Today we commemorate the 409th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to exterminate the House of Stuart. Here is the text of the original ‘Gunpowder Service’, prayers of thanksgiving to be said at Morning Prayer in all churches and chapels every year on 5th November. The service was corrupted in 1689 by the additional of prayers of thanksgiving for the invasion and usurpation of William of Orange. It was removed from the Book of Common Prayer, along with the Commemoration of King Charles the Martyr, in 1858. Here it is in its original, unadulterated form from 1606.
A FORM of PRAYER with THANKSGIVING
to be used yearly upon the Fifth Day of November;
for the happy Deliverance of King JAMES I,
and the Three Estates of ENGLAND,
from the most traitorous and bloody-intended
MASSACRE BY GUNPOWDER
In the Suffrages, these shall be inserted, and used for the Queen.
- O Lord, save the Queen;
- Who putteth her trust in thee.
- Send her help from thy holy place;
- R. And evermore mightily defend her.
- Let her enemies have no advantage against her;
- Let not the wicked approach to hurt her.
Instead of the first Collect for Morning Prayer, shall these two be used.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast in all ages shewed thy power and mercy in the miraculous and gracious deliverances of thy Church, and in the protection of righteous and religious Kings and States, professing thy holy and eternal truth, from the wicked conspiracies, and malicious practices of all the enemies thereof; We yield thee our unfeigned thanks and praise, for the wonderful and mighty deliverance of our gracious Sovereign King James the First, the Queen, the Prince, and all the Royal Branches, with the Nobility, Clergy and Commons of England, then assembled in Parliament, by Popish treachery appointed as sheep to the slaughter, in a most barbarous and savage manner, beyond the examples of former ages. From this unnatural Conspiracy, not our merit, but thy mercy; not our foresight, but thy providence delivered us: And therefore not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy Name be ascribed all honour and glory, in all Churches of the Saints, from generation to generation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, who didst this day discover the snares of death that were laid for us, and didst wonderfully deliver us from the same; Be thou still our mighty Protector, and scatter our enemies that delight in blood: infatuate and defeat their counsels, abate their pride, assuage their malice, and confound their devices. Strengthen the hands of our gracious Sovereign Queen ELIZABETH, and all that are put in authority under her, with judgment and justice, to cut off all such workers of iniquity, as turn Religion into Rebellion, and Faith into Faction; that they may never prevail against us, or triumph in the ruin of thy church among us: but that our gracious Sovereign and her Realms, being preserved in thy true Religion, and by thy merciful goodness protected in the same, we may all duly serve thee, and give thee thanks in thy holy Congregation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ALMIGHTY God and heavenly Father, who of thy gracious providence, and tender mercy towards us, didst prevent the malice and imaginations of our enemies, by discovering and confounding their horrible and wicked enterprise, plotted and intended this day to have been executed against the King, and whole State of England, for the subversion of the Government and Religion established amongst us; We most humbly praise and magnify thy most glorious Name for thine infinite gracious goodness towards us. We confess it was thy mercy, thy mercy alone, that we were not then consumed. For our sins cried to heaven against us, and our iniquities justly called for vengeance upon us. But thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us after our iniquities; nor given us over, as we deserved, to be a prey to our enemies; but hast in mercy delivered us from their malice, and preserved us from death and destruction. Let the consideration of this thy goodness, O Lord, work in us true repentance, that iniquity may not be our ruin: And increase in us more and more a lively faith and love in all holy obedience; that thou mayest continue thy favour, with the light of thy Gospel, to us and our posterity for evermore; and that for thy dear Son’s sake Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.