Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Preces Sacrae 4

We move on to Peter Martyr’s fourth Sacred Prayer, the first from Psalm 2. This is one that will undoubtedly make some contemporary Reformed people more uncomfortable than the previous three (and I’m sure there will be more of that to come in his prayer-exposition of the second Psalm). But we will not skip any; this is not a nineteenth-century school edition of Catullus, after all.

Peter Martyr’s faith in the sovereignty of God stands out in this prayer. It is not a distant sovereignty, however, but one in which God is intimately involved in day-to-day affairs. He does not just direct from on high; he intervenes. Peter Martyr fully expects him to do so on behalf of his people, though they are unworthy. Their duty is to trust in him alone. For Christ is not only savior. He is king, and Peter Martyr knows he is no absentee landlord, nor, to change the metaphor, one who holds a benefice in absentia.


We perceive at this time, O God Best and Greatest, that not only the Antichrist, but all the strength and power of the world has conspired against you and your Christ, since they think that the gospel and the renewal of the church are intolerable chains and the most uncomfortable yoke–wherefore they take pains by all the methods at their disposal to burst apart the communities of the faithful and to cast off all discipline.

But since you sit in the heavens, and it in no way escapes your notice what the devil or the impiety of the flesh strives to do, you laugh their empty counsels to scorn and you render their undertakings vain, and you expose them in turn as an object of mockery and derision to your elect.

Bring it about that they themselves perceive you to be angered, and that they at last be terrified at the fury of your indignation, in such a way that they are unable to wipe out your church, over which you have placed Christ Jesus our Savior alone in authority, in order to reign in it by his Word and Spirit invincibly and most powerfully.

Wherefore deign to bestow on your sons, although [we are] unworthy and [are] runaways, so much faith and constancy that we both hold and continually confess him alone as our king, and do not at all doubt that we are his nation, people, and inheritance–rightly knowing this, that he as been endowed with such great strength and power that by his command more than by iron he terrifies whomever he wishes, and dashes them in pieces as a potter’s vessels.

Convert to yourself, therefore, the kings of the earth, O God, that they may be wise, that they may acknowledge, embrace, and kiss your Son, lest, when his anger has been kindled, they perish on the spot; and render those who have entrusted themselves absolutely to your faith blessed forever when [that faith] will be sight , through Christ our Lord, Amen.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.