Oecolampadius' successor in Basel, Oswald Myconius, penned this prayer of national confession in 1541. It sat among his papers until they made their way to the "Kirchenarchiv," where it drew the attention of K. R. Hagenbach, who published it among a handful of other remains from Myconius' ministry, most notably a long pastoral letter from 1534, and his interpretations of the Gospel of Mark (the Gospel on which Oecolampadius was preaching when he died in November 1531) and Psalm 102. This short prayer, translated into English here for the first time, includes a petition for divine guidance for the civil authority to keep the peace (or to "wield the sword in advance" of the Gospel—the aim of which image is actually peacekeeping), but especially for the prophets, i.e., preachers, to convey the good news in accordance with the Holy Spirit. It is a bold prayer, in which Myconius, without apology, prays for the entire nation, the people as a whole, to acquire a fervent love of the Gospel.
"Prayer of repentance in a more difficult time." (1541)[i]
O Lord, almighty, eternal, and heavenly Father, we confess how cheaply[ii] we have sinned in many different ways against your goodness, by ingratitude for both the immense gift of your Holy Word and also for the rest of your kindnesses,[iii] by which we have allowed ourselves to be misled[iv] into wantonness. We have scorned the rod of your wrath, which you have now used over us for a time, and the threats of more severe enemies, which we feel painfully today. But in this we also confess the power and the benefit (the benevolence) of your groundless[v] compassion, for you—O Lord!—have said: I do not want the death of the sinner, but that the sinner[vi] would repent and live. Yes, with great earnestness you call us through your prophets to repentance, when you speak: Convert yourselves to me wholeheartedly, with fasting, with weeping and lamentation. Rend your hearts and not your garments; repent to the Lordyour God; for he is gracious and merciful, patient and of great goodness, and pardons sin and wickedness; therefore, we ask you, O merciful God, from a fully repentant heart (imbued with contrition), that, in this difficult time, you would have mercy on us and forgive us our sins and take away[vii] the hard enemy, as this is according to your will. Wherever not, then may you grant to us, that we might bear this your chastisement with proper faith and proper patience according to your divine good pleasure unto the end. In so doing, grant the authorities[viii] proper knowledge of the truth, for the sake of your holy name, that they may wield the sword in advance of your holy Word, that they may therefore defend justice and equity and protect to the best of their ability. Give the nation fervert love for your Gospel, so that, with all diligence and earnestness, it may form and shape its life according to the same.[ix] Above all, teach your prophets, that they may wield (proclaim) the heavenly teaching according to the mind of your Holy Spirit. Grant them steadfastness against all that would dare to revolt against your truth; [we ask this] all to the honor and praise of your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the power and the glory of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
i. My translation. This prayer is included among the selected writings of Oswald Myconius, in K. R. Hagenbach, Johann Oekolampad und Oswald Myconius , die Reformatoren Basels. Leben und ausgewæhlte Schriften(Elberfeld: R. L Friderichs, 1859) 444. There Hagenbach notes the original manuscript is held "im Kirchenarchiv. Antiqu. Gernl. I."
ii. Or "lightly"; billig.
iii. Or "favors, good deeds;" Gutthaten.
iv. Or "seduced, enticed"; verleiten.
v. Or "bottomless, gratuitous"; grundlosen.
vi. Or "he"; er.
ix. The pronouns are sg. in reference to dem Volke and sein Leben, though alternatively one may render this using pl. forms: "Give the people fervert love for your Gospel, so that, ... they may form and shape their lives ..."