I have entered of late in the way of preaching, and spoken many things of prayer, and rather of prayer than of any other thing: for I think there is nothing more necessary to be spoken of, nor more abused than prayer was by the craft and subtilty of the devil; for many things were taken for prayer when they were nothing less. Therefore at this same time also I have thought it good to entreat of prayer, to the intent that it might be known how precious a thing right prayer is. I told you,
First, What prayer is.
Secondarily, To whom we ought to pray.
Thirdly, Where, and in what place we ought to pray. And,
Fourthly, I told you the diversity of prayer, namely, of the common prayer, and the private.
These and such like things I have dilated and expounded unto you in the open pulpit.
Now at the present time I intend as by the way of a lecture, at the request of my most gracious lady, to expound unto you, her household servants, and other that be willing to hear, the right understanding and meaning of this most perfect prayer which our Saviour himself taught us, at the request of his disciples, which prayer we call the Paternoster. This prayer of our Lord may be called a prayer above all prayers; the principal and most perfect prayer; which prayer ought to be regarded above all others, considering that our Saviour himself is the author of it; he was the maker of this prayer, being very God and very man. He taught us this prayer, which is a most perfect schoolmaster, and commanded us to say it: which prayer containeth great and wonderful things, if a learned man had the handling of it. But as for me, such things as I have conceived by the reading of learned men's books; so far forth as God will give me his grace and Spirit, I will shew unto you touching the very meaning of it, and what is to be understood by every word contained in this prayer; for there is no word idle or spoken in vain. For it must needs be perfect, good, and of great importance, being our Saviour's teaching, which is the wisdom of God itself. There be many other psalms and prayers in scripture very good and godly; and it is good to know them: but it is with this prayer; the Lord's Prayer, I say, like as with the law of love. All the laws of Moses, as concerning what is to be done to please God, how to walk before him uprightly and godly, all such laws are contained in this law of love, Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et do tota anima tua, et in tota mente tua, et proximum sicut teipsum: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." Even so is it with this prayer. For like as the law of love is the sum and abridgment of the other laws, so this prayer is the sum and abridgment of all other prayers: all the other prayers are contained in this prayer; yea, whatsoever mankind hath need of to soul and body.
This prayer hath two parts: it hath a preface, which some call a salutation or a loving entrance; secondarily, the prayer itself. The entrance is this: Cum oratis, dicite, Pater noster, qui es in coelis; "When ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven." As who should say, "You Christian people, you that bear the name of Christians, must pray so."
Before I go any further, I must put you in remembrance to consider how much we be bound to our Saviour Christ, that he would vouchsafe to teach us to pray, and in this prayer to signify unto us the goodwill which our heavenly Father beareth towards us. Now to the matter:
"Our Father." These words pertain not to the petitions they be but an entering, a seeking favour at God's hand: yet if we well weigh and consider them, they admonish us of many things and strengthen our faith wondrous well. For this word, "Father," signifieth that we be Christ's brothers, and that God is our Father. He is the eldest Son: he is the Son of God by nature, we be his sons by adoption through his goodness; therefore he biddeth us to call him our Father; which is to be had in fresh memory and great reputation. For here we are admonished how that we be reconciled unto God; we, which before-times were his enemies, are made now the children of God, and inheritors of everlasting life. This we be admonished by this word, "Father." So that it is a word of much importance and great reputation: for it confirmeth our faith, when we call him Father. Therefore our Saviour, when he teacheth us to call God "Father," teacheth us to understand the fatherly affection which God beareth towards us; which thing maketh us bold and hearty to call upon him, knowing that he beareth a goodwill towards us, and that he will surely hear our prayers. When we be in trouble, we doubt of a stranger, whether he will help us or not: but our Saviour commanding us to call God, "Father," teacheth us to be assured of the love and goodwill of God toward us. So by this word "Father," we learn to stablish and to comfort our faith, knowing most assuredly that he will be good unto us. For Christ was a perfect schoolmaster: he lacked no wisdom: he knew his Father's will and pleasure; he teacheth us, yea, and most certainly assureth us, that God will be no cruel judge, but a loving Father. Here we see what commodities we have in this word, "Father."
Seeing now that we find such commodities by this one word, we ought to consider the whole prayer with great diligence and earnest mind. For there is no word nor letter contained in this prayer, but it is of great importance and weight; and therefore it is necessary for us to know and understand it thoroughly, and then to speak it considerately with great devotion: else it is to no purpose to speak the words without understanding; it is but lip-labour and vain babbling, and so unworthy to be called prayer; as it was in times past used in England. Therefore when you say this prayer, you must well consider what you say: for it is better once said deliberately with understanding, than a thousand times without understanding: which is in very deed but vain babbling, and so more a displeasure than pleasure unto, God. For the matter lieth not in much saying, but in well saying. So, if it be said to the honour of God, then it hath his effect, and we shall have our petitions. For God is true in his promises: and our Saviour, knowing him to be well affected towards us, commandeth us therefore to call him Father.
Here you must understand, that like as our Saviour was most earnest and fervent in teaching us how to pray, and call upon God for aid and help, and for things necessary both to our souls and bodies; so the devil, that old serpent, with no less diligence endeavoureth himself to let and stop our prayers, so that we shall not call upon God. And amongst other his lets, he hath one especially wherewith he thinketh to keep us from prayer, which is, the remembrance of our sins. When he perceiveth us to be disposed to pray, he cometh with his craft and subtile conveyances, saying, "What, wilt thou pray unto God for aid and help? Knowest thou not that thou art a wicked sinner, and a transgressor of the law of God? Look rather to be damned, and judged for thy ill doings, than to receive any benefit at his hands. Wilt thou call him 'Father,' which is so holy a God, and thou art so wicked and miserable a sinner?" This the devil will say, and trouble our minds, to stop and let us from our prayer; and so to give us occasion not to pray unto God. In this temptation we must seek for some remedy and comfort: for the devil doth put us in remembrance of our sins to that end, to keep us from prayer and invocation of God. The remedy for this temptation is to call our Saviour to remembrance, who hath taught us to say this prayer. He knew his Father's pleasure; he knew what he did. When he commanded us to call God our Father, he knew we should find fatherly affections in God towards us. Call this, I say, to remembrance, and again remember that our Saviour hath cleansed through his passion all our sins, and taken away all our wickedness; so that as many as believe in him shall be the children of God. In such wise let us strive and fight against the temptations of the devil; which would not have us to call upon God, because we be sinners. Catch thou hold of our Saviour, believe in him, be assured in thy heart that he with his suffering took away all thy sins. Consider again, that our Saviour calleth us to prayer, and commandeth us to pray. Our sins let us, and withdraw us from prayer; but our Saviour maketh them nothing: when we believe in him, it is like as if we had no sins. For he changeth with us: he taketh our sins and wickedness from us, and giveth unto us his holiness, righteousness, justice, fulfilling of the law, and so, consequently, everlasting life: so that we be like as if we had done no sin at all; for his righteousness standeth us in so good stead, as though we of our own selves had fulfilled the law to the uttermost. Therefore our sins cannot let us, nor withdraw us from prayer: for they be gone; they are no sins; they cannot be hurtful unto us. Christ dying for us, as all the scripture, both of the new and old Testament, witnesseth, Dolores nostros ipse portavit, "He hath taken away our sorrows." Like as when I owe unto a man an hundred pound: the day is expired, he will have his money, I have it not, and for lack of it I am laid in prison. In such distress cometh a good friend, and saith, "Sir, be of good cheer, I will pay thy debts;" and forthwith payeth the whole sum, and setteth me at liberty. Such a friend is our Saviour. He hath paid our debts, and set us at liberty; else we should have been damned world without end in everlasting prison and darkness. Therefore, though our sins condemn us, yet when we allege Christ and believe in him, our sins shall not hurt us. For St John saith, Si quis peccaverit, advocatum habemus apud Patrem, Jesum Christum justum, "We have an advocate with God the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Mark that he saith, Advocatum, non advocatos. He speaketh singularly, not plurally. We have one advocate, not many; neither saints, nor anybody else, but only him, and none other, neither by the way of mediation, not by the way of redemption. He only is sufficient, for he only is all the doer. Let him have all the whole praise! Let us not withdraw from him his majesty, and give it to creatures: for he only satisfieth for the sins of the whole world; so that all that believe in Christ be clean from all the filthiness of their sins. For St John Baptist saith, Ecce Agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world." Doth the devil call thee from prayer? Christ calleth thee unto it again: for so it is written, In hoc apparuit Filius Dei, ut destruat opera diaboli; "To that end the Son of God appeared, to destroy the works of the devil."
But mark here: scripture speaketh not of impenitent sinners; Christ suffered not for them: his death remedieth not their sins. For they be the bondmen of the devil, and his slaves; and therefore Christ's benefits pertain not unto them. It is a wonderful saying that St John hath, "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world." The devil saith unto me; "Thou art a sinner." "No," saith St John, "the Lamb of God hath taken away thy sins." Item, Habentes igitur Pontificem magnum qui penetravit coelos, Jesum Filium Dei, accedamus cum fiducia ad thronum gratiae, ut consequamur misericordiam; "We therefore having a great high Priest, which hath passed through the heavens, even Jesus the Son of God, let us with boldness go unto the seat of his grace, that we may obtain mercy." O, it is a comfortable thing that we have an access unto God! Esay saith, In livore ejus sanati sumus; "The pain of our punishment was laid upon him, and with his stripes are we healed." Further, in the new Testament we read, Huic omnes prophetae testimonium perhibent, remissionem peccatorum accipere per nornen ejus omnes qui credunt in eum; "Unto the same bear all prophets witness, that all they do receive forgiveness of sins by his name, which believe on him."
Now you see how ye be remedied from your sins; you hear how you shall withstand the devil, when he will withdraw you from prayer. Let us therefore not give over prayer, but stick unto it. Let us rather believe Christ our Saviour than the devil, which was a liar from the beginning. You know now how you may prevent him, how you may put him off and avoid his temptations.
There is one other addition afore we come to the petitions, which doth much confirm our faith and increase the same: Qui es in coelis, "which art in heaven." These words put a diversity between the heavenly Father, and our temporal fathers. There be some temporal fathers which would fain help their children, but they cannot; they be not able to help them. Again, there be some fathers which are rich, and might help their children, but they be so unnatural, they will not help them. But our heavenly Father, in that we call him, "Father," we learn that he will help, that he beareth a fatherly love towards us.
"In heaven." Here we learn that he is able to help us, to give us all good things necessary to soul and body; and is mighty to defend us from all ill and peril. So it appeareth that he is a Father which will help; and that he being celestial, he is able to help us. Therefore we may have a boldness and confidence, that he may help us: and that he will help us, where and whensoever we call, he. saith, Coelum et terram impleo, "I fill heaven and earth." And again, Coelum mihi sedes est, et terra scabellum pedum meorum; "Heaven is my seat, and the earth is my footstool." Where we see, that he is a mighty God; that he is in heaven and earth, with his power and might. In heaven he is apparently, where face to face he sheweth himself unto his angels and saints. In earth he is not so apparently, but darkly, and obscurely he exhibiteth himself unto us; for our corrupt and feeble flesh could not bear his majesty. Yet he filleth the earth; that is to say, he ruleth and governeth the same, ordering all things according unto his will and pleasure. Therefore we must learn to persuade ourselves, and undoubtedly believe, that he is able to help; and that he beareth a good and fatherly will towards us; that he will not forget us. Therefore the king and prophet David saith, Dominus de coelo prospexit, "The Lord hath seen down from heaven." As far as the earth is from the heaven, yet God looketh down, he seeth all things, he is in every corner. He saith, The Lord hath looked down, not the saints. No, he saith not so; for the saints have not so sharp eyes to see down from heaven: they be pur-blind, and sand-blind, they cannot see so far; nor have not so long ears to hear. And therefore our petition and prayer should be unto him, which will hear and can hear. For it is the Lord that looketh down. He is here in earth, as I told you, very darkly; but he is in heaven most manifestly; where he sheweth himself unto his angels and saints face to face. We read in scripture, that Abel's blood did cry unto God. Where it appeareth that he can hear, yea, not only hear, but also see, and feel: for he seeth over all things, so that the least thought of our hearts is not hid from him. Therefore ponder and consider these words well, for they fortify our faith. We call him "Father," to put ourselves in remembrance of his good-will towards us. "Heavenly" we call him, signifying his might and power, that he may help and do all things according to his will and pleasure. So it appeareth most manifestly, that there lacketh neither goodwill nor power in him. There was once a prophet, which, when he was ill entreated of king Joash, said, Dominus videat et requirat; "The Lord look upon it, and requite it." There be many men in England, and other where else, which care not for God, yea, they be clean without God; which say in their hearts, Nubes latibulum ejus, nec nostra considerat, et circa cardines coeli ambulat: "Tush, the clouds cover him that he may not see, and he dwelleth above in heaven." But, as I told you before, Abel's blood may certify of his present knowledge. Let us therefore take heed that we do nothing that might displease his majesty, neither openly nor secretly: for he is every where, and nothing can be hid from him. Videt et requiret, "He seeth, and will punish it."
Further, this word "Father" is not only apt and convenient for us to strengthen our faith withal, as I told you; but also it moveth God the sooner to hear us, when we call him by that name, "Father". For he, perceiving our confidence in him, cannot choose but shew him like a Father. So that this word, "Father," is most meet to move God to pity and to grant our requests. Certain it is, and proved by holy scripture, that God hath a fatherly and loving affection towards us, far passing the love of bodily parents to their children. Yea, as far as heaven and earth is asunder, so far his love towards mankind exceedeth the love of natural parents to their children: which love is set out by the mouth of his holy prophet Esay, where he saith, Num oblivioni tradet mulier infantem suum, quo minus misereatur filii uteri sui? Et si obliviscatur illa, ego tamen tui non obliviscar: "Can a wife forget the child of her womb, and the son whom she hath borne? And though she do forget him, yet will I not forget thee." Here are shewed the affections and unspeakable love which God beareth towards us. He saith, Nunquid potest mulier, "May a woman?" He speaketh of the woman, meaning the man too; but because women most commonly are more affected towards their children than men be, therefore he nameth the woman. And it is a very unnatural woman, that hateth her child, or neglecteth the same. But, O Lord, what crafts and conveyances useth the devil abroad, that he can bring his matters so to pass, that some women set aside not only all motherly affections, but also all natural humanity, insomuch that they kill their own children, their own blood and flesh! I was a late credibly informed of a priest, which had taken in hand to be a midwife. O what an abominable thing is this! But what followed? He ordered the matter so, that the poor innocent was lost in the mean season. Such things the devil can bring to pass; but what then? God saith, "Though a woman do forget her children, though they kill them, yet will I not forget thee, saith the Lord God Almighty." Truth it is, there be some women very unnatural and unkind, which shall receive their punishments of God for it; but for all that we ought to beware and not to believe every tale told unto us, and so rashly judge. I know what I mean. There hath been a late such tales spread abroad, and most untruly. Such false tale-tellers shall have a grievous punishment of the Lord, when he shall come to reward every one according unto his deserts.
Here I have occasion to tell you a story which happened at Cambridge. Master Bilney, or rather Saint Bilney, that suffered death for God's word sake; the same Bilney was the instrument whereby God called me to knowledge; for I may thank him, next to God, for that knowledge that I have in the word of God. For I was as obstinate a papist as any was in England; insomuch that when I should be made bachelor of divinity, my whole oration went against Philip Melancthon and against his opinions. Bilney heard me at that time, and perceived that I was zealous without knowledge: and he came to me afterward in my study, and desired me, for God's sake, to hear his confession. I did so; and, to say the truth, by his confession I learned more than before in many years. So from that time forward I began to smell the word of God, and forsook the school-doctors and such fooleries. Now, after I had been acquainted with him, I went with him to visit the prisoners in the tower at Cambridge; for he was ever visiting prisoners, and sick folk. So we went together, and exhorted them as well as we were able to do; moving them to patience, and to acknowledge their faults. Among other prisoners, there was a woman which was accused that she had killed her own child, which act she plainly and stedfastly denied, and could not be brought to confess the act; which denying gave us occasion to search for the matter, and so we did. And at the length we found that her husband loved her not; and therefore he sought means to make her out of the way. The matter was thus: a child of hers had been sick by the space of a year, and so decayed as it were in a consumption. At the length it died in harvest-time. She went to her neighbours and other friends to desire their help, to prepare the child to the burial; but there was nobody at home: every man was in the field. The woman, in an heaviness and trouble of spirit, went, and being herself alone; prepared the child to the burial. Her husband coming home, not having great love towards her, accused her of the murder; and so she was taken and brought to Cambridge. But as far forth as I could learn through earnest inquisition, I thought in my conscience the woman was not guilty, all the circumstances well considered. Immediately after this I was called to preach before the king, which was my first sermon that I made before his majesty, and it was done at Windsor; where his majesty, after the sermon was done, did most familiarly talk with me in a gallery. Now, when I saw my time, I kneeled down before his majesty, opening the whole matter; and afterwards most humbly desired his majesty to pardon that woman. For I thought in my conscience she was not guilty; else I would not for all the world sue for a murderer. The king most graciously heard my humble request, insomuch that I had a pardon ready for her at my return homeward. In the mean season that same woman was delivered of a child in the tower at Cambridge, whose godfather I was, and Mistress Cheke was godmother. But all that time I hid my pardon, and told her nothing of it, only exhorting her to confess the truth. At the length the time came when she looked to suffer: I came, as I was wont to do, to instruct her; she made great moan to me, and most earnestly required me that I would find the means that she might be purified before her suffering; for she thought she should have been damned, if she should suffer without purification. Where Master Bilney and I told her, that that law was made unto the Jews, and not unto us; and that women lying in child-bed be not unclean before God; neither is purification used to that end, that it should cleanse from sin; but rather a civil and politic law, made for natural honesty sake; signifying, that a woman before the time of her purification, that is to say, as long as she is a green woman, is not meet to do such acts as other women, nor to have company with her husband: for it is against natural honesty, and against the commonwealth. To that end purification is kept and used, not to make a superstitution or holiness of it, as some do; which think that they may not fetch neither fire nor anything in that house where there is a green woman; which opinion is erroneous and wicked. For women, as I said afore, be as well in the favour of God before they be purified as after. So we travailed with this woman till we brought her to a good trade; and at the length shewed her the king's pardon, and let her go.
This tale I told you by this occasion, that though some women be very unnatural, and forget their children, yet when we hear any body so report, we should not be too hasty in believing the tale, but rather suspend our judgments till we know the truth. And again, we shall mark hereby the great love and loving-kindness of God our loving Father, who sheweth himself so loving unto us, that notwithstanding women forget sometimes their own natural children, yet he will not forget us; he will hear us when we call upon him; as he saith by the evangelist Matthew: "Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you," &c. Then he cometh and bringeth in a pretty similitude, saying: "Is there any man amongst you, which, if his son ask bread, will offer him a stone? If ye then," cum sitis mali, "being evil, can give your children good gifts," &c. In these words, where he saith, cum sitis mali, "which be evil," he giveth us our own proper name; he painteth us out, he pincheth us; he cutteth off our combs; he plucketh down our stomachs. And here we learn to acknowledge ourselves to be wicked, and to know him to be the well-spring and fountain of all goodness, and that all good things come of him. Therefore let every man think lowly of himself, humble himself and call upon God, which is ready to give us not only bread and drink, or other necessaries, but the Holy Ghost. To whom will he give the Holy Ghost? To lords and ladies, to gentlemen or gentlewomen? No, not so. He is not ruled by affections: he hath not respect unto personages. Poscentibus, saith he, ("unto those which call upon him," being rich or poor, lords or knights, beggars or rich; he is ready to give unto them when they come to him. And this is a great comfort unto those which be poor and miserable in this world, for they may be assured of the help of God, yea, and as boldly go unto him, and desire his help, as the greatest king in earth. But we must ask, we must inquire for it; he would have us to be importunate, to be earnest and diligent in desiring; then we shall receive when we come with a good faith and confidence. To whom shall we call? Not unto the saints. Poscentibus illum, saith he. Those that call upon him shall be heard. Therefore we ought to come to him only, and not unto his saints.
But one word is left, which we must needs consider; Noster, "our". He saith not "my," but "our". Wherefore saith he "our"? This word "our" teacheth us to consider that the Father of heaven is a common Father; as well my neighbour's Father as mine; as well the poor man's Father as the rich: so that he is not a peculiar Father, but a Father to the whole church and congregation, to all the faithful. Be they never so poor, so vile, so foul and despised, yet he is their Father as well as mine: and therefore I should not despise them, but consider that God is their Father as well as mine. Here may we perceive what communion is between us; so that when I pray, I pray not for myself alone, but for all the rest: again, when they pray, they pray not for themselves only, but for me: for Christ hath so framed this prayer, that I must needs include my neighbour in it. Therefore all those which pray this prayer, they pray as well for me as for themselves; which is a great comfort to every faithful heart, when he considereth that all the church prayeth for him. For amongst such a great number there be some which be good, and whose prayer God will hear: as it appeared by Abraham's prayer, which prayer was so effectuous, that God would have pardoned Sodome and Gomorre, if he might have found but ten good persons therein. Likewise St Paul in shipwreck preserved his company by his prayer. So that it is a great comfort unto us to know that all good and faithful persons pray for us.
There be some learned men which gather out of scripture, that the prayer of St Stephen was the occasion of the conversion of St Paul. St Chrysostom saith, that that prayer that I make for myself is the best, and is of more efficacy than that which is made in common. Which saying I like not very well. For our Saviour was better learned than St Chrysostom. He taught us to pray in common for all; therefore we ought to follow him, and to be glad to pray one for another: for we have a common saying among us, "Whosoever loveth me, loveth my hound." So, whosoever loveth God, will love his neighbour, which is made after the image of God.
And here is to be noted, that prayer hath one property before all other good works: for with my alms I help but one or two at once, but with my faithful prayer I help all. I desire God to comfort all men living, but specially domesticos fidei, "those which be of the household of faith." Yet we ought to pray with all our hearts for the other, which believe not, that God will turn their hearts and renew them with his Spirit; yea, our prayers reach so far, that our very capital enemy ought not to be omitted. Here you see what an excellent thing prayer is, when it proceedeth from a faithful heart; it doth far pass all the good works that men can do.
Now to make an end: we are monished here of charity, and taught that God is not only a private Father, but a common Father unto the whole world, unto all faithful; be they never so poor and miserable in this world, yet he is their Father. Where we may learn humility and lowliness specially great and rich men shall learn here not to be lofty or to despise the poor. For when ye despise the, poor miserable man, whom despise ye? Ye despise him which calleth God his Father as well as you; and peradventure more acceptable and more regarded in his sight than you be. Those proud persons may learn here to leave their stubbornness and loftiness. But there be a great many which little regard this: they think themselves better than other men be, and so despise and contemn the poor; insomuch that they will not hear poor men's causes, nor defend them from wrong and oppression of the rich and mighty. Such proud men despise the. Lord's prayer: they should be as careful for their brethren as for themselves. And such humility, such love and carefulness towards our neighbours, we learn by this word "Our." Therefore I desire you on God's behalf, let us cast away all disdainfulness, all proudness, .yea, and all bibble-babble. Let us pray this prayer with understanding and great deliberation; not following the trade of monkery, which was without all devotion and understanding. There be but few which can say from the bottom of their hearts, "Our Father;" a little number. Neither the Turks, neither the Jews, nor yet the impenitent sinners, can call God their Father. Therefore it is but vain babbling, whatsoever they pray: God heareth them not, he will not receive their prayers. The promise of hearing is made unto them only which be faithful arid believe in God; which endeavour themselves to live according unto his commandments. For scripture saith, Oculi Domini super justos; "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears open unto their prayers." But who are those righteous? Every penitent sinner, that is sorry from the bottom of his heart for his wickedness, and believeth that God will forgive him his sins for his Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's sake. This is called in scripture "a just man," that endeavoureth himself to leave all wickedness. In such sort Peter and Paul were just, because they did repent, and believe in Christ, and so endeavoured themselves to live according unto God's laws. Therefore like as they were made just before God, so may we too; for we have even the self-same promise. Let us therefore follow their ensample. Let us forsake all sins and wickedness; then God will hear our prayers. For scripture saith, Dominus facit quicquid volunt timentes eum, et clamorem eorum exaudit ac servat eos: "The Lord fulfilleth the desire of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry, and help them." In another place he saith, Si manseritis in sermone meo, et verba mea custodiveritis, quicquid volueritis petentes accipietis: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask what ye will, and it shall be done for you." So we see that the promises pertain only to the faithful; to those which endeavour themselves to live according to God's will and pleasure; which can be content to leave their wickedness, and follow godliness: those God will hear at all times, whensoever they shall call upon him.
Remember now what I have said: remember what is meant by this word "our"; namely, that it admonisheth us of love and charity; it teacheth us to beware of stubbornness and proudness; considering that God loveth as well the beggar as the rich man, for he regardeth no persons. Again; what is to be understood by this word "Father"; namely, that he beareth a good will towards us, that he is ready and willing to help us. "Heavenly," that admonisheth us of his potency and ability, that he is ruler over all things. This, I say, remember, and follow it: then we shall receive all things necessary for this life; and finally everlasting joy and felicity.
Let us pray, "Our Father."