Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Originally published by Harrison, London, 1875.
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XXVI. MINUTES OF A QUARTERLY COURT IN 1564. (fn. 1)
"December 11th, 1564.
"Item. At this daye after Prayer made according to the laudable custome of this house the Lyvery were called by name, and theire defaults for none appearance were also m'ked, and after that dyvers Acts and Ordinances made for the goode regiment and governance of this house was also openly redde by the Clerke of this Mystery."
The following is the Form of Prayer then used upon every Quarter Day, upon the calling of the Livery and also of the Bachelor's Company, prefaced with a short address to those present.
"Righte Worshipfull and Derely Beloved, forasmuche as Prayer is not only a speache but also a p'cell of due service unto God who is of all mighte and majestie, wee wch are but duste and ashes oughte reverently to regard that our harts wch he seeth and our words wch he heereth may be acceptable to him. The wch sithe wee of ourselves beinge utterly unable to doe well, saye well, or verely to thinke well cannot p'forme, I beseeche you lett us crave the assistance of God's holy spirit so to directe us that our p'sente Prayers maye be acceptable to him and effectually p[ro]ffitable for us through Jesus Christe our Lorde and only Saviour. So be it.
Almightie and most mercifull Father wee humbly beseeche thy devyne Majestie mercifully to p'serve thy Holy Churche universally, And therein we specially co[m]mend unto thy safe protection and direction o'u sov'raigne Ladye Elizabeth, by the grace of God Queene of Englande, France and Ireland, Defender of the ffaith, &c., wth all her Majties moste honorable Counsell, most humbly beseechinge thee by thy holy spirite so to illumynate theire myndes and to work in theire harts that all theire counsells maye t'nde and all theire powers maye be employed to advance thy glory and to continewe Godly quietness wth th'encrease of com[m]on weale in theise her Majties Dominions. Wee also beseche thee to geve grace to all the ministers of thy holy worde and sacraments, by what tytle or name soev' they be called, that by erneste and syncere p'eachinge of thy worde and example of theire goode livynge they may seek thy glorye and to edefie thy churche. Likewise wee beseeche thee O heavenly Father to extend thy grace to all the Nobilitie of this Realme, and gen'ally to all Majestrates, Officers and Com[m]ons, in the same, That every one of us maye learne diligently by the rule of thy holie worde to knowe our duties in our sev'all vocations, and to endeavo' dutifully and faithfully to execute and accomplishe the same, in such sorte as maye be moste to thy glory and the due discharge of our consciences. Wee also beseeche thee to make us thankfull for our p'sente pease and quietnes, and all other thy benefitts wch wee enjoye, especially for the good Governors and all other Benefactors of this Righte Worshipfull Companie. And forasmuche as wee feile and pittie the miseries of our ffellow members in Christe whome thou haste not blessed wth the like com[m]odities as wee enjoye as namely wth the true and publick p'eachinge of thy holy worde, and the p'tection of Godly Majestrates, wee beseeche thee m'cifully to beholde the manifolde miseries of suche of our Brethrene in Ffrance, Fflanders, or elsewhere, as suffer p'secution for thy love and testymony of thy truthe and the libertie of a good conscience, and nev' suffer the enemies of thy Gospell, the Pope, the Turke or theire adherents to p'vaile in theire practizes agaynste thy truthe and the p'ffessors thereof. But graunt, wee beseeche thee that in all p[ar]ts of the worlde thy glorious Gospell maye be freely p'ffessed, plentifully p'eached and so obediently followed, that love wch is the cognizance of thy true Disciples, maye gen'ally abounde to the glory of thy holy name. Fynally wee humbly beseeche thee, soe to direct us in all th' actions of this transitory life after the example of them wch have beleved well and lyved well before us, that after this life wee wth them maye be partakers in thy heavenly kingdome of lyfe and joyes everlastinge. For theise and all other thinges neadfull for us and thy holy church univ'sally I beseeche you generally to saye with me that Prayer wche oure Lorde and Saviour Jesus Christe hathe taughte us in his holy Gospell. Our Father, &c."
Minutes of a like court in 1607.
"This was the first quarter-day that this m'r kept, in regard Mich's quarter-day was put of by reason of the visitation of sicknes within the citty at that tyme.
"This day before dynner (according to auncient custome) the names of the lyvery were called, and notice taken of such as were absent. (fn. 2) Then in reverent manner prayer was made, every man kneeling. After which the names of the benefactors and their charitable and godly devises were openly read and remembred. And also the materiall ordynaunces for the government of the company, and the orders for the companies grammer schoole at St. Lawrence Pountneys were openly redd, and then preparation was made for dynner, whereunto were invited the whole assistaunts, and the ladies, and ould maisters wiefs, and the wardens wyefs of the present yere, and the preacher, the schoolemaister, (fn. 3) warden substituts and almesmen of the lyvery, as in auncient tyme hath been accustomed."
The form of prayer used was in these words:—
"Most mighty and most glorious God, which art great and fearfull, yet loving and mercifull to all such as call upon thee in syncerity and truth, and our most gratious mercifull and loving father in Christ Jhesus, wee most wretched and sinfull creatures here prostrate our selves before thy throne of mercy, in the name and mediation of thy beloved Sonne, our most gratious Saviour and Redeemer. Humbly beseeching thee (for his sake) to cast all our offences behynd thee, and to bury them in his grave who died for our synnes, and rose agayne to bring us both in body and soule unto thee. And wee beseech thee (good Lord) to preserve our King's most excellent majesty, our gratious Queene, the noble prynce, and all the rest of the King's royall ofspring and progeny. Good Lord, keepe this noble citty of London, and defend it from grievous plauges, (fn. 4) and contagious sickines that wee may often in brotherly and trewe love assemble and meete together, to thy glory, and our mutuall comforte in Christ Jesus. And mercifull Father, blesse this society and brotherhoode, and be present with us in all our assemblies and councells, that wee may use them to thy glory, and discharge of our duties, make us thanckfull for all the benefits which wee have receaved, and daily in thy mercy are contynued towards us, through our Lord and Saviour, Christ Jhesus. Blesse thy good governement amongst us (O Lord), and multiply thy mercyes towards us, with increase of welwishers, benefactors, and sound members of the same, setle and confirme faithfull and harty love among us all. Blesse and direct (by thy holy spirit) all our actions and endeavours, and give us grace faithfully and honestly to discharge ye trust reposed in us, as well by our good friends and brethren deceased, as any other way belonging to us, to the glory of thy holy name, and peaceable comfort of our owne soules, and good example and intisement of others. Ffor these thy mercies, and whatsoever else, thou in thy best wisdome knowest most needefull for us, and for thy whole church, wee shutt up these our prayers, in ye most effectuall prayer, which Christ himself hath taught us, saying."