Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop

The tomb of Lancelot Andrewes in Southwark Cathedral. 
Andrewes is shown wearing the mantle of the Order of the Garter 
and he carries a small book which may represent his Preces Privatae, 
the famous collection of prayers he composed.

Today Bishop Lancelot Andrewes is commemorated in the Church of England. He was born in 1555 in Barking, and studied at Merchant Taylors’ School and then Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. After ordination, he held several posts before accepting, in 1601, the appointment of Dean of Westminster, where he gave much attentlon to the school. Andrewes was present at the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, which sought to bring peace between different schools of thought in the Church of England. He was also a translator of much of the Old Testament of what is known as the ‘Authorised Version’ (or ‘King James Version’) of the Bible. His preaching and his writings proved highly influential and his holiness of life and gentle nature endeared him to all who met him.

Andrewes was appointed bishop, first of Chichester, then of Ely, and finally, in 1619, of Winchester. He died on 25th September, 1626 and his remains lie in a church which was then in his diocese of Winchester but now is the cathedral for the Diocese of Southwark.

Go HERE for Marian Dorman’s excellent Web page on Andrewes 

Go HERE for Bishop John Hazlewood’s reflection on Andrewes

Go HERE for T.S. Eliot’s essay on Andrewes


If all the creatures in the world should offer themselves 
together with me to praise thee, O Lord, 
yet is it certain that we could not give thee sufficient thanks 
for the least of thy mercies; 
and if together we cannot sufficiently praise thee for the least, 
how much less can I alone perform so great a duty, 
for such inestimable blessings, as I have at this time received; 
for vouchsafing to visit me, comfort me, and honour me 
with acceptance and admittance to thy blessed table. 

If Elizabeth, the mother of John Baptist, 
(upon the Virgin Mary’s entrance to her house) said, 
Whence is it that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? 
What shall I say, whom the Lord himself hath visited and united to him, 
by his blessed Sacrament, 
being a vessel and receptacle of all impurity, 
who hath so often affended, despited and neglected him? 

King David wondered why God should so esteem of, or visit man; 
but I wonder much more, why he should be made man for man, 
abide with him, suffer death for him, 
and give himself to him for spiritual food. 

Solomon, after he had built a temple to God, reasoned thus: 
But will God dwell indeed on the earth? 
Behold the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, 
how much less this house, that I have builded? 
May not I much more marvel, 
that God will not disdain to come and abide 
in this my poor and wretched soul? 
What greater benefit or grace, 
what greater argument of his love is there, can there be showed to me?

Oh my soul, if thou wouldest but thoroughly conceive 
the happiness that cometh to thee by this holy Sacrament, 
then consider and well weigh, what benefits it bringeth with it. 
By it the sons of men are made the sons of God, 
and all that is earthly or carnal in us is mortified, 
that the Deity may live and abide with us. 
What therefore, O my Lord, shall I do? 
What thanks shall I render to thee? 
With what fervency shall I love thee? 

For if thou, so mighty  a Lord, hast vouchsafed to love me, 
poor wretched creature, 
how should it be, but that I should return love again to thee? 

And how shall I express my love better, 
than in forbearing those things which thou dost abhor, 
and following those things which thou dost command? 

Give, O Lord, to this end thy concomitant grace to me, 
whereby I may return a reciprocal love to thee, 
and love those things, which are acceptable to thee, 
and avoid those things, which are to thee unpleasing.

Give me a heart, which may love thee 
with so true, faithful, and constant affection, 
as that nothing under the sun may separate me from the love of thee. 

Let me not follow the love of the world, 
or delight in the vanities of it any longer: 
but give me power to kill and quench all other love and desires, 
and to love thee only, desire thee only, and only think of thee, 
and thy commandments: 
that all my affections and thoughts may be fixed on thee; 
that in all temptations and adversities, 
I may have recourse to thee only, 
and receive all comfort from thee alone, 
who livest and reignest, one God, 
world without end. Amen.


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