On Wednesday Have In Remembrance The Obedience Of Christ 1596 (Anon.)
ALESSO DI BENOZZO
Madonna and Child
Here first of all beare in mind the obedience of the three kings, who immediately after the sight of the star, forsake their kingdom, their riches, and countries, & took their way to foreign & strange countries, to seek the king that was but lately born, & after they had found him out, they present their gifts, and falling prostrate, they adored him. Even so also have respect to the inward motions, and godly suggestions of the holy ghost, then accomplish diligently that, whereof thou hast inspiration of, and in all points study to refer the whole will of God.
Secondly, attentively consider the obedience of Christ thy lord, who never favored himself, but fulfilled his fathers mind in watching, in praying, in preaching, in weariness, which things he suffered for the conversion of sinners: but to be brief, he was so obedient to his father in every respect that he used to say commonly, To do my Fathers will, is meat unto me. Therefore refuse no pains wherein thou maist show obedience, nor let for any charges to do good to thy neighbor, be it never so painful unto thee.
Thirdly, have in admiration the singular obedience of Christ our Saviour which he shewed his eternal father, and that not only to the death of the Cross, but also to the will of his wicked tormentors, when they put on him their purple robe, being bidden to sit, he did so, when they platted a Crown of thorns on his head, he was pliable to their will, the reed that was offered him in despite, he willingly obeyed. So must thou also be obedient and willing, to do for any man, whatsoever maybe done with a safe conscience, & without any sin, thou must also shew they self easy to be entreated of them, who are desirous of thy help. be it in matters that are laborious to be done.
Fourthly, thou must not lightly pass over that kind of obedience, when at Pilate the deputy his Commandment, Christ the king of glory went out to the people, to be laughed at of all men, having on him that purple robe, which they put on to mock him, wearing a Crown of thorns on his head, and bearing a reed in his hands, was miserably pulled every joint of him. What reproach he sustained then when he was brought abroad, to be scorned of each man. How sharp and rigorous words those were to him, when they all cried out, Crucify him, crucify him.
In like manner beare thou patiently all shame and reproach, by whomsoever it shall happen to thee, whether it chance through they desert or no.
Fifthly, think upon this wonderful obedience, when he that was judge both over the quick and the dead, had sentence of death pronounced on him, at the hands of an Infidel and wicked judge.
Therefore thou also must willingly do first and chiefly the will of God, and be ready unto death, to perform the same, then with a good will thou ought in all points to fulfill the minds of the Elders, and having no regard of the vain words or opinions of others, never give over the thing which thou hast begun, but whatsoever thou doest, do it without dissimulation, yea, be thou fully persuaded that it is the will of God: and that thou has power to do nothing, except the same come from above.
After that, pray in manner following
O Lord Jesus Christ who art chief ruler of all the world, at whose beck all things obey, to whom the very Kings yield themselves, and to whose power all kings are subject, I beseech thee, for that marvelous obedience, wherein thou submittest thyself so wholly to thy fathers will, that thou plainly confessed it was meet unto thee to do his mind and pleasure: neither was thy obedience to him only but to men also, were they never so cruel, as to Pilate the judge, whom sentence of death was given on thee, and to wicked tormentors in all such things which they commanded, as touching the wrongful punishment of thee: I beseech thee to give me grace, that I be obedient, first of all to thy holy commandments, then to all godly inspirations of the holy ghost, and without respect cheerfully, merrily and humbly, I mat submit my self to all my betters. Who livest, & c.