandeth not the words that his tongue speaketh in prayer? Yea, how can it be said that he speaketh? For to speake is by voice to vtter &the; thought of the mind. And the voyce that a man vttereth in speaking, is nothing els but the messenger of the minde, to bring abroad the knowledge of that which otherwise lyeth secret in the heart, and cannot be knowen according to that which Saint Paul writeth: What man (sayth hee) knoweth the things that appertaine to man, sauing onely the spirite of man, which is in man (1 Corinthians 2.11)? Hee therefore that doeth not vnderstand the voyces that his tongue doeth vtter, cannot properly be sayd to speake, but rather to counterfait, as Parattes, and such other birdes vse to counterfait mens voyces. No man therefore that feareth to prouoke the wrath of GOD against himselfe, will bee so bolde to speake of GOD vnaduisedly, without regard of reuerent vnderstanding, in his presence, but he will prepare his heart before he presume to speake vnto GOD. And therefore in our common prayer the minister doeth often times say, Let vs pray, meaning thereby to admonish the people that they should prepare their eares to heare, what he should craue at GODS hand, and their hearts to consent to the same, and their tongues to say, Amen, at the ende thereof. On this sort did the Prophet Dauid prepare his heart, when he said, My heart is ready (O GOD) my heart is ready, I will sing and declare a Psalme (Psalms 57.7, 108.1). The Iewes also, when in the time of Iudith they did with all their heart pray GOD to visite his people of Israel had so prepared their hearts before they began to pray. After this sort had Manasses prepared his heart before he prayed, and said, And now (O Lord) doe I bow the knees of my heart, asking of thee part of thy mercifull kindnes (2 Chronicles 33.12?). When the heart is thus prepared, the voyce vttered from the heart, is harmonious in the eares of GOD: otherwise he regardeth it not, to accept it. But forasmuch as the person that so babbleth his words without sense in the presence of GOD sheweth himselfe not to regard the maiestie of him that he speaketh to: He taketh him as a contemner of his Almighty maiestie, and giueth him his reward among hypocrites, which make an outward shew of holinesse, but their hearts are full of abominable thoughts, euen in the time of their prayers. For it is the heart that the Lord looketh vpon, as it is written in the historie of Kings (1 Samuel 16.7). If wee therefore will that our prayers bee not abominable before GOD, let vs so prepare our hearts before wee pray, and so vnderstand the things that wee aske when wee pray, that both our hearts and voyces may together sound in the eares of GODS maiestie, and then we shall not faile to receiue at his hand the things that we aske, as good men which haue beene before vs did, and so haue from time to time receiued that which for their soules health they did at any time desire. S. Augustine seemeth to beare in this matter (Augustine, `De Catechizandis rudibus'): For he saith thus of them, which being brought vp in Grammar and Rhetoricke, are conuerted to Christ, and so must be instructed in Christian religion: Let them know also (saith hee) that it is not the voyce, but the affection of the minde that commeth to the eares of God. And so shall it come to passe, that if happily they shall marke that some Bishops or ministers in the Church do call vpon GOD, either with barbarous wordes, or with wordes disordered, or that they vnderstand not, or doe disorderly diuide the wordes that they pronounce, they shall not laugh them to scorne. Hitherto he seemeth to heare with praying in an vnknowen tongue. But in the next sentence hee openeth his minde thus: Not for that these things ought not to be amended, that the people may say Amen, to that which they doe plainely vnderstand: But yet these godly things must bee borne withall of these Catechistes or instructors of the fayth, that they may learne, that as in the common place where matters are pleaded, the goodnes of an oration consisteth in sound: so in the Church it consisteth in deuotion. So that hee alloweth not the praying in a tongue not vnderstood of him that prayeth: But hee instructeth the skilfull Oratour, to beare with the rude tongue of the deuout simple Minister. To conclude, if the lacke of vnderstanding the words that are spoken in the Congregation, doe make them vnfruitfull to the hearers: how should not the same make the words read , vnfruitfull to the Reader? The mercifull goodnesse of GOD, grant vs his grace to call vpon him as we ought to doe, to his glory and our endlesse felicity, which we shall doe, if we humble our selues in his sight, and in all our prayers both common and priuate, haue our mindes fully fixed vpon him. For the prayer of them that humble themselues, shall pearce through the clouds, and till it draw nigh vnto GOD, it will not be answered, and till the most High doe regard it, it will not depart. And the Lord will not be slack, but hee will deliuer the iust, and execute iudgement (Apoc. Ecclesiasticus 35.17-18). To him therefore be all honour and glory, for euer and euer, Amen.
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