Thursday, October 23, 2008

PRIVATE DEVOTIONS

THE PRIVATE DEVOTIONS OF
LANCELOT ANDREWES R.D.ICE

"The cow grazes in many pastures, but the milk she gives is her own." Just so writers are influenced by many and much as they generate the written word.
Many years ago I came into contact with this little book of "Devotions" written by Lancelot Andrewes during his lifetime. He died in 1624.

Andrewes was a leader and scholar of the English Church. He was appointed as one of the translators of the King James Version Bible in 1604. He translated Joshua through Second Chronicles.

He had a "gift" with language. His Devotions are a kind of "prose-poetry." He wrote in the language of the 16th century. I have attempted to keep the spirit of his writings, while condensing and revising certain things. Although his "world view" was quite different from ours, he loved God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, etc. He may have been overly pessimistic, which was likely due to the times in which he lived. This world is a dangerous and difficult place! Yet Christ Jesus brought in a Living Hope! May we all be people of hope! of Christian love! and of holy joy! R.D.Ice


A Preface to the Lord’s Prayer:

Grant, O Lord, to remember me
according to the multitude
of Thy mercies,
wink at mine infirmities,
O Lord, and cast me not away:
But sovereign Lord which lovest
mankind:
After Thine unspeakable love
account me worthy, O Lord,
remove mine iniquities:
without condemnation,
with clean heart,
with contrite soul,
with face unashamed,
with hallowed lips,
to make bold to call upon Thee
the Holy God and Father which
art in heaven.
Do not by reason of me and my sins
refrain Thy readiness to hear
my service and my prayer.
Holy is Thy Name above every Name!


PRAISE TO THE TRINITY Lancelot Andrews

O GOD THE FATHER, of heaven,
who hast marvellously created
the world out of nothing,
who dost govern and uphold heaven
and earth with Thy power,
who didst deliver Thy Only-begotten
for us unto death:

O GOD THE SON, Redeemer of the world,
who didst will to be incarnate of
a virgin,
who hast washed us from our sins
by Thy precious blood,
who rising from the dead didst ascend
victorious to heaven:

O GOD THE HOLY GHOST, the Comforter,
who didst descend upon Jesus in
the form of a dove,
who coming upon the apostles didst
appear in fiery tongues,
who dost visit and confirm with
Thy grace the hearts of the saints:

O SACRED, HIGHEST, ETERNAL, BLISSFUL,
BLESSED TRINITY,
always to be praised, yet always
unspeakable:
O Father good -
O Son loving -
O Spirit kind -
whose majesty is unspeakable,
whose power is incomparable,
whose goodness is inestimable:
whose work is life,
whose love is grace,
whose contemplation is glory:

DEITY, DIVINITY, UNITY, TRINITY:
Thee I worship, Thee I call upon,
with the whole affection of my heart
I bless now and forever:
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

* References:
1 Timothy 6:15-16
1 Timothy 2:3-6
Hebrews l:5-7
John 14:15-17
Romans 11:33-36


WORSHIP TO GOD:

Look down, O Lord our God,
from heaven Thy dwelling place
and from the throne of the glory
of Thy kingdom,
and come to hallow us.
Jesus, Thou that sittest on high,
with the Father, and art here
with us invisibly,
come to hallow the worship
that we set forth.
And give us communion and fellowship:
unto faith unashamed,
Love without hypocrisy,
keeping of the commandments,
alertness for every spiritual
fruit
turning aside of every spiritual
adversary,
healing of soul and body:
With the intent that we also,
with all the saints,
which have been wellpleasing
unto Thee since the world began,
may be made partakers
of Thine unalloyed and everlasting
good things,
which Thou hast prepared for
them that love Thee, O Lord:
in whom Thou art glorified
forever.

O Lamb of God,
that takest away the sin of
the world,
take away the sin of me who am
a mere sinner.
We beseech Thee, O Lord,
that with the witness of our
conscience clean,
receiving our share of Thy
hallowed things,
we may be united to the holy
body and blood of Thy Christ
and not unworthily
may have Christ indwelling in
our hearts,
and be made a temple of the
Holy Ghost.
Yes, Our God, grant us unto our
last and closing gasp,
worthily to receive hope
of Thy hallowed things and
appropriation of Thy kingdom.


COMMEMORATION

Blessed art Thou, O Lord
who didst bring forth out of water
moving creatures that have life,
and whales, and winged fowls:
and didst bless them,
so as to increase and multiply.

The things concerning the Ascension to heaven:
Set up Thyself, O God,
above the heavens and
Thy glory above all the earth.
By thine Ascension draw us
unto Thee, O Lord,
so as to set our affections
on things above,
and not on things on the earth.
By the fearful mystery
of Thy Holy Body
and Precious Blood
in the evening of this day:
Lord, have mercy.


FAITH

Coming unto God,
I believe that He is,
and that He is a rewarder of them
that diligently seek Him:
I know that my Redeemer liveth;
that He is the Christ
the Son of the Living God;
that He is indeed
the Saviour of the world;
that He came into the world
to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
Through the grace of Jesus Christ
we believe that we shall be saved
even as our fathers were.
I believe verily to see
the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.


THANKSGIVING

O my Lord, my Lord,
I thank Thee for that I am,
that I am alive,
that I am rational:
for nurture,
preservation,
governance:
for education,
citizenship,
religion:
for Thy gifts
of grace,
nature,
estate:
for redemption,
regeneration,
instruction:
for my calling,
for re-calling,
further calling manifold:
for forbearance,
longsuffering,
long longsuffering towards me,
many times,
many years,
until now:
for all good offices I have received,
good speed I have gotten:
for any good thing done:
for the use of things present.
Thy promise and my hope
touching the fruition
of the good things to come:
for my parents honest and good,
teachers gentle,
benefactors
always to be had in remembrance,
colleagues likeminded,
hearers attentive,
friends sincere,
retainers faithful:
for all who have stood me
in good stead by their writings,
their sermons,
conversations,
prayers,
examples,
rebukes,
wrongs:
for these things and all other,
which I knew of,
which I knew not of,
open and secret,
hings I remember,
things I have forgotten besides,
things done to me after my will
or yet against my will,
I confess to Thee and bless Thee
and give thanks unto Thee,
and I will confess and bless
and give thanks to Thee
all the days of my life.
What thanks can I render to God
thanking Him again
for all the benefits
that He hath done unto me?


HOLY, HOLY, HOLY
Thou are worthy,
O Lord and our God,
the Holy One,
to receive the glory
and the honour and the power:
for Thou hast created all things,
and for Thy pleasure
they are and were created.


A PRAYER
O Lord and Father, our King and God,
by whose grace the Church was enriched
by the great learning and eloquent preaching
of your servant Lancelot Andrewes,
but even more by his example
of biblical and worthy prayer:
Conform our lives, like his,
to the Image of Christ,
that our hearts may love You,
our minds serve You,
and our lips proclaim the greatness
of Your mercy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.


GOD BE WITH ME
Within to strengthen,
without to preserve,
over to shelter,
beneath to support,
before to direct,
behind to bring back,
and round about to fortify.
Be with:
Infants,
children,
youths,
young men,
grown men,
old men,
them that are in extreme age,
the hungry,
thirsty,
naked,
sick,
prisoners,
strangers,
those without friends;
the sick in soul, or body,
fainthearted, those that are past hope;
those in prison and bonds,
those condemned to death;
orphans, widows, strangers,
those that travel by land, by water;
those with child,
those nursing children,
those in solitude."



One prayer called "The Dial" goes through the various hours of the day, speaking of different events in the life of Christ. Andrewes related them to his own spiritual growth. Here are three samples:

"Thou who at the sixth hour
and on the sixth day
didst nail the sins of the world
with Thyself on the cross:
blot out the handwriting
of our sins which is against us
and taking it out of the way save us....
Thou who at the ninth hour
for us sinners and for our sins
didst taste of death:
mortify in us our earthly members
and whatsoever is contrary to thy will,
and save us....
Thou who at eventide
didst will to be taken down
from the cross and buried in a tomb:
take away our sins from us
and bury them in thy sepulchre,
covering with good works
whatsoever we have committed ill,
and save us."

In a beautiful prayer to be said upon waking in the morning, Andrewes associated the light of morning with light in the soul:

"Thou who sendest forth the light,
createst the morning,
makest the sun to rise
on the good and on the evil:
enlighten the blindness of our minds
with the knowledge of the truth:
lift Thou up the light
of thy countenance upon us,
that in thy light we may see light,
and, at the last, in the light of grace
the light of glory."

A delightful evening prayer was used by Andrewes when going to bed:

"Let me think upon thy Name
in the night season,
and keep thy law:
let the evening prayer go up unto Thee,
and thy pity come down unto us,
O Thou which givest songs in the night,
which makest the outgoings
of the morning and evening to praise Thee,
which givest thy beloved wholesome sleep."

Many of the prayers in this manual of private devotions are penitential. This is not reflective of a bad life or an evil soul on the part of Andrewes, but rather it is typical of those great souls who are humble and sensitive to imperfections on our part and to God's infinite holiness. Even before giving praise to God in one prayer, Andrewes confessed:

"But for me, O Lord,
sinning and not repenting,
and so utterly unworthy,
it were more becoming to lie
prostrate before Thee
and with weeping and groaning
to ask pardon for my sins,
than with polluted mouth to praise Thee."

O Lord, send your angel
with a live coal from off the altar
and lay it upon my mouth:
my iniquity take away,
my sin purge and cleanse.
Here am I O Lord, send me,
and let the meditations of my heart
praise Thee forever and ever.

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