Praying the Psalms – Vermigli, Psalm 8

This is the 3rd post of 6 in which we contemplate Psalm 8 from Peter Martyr Vermigili’s Sacred Prayers. For the previous posts on Praying the Psalms you can go to Psalm 1 and Psalm 2.

 

Did you know that Vermigli was invited to England by Thomas Cranmer to lend his teaching and advising skills for the good of the English Reformation? Historians point out that Vermigli was helpful to Cranmer in writing and compiling the Book of Common Prayer. In the following prayer we see Virmigli’s choice of conversational vocabulary which reminds us of the same plainness of speech we hear in the Book of Common Prayer.

 

Brad Littlejohn of the Davenant Institute spoke about this collaboration between Cranmer and Vermigli in a past episode of Common Places. The reformers were all men of gifted intellect and most well-trained in the biblical languages, Latin and the early church fathers. Some, like Calvin, were trained in the methods of law. They could craft a vigorous academic defense or a commentary on some lofty matter. Yet, the reformers also knew the importance of creating devotional guides, practical catechisms and ecclesiastical texts for everyday use. The Spirit of Christ has continued to bless the Church with resources that feed the souls its people such as the following prayer.

 

O great and good God, everything that you have created in heaven and on earth for our help and great advantage attests clearly how wondrous and magnificent is your name. Granted that your goodness reaches out to and is revealed in all things, We nonetheless grow in this conviction because on this topic we can promise ourselves nothing that is not splendid…

[We] beseech you with the greatest confidence that you do not permit your Church to be overwhelmed by her present woes…

You have always been accustomed to watch over the children of men with your care; now come to us too with your help when we need it so badly. Deliver us, we pray, so that all may thereby acknowledge your name to be wonderful as it really is and as deserving every kind of respect.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.

 

As we pray Psalm 8 we want to remember not only the blessings which have come on the First Adam and we his descendants, but also Psalm 8 speaks of the Last Adam who is absolute Ruler over the creation. So we are told in 1 Corinthians 15 and in Hebrews 2 that he is the Christ, the God-man, who is both our Sovereign and our Mediator.

 

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. The Sacred Prayers is volume 3 in the series.

 

image: ‘The Angelus’ by Jean-Francois Millet (a prayer on the Incarnation recalling Mary’s Magnificat)

 

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