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THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM
JOHN KNOX'S BOOK OF COMMON ORDER.*
USED IN THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
AT THE REFORMATION.
A GODLY PRAYER
TO BE SAID AT ALL TIMES.
Honour and praise be given to thee, O Lord God Almighty, most dear Father of heaven, for all thy mercies and loving-kindness shewed unto us, in that it hath pleased thy gracious goodness freely and of thine own accord to elect and choose us to salvation before the beginning of the world : and even like continual thanks be given to thee for creating us after thine own image; for redeeming us with the precious blood of thy dear Son, when we were utterly lost; for sanctifying us with thine Holy Spirit in the revelation and knowledge of thine holy word; for helping and succouring us in all our needs and necessities ; for saving us from all dangers of body and soul; for comforting us so fatherly in all our tribulations and persecutions; for sparing us so long, and giving us so large a time of repentance. These benefits, O most merciful Father, like as we acknowledge to have received of thine only goodness, even so we beseech thee, for thy dear Son Jesus Christ's sake, to grant us always thine Holy Spirit, whereby we may continually grow in thankfulness towards thee, and be led into all truth, and comforted in all our adversities. O Lord, strengthen our faith; kindle it more in ferventness and love towards thee, and our neighbours, for thy sake. Suffer us not, most dear Father, to receive thy word any more in vain i but grant us always the assistance of thy grace and Holy Spirit, that in heart, word, and deed, we may sanctify and do worship to thy name.
* These prayers and services were prefixed to every Psalm Book at the time of the Reformation. They are very beautiful, and may be useful or suggestive to minister and people.
Help to amplify and increase thy kingdom ; that whatsoever thou sendest, we may be heartily well content with thy good pleasure and will: let us not lack the thing, O Father, without the which we cannot serve thee; but bless thou so all the works of our hands, that we may have sufficient, and not to be chargeable, but rather helpful unto others. Be merciful, O Lord, to our offences; and seeing our debt is great, which thou hast forgiven us in Jesus Christ, make us to love thee and our neighbours so much the more. Be thou our Fa. ther, our Captain and Defender in all temptations ; hold thou us by thy merciful hand, that we may be delivered from all inconveniences; and end our lives in the sanctifying and honouring of thine holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord and only Saviour. Amen.
Let thy mighty hand and outstretched arm, O Lord, be still our defence ; thy mercy and lovingkindness in Jesus Christ thy dear Son our salvation; thy true and holy word our instruction; thy grace and Holy Spirit our comfort and consolation, unto the end and in the end. Amen.
O Lord, increase our faith. Amen.
When the congregation is assembled at the hour appointed, the
minister useth this confession following, or the like in effect, exhorting the people diligently to examine themselves, following in their hearts the tenor of his words.
THE CONFESSION OF OUR SINS.
O ETERNAL God, and most merciful Father, we confess and acknowledge here before thy Divine Majesty, that we are miserable sinners, conceived and born in sin and iniquity, so that in us there is no goodness; for the flesh evermore rebelleth against the spirit, whereby we continually transgress thine holy precepts and commandments, and so purchase to ourselves, through thy just judgment, death and condemnation. Notwithstanding, O Heavenly Father, forasmuch as we are displeased with ourselves for the sins that we have committed against thee, and do unfeignedly repent us of the same, we most humbly beseech thee, for Jesus Christ's sake, to shew thy mercy upon us, to forgive us all our sins, and to increase thine Holy Spirit in us; that we, acknowledging from the bottom of our hearts our own unrighteousness, may from henceforth not only mortify our sinful lusts and affections, but also bring forth such fruits as may be agreeable to thy most blessed will; not for the worthiness thereof, but for the merits of thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, whom thou hast already given an oblation and offering for our sins, and for whose sake we are certainly persuaded that thou wilt deny us nothing that we shall ask in his Name according to thy will. For thy Holy Spirit doth assure our consciences that thou art our merciful Father, and so lovest us, thy children, through him, that nothing is able to remove thine heavenly grace and favour from us.
To thee, therefore, O Father, with the Son and with the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
A CONFESSION OF SINS,
TO BE USED BEFORE THE SERMON.
Truth it is, O Lord, that we are unworthy to come to thy godly presence, by reason of our manifold sins and wickedness; much less are we worthy to receive any grace or mercy at thine hands, if thou shouldst deal with us according to our deservings; for we have sinned, O Lord, against thee, and we have offended thy godly Majesty. If thou shouldst begin to reckon with us, even from our first conception in our mother's womb, thou canst find nothing at all in us but occasion of death and eternal condemnation ; for truth it is that first we were conceived in sin, and in iniquity was every one of us born of our mother; all the days of our life we have so still continued in sin and wickedness, that rather we have given ourselves to follow the corruption of this our fleshly nature, than otherwise, with that earnest care and diligence to serve and worship thee our God as it becometh us; and therefore, if thou shouldst enter into judgment with us, just occasion hast thou not only to punish these our wretched and mortal bodies, but also to punish us both in body and soul eternally, if thou shouldst handle us according to the rigour of thy justice. But yet, O Lord, as on the one part we acknowledge our sins and offences, together with the fearful judgment of thee our God, that justly by reason thereof thou mayst pour upon us, so also, on the other part, we acknowledge thee to be a merciful God, a loving and a favourable Father, to all them that unfeignedly.turn unto thee; wherefore, O Lord, we thy people, and the workmanship of thine own hands, most humbly beseech thee, for Christ thy Son's sake, to shew thy mercy upon us, and forgive us all our offences. Impute not unto us the sins of our youth, neither yet receive thou a reckoning of us for the iniquity of our old age ; but as thou hast shewed thyself merciful to all them that have truly called unto thee, so shew the like mercy
and the like favour unto us thy poor
Endue our hearts, O God, with such a true and perfect acknowledging of our sins, that we may pour forth before thee the unfeigned sighs and sobs of our troubled hearts and afflicted consciences for our offences committed against thee. Inflame our hearts with such a zeal and fervency towards thy glory, that all the days of our life our only study, travail, and labour may be to serve and worship thee our God in spirit, in truth and verity, as thou requirest of us. And that this may be the better performed in us, preserve us from all impediments and stays that in anywise may hinder or stop us in the same; but in special, O Lord, preserve us from the craft of Satan, from the snares of the world,