image: Vincent Van Gogh, Still Life with Bible, 1885. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
This past weekend my family and I spent the weekend in the mountains of North Carolina. We attended a church gathering in which we were able to hear several sermons on praying the Psalms as well as lots of fun things to do with friends and the kids. The work of Italian reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli came to mind since I had recently purchased his Sacred Prayers volume. The subtitle of his Sacred Prayers tells you why it came to mind so quickly. The full title is Sacred Prayers Drawn from the Psalms of David. No matter what obstacle is in front of you or even within you the Psalms are directly from the Spirit a well in which your own spirit is renewed in Christian joy.
The preacher for the weekend was Chuck Bonadies of Ridgefield Baptist Church in Connecticut. He spoke first from Psalm 1 on Friday evening. For those interested in extending your mediation on this wonderful Psalm below is the beginning of Vermigli’s prayer on its Scripture text. I will post an excerpt each day this week from Vermigili’s Sacred Prayers to help us continue in the enjoyment of the Christian’s inspired book of praise and prayer, the Psalms.
Take away from us, O great and good God, wicked plans and their attendant sons. Do not let us fall into an evil and shameful life. Likewise keep our souls far from condemting piety and scorning virtues. Instead of these plagues grant that we may constantly meditate on your Law and your sacred writings.
Then we will not, like the wicked, be carried about by every wind of impulse and doctrine as are light flakes of dust and worthless rubbish. Rather like trees planted by streams of water, endowed with faith and the life of the Spirit, may we also bear outward fruit of good works, and may whatever we do prosper and give praise and glory to your name and add to our salvation.
Finally, may we, in accord with your mercy, both stand up and be absolved before the court of your judgment after the wicked have already fallen.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Note: Paragraph spacing added. Copies of Vermigili’s works can be purchased at the Davenant Institute website. Which volumes are available may depend on current stock. Davenant Institute recent gained possession of the Peter Martyr Vermigli library.