« PreviousContinue »
collections, still further removed from the Romish manuals, soon appeared : amongst these is one in great part very nearly conformed to the Liturgy, entitled “Preces Privatæ in studiosorum gratiam collectæ, et Regia authoritate approbatæ."
Maunsell, in his Catalogue of English Printed Books, London, A. D. 1595, enumerates the titles of more than eighty works under the general head of “Praiers." A history or general account of these English Protestant manuals of devotion, printed in the latter part of the sixteenth century, would be interesting in itself, and throw considerable light upon other subjects; but as such a statement may be prefixed to some of the collections of a later date than the present, only a few remarks will now be attempted.
The work here reprinted is one of the earliest English books of private devotion in this reign at all complete. It was preceded by some others much smaller, and more limited in their contents: still they are interesting, and the more so as they are now of rare occurrence. Two of these, one entitled “Certayne Godly Exercises, Meditations and Prayers, printed by William Powell,” without date, and the other “Godlie Meditations upon the Lordes prayer, the beliefe and ten commandmentes, with other comfortable Meditations, Praiers and Exercises, printed by Rowland Hall
in 1562," of which there are copies in the library of St. John's College, Cambridge, are of this description. They formed a part of the valuable collection presented to that college by Thomas Baker, who has written in the volume in which they are bound together, “ This volume contains pieces by T. Lever, Ja. Pilkington, R. Coles, J. Lydley, &c., which, being little things, are very scarce and hard to be met with elsewhere ; and are therefore of value, though they be imperfect. There is no date of the print to the first three; but they must have been wrote in Queen Eliz. time, who is here prayed for, and probably after the fire at St. Paul's, which seems to be here meant. The last, for the sake of Mr. Bradford, a holy good man, I have perfected; of the others I never saw another copy."
The judicious antiquarian was right in his conjecture as to the dates ; for, as Herbert states in his Typographical Antiquities, William Powell did not print after the year 1567 or 1568. He had a license from the Stationers' Company, A.D. 1566, to print “Ludlowe's Prayers,” probably the Lidley's Prayers in this volume.
Most of the prayers in the two small collections above mentioned are included in the present work, which is generally known by the appellation of Henry Bull's Prayers. The earliest edition men