Knox: A Confession and Prayer

O dreadful and most mighty God,

You that from the beginning have declared Yourself a consuming fire against despisers of Your most holy precepts and yet to the penitent sinners has always shown Yourself a favorable Father and a God full of mercy:

We, Your creatures and workmanship of Your own hands, confess ourselves most unworthy to open our eyes unto the heavens, but far less to appear in Your presence, For our consciences accuse us, and our manifest iniquities have borne witness against us that we have declined from You, We have been polluted with idolatry; we have given Your glory to creatures; we have sought support where it was not to be found and have taken lightly Your most wholesome admonitions. The manifest corruption of our lives in all areas evidently proves that we have not rightly regarded Your statutes, laws, and holy ordinances; and this was done, O Lord, not only in the time of our blindness, but even now, when of Your mercy You hast opened unto us an entrance to Your heavenly kingdom by the preaching of Your holy gospel, the whole body of this miserable nation still continueth in their former impiety. For the most part—alas!—following the footsteps of the blind and obstinate leaders, utterly despise the light of Your gospel and delight in ignorance and idolatry; others live as a people without God and without all fear of Your terrible judgments. And some, O Lord, that in mouth profess Your blessed gospel, by their slanderous life blaspheme the same.

We are not ignorant, O Lord, that You are a righteous Judge that cannot suffer iniquity long to be unpunished in the obstinate transgressors, especially, O Lord, when that after such long blindness and horrible defection from You, so lovingly You call us again to Your favor and fellowship, and yet we do obstinately rebel. We have, O Lord, in our extreme misery, called unto You; yes, even when we appeared utterly to have been consumed in the fury of our enemies, then did You mercifully incline Your ears unto us. You fought for us even by Your own power, when in us there was neither wisdom nor force. You alone break the yoke from our necks and set us at liberty, when we by our foolishness had made ourselves slaves unto strangers; mercifully unto this day have You continued with us the light of Your gospel and so cease not to heap on us benefits both spiritual and temporal.

But yet—alas!—O Lord, we clearly see that our great ingratitude craves further punishment at Your hands, the signs of which are evident before our eyes. For the whispering of sedition, the contempt of Your graces offered, and the maintenance of idolatry are assured signs of Your further plagues to fall on us in particular for our grievous offenses. And this immeasurable intemperance of the air does also threaten Your accustomed plague of famine that commonly followeth riotous excess and contempt of the poor, where with, alas, the whole earth is replenished. We have nothing, O Lord, that we may lay between us and Your judgment but Your only mercy freely offered to us in Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, purchased to us by His death and passion. For if You will enter into judgment with Your creatures and keep in mind our grievous sins and offenses, then can there no flesh escape condemnation.

Therefore, we most humbly beseech You, O Father of mercies, for Christ Jesus Your Son’s sake, to take from us these stony hearts, which so long have heard as well Your mercies as severe judgments and yet have not been effectually moved with the same, and give unto us hearts mollified by Your Spirit that may both conceive and keep in mind the reverence that is due unto Your majesty.

Look, O Lord, unto Your chosen children laboring under the imperfections of the flesh and grant unto us that victory which You have promised unto us by Jesus Christ Your Son, our only Savior, Mediator, and Lawgiver, to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and praise, now and ever. Amen.

-John Knox, Taken from Laing, Works of John Knox, 6:294-96. [language modernized]

Knox: A Prayer Said at the Lord’s Supper

O Father of mercy and God of all consolation, seeing that all creatures do acknowledge and confess Thee as Governor and Lord (Rev. 5), it becometh us, the workmanship of Thy own hands, at all times to reverence and magnify Thy godly majesty—first, for that Thou hast created us to Thy own image and similitude (Gen. 1), but chiefly that Thou hast delivered us from that everlasting death and damnation (Gen. 3; Gal. 1; Eph. 2) into the which Satan drew mankind by the means of sin, from the bondage whereof neither man nor angel was able to make us free (Acts 4; Heb. 1; Rev 5).

But Thou, O Lord, rich in mercy and infinite in goodness, hast provided our redemption to stand in Thy only and well-beloved Son, whom of very love Thou didst give to be made man (John 3) like unto us in all things (Heb. 8) (sin excepted), (Heb. 4, 7) that in His body He might receive the punishments of our transgression (Isaiah 43, 53; 1 Pet. 2), by His death to make satisfaction to Thy justice, (Matt. 3, 17; Rom. 5; Heb. 8; Jer. 31) and by His resurrection to destroy him that was author of death, (Heb. 2) and thus to subdue and bring life again to the world (John 6) from which the whole offspring of Adam most justly was exiled (Gen. 3; Rom. 5).

O Lord, we acknowledge that no creature is able to comprehend the length and breadth—the depth and height—of that Thy most excellent love (Eph. 3), which moved Thee to show mercy where none was deserved (Eph. 2), to promise and give life where death had gotten victory (John 6, 17; Eph. 2), and to receive us into Thy grace when we could do nothing but rebel against Thy justice (Gen. 6; Ps. 5, 14; Isa. 64; Rom. 3, 7).

O Lord, the blind dullness of our corrupt nature will not suffer us sufficiently to weigh these most ample benefits (Matt. 10, 16; Luke 11; 1 Cor. 2); nevertheless, at the commandment of Jesus Christ our Lord (Matt. 26; Luke 22), we present ourselves to this His table (which He hath left to be used in remembrance of His death until His coming again) (1 Cor. 11) to declare and witness before the world that by Him alone we have received liberty and life (John 8; Gal. 5), that by Him alone Thou dost acknowledge us Thy children and heirs (Rom. 8; Eph. 1; 1 Peter 1), that by Him alone we have entrance to the throne of Thy grace (Rom. 3; Eph. 2; Heb, 4), that by Him alone we are possessed in our spiritual kingdom (Matt. 25; Luke 12; John 14) to eat and drink at His table (Luke 22; Rev. 2) with whom we have our conversation presently in heaven (Eph. 2; Phil. 3) and by whom our bodies shall be raised up again from the dust and shall be placed with Him in that endless joy, which Thou, O Father of mercy, hast prepared for Thy elect before the foundation of the world was laid (Eph. 1; Rev. 13).

And these most inestimable benefits we acknowledge and confess to have received of Thy free mercy and grace by Thy only beloved Son Jesus Christ (Rom. 3; Eph. 2; Titus 3), for the which therefore, we Thy congregation, moved by Thy Holy Spirit (Rom. 8), render Thee all thanks, praise, and glory, forever and ever.

-John Knox, Taken from Laing, Works of John Knox, 4:194-196