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[The same Translated.
A PASTORAL EPISTLE TO THE BISHOP OF CHESTER'.
The Archbishop of York to the Bishop of Chester.
GRACE, peace, and salvation from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. When I look, venerable brother, at the course and condition of this world lost in impiety; what triumphs Satan obtains, how far and wide vice bears rule, how numerous and crowded are the wicked assemblies of ungodly men, how weak, how withered, or rather how entirely gone from the earth is faith, is piety; it seems to me that we are now arrived at the last and ungodly times of this world, drawing near to destruction. When, moreover, I have reflected that tares, the seed of these sins, are scattered and grow in the Lord's field by nothing more than by the drowsiness of the husbandmen and the sloth of the cultivators; and that from no other cause has such misfortune come to our holy city Jerusalem (by which her walls are overthrown, and she is almost fallen a prey to the violence of her enemies), than that the watchmen who ought to have watched, overcome with sleep have been wanting to their duties; when besides I remember that we ourselves, to whom the Lord has committed the care of his vineyard, have little satisfied our charge; that we have passed our lives too securely, as if in a time of profound peace, that we have not as we ought fulfilled our duty either by resisting the enemies of Christ boldly enough, or by tilling the Lord's field diligently enough, or by feeding the flock faithfully enough, or by standing with sufficient vigilance upon our watch-tower; as I condemn myself of negligence, and by the testimony of conscience am compelled humbly to
1 Bishop Chaderton.
implore forgiveness (though utterly careless and sluggish the Lord knows I never was); so (moved by dutiful love and brotherly kindness) I think it my duty to exhort you, that whereas we have the same burden laid upon us, and the same account to render of the administration of our charge, so with united hearts we should consider what manner of persons we ought to be, should throw off carelessness and drowsiness, should redeem the time, should gird us for the battle, should take the sword and armour of the Spirit, should defeat the common foe, and defend the faith of Christ even unto blood and unto death. For God has set us over the nations and peoples, to pluck up and to root out, to destroy and to cast away, to build and to plant. It is therefore our part to cut off the fibres of superstition and the roots of idolatry with the sharp sickle of the divine word; to sow also good corn by the propagation of the gospel in the minds of men, to overthrow the citadels and towers of Jericho by the trumpet of the heavenly Spirit, but as far as in us lies to build the walls and sacred temple of Jerusalem; to shake down with the utmost vigour the cruelty and tyranny of antichrist, but to stablish by diligent preaching the kingdom and dominion of the Son of God. For not only does the Lord seem to require this labour of us in feeding his flock, but he also demands that sin should not be permitted to burst the bonds of established laws and fly abroad with impunity. For the Lord would have lust to be repressed, wickedness to be checked, licentious manners to be restrained, and those things which have utterly fallen asunder to be bound up by severe laws and condign punishments. So we shall better provide for the safety of our sinking country, and more happily disappoint the madness of those who desire to crush her in her depressed state. We must, then, be faithful and just, giving with impartial balance to every one his due. For we must not so regard any one, either the rich man for his wealth, or the mighty for his influence, or the friend for his love, or the man who is serviceable to us for the convenience he may afford, as not strenuously to fulfil the work of the Lord. Those who are stubborn and inveterate foes are to be bruised with a rod of iron, at least to be restrained that their leprosy infect
not the sound: the little foxes which destroy the vineyard Cant. xi. must be taken, and nets must be spread by which the papal stragglers, the firebrands of seditions, and the pests of the church, may be snared and fall. For this kind of men is the worst, and the very destruction of our field, who by too great liberty become worse, and, already fierce through impunity, grow boldly insolent to the great danger of all good men. Mercy is cruel; and why should not the church compel her abandoned children to return, if her abandoned children compel others to perish? But that all these things may more easily come to pass, and by the labour thereof being shared may more readily obtain the wished for results, I think it proper, that, according to the authority committed to us, each of us should collect those whom he knows about him to be eminent in piety and sound in the faith, and that he should require their strenuous and diligent assistance in these so uncertain and doubtful circumstances of church and state. With our loins girt, my brother, we must diligently accomplish the Lord's work: the enemies are many, many counsels must be sought by us, nor in these difficulties must any thing be omitted which can in any way conduce to the common safety. For we ought not to fear any man whose breath is in his nostrils. The Almighty Lord will be present to us, both a leader and an avenger, if we only be fervent in zeal for the house of God, burning with desire, nor receive into any friendship those whom [we know] to be of hostile mind towards our Lord and his church; for those who are faithless toward God cannot be faithful to their prince'. The stations we have attained let us adorn; and let us take diligent heed to ourselves and to the whole flock. Soon, no doubt, the Lord will come, who has placed us over his church, and has redeemed it by his own blood, and snatched it from the jaws of hell, before whose tribunal we must stand and give a strict account of our stewardship. At which time happy is he who can fearlessly stand before the Son of God, the judge of quick and dead. These things I have thought it my duty to advise your lordship, hoping that your kindness will take in good part this my
See before, p. 97.
counsel and friendly mind. The most high and good God protect his church, overthrow the enemies of the truth, and grant to our pious desires happy and prosperous results. Amen.
Bishopthorp, 13 February, 1583,
Your brother in Christ,
PRAYERS TO BE USED AT HAWKSHEAD SCHOOL.
From Abingdon's Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Worcester, corrected by an original preserved at Hawkshead.
Also I ordain and constitute, that certain godly prayers hereafter set down, and immediately following in these constitutions, be made in the said school by the schoolmaster for the time being, the usher, and scholars of the same school, every morning before the said schoolmaster and usher begin to teach the said scholars, and every evening immediately before the breaking up of the said school, and every day before they go to dinner to sing a psalm in metre in the said school.
A PRAYER FOR THE MORNING.
Most mighty God, and merciful Father, we sinners by nature, yet thy children by grace, here prostrate before thy Divine Majesty, acknowledge our corruption in nature by reason of our sins to be such, that we are not able of ourselves to think one good thought, much less able to profit in good learning and literature, and to come to the knowledge of thy Son Jesus Christ, our Saviour, except it shall please thee, of thy great grace and goodness, to illuminate our understandings, to strengthen our feeble memories, to instruct us by thy Holy Spirit, and so to pour upon us thy good gifts of grace, that we may learn to know, and know to practise those things in these our studies, that may most tend to the glory of thy name, to the profit of thy church, and to the performance of our christian duties. Hear us, O God, and grant these our petitions, and bless our studies, O heavenly Father, for thy Son Jesus Christ's sake, in whose name we call upon thee, and say, Our Father, &c.