Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London,
Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester,
Reformation Martyrs, 1555
O consider my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law.
Plead my cause and redeem me; according to your promise, give me life.
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes.
Great is your compassion, O Lord; give me life, according to your judgements. R
Many there are that persecute and oppress me, yet do I not swerve from your testimonies.
It grieves me when I see the treacherous, for they do not keep your word.
Consider, O Lord, how I love your commandments; give me life according to your loving-kindness.
The sum of your word is truth, and all your righteous judgements endure for evermore. R
Princes have persecuted me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of your word.
I am as glad of your word as one who finds great spoils.
As for lies, I hate and abhor them, but your law do I love.
Seven times a day do I praise you, because of your righteous judgements.
Great peace have they who love your law; nothing shall make them stumble.
Lord, I have looked for your salvation and I have fulfilled your commandments.
My soul has kept your testimonies and greatly have I loved them.
I have kept your commandments and testimonies, for all my ways are before you.
Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding, according to your word.
Let my supplication come before you; deliver me, according to your promise.
My lips shall pour forth your praise, when you have taught me your statutes.
My tongue shall sing of your word, for all your commandments are righteous.
Let your hand reach out to help me, for I have chosen your commandments.
I have longed for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight.
Let my soul live and it shall praise you, and let your judgements be my help.
I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost;
O seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.
2 Chronicles 34.19-end
When the king heard the words of the law he tore his clothes. Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, the secretary Shaphan, and the king’s servant Asaiah: ‘Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found; for the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us is great, because our ancestors did not keep the word of the Lord, to act in accordance with all that is written in this book.’
So Hilkiah and those whom the king had sent went to the prophet Huldah, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (who lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter) and spoke to her to that effect. She declared to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you to me, Thus says the Lord: I will indeed bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book that was read before the king of Judah. Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, so that they have provoked me to anger with all the works of their hands, my wrath will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched. But as to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me, and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, says the Lord. I will gather you to your ancestors and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring on this place and its inhabitants.’ They took the message back to the king.
Then the king sent word and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. The king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin pledge themselves to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem acted according to the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel, and made all who were in Israel worship the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord the God of their ancestors.
‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “Servants are not greater than their master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfil the word that is written in their law, “They hated me without a cause.”
‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
God, the giver of life,
whose Holy Spirit wells up within your Church:
by the Spirit's gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ and make us eager to do your will,
that we may share with the whole creation the joys of eternal life;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.