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HOME > Library > Books > Private Prayers of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, edited by William Keatinge Clay, for The Parker Society
Edited For The Parker Society
Of English Protestant Primers we may consider, that there were two series, the one originating with Henry the Eighth, in 1545, the other with Edward the Sixth, in 1553. Henry's Primer was several times reprinted, not only in his own reign, but in that of his son. The latter reprints, however, ought rather to be called improved editions, since by the alterations successively made in them (which were for the most part doctrinal) they shewed the steady advancement of the Reformation, together with the gradual purification of the religious opinions held by our leading Protestant divines. In 1547  Edward's first Primer (British Museum) came out, printed 'at London, the laste daie of Nouember,' and, like almost all the copies of the earlier series now existing, by Grafton. This was a mere republication of the Primer of 1545, men not being
From this period we perceive a very great improvement in the English Primer, as to its doctrinal tone; so that, when again published in 1551 (British Museum), it contained neither the angelic salutation, 'Hail, Mary, full of grace,' &c. with various passages, indicative of an unabated reverence for the Virgin, nor some of the other objectionable things, which appeared in the Primer of 1545. In fact, great modifications then took place, strong as many of the doctrinal statements are, which were still permitted for a time to remain. As regards the angelic salutation, and its retention in 1547 and 1549, it seems right to extract a passage from Marshall's Primer (University Library, Cambridge, G. 3. 39): 'Here thou seist that in these: wordes no petition, but pure prayses and honours are conteyned: lyke as in the begynnyng and fyrste wordes of the Paternoster is no petition, but onely prayse, and declarynge of the godly fauour and maiestie, that he is our father, and in heuen. Therfore we can not call this salutation a petition, or any prayer, properly and strayghtly to speake therof, bicause it is not laufull for vs to expounde these wordes further than they sounde, and than the holy ghoste dyd make them.' Moreover, it will not be amiss to quote from that treatise, which Ludovicus Lavaterus published at Zurich in the beginning of 1559, entitled De ritibus et institutis ecclesice Tigurince. Under the head Sacrce conciones et preces occurs this passage: Salutatio angelica ad certum usque tempus ab initio recitata fuit. Sed, oblata occasione, et postulante necessitate, coepit prætermitti; cum non sit oratio, et a multis in abusum trahatur. Satis autem constat melioribus illis temporibus, antequam divi invocarentur, locum inter preces non habuisse.
A fourth impression of the Primer (to confine ourselves to Edward's reign) was published in 1552 both by Grafton and Whitchurch. This Primer has not been met with, and is, therefore, known to the Editor only from its title, as quoted by Herbert in his edition of Ames, pp. 534, 548 .
With 1553 commenced the second series of Primers referred to before. Edward's licence to William Seres, who was thenceforward to be the royal printer for this description of books, is dated the sixth of March; and by it he is granted the privilege of printing 'all manner of books of private prayers, called and usually taken and reputed for Primers, which are and shall be set forth agreeable and according to the book of common prayers established by us in our high court of Parliament.' The Primer of 1553 varies, consequently, in many essential points from its predecessors, so as to be altogether of a quite different character. Like that of 1552, it has the Catechism; but it has not, under the head of Graces, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments: the Hymns
THE PRIMER OF 1559.
THE ORARIUM OF 1560.
THE PRECES PRIVATÆ OF 1564.
A BOOK OF CHRISTIAN PRAYERS
To the Christian Reader zeal and knowledge in true and hearty prayer through Christ Jesus.
DAVID, a prophet and a prince, to whom the Lord had done many, great, and singular, benefits, bethought himself not so much to increase them by use, as to requite them by thanks. He, therefore, willing as a prophet, and able as a prince, but not able in deed, though willing so to do, opened his good heart ... more To the Christian Reader (Richard Daye) to come.
A Prayer to be said both Morning and Evening.
A Prayer for the Queen's Majesty.
... full list of Prayers to come.
APPENDIX: THE LITANY OF 1544.
"They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them." Joh 16:2-4 KJV
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