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sometime a rich church, a large church, an universal church, BOOK spred far and wide through the whole compass of the earth; now driven into a narrow corner of the world : and hath much need of thy gracious help.
First, the Turk with the sword, what lands, what na- The Turk. tions and countries, what empires, kingdoms, and provinces, with cities innumerable, hath he won, not from us, but from thee: where thy name was wont to be invocated, thy word preached, thy sacraments administred; there now remaineth barbarous Mahumet, with his filthy Alcoran. The flourishing churches in Asia, the learned churches in Græcia, the manifold churches in Africa, which were wont to serve thee, now are gone from thee. The seven churches of Asia, with their candlesticks, whom thou diddest so well forwarn, are now removed. In all the churches, where thy diligent apostle St. Paul, thy apostles Peter and James, and other apostles so laboriously travailed, preaching and writing, to plant thy gospel, are now gone from thy gospel, in all the kingdoms of Syria, Palestina, Arabia, Persia, in all Armenia, and the empire of Cappadocia : through the whole compass of Asia, with Egypt and with Africa also, unless among the far Ethiopians, some old steps of Christianity peradventure yet do remain. Either yet in all Asia and 126 Africa, thy church hath not one foot of free land; all is turned either to infidelity or to captivity, whatsoever pertaineth to thee. And if Asia and Africa were decayed, the decay were great, but yet the defection were not so universal.
Now of Europe a great part is shrunk from thy church. All Thracia, with the empire of Constantinople;, all Græcia, Epirus, Illyricum; and now of late all the kingdom almost of Hungaria, with much of Austria, with lamentable slaughter of Christian bloud, is wasted, and all become Turks.
Onely a little angle of the west part yet remaineth in some profession of thy name.' And here, alack ! cometh another mischief, as great or greater than the other. For the Turk with the sword is not so cruel, but the bishop of
BOOK Rome on the other side is more bitter and fierce against
us: stirring up his bishops to burn us; his confederates to Bishop of conspire our destruction; setting kings against their subRome.
jects, and subjects disloyally to rebel against their princes. And all for thy name. Such distinction and hostility Satan hath sent among us, that Turks be not more enemies to Christians, than Christians to Christians, papists to protestants. Yea, protestants with protestants do not agree; but fall out for trifles. So that the poor little flock of thy church, distressed on every side, hath neither rest without, nor peace within, nor place almost in the world where to abide; but may cry now from the earth, even as thine own reverence cryed out from thy cross, My God, my God, why
hast thou forsaken me ? England's Among us Englishmen here in England, after so great alcion days.
storms of persecutions and cruel murthers of so many martyrs, it hath pleased thee to give us these alcion days; which yet we enjoy, and -beseech thy merciful goodness still they may continue. But here also, alack ! what shall we say, so many enemies we have, that envy us this rest and tranquillity, and do what they can to disturb it. They which be friends and lovers of the bishop of Rome, although they eat the fat of the land, and have the best preferments and
offices, and live most at ease, and ayl nothing, yet are they Papists. not therewith content. They grudge, they mutter and mur
mur, they conspire and take counsil against us. It fretteth them, that we live by them, or with them, and cannot abide that we should draw the bare breathing of the air; when they have all the most liberty of the land. And albeit thy singular goodness hath given them a queen so calm, so patient, merciful, more like a natural mother than a princess, to govern over them; such as neither they nor their auncestors never read of in the stories of this land before: yet all this will not calm them; their unquiet spirit is not yet content; they repine and rebel, and needs would have, with the frogs of Egypt, a Ciconia, an Italian stranger, a bishop of Rome, to play rex over them, and care not if all the world were set on a fire, so that they with their Italian
lordships might reign alone. So fond are we Englishmen BOOK of straunge and foreign things; so unnatural to our selves; so greedy of new-fangle novelties ; never contented with any estate long to continue, be it never so good. And furthermore, so cruel one to another, that we think our selves not quiet, unless it be seasoned with the bloud of others. For that is their hope, that is all their gaping and looking : that is their golden-day of jubilee, which they thirst for so much; not to have the Lord to come in the clouds, but to have our bloud, and to spil our lives. That, that is it which they would have; and long since would have had their wills upon us, had not thy gracious pity and mercy raised up to us this our merciful queen, thy servant Elizabeth, somewhat to stay their fury.
For whom as we most condignely give thee most hearty Prayer for thanks, so likewise we beseech thy heavenly Majesty, that the queen as thou hast given her unto us, and hast from so manifold dangers preserved her before she was queen; so now in her royal estate she may continually be preserved, not only from the hands, but from all malignant devices, wrought, attempted, or conceived, of enemies, both ghostly and bodily, against her. In this her government be her governour, we beseech thee; so shall her majesty well govern us, if first she be governed by thee. Multiply her reign with many days; and her years with much felicity; with abundance of peace, 127 and life ghostly. That as she hath now doubled the years of her sister and brother; so, if it be thy plesure, she may overgrow in reigning the reign of her father.
Who reignAnd because
no government can long stand without good ed 37 years. counsil; neither can a counsil be good, except it be prospered by thee: bless therefore, we beseech thee, both her majesty and her honourable counsil; that both they rightly understand what is to be done ; and she accordingly may accomplish that they do counsil, to the glory and furtherance of the gospel, and public wealth of this realm.
Furthermore, we beseech thee, Lord Jesu, who with the For the nomajesty of thy glory dost drowne all nobility, (being the bility. only Son of God, heir and lord of all things,) bless the nobi
of the church.
BOOK lity of this realm, and of other Christian realms. So as they II.
christianly agreeing together themselves, may submit their nobility to serve thee: or else let them feel, O Lord, what
a frivolous thing is the nobility that is without thee. LikeMagis- wise to all magistrates, such as be advaunced to authority,
or placed in office, by what name or title soever, give, we beseech thee, a careful conscience, uprightly to discharge their duty. That as they be publick persons to serve the commonwealth, so they abuse not their office to their private gain, nor private revenge of their own affections. But that justice being administred without bribery, and equity ballanced without cruelty or partiality, things that be amiss may be reformed; vice abandoned, truth supported, inno cency relieved, God's glory maintained, and the common
wealth truly served. For bishops But especially, to thy spiritual ministers, bishops and pasand pastors
tors of thy church, graunt, we beseech thee, O Lord, prince of all pastors, that they following the steps of thee; of thy apostles and holy martyrs, may seek those things which be not their own, but only those which be thine: not carefull how many benefices nor what great bishopricks they have, but how they can guide those they have. Give them such zele as may devour them, and graunt them such salt, wherewith the whole people may be seasoned; and which may never be unsavoury. But quickned daily by thy holy Spirit; whereby thy flock by them may be preserved.
In general, give to all thy people, and the whole state of people.
this realm, such brotherly unity in the knowledge of thy truth, and such obedience to their superiors, as may neither provoke the scourge of God against them, nor the prince's sword to be drawn against her will out of the scabberd of long sufferance, where it hath been long hid. Specially, give thy gospel long continuance amongst us. And if our sins have deserved the contrary, graunt us, we beseech thee, with an earnest repentance of that which is past, to joyn a
hearty purpose of amendment to come. The pope's And forasmuch as the bishop of Rome is wont on this blessing. Our prayers
Good Friday, and every Good Friday, to accurse us, as for him.
damned hereticks ; we here curse not him, but pray for him, BOOK that he with all his partakers, either may be turned to a better truth, or else we pray thee, gracious Lord, that we may never agree with him in doctrine, and that he may so curse us still, and never bless us more, as he blessed us in queen Maries time. God of his mercy keep away that blessing from us. Finally, insted of the pope's blessing, give us thy blessing, Lord, we beseech thee, and conserve the peace of thy church, and course of thy blessed gospel.
Help them that be needy and afflicted. Comfort them for the afthat labour and be heavy laden. And above all things, continue and encrease our faith. And forasmuch as thy poor little flock can scarce have any place or rest in this world, come, Lord, we beseech thee, with thy factum est, and make an end: that this world may have no more time and place here; and that thy church may have rest for ever.
For these and other necessaries, requisite to be begged and prayed for, asking in Christ's name, and as he hath taught us, let us say the Lord's Prayer. Our Father which art, &c.
[Number XIX.] Sir Philip Sidney's letter to queen Elizabeth, concerning her marriage.Printed entire from Cabala, p.
363. Most feared and beloved, most sweet and gracious sovereign. TO seek out excuses of this my boldness,
and to arm the acknowledging of a fault with reasons for it, might better shew, I knew I did amiss, then any way diminish the attempt, especially in your judgment; who being able to discern lively into the nature of the thing done, it were folly to hope, by laying on better colours, to make it more acceptable. Therefore carrying no other olive-branch of intercession, then the laying of my self at your feet; nor no other insinuation, either for attention or pardon, but the true vowed sacrifice of unfeigned love; I will, in simple and direct terms, (as hoping they shall onely come to your mercifull eyes,) set down the over-flowing of my mind, in this most important
VOL. II. PART II.