From the Archives: A Dialogue on the Lord's Prayer
Tyndale wrote this treatise to, he writes, “fill up the leaf of the paternoster” [as he would have known the Lord’s Prayer]. The treatise is, he says, “very necessary and profitable, wherein—if you mark it—you shall perceive what prayer is and all that belongs to prayer.”
The harsh and irritated tone of God’s language in the piece is at times somewhat jarring; but the importance of this to the dialogue is explained in Tyndale’s preface:
“The sinner prays the petitions of the paternoster, and God answers by the law, as though He would put him from his desire. The sinner acknowledges that he is worthy to be put back, but nevertheless, faith cleaves fast to God’s promises and compels Him, for His truth’s sake, to hear the petition. Mark this well and take it for a sure conclusion: when God commands us in the law to do anything, He commands not therefore that we are able to do it, but to bring us unto the knowledge of ourselves, that we might see what we are and what a miserable state we are in, and to know our lack, that thereby we should turn to God to acknowledge our wretchedness unto Him, and to desire Him that of His mercy He would make us what He bids us be, and to give us strength and power to do that which the law requires of us ….The office of the law is only to utter sin, and to declare what miserable damnation and captivity we are in. Is it not a miserable, yes, a fearsome and horrible damnation …, when our very hearts are so fast bound and locked unto the power of the devil that we cannot once as much as consent unto the will of almighty God, our Father, Creator, and Maker?”
Tyndale writes that we should elaborate upon the Lord’s Prayer like this:
The Sinner: Our Father who is in heaven, what a great space is between ...